Reviews! Famous Fails! and Martin McMillan and the Sacred Stones

fails1Famous Fails!
By Crispin Boyer
128 pages – ages 7+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on October 25, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- This fun book of quirky failures and famous flops will keep kids laughing while they learn the importance of messing up in order to get it right. Science, architecture, technology, entertainment — there are epic fails and hilarious goof-ups from every important field. Silly side features help to analyze the failures: “Lesson Learned,” “It Could be Worse!,” “Losing Combinations,” and a “Fail Scale” help readers navigate the different kinds and scopes of the mistakes made. Read to learn what went wrong, what went right, and what kids can learn from each failed attempt.

What I Thought- This is a really neat nonfiction book. It talks about famous ways that people have failed, and it talks about what you can learn from it. There are fun pictures in it that kids will like looking at. The book includes advice on carrying on after failing and how to avoid failing. The way the book is written, it points out that the people made a mistake, and how it happened, but in a nice way, instead looking at why they failed. There is a fun combination of text-boxes and real-life photos on each page, and kids will enjoy looking at the pages. The book is split into sections, with the last section full of advice to help with failure. This is another great book from National Geographic Kids!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

martinMartin McMillan and the Sacred Stones
Written by Elaine Russell
Illustrated by Patricia Andrews
228 pages – ages 8+
Published by Createspace on January 31, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- This is the third installment of the Martin McMillan mystery/adventures for middle grade readers (ages 9-13). A vacation to Scotland finds thirteen-year-old skateboarders Martin McMillan and his friend Isabel drawn into another exciting mystery. Gaelic verses, recently found in the lining of an old trunk, hold the key to Druid secrets on the windswept Isle of Lewis. Clues lead to the ancient Calanais Standing Stones, which rival the wonder of Stonehenge. Martin and Isabel are determined to uncover the truth before other, less scrupulous parties can beat them to it. But dark forces go to great lengths to keep the island’s secrets from the outside world.

What I Thought- This is a cool book. There is a nice level of facts and fiction mixed into the story to get readers interested. The characters are realistic, behaving and sounding like normal kids. I especially like that in the beginning, Isabel isn’t fond of her stepmother…but as the story is from Martin’s point-of-view, he reflects that she seems like a decent person. I like that because that is a completely normal reaction – you may not understand why someone doesn’t like another person, and find the other person okay. As this book is the third book in the series, it is nice that this book explains the previous stories without going into too much detail. There is a good level of action in the story, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The setting is neat (I’ve always liked Scotland) and it is a neat touch that the reader learns about it as the story goes on.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Categories: Age 6-9

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6 replies

  1. What a great book the demonstrates that mistakes are part of learning and finding solutions. Would think that kids who like facts would love this book.
    Two very different shares today. The series sounds like a really interesting book that also helps kids accept other for who they are.

  2. Two good choices. I think it is good for children to know that it is OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Would make good gifts.

  3. I was hoping to get the Nat Geo book. It looked terrific. The second book sounds interesting. Nice reviews.

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