Kayleigh Donnelly's Blog

Kayleigh Donnelly has a BS in Early Childhood Education and has one semester left in her Masters of Elementary Education program.  She has self published the first of her Addie Addison books entitled The Addisons Go Skiing.  As a teacher, she is highly interested in children's picture books.  In her free time, it is sports books and young adult novels that spark her interest most frequently. 


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Don't forget to check out the other Addison picture book, The Addisons Go Skiing.

My Brain Hurts

Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel - Jennifer McMahon

This book is going to constantly have you thinking. You have to remember details and question everything. Overall, I'm still unsure if I enjoyed it. I'm leaning towards not really. That being said, I am still passing on the book to others so I do believe its worth the read. I also think it could be remade into a decent movie that I wouldn't mind streaming on Netflix. 


I would recommend this book for anyone over the age of 16/18. (Some adult topics/not graphic but unnecessary topics for younger audiences.) 

Check Out My Newest Book!

The Addisons and Double Trouble Aquarium - Kayleigh Anne Donnelly

      Improving on the original, The Addisons Go Skiing, Kayleigh Donnelly sends Addie Addison to Double Trouble Aquarium. Here Addie Addison showcases her mathematical strengths with doubles additions. The pictures in this book are bright, colorful, and engaging prompting children to count and add along. The embedding of math in literacy allows even those children hesitant to do math to join in.


      I recommend this book to any parent or teacher of young children ages 2-6.  For children not ready for addition, the book can be used for counting by simply having children count the marine animals on each page.




Dismantled: A Novel - Jennifer McMahon

Another reviewer put it perfectly, I feel like I worked way too hard to get to the end.  It was painful and boring at times but I love the two other books I've read by McMahon so I felt obligated to see this one through.  While I was interested to see how she pulled it all together, I was fairly disappointed in the ending.  I also wasn't as invested in the ending as I usually am with her.  I wasn't excited when I realized I had been correct in my ending guess.  


In the interest of full disclosure, unlike on Booklikes, Amazon has tons of positive reviews for this book so don't necessarily turn down the book because of us reviewers here.  I would recommend you chose Promise Not To Tell or Island of Lost Girls both by McMahon instead.  If you do pick this book up, I recommend you take it out of the library.  

A Mouth Full That Leads To Laughs

Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram

This book has me constantly laughing.  "Little Nutbrown Hare" and "Big Nutbrown Hare" are surprisingly difficult to read repeatedly.  The children I nannied for had me read it almost every day just to hear me try to read those names and roll around on the floor laughing. I thought I was the only one to struggle with reading it but telling these stories to my teacher friends I found out many adults have this problem reading it for their children or students. 


Overall it's a cute story about a parent repeatedly telling Little Nutbrown Hare how much he love him.  The lost star is because it can read as Big Nutbrown Hare trying to one up their child which makes a lot of parents uneasy.  I, however, read it as cute innocent fun similar to the "no, I love you more!" giggling conversation every parent/child, bf/gf, or even some best friends have had.  But in the interest of a well rounded review I did feel the need to share how others interpret the book. 


I recommend this book to parents and teachers of children under 4.  (The 6 year old I nanny for still loved it.  Many children read it past the age of 4 but the target age range is probably closer to 2-4.) 

Incredibly Intriguing

Island of Lost Girls - Jennifer McMahon

I started and finished this book in a 24 hour period.  The plot is incredibly intriguing and little twists and turns lead you to an ending you weren't entirely expecting.  I thought I had it figured out so many times and in fact actually at one point or another had a couple pieces of it.  


I had a hard time deciding between 4.5 and 5 stars.  The characters are not overly likable.  The intriguing plot and mystery keeps you turning the page (rapidly) but you're not going to necessarily feel what the characters are feeling throughout the story or even in the end.   There also were a few too many coincidences that made the story just a little past crazy and into completely unrealistic.  It's a fun book for entertainment though so you really can't dock McMahon for that. Overall, 4.5 stars.


I recommend this book for anyone who has read other Jennifer McMahon novels, anyone who likes a mystery, and lovers of realistic fiction. 

Most Surprising "Unable to Put Down" Novel

Driving with the Top Down - Beth Harbison

I started this book because my mom bought it for me so I felt obligated to and after the prologue I was kinda thinking, "what the heck was she thinking buying this". Not long after though I couldn't put it down!  I was hoping for down time so I could flip it open and read even five more pages.  I was torn between wanting to see how it ends and never wanting the story to end.  It was the perfect catch 22 of reading. I am literally racing to the library to find another by Beth Harbinson.  I can't remember a time I was more impressed by a book.


I highly recommend this book to any girl (ages high school and older).

Martha Speaks is a hit with children!

Martha Speaks - Susan Meddaugh

The book is a silly concept where the family dog begins to speak after eating some alphabet soup.  It is a common fantasy for children and the silliness of his actions and words once he has the power to talk will have your child on the floor giggling.  


The one thing to note is the importance of the stressing the correct way to talk to someone who is bothering you (i.e. not yelling shut up).  It is important to note to your child they treated the dog poorly.   Most children will get it on their own but it is something to point out so they don't think they can just yell "shut up" at the dog or a human that is talking too much.  That is the most common complaint I hear about the book.


I highly recommend this book to parents.

Intriguing Story Line

It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered - Don Yaeger, Mike Pressler

Just like the other Duke lacrosse scandal books, the book offers a lot of insight into the events in Durham around the Duke lacrosse scandal.  There was a bias, as all the Duke scandal books are accused of, however, the facts are there.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the scandal, legal events or the way Universities have been known to handle events like this.

You'll Read It Over and Over Again

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert

This is one of my favorite books of all time.  "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom will there be enough room"?!  If you have kids of your own or are a teacher, you will have these words ingrained into my brain and you won't even mind.  Letter Recognition (upper & lower) and rhyme make this book an educational gold mind.  I personally use this book numerous times during the school year with a plethora of activities for letter recognition and then phonemic awareness.  The children love watching the letters climb the tree, the letters come crashing down and the families coming to save the day.  The bright colors are great as children are tempted to point to each letter as you read.


I highly recommend this to parents and teachers alike.

Keeps You Turning Every Page

What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty does a fabulous job of keeping you turning every page.  I thought I had the whole story figured out a few times only to be proven wrong.  I couldn't put the book down as I pieced together the story with the bits of information collected along the way.  I have lent this book to people ranging in age from 18-60 and all have enjoyed it greatly.  It's an intriguing concept.  I highly recommend it for any woman. 

Interesting for a Variety of Ages

The Numberlys - William Joyce, Christina Ellis

The story line can be too much for young children and may make sense for older children. My pre-kindergarteners and beginning of the year kindergarteners seemed to lose a lot of the story.  However, when they used it to tell the story to each other (reading without using the words) they really enjoyed it.  A second grader I was babysitting stumbled upon the book and absolutely loved it.  The transition from a gray, gloopy world to a colorful world filled with jellybeans is one children of all ages will enjoy.


I recommend this book to parents of children of all ages. 

Drags On and On

Sisterland - Curtis Sittenfeld

The concept of this book intrigued me so I was very eager to buy it and dive right in.  After I started though it couldn't keep my focus.  I frequently lost interest and put it down for days.  The book dragged on and on.  


In typical Curtis Sittenfeld fashion, I did not like the ending but it was on par with his standard endings.  I would not recommend this book to someone else.  

Amazing Math Picture Book with No Words

Magic Numbers - PatrickGeorge

Magic Numbers is a numbers book.  It uses transparent pages to "take away one" fly on every page.  Each numeral page offers a different scene and as children count the flies and take away one they can often be seen making up words to go along with the pictures.  This book is a great introduction into basic "take away one" subtraction.  It also targets numeral recognition, one-to-one correspondence, counting, and basic "adding one" addition when the story is read backwards.  The uses for this book are endless.  


I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers. 

Didn't Want the Story to End

Prep - Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld creates a character, Lee, who personally I could not stand.  That's one of the most interesting parts of the books.  Every page I turned I was begging for a personality change in Lee.  Many others who read this book related completely to Lee as a character and felt it really represented their high school experience.  No matter what you think of Lee as a character, it is very hard to put the book down.  You are engrossed in her experiences in her prep school.  


I have to say the ending really frustrated me but having now read his other books it truly is just his style.  I would still recommend this book. 

Funny for the Adults

How To Train A Train - Jason Carter Eaton

I've read through this book a few times.  The first time I heard it was assistant teaching in a Kindergarten classroom.  It was picked up off a pile of books dropped off by a parent and neither of us had read it.  Well, as the book progressed the lead teacher and I were crying from laughter.  The book was so awkward, weird, and just all around odd.  None of the children appeared to enjoy the book but I took it over to my regular preschool classroom to give it another shot anyway.  Again, the children seemed to not enjoy it much while I noticed my assistant director making uncomfortable faces and fighting back laughter at times.  All in all, I found it to be a really odd book and would not recommend it as a future purchase for parents or teachers.