Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Just Wondering: 40 Poems for Smart Kids (You) by Suzanne Werkema

Image result for just wondering 40 poems for smart kids

This adorable book of poetry was a quick read that I and my 4-year-old both enjoyed. Most of the poems are short and rhythmic, with a well-done rhyming scheme. They are all easily relatable to children and stir up memories of my own childhood. Some of the rhymes don't roll off the tongue as easily and feel awkward or forced, and some of the poems themselves are a little lackluster. Tina Modugno's illustrations are colorful and vivid, yet simple and boring. The vocabulary used is wonderful though, and includes pronunciation of a few words as well. Laryingitis, My Mess, and Hangers are a few favorites, and Things That Never Happened is reminiscent of Michelle Nelson-Schmidt's book Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster and the illustration looks like a blend of the same Whatif Monster and Emma Yarlett's Nibbles. The final poem, A Poem is a Horrid Thing was wisely chosen as the closer:

"A poem is a horrid thing,
all fancy, frilly, fluttering.
I like to hear this kind of stuff,
but poems just aren't fun enough.
So till the moon outshines the sun,
I'll never read a single one."

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The beginning of this unique story left me slightly confused, thinking I had missed something or that maybe it was a sequel, but it quickly took off and kept me fully enthralled. 
A mysterious Library full of strange librarians, each responsible for their own subject or catalogue, are looking for Father who has suddenly gone missing. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing in this book is like anything else I have ever read. It defies genre but is perfect for fans of Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, and J.K. Rowling alike. It contains conspiracies, fantasy, mythology, science fiction, mystery, murder, magic, and of course, books in an incredible library. 
This book was completely engrossing and is nearly impossible to describe, but lingers in your mind. The audio book narrator portrayed the myriad of characters stunningly, differentiating them all so the listener is not once confused as to who is speaking. 
Highly recommended for ALL adult readers. 

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Though it has been years now since I read this book, it still lingers in my mind and though I can never name ONE favorite book, it is easily near the top of the list. 
The Other Typist is set in the 1920s and tells the story of Rose, a typist who takes the confessions of criminals for the police and who lives a lonely life until another typist joins the ranks. This other typist is captivating, coquettish, and stylish, and pulls Rose under her spell and lures her into another world full of speakeasies, jazz, and liquor. 
This book is not what it seems and contains mysteries and obsessions and leaves you wondering at the end, reminiscent of Fight Club. 
Slated to become a film produced by and starring Kiera Knightley, this genre-bending book is an incredible debut novel perfect for fans of Gone Girl, historical fiction, mysteries, and psychological thrillers. 
Highly recommended. 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This absolutely lovely book is a wonder to read. Although written as a Middle Grades book, it is suitable and enjoyable for all ages. 
A dreary town shrouded in sorrow leaves a baby in the woods every year to appease a witch that will otherwise destroy them all, only... Xan the witch does not know why these babies keep being left alone in the woods. So, she rescues them and finds them new homes in other towns, until one baby, Luna, is accidentally fed moonlight by mistake and Xan raises her as her own, along with her friend the swamp monster and a tiny dragon with an adorable delusion that he is "simply enormous."
A boy in the town is determined to kill the witch, there is a crazy woman in a tower, a corrupt government, and a ravenous tiger on the prowl. 
Highly highly recommended for all readers - this book was impossible to put down. The audio book version is simply delightful and the narrator does a marvelous job. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

The first part of this new graphic novel fantasy series is a fun, quick read. The art is colorful and full of movement; combined with the story it is wholly engrossing. Kaidu is a 13-year-old boy who meets a girl named Rat, who must be around the same age as him, in a city he calls Dandao but that Rat and the other natives know as The Nameless City. There are a lot of lessons and messages to be gleaned from this story; Kaidu's people, the Dao, look down on the natives of the city and believe them to not even be "real people" like themselves, and the indigenous people hate them for it. Yet Kaidu is different, and is interested in the people of the city. In spite of the odds, Rat and Kaidu manage to form a friendship, and it's a good thing, too, for they are going to need to work together to save the city from danger. The characters are all diverse, and one of the early scenes is slightly reminiscent of Mulan and "I'll make a man out of you." This author can hardly wait for the second installment, due to be released in April 2017.

Other Reviews:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gossie by Olivier Dunrea

My other blog focuses on parenting, pregnancy, and all things infants and kids, and I have reviewed a couple of books there as well, though they are more casual in style.

Gossie is about a little gosling named Gossie.  The version I have is a little board book, but I believe it also comes in hardback (at least, Amazon says it does).

Gossie is "a small yellow gosling who likes to wear bright red boots every day." The book chronicles her little adventures - where she likes to wear her red boots - when suddenly, she loses them! Spoiler alert! She finds them in the end. :)

The artwork is adorable - also by Dunrea. I would love to just have blow-ups of the pages to hang on my wall! It's not too busy but makes use of bright colors and high contrast which is great for little eyes. 

Read the rest of my review and more about Olivier Dunrea at Prego to Legos.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What Does it Mean to Be an Entrepreneur? by Rana DiOrio & Emma D. Dryden

Welcome to my first blog tour! Well, not mine, I am merely participating in it; it is hosted by Sage's Blog Tours.

This adorable book by the authorial team of Rana DiOrio and Emma D. Dryden is a beautiful read. It was great to see the main character, in addition to being a minority, also be given the attributes most commonly associated with "boy" characters (intelligent, loves science, an engineer and an entrepreneurial spirit that goes leaps and bounds beyond opening a lemonade stand).
The art is lovely, rich with detail yet not overwhelmingly busy. The illustrator, Ken Min, employs great use of color and negative space and leaving background areas in muted shades of a single color to keep the focus on the myriad of details - many of which you may miss the first read-through but that are a delight to find on the sure-to-occur second and third readings.
The text has a great flow but still includes some wonderful vocabulary words. A favorite response to the titular question: "What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?".... "Does it mean speaking French? No!" (Although "Non!" would have been amusing too).
I do not want to spoil any of the details, but the first spread humorously features a Rich Uncle Moneybags look-alike and other clever illustrations abound throughout the book.
The robots unfortunately look a little menacing in some of the scenes, with a Terminator/I Robot like quality, but otherwise it is a great addition to any shelf.

You can purchase this book at Little Pickle Press or Indie Bound.

Book description from the publisher:

When Rae witnesses an ice cream-and-doggie mishap, she’s inspired to create a big-scale solution to help get dogs clean. Rae draws on her determination, resilience, and courage until she—and everyone else in her community—learns just what it means to be an entrepreneur. Book six in the award-winning What Does It Mean To Be …? series, What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? will be available in January 2016.