PB Review / Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

logprincessBook: The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess (2021)
Author/Illustrator: Tom Gauld
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Once there lived a king and queen who happily ruled a pleasant land, but they had no children.

MY THOUGHTS…

This is an original fairy tale. It features a King and Queen who want children. They end up with a son (the robot) and a daughter (the log princess). But, this being a fairy tale, things don’t go well. Being a fairy tale, the log princess turns into a log every night until you say the magic words.

Really, it’s a lovely story about a brother and sister. They work together to get out of their predicament. One of my favorite parts is when the author hints at all the adventures they have which we don’t exactly see. Like meeting the Magic Pudding or the Lady in a Bottle. There are actually two of these sections in the book. As a kid, I would have LOVED this because it meant I could make up my own story with the two characters.

Tom Gauld’s illustrations are quite wonderful. I love the detail and everything. The beetles are adorable! I would recommend this book to those who love fairy tales or any type of adventure story. And who doesn’t love a fairy tale or adventure story?

Thank you @KimALarson7 for recommending this book to me!

 


12-PBs-May

12 CHALLENGE

12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

PB Review / Lulu and the Missing Tooth Fairy

20220405ma_0514Book: Lulu and the Missing Tooth Fairy (2022)
Author: S.E. Richey
Illustrator: Jhon Ortiz
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Lulu finally had a wiggly tooth. She waited her whole life, and she knew exactly what to buy with the tooth fairy money. “A pony!”

MY THOUGHTS…

What a fun story! It’s told in a dual-narrative style. We get to see things from Lulu’s point of view, and then on the opposite side of the page, we get to see what’s happening with Trixie, the tooth fairy! And boy oh boy. Trixie is one of those fairies that has a little trouble with directions and finding her way to the right location. Which, of course, leads us in a fun, comedy-of-errors style romp.

The mix-ups are what make the story such fun. But poor Lulu has to wonder, What’s up with this tooth fairy??? How come my tooth is STILL under my pillow. I especially liked the little nod to the different kinds of tooth fairies from around the world when we get to meet Ratoncito (the “tooth fairy” from Puerto Rico).

And the art by Jhon Ortiz is wonderfully appealing.

 


12-PBs-Apr

12 CHALLENGE

12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

MG Mini-Reviews / April

bookshopBook: The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams (2021)
Author: Mindy Thompson
Genre: MG, Historical Fantasy

Opening lines from the book …
The bookshop is feeling blue today. I sense it the moment my brother James and I arrive home from school. The lights are low, the ever-shifting wallpaper is a cheerless dark gray, with somber books on display—Wuthering Heights, Old Yeller, A Little Princess. The gloom sinks into my bones.

MY THOUGHTS…

Love the magical bookshop! In many ways, this bookshop, called Rhyme and Reason, is its own character. It somehow senses different things and morphs accordingly. And it has a special connection to Poppy, the bookstore owners’ daughter. The bookstore is a haven for time-travelers. (It’s kind of neat that Poppy is really wanting to read books like the Chronicles of Narnia, which haven’t been written yet!)

The story takes place during World War II. Poppy’s father gets very sick and it seems like it might have something to do with the weird things that are happening with the bookstore. On top of that, news comes that a close family friend has died in the war. Poppy’s older brother wants to use the magic of the bookstore to change things. But, of course, that’s forbidden.

In some ways, this book is a little dark, which surprised me a bit. But then again, it does make sense. It’s really about choices we make.


capt-daughtersBook: The Captain’s Daughters (2021)
Author: Doreen D. Berger
Genre: MG, Sci-fi

Opening lines from the book …
“Dad, we know what to do!” Diane assured him again, totally exasperated, as he gave her and Robin last-minute instructions. “We’re twelve!” she reminded him. “We don’t need your help! Honestly, we don’t.”

MY THOUGHTS…

I find I don’t read a lot of science fiction. This book turned out to have a big Star Trek vibe to it! While I enjoyed that, I also found it sometimes a little too distracting because I’d be comparing it to the Star Trek universe!

Let’s get to the two main characters! Diane and Robin are two girls set out for adventure. The story begins when they are kidnapped and their attempts to get home again. Just at the time when you think they’re about to succeed, there’s a nice little twist that throws them even further way from their goal. I found it interesting to see the juxtaposition of the shiny world of space travel against the dirt and sweat of the horseback riding scenes. There’s even the grandma’s homecooked meals being compared with the sterile futuristic cooking aboard the starship Polaris.

My head also began to spin a bit with different universes and counterparts and trying to figure out who is where and when! But that’s what happens when you deal with multiple universes! And there were a lot of flashbacks which also got to be a little confusing at times. I’d get caught up in a fun story where the girls get into some scrape, but then I’d forget that I was in the past. There are some really fun scenes, though. The scene at the end  (*SPOILER! where the two Captain Marshes—Dad and Uncle Bill—are together and the girls aren’t sure which one is their dad… End Spoiler) is priceless!

PB Review / How to Wear a Sari

pbBook: How to Wear a Sari (2020)
Author: Darshana Khiani
Illustrator: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Are you tired of being treated like a little kid? “You’re too small.” “That’s too difficult.” “Aww, how cute.” Do you want to show them you can do grown up things too?

MY THOUGHTS…

This book captured my love of dressing up when I was a child… to look oh so grown up! In the story, the main character wants dress like the grown-up ladies. And she helps us by giving a step-by-step guide in how to wear a sari. And she even gets her friend (i.e. the dog) to help!

There’s lots of twirling and colorful fabric flying everywhere. One of my favorite lines is: The aunties will be asking you for tips.

The little twist at the end brought a smile to my face. (I like this family!)

Thank you @BethStilborn for recommending this book to me!


12-PBs-Mar

12 CHALLENGE

12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

PB Review / Milo Imagines the World

milo-pbBook: Milo Imagines the World (2021)
Author: Matt de la Peña
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
What begins as a slow, distant glow grows and grows into a tired train that clatters down the tracks. A cool rush of wind quiets into a screech of steel, and when the doors slide open, Milo slips aboard.

MY THOUGHTS…

Read that opening? THAT is SO New York City! I loved being immersed into the NYC subway system with  Milo and his sister as they go to visit their mom. (It’s a mystery about where their mom is.) However, Milo keeps busy by people-watching. And he makes up stories to go with each person he sees.

And that’s when the boy with the perfect bright white shoes steps on the subway car. Milo thinks he must be a prince or something very fine. But what I love about this book is that Milo’s expectations (and ours) are subverted. I won’t spoil it, but we are invited to see that there’s often more to the world than what we see.

I love the illustrations, especially “Milo’s art,” which gave it such a realistic feel.

Thank you to Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle @KimberlyBiddle4 for recommending this book to me!


12-PBs-Feb

12 CHALLENGE

12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

PB Review / Hair Love

20220108ma_0067Book: Hair Love (2019)
Author: Matthew A. Cherry
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
My name is Zuri, and I have hair that has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils and curls every which way.

MY THOUGHTS…

This is such a lovely book about about a daddy and his daughter. Zuri loves her hair, and when the “big day” arrives, she knows it’s time for a special hairdo. I especially loved all of Daddy’s failures as he doesn’t quite get her hair right. The rubber band one had me smiling. (Poor Dad.)

The cat that hangs around is also a nice little touch. Like at the tea party? Oh, yeah. I like how the cat’s reactions mirror young Zuri!

The book doesn’t reveal what the “big day” is until the moment it happens. So, that kept me guessing about why Zuri was so intent on getting her hair just right. The reveal at the end was perfect!

Thank you to Judy Campbell-Smith @J_CampbellSmith for recommending this book to me!


12-PBs

12 CHALLENGE

12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

PB Review / Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away

evelynBook: Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away (2020)
Author: Meg Medina
Illustrator: Sonia Sanchez
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Evelyn Del Rey is my mejor amiga, my numero uno best friend.

MY THOUGHTS…

Such a beautiful celebration of friendship! Poor Daniela is losing her best best friend, Evelyn Del Rey, to a move. The story begins with their last day of being together.  As somebody who had to deal with such moves as a child (I was usually the one moving away!), I can see how this might help a child deal with such a hard part of their world. Because it is very hard to say goodbye to a good friend.

The illustrations are just perfect by evoking a child’s drawing/colouring. And they go well with the beautiful, almost haunting, lyrical language. The title alone is a beautiful piece of internal rhyme. (And this book is not written in rhyme!)

In some ways, it’s a sad book, yet it’s also hopeful at the same time. That friendships do survive such moves. (And I can absolutely attest to that!)

#MGTakesOnThursday / The One and Only Bob


20210103ma_0002Book: The One and Only Bob (2020)
Author: Katherine Applegate
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: MG, Animal

Companion Book to: The One and Only Ivan


This book in three words …
hurricane, family, spunk

Opening lines from the book …
“Look, nobody’s ever accused me of being a good dog.”

My thoughts on this book…

We’re back in the world of that famous mall gorilla, the One and Only Ivan! This time Ivan and Ruby (the elephant) are living in an animal sanctuary. And their friend Bob is a regular visitor. But with a hurricane coming, they’re in for an adventure.

Bob is the narrator. (He is voiced by Danny DeVito for the audiobook; that should give you a hint as to his personality.) And he really is full of spunk. He ends up in an animal shelter and meets his long lost sister, Boss. Then, he and Ivan and Ruby (can I say right here how much I like Ruby! I want a One and Only Ruby book!) head off on a rescue mission. One of the best scenes in the book is when the police come across the gorilla and the elephant and put them under arrest! (Of course, Bob manages to get away. Which is good. Because he needs to do a little rescuing.)

A must-read for animal lovers! And especially if you enjoyed The One and Only Ivan.


This post is part of a challenge to celebrate middle-grade books. For more information, go to: https://bookcraic.blog/2021/02/25/mg-takes-on-thursday-32/

How to take part…

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. (*Note: I’ve changed this slightly.*)
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

#MGTakesOnThursday / Prairie Lotus


20210217ma_0330Book: Prairie Lotus (2020)
Author: Linda Sue Park
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: MG, Historical


This book in three words …
pioneers, dressmaker, prejudice

Opening lines from the book …
“Should be our last day,” Papa said when they stopped to make camp. He unhitched the tired horses from the wagon, then led them down a little draw to water, while Hanna began clearing the ground for a fire.”

My thoughts on this book…

Hanna and her father are about to settle down in a brand new town in Dakota Territory. What Hanna really wants to do is graduate from school, but there’s a problem. The pioneering townsfolk don’t like that she’s half-Chinese. But Hanna’s determined. With the teacher on her side, and her new friend, Bess, Hanna gets her wish. But what’s next. Like her mother before her, she wants to be a dressmaker. How can she convince the town that she’s a person, just like them?

Set in the days of Little House on the Prairie, Linda Sue Park draws on her love of the Wilder novels. (I love this little tidbit from the author’s note!) Of course, Hanna’s world is a little different in that she has an extra obstacle to overcome regarding her Chinese heritage. But I love her pluck and determination. Her friendship with Bess made me smile (because I did notice the little nod to the author of the Little House books in the naming of this character!)

I highly recommend this book to anybody who likes historical fiction, and especially if you love the Little House books. While I’m not the best at sewing, reading books like this makes me want to pick up a needle and thread and try my hand at button holes! (Okay, maybe not button holes.)


This post is part of a challenge to celebrate middle-grade books. For more information, go to: https://bookcraic.blog/2021/01/28/mg-takes-on-thursday-30/

How to take part…

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. (*Note: I’ve changed this slightly.*)
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

#MGTakesOnThursday / Spy School Revolution


20210204ma_0253Book: Spy School Revolution (2020)
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Publisher: Simon & Schuster*
Genre: MG, Espionage/Adventure

*Note: I listened to the audiobook, which is read by Gibson Frazier. I always enjoy a good audiobook and this one did not disappoint!


This book in three words …
George Washington, traitors, sister

Opening sentence from the book …
“I’m afraid we have lied to you,” said Alexander Hale. “A lot.”

My thoughts on this book…

Another successful book about our favourite students at Spy School!

It was nice to read this book back-to-back with the previous book in the series. At this point, SPYDER is no more, but that doesn’t mean there are no more Bad Guys! Now we have a new threat, and it seems to be coming from … Erica Hale herself? But Ben’s certain she’s innocent.

Love how Erica and Ben’s friendship has been developing, especially Erica has learned to trust in his abilities. (She’s still the better “spy” of course, but she recognizes what he brings to the mission. There are hints at romance, which is fine with me. I just hope they don’t suddenly fall into the same pattern as Summer and Teddy of the FunJungle series.)

I was glad to be reunited with Catherine Hale, Cyrus and Alexander Hale, and Mike, etc. We also get to know Ben’s parents in this one. (Both have a great sense of humour!) Zoe’s character does some interesting twists (won’t spoil it here). And, well, if you read the last book, then you won’t be surprised when Ben, et al. meet up with Murray Hill.

I loved the historical elements that come into play with George Washington being the first spymaster during the Revolutionary War. We (as readers) get to visit Mount Vernon! (I miss visiting historic sites.) Of course, there’s destruction that happens… which I mentioned in my last review. And there are definitely some nice twists with Ben deciphering spy codes.

I’m looking forward to the next book. (Which apparently is set in either Nicaragua or Antarctica!)


This post is part of a challenge to celebrate middle-grade books. For more information, go to: https://bookcraic.blog/2021/01/28/mg-takes-on-thursday-30/

How to take part…

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. (*Note: I’ve changed this slightly.*)
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.