ARC Review: Earthrise

earthriseEarthrise // by James Gladstone
Release Date: October 15, 2018
Genre: Picture Book, Non-Fiction (Space)

**Note: I received a free copy of this title from the people at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Basic Plot: This is the story behind the photograph of the earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts back in 1968; and how such a photo led to a different view of our world.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) I love that the illustrations evoke the 1960s. They are wonderfully done!

2) I love photography, so I found this story particularly interesting. It’s a little behind-the-scenes “snapshot” at how one of the most famous photographs of all time came to be.

3) The story juxtaposes a tumultuous time (1968) with a photograph that is anything but tumultuous. It’s simple and beautiful and serene.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) I feel like this could be made for older children with a little more text. Maybe explaining a few things. History-wise. This was the year that Martin Luther King was shot. And Robert Kennedy. And a war in Vietnam. They didn’t have to go into extreme detail, but maybe at least mention MLK.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – A wonderfully illustrated book about this moment in history. I’d recommend for 1st through 3rd grade. Maybe Kindergarten?

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ARC Review: Anne Arrives

anne-arrivesAnne Arrives // by Kallie George
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Genre: MG Picture Book
My Rating: 4 Stars

**Note: I received a free copy of this title from the people at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Basic Plot: Mrs. Lynde is surprised when she sees her neighbour, Matthew Cuthbert, going to town. She discovers from Marilla that the Cuthberts are adopting a boy. Except, when Matthew gets to the train station, there’s only a girl. He brings her home, because what else can he do?

WHAT’S COOL…

1) The illustrations by Abigail Halpin are absolutely delightful. I adore them! I like how she captured Anne herself. She looks like Anne! I particularly like some of the illustrations that have just Anne in them. Like when she’s looking (sadly) out the window at the cherry blossom tree (the Snow Queen). Such a beautiful two-page spread!

2) This would make a wonderful introduction to Anne of Green Gables, especially for children who are ready for Chapter Books. This book is rather like a Chapter Book, in fact.

3) Oh, I teared up at the scene where Matthew comes to speak to Anne in the bedroom. (When she’s in big trouble with Marilla.)

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) The title is a little weird. Why not Anne Comes to Green Gables, or something like that?

2) I know I raved about the illustrations. But it can be a hard thing to capture characters we love in drawings. Matthew and Marilla were a little off for me. Matthew’s long grey hair and brown beard were a little weird. And Marilla… Ah well, just personal opinion here. No major criticism.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I don’t often review picture books, but when I saw this one was about Anne of Green Gables, I was inspired to request it. It’d be a wonderful introduction to the world of Anne! I’d recommend it for Grade 2-3. And really, for any fan of Anne of ANY age.

ARC Review: Skyward

skywardSkyward // by Sally Deng
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: MG Picture Book, Non-Fiction (WWII)
My 
Basic Plot: This is the story of three Allied pilots during World War II… who all happen to be women. Hazel is from the U.S., Marlene is from England, Lilya is from the Soviet Union.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) I loved the illustrations! Nicely done.

2) This is a history book that tells you the little things about history. (Like the fact that the women were given uniforms that were too big for them. Makes sense since the uniforms would have been originally made for men.) They had to use their sewing skills to make the uniforms wearable!

3) None of these women are famous. And while I like reading about famous people who did great things, I also love reading about the regular people who did their part to win the war. (According to the author’s note, Hazel from the U.S. seems to have been a real person. Not sure about the other two. But I’m sure she did her research to get their experiences.)

4) I did like that we get three different experiences with these three different women, each from a different part of the world.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) At times I was a little confused about which woman was from where. Especially at the beginning of the story. It starts with Hazel and then moves on to Marlene and for some reason, I thought they were the same girl. I wish there had been tags or something to remind us that Hazel was from the U.S., Marlene was from England, etc.

2) Hazel is of Chinese heritage, however, this wasn’t very clear in the book. It’s only hinted at when she and her friend (who happens to be black) are thinking of  joining the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots). One of them says: “A Chinese American and an African American want to join? They will think us crazy and laugh in our faces.” I’m pretty sure the term African American would not have been used in 1942-3. Little things like that do bother me, especially since it’s in dialogue of people from the era. If it had been the narrator, I’d be okay with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I enjoyed this look into the history of women pilots in World War II. I’m pretty much a sucker for anything to do with WWII, so this was right up my alley. It’s a picture book, but it’s definitely meant for older kids (as there’s a lot of text).