Posted in Picture Books

Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton

803175Russell the Sheep
Rob Scotton
2005 Harper Collins
ISBN – 9780060598488
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Preschool
4 Stars

 

Russel the Sheep could not sleep, not even at the end of a very busy day. He tries many different solutions to his sleep problem including, making it really dark, getting really comfy, finding a different place to sleep, and counting. He counts many things. He counted his feet and the billions of stars, twice. It was only when he counted sleeping sheep that he could sleep too (Say that five times fast!)

Another cute bedtime story. The story is funny, with many quirks that I left out for surprise. My favorite thing about this book by far is the illustrations. The colors are in very cool and calming colors. There are lots of blues and whites and greens. All of the different characters that Russell runs across are super goofy. Their eyes are big and bulbous with great big smiles as well. I feel like this book could be told just as well without the words. I will be reading more of the Russell the Sheep series soon, I hope they are as good as this one.

Advertisements
Posted in Picture Books

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

15790852The Dark
Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
2013 Little, Brown and Company
ISBN – 9780316187480
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Preschool
4 Stars

 

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. It lives in his house with him. At nighttime the dark takes over many different spaces and corners of the house, but each morning the dark goes back to the basement where it belongs. Each morning Laszlo opens the basement door and says hello to the dark. If he goes to visit the dark he thinks that the dark won’t visit him. One night the dark comes to visit him, but all he wants to do is help Laszlo. Is this the help that Laszlo needs to conquer his fear of the dark?

I think this is such a great bedtime story. Many kids (and me) are afraid of the dark. This story is a cute way to teach kids at an early age that the dark is nothing to be frightened of. I love Jon Klassen’s illustrations as well. The drawings of Laszlo are simple and expressive. The colors are not bright for the most part, but then again neither is the nighttime. I especially like that the flashlight casts such stark shadows on each page. This really makes the darkness seem like an actual character in the book.

Posted in Picture Books

That is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

16285053That is Not a Good Idea!
Mo Willems
2013 Balzer + Bray
ISBN – 9780062203090
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Toddler, Preschool
4.5 Stars

 

The big bad wolf is wandering around in town, and runs across a lovely goose. He invites her for a walk, into the woods, and then for dinner at his house. What could he be planning? All the while little chicks are exclaiming that it is not a good idea! The goose, however, seems none the wiser as this bad idea progresses. I won’t give away the end of the story, but it definitely wasn’t what I expected!

I enjoyed this book a lot. I have stated earlier that I am not a big fan of Mo Willems, but this is the second book I have really enjoyed (granted out of about 40 books, that’s not much.) I think it is great for a wide range of audiences, as the narrative is simple yet suspenseful and hilarious. Though I may not like Mo Willem’s stories very much, I am usually a fan of his simplistic illustrations, and this book is a great example of this style. It also contains the weird eyes of many of his creatures in previous books. It gives an odd sense on innocence…perhaps!

Posted in Children's Lit

Deadly: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies

15797728Deadly: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth
Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Neal Layton
2012 Candlewick Press
ISBN – 9780763662318
Genre – Nonfiction
Age – Elementary
4 Stars

This is a nonfiction book about deadly creatures on earth. It talks about deadly cats and dogs, small animals, animals in the water, animals in the air, and more. It gives interesting and fun facts about these animals. It also has funny pictures to go along with these descriptions. There are enough pictures in the book to not overwhelm and elementary school aged child, and it includes goofy humor that will keep the kids attached. It also gives common sense advice on how not to get killed by many of the animals. At the end it even describes that these animals are only doing what evolution and survival require them to do.  I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Posted in Young Adult Lit

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

13449693The Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater
2012 Scholastic Press
ISBN – 9780545424929
Genre – Paranormal
Age – High School
3.5 Stars

 

Blue’s family is full of psychics, and they have always told her that she will kill her true love with a kiss. Then one day on St. Mark’s eve, she goes with her aunt to Corpse road to identify the spirits of the community members who will die in the upcoming year. Blue has never been able to see these spirits until this year. She sees a teenage boy named Gansey. Her aunt tells her that the only reason she would see him is that she is his true love or she will be the one to kill him Shortly after she meets Gansey she decides that she will do whatever she can to prevent his death without falling in love. She joins Gansey and his group of friends on an adventure to find paranormal activity within their small town.

It is honestly hard to explain the plot of this book without giving too much away. Stiefvater tends to write books that are a bit complicated in nature. She also tends to write books that start slowly, and The Raven Boys is no different. However, also like other books, they deliver in the end! Even if I can’t explain the book it was a worthwhile read. One thing I did not like about the book was that she used the word “pshaw” a few times. Once was bad enough, but the amount of times it was used was unacceptable. Really Pshaw?!? My rating also would have been a little bit higher had the ending been a little less disappointing, however, it is the first book in a series, so that is to be expected.

 

 

Posted in Young Adult Lit

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

12291438The Madman’s Daughter
Megan Shepherd
2013 Balzer + Bray
ISBN – 9780062128027
Genre – Fantasy
Age – High School
3.5 Stars

 

Juliet is sixteen years old. Her father fled London when she was ten. He was a well known and well respected doctor and surgeon. However, there were rumors abound that he was experimenting with a scandalous medical procedure called vivisection. People thought that he was dissecting live animals and piecing them together to create human like creatures. As far as Juliet knew, her father was dead. Now years later she runs across the young servant who served her family who had fled at the same time as her father. He comes with the news that her father is still alive and living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Soon Juliet embarks on a journey to become reunited with her father. Were the rumors about her father true? What has he been doing hiding on a far away island for all these years?

Very closely based on The Island of Doctor Moreau, the book is pretty unimaginative. However, having never read the original book by H.G. Wells, I found it to be quite interesting. Shepherd’s main difference is that she tells the story from Dr. Moreau’s daughter Juliet’s point of view. I will say that I found it disappointing that she added a girl into the story and instantly a love triangle appeared. The book is horrific in subject, but for the most part predictable, I had the story figured out halfway through my reading. I did, however, enjoy the language and the writing.

Posted in Picture Books

The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz

13586798Three Ninja Pigs
Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated by Dan Santat
2012 G. P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN – 9780399255144
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Preschool
4 Stars

 

Based on of the original story of The Three Little Pigs, but with a twist. Each little pig decides to take some martial arts classes in order to defend themselves against the big bad wolf. The first pig takes just two weeks of classes and cannot defend himself, the second pig takes a little bit more classes, but still not enough to defend himself. The third pig masters the art of karate, and is fully prepared to take on the wolf!

This is a great rendition of the Three Little Pigs. Ninjas are quite the popular subject these days with little kids. I particularly like the fact that it teaches the reader that we must be persistent in our goals and not give up so easily. I also like the fact that the pig that is able to take on the wolf is a girl pig! On another positive not the pictures are awesome, combining the original images with Japanese touches.

 

Posted in Young Adult Lit

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

256683City of Bones
Cassandra Clare
2012 Margaret K McElderry Books
ISBN – 9781416955078
Genre – Fantasy, Paranormal
Age – High School
3 Stars

Clary is sixteen years old, and like many teenage girls she has a tense relationship with her mother. That is, until one night she gets in a fight with her mom, and before she can come home and talk it out her mother disappears. It is then that Clary starts to learn that she is not your normal teenage girl, and her mother is not a normal single mom. She begins to discover that the world is full of paranormal creatures like demons, vampires, werewolves, and witches. She must delve into a world she didn’t know existed in order to find her mom and learn about her past. During these explorations she begins to learn that all of the stories are true.

My favorite thing about this book is the imaginative world in which Clare creates. I don’t read an overwhelming amount of fantasy and paranormal books, but this is the first I have read to combine so many different paranormal beings. This book has everything from faeries to demons. Clare does a great job in creating a world in which they can all live, even if not in perfect harmony. The story is decent, but I never really felt drawn to the book, there was really no point that I felt a strong desire to find out what was going to happen. It was a decent book overall, but the main reason I read it was because the movie is coming out soon.

Posted in Picture Books

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

14758803Monsters Love Colors
Mike Austin
2013 Harper
ISBN – 978006215941
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Toddler, Preschool
3.5 Stars

 

Three different colored monsters describe their love for colors, specifically their favorites red, yellow, and blue. They tell you what is made out of these colors in wacky and rhyming words! Then four other monsters come around and find new colors.

I think this book is pretty fantastic. It uses a ton of rhyming, and action and sound words like Howl, Prowl, and Growl. It also shows what happens when you combine primary colors. For instance, yellow and blue make green! It is full of funny looking monsters, and bright colors, that are clear and great to look at. My only issue with the book is that it seems to be all over the place. There really isn’t a story, but I think kids will enjoy it none the less.

Posted in Young Adult Lit

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

13572835Love and Other Perishable Items
Laura Buzo
2012 Knopf Books
ISBN – 9780375970009
Genre – Realistic Fiction
Age – High School
2 Stars

 

While working at a grocery store, 15 year old Amelia falls in love. Chris is easy to talk to, interesting, and smart. The only real problem is that he is 21. Knowing deep down that nothing can ever become of her feelings, they carry on a friendship. This is all OK until Chris begins to have feelings for Amelia.

So this is pretty much the whole story. It is boring, it drags on, and is very contrived. The two main characters are believable, and well fleshed out. Even at this, they are not very likable. The writing is realistic, and I can remember being a 15 year old, thinking in the same manor. However, just because the thoughts are believable does not mean that they are interesting enough to be formed into a book.