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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:25
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr.,Eric Carle

Genre:  Animals / Colors / Children's / School


Year Published: 1967


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Company

Series: Bill Martin's Bears #1

 

 

Bear

I have been an avid fan of Eric Carle’s works, especially of his well-known children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and one of the books that Eric Carle had worked on that I did not get the chance to read when I was little was “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” which was also written by Bill Martin Jr. All in all, this was one children’s book that children should definitely check out!

Since this story is extremely short, the summary will be brief.
Basically, the plot of this book is about the reader seeing various animals comment on what other beings they are looking at that precise moment, while each animal states a variation of this quote:

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.

Red Bird, Red Bird,
What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me.”

Wow! I cannot believe that I waited this long to finally pick up this popular children’s book and it was definitely worth reading in the end! I loved the simplistic style that Bill Martin Jr. brought to this book as the plot is basically having readers see various animals in different colors popping up in the book and commenting on other animals they have seen. I loved the fact that each animal is a different color such as having a blue horse and a purple cat as it brings a unique spin to the storytelling of this book and I was quietly anticipating seeing what kind of animals we will see pop up in this book. Eric Carle’s artwork is as always, a delight to look at as all the characters are rendered in paper cut outs which gives the book a creative look and I really loved the images of the different animals that show up in this book, such as the purple cat and the blue horse!

Bear

Even though there is nothing wrong with this book, I have to wonder why it was banned in the first place? Well, it turns out that when it was banned, the person who banned the book made a mistake regarding the author of this book, who is Bill Martin Jr. and the person thought that it was the same Bill Martin who wrote the book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.” Now, I have never read any of the “other” Bill Martin’s books, but this was the first instance where a book was mistakenly banned for the wrong reasons and that got me curious yet annoyed.

Overall, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” is a truly cute book for children who want to have fun with identifying animals and colors all wrapped up into one book! I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-18 00:16
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Love You Forever - Robert Munsch,Sheila McGraw

Genre:  Family / Growth / Life / Childhood / Love


Year Published: 1986


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Firefly Books

 

 

 

Forever

I have another bookish confession to make: Even though I have been reading many of Robert Munsch’s books when I was little, I had never once read his most highly acclaimed book “Love You Forever” and I am still kicking myself in the rear for not reading this book sooner! “Love You Forever” is a heartwarming story written by Robert Munsch along with artwork by Sheila McGraw that is definitely worth checking out!

The story starts off with a mother holding her newborn baby boy in her arms and as she rocking the baby to sleep, she started singing a little song:

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”


We are then treated to the little boy growing up throughout the story as he started out as a troublemaking toddler to a teenager who likes to listen to strange music to a full grown adult man who eventually moved out of his mother’s house. One day however, the boy’s mother had gotten ill and…

What will the son do about this predicament and what will happen to the mother?

Read this book to find out!


Oh my gosh! How in the world could I not have read this book when I was little? I mean, I had read many of Robert Munsch’s other books including “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Stephanie’s Ponytail,” but this one seems to have fallen off the radar for me! Robert Munsch did a fantastic job at writing this story as we get to see how a mother witnesses the growth of her son throughout the story and how she still loves her son no matter how different her son becomes through looks and personalities. What made this book extremely unique in my eyes is how we get to see the positive and negative aspects of parenthood as while the boy occasionally got on his mother’s nerves whenever he got into trouble, we also see that the mother still loves her son no matter what the boy does and this aspect of the story made this book a truly heartwarming experience for me. I also loved the message of this book as it proves the importance of love by showing that the mother has always cared about her son no matter how much older she got and I think that children should read books that deals with the true meaning of family and shows that your family will always care about you through thick and thin. Sheila McGraw’s artwork is simply beautiful to look at as all the characters look realistic and I loved the images of both the mother and the little boy growing older with each progressive page. Probably my most favorite image in this book is of the son as a toddler sitting on the bathroom floor with toilet paper littering the floor and the boy holding a watch over the toilet!

[****SPOILER ALERT!!!!****

There is an infamous scene in this book where the mother ends up sneaking into her son’s house, who is at this point a full grown adult living on his own and this scene might be a bit unsettling for some readers to handle. Now, I can understand how this scene would be upsetting to some readers as the idea of a grown woman sneaking inside her adult son’s house without him knowing about it would cause a lot of uncomfortable mental images such as what if the old woman was actually a burglar in disguised and the son had no way of knowing this because he was asleep the whole time? For me personally, I was not really upset by this scene as I thought that it was an exaggerated show of affection that the mother shows her adult son and because these are fictional characters, I did not really take this scene that seriously. Now, if the mother sneaked into an unknown child’s bedroom late at night or someone got hurt in this scene, then I would have felt a bit differently about this scene.

****SPOILER ENDED!!!**** (hide spoiler)]


Forever

Overall, “Love You Forever” is a truly memorable and heartwarming book that children who wants to read books that shows the importance of love and family, will immediately enjoy! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-17 23:58
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Amelia Bedelia - Peggy Parish,Fritz Siebel

Genre:  Humor / Housework / Maids / Jobs


Year Published: 1963


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Greenwillow Books

Series: Amelia Bedelia #1

 

 

Amelia


I have a confession to make: even though I had read the “Amelia Bedelia” books when I was little, I had never read the very first book in the “Amelia Bedelia” series, which has surprised me since I thought that that would be the first thing that I would have read (but, I was a kid back then and I just read whatever was put in front of me). So, I finally got the chance to read the very first book “Amelia Bedelia” by Peggy Parish along with artwork by Fritz Siebel and I was pleasantly surprised by this introductory book into the popular “Amelia Bedelia” series!

The story starts off with Amelia Bedelia starting her first day of work at the household of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers and Mrs. Rogers left Amelia Bedelia a list of things she must do around the house while the Rogers are out. Before Amelia Bedelia went to work, she decided to make a lemon meringue pie for the Rogers once they get home and after she finished making the pie, she started going through the chores she has to do around the house. The first task that Amelia had to do is:

“Change the towels in the green bathroom.”

Sounds simple enough, except that Amelia thought that Mrs. Rogers had meant changing the designs of the towels and Amelia ended up cutting the towels into odd shapes. Next, Mrs. Rogers asked Amelia to:

“Dust the furniture.”

Instead, Amelia Bedelia took some dusting powder from the bathroom and dusted the furniture with it.

How much more damage will Amelia Bedelia cause in the Rogers’ household?

Read this book to find out!


I cannot believe that I waited until just recently to actually check out the very first book that jumpstarted the fantastic “Amelia Bedelia” series! I was quite impressed with how simple yet hilarious this story was and it is clear to see why the “Amelia Bedelia” series remained to be well -loved by children all over the world! Peggy Parish did a great job at writing Amelia Bedelia’s character as Amelia Bedelia remains to be a charming and likable character who usually takes things extremely literally and the fun in the story is seeing Amelia Bedelia do bizarre things with the chores she has to do around the house, such as a simple task of putting out the lights turn into Amelia Bedelia literally putting the lights outside to dry out in the sun. Fritz Siebel’s artwork is simplistic, yet cute at the same time as Amelia Bedelia is always drawn with an innocent look on her face and is always wearing a black dress with a white apron in front, signifying her status as a maid. I also loved the way that Fritz Siebel illustrated Amelia’s escapades in the Roger household, especially the scene where Amelia is dressing up the chicken as they were hilarious to look at. I also like the fact that the colorings are mainly in green and white colors as it makes it truly stand out from other children’s books that usually have black and white colorings in the artwork.

Amelia

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was that I felt that the pacing was a bit slow in some places and I sort of wish that they trimmed down the activities that Amelia Bedelia has done around the house just so the pacing would be faster.

Overall, “Amelia Bedelia” is a must read if you want to read about how Amelia Bedelia’s adventures began and if you are a huge fan of the “Amelia Bedelia” book series! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-03 18:54
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier

Genre: School / Conformity / Controversial


Year Published: 1974


Number of Pages: 272 pages


Date Read: 8/30/2010   



Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf

 

 

 

Series: The Chocolate War #1

 

 

War

When I started reading this book, I was wondering to myself about why this book was banned in so many schools. Now, I know why. “The Chocolate War” is a popular young adult book by Robert Cormier and it is about how a young teenage boy named Jerry Renault refuses to sell chocolates at his school, Trinity and how he faces some hardships from Brother Leon and the Vigils because of his defiance. “The Chocolate War” might be a bit too disturbing and dark from some people, but this book is clearly one of the most memorable banned books ever written!

Oh my goodness! When I first heard about this book, I thought it was simply going to be about a group of kids fighting over who should eat the chocolates. But then, when I got around to reading this book, I realized that this book was all about the cruelties of the world such as manipulating various students into selling chocolates, even if you do not want to sell the chocolates and the consequences if you step out of line from the rest of the student body. Robert Cormier has certainly done an excellent job at making this book extremely disturbing and dark as he cleverly builds up tension around Jerry Renault’s defiance against selling the chocolates at the chocolate sale. The true highlights of this book were the characters themselves as they are realistic in personalities that you would normally see at any high school. Jerry Renault plays the underdog hero in this book as he tries to defend his stance in not selling the chocolates since he believes everyone has the right to do what you think is right and as it happens to every hero, he goes through so much hardship and danger when he defies the rules of Trinity. I find myself liking Jerry so much in this book since he tries hard to defend his rights, even if the other students do not believe in him and I love the idea that people will try to defend themselves when they believe that the activities set for them are not right for them. Some other interesting characters in this book are Archie Costello, the leader of the Vigils and Brother Leon. You will never know a truly terrible villain in any book until you read about what Brother Leon and Archie Costello has done to so many people in this book. Both Brother Leon and Archie Costello are truly frightening characters as they use manipulation and cruelty to get what they want from the school, to the point of using violence to get what they want.

Some people might have a problem with this book as it is extremely dark and disturbing and there is also extreme violence in this book, especially towards of the end of the book and that might not sit too well with people who do not like violence. Another problem that most people might have with this book is the language as this book has strong language and many people might be sensitive about such strong language being used. Probably, the reason why this book is dark and disturbing is because it was told from a villain’s point of view, which is either Archie or Brother Leon and in most books or movies that are told from a villain’s perspective of the world are usually dark and disturbing (well, except for certain movies or books where the villain is a bumbling fool and the story is more like a comedy or dark comedy rather than a horror story, like the cartoon series “Invader Zim” for example, where the story is told from a villain’s point of view, but is still hilarious to watch.

Invader Zim

Now for the reason why “The Chocolate War” was banned in so many schools. “The Chocolate War” was one of the most banned books in history because of its strong profanity, some sexual discussions, extreme violence, and the theme of bribery and manipulation being used in a negative way (that is a lot of reasons, is it not?) However, I did enjoy this book because of the original and exciting plot, even though it felt like the ending was a bit “incomplete” meaning that so much more could have been said about the event that concluded the book. Hopefully, the sequel, “Beyond the Chocolate War,” might conclude this book more properly, so that is definitely one of the books that are worth checking out. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading books from the villain’s point of view and love reading banned books.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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