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review 2017-06-18 00:06
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
The Adventures of Captain Underpants - Dav Pilkey

Genre:  Superheroes / Humor / School 


Year Published: 1997

 


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  The Blue Sky Press

 

Series: Captain Underpants #1    

 

 

Underpants

Here comes that valiant hero, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS! “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is a popular children’s book from the creative mind of Dav Pilkey and it is about the hilarious adventures of George and Harold as they try to trick their strict principal Mr. Krupp, but their trick ends up backfiring on them! “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is absolutely one of the funniest books ever created!!!

“Tra-la-laaa!”

Man, I am going to be saying that throughout this review! Dav Pilkey has done a great job with both the illustrations and writing this book as they make this book full of pure hilarity and adventure! I love the way that Dav Pilkey writes this book in a sarcastic and humorous way as George and Harold are shown to be the greatest practical jokers in the history of all practical jokers as they are constantly pulling pranks on the school and somehow succeeding in their jokes. I really enjoyed the sarcastic humor in this book as it is smart and witty and it strongly reminded me of the humor in “The Stinky Cheeseman” as it plays a satire on the world of superheroes, except this time there is a superhero that runs around the city in his underwear! One of the most impressive characters in this book is Captain Underpants himself as he saves the world but saves it in his underwear! Captain Underpants sort of remind me of Quailman from the Nickelodeon show “Doug” as both characters saves the word in their underwear.

Quailman

Dav Pilkey’s illustrations are truly hilarious and childish in this book as George and Harold always have mischievous looks on their faces. George is drawn as a child with a tie and a black flat top hair and Harold is drawn to have puffy hair, which makes the two characters look hilarious to children. The illustration that stood out the most for me was the illustration of Captain Underpants himself as he has a bald head and is shown wearing a red cape and is mostly shown in his underwear! Also, I like to point out that the illustrations are in black and white; however Dav Pilkey’s illustrations are so hilarious and childish that many children will overlook the black and white coloring.

Parents should know that this book was banned in many schools because it was considered insensitive and encourages children to disobey authority (I did not really understand the insensitivity part, but I did understand the part about disobeying authority). The main thing that parents should be concerned about is the crude humor in this book such as Harold and George using a fake doggy doo-doo to trick a villain and the cheerleaders being described as having mucus running down their noses after they were exposed to the pepper in their pom-poms and parents who do not approve of crude humor might want to wait until their children get older to enjoy this book. As for the banning, I honestly do not believe in banning books and I thought that this was an enjoyable book for children of all ages, but it was not meant to be an educational book. I think that if the content in this book is really offensive for educational classes, then teachers could use this book as a special treat for children to read if children did some good deeds or did their schoolwork, sort of like a reward for their efforts.

“The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is truly a book that children of all ages can enjoy as it has great humor and spectacular characters and I think this book will be wonderful for children who love reading about superheroes and great humor! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the crude humor might be a bit too inappropriate for smaller children.

“Tra-la-laa! Captain Underpants away!”

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-03 19:03
Shrek! by William Steig
Shrek! - William Steig

Genre:  Monsters / Manners / Fantasy / Romance


Year Published: 1990


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  Farrar Straus Giroux

 

 

Shrek

“Shrek!” is another memorable classic book from the great mind of William Steig and it is about how Shrek, a repulsive ogre, tries to find the princess to marry after he leaves his parents’ home. “Shrek!” is a great book for children who love reading books about monsters.

William Steig has done a great job at both illustrating and writing this modern day fairy tale that is full of attitude. William Steig’s illustrations are truly beautiful and hilarious especially of the images of Shrek himself as he has a green and warty face, a purple shirt and yellow and green striped pants, which make him, look more hilarious than menacing. I also love the images of the trees in this book as they look simplistic yet beautiful, giving this book a somewhat simplistic tone. William Steig makes this story extremely hilarious and full of attitude as Shrek is a character who loves being repulsive and scaring off innocent bystanders, but at the same time, he gives a powerful message to the audience about loving yourself as Shrek loves his own repulsiveness, even if other people do not like his repulsiveness. William Steig makes this book extremely unique as it was one of the few books to have a repulsive character as the main character of the story.

Shrek

Parents should know that this book does contain the word jack--- and that might offend many parents who do not want their children learning such a word. Even though jack--- is used to describe a donkey in this book, the way that the “a” word is being used now might confuse smaller children and might even entice them to say the word so often. Also, another con of this book is that, in my opinion, it was not as memorable as the movie which is why I gave it a four star rating. Shrek seem more repulsive in this book than he was in the movie and that aspect of his character sort of made him a less likable character in the book, while in the movie, Shrek was a more benevolent ogre who was upset at the way that people treated him and that made him a very likable character in the movie. Also, I felt like the character development was not as strong in this book as it was in the movie and the audience might not feel any kind of bond towards the characters in this book.

“Shrek!” is a great book for children about the importance of being yourself no matter what other people think, but the movie might be a better choice about learning this message since the movie developed the characters much better than this book could. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the use of the word jack---.

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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review 2017-05-14 00:03
Shadow by Marcia Brown
Shadow - Blaise Cendrars,Marcia Brown

Genre:  Fantasy / Africa ./ Folktale / Horror


Year Published: 1982

 

Year Read:  2010

 

Publisher:   Charles Scribner's Sons

 

 

Shadow

“Shadow” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Marcia Brown and it is about what shadows do around people and what they do when they are not looking. “Shadow” may be a bit scary for smaller children, but it is truly a mesmerizing book that children would enjoy for many years.

Marcia Brown has wonderfully given a vivid description of what shadows do and what they are like and put the description of shadows in a poetic format and Marcia Brown does a great job at making shadows seem so mysterious as they constantly follow people around in ghostly figures. Marcia Brown’s illustrations are truly eerie yet creative as the people in the book are drawn as black shadows while the shadows themselves are drawn as white ghostly figures following the shadowed characters, however, there are some shadows that are dark figures such as the shadow coming out of the ash from the fire. The images perfectly blend color and black and white to bring out a more effective look at the world of shadows such as putting shadowed figures against colorful mountainsides or forests.

Shadow

Parents should know that there are some scary images in this book which involves images of the shadows taking frightening shapes such as one shadow wearing a very frightening mask and another large shadow that has ash for eyes and is walking on four wobbly legs. Many small children would also be frighten about the idea that shadows can come to life when they least expect it and it might cause many small children to not go to sleep at night because they might be afraid of their shadows coming to life to get them. Parents need to explain to their children that shadows do not come alive and they are apart of people.

“Shadow” is a brilliant book that takes on the views of the mysterious world of shadows and it will have many children mesmerized for many years. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the images are truly frightening and smaller children might be frightened at the idea that shadows come to life in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-05-13 23:16
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
One Morning in Maine (Picture Puffins) - Robert McCloskey

Genre:  Family / Childhood / Growing Up / Travel


Year Published: 1952


Year Read:  2010

Publisher: The Viking Press

 

Maine

“One Morning in Maine” is a Caldecott Honor Book from the great mind of Robert McCloskey and it is about how a young girl named Sal learns about the wonders of growing up after she loses her first baby tooth. “One Morning in Maine” is a truly inspiring story about growing up that many children will easily love.

Robert McCloskey has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this book. Robert McCloskey’s illustrations are much more beautiful in this book than in his other books as the characters look so realistic and Sal’s expressions as she realizes that she has a loose tooth are extremely realistic as she expresses shock and pure excitement, like any child who has a loose tooth and they are sometimes scared because they are worried about the pain if their baby tooth comes loose and the pure excitement they exhibit as they see their baby tooth come out. Robert McCloskey’s illustrations are also in black and white, giving this story an old fashioned feeling while also making this book more effective in displaying the characters’ emotions, as the characters expressions are realistic. Robert McCloskey makes this story extremely cute and inspiring a the same time as Sal tries to figure out the meaning of growing up after she looses her tooth and many children will easily relate to Sal’s emotions about her loose tooth as many children have often lose their baby teeth and they usually have feelings of fear and excitement as they fear that they will feel pain when their baby teeth will fall out and feel excitement as they experienced the joys of growing up.

Parents should know that this book might be a tad bit too long for smaller children to handle as the book is about sixty-pages long and parents might want to read the first thirty pages one night and then the next thirty pages the next night so that children would not be easily bored by this book.


“One Morning in Maine” is a fantastic book about the wonders of growing up and will be an instant classic for many children who also experience the wonders of a loose baby tooth. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since smaller children might become bored with the length of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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