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Search tags: 7-childrens-lit
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review 2018-10-11 03:22
How the Mighty Have Fallen
Imagine. . .The Fall of Jericho - Matt Koceich

This third installment in Matt Koceich’s Imagine series is my favorite so far. It handles issues pertinent to both Biblical and contemporary society, such as child exploitation and not fitting in, with grace, adding in just enough detail to make sure that young readers understand the situation without it being overwhelming or too frightening. Jake Henry makes a laudable role model, and his situation of feeling alone and unwanted resonates with readers of all ages. His experience in the world of the Biblical Jericho vividly demonstrates a lesson from which we can all benefit: “It’s like God is using this to show me I’m never alone, and I always have a job to do no matter what I feel inside or how crazy the situation is on the outside.” Undeniably, such an outlook on life helps all of us to face our fears and to fully rely on God even when our walls—literal or figurative—are crumbling down around us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-10-09 00:09
The Bad Beginning ★☆☆☆☆
A Series of Unfortunate Events 1: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket

I have no idea why this book/series is so popular. I can see, sort of, why children may love it. Many of the books I loved as a kid were no better, and this has brave, clever orphans (boy AND girl), a cute baby sister, mean ugly villains, disbelieving adults, and a horrible house. The only thing it’s missing is a dog.

 

But this just doesn’t seem well-written to me. The characters are just caricatures. There’s nothing especially clever about the setup or the world the characters are placed in. There are none of the clever observations about human nature or winking humor or enjoyably silly word games that made Rowling’s books so appealing. I suppose some might find the little asides (by the way, that word means _______) funny and were obviously meant in jest, but I found them annoying. And the forced marriage device plot involving a 14 year old child, with the adult characters’ innuendos about how pretty she is and about the marriage night, was just plain disturbing, not to mention the implication that marriage, once committed to, even under duress, is a lifetime trap.

 

Hardcover version, picked up at a church rummage sale. I ought to put it in the library donation box, but I'm honestly considering dropping it in the recycle bin instead. 

 

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Thirteen: any book that relates to bad luck, superstitions, including (but not limited to) black cats, ravens or crows, or the unlucky number 13, either in the title, series, book cover or page count.

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review 2018-10-07 18:18
Grimm’s Fairy Tales ★★☆☆☆
Grimm's Fairy Tales: Household Stories from the Collection of the Bros. Grimm - Lucy Crane,Crane Walter,Jacob Grimm,Wilhelm Grimm

I think my only exposure to the Grimm brothers’ stories has been the Disney-fied version. I think I prefer Disney’s.

 

Stories:

  1. Hans in Luck – Hans is a fool who wouldn’t know a good bargain if it punched him in the face.
  2. The Goose Girl – Trickery and ambition get you thrown naked into a barrel of nails and dragged to your death.
  3. The Frog Prince – He’s the original “nice guy”. Accept help from a nasty toad and you will wind up with a Prince who feels he has the right to your time, your food, and your bed
  4. The Wolf and the Seven Goslings – “If you don’t do it,” cried the wolf, “I’ll eat you up!” And the miller was afraid and did as he was told. And that just shows what men are.
  5. Faithful John – Abducted princess suffers Stockholm Syndrome, parents willingly decapitate their own children to save their faithful servant, wtf is this story?
  6. Rapunzel – If the prince loved her so much, why didn’t he just bring a ladder to help her escape, instead of visiting every night to have sex with her in prison?
  7. Hansel and Grethel – For once in these stories a girl takes action and saves herself and her brother.
  8. The White Snake – A princess has fun setting impossible tasks for her suitors and killing them when they fail. Until a servant boy’s animal friends help him pass all the tasks, and he and the princess live HEA. Yay?
  9. Mother Hulda – Helpful and industrious girls are rewarded. Lazy and mean-spirited girls are tarred and feathered.
  10. Tom Thumb – He’s a tiny psychopath.
  11. The Elves - oooookaaaayyy
  12. The Robber Bridegroom – Girl keeps her head, brings justice to man who chops up and eats women.
  13. The Almond Tree – Wicked woman decapitates and dismembers her stepson and feeds him to his father. All is HEA when stepmother is crushed by a millstone and the boy is resurrected by the almond tree.
  14. The Six Swans – More wicked stepmothers and abducted girls “willingly” married to their captors
  15. The Sleeping Beauty – Two beautiful privileged youth find each other and live HEA without a thought of the many boys with poor timing who died an agonized death impaled in the thorn hedge. This may be the best one, with the wonderful imagery of the kingdom asleep in suspended animation.
  16. Snow White – Snow White is TSTL but is such a beautiful corpse that a prince marries her, and the evil queen is an incompetent murderess, but gets death by red-hot iron shoes.
  17. Rumpelstiltsken – I think Rumpelstiltsken got a raw deal here. The greedy 1% stole his gold and welshed on the trade.
  18. The Golden Bird – Another story where some dolt gets to own a beautiful princess as a contest prize.
  19. The Golden Goose – I’d be a sourpuss too, if my father announced he’d give me away as a contest prize.

 

Illustrations: They are wonderfully intricate, but the style doesn’t really appeal to me.

 

Hardcover copy with the text translated from the original German and with intricately detailed illustrations.

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square A Grimm Tale: any fairy tale or retelling of fairy tales, folklore, legends, etc.

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review 2018-10-02 23:24
The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur,Alfred Hitchcock,Harry Kane

I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to find this as amusing as I did, but I'm several decades past its target demographic.  I'd never read a Three Investigators book before and know a few people with fond memories of them, so I wanted to give one a try. 

 

I'm not going to touch on the sheer fantasy of what is the foundational premise of the books; they were written to be adventures and mysteries for kids (I use 'kids' as a broad spectrum noun here) and why not make these kids important?  Why not give them more parental freedom and the only junk yard in the world that would be fun and safe to play in. 

 

But it was still hilarious.  The gnomes, which are probably not PC by today's standards.  The Japanese representation, which is definitely not, yet feels innocently done here - yes, the authors' should have been more sensitive, but the kids reading it at the time would likely have read it in total naiveté.  I didn't find the Japanese speaking stereotypically funny at all, but I did have a good head shake over it.

 

Mostly what I found funny were the three boys, and that's just because despite my best efforts, I grew up and can't avoid seeing the playacting taking place.  Still, their hideout sounds cool as hell and I loved the Alfred Hitchcock appearances.  That man just couldn't stay on the sidelines of anything, could he?

 

I read this for the Baker Street Irregulars Square in Halloween Bingo.

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review 2018-09-16 08:18
Sharks and Other Sea Monsters
Sharks And Other Sea Monsters - Robert Sabuda,Matthew Reinhart

Our return yesterday left us with the worst jet-lag either of us has ever experienced and this pop up book was the most complicated reading I was capable of before passing out on the couch for the duration.

 

But boy, what a pop up book it is.  I have 2 others in this series, one on Dinosaurs and one on Megafauna, and this one is at least as good as the others.  The art work is amazing, and the explanations are perfect for young readers and old readers alike; I especially appreciate the pronunciation guide for each of the ancient beasts.  I learned more than a little bit while reading/flapping the pages around and making 'nom nom nom' noises.  The cats were super impressed with my ancient beasts impersonations.

 

I highly recommend this and the other books for anyone who still looks with wonder at a well made pop up book.  No kids required.

 

 

I'm not cheeky enough to claim it, but this book would totally qualify for the Fear the Drowning Deep square of Halloween bingo 2018.  ;-)

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