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review 2018-11-18 07:58
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Hogwarts Library Book) - Newt Scamander,J.K. Rowling

A fabulously fun A to Z of the beasts in the Harry Potter world.  The book starts with an introduction by Newt Scamander (the nominal author) that discusses the purpose of the book, along with a brief history of muggle/wizard/beat relations and the evolution of which magical creatures is deemed a beast and which beings.  Each beast's entry includes a danger rating, it's primary locals, and a description.

 

Total catnip for a Harry Potter fan; there are a few illustrations, but generally the author and publisher missed a golden opportunity to make this book amazing.  Hopefully a fully illustrated edition will appear sometime in the future.

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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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text 2018-09-18 01:58
REVIEWERS NEEDED FOR MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN'S BOOK DAY

 

This is for those who love kids books (from board books to YA books) and love to see characters from all over as well as places that are diverse as well. The co-founders, Mia Wenjen and Valarie Budayr, are looking for reviewers. And they would love the reviewers list to be worldwide if possible. Link is below along with link to cohosts for this year's book day on 25 January 2019.

 

 

Both Mia and Valarie have been promoting Multicultural Children's Book Day

1. to raise awareness of those books that already celebrate diversity in children's literature

2. to promote getting more diversity (characters from minority groups, special needs, far away places) in books to get more kids reading earlier and longer, and

3. to promote getting these books into the hands of Teachers and Librarians to share with their kids,

4. to promote resources for classrooms and libraries to help with lesson plans around diversity.

 

https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/mcbd2019-diverse-childrens-book-reviewers-we-need-you/

https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/about/co-hosts/

Mia Wenjen, co founder https://www.pragmaticmom.com/2017/01/today-multicultural-childrens-book-day/51p0vg2r6rl/

Valarie Budayr, co founder https://www.facebook.com/valarie.budayr

Source: multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/mcbd2019-diverse-childrens-book-reviewers-we-need-you
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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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review 2018-08-02 22:12
Thornhill by Pam Smy
Thornhill - Pam Smy,Pam Smy

This is another book I randomly picked off the shelves when I went to the library for the first time in six months. I was drawn in by the spine. All I saw was it was completely black with Thornhill written in bright white font. Once I flipped through the book and saw it was also told through illustrations, I decided to read it right there and then. And I was not disappointed.

 

Thornhill is told through two perspectives. The first is Mary, an orphaned girl living in the Thornhill Institute during 1982, and is being viciously bullied by one of the other orphans. The second is Ella, a girl living next door to the ruined Thornhill Institute in 2016, who sees a little girl inside the institution and desperately wants to become her friend. What unfolds is a story about loneliness, anger, and pain these two must face in order to find their peace in the world.

 

This story is depressing. Pam Smy does not shy away from showing how terrible being the victim of bullying truly is. It hits the reader hard. Just reading about the pain Mary goes through, seeing her in pain, how lonely she is, it just hurts so much. With the fantastic artwork accompanying the story, brings that hurt alive. Smy is truly talented in weaving both the past and present into one narrative. I am in awe at her abilities to create a story not just through words but art as well.

 

Her characters are so amazing as well. I feel so strongly for Mary the most. She just wants a family to love and appreciate her and because of how quiet she is, she is treated so poorly. Not just by the other orphans, but by the adults as well. But she is such a kind, gentle soul. She loves creating dolls to be her friends and it's truly magical. I adore her. Ella is also kind and gentle. She works so hard in befriending the girl she sees next door and I love that her instinct was to be friends and not to judge her. Smy's characters are lovely and it makes me feel all the more for them.

 

I can't really dive into anything else that happens in this book because it's all about seeing how everything plays out for these two and how the two time periods become interwoven. All I will say that this is truly a tragic story and if there's one thing you take away from reading this book is, if you see anyone being picked on or bullied, please say something. Get help. Being tormented day in and day out is no way to live. Please don't let anyone suffer. We are all on this planet to live as best we can. Let's try to make it a good place for everyone.

 

I really like this book for its art and story, and though it is quite a depressing read, I highly recommend you pick it up. There's violence, bullying, and child neglect involved so keep that in mind when reading this book. However, I do think it's worth the read and worth it for the art as well. It's absolutely stunning!

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