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review 2018-04-18 20:49
Book Review of Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen & Illustrated by Alena Paklina

 

Book Review of Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen & Illustrated by Alena Paklina

 

Review 5*

 

This is a wonderfully illustrated story for children aged between 3 and 8. I loved it!

 

I love the colourful illustrations done by Alena Paklina. They bring this short story to life and will engage a child who hasn’t fully grasped how to read yet, but who can follow the story with ease as it's been read to them by their parent. It compliments the short story written by the author so one is transported directly into the tale. Depending on the child’s age and reading ability, the author has written a charming story that is easy enough for a young reader to follow, as she uses simple words that will not confuse a child.

 

The story is a simple but important one about learning to share. Little Bear has a lovely chair but refuses to share it. Because of his selfish behaviour, he has been left out of the fun and become lonely, which is no fun at all. He learns that by sharing, he is included in all the fun and games with his friends. This then translates into teaching the young reader how it is better to share when playing with their friends or siblings. Some adults reading this book may decide that this book is also about bullying as Little Bear is not exactly nice to his friends. However, this is not the impression I found when reading it. I suppose it depends on your upbringing and what your life experiences have made to you as a reader, and how you interpret a book in a certain way. I can only go on my impression of this book and I think it’s a lovely book that can entertain as well as educate. Everyone’s opinion is different, so I will leave you to decide if, after reading the sample, whether you would want your child to either listen to you read it, or they read this book on their own.

 

This book is suitable to read as a bedtime story, or anytime at all, especially if a child has a short attention span. It is a quick read, so even if they haven’t settled down, the lovely pictures will entertain the children.

 

Claressa Swensen is a new author to me, as I have not read her other children’s books. However, I would definitely read more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to children aged 3 upwards and to adults looking for a fun but educational read for their children. – Lynn Worton (Book Reviews by Lynn)

 

P.S. This book has not yet been published and will be on Kickstarter for a crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of May. Please consider donating to it. The link to the campaign will follow once it goes live on 1st May 2018.

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review 2018-04-17 18:16
The Best We Could Do - an affecting graphic memoir
The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir - Thi Bui

Thanks to some challenges I found in recent years (and directions from the web on how to read them,) I've finally taken graphic novels/comics as something I could understand and perhaps even like. This graphic memoir is a nice example of why it's worthwhile to open my TBR list up to yet another genre. (I can be poorly read in many genres!)

 

Thi Bui is an American kid born in Viet Nam. When the memoir opens, she's having her first child. As many parents will tell you, this is a time that often brings our own childhoods into focus. Her story is different from the stereotypical strict immigration story, and through the memoir we see that the family history is indelibly marked by Viet Nam's history and her parents stories are marked by their parents' stories. It's easy to get tied in a knot when we find fault with our parents. It's clear from her pictures and words that there was some anger and confusion exorcised by writing this memoir. While she may have been able to lay blame at one time, her title states her final view. It's Thi Bui's unique story with lots of room for empathizing readers.

 

Her simple-yet-resonant art conveys the emotional impact of her words. The combination is effective and moving. I lingered over this book for weeks, searching the pictures and immersing myself in her story (until the library demanded I return their copy.) If you, like me, aren't comfortable with comics or graphic novels, this might be a place to start for those who like memoirs or history or both.

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text 2018-04-08 05:25
Reading progress update: I've read 192 out of 192 pages.
Ocean Liners: An Illustrated History - Peter Newall

Basically this is just a big picture book of cruise ships with some detailed captions. I have to write an 800-word review of it, and I suspect the editor isn't going to accept one consisting of "This is a picture book of cruise ships" written 100 times.

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review 2018-03-30 19:27
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo - lovely children's book for charity
A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo - Marlon Bundo,Jill Twiss,Richard Parsons

I now own three copies: one hardcover, one kindle and one audio - which is completely lovely and well worth the donation (ALL PROCEEDS GO TO CHARITY!) After reading and listening to the audio, I've ordered 5 more copies for children I know. It's a very appropriate children's book. 

 

Common Sense Media, an independent non-profit organization helping parents make media choices for their children, gave the book a four star rating and considers it appropriate for children of four years and older, giving it its highest marks for "positive messages" and "positive role models and representations."

 

Written by Jill Twiss (with an assist from Marlon Bundo) and illustrated by EG Keller (aka Gerald Kelley) about, well... a in the life of Marlon Bundo, the real-life rabbit of the Pence family. You might know the Pence family because their dad is Mike: Vice President of the United States.

 

The pictures are really adorable and it's actually just a very lovely story about everyone being different and that's awesome. Also, it's nice to hop together rather than alone. And animals make a perfect bridal party -- I learned a lot!

 

In the audio version Jim Parsons plays Marlon Bundo, John Lithgow plays the evil stinkbug (not too scary for kids, but scary enough) and tons of other lovely voice acting in this short children's book from the likes of Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jeff Garlin, Ellie Kemper, Jack McBrayer, and RuPaul!

 

More info on just the book, if you want it: https://youtu.be/rs2RlZQVXBU?t=14m7s

 

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review 2018-03-09 02:15
The Refrigerator Monologues -- Linked Fantasy Shorts
The Refrigerator Monologues - Annie Wu,Catherynne M. Valente

What a fun little book. Linked short stories all from "Deadtown" where we are shown around and introduced to the Hell Hath Club by its president Paige Embry. Being president means Paige gets to the Lethe Café early to hold the table while she passes the time drinking ristretto pulled cups of nothing.

 

Each of the members of the Hell Hath Club tells her story. They are superheroes, partners of superheroes, villains or partners to villians, a sea princess; you get the drift.

 

The writing is laugh aloud funny at times. All of the characters are "very beautiful and very well-read and very angry." This makes for snazzy dialogue and funny lines, driven home by occasional black and white drawings.

 

Very inventive but it got a bit boring along the way. I wanted more about Deadtown, rather than another death origin story. I really wanted more of the women of Deadtown to be defined by something other than the men they left behind. (Apparently if you die while in love, you're stuck in love forever. This is not my conjecture, it's spelled out in the book.)

 

Though they were extremely original and not repetitive in content, it was the form perhaps that bored me? We knew everyone would die, after all. I usually quite like short stories, but this was a take it or leave it read for me.

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