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review 2017-08-18 16:56
Automatons, clocks, and a train station
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

I'm guessing that if you haven't read The Invention of Hugo Cabret then you've at least seen the film Hugo starring Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz. The movie adaptation is actually very faithful to the book. If you're unfamiliar, it's about a boy that is living in a train station in Paris and trying to put together a clockwork man. In order to do so, he has to stoop to thievery, sneaking, and subterfuge. But it's not simply the storyline that sets Selznick apart from the pack. It's his use of illustrations and words that make reading his books so enjoyable. There are full-page spreads with no text whatsoever that are absolutely breathtaking. Generally, his illustrations are done in pencil and without color. They're gorgeous and I love them.Themes explored include but are not limited to: loss and redemption, solace in the written word, trust of children over adults, and orphaned children. Out of the three I'm reviewing today this one was my least favorite but that might have been because I already knew the story from seeing the film...or that he was still experimenting with his style with this earlier work. However, I'd still rate it a 9/10. 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-05-13 16:10
Persistence pays off
The Grumpface - B.C.R. Fegan,Daniela Frongia

The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, B.C.R. Fegan, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a physical or ebook copy by visiting the publisher's website, TaleBlade Press, or by checking out Amazon. :-)

 

The Grumpface by B.C.R. Fegan with illustrations by Daniela Frongia is told entirely in rhyme. It's the story of Dan who is a clumsy dreamer inventor who is simply trying to win over the affections of the girl he's loved from afar. The Grumpface is a creature determined to thwart anyone he comes into contact with no matter how earnest or good-hearted. It's not a huge leap to learn that the main character and Dan have a run-in and shenanigans ensue. If you're looking for a sweet book about a character that never gives up no matter how insurmountable the odds then you should look no further. Added bonus is that this book is told in rhyming verse which hearkens back to the fairytales of old (and which little people especially enjoy). This is one that I think they'll be requesting over and over to read. 7/10

 

Source: TaleBlade Press

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-04-18 21:49
War of the Words
Frindle - Andrew Clements,Brian Selznick

I had never heard of Frindle despite it being an award-winning book (2016 Phoenix Award) with many admirers (teachers, librarians, and children alike). Written by Andrew Clements with illustrations by Brian Selznick, this is the story of Nick Allen who is the premier 'idea man' of the 5th grade...until he meets Mrs. Granger. It's then that Nick's place among his peers is questioned as she challenges him to think more creatively than ever before. The humor, inventiveness, determination, and perspicacity of our main characters makes this an instant favorite for all ages. This is a super fast read (I read it in an afternoon commute in its entirety and I'm not a particularly fast reader.) and I think it would be a great one for reluctant readers especially if you're reading with them at home. Bonus: It's educational without ever really making that a big thing which is the perfect recipe for this age group especially if they're reluctant readers. *hint hint* This book is full of heart and more than a few surprises (this might give the little ones in your life some especially mischievous ideas) which means it gets a 10/10 from me. XD

 

Source: Book-A-Day Almanac

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review 2017-01-17 16:19
A Flight of Fancy
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse - Torben Kuhlmann

I mentioned before that I went a little crazy over Torben Kuhlmann's books (go here for my review of Armstrong). So it should come as no surprise that I gobbled up Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse which as the title suggests is the story of the first solo flight across the Atlantic...by a mouse. This is kind of an alternate (and obviously fictional) historical account of aircraft engineering and one mouse's determination to be the forerunner in the field. Once again, the illustrations are sensational and evoke a sense of wonderment and delight. It's the end of Kuhlmann's books which I think are my favorite because he ties in the truth (Charles Lindbergh) to the fictional tale. He gives a brief history of flight which is a great way to get kids excited about an historical topic which might seem a bit 'old school' to them. The mouse must continue to persevere against all odds (there are dangers inherent to being a mouse on a mission) to achieve his dreams. This is a great message for all ages! Torben, you've reached the top 5 of my favorite graphic novelists. Congrats to you, sir. 10/10

 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-13 14:44
The pneumatic tube
The Secret Subway - Red Nose Studio,Shana Corey

How could I not want to read The Secret Subway by Shana Corey while I'm living in New York City? Truthfully, it wasn't the setting of the story that drew me in. It was the front cover illustration by Red Nose Studio aka Chris Sickels that really caught my eye. His artwork reminds me of old school claymation. His creations are sculpted using materials found around his home and he makes not only books but stop motion animation with them. The Secret Subway is a fictionalized account of the creation of the New York Subway system. The imaginative inventiveness of Eli Beach is factual as is his idea of a subterranean transit system fueled by a pneumatic system. (Picture a giant fan pushing a train car and then reversing its flow to suck the car back the way it had come!) It's the minute details which have been slightly fudged by Corey to liven up the tale (which honestly doesn't really need much embellishment). The back of the book contains the facts of the event which I urge you to read as they are fascinating. It's so amazing seeing what the human imagination can create! This was a visually impressive book but if I'm honest it didn't really WOW me. I'd give it a solid 6/10 but if you're interested in the art (you will be) I urge you to check it out for yourself.

 

PS Aren't these sculptures gorgeous?

 

Source: rednosestudio.com

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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