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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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review 2017-01-10 15:37
Rocket mouse
Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon - Torben Kuhlmann

Every year at the New York Public Library a list of the Best Books for Kids is crafted. I had a peek at this year's list and grabbed a few to read and review for the blog. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of picture books in the coming weeks. :-)

 

When I saw the illustration style of Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann I knew that I had to get that book into my hands. By the time I got through the first couple of pages I was looking up the other books by him and requesting them to be sent my way. I understand that each person has a different idea of what is aesthetically pleasing to them and that not every person will find particular styles of illustration appealing. With that being said, I cannot see how someone could read anything by Kuhlmann and not instantly fall in love with his artistic technique and his unique storytelling style. His fascination with the way machines work and how industrialization has changed the course of history has led him to create fictional stories about real advances in technology using animals such as mice and moles. There's certainly an element of anthropomorphism being used here but the animals also exhibit those traits specific to them (the mice meet at a cheese shop for example). This is another author/illustrator whose work is so gorgeous that I want to hang it on my walls. This story specifically deals with a mouse who is mesmerized by the moon. He dreams of traveling there so that he can prove to the other mice that it is not made of cheese. There are obstacles to overcome not least of which is that it's dangerous to be a mice who wants to break the mold (and build a rocket that can actually get him into space). It's a story of perseverance, determination, and rocketry. I highly recommend this to little ones who are curious about how things work and that dream of one day being astronauts...or to people who just really love mice. 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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