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review 2018-08-31 19:45
CATS. IN. SPACE. 2 of 2
CatStronauts: Robot Rescue - Drew Brockington

And so I picked up Robot Rescue which is the 4th book in the series and revolves around a secret mission to rescue their friend Cat-Stro-Bot after he is stranded on a planet during a mission that went horribly awry. As they are not authorized to actually be on this mission, they have to leave replacements back on earth to fool their superiors into thinking they never left...and what better solution than building lookalike robots?! For the kids (or adults with childlike wonder) that like quick, funny graphic novels and/or cats and space this is the perfect series. For myself, this is the best "book filler" I've come across in ages to help to combat my book fatigue. 

 

What's Up Next: Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Star Trek Destiny #1: Gods of Night by David Mack

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-08-31 19:40
CATS. IN. SPACE. 1 of 2
CatStronauts: Space Station Situation - Drew Brockington

I started with book 3 of the CatStronauts series titled Space Station Situation which follows a team of cats in space. CATS. IN. SPACE. Is it any wonder that I started this series?! Picture a world where the entire population is made up of cats EVEN THE PRESIDENT (who is only concerned with his reelection I might add). In this installment, a meteor is headed toward earth and in order to track its progress and hopefully stop it our intrepid heroes must fix the Hubba Bubba Telescope. However, one of their crewmates has abandoned his post after a traumatizing solo flight around the earth in a spacesuit and the mission is sure to fail without him. (His name is Waffles by the way because of course all of the cats have names much like the cats we are familiar with in this reality.) The book is rife with funny puns and asides as well as excellent illustrations. I wouldn't class this as the best graphic novel I've ever read but I liked it well enough to give another book in the series a shot.

 

 

I think this is from an earlier book in the series but I don't care cause LOOK. [Source: nerdophiles]

 

What's Up Next: CatStronauts: Robot Rescue by Drew Brockington

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Star Trek Destiny #1: Gods of Night by David Mack

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-07-13 16:10
When bad guys go good...mostly
The Bad Guys: Episode 1 - Aaron Blabey

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey originally had me quite frustrated because I felt that the labeling (the library's call number) misrepresented the content of the book. [Essentially The Bad Guys was labeled as a Young Reader meaning that the intended audience was anywhere from 2nd-4th grade depending on the reading level of the child. I feel that it was more accurately categorized as an Easy Reader (1st-2nd grade) which is quite different and generally means there are less words and more illustrations per page. I'm mentioning all of this because while it might not matter to some (like if you're not picking up books for your kid(s)) it may have an impact on others.] This is the first book in a series (6 so far) which follows a crew of 'bad' animals: a wolf, snake, shark, and piranha (who is the funniest and fartiest). The wolf decides to round up fellow bad guys to change their image and reform their behavior. He is initially met with skepticism but throughout the book the other members of the club start to come around to his side and become quite enthusiastic about the enterprise. Their first mission is to break 200 dogs out of an animal shelter but from the outset there are large obstacles in their path...mainly how 4 dangerous animals are going to get in the front door of an animal shelter. Cue the shark coming up with a rather camp solution... The appeal of this book rests mainly in its silly humor and quick pacing. Young audiences will surely gobble this up and ask for the next in the series immediately. 7/10 because it didn't totally blow me away but I could see myself reading more for a quick palate cleanser (I may or may not have read the #6 already).

 

Blabey's website with the total list of books in this series (as well as his Pig the Pug series which is great fun): Aaron Blabey books.

 

 

What's Up Next: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett & When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-05-23 02:45
What's that joke about a gorilla and a typewriter?
The Murderer's Ape - Jakob Wegelius

I love a good Swedish to English translation (except for that one time I attempted Wallander) so I thought that The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius would be no exception. However, I cannot unequivocally state that I loved this book...or that I loathed it. The book is told from the standpoint of a gorilla who has been christened Sally Jones. She's been around humans her entire life and therefore not only understands what they are saying but can read as well. She's a gifted engineer who the reader discovers has the ability to figure out most mechanical devices be they accordions or airplanes. (This is integral to the storyline.) Her best friend is a (human) man she refers to as Chief and who took her on as a partner when he got his own ship. But all of this was before they ran into some trouble. Without giving too much away, the two are separated and Sally is forced to adapt in order to survive. At its heart, this is an adventure story with a lot of drama. What I enjoyed were the illustrations which were done by the author and accompanied the heading of each chapter as well as a gallery of character portraits at the very beginning. Some of the issues I had with this novel were in its dealings with race, religion, and ethnicity. It was hard for me to pinpoint if the problems I had could be explained by viewing it through the lens of the time in which the novel took place but I found them unsettling nonetheless. Overall, I wasn't totally blown away but I wouldn't throw it out of an airplane door either. 4/10

 

Source: American Library Association

 

Examples of the illustrations. [Source: Playing by the book]

 

 

What's Up Next: Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader by David A. Adler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-03 18:05
Vivid worldbuilding with vintage vibes like a Wes Anderson film in book form.
The Wonderling - Mira Bartok

Disclaimer: reviewing a pre-publication digital proof via Netgalley, so not all images were available, some formatting and text may have changed,etc.

 

Reading like a classic children's novel, The Wonderling takes you on an illustrated, Dickensian journey of adventure, discovery, and identity.

 

The character who eventually becomes known as Arthur is a nameless groundling (a talking, humanoid fox child) in a nightmarish prison of an orphan's home. He's essentially good and proceeds through his adventures by being so pure, goodhearted, kind etc. etc. etc. that he wins out over the fiendishly unpleasant and evil cartoonish villains. So, like I said, classic kids lit. Think anything by Frances Hodgson Burnett, but with animal hybrids. Arthur is a bumbling but well-intentioned naif who goes about making friends and allies and more or less sailing through some admittedly hairy situations without much real danger or tension. Creepy settings, but not terrifying. Shoutout to his best friend, a tiny flightless bird-creature - she's an engineer-inventor and consistently saves the day and moves the story along.

 

The art is pretty, delicate, pencil-shaded drawings (though, as noted, not all of it was present in the proof copy). The story is slow, meandering and dreamy in a probably-intentional way. It's long (again, kids lit of the past-style), with masses of description, and will get varying mileage depending on the reader. If you adore illustrated classics, fantastical worldbuilding and simple, traditional stories, or your kid prefers dreamy fantasies of the past over fast-paced modern thrills, it'll be right up your alley. If you're an impatient reader, or giving it to a kid who's a reluctant reader or has trouble focusing, I doubt it'll hold your attention. Some good ideas around art, music, and hope expressed in a very simple style that either lacks in sophistication and depth, or is child-appropriate, depending on your perspective/age. I didn't adore it, but ten-year-old me probably would have happily spent the time to push through.

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