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review 2017-06-23 18:03
I'm conflicted
Grandpa's Great Escape - David Walliams

I am struggling with how to express my feelings about Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams. This is due to the fact that this man might actually be a bigger Roald Dahl fan than myself and his writing definitely reflects that. I don't think that Walliams makes any bones about this but I do think that if you've read Dahl's works it will be difficult not to compare the two which leaves Walliams falling a bit short. (Sorry!) Read on its own merit, it's a great little book which touches on topics which I think are really important in middle grade fiction. Our main character, Jack, has a very special relationship with his grandfather who was a fighter pilot in WWII. Their relationship is a unique one which is further complicated by the fact that his grandpa has Alzheimer's disease and believes he is once again in the midst of the Battle of Britain. Jack's parents are torn about what to do with the old man but Jack is adamant that he continue to spend time with him...until the vicar puts an idea into their heads about the old folks home beyond the moors. In typical Dahl fashion, Walliams fashions a slapstick comedy amidst flashbacks to WWII and serious discussions over elderly care and familial loyalty.


What I didn't care for:

  • What felt like blatant ripoffs of Dahl's works as well as his illustrator, Quentin Blake


What I legitimately enjoyed:

  • The approach and handling of serious discussions revolving around elderly care and Alzheimer's
  • The glossary at the back which discussed in more detail the topics touched on in the book such as the Royal Air Force, Battle of Britain, etc.


I'd love to know what you guys think so please check the book out and leave a comment below. :-)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-08-08 07:06
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch by Trinka Hakes Noble
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch - Trinka Hakes Noble,Tony Ross

Genre:  Family / Humor / Country

Year Published: 1987

Year Read:  2010

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers


I actually first saw this book on an episode of “Reading Rainbow” and I have instantly started to love this book! “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” is a hilarious book written by Trinka Hakes Noble along with illustrations by Tony Ross and it is about how Rancher Hicks goes down to Sleepy Gulch to see what is happening, while his wife Elna has wild adventures on the ranch. “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” is a truly hilarious book that children will enjoy for many years!

Trinka Hakes Noble has done it again as she tells the story of how a couple have different adventures while they are away from each other. Trinka Hakes Noble makes this story creative and hilarious at the same time as the story is set up from two different perspectives of the couples as Rancher Hicks’ side of the story is always boring and repetitive while Elna’s side of the story is full of excitement and children will easily love the two sided story setup. Tony Ross’ illustrations are hilarious and surreal as the characters are drawn crudely as they have long skinny legs and odd shaped heads and even though the illustrations look a little dreary, the events that took place in this book make the illustrations more hilarious than dark.

“Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” is an extremely creative and hilarious book about two different perspectives on the lavish life and the boring life and children will love the hilarious adventures of these two couples. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2016-06-15 12:18
Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool - Jeanne Willis,Tony Ross

Nothing against Tony Ross, but for some reasons the books with his illustrations are the ones I absolute hate/dislike. It is not the art that is bad, I actually quite like his art, but the stories are horrible. They often have terrible, disgusting characters (or side-characters), and often the stories are way over-the-top and way too weird.

This one is also one like that. It is about a girl who is all about fashion and will belittle, berate, criticize, bully anyone in fitting in her standard of fashion. She will do anything to make sure everyone fits her image of fashion/perfection, she won't shy away, and well, I actually thought she was just a giant bitch. Sorry, I am all for someone who is happy to help out, or share tips, but this girl just pushed them into people's faces, and she even forced them to change, often even doing the change herself even if the person didn't want to.
I really detested the girl.

I was delighted with ending though, oh no, I won't spoil it, but that ending, it was just pure brilliance (though a bit shocking) and I just loved, adored it. I know it is wrong, considering what happens, but sorry after all the girl did? I don't feel much sympathy for her.

The art was typical Tony Ross, you can easily spot it anywhere. It is a fun style that reminds me of other styles. I just wish I could find it in books I would like. :( And not constantly see the name Tony Ross and then totally hate the story and the characters in it.

All in all, the art and the ending really saved the book from getting a 0 or 0.5 star. I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone. There are better books about fashion with better characters.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com

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review 2016-05-07 18:17
Rita's Rhino (Andersen Press Picture Books) - Tony Ross
Meh, I expected much better. But I guess this is a case of what you sometimes have with sandwiches, it looks good enough to eat, it smells delicious, but when you take a bite it is bitter or too sour, or rotten.

This one reminded me of The Slightly Annoying Elephant, a book that has the same kind of premise, a kid just magically gets an elephant and no one gives a bit about it. The same is the fact in this book, a kid wants a pet, but doesn't get the right one from her parents, and so decides to go to the zoo and take a rhino. Nobody bats an eye as she takes it in, apparently no one notices or something? Which made me wonder how stupid people are that they don't notice this. You have an animal weighing at least a ton, but it is totally OK to keep it in your apartment? WHAT?
Or that latter part with her pretending the rhino to be a bouncy castle.....

So yeah, I am tagging this one as octarine (magic) because of the whole Oh, let me just pick up a Rhino from the zoo, and no one notices. And also because it has that feeling, but yet not that feeling. It is hard to explain, the book feels magical, but on the other hand it doesn't.

Just like with The Slightly Annoying Elephant I was annoyed with the animal too. I found him too demanding, too annoying. He was the one who wanted to get out, who wanted to explore, instead he keeps complaining about his precious grass (which is impossible to get for normal people unless they have money), about the room, about anything and everything. Seriously, stop whining.

I also didn't really like how the girl treated the Rhino. I don't think having a pet would be the right thing for her. Not at all. :|

So yeah, stupidity to the max, some sort of magical feeling, not too good characters. The only thing that I liked was the illustrations.

Would I recommend this book? Not really.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com


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review 2016-01-31 20:12
Amber Brown Goes Fourth - Paula Danziger,Tony Ross,Jacqueline Rogers

I had forgotten about this series until it was mentioned in our text for Dr. Raulston's class. Amber Brown is a girl who has two colors for a name and the books are about her day-to-day life in school. In this particular one she starts 4th grade. The books are written on a 3rd grade level but they could be good for a beginning of the year 4th grade read-aloud to discuss friendship and working together as a team.

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