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review 2021-05-20 02:07
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY ZOO by Erin Soderberg
Monkey See, Monkey Zoo - Erin Soderberg,Erin Soderberg,Guy Francis

Willa loves getting treasure that falls into the Monkey Pit at the zoo even if it means she has to climb onto the ledge to get it. Getting in trouble for going on the ledge means that mama takes her dangly earring treasure. Thinking of an idea to get it back, Carter, a little boy, comes to look at the Monkey Pit and has a conversation with her. He also leaves his new backpack and he needs it for school tomorrow so Willa decides to leave the zoo and find Carter.


I enjoyed this story. I found it fun and interesting. I liked that Willa made friends outside of the zoo. The best ones were the chipmunks. Exploring the world outside the zoo was fascinating as Willa learned what was good and what was unsafe. Meeting some mean critters and people taught her to hide but she does not let it deter her quest. The other characters, especially Carter, are good. Villains abound as Willa tries to help. A good story for beginning readers.

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review 2020-10-06 02:48
Jack Frost: The End Becomes the Beginning (The Guardians, #5) by William Joyce
Guardians Chapter Book #5 - William Joyce

I've been reading this series for a long time now. I began reading this series earlier this year with the intent to read each book back to back to get the full picture of what William Joyce wanted to tell the reader. I started well with my reading adventure, reading all the picture books and the first four books in the series in a timely manner. Then 2020 happened and slapped everyone in the face including myself. I'm not going to lie, guys. It's been hard. Extremely hard. With the pandemic, the civil injustices happening in my country, wildfires raging madly on the West coast, and personal issues happening throughout, I have not had the time nor the mental fortitude to dedicate to reading. My health (physical, mental, and emotional) has not been doing well either. I just feel like I've been all over the place as of late. With that being said, I am hoping things are settling enough that I can get back into reading. Still being mindful and aware we are not out of the woods yet (nor will we be any time soon), but also capable of treating myself right and enjoy a good book from time to time. I'm still mentally clogged with everything going on, but I want to try to get back into the hobbies I love and miss doing this year.


And with that, I bring to you my review of Jack Frost: The End Becomes the Beginning.


I really liked this book. It's not my favorite book in the series, but I did enjoy it for what it was. I don't intend to go into too many details with this review since it's the final book in the series but I did want to talk about a few things that won't spoil the plot.


It's a very good book. And the conclusion, though not really what I was hoping for, was not bad in any way. However, I had a few problems with it as I was reading it. The first thing that bugged me was the pacing. Joyce wrote this book after the movie came out and it shows. Which is a bit of a bummer for since his original story was magnificent. In this book he tried to tie in the movie and book universes too much and it did not blend well. It felt disjointed at times and forced. The pacing suffered because of this as well. The beginning was very slow. VERY SLOW. He kept rehashing certain scenes from the previous books and also diving deep into moments that took placed in the past and not during the actual story being told. A lot of the story was told in "flashback" moments which took the reader out of the current plot. It felt messy and rushed in some areas and it dragged in others.


The characters are still loveable and unique. But they definitely took a backseat in this book. Joyce focused more on action and "plot" but he completely forgot about what a lot of readers picked up these books for in the first place and that was to see these amazing characters interact in this whimsical world he created. When those parts appeared in this book, it was incredible just like it was in the precious books. But they were few and far between. Most of the scenes in this book was one battle after the other. That's it. I wanted to see more of the relationships between all of the characters,


I especially feel Pitch was left as an afterthought, almost. Yes, he's a lingering presence throughout the whole book, but he doesn't actually make an appearance until the end of the book, if you're not including the flashback portion. It was very underwhelming seeing what happens at the end. I was hoping for more interaction, more feeling. It was like (and I'm keeping it vague here on purpose) Jack does a thing, Emily Jane says thanks, and that's it! I wanted Jack and Pitch to have a full on conversation! To come to the realization that they are not so different after all. To say thanks or sorry or something! But we didn't get much of anything and it felt very hollow.


The ending... I'm not a huge fan of. It was an ending that would have meant something if we were introduced to certain elements beforehand. Not almost 250 pages into the book. It felt, like most of this books, rather empty and pointless.


That's not to say this book is bad. It's not. I did like it. I was just expecting to see more of the characters I fell in love with interacting with one another and understanding one another. Instead I got a bunch of action with no real substance.


If you've read the other books in this series, I do recommend you read this one. It's good to see the conclusion to this amazing series. Just don't expect too much going in and you may enjoy this a lot more.


I'm glad that despite everything that's been happening in the world, I was still able to finish this series that I have been meaning to read for quite some time now. I don't know what I'll be reading next but I hope that I will continue to read regardless.

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review 2019-10-07 05:34
Olivia's Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend by Meredith Costain, illustrated by Danielle McDonald
Olivia's Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend - Meredith Costain,Danielle McDonald

Olivia has started a diary in honor of moving into her new bedroom, which is in the attic of her family's house. She's now in the perfect spot to keep an eye on her neighborhood's goings on, which is fun but also sad, because she can see the empty house where her best friend Lucy used to live.

But then Olivia notices that someone new has moved into Lucy's old house. There's also a new girl, Matilda, in her class. Is it possible that she and Matilda could become friends?

A coworker of mine recently had an "Usborne Facebook party," which I decided to treat as an opportunity to get my Christmas shopping for all my sister's kids done early. I like to read all the books I give the kids, in case they say anything about them (which hasn't happened yet, but an aunt can dream), so that's the stage I'm at now. This particular book was purchased for my youngest niece.

The story is set up as though it were Olivia's diary, complete with her various drawings. Many of the entries read as though Olivia wrote them only a few minutes after the events happened.

I really liked this! I wasn't expecting a chapter book to be so interesting, but I found myself intrigued by the mystery of Matilda's strange behavior, and I enjoyed Olivia's efforts to prove that someone was entering her room when she was gone. Olivia's various intruder detection plans were fun, and her curiosity about and frustration with Matilda were believable. The book's ending was sweet, but not, I think, excessively so.

The one thing that bugged me was that it seemed simultaneously like Olivia and her family had maybe just moved into their house (based off of Olivia getting a new bedroom) but also like they'd lived there for at least a year (based off of Olivia's accounts of slipping through the fence to play with her friend Lucy). It's possible that Olivia once shared a room with one of her siblings, but if that was the case, it wasn't mentioned. It looks like this series is a spin-off of one focused on Olivia's older sister, Ella, so maybe the situation is explained more in those books.

I hope that my niece will end up liking this as much as I did.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2019-09-07 17:15
Judy Moody Was in a Mood - Megan McDonald,Barbara Rosenblat
Judy was in a bad mood and taking it out on everyone.  Sometimes someone did something she liked and it put her in a good mood until something happened she didn't like then she was back in a bad mood. 
I enjoyed this book.  It was funny and the illustrations were great.  I like the world building here.  As an adult I would enjoy revisiting Judy's world.  I liked Stink (what a name) and Rocky.  I also thought it was good that Judy had to revise her opinion about Frank Pearl!  As I buy this series for a great niece I know I'll be reading them first!
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review 2019-08-31 01:35
THE DYNO-MITE DOG SHOW by Lousie Bonnett-Rampersaud
The Dyno-Mite Dog Show - Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud
The students need to do a community service project so Agnes and her friends of the Secret Knock Club decide to arrange a dog show at the local nursing home.  Little do they know who all will be involved.
This is a good set-up for the series.  Agnes has decided opinions and is bossy but somehow manages to pull it all together with the help of her ex-friend.  Agnes learns a lot of lessons about friendship and organizing an event.  It was a fun story and I chuckled as I read it.
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