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review 2017-06-27 07:37
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners - Laurie Keller

I bought this book for the bookshelf I set aside for my nieces when they visit; as the childless aunt with a lot of cats, it felt fitting that a book about manners should occupy that shelf; even though my husband technically saves me from the "Cranky Spinster Cat Lady" title, it still feels like a stereotype worth having some fun with.  ;-)

 

Do Unto Otters is hilarious.  It was so funny, in fact, that I immediately handed it to MT and told him he had to read it.  It's central theme is the Golden Rule, and the main characters are a rabbit and a family of otters.  It's beautifully illustrated and the real laugh-out-loud moments are the small drawings interspersed throughout the pages that illustrate examples of each facet to the golden rule (i.e. saying 'please' or 'excuse me').  Teaching readers how to say those courtesies in different languages (including Pig Latin - Ha!) is a distinctly nice touch.

 

This is a definite must have for any child's shelf, and one that makes learning courteousness a whole lot of fun.

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review 2017-06-27 03:27
Dia de los Muertos
Ghosts - Raina Telgemeier,Raina Telgemeier

 

 

This is a cute graphic novel by the same author who brought us Sisters, Smile, and Drama.

 

The students in our Elementary school library love Telgemeier's books. This book brings up some serious issues including childhood cystic fibrosis, death, and fear. But the tone of the story isn't too serious.

 

Cat is upset about moving and worried about her younger sister Maya. But at the same time, Cat wants to be able to do her own thing without feeling guilty. Cat is sad about leaving her friends and moving to a new place and then she finds out the new town is filled with ghosts. She is angry and terrified at the same time. Celebrating the Day of the Dead helps Cat get more in touch with her feelings and her Mexican heritage.

 

This is a cute story with bright, colorful illustrations. It is aimed at the middle-grade student, probably 3rd thru 8th grade, depending on reading level. I like the way Telgemeier approaches serious issues in a way that kids understand and enjoy.

 

I read this book for my Graphic Novels class. :)

 

 

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review 2017-06-26 03:17
CatStronauts: Race to Mars (graphic novel) by Drew Brockington
CatStronauts: Race to Mars - Drew Brockington

The CatStronauts are back and...they're kind of bored. And not really doing much besides accepting awards and going to free lunches and dinners held in their honor. But then the CatStronauts are called back into action. It turns out that several other space programs around the world are planning Mars missions, and the CatStronauts are the last ones to get involved. Will they lose to the CosmoCats or one of the other two groups, or will they triumph and be the first cats to land on Mars?

In some ways, this volume felt a little more solid than CatStronauts: Mission Moon. For example, the internal logic was much better. However, it also had less of the first volume’s silly fun, and the competition between the various space programs made things a little more tense overall. Sometimes the cats had to prioritize between their “race to Mars” timeline and the scientific experiments they wanted to do once they got to Mars, because there wasn’t enough time to get everything done. Brockington included some nice visual jokes and random references in the background (I noticed Star Wars, Star Trek, and maybe Teletubbies), but overall this volume didn’t seem quite as light as the first one, even though there was less at stake.

Each space program seemed to be analogous to a real-life space program, although I wasn’t 100% certain about one of them. The CosmoCats were definitely Russian, and the COOKIE mission (quick and inexpensive) appeared to be Indian. I wasn’t sure about the MEOW mission. Maybe German? I came across another reviewer who seemed to think it was a stand-in for Luxembourg.

Much of the volume was devoted to showing the various space programs preparing to go to Mars. Anytime someone decided to remove something from their Mars mission “To Do” list in the interest of saving time, or pushed their employees too hard, I wondered if and when it would come back to bite them. The CosmoCats were presented as villains,

at least at first

(spoiler show)

. One of the top CosmoCats was especially willing to do whatever he had to in order to be the first to get to Mars, setting a grueling pace for their workers and creating terrible working conditions.

In the end, though, this turned out to be a story about learning to work together.

The supposed villains really weren’t.

(spoiler show)

I loved seeing Pom Pom and Gemelli bonding over their shared love of science, and it was kind of nice to see that even the oh-so-serious Major Meowser wasn’t infallible. I was also glad that Cat-Stro-Bot got to have a role in this story too, although its part in the story became a little chaotic and confusing near the end.

All in all, the first volume was a little more fun than this one, but this one seemed to be a bit more solid and well-thought-out.

A side note: this volume made me realize that I’d made some character design assumptions that weren’t necessarily true. For example, cats whose eyes were drawn so that they had eyelashes were female, while cats whose eyes were just dots were male, meaning that all the CatStronauts were male. Or so I thought. I don’t know if pronouns were used in the first volume and I just missed them, but the second volume definitely referred to Pom Pom using she/her pronouns.

 

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

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review 2017-06-17 17:36
Me Want Pet! ★★★☆☆
Me Want Pet! - Tammi Sauer,Bob Shea

Cute story about a caveboy who desperately wants a pet, but every one that he brings home just isn't suitable for one reason or another. 

 

I liked the colors and illustrations, and I can see how the story could spark discussion/learning opportunities about pet ownership. I can even see how kids would have fun with the "cave language" but I actually found it a little obnoxious. I know it would drive me crazy by the second or third reading.

 

I'll probably knock this one off my purchase list for my neice's kids' library, but will definitely look at the others that are written and illustrated by Tammmy Sauer and Bob Shea.

 

Hardcover picture book, borrowed from my public library. 

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review 2017-06-17 14:56
Cilla Jenkins Book Review
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Susan Tan,Dana Wulfekotte

This was cute. I really enjoyed the illustrations and the overall theme. I think children will enjoy a character that loves to write especially since this is done in a journal type format. Definitely one of those books I'll keep in the back of my head for reader's advisory.

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