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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 2017-05-25 20:05
Review: The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis
The Whitby Witches (Egmont Modern Classics) - Robin Jarvis


I would like to thank Egmont Publishing for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

I somehow managed to miss this author's books as they were originally released many years before my own children were of age to read them. Last year I happened across his newer series, The Witching Legacy and have since read both books one and two and loved them. So when I saw this one I was eager to delve into it, especially as it's set in Whitby like the newer books.

 

The Whitby Witches was a lot of fun. It was full of adventure, imagination, and danger. I was completely swept along with the characters and their story. The writing was easy to read and the world was vividly described. It was wonderfully dark and atmospheric and a lot of fun all round. Everything was so easily pictured in my mind as I read. It was like being a child all over again, reliving that wonderful sense of adventure, danger and anticipation.

 

The only negative aspect, and it's not something that's particular to this story alone but something that seems to be a trend across many children's stories and books and something I'm more aware of now as a mother, is the fact that the majority of villains or bad guys in children's stories always seem to have some kind of disfigurement or disability. They are always "ugly" scarred or disfigured in some way. Why are we portraying this kind of message to our children? How a person looks doesn't portray whether they are good or bad. Beauty is only skin deep, the outside does not reflect who a person is on the inside. "Monsters" can look just like everyone else and just because someone isn't what most would class as "normal" it doesn't make them the bad guy to be feared. Perhaps that is too scary of a concept in truth for children but it's reality. Anyway, I realise this is a more general comment and not something particular to this book alone but it's something that I found myself contemplating after finishing this one so I wanted to comment on it.

 

All in all, The Whitby Witches was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm going to have to get my hands on the rest of the series now.

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2017-05-12 17:49
Foxheart (Foxheart #1) by Claire Legrand
Foxheart - Claire Legrand,Jaime Zollars

I will start off by saying I did not finish this book. I read up to page 139 and decided this book was not for me. I was not enjoying it one bit and I don't believe you should continue reading a book if you're not fully immersed in the story. That being said, you might like this book so if you're interested in reading Foxheart then go ahead and read it! I truly hope you enjoy it. 

 

Foxheart is about a girl who is shunned by everyone around her because of how different she looks. She decides that the only way to survive this world is to make it her own. That's when she becomes a thief... until she witnesses the Wolf King destroying the convent where she is staying. When she escapes and realizes that she has powers of her own, she must learn to control them and collect the bones of the ancient race of witches so that she might one day destroy the Wolf King and bring peace to her land.

 

From the beginning of the book, I did not like the writing style. It's extremely juvenile. Whilst I understand this is a middle-grade novel, I don't feel you should ever write in a way where you're talking down to your readers no matter how young they are. Children are intelligent individuals and will be able to sense when they are being treated as if they are dumb. The way Legrand approaches a subject, explaining to death, as if the reader couldn't figure out what was happening in the scene is demeaning. 

 

Also, the characters acted foolishly every single time. Yes, they're children, but a few of the actions taken were just stupid because "they're children." For example, one of the characters, Anastazia, warns both children, Quicksilver and Sly Boots, that they mustn't tell other witches what they are up to because witches like to hurt and kill one another. Then the boy, Sly Boots, runs off and tells the first pack of witches he see, putting his group in danger. Now that was stupid enough. And it could be explained "Oh, he's a child. He didn't know any better." Fair enough. But what about the scene immediately following that? Where Quicksilver cloaks them to hide from the witches and then Anastazia, an old woman, laughs at a comment one of the other witches make, alerting the witches that they were indeed in the area hiding. And that's not the only time she messes up either! Later, when talking with the witches, she nearly let slip that she can travel through time which is a type of forbidden magic! She's the oldest of the group and she was making stupid decisions left and right! I was never one to fall in love with stories where the characters made dumb decisions in order to "further" the plot. It's lazy writing.

 

In fact, throughout reading these 139 pages, I was just bored. I was bored with the writing. I was bored with the plot. I was bored with the characters. I was not enjoying it at all. Every aspect of this book was mediocre to me. And it's a shame because I saw the potential. I was looking forward to seeing how these characters were going to stop the villain, The Wolf King... until I saw how much of a caricature he was and how dumb the "heroes" acted. It was just a disappointment.

 

That being said, if you're still intrigued by the premise then, by all means, read this book. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't. I do think it's a very easy read so you could read it in one sitting despite its size. So give it a try. As for me, I was not a fan and will not be reading the rest of this series.

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text 2017-04-24 15:13
Check out this nightmare fuel
What If You Had Animal Teeth? - Sandra Markle

I'm working on children's books today and came across this. I haven't actually read it, just flipped through it, but dang some of those pictures! The scariest ones are probably the girl with the shark teeth, that kid on the cover with the rattlesnake fangs, the boy with the crocodile teeth, and the girl at the end with normal human teeth but the creepiest toothy smile ever.

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review 2017-04-24 11:14
Tales of the Peculiar
Tales of the Peculiar - Andrew Davidson,Ransom Riggs

 In much the same spirit as J.K. Rowlings The Tales of Beedle the Bard, this is meant to be a companion book of the fairy tales that peculiars learned as part of their peculiar folklore in the series Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  

 

The book is structured as authentically as possible, from the copyright page to the annotations by the editor/author/compiler of the stories, Millard Nullings, a name that might be familiar to the fans of Miss Peregrine's.  

 

The stories themselves really are morality tales and suitable for non-peculiar children too, no matter what Nullings claims (although i didn't try to read the third one backwards, out loud, so I can't speak as to the authenticity of his dire warnings).  Some of them work better than others, just like most collections of stories, but most of them were good and a couple were great.  A few petered out before they could get started.

 

My favourites were probably The Splendid Cannibals and the Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares.  

 

The book is beautifully illustrated and it's definitely something I'd read to my nieces when they get a little bit older.

 

 

 

Page count: 160
Dollars banked: $2.00

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