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review 2018-12-15 13:17
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone - Jaclyn Moriarty 
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of... The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone - Jaclyn Moriarty

So much win.  It's kind of amazing how much I love Moriarty's books. I really liked how it all came together. Interesting universe with so many pirates and dragons and water sprites, but also committees and dull trips and people being late to pick one up at the station. I only had two tiny quibbles: it's weird to read about a girl living in a more-or-less-contemporaneous setting who wears dresses or skirts all the time. It's just a slight thing, but it pulls me just the tiniest bit out of the story every time a dress or skirt is mentioned because I so rarely see girls or women in them anymore. And also, this is a very white world. Not that everyone is explicitly called white, but because no one isn't. The illustrations reinforce the white-is-default impression. It's a good thing that I've become so accustomed to reading books with a diverse cast that I can't stop noticing when there aren't any other characters.

 

Despite those two issues, I loved the book. It's my favorite middle grade in I don't know how long. Highly recommended for white readers.

 

Library copy

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review 2018-12-11 23:45
Learn from my mistakes
Robot Dreams - Sara Varon

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon was sold to me as being a cute little story about a dog who builds a robot so that he has a friend. I was hoping for something with The Wild Robot vibes but I actually found it to be disturbingly macabre and callous. This is a children's graphic novel and yet it explores some really dark themes (in itself not a problem but this was creepier than most). Did I mention that it was entirely wordless? I'm not certain if it's a gift or a curse that Varon possesses to entirely unnerve me without using a single, solitary word. Without giving the entire plot away (this is a very short book by the way), a dog builds himself a robot friend and the two of them are inseparable...until the robot gets rusty at the beach and the dog abandons him there. Yes, he left his very best friend behind at the beach. The next day the beach is closed for the winter and the entire area is fenced off. (That's one strict town!) So now the robot is left on the beach to rust while the dog tries to make a new friend. There are mishaps on both sides of this relationship as the robot is beset by weather, a group of boaters who partially disassemble him, and eventually a junk collector. The dog keeps making friends with those who either can't or won't stick around and he's back at square one without any friends at all. Like I said this is not sweet bedtime reading. If you're looking for a creepy existential crisis well you've hit the jackpot. If you wanted a cutesy little graphic novel you've made a horrible, horrible mistake. 1/10

 

This makes me hungry. [Source: page45]

 

 

What's Up Next: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-10 02:02
The Tea Dragon Society (graphic novel) by Katie O'Neill
The Tea Dragon Society - Katie O'Neill

Greta is the daughter of a female blacksmith and has grown up learning her mother's craft. One day, she saves a Jasmine tea dragon. The dragon's caretaker, Hesekiel, offers to teach her about caring for tea dragons. Each dragon has its quirks, but, when properly cared for, they produce magnificent tea that carries the memories of their current caretaker. Greta's visits to Hesekiel also allow her to get to know Erik, Hesekiel's long-time friend and partner, and Minette, a shy girl who is approximately the same age as Greta and who is closely bonded to a Chamomile dragon.

I didn't realize until I had the book in my hands and saw the little blurb on the cover that this was by the same person who created Princess Princess Ever After. Thankfully, the printing for this volume was better than it was for that one - all of the artwork was bright, clear, and lovely. I'm tempted to get a copy for my own collection, even though I have no idea where I'd keep it.

The story was simple and quiet, focused on the characters' relationships and the details of tea dragon care. The most action-filled moment was a tea-induced flashback to the beginnings of Hesekiel and Erik's relationship as

a pair of adventurers who eventually settled down for a quieter life after Erik was badly injured and ended up in wheelchair.

(spoiler show)


The entire volume dealt with things that took time and patience, from developing relationships with others to blacksmithing and tea dragon care. The inclusion of both older and younger generations worked really well in this respect. With Greta and Minette, readers could see the beginnings of a sweet and occasionally awkward relationship, while Erik and Hesekiel were a great example of a couple that had had years to get to know each other and settle into life together. There was a little of that when it came to the tea dragons as well, although that was more unbalanced. The process of establishing a relationship with a tea dragon was mostly covered in lectures, because Erik, Hesekiel, and even Minette had already gained the trust of their dragons and bonded with them fairly well.

While I wished this had been a bit longer (Minette's backstory, in particular, felt like it needed more closure), I really enjoyed this. The artwork was lovely. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that CLAMP, particularly their work Chobits, was one of O'Neill's influences - one panel featured Minette in a pose that reminded me a great deal of Chobit's Chi.

Also, the "Tea Dragon Handbook" at the end, which contained more information about various tea dragons and their care, was fabulous. I'd happily read an expanded version of it featuring even more kinds of tea dragons. I wonder what a Pu Erh dragon would look and act like?

Additional Comments:

If you're hesitant about getting this, it looks like the entire story can still be read online (minus the "Tea Dragon Handbook").

 

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

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text 2018-12-08 23:41
Just starting for booklikes YA Book Club
A Beautiful Friendship - David Weber

Just starting.  A favorite author -- but not one I would associate with YA.

 

For booklikes book club at http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/12/ya-book-club 

Source: booklikes.com/book-clubs/12/ya-book-club
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review 2018-12-08 01:48
A nostalgia trip
Peanuts Volume Nine - Charles M. Schulz

You can't go wrong with some classic Peanuts cartoons, am I right? Peanuts Vol. 9 created by Charles Schulz (and written by Jason Cooper with illustrations by Vicki Scott and Paige Braddock) is a collection of our favorite kids and their antics. (Do you recall the sound of the incomprehensible droning of the adults in the cartoon?) This (being volume 9) is obviously one of a series of collections like this that put together some of the best of the best of the Peanuts gang. From what I can tell they don't have specific themes and it doesn't matter which order you decide to read them. This was such a trip down memory lane for me and it made me vividly recall Sunday mornings and reading the newspaper cartoons in color. If you've never experienced the hopelessness of Charlie Brown, the ingenuity of Snoopy, or the wisecracking Lucy you owe it to yourself to settle down for some lighthearted hilarity. Pick up something sweet and fun to settle down with for the weekend! 10/10

 

PS When did Marcie fall in love with Charlie Brown?! I knew about Peppermint Patty but Marcie threw me for a complete loop!

 

PPS Do kids know about the Legionnaires? Do you? Well, I suggest you do a little homework because there's a whole set of jokes about them in this volume and you'll surely be lost if you don't.

 

Gotta love Peppermint Patty. [Source: Simon & Schuster]

 

What's Up Next: Star Trek Destiny #1: Gods of Night by David Mack

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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