logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: illustrations
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-12-27 15:07
A magical book for readers young at heart. Highly recommended
Tales from the Irish Garden - Sally Cronin

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, and I freely decided to review it.

I have followed the author’s blog Smorgasbord Invitation for quite a while. She is an expert on many topics, including health, media, publishing, and she is a great supporter of other writers and artists. She has also published a large number of books, non-fiction and fiction, and she has shared many of her short stories in her blog. I read and reviewed her book Tales from the Garden a while back (you can check my review here) and had been looking forward to this book since I heard about it.

While the original book contained pictures from the author and her relatives’ gardens, for this book she counts with the collaboration of talented illustrator Donata Zawadzka, who provides a black and white ink illustration for each one of the stories/chapters of this enchanting book. The style of the illustrations suits this wonderful realm perfectly, and the images helped bring the stories to life more fully.

The book follows on from the stories of the fairy realm of Magia. Queen Filigree and her subjects have to leave their garden in Spain due to a new property development. Although some of her stone guardians cannot follow to the new location, in Ireland, we get to meet some fantastic new characters, like the Storyteller, a man with his own magic, who helps our friends in need. We have a prince charming for the queen, magical dressmakers; we also learn more about how the palace works, from the royal pigeons and their carer, to the magical spiders, Queen Bee and her subjects, and the frogs who also help with pest control and building work. Some of our old acquaintances are up to no good, and we also learn more about the queen’s daughters (pretty but not always wise).

The stories follow the seasons of the year, and we have many occasions to join in their celebrations, with new musicians and banquets, and we can enjoy stories set in particular times of the year, from local fairs to Halloween. I cannot choose a favourite because I enjoyed them all, from the piglet races to the touching story of the Storytellers’ daughter.

The style of writing is accessible, fluid and suitable to all ages. These fairy-tales contain gorgeous descriptions of places, costumes, foods, and also characters that go beyond the standard cardboard cut-outs we have come to expect. We have witches suffering from age-related aches and pains, princesses who care for each other but can get into serious trouble, fairy queens concerned about their age, foxes that refuse to kill other animals, jealous bulls… Only some human beings are allowed into the magical realm, and I felt privileged to be one of them.

Another magical book from this author, suitable for anybody who is a child at heart and needs a little inspiration to recover the sense of wonder. Queen Filigree has a magical fountain, and we have Sally Cronin’s books to ensure our imagination keeps us forever young. Highly recommended to everybody.  

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-30 18:28
The Gad Nail by Anthony Spaeth
The Gad Nail - Anthony Spaeth

I had the great pleasure to listen to Howl of the Lambergoon and was very happy to see a sequel to the series (Gad the Zig). While this is the second book, it stands on its own. As with Book 1, the story captures the fanciful and instantly pulled me in. I own both the audiobook and the paperbook, so this review is for both formats.

A potter lives a lonely life on the Hebrides so he uses a bit of magic to craft a kid (who gets a robin’s nest for a cap and an iron nail for a heart). Gad is then sent on his first quest – to find a meal. The potter warns him seriously to stay out the Fendrees woods.

And we can all see where Gad will have to venture for one reason or another. There’s a turtle involved and faeries! Gad wasn’t sure he would be able to make it out alive! Thankfully, more than one comes to his aid and the faerie queen of Fendrees woods takes their pleas into consideration.

While the plot is straight forward, it is eloquently told. The cadence and word choice are just as well used as the imagery. I would recommend this for adults and kids as there’s enough here to capture the heart of any age. 5/5 stars.

The illustrations are beautifully done, as with Book 1, even with the change in illustrators. The cover illustration didn’t pull me in as much as Book 1 simply because it has so much pink. I can clearly see the artistry in the cover despite the pink and I knew the story would be worthy. The interior illustrations use the full palette and don’t rely heavily on pink. Once again, I love that there’s a fanciful map at the beginning. The illustrations near the end of the tale, when kids are encouraged to hunt out their own magical woods, were my favorites. It’s great that kids of different walks of life are included, such as the kid in the wheelchair. 5/5 stars.

Narration: Derek Murray gives a superb performance. He nails the rhythm perfectly. He has distinct voices for all the characters and his faerie queen voice is feminine. Murray’s Scottish accent adds to the book since it’s set in the Hebrides. 5/5 stars.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-30 18:11
Howl of the Lambergoon by Anthony Spaeth
Howl of the Lambergoon - Anthony Spaeth

I had the pleasure to review the audiobook for Audio Book Reviewer and you can catch my review over there. Derek Murray gives a marvelous performance for the narration of the audiobook. Here is an additional review of the paper version.

This story is just as enchanting the second time through and just a bit more engrossing with all of these luscious illustrations. The characters come to life so quickly and it was easy to put myself in their shoes. The tale holds adventure, mystery, and a quest of sorts. The physical book has a simple but well done map to go along with the story, which is set in the Hebrides. A touch of history and myth curl their way throughout this engaging story. I love Aud’s hairstyle in the illustrations and the lambergoon is a treat to behold!

Told in rhyme, it’s easy to fall into the near sing-song pacing. The charm continues to grow with each passing page. I can see how kids would be easily caught up in this story with all the fun, silly words (like lambergoon). In fact, I bought a copy for my niece. At this rate, she’ll be reading before she’s out of the womb!

This is easily one of my favorite tales of the year, despite most of my reading being dark fantasy, epic scifi, and murder mystery. 6/5 stars.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-09-09 17:41
Where the Wild Things Are
Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

A boy is sent to bed, but instead of going straight to sleep he travels to a far off jungle where the wild things are!!! The pictures in this book are beautifully drawn and I think the kids would love to look at them. As an activity, I may let the young kids draw themselves as monsters and use adjectives to describe themselves. In "Where the Wild Things Are", the author uses lots of adjectives to help the reader create descriptive pictures in his or her mind. 

DRA level is 16-18 according to Scholastic.com

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-09-09 17:29
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs - Jon Scieszka,Lane Smith

This is the TRUE story of the 3 little pigs told from the wolf's perspective. This would be a great way to teach children about perspectives and 1st person/ 3rd person, point of view. Kids sometimes don't realize the difference of a story between 3rd and 1st person point of view. There are other types too like omniscient, 2nd person, and limited. We would have to have an in depth lesson on pronouns and point of view, so I would read this book to a 3rd or 4th grade class.

An activity I would pair with it would be for kids to pick their favorite books and decide from which point of view the stories are told.I may assign paragraphs for the students to read in order to decide what point of view it is told from. That sounds boring, but it is important that kids understand.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?