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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:51
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm - LeVar Burton,Susan Schaefer Bernardo,Courtenay Fletcher

Genre:  Drama / Weather / Inspirational / Children's / Folktale


Year Published: 2014


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Reading Rainbow

 

 

Rhino


I have been a huge fan of “Reading Rainbow” ever since I was a child and I have always enjoyed reading the books that were either featured or suggested on the TV series. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that LeVar Burton, the longtime host of “Reading Rainbow” was going to write a children’s book called “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm,” along with co-writing with Susan Schaefer Bernardo and artwork by Courtenay Fletcher. This book will surely inspire many children to get through hard times themselves!

The story starts off with Mica Mouse sitting with her father during a storm and she became worried about the storm due to a hurricane coming in and destroying her home over a year ago. Mica’s father then went to comfort her by reading her a story about a rhino who also went through some hard times.

In the story, the rhino was living peacefully in his home when all of a sudden, a strong storm came through the valley and started destroying everything that the rhino cared about. The rhino was so upset by all the destruction that it ended up swallowing the storm. After the rhino swallowed the storm, the storm started causing so much disturbance within the rhino and the rhino was at a lost at what to do. The spider then comes by and tells the rhino this verse:

“The world up above is shattered and gray,
But it’s where you belong, so you must find a way
To let that storm out and move through your sorrow.
You’ll find many helpers on your road to tomorrow.”


So, the rhino decided to go on a quest to get rid of the storm that is boiling inside of him.

Will the rhino be successful on his quest?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I was quite impressed with this inspiring children’s book that was written by none other than LeVar Burton of “Reading Rainbow” fame! LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo did a great job at writing this story as I found this story to be quite inspirational, especially for children who have to deal with the harshness of the real world and need to find a way to go through life in such a negative world. I actually found myself relating to both Mica Mouse and the rhinoceros in the story as I sometimes found myself wondering about how I can deal with all the wars, deaths and prejudice going on in this world and I like the fact that this book tries to encourage children to get through tough times by inspiring them to remain positive and be aware of all the friends and families they have that will help them through tough times. Courtenay Fletcher’s artwork is highly creative and cute to look at as I enjoyed the images of both the rhinoceros and Mica Mouse as the artwork for Mica Mouse and her father are in smooth watercolors while the artwork for the rhinoceros is in cut out figures to help the readers distinguished between the two stories.

Rhino

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that this story was a bit too lengthy in trying to get its message across and I wished that they would have trimmed out a few verses that the animals were trying to tell the Rhino in order to get to the meat of the story much faster.

Overall, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” is a great inspirational book for children who are also going through hard times and want a good book that can inspire them to remain positive in such a harsh world. I would recommend this book to children age five and up since the length and complexity of this book might be difficult for some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:41
Choo Choo by Virginia Lee Burton
Choo Choo - Virginia Lee Burton

Genre:  Trains / Adventure / Classic / Drama


Year Published: 1937


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Company

 

 

Choo

I have read at least two books from Virginia Lee Burton when I was younger and they were “The Little House” and “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” and I had enjoyed both books immensely! So, I then picked up another book by Virginia Lee Burton called “Choo Choo” which was quite a unique read and is one that I would definitely recommend for children!

The story is about a beautiful little locomotive named Choo Choo who would pull trains from the city to the country and back again every day. She was always accompanied by three workers who were named Jim the Engineer, Oley the Fireman and Archibald the Conductor who would all come together to take care of Choo Choo. One day however, Choo Choo was getting tired of pulling trains in between the cities and the country and she decided to run away from the station and show everyone in town how beautiful she really is!

What sort of adventures will Choo Choo get herself into?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I never would have thought that I would enjoy this book so much! Just like Virginia Lee Burton’s other works, this book has a classic and old fashioned feel as we get to see how trains look like during the 1930s. I also loved the fact that this story has a different twist to the usual children’s story about trains, as it details the story about a young train running away from its owners, which I rarely read about in previous books about trains. Virginia Lee Burton does a great job at making this book both cute and exciting at the same time as I loved the fact that Choo Choo’s owners really do care about what happened to Choo Choo when she goes missing as it brings in a heartwarming element to the story. I was also sitting on the edge of my seat as I wondered if Choo Choo was ever going to make it back home safely and I liked the way that Virginia Lee Burton detailed the dangers of running away from home as Choo Choo gets into all kinds of danger on her travels and it would help teach kids about the dangers of running away from home by themselves. Virginia Lee Burton’s artwork is quite unique in this book as most of the images are in black and white colorings, giving this book an old fashioned and bold feel and I also enjoyed seeing the images of Choo Choo herself as she is drawn as a cute looking locomotive, which strongly reminds me of the image from “The Little Engine that Could!”

Choo

The only real issue with this book is that there is one image in this book where Choo Choo ends up going through a scary looking forest that might frighten smaller children. The trees are drawn in a much eerier manner compared to the rest of the images and parents might want to go through the images in this scene first to see if their children can handle such scary imagery.

Overall, “Choo Choo” is a truly cute book that children who enjoy reading about trains will definitely get a kick out of! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the image of the scary forest might scare some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:34
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
The Love That Split the World - Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Emily Bronte, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Richard Henry Dana Charles Dickens

Genre: Science Fiction Romance


Year Published: 2016


Number of Pages: 390 pages


Date Read: 4/23/2017   



Publisher:  Razor Bill

 

 

Love


“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”


I must admit that I rarely read romance novels that deal with time traveling since time traveling stories tend to confuse me due to trying to figure out what events are going on in the present versus what events are going on in the future and sometimes, the line between past, present and future can be blurred in certain stories. One such novel that I had read called “The Love That Split the World” by Emily Henry actually dealt with time travel and I have to tell you that it was one doozy of a read!

Natalie Cleary was your average high school student who is friends with her ex-boyfriend Matt Kincaid and Megan and lives in a happily adopted family with her siblings Jack and Coco and life was going well for Natalie. One night however, Natalie meets up with a mysterious boy named Beau at her high school football game and the two instantly fell in love with each other. But then, Natalie starts noticing some weird things going on around her small town in Kentucky, such as a preschool suddenly appearing where the garden store should have been and when the people in town suddenly disappear before her very eyes. It was then that a mysterious old woman called “Grandmother” came to Natalie’s dreams and gave her a warning that she has three months to save someone she really cares about. So, Natalie spends the majority of the book trying to find out who she is going to save while spending some time with Beau and trying to figure out these weird events happening around her town.

I have to admit that for a time traveling story, Emily Henry has definitely done a great job at putting a unique spin to the usual time traveling story as its core focus is the romance between Natalie and Beau and how they try to stay together throughout the different time rifts that goes on throughout their worlds. I also enjoyed the relationships between the characters, especially between Megan and Natalie and Natalie and Beau. I loved the fact that Natalie usually confides in Megan about her various visions that she has and how Megan is so understanding about Natalie’s “odd” dreams and visions as it is nice to have another character who knows about the main character’s secret abilities without having the reader go through the entire book wondering if the main character will ever reveal their secrets to anyone else. I also enjoyed the relationship between Natalie and Beau, although I found it a bit too contrived at times that Natalie suddenly thinks that Beau is her true love upon their first meeting. I loved the fact that Natalie and Beau truly love each other and I really like their cute little bantering with each other, despite the turbulent situation that they are stuck in.

The reason why I gave this book a three-and-a-half-star rating is because while the story had a strong start at the beginning, the story got a bit confusing once the time travel elements got introduced and I started to lose a bit of interest in the story due to being constantly confused about what is really going on with Natalie and Beau’s time traveling shenanigans. I also got a bit annoyed with Natalie throughout certain parts of the story as it seems like all she does is whine and complain about how bad her life is and how she is indecisive about her feelings about Matt when it is obvious that she would rather be with Beau in pursuing her relationship. Also, there were times where the pacing was a bit slow, especially during the scenes where the time traveling aspects were being explained in full detail and I was hoping for these scenes to be shorten so that we could get to the action sequences much faster.

Overall, “The Love that Split the World” may had had a strong start, but the story came apart once the time traveling aspect was introduced and it might be difficult for some fans of time traveling stories to get into. However, it is an interesting read for anyone who is a fan of time traveling romances!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:25
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr.,Eric Carle

Genre:  Animals / Colors / Children's / School


Year Published: 1967


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Company

Series: Bill Martin's Bears #1

 

 

Bear

I have been an avid fan of Eric Carle’s works, especially of his well-known children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and one of the books that Eric Carle had worked on that I did not get the chance to read when I was little was “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” which was also written by Bill Martin Jr. All in all, this was one children’s book that children should definitely check out!

Since this story is extremely short, the summary will be brief.
Basically, the plot of this book is about the reader seeing various animals comment on what other beings they are looking at that precise moment, while each animal states a variation of this quote:

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.

Red Bird, Red Bird,
What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me.”

Wow! I cannot believe that I waited this long to finally pick up this popular children’s book and it was definitely worth reading in the end! I loved the simplistic style that Bill Martin Jr. brought to this book as the plot is basically having readers see various animals in different colors popping up in the book and commenting on other animals they have seen. I loved the fact that each animal is a different color such as having a blue horse and a purple cat as it brings a unique spin to the storytelling of this book and I was quietly anticipating seeing what kind of animals we will see pop up in this book. Eric Carle’s artwork is as always, a delight to look at as all the characters are rendered in paper cut outs which gives the book a creative look and I really loved the images of the different animals that show up in this book, such as the purple cat and the blue horse!

Bear

Even though there is nothing wrong with this book, I have to wonder why it was banned in the first place? Well, it turns out that when it was banned, the person who banned the book made a mistake regarding the author of this book, who is Bill Martin Jr. and the person thought that it was the same Bill Martin who wrote the book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.” Now, I have never read any of the “other” Bill Martin’s books, but this was the first instance where a book was mistakenly banned for the wrong reasons and that got me curious yet annoyed.

Overall, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” is a truly cute book for children who want to have fun with identifying animals and colors all wrapped up into one book! I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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