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review 2018-07-09 22:45
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Picture Us in the Light - Kelly Loy Gilbert
Danny Cheng is the product of his environment. He's been under pressure from his family, peers, and community to succeed, but at least its been allowed to be on his terms. Danny wants to be an artist and has a rewarding talent. However, his last year of high school has been fraught with the recent death of a classmate through suicide, and the troubling secrets his parents have kept from him coming out into the open. With everything else going on Danny's crush on his friend Harry - already dating his other good friend Regina - seems more emotion than a teen should handle. Life is that complicated.

Even if the story wasn't a compelling one, I'd give Gilbert extra credit for depicting Danny's art in a way that makes sense, and is not simplistic. It is difficult to talk about artists and art in a novel or a film, but the reader gets a sense of what Danny is doing, and also, why its a big deal. This is a young adult story, so there are certain elements of drama and quotidian teen age crap that has to be dealt with, but it did not detract from this story.

'Picture Us in the Light' packs a lot of emotion into its pages, and handles issues of race, immigration, non-traditional families, and suicide, among others effectively and compassionately. Highly recommended.
 
 
 
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review 2018-07-01 08:54
Fabulous
The Prince and the Dressmaker - Jen Wang

And no, I'm not being facetious, I loved this thing.

 

I loved the expressive faces (specially Frances' on-going bemused into blank ones), the colorful tone, the hilarious hijinks and of course, the over all theme of acceptance.

 

To all that, I add three awesome scenes: the devil's wench, Juliana meeting Crystallia, and the King's outfit. I hooted and laughed so much I almost fell from my chair.

 

If I got a lump in my throat from the deep love of every type involved in all of it, well...

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review 2018-06-23 19:38
The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
The Caboose Who Got Loose - Bill Peet

Title:  The Caboose Who Got Loose

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Trains / Traveling / Children's / Adventure


Year Published: 1971


Year Read:  2009

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Nothing Objectionable)

 

 

Caboose

“The Caboose Who Got Loose” is a great story from the creative mind of Bill Peet about a small caboose named Katy who wants to escape her life as a caboose and live happily in a peaceful place. “The Caboose Who Got Loose” may be a bit tedious for some children, but it is still a cute little story nonetheless. 

Bill Peet’s story about a caboose who wants to live a peaceful life in the countryside is a great tale for many children. Children will feel for Katy’s sadness at being a mere caboose and not having a peaceful life of her own. Bill Peet’s writing is highly creative as he narrates the story in a rhyming prose that fits the mood of the story perfectly. Bill Peet’s illustrations are always the highlights in his books and this is certainly no exception. The characters are drawn in a similar fashion as “The Brave Little Toaster” as the cabooses and the houses have windows for eyes. 

Caboose

“The Caboose Who Got Loose” is a cute story about how one must be satisfied with what life brings us and will definitely interest many children who love books about trains and how to love life. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate about the story.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 19:31
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent - Bill Peet

Title:  Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Sea / Adventure / Pirates / Traveling


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+  (Some Intense Scenes)

 

 

Sea

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book. 

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent that is willing to risk his life to protect the people on a voyage for a new life. Bill Peet is extremely inventive whenever he uses various words such as “doldrums” and “bedraggled” to make the story more clever and dramatic. Also, the idea that Cyrus is more like a friendly sea serpent rather than a vicious one makes the story more creative as people usually believe that sea monsters are meant to be scary. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the scenes where he illustrates the sea as a calm ocean for the water is beautifully blue and during the storm scenes, he makes the sky dark and the ocean smashing viciously at the Primrose. 

Sea

Parents should know that there are many advanced words in this book and that this book may be a bit too long for younger children to handle. Some of the advanced words mentioned are “pilings,” “doldrums,” and “bedraggled” and young children may not understand what those words mean. Parents should write down the advanced words down on a piece of paper and define them so that the younger children would understand what the word means and therefore, it would make it easier for them to read this book. Also, the length of this book is a bit too long than any normal children’s book and that may be a bit too tiresome for some small children to handle, so parents should read at least a few pages a day so that children would not get too tired of this book. 

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is a wonderful story about the power of friendship and how it is better to help people rather than be cruel towards them and children would easily enjoy this book for ages. I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the advanced words and the length of the book may be a bit too challenging for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-23 19:23
Encore for Eleanor by Bill Peet
Encore for Eleanor - Bill Peet

Title:  Encore for Eleanor

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Circus / Artist


Year Published: 1981


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Nothing Objectionable)

 

 

Eleanor

“Encore for Eleanor” is a cute story by Bill about an old elephant named Eleanor who was once a great circus performer, but was moved to the zoo when she got too old to play her part. It was then at the zoo that Eleanor learns a new special ability that might jumpstart her career again. “Encore for Eleanor” is a great book for children who want to discover new talents for themselves and realize that everyone is special in their own way.

Eleanor the elephant was once a great circus star who would stand on stilts and impressed the audience to no end. One day however, since Eleanor has been performing in the circus for forty years, Eleanor’s knees were weak and suddenly, she fell off the stilts and landed on the floor with a hard crash! Eleanor began to worry that her boss, Colonel T.J. Tinglehoffer was going to send her away because of her ruining her act by falling off the stilts. Sure enough, Colonel Tinglehoffer did send Eleanor away to the zoo and Eleanor bade a tearful goodbye to her friends at the circus. 
Even though Eleanor had plenty to eat and good home to stay in, she still missed the circus life and was miserable because she felt like she could not do anything extraordinary like she used to do in the circus. One day, however Eleanor awoke to find a teenage girl trying to draw a rhinoceros on her canvas. Of course, when the rhinoceros moved and girl could not draw the rhinoceros, the girl became angry and threw her charcoal to the ground. Eleanor was so interested in what the girl was doing, that she wanted to learn how to draw also. So, when the girl went off to see some ducks in the pond, Eleanor slyly picked up the charcoal and she decided to draw one of the clowns from the circus. However, Eleanor was soon discovered drawing the picture by the teenage girl and the teenage girl was so impressed by the drawing that she decided to show the picture to everyone. Everyone was impressed except for Mr. McJunkens, who did not believe that Eleanor drew the clown. Eleanor was so mad that she grabbed the charcoal and… 

What does Eleanor draw and will she able to convince Mr. McJunkens that she can really draw? 

Read the rest of the book to find out! 


Bill Peet’s story of an old elephant who wants to be special again is extremely cute and brilliant for children to read. The scene that stood out the most for me was the scene where Eleanor learns how to draw after she witnesses the teenage girl drawing the rhinoceros. That scene was so amazing because you would have never imagined an elephant drawing such a great picture and drew the picture in a matter of seconds. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed, especially of the image of Eleanor herself as she looks beautiful in her circus outfit and yet, she maintains wise appearance throughout the story telling the audience that she has indeed aged after performing in the circus for forty years.

“Encore for Eleanor” is a great book about the importance of trying out new activities in life to keep your life going and will surely encourage many children to follow what they believe in and do many new things in their lives. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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