Book Review Roundup

The Tap-Dancing Pigeon of Covent Garden by Serena Hassan

Oh my goodness, this book is just the cutest. A pigeon, just out of the nest, learns what life is like in the big city and discovers that his passion and joy rests with dancing and song. This book is filled with gorgeous art and fun prose, definitely worth a read!

The Gift Of Life II: Darkness Follows by Sean Stevens

As I embark,
upon this lesson,
left or right,
adverse progression

POETRY IS JUST FREAKING GROOVY OKAY?

It would be really hard to pick out my favourite poems from this collection because there were numerous ones that just impacted me, yanno? But I pulled out some of the quotes that really hit me.

Had we known
What time was left
Would our values still be pride?

And,

A writer for history
For whom I’ve become,
Eternal battles: What’s living?
To those who have none

There’s some truly fantastic writing in here, along with some lovely photography! Sean Stevens is definitely a poet worth checking out! I can’t wait to read more of his poems.

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Children’s Book Review Roundup

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

Okay, gosh, this is just adorable. We follow Argyle Fox as he tries, tries, tries, tries again to play outside with different toys and games, only to be thwarted by the blustery wind at every turn. Bless his heart!

This is great story about not giving up and the art is absolutely precious. Definitely recommend!

The Truth About Dinosaurs by Guido Van Genechten

This is super cute and very informative! It features a chicken explaining over various pages, and via cute little photo albums, their various dinosaur ancestors. I actually didn’t know all of the dinosaurs that chickens are descended from, so it was cool to learn more! Definitely recommend!

Olive and Ginger by Xenia Mesot

This is a lovely story about a toad and cat, and how they learn to consider things from different perspectives as well as learning to think before they speak. It reminded me of older stories with fables! The water colour artwork is simply gorgeous, and I liked how the book was set up in three acts, too. Overall very sweet and worth a read!

Gilbert the Ghost by Guido Van Genechten

The artwork in this story is absolutely lovely. The cover stole my heart and I immediately wanted to read it!

I thought this was a really cool take on ghosts! They aren’t dead people, but are born and go to Ghost School and learn how to haunt people. Ghosts that have learned to shriek loud enough, and spookily enough, are then sent off to become the resident ghosts of towns.

We follow young Gilbert the ghost who doesn’t like to scare people and doesn’t have a loud ‘Boo!’ and because of this, he’s ostracised at school. The (really horribly cruel) teacher sends him off to the Abandoned Tower because of this, where he meets a cat with whom he can be himself. Soon Gilbert is confident and chilling out with his cat friend and things get better.

I thought this was super cute, but I do wish it was a little bit longer and that maybe there was some resolve to address the teacher sending Gilbert away. He was just such a jerk and I wanted someone to address it with poor sweet Gilbert. Overall though, it was definitely a cute quick read for kids!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARCS!

Book Review: The Deep Blue (2021)

The Deep Blue by Charlotte Guillain

Covering a broad expanse of topics like the Great Barrier Reef, underwater trenches and volcanos, deep sea creatures, fishes, mango trees and their filtration systems, and more, this is a highly informative book with wonderful drawings that’s great for any young reader!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Book Review: Usha and the Big Digger (2021)

Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight

Around the world, different cultures see different pictures in the same stars.

OH. MY. GOSH. SO. FREAKING. CUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE. Every single page of this book was just so filled with joy and dance and cartwheels and stars. The artwork in this kind of reminded me of She’s Charmed and Dangerous, a card game I played when I was really little. Which is to say that I *adored* the artwork in this.

A great book about stars and perspectives for young kids!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Book Review: Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps (2021)

Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps by Srividhya Venkat

Tapping quick adavus with his feet, shaping delicate mudras with his hands, and showing expressive bhavas with his eyes—everything about bharatanatyam filed his heart with joy.

This is a lovely story of young Varun, who is desperate to learn to dance and finds everything inspiring, but is made fun of by the girls at the dance school. His grandfather inspires him to dance and follow his dream. It’s super sweet and wholesome!

I really loved that Tamil dance terms are used throughout! It’s great learning new words. And there’s a helpful guide at the back for those looking.

I thoroughly adored this little book about acceptance and dance. Let all those who love to dance, do so!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Children’s Book Review: Three Lines in a Circle (2021)

Three Lines in a Circle: The Exciting Life of the Peace Symbol by Michael G. Long

[Gerald Holtom] explained that when drawing the symbol, he adopted letters from semaphore, the alphabet used by people sending messages by flags. The two lines pointing downward and to the sides came from the semaphore letter for N, and the center line represented the letter D. Placed on top of each other and enclosed in a circle, the three lines stood for “nuclear disarmament.”

I really loved this little info book about the history and use of the peace symbol. The bulk of the book is a lovely little children’s book with great, vibrant colours and pictures about how the peace symbol has been used for activist movements. Each page lauds diversity, representation and acceptance. Such a lovely overall message! At the end of the book, there’s a history section about the peace symbol with a more in-depth overview that I really enjoyed reading. Definitely recommend!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Children’s Book Review Roundup

The Mountain by Rebecca Gugger – Oh my gosh, the artwork in this is simply gorgeous and colourful and just so wonderful. I loved all the extra details in each page and the way the animals and their ideas of the mountain are depicted. This is such a lovely little book, definitely give it a shot! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite! by Ashley Spires – Everything about this book was cute. It follows Burt the beetle as he tries to find out what he excels at in the bug world and how he’ll be of use. He tries out a variety of roles until he finds the perfect fit! The drawings are just absolutely adorable and the info boxes are really informative. This is a great book for teaching kids to keep trying and not give up, while broadening their knowledge of the insect world. Definitely recommend! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

The Mole and the Hole by Brayden Kowalczuk – Oh my goodness, the artwork in this book is absolutely P R E C I O U S. I loved every single page. Poor little Mole wanting to get out of his hole, only to be thwarted by the rocks! So, so cute! Definitely recommended for little kids! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Zombies and Electricity by Mark Weakland – If you want to get kids interested in science and electricity, and learning the ins and outs of atoms, protons, electrons and neutrons – well, add some zombies to the mix! I think this is a very clever way of using fun, colourful artwork to provide kids with an interactive, fun little introduction to science.

The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel, adapted by Mariah Marsden, story by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I have very fond memories of The Secret Garden from my childhood. It’s one of those classics that stays with you forever. Seeing such a lovely book transformed into a graphic novel is super awesome! This one does a lovely job giving new form to a classic. I recommend both! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

The Land Puffin by Lori Doody – This is a cute little tale about a parrot who dreams of living by the sea and, determined to do so, journeys to live by the ocean where he finds a colony of puffins. The puffins are welcoming, but Pete the parrot wants to talk more! It’s a bit light on words, but overall a very sweet story about being yourself and doing your own thing. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Albert Einstein by Inspired Inner Genius – This is a truly wonderful little book for young kids to get a starting point on Albert Einstein and his importance to physics. It starts with Einstein at a young age and follows him through school, work, publications and the highlights of his career. The artwork was engaging and colourful, and the structure was easy to read and informative. A great book for young readers! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Children’s Book Review: Ruth and the Green Book (2010)

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Gwen Strauss

This was a great children’s book about the historical travel guide The Negro Motorist Green Book, which was written by Victor Hugo Green in 1936 to help Black travellers find friendly lodging and petrol stations while travelling through a segregated, Jim Crow USA. That things like this had to be created because people’s minds were so closed and bigoted is utterly infuriating, but this story itself is very uplifting and shows how Black families and strangers supported each other when no one else would.

A very important book for kids, and great for adults who don’t know much on the topic, too!

Review Roundup

Masquerade Season by ‘Pemi Aguda [short story]

This one really made me think and it hit me harder than I anticipated. Actually, Masquerade Season reminded me of The Giving Tree, honestly. One of those stories where the message makes you ache and it leaves you deeply melancholy.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt [fiction]

I got a chapter sampler version, so I’m only reviewing the couple of chapters I read, but I really, really like the prose in this one. There’s a very distinct voice, which is so nice to find. The set up is very intriguing, and I’m really curious to see how it’s going to wrap up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC-excerpt. Excited to read the full book!

Dust Bowl Venus by Stella Beratlis [poetry collection]

Woe be unto us: We thought dancing did not matter.

I really do have, like, a thing for poetry. I truly do. Poems are so fly, and these ones are awesome.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine [children’s books]

This is such an informative and awesome kid’s book! It’s interactive, which is great for teaching kids and getting them engaged with the material, and there are so many different birds that are described herein. It also delves briefly into how evolution and Darwinism work. A lovely, colourful book for young readers!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker [graphic novel/comic books]

I’m gonna admit, I picked this up because of the show. It’s awesome to finally have the focus on Bucky’s character, who I’ve always found interesting. This comic was quite compelling and I really liked the artwork. I was a bit confused? I feel like there was backstory I didn’t have, but maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the show/films universe. Like, I wasn’t expecting Bucky and Natasha to be so close! I liked them together, I was just a bit thrown. That said, I liked it overall. Definitely going to read a few more Winter Soldier tales. 

Mika and the Dragonfly by Ellen Delange [children’s books]

Do you need a spoiler warning for a kid’s book? It’s only 17 pages, so I have no idea! But, uh, spoilers? Haha. The artwork in this is absolutely lovely, and there’s a good message about being kind to insects and making friends. I’m a little unsure about the method of resolution, though: the dragonfly’s wing fell off and the kid ends up gluing it back on.

Adults don’t take kid’s books literally, of course, but I’d just be sure to tell the kid you’re reading this to not to attempt gluing a dragonfly’s wing back on. I really worry about the dragonflies, okay?! That’s my only nitpick, though. Overall it’s a very sweet little book and definitely worth picking up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Six fabulous children’s books!

I’m hoping to get back to some longer fiction in the coming weeks, as my TBR is piling up and there are so many that I want to read, but it’s been so hard to have time to sit down and properly devour a long book lately that I can only consume comics, novellas and children’s books. I’m really loving the ones I’m finding! Some seriously adorable and inspiring works here!

♡ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ 

Opal the Octopus is Overwhelmed by Ashley Bartley

‘Opal Octopus says yes to everything, without taking time to think through it. Now she’s overwhelmed by too much on her plate, because she’s quick to agree’

Summing up this book in three words is easy: PRECIOUS. RELATABLE. IMPORTANT.

My mind feels squishy and scattered. I can’t focus on one thing at a time. Wanting to be perfect at everything I do really makes my anxiety climb!

Preach, Opal. As a perpetual juggler of too many things at once, I related to this lovely little book so much. Like, honestly, everyone should read this whether they’re a kid or an adult. Trying to balance everything at once is exhausting and stressful and, in the words of dear Opal, anxiety-inducing. Listen to this octopus and make time for yourself!

I Can Say No by Jenny Simmons

I can use my words
If someone looks down on me.
For the color of my skin
Or the makeup of my family.
I can say, ‘No!
There is no room here
For hate, injustice,
Unkindness, or fear.’

Why, what a wholesome, powerful little book about teaching kids to stand up for themselves and others, to show the importance of boundaries and individuality and self-care. Gotta say, for such a short and sweet book, it packs a profound punch. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, vibrant, rich and detailed. There’s excellent diversity and representation. Definitely a fantastic book for kids!

I can say NO
to the thoughts in my head
that tell me I’m worthless
because I messed up again.

Um, yes?! Let’s be instilling this in everyone. *throws confidence confetti into the air* Say no with gumption, kids! Talk down your demons and embrace your own path!

My no is my no – there’s no need to explain.

HEAR HEAR

Of course, the author does illustrate the importance of choosing when to say no, or when you can’t – like listening to your parents about chores, haha – and thus provides a balanced approach to saying no.

How to Tap a Maple! by Stephanie Mulligan

This is a cute little informative book about the process of tapping maple syrup from trees in the winter snow. It’s a good explanatory book for children curious about how syrup is refined through boiling and straining before it can be served. It’s set in Maine, which is a lovely state, but of course now I’m missing Canada! And I also want pancakes. 😉

The Froggies Do Not Want to Sleep by Adam Gustavson

Seriously, 100%, could not stop laughing at these froggies.

This absolutely gorgeously illustrated book is light on the words, but the artwork is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Simply splendid! The writing, honestly, reads like some exasperated, knowing parent, who simply cannot get the froggies to go to sleep and I just cracked up laughing every page.

‘They want to sing opera while firing themselves out of cannons’ but they certainly do NOT want to go to sleep.

I giggled. Hard.

The Speckled Feather by Johanna Ries

The artwork in this straight up left me like:

I think it’s hand drawn, water-colour-y and lush and lovely, and I’m absolutely enamoured. You just want to fall into the artist’s world and live inside these colours. So, so beautiful. Hats off to the artist!

The story itself is an important one about friendship, care and the downside of selfishness. Three birds live with an elephant and are protected from predators by the elephant until they start fighting with each other about who gets to keep the speckled feather that blows their way one day. Mr Elephant ain’t about that nonsense and teaches them a valuable lesson.

Definitely recommend!

Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care by Sean Julian

Maybe together it’ll only be half as scary

Aww, this is a sweet little story about how to believe in yourself, even when you’re shy and nervous and don’t feel up to public speaking. A great message for kids! And the drawings are adorable.