The Most Beautiful Village in the World by Yutaka Kobayashi

61cvlf2h-ml-_sy376_bo1204203200_

The Most Beautiful Village in the World is a picture book written and illustrated by Yutaka Kobayahi. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I wanted to share it with my girls. They always enjoy the books I receive, and their feedback is useful in helping me write my reviews.

This is a slow-paced picture book about an Afghani boy named Yamo who lives in the village of Paghman with his parents. His older brother is off fighting in the war, and because of this, Yamo will get to travel to town to sell the fruit they have picked. Yamo has never been to town before, and is somewhat intimidated when his father asks him to walk around with the fruit. Later, he and his father share tea at a restaurant, and they have enough money to buy a lamb. No one else in the village has a lamb of their own, and Yamo is very proud to be able to return home with their new lamb. Read more

Advertisements

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey

51-tzdvd3gl-_sx328_bo1204203200_

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein is a picture book written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Juliet Sarda. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I wanted to share it with my girls. They always enjoy the books I receive, and their feedback is useful in helping me write my reviews.

This is a children’s biography about Mary Shelley, the woman who wrote Frankenstein. Because this is a picture book rather than a chapter book, there is a limited amount of space in which to convey a great deal of information. Mary’s childhood is briefly covered; most notably, that she hid behind the sofa to listen to Coleridge recite the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Much of the book covers her relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley and the circumstances that led to her inspiration for writing Frankenstein. The prose is quite evocative, and one can quite easily picture spending rainy days in a castle with two of England’s most famous poets. The book ends with the enduring legacy of the Frankenstein story.   Read more

Guts & Glory: The American Revolution by Ben Thompson

 

61ocvgeoecl-_sx361_bo1204203200_

Guts & Glory: The American Revolution was written by Ben Thompson. I picked up the Audible edition of this book (as well as the others in the series) during a sale, and my girls and I listened to it while we were driving around during all of our after-school activities.

This book is a wonderful introduction to the foundations of American history. Thompson uses a jocular storytelling format to convey information, and I found myself enjoying listening to this book as much as the kids. Much of the story is slightly irreverent, which naturally appeals to children. He uses modern pop culture examples to draw comparisons with events from the Revolution, like comparing Bunker Hill to an epic battle from Lord of the Rings or saying that he has to pay tax “every time he buy[s] a new Xbox game or a Big Mac”. Understanding history is so important, and I have a great deal of appreciation for Thompson’s ability to make learning about history appealing. Read more

I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo by Charles Schulz

51tl0b2bcm6l-_sx332_bo1204203200_

I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo is a collection of Peanuts cartoons by the late Charles Schulz. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of Peanuts. Needless to say, she was very excited when I told her that I had a Peanuts book for her to read!

Fans of Peanuts will know that “sweet babboo” was a term of endearment that Sally Brown used with her beloved Linus. Interestingly enough, while there was a storyline involving Sally and Linus going to a farm on a school, most of the collection focuses on other storylines. We are treated to Snoopy’s feud with the cat next door, Peppermint Patty’s school troubles, Charlie Brown running away, and Snoopy playing tennis with Molly Volley.

These storylines are unrelated, but the compilers of this collection did a good job with the segues, so nothing seems out-of-place with the transitions. There’s a nice flow. Read more

Geronimo Stilton #18: First to the Last Place on Earth by Geronimo Stilton

61drge2b9zdl-_sx333_bo1204203200_

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My daughters love reading the Geronimo Stilton books, as do many of their classmates. We are also very fortunate that our town library has a lovely collection of the Geronimo Stilton graphic novels published by Papercutz. I was very excited about the opportunity to read the newest graphic novel- First to the Last Place on Earth. 

This is the 18th entry in the series, and it follows a familiar formula: Geronimo is summoned by the Professor to travel back in time to thwart the Pirate Cats’ attempt to disrupt a major historical event. This time, the Cats are trying to prevent Roald Amundsen and his Norwegian expedition team from being the first to reach the South Pole. It’s up to Geronimo and his friends to stop the Cats, and ensure that Amundsen and his team reach the South Pole! Read more

The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon & Dean Hale

61u2bjaef1jl-_sx389_bo1204203200_

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My girls are big fans of The Princess in Black series by Shannon and Dean Hale (with illustrations by LeUyen Pham), so I was very excited about the opportunity to read The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation.

This is the fourth book in the series, so that means that Princess Magnolia has been fighting monsters for quite awhile. Of course, real princesses don’t fight monsters (big wink), so she transforms into The Princess in Black when the going gets tough. All of this sneaking and costume changes and subterfuge have been quite exhausting, and Princess Magnolia decides to take a seaside vacation. Will she be able to enjoy some quiet time on the beach- or will a monster ruin her plans for rest and relaxation? Read more

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

51b22bx5f3sl-_sx360_bo1204203200_I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ben Clanton. It is intended for readers of all ages, and will hold special appeal for children in the early years of elementary school.

This novel is broken up into three short stories featuring a charismatic narwhal and his jellyfish friend. In the first story, the friends meet for the first time and try to figure out if they are real or imaginary. The second story contains some important lessons about friendship when Jellyfish feels left out after Narwhal recruits other animals as members of his new pod. Finally, the third story demonstrates the power of imagination when Narwhal and Jellyfish peruse a book with no words or pictures. Read more

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

51ddipgw21lA couple of years ago, Audible had a great sale. I was able to purchase most of Beverly Cleary’s most popular books for about $4 apiece. I have been reading the Ramona books to my seven-year-old twins, and now that the girls are out of school, we have been listening to some of the books that we haven’t read.

The girls wanted to start with Beezus and Ramona, which takes place before Ramona the Pest. They were very interested to see what Ramona was like before she started Kindergarten. I’d like to point out that Stockard Channing serves as narrator for all of the Ramona books, so that’s kind of neat in a whimsical sort of way.

Beezus and Ramona differs from the other Ramona books because Ramona’s older sister Beezus is the protagonist. Ramona is certainly the one who serves as catalyst, but the focus is on how Ramona’s actions affect Beezus. Read more

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

510oaysl4alMy girls have been fans of the Elephant & Piggie series for about five years. We have almost all of the books in the series; they have helped all three of them learn to read. We were very sad when we heard that The Thank You Book would be the last Elephant & Piggie book, and we were looking forward to one last funny story with Piggie and Gerald.

As The Thank You Book begins, Piggie declares that she is going to thank everyone who has helped her. Gerald worries that she is going to forget someone, but Piggie insists that she will not.

And then Piggie proceeded to thank every secondary character in the entire series, and I tried not to cry. They are all there, and fans of the series (like my girls) will enjoy seeing familiar friends. Gerald continues to worry that Piggie will forget someone- who could she possibly be forgetting that thank? Read more

Noah’s Ark retold by Lawrence T. Lorimer

61o7rn9heolMy oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.

Noah’s Ark was retold by Lawrence T. Lorimer and illustrated by Charles E. Martin. It was originally published in 1978.

The plot of this story should be familiar to many, as it is part of religious lore for several faiths. Noah is a farmer living in the ancient world, and he is apparently the only good person in the world. God tells Noah to build an ark, and to bring aboard two of every species of animal. Noah complies, the world is flooded, and when the floodwaters subside, a rainbow appears. This is God’s promise to never flood the world again.       Read more