Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Review: The Boy, the Boat and the Beast by Samantha M. Clark

Book received at no charge to facilitate review
What wonders would the world hold if one day you woke up not knowing who you are? When a boy wakes up on the beach in a world he doesn't recognize, he struggles to discover why he's there and who he is. Food and water comes easily to him but his bigger desire to know his place in the world doesn't come easy. An eerie feeling for a young boy.

It doesn't help that an unknown voice occupies his mind. A voice he nicknames "the bully" because of the negative thoughts it fills his brain. As if the bully isn't bad enough, a monstrous beast sits ready to devour him if the water doesn't pull him under first.

The boy focuses his energy into building a boat in an attempt to get back to his parents. The boy's adventure captivates the reader though the melancholy tone makes for slower reading. Perhaps slowing down is a good thing as it helps the reader catch the allegories of the story and appreciate the lyrical writing. A solid fantasy for those who love solving mysteries.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (June 26, 2018)
                                                                              ISBN:  978-1-5344-1255-2
Pages: 256
Ages: 8-12






Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Check by Cynthia Kadohata Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.


Conor MacRae's whole life revolves around hockey. Both he and his dad make sacrifices so that Conor can play on an elite hockey team. Even though almost every waking minute involves hockey, loves everything about it. When his dog, Sinbad gets sick with cancer, Conor has to choose between payments to the vet for chemotherapy sessions or hockey lessons.

Once Conor steps back from everyday lessons, he has time to notice things he hasn't noticed before like his dad's crying and somber moods and even the lack time with his mother's Japanese family. Maybe, just maybe he the hockey rink isn't the only place Conor belongs.

The elite athlete will relate to the time spent perfecting the sport but the heart of the story lies with the relationship outside of the rink.


Rating: ★★★★☆

Friday, November 16, 2018

Book Review: Click, Clack, Quack to School

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Get ready for the excitement, for the stomping of feet, the hooting and hollering and the for clucking. Wait! What do the rules say again?

On Wednesday, Farmer Brown gets an invitation to be a guest at Dinklemeyer Elementary School and to "Bring the animals too." He rushes to get the animals ready. With all of the excitement, the cows moo, the chickens cluck, and the pigs oink but Farmer Brown explains that school is serious and quiet. The animals must obey the rules. Suddenly school doesn't sound so fun.

When the animals make it to school and the recess bell rings, things get a little wacky. While the silly story starts on a promising note, the ending falls a little flat. Somehow, I feel like I missed the punchline. A silly but quick read for those who enjoy the Click, Clack series.

Rating ★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher:  Atheneum Young Readers (July 3, 2018
ISBN: 9781534414495
Ages: 4-8







Friday, November 9, 2018

Dear Sister Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.


"Dear Sister," so begins a series of letters written by an older brother to his annoying sister. The letters follow the rocky start when little sister comes home from the hospital to sweet overtures when big brother leaves for college.

The brother grades his sister on whininess, annoyingness, afraid of the darkness and refusal to eat lima beans. Readers will love the humor of the brother’s candid reports and letters. Subtle changes in the letters as the sister grows expose surprise feelings.

Careful attention to the simple handwriting and childlike sketches by Joe Bluhm give additional clues to feelings the brother has toward his sister and vice versa. Definitely worth spending time poring over the illustrations and comparing them to written words. No boy should with a little sister should miss Alison McGhee’s touching story, best described with three H’s: honesty, humor and heartwarming.

★★★★★

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
ISBN: 9781481451420
Ages: Ages 10 and up
Written by Alison McGhee & Illustrated by Joe Bluhm