Posted in Book Reviews, Picture Book Reviews

Ten Ways To Hear Snow

a Picture Book By Cathy Camper Illustrated b Kenard Pak (published 2020)

First, let me just note that it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a picture book. I read so many, it gets tricky deciding which to review and why. So I’ve come up with a new format and will review if/when I feel like it. I stopped looking for rhyme or reason to which I select for review. My latest haul had loads of winter themed stories so there may be several of those to come. But today we’ll start with this one for no particular reason at all.

SUMMARY:
Lina takes a trip across the city to see her grandmother on a quiet snowy day.

Continue reading “Ten Ways To Hear Snow”
Posted in Book Reviews, Middle Grade Book Reviews

The Lost Frost Girl – a review

By Amy Wilson
Fantasy – Fairy Tales / Middle-Grade

Well, hello, hello. My first book review in who knows how long? Of course, I’m the only one who noticed I neglected my blog for all of 2021. Blogs, journals, manuscripts, health, housework – yeah, many things got pushed aside last year. No one cares why and I don’t care to share my reasons; let us pretend they were good reasons and leave it at that. Let us also hope I don’t do it again this year. If anyone is reading this, feel free to drop a comment below about the first book you completed in 2022, what your goals are this year, or what your dog’s name is. You can also just read my short little book review; that’s fine as well.

My Synopsis.
Owl is a young girl who finds out her father is Jack Frost. Finding out the truth led to other mysteries and trouble. If she’s not careful with her new powers, she could ruin a lot more than her friendship with her best friend Malory and her mother’s trust.

Continue reading “The Lost Frost Girl – a review”
Posted in Book Reviews, Picture Book Reviews

Wolf Camp (Book Review)

by Andrea Zuill
Humor – Picture Book

My Synopsis: 
Homer the dog gets an invitation to go to Wolf Camp for a week and he absolutely MUST go!

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Why I Picked This Book:
I was watching Julie Hedlund‘s mini-lessons that she was offering to 12×12 members. (I highly recommend all of her lessons if you’re new to writing picture books.) She talked about this book briefly while teaching, and I quickly wrote it down knowing it was one I had to own.

What Was Disappointing: 
Absolutely nothing. Which is saying a lot since my expectations were pretty high.

Why I Kept Reading:
Ok so maybe this format I use for book reviews doesn’t really fit for Picture Books. But there are picture books that although I finish, it’s only because I know the end is near, not necessarily because I’m intrigued and need to find out what happens. With this book, I was simply enjoying every page, every page turn, every image, and every word.

Take Away: 
This book is certainly a great example of humourous Picture Books, but even more. It has fantastic scene changes, great page turns, and super fun illustrations. The reason Julie used it as an example was to discuss character changes and arcs. The goal of wanting to be a wolf and how he feels about being a wolf at the end are just fantastic.

Final Thoughts:
As a dog trainer and groomer some dog stories make me cringe. I don’t see the humor in most dog books because I tend to take things too seriously. I see issues with some dog behavior and worry owners will think it’s acceptable or even cute. I know picture books are harmless but being submerged in dog behavior and how they learn, I cannot help how I feel. This book however is perfection. I won’t dive into my theories of dogs being dogs or the methodology of the team I work with, but I will say this book could almost be an advertisement for one of our programs: Farm Dog. So kudos to Andrea Zuill for making me laugh and smile and fall in love with this book.  If  I’ve reread it as many times as I have, kids will certainly enjoy this one over and over again.

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Post-Script:
I hope Pixie and Rex stay in touch with Homer. 

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Posted in TBR list

Goodreads Monday – Ronan the Librarian

Goodreads Monday is a great way to talk about a book from your TBR list. Originally started by Lauren’s Page Turners, most people do these weekly, (such as Confessions of a YA Reader who partakes in several fun blog themes) I prefer to do mine monthly and this month I chose something a little different from my norm.

It’s been a while since a picture book was in my Goodreads Monday. This recent 2020 release certainly made me chuckle when I saw the title. It went immediately on my TBR list. Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

Ronan the Librarian by sister duo Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrator Victoria Maderna

Ronan was a mighty barbarian.
He invaded. He raided. And back home, he traded.
He always found the greatest treasures.
Until one day, Conan found something no barbarian wants:
A BOOK.

This humorous picture book from sister duo Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrator Victoria Maderna follows Ronan the Barbarian as he grows from being just a rough-and-tumble warrior to a rough-and-tumble warrior who loves books.

At first, his fellow barbarians are skeptical of his newfound passion for reading, but in the end, even they aren’t immune to the charms of a good book.
Please share any other picture books I should have on my list!! There’s never enough!
Posted in Book Reviews, Middle Grade Book Reviews

Little Bird Flies (book review)

by Karen McCombie
Historical Fiction – Middle Grade (book 1) 

My Synopsis:

12-year-old Bridie lives with her family on a remote island of Scotland in 1861. As much as she loves her island, her family, and her best friend, she fears being “stuck” on the island forever. She’d never admit this to her hardworking family or anyone else for that matter, but when change comes to the island in a bad way, they are all forced to think about options beyond their island home. It’s not exactly the adventure Bridie had hoped for but she must face life’s challenges and make the best of some very difficult situations.

Why I Picked This Book:

This was a no-brainer for me. I love middle-grade books, I love historical fiction, and I love Scotland. I bought this before I traveled to Scotland last year as something to have upon my return to sort of “keep me in Scotland”.

What Was Disappointing: 

Me. I was disappointing. I have such a difficult time committing to books, it’s in almost every book review I write; “slow start”. I know it’s me, but I also know I can’t be the only person out there to have a form of ADD, possible dyslexia, and/or simply be bogged down with so much in life that concentration is difficult. So yes, this book had a very slow start for me. So much so that I’ve started and stopped reading it more times than I’d like to admit. I guess the first chapter didn’t draw me in enough. It was a bit too much internal dialogue from a character I didn’t know enough about or care about yet. But by all means, DO NOT let that stop you if you are a reader like me who struggles with getting attached to books. I IMPLORE you to continue reading!

Why I Kept Reading:

I can’t say I kept reading because the adventure kicked in and the paced quickened. I mean, it picks up and I sped read through the entire second half, but this is definitly more of a “quiet” book. What made me keep reading was how the writer made me fall in love. I fell in love with the island, with Bridie, and fell deeply into the entire isle setting of 1861. Karen McCombie is a time travler and made me one too. She made me fall in love with Bridie’s home as much as her characters did. I became and islander. I was one of them. I was there. When a writer can make me love a character, that’s always great. But when a writer can make me love a place, that’s amazing to me. So when that place is threatened by the new Laird of the island, I was absolutley emotionally invested.

Take Away: 

Admittingly, I don’t believe my younger self would have read this book. It’s a slow book along the lines of “The Secret Garden” or even “Treasure Island”. Stories I loved as a child in movie versions, but could not hold still long enough to read them. There were points in my reading that I thought “how is this a kid’s book?” but had to remember loads of kids (my sister and all four of her children included) who read ferociously without any troubles at all. And beyond taking one to 1861 island life in Scotland, this book deals with family, death, being ‘different’, responsibilities, cultural barriers, class wars, and of course, history.  And all of this is brought to you from a 12-year-old girl’s perspective as she deals with her own grief, guilt, and hopes as she watches her world change in ways she never could imagine. She’s a powerful young character that would do anyone well to get to know.

Final Thoughts:

This book was such a nice surprise. I thought it would be interesting, I didn’t know it would grip me in such a way that I would be crying a bit while writing it’s review. Good tears and sad tears, because that’s just how life is right? The writing in this book does everything I hope to acheive as a writer. Yes, I finished this book last week or so and I am STILL emotional over it. Every synopsis I have read makes it seem as though there isn’t much to it: She lives and an island and you know she gets off because there’s already a sequel that takes place in America so really, what’s left to find out? Do not deprive yourself of reading about Bridie’s adventures. Even if you start slow like me, dive deep into this story because it has much to tell.

Post-Script:

To the author – thank you for Patch the dog!