Monthly Archives: April 2014

Paper Towns: A Worthy Read that Doesn’t Live up to Fault in our Stars (John Green)

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

If I compare it to other YA I’ve read, I would probably give it 4 out of 5 stars… however, reading it right after I read (and loved, despite its pretentious bits) The Fault in our Stars… it was a bit of a disappointment.

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation (Adam Resnick)

3.5 out of 5 stars

*Got an ARC from Goodreads*

Pros:

1. Strong, comedic voice. There are times when Resnick’s voice (though that’s almost not a strong-enough word, it’s almost like a developed and honed persona here) really shines through, and that’s when the writing is the strongest. Though it’s meant to be memoir-like, there are parts when it feels more stand-up-comedy rant, and that’s when it actually flows the best, when you can almost picture a younger, maybe slightly-less-angry Lewis Black narrating this to you…

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Posted in Nonfiction

Weekend Wonder Detox (Michelle Schoffro Cook)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
As someone who’s never tried a “detox” week/weekend/recipe and who still isn’t going to, I’m clearly not the target demographic for this book. Still, it was a quick and interesting read. I found the beginning sections citing toxins in our food/processing systems/packaging systems to be far more informational than the latter “solutions” type of sections, but it’s possible I’m just always more interested in the problems than in the so-called fixes. The writer has a nice, succinct style of writing, and the sections are clearly organized and well delineated. That said, I’m a skeptic who stayed a skeptic. Despite the persuasive writing and authoritative tone, I wasn’t invested enough by the earlier sections to want to actually try any of the detoxes described. I’m giving it 3.5-stars because it was well-written, interesting and entertaining… not because I tried any of the solutions recommended within.
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Posted in Nonfiction

Stuck (Oliver Jeffers)

3 out of 5 stars
While I generally like this artist’s style of art, I think this story is a relatively weaker venue in terms of showcasing his art/creativity.

The story is a bit like a too-long joke that just keeps going and going and going (with an okay punchline at the end). A young boy gets his kite stuck in a tree, and so he throws… a ladder, a saw, firemen, etc… and instead of dislodging his kite (and instead of using the ladder to say, climb the tree) EVERYTHING gets stuck in the tree.

Parts of it are funny, and my three-year-old did like it the first time through… but hasn’t really asked for it since.

Also, I’m really not thrilled to have a kid’s book where someone throws a saw into a tree. BUT, the main reason I’m giving it 3-stars is because as a reader, I thought the joke wore on a little too long, and my kid hasn’t asked for it again, which means it was kind of meh in his book as well.

Posted in Children's/Young Adult

One Bear (Emily Thomson)

This is great for small toddlers just learning to read, it’s short and sweet, and currently $0.99. It’s not breaking new ground, but it’s cute, cheap and helps add to my toddler’s collection.

The actual text is quite short — at 10 sentences that rhyme? This review might be longer than the book.

But, the pictures are nice and bright, and the text is clear and cute. It’s simple and sweet, and will be a nice addition for a toddler learning to count.

Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Pig and Small (Alex Latimer)

4 out of 5 stars

Nice premise, cute pictures, make this something I’ll probably be adding into our rotation.

The message/idea here is simple but sweet: that friendship, when you try hard enough, can transcend boundaries and obstacles such as mere size!

The pictures we well rendered and engaging: they vary in size, proportions and distribution in a way that will help keep your toddler (and hopefully the adult reader) entertained.

It’s not a perfect 5-out-of-5-star read for me, but it’s a very nice picture book, one with a nice message, engaging pictures, and cute scenarios. It’s simple, but sweet. A great read for toddler-aged kids.

*Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Children Make Terrible Pets (Starring Lucille Beatrice Bear)

3 out of 5 stars

So many things going for it:

1. A great spin on the can-we-keep-this-animal idea (a bear who wants to make a squeaky boy she found into her own personal pet).

2. Cute illustrations (cute, though almost too cutesy… at times)

3. A nice retro-like feel to the whole setup (so you could almost believe this is some long-lost hand-me-down you’re reading)

And yet… honestly? I wanted to like this book more than I did. I felt like it just missed the mark somehow and doesn’t have that special “something” holding it together. My kids liked it on the first go-through, but haven’t really asked for it sense. I think it could have been great (it certainly had a lot of key elements) but ends up just being… pretty good.

Posted in Children's/Young Adult