Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Book Review #440
The Urban Knitter by Lily M. Chin
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

I opened this book, expecting to find some interesting things to knit.  But instead, all I found was text, and it looked like it was about two decades old, when it had only been published in 2002.  I was still leafing through this book when I realized a very crucial fact.  There were no pictures.  None.  I was shocked.  How could I be expected to knit something without even a picture to look at?  What I didn't know is that all the pictures of the knitted items were somewhere close to the back of the book, bunched together.  But the photographs of the knitted items were not endearing, not in the least.  In fact, I thought they all looked rather dated and old-fashioned.  Sadly, this book was a big disappointment, I didn't find anything worthwhile in.  The style that it was put together was done so ill that I didn't even feel like reading any of the stories about the authors of the patterns.

Book Review #439
Simple Knits With A Twist by Erika Knight
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I really liked the pictures and the way they were displayed.  You could clearly see the knitted item and still get a good glimpse of the smaller details as well.  The colors were bright and added a lot to the general feel of the book.  I also thought it was ingenuis how they used other materials you might not think about knitting with, such as satin ribbon, plastic bags, and even metal wire.  I only found one pattern that I want to knit someday, which was the Woven Woolen Rug, but I'd recommend this book.

Book Review #438
Snow Is My Favorite And My Best by Lauren Child
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This is quite a cute little book.  I love how Lola talks, she jumbles up her words and mixes up meanings, but she still manages to get her point across.  I thought this book was sweet and would recommend it.

Book Review #437
The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey
Rating: one star (out of four)

I just couldn't get into the story for this book.  I was actually kind of bored throughout the entire reading.  The illustrations weren't especially lovely or anything, although I did like how they used different hues of colors and blended them together.  The last page was also rather bizarre.  I wouldn't recommend this book.

Book Review #436
Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy
Rating: three stars (out of four)

There was a lot of good advice and heartfelt points in this book.  I thought Leslie Ludy did a good job of explaining things and making a plee to the hearts of young women.  While I did enjoy this book and thought it had some great ideas inside, I wasn't as hooked because I found some parts of it a little boring.  I would still recommend to young adults though, it had a good message.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book Review #435
The Dirt On Breaking Up by Hayley DiMarco and Justin Lookadoo
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Justin and Hayley always have top notch advice.  They do an excellent job of covering any question you could think to ask, while answering in a honest and sometimes hilarious way.  I also thought that they had some great tips for what to do in certain situations, depending on if you were breaking up because of abuse, or if you had been in this relationship for an extended period of time.  I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, especially teenagers battling the rocky grounds of the dating field.

Book Review #434
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was quite interesting.  The political slant was woven in so well I could enjoy the story without feeling pressured by their opinion.  At the same time though, their opinion was well stated and prevalent.  I thought the book had a kind of eery feel to it, not being far from the truth of corrupted people nowadays, and I was even a little spooked at how things twisted so out of hand at the end.  While I mildly enjoyed reading this book, I wouldn't go out recommending it to everyone I met.

Book Review #433
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There was some pretty interesting stuff in this book.  On one hand, I was pretty amazed with the facts that they were pulling out.  But on the other hand I felt like I needed to take things with a grain of salt.  I realized that the authors were definitely putting their slant on all these issues, and while I think there is some truth to their opinions, they are not The Truths.  I still found parts of this book equally fascinating.  I would probably recommend, but don't believe it just because it is in a book, make your own judgments and back up your claim with your own research.

Book Review #432
Kenny And The Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a delightful little book.  I especially enjoyed looking at Tony DiTerlizzi's illustrations.  His drawings never cease to amuse or amaze me.  The story was a little simplistic, but I think juvenile readers would find it inspiring and want to read over and over again.  Tony does an excellent job of having a simple message without dumbing down the reading level.  I would recommend.

Book Review #431
Harlem by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers
Rating: one star (out of four)

The pictures for this book seemed a little messy, and at times, even downright sloppy.  I didn't really care for them at all.  The descriptive poem that described Harlem wasn't very interesting, I often found myself tuning it out while I was reading.  Maybe this book just wasn't my style, but I'm still not going to recommend it to anyone I know.

Book Review #430
Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Rating: four stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were absolutely breathe-taking.  I loved how the people were drawn, with such vivid details of their skin and faces, almost like they were looking straight at you, telling you their story.  This story had sad elements, but still managed to have a happy, if bittersweet ending.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Book Review #429
Night Of The Gargoyles by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Wiesner
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was okay at best.  I thought the illustrations were nice, but because of what they were, I didn't care for them.  I didn't like the thought of gargoyles coming alive at night to roam where they pleased.  And I'm not sure how a young child would feel about this book.  I'm not going to go around recommending this book anytime soon.

Book Review #428
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was very disjointed, it almost felt like there were pages missing, it jumped from one scene to the next.  I thought it was a nice touch that the author wanted to fit in all aspects of this story, but the way they did it only made it jumbled and confusing.  I wish this book had been a little more thought out, with direct references as to why some people were in the story and an explanation to what their roles were.  As it is, I wouldn't recommend this book.

Book Review #427
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

This book portrays itself as a "historical fiction" novel by being set in the late 1800s.  I was not impressed in the least.  I did not like how the "good" people were portrayed as sleazy and shameless as the rest of society.  And puh-lease, do you expect me to believe that everyone behaved that way?  I thought it was rather perverted the way the author tried to take modern characters and make them seem more romantic by tossing them into a story set 100 years ago.  If they were truly from that century, they would not have the same morals as people from this century.  I did not care for the sleeping around and how it was okay because they "loved" each other and were destined to be together.  I was also highly distained with how some of the characters weren't fully developed and did things that they never would have done if they had been real people.  All in all, while this book may have been partially amusing, it is most definitely not something that I would recommend.  With its sleaziness, occasional language and utter disregard for morals or ethics I would say this was a modern day sketchy teen romance parading around as something unassuming and worthwhile.  Do not read this book.

Book Review #426
June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book was quite comical.  I wasn't expecting it to go the way it did at all, but it was a pleasant surprise.  It kind of had the same feel as "Cloudy With A Side Of Meatballs," and I'd recommend to people who were fans of that book.  I loved the ending, it made the book all the more enjoyable.

Book Review #425
Jessica by Kevin Henkes
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a sweet book.  I loved how the story progressed, showing how the two friends did everything together.  I also thought the ending was quite cute.  I would recommend this book.

Book Review #424
A Weekend With Wendell by Kevin Henkes
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a funny little book.  The way that Kevin Henkes portrayed Wendell was hysterical, as this little crazy kid who didn't even really notice that he was causing so much trouble.  I liked this book and I would recommend it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review #423
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a very sweet little book.  I thought the the illustrations were quite lovely and matched the story.  The format that the story was told in was a little different, being entirely written in letters to her relatives from the perspective of the little girl, but it was still kind of nice.  I liked this book and would probably recommend it.

Book Review #422
Tibet by Peter Sis
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

I just cannot understand how Peter Sis keeps getting Caldecotts.  I don't like his illustrations, they aren't extraordinarily amazing or fantastic.  Sometimes I even find them crude or grotesque.  And his stories!  I don't get his stories.  I am most often confused, wondering why he can't just stop trying to be intellectually superior and just write the story.  He brings in elements and then takes them out again, only to bring them back in at the end, like you are supposed to be impressed with his cleverness.   Honestly, I can't see why people like his books, I just can't get them.  It was a real struggle to get through this book, and the only reason I finished it was because it was a Caldecott and I felt like I needed to finish it.  I was hoping that it would redeem itself in the end, but it most certainly did not.  I would not recommend this book at all.  

Book Review #421
Song Of The Water Boatman by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I thought this was a beautifully put together book.  The illustrations were delightful, I loved how the colors were vivid and descriptive.  I also liked the outline of black ink that made the colors look more alive.  The poems were sweet and often quite informative.  And the author also included little snipits of information on the other side of the page, to provide you with a more indepth look at the creatures that were on the page.  I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Book Review #420
Madam President by Lane Smith
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a funny book.  I loved how this little girl had everything completely planned out.  She had definitely done her research and thought every single detail through and planned accordingly.  I also loved Lane Smith's illustrations, they always crack me up.  I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

Book Review #419
Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I thought this book was absolutely adorable.  I loved the plot process, and how the two friends were exactly alike and did all sorts of crazy things together.  I also liked how they were baffled by the addition of the mysteriously bizarre Lilly and they didn't quite know how to handle her.  But in the end, they all worked it out, compromising on all sides to become best friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book Review #418
Coming On Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A sweet book that had a nice plot, even though I wasn’t sure that it was going to have a happy ending.  The illustrations were nice as well, I enjoyed looking at them.  I would  recommend this book.

Book Review #417
Moses by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were amazing.  I really liked how they captured the color and made it portray the story.  This book was interesting to read, and children who are interested in the underground railroad would probably like this book.  I’d recommend it.

Book Review #416
Strega Nona Takes A Vacation by Tomie dePaola
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Another adventure with strega nona, only this time, she goes on vacation.  This book was fun to read and the pictures were comical and sweet, all at the same time.  I would probably recommend this book.

Book Review #415
Odd Ball Knitting by Barbara Albright
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The way that the patterns in this book were displayed was nice, with enough close up pictures so that you could get a feel for what the pattern looked like, as well as the whole thing on a model.  I liked the page set up as well.  The only thing I have against this book is that I only found one pattern that I would like to possibly knit up in the future.  Most of the patterns didn’t even come close to temping me.  Still, this is a fun book that has some neat ideas for what to do with your leftover yarn.

Book Review #414
Hondo And Fabian by Peter McCarty
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I just loved the illustrations for this book, they were so soft and sweet.  You couldn’t help but smile at the faces of the animals as they went about their day.  The story was pretty simple, but still something that little children would enjoy.  I’d recommend this book.

Book Review #413
The Man Who Walked Between The Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an interesting story, one that I had not known about before.  I didn’t really care for the main character’s longing to walk across the two towers, I was constantly afraid that he would fall to his death.  The illustrations were pretty nice, but not insanely gorgeous or anything.  

Book Review #412
What Do You Do With A Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I thought this was a fun little animal book, highlighting the different aspects of an animal and what cool things it does to survive.  The illustrations were pretty cool.  I also liked how they included a wide variety of animals, with insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.  I’d recommend this book.

Book Review #411
Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was pretty simplistic, a little too simplistic for my taste actually.  While the story was a sweet one, it was kind of underplayed by the illustrations and words that were chosen to occumpany them.  I really did not find this book all that entertaining and wouldn’t recommend.

Book Review #410
Golem by David Wisniewski
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

Ugh, I did not care for this story at all.  It was not something that I would want young children reading, for it mixed the fantasy world closely with reality, almost blending them together, and I can easily see a child becoming confused and not knowing the different between the two.  The illustrations were pretty unique, but some pictures were a little gruesome/creepy.  I would not recommend this book.

Book Review #409
Gone Wild by David McLimans
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I really liked this book.  They took the alphabet and added a whole new layer by doing endangered animals.  I thought it was really educational, and also brought to children’s attention animals they might not have known about if they hadn’t read this book.  It had a resource list at the end of the book, where you could get more information.  And they also had some more information in the back, telling a little more about the animal’s characteristics as well as why it was becoming extinct, or on the verge of becoming extinct.  I’d definitely recommend this book.

Book Review #408
The Spider And The Fly by Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I, of course, love Tony DiTerlizzi’s illustrations, he could illustrate pages and pages and I would soak them up.  This story was slightly creepy, but it did have a good moral, one that you should take to heart.  I also liked the rhyming and the black and white illustrations.  I’d recommend this book. 

Book Review #407
Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were pretty amazing, the depth and detail in the animals, as well as the scenery.  My favorite page was the one where they showed what the earth looked like completely covered in water, with the whales and sea creatures swimming over the towns.  This was a nice book, that remained fairly true to the biblical version, I would probably recommend.

Book Review #406
A Child's Calendar by John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I especially liked the poems for each month.  They were simple, sweet and described the months with clarity, adding details and smells that brought a vivid picture to your mind.  The illustrations were also lovely, I liked the fullness they conveyed.  I would recommend this book.

Book Review #405
Snow By Uri Shulevitz
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a fun little children’s book.  The way that they characters were drawn in this book were quite comical.  I found myself amused at their exaggerated proportions.  The story was a simple one, but one that would still amuse children.  I would probably recommend this book.

Book Review #404
Casey At The Bat by Christopher Bing
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were quite different, kind of old fashioned, but they were still lovely, and they perfectly fitted along with the feeling of the book.  Not being a sports fan myself, I really didn’t care for the storyline at all, but I might still recommend this book for baseball fans.  The ending was a little weird, but maybe I am just not familiar with the story.

Book Review #403
In The Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I really enjoyed reading this book.  The illustrations were cool, with bright, vivid colors and bold lines, I felt they added a lot to the story.  I also liked how there was only a few words on each page, and yet, it wasn’t patronizing, it was simply poetic and fun to read.  I’d definitely recommend this book.

Book Review #402
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Simms Taback
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was crazy.  But then again...the whole little poem itself is a little off.  I liked how the illustrations kept right along with the little old lady, who continued to swallow the must absurd things.  And of course, at the end, what more can you expect?   The colors in this book were bright and bold.  I’d recommend this book, it was cute and fun to read. 

Book Review #401
The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book had a pretty unique story, I’ve heard versions that are slightly different, but never read anything quite like this before.  The illustrations were fairly nice, but I wasn’t too fond of them, even if they were pretty elaborate.  I would recommend this book, it will probably keep a child entertained.

Book Review #400
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were very interesting, sort of like a collage that was mixed with paintings.  I thought they were fun to look at, and also pretty poignant.  The story was fairly simplistic, but it was still pretty moving.  I’d recommend this book.

Book Review #399
Lulu Dark Can See Through Walls by Bennett Madison
Rating: one star (out of four)

I was not impressed with this book.  The main character, Lulu always talked about how she was different from the snobby people she loathed, but she would often stoop to their level.  I didn't appreciate the language in the story either.  There were a couple parts that I thought were dark and inappropriate for a tween-wannabe-teen book.  And the ending?  What was up with that?  It felt rushed and unoriginal.  I wouldn't recommend this book, it was a waste of time and had several flaws that hindered it from being enjoyable.

Book Review #398
Rematch by Erynn Mangum
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I liked the characters in this book, I found them personable and enjoyable.  The story was a little far-fetched sometimes, but I thought the plot was pretty hilarious.  And all the quirky asides were absolutely great!  There would be times where I would laugh out loud and then want to share it with someone, because it was just so funny.  I really liked this book and was kind of upset that my library did not have the third book in the trilogy.  I'd recommend if you were a fan of quick, lighthearted, funny books with a romantic twist.

Book Review #397
Miss Match by Erynn Mangum
Rating: four stars (out of four)

The amount of times I laughed while reading this book are uncountable.  I felt like the author was just rolling punch after punch.  I liked the main character, Laurie, I saw aspects of myself in her personality.  Although, I don't have nearly the chocolate and coffee addiction that she has.  I thought this was a fun, light read, with elements of sweetness and would definitely recommend if comedy is your cup of tea.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Review #396
When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry... by Molly Bang
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was alright.  The illustrations were a little much for me, they were kind of wild and all over the place.  I wished that the little girl could control her anger before screaming and kicking.  This book was interesting and I don't think that I will be recommending it anytime soon.

Book Review #395
Hush! by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Holly Meade
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I really liked this book.  The rhymes were so sweet and gentle, the repeating of the same lines wasn't distracting or annoying in the least.  I also really liked the illustrations, they perfectly matched the story.  This is a book that I would definitely recommend, it was a sweet little tale that had a fun ending.

Book Review #394
Duke Ellington by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were very unique, I liked the swirls of color that blended into the story and added depth to the pages.  The strong outlines of the drawings in bold black ink were very cool.  The story was pretty interesting, I liked the lingo they used, it gave it a more southern feel and made it feel more like Duke Ellington's era.  I would recommend this book, especially to jazz enthusiasts.  

Book Review #393
Joseph Had A Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I was quite impressed with Joseph's ability to take something and make it into something else.  I thought it was sweet, how much he loved that jacket and kept turning it into something else.  I was pretty sad at the end and was wondering what he was going to do.  But Joseph didn't get weighed down at all, he popped right back up and made something else.  A book that I would recommend, it was cute and had bright illustrations.

Book Review #392
So You Want To Be President? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small
Rating: two stars (out of four)

While I liked the sentiment of the book, sometimes I wished that the drawings weren't so crude, or the president's characteristics weren't so exaggerated.  I did like how they threw in all sorts of random little facts, like how many played an instrument, how many were named William, and so on.  I'd recommend this book, but I am definitely not buying it anytime soon, and I would be worried that some people might be offended at how some of the presidents are depicted in this book.

Book Review #391
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book was not at all what I expected it to be like, but at the same time, I really enjoyed it, once the shock wore off.  I thought it was a clever idea and I liked how the pigs took control instantaneously and were off and ready to go on their own adventures.  Of course, I am already a fan of David Wiesner's artwork, and this book did not disappoint.  A book I'd recommend, especially to pig-lovers.