Sunday, January 30, 2011


Book Review #1164
Knit Kimono Too by Vicki Square
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The patterns in this book were simply gorgeous. I loved the colors, styles, and shapes of the sweaters. That being said, I wasn't so in love with them that I had to whip out my needles and start knitting my own creation...but I thought they were beautiful. The layout and overall design of the book was fabulous as well. I would definitely recommend this book.
Book Review #1163
Fiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Amy Cordova
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The premise for this book was sweet and enjoyable. I thought it did a good job of blending the Spanish words with a text that made it easier to understand the words. I liked the illustrations. I would recommend this book.

Book Review #1162
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I love the antics of this impatient little llama. This book was humorous and had a good message, but I didn't love it as much as the previous Llama Llama books. The pictures were amusing and several times I smiled at the crazy faces of the characters. It's a good book for the holidays. I'd recommend.


Book Review #1161
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a cute book. The interactions between Ling and Ting were humorous and I thought every chapter in this book was amusing. I also liked the contrast between the sisters and their antics. The illustrations were simple, and yet featured enough detail to give you a broad picture. I would recommend.

Book Review #1160
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was an intriguing book about a subject I had never read before. I thought the author did a good job of portraying the struggle of keeping this endangered parrot alive. The photographs were visually bright and expansive. I felt like I got a glimpse of the island and its strange creatures, the Kakapos. I would recommend this book.

Thursday, January 13, 2011



Book Review #1153
Here Comes The Garbage Barge by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Red Nose Studio
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was lackluster for me. The illustrations were done in a unique way, but they still felt very messy and slightly grotesque (which kind of goes along with the theme of the book) and they just put me off. Other people might find this book more engaging then I did, but it just didn't mesh with me. I wouldn't recommend.

Book Review #1152 Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson

Book Review #1152
Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson, illustrated by R.G. Roth
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The pictures were rather interesting for this story. I liked them and at the same time I didn't like them. They were a little too messy/mussy/uncoordinated for my tastes sometimes. The story was fairly simple, but entertaining.  Not really something I'd recommend, though.


Book Review #1151
Subway by Christoph Niemann
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I didn't care for this book. I thought it had an interesting concept, but I just didn't see how well it played out in the story. The illustrations felt a little bland as well. I think other people might enjoy this book, but I didn't. It was a little boring.
Book Review #1150
Shadow by Suzy Lee
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I LOVED this book! There were no words, but every single thought was perfectly captured in the illustrations. I caught myself smiling while reading this book. Each page was imaginative and delightful. I loved the playful elements of the illustrations and the diversity of each scene portrayed. I would definitely recommend this book. Child and parents alike will be greatly amused by this lovely story!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Review #1149 The Ten Commandments of Dating by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams





Book Review #1149
The Ten Commandments of Dating: Time-Tested Laws for Building Successful Relationships by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams
Rating: three stars (out of four)


I liked this practical guide to dating. And while most of the stuff seemed very common sense-y, it was nice to see someone give insight into why it was important. I think people struggling with the idea of setting dating parameters will also find this book helpful because it illustrates ground rules. This book will hopefully make people think about what they want out of a relationship and how they can set guidelines to for a healthy and beneficial relationship while also keeping themselves from heartache or failure. I liked the advice and I found it encouraging. It presented the material in a straight forward way and wasn’t overly preachy or cheesy. Definitely something I’d recommend.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review #1148 Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry



Book Review #1148
Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was interesting. There were parts of it I simply loved. Like the magical aspects and the different world Berry built. It was unlike other worlds I had been in and I thought she did a good job of developing it. But other parts of the novel didn't flow as well. I was intrigued by the main character and thought she handled herself fairly well. For most of the story I tried to guess how things would work out, though I did feel like the ending could have provided more closure. I did enjoy this book. I'm also a little in love with the cover. It's pretty perfect for the story. But I didn't like Secondhand Charm as much as The Amaranth Enchantment, (Berry's first book,) which I simply adored. While in most stories I feel like the romantic elements are too vibrant and cumbersome, I actually wished for a little more in this story. Still, I enjoyed this novel and would recomend.


Book Review #1147
Seasons by Blexbolex
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This seemed like a book from another era. I thought all of the pages were interesting and I could imagine a child poring over the pages, just looking at all of the colors and styles. I did like the format of the book and the unique feel. While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't my all time favorite. I would still recommend though.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Book Review #1146
Zero by Kathryn Otoshi
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an sweet story about a number that felt like they didn't have much to offer and wanted to be something else. It took a little while for Zero to realize its potential, but it was a fairly interesting story along the way. I liked the simplistic colors and format of the book - it portrayed the other numbers nicely. I would probably recommend.


Book Review #1145
Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was fairly amusing. I enjoyed the bright illustrations and crazy colors that ran rampant through this book. The characters were fairly engaging and some of the text had some funny alliteration going on. I would probably recommend.


Book Review #1144
Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an amusing tale about a monster who didn't always act so monsterly. I liked the illustrations because they were colorful and engaging. The story was fairly simple, but I thought it had a nice ending. I might recommend.

Book Review #1143 Knitting in America by Melanie Falick



Book Review #1143
Knitting in America by Melanie Falick
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I liked looking through the pictures in this book. There were some pretty cool patterns. The photos throughout were interesting and showcased the knitted items well. The patterns were fun and colorful, but I didn't find anything I wanted to knit, though. I'd probably still recommend to others.


Book Review #1142
Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I, of course, picked up this book because of the snatchy title and darling lizard on the cover. I loved the illustrations and their blending of poetry, art, and nature to create an interesting read of animals and the world. Some of the things stated in this book as "facts" I didn't agree with (because I don't believe in evolution) but I still found this book interesting. I enjoyed reading it, but I don't think I'd recommend it.


Book Review #1141
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This is a sweet book. The illustrations are whimsical and I enjoyed seeing the different animals throughout the story. While I liked the imaginative setting and characters, I wasn't a huge fan of this book. I thought it was cute and I'd recommend it to others, but I was surprised when it won the Caldecott. If you love zoo animals and quaint characters you might want to pick up this book.

Book Review #1140 The Yarn Girls' Guide by Julie Carles



Book Review #1140
The Yarn Girls' Guide to Knitting Beyond the Basics by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was like a lot of the modern knitting books you see on the shelves nowadays. It had bright colored patterns and well-taken pictures. But it wasn't something I'd go back to and read again. It was nice, but nothing stood out to me. I didn't see any patterns that I wanted to knit either. I might recommend.


Book Review #1139
Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenburg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was pretty interesting. I thought the authors and illustrator did a nice job of blending the historical facts with a fairly compelling story. I don't think young children will find this book engaging, it has too many words and nonfiction elements, but for people interested in the arts and ballet, they might like this book.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review #1138 Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier



Book Review #1138
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Rating: three stars (out of four)


I enjoyed this story. It was imaginative and had a fascinating fairyland teeming with excitement. Wildwood Dancing had been highly recommend and I can see why so many people love it. There were lovely plot twists I didn’t see coming and some I did. I liked seeing the story evolve and how the characters overcame adversity. 

And while there were certainly a lot of things going on throughout, I did find that the story didn’t stay in my head as long as I would have figured..especially for a book I gave a fairly high rating to. Days after reading, my mind was already elsewhere and I had trouble remembering character names/details. I remembered thoroughly enjoying it, but I didn't necessarily remember specific details about why. I'm still planning on reading the sequel...eventually. I think fans of Jessica Day George or Shannon Hale will enjoy this book and I would still recommend.


Book Review #1137
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Massee
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a fun book of poetry. I especially liked the reversible verses that revealed a different side to the story. It was intriguing to see the fairy tales in a new light. I enjoyed the illustrations and thought they were a nice pair with the text. There were a couple of poems that didn't seem to work quite as well as the others, but I would still recommend this book.


Book Review #1136
The Yarn Girls' Guide to Knits for Older Kids by Julie Carries and Jordana Jacobs
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There were detailed instructions in the front and I thought the authors did a good job of providing a variety of different looking items to knit. For most of the patterns there were two different versions: different color schemes based on if a boy or girl would wear it. I also liked how they included the alternate version's photograph so you could see what it looked like. It was a nice book, I might recommend.


Book Review #1135
Henry in Love by Peter McCarty
Rating: one star (out of four)

I was not impressed with the storyline in this book. It didn't seem to have much point and went from one random circumstance to another without offering any particular nuances or plot lines. The illustrations were okay, but I didn't care for the style and thought some of the pictures looked a little incomplete. I wouldn't recommend this book.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review #1134 Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder



Book Review #1134
Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book had such a cute and interesitng cover. But unforuatnely, I didn't like the story nearly as much as I thought I would. The children were fairly entertaining, but I didn't find myself attached to them. I actually had a hard time following the plot as well. It didn't seem to be very complete and lacked proper closure. It was weird and I'm not sure what I was supposed to do at the end. I wouldn't recommend.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book Review #133 Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George



Book Review #1133
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Rating: three stars (out of four)


I’ve always been a little bit intrigued by this fairytale. Partially because it’s not as widely retold and partially because it’s a winter tale and I love all things involving snow. This version stuck fairly close to what I remember of the original. But it still managed to put a fresh twist on it and featured interesting characters. I liked Lass. I thought she had a good amount of realistic mannerisms while still being very much in the fantasy world. I was afraid parts of this novel would come off as cheesy or annoying, but that didn't happen. I especially enjoyed seeing how the polar bear morphed and the girl slowly learned to trust her instincts. It was a good retelling and I’ve been a fan of George’s other novels. If you've read her other books you won't be disappointed with this adaptation. I’d recommend this story: beautiful landscape, eerie snow-encapsulated land, and a haunting story of love and trials.

Book Review #1132 Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson



Book Review #1132
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: one star (out of four)

It was really hard for me to get into this book. There were several aspects that just didn't fly with me. I didn't like the main character; I couldn't relate to him at all. I also had a hard time dealing with some of the content throughout the book - it was too graphic in nature and unsettling to me. The word that came to mind while I was reading was "vulgar." And that's not the sort of thing I want to stumble upon when I'm simply reading for fun. While it had a good message and ended "happily," the road it took to get there was not pleasant and I would't recommend to others.

Book Review #1131 Logged On and Tuned Out by Vicki Courtney



Book Review #1131
Logged On and Tuned Out by Vicki Courtney
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Even though I don't have kids myself, this book jolted me with its shocking statistics about internet safety. It illustrated things I hadn't even thought about doing for my own protection. It was kind of scary to think about the different ways I wasn't protecting myself online. This book presented Internet safety facts without using scare tactics - they were simply straightforward. I really wish I could put this in the hands of every parent so they could have an idea of how to keep their children safe on the Internet. It definitely gives you something to think about and I would advise parents and children to read it together and discuss the issues and problems addressed. Instead of just telling your children what they should and shouldn't do - make it a discussion. Give them examples of why certain things are unsafe and how personal information can be abused on the web. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book Review #1130 Scumble by Ingrid Law



Book Review #1130
Scumble by Ingrid Law
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I was so excited to see another book after Savvy! Though I did have misgivings because I had loved Savvy so much and I wasn't sure how any other book could deliver. Thankfully this story did not disappoint! The characters provided such amusement and wonder. I loved the setting and the way people dealt with their relationships and powers. It was good to be back in this world and see it being further explored. I found myself loving the characters just as much as Savvy and I didn't want the story to end. I really liked this novel and I would contiue reading other books by Ingrid Law. This story was as rich as Savvy: I'd recommend it!