I have read many books by Demi and I always loved the fact that Demi is always exploring different cultures with her works. So, imagine my surprise a...more I have read many books by Demi and I always loved the fact that Demi is always exploring different cultures with her works. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon another one of Demi’s works called “The Artist and the Architect,” which is a tale that takes place in China. Man, did I end up enjoying this mesmerizing tale of deceit and cunning!
In Ancient China, there lived a wise and fair Emperor who had two experienced men, an architect and an artist who would create various buildings and artwork for the Emperor. Unfortunately, the artist was always jealous of the architect and he decided to plot the demise of the architect. The artist then tells the Emperor about how the Emperor’s deceased father wanted an architect to build him a palace in Heaven and in order to do that, they must gather a large pile of wood and set it on fire with the architect standing in the middle of the fire until he rises up to Heaven.
I have always loved reading folktales from different countries, especially China and I was so delighted in finding another folktale from China retold by none other than Demi! I loved the way that Demi retold this tale as it was full of drama and magical elements at the same time! I was amazed at the fact that this is a tale about the artist deceiving the Emperor in order to get rid of the architect, which is a subject that I find so common in many folktales where the main antagonist wishes to get rid of the protagonist through any means possible and that is what made this story so interesting to read! I also loved the Chinese influence of this tale as it made this story even more exotic in tone and I have always enjoyed checking out folktales from different countries! But, probably the best part of this entire book was Demi’s illustrations as they were truly beautiful and creative to look at! I loved the way that Demi drew the palaces in China as they look so beautiful and I also loved the clothing worn by the Emperor and his subjects as they truly look so distinguished!
The only problem I had with this book was that the ending seemed a bit too ambiguous, since I was not able to figure out what became of the artist at the end of the book.
(view spoiler)[The only thing I gathered from the ending of the book was this little proverb that was mentioned:
“The small man harbors an envious spirit; the great man rejoices in the talents of others.”
It is sort of unknown if the architect forgave the artist for his deceit or not, although it looked like they were making up at the end, judging by the image of them shaking hands. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, “The Artist and the Architect” is a fantastic folktale from China that fans of Chinese folklore would enjoy immensely! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the book might be too complex for some smaller children.
Now, I am a huge fan of practically everything that Mo Willems has written since his books are so full of witty humor and creative ideas! So, imagine...more
Now, I am a huge fan of practically everything that Mo Willems has written since his books are so full of witty humor and creative ideas! So, imagine my surprise when I found out that Mo Willems has written a children’s book that teaches children manners which is called “Time to Say “Please”!
Basically, this book starts off with a young girl trying to get a cookie, but some cute little mice start holding up signs that tell the little girl about how saying “please” to an adult can really help you get the things you truly want!
Mo Willems has done a brilliant job at writing this book as it truly shows how manners can do wonders for any child while also being entertaining for children! I loved the way that Mo Willems expressed good manners in this book because it is great that there are picture books out there that discuss having good manners and I think that this book did a fantastic job at expressing how to say “please” and “thank you” towards other people. I also loved the fact that there are little blue mice all over the pages that keep holding up signs that help narrate the story, which I thought was pretty cute! Mo Willems’ artwork is extremely cute and creative, with the best part being of the little blue mice that hold up signs that narrate the actions of the characters, as they were extremely cute to look at and I also loved their hilarious actions such as flying airplanes and hugging each other while they are moving the signs. I also loved the way that the backgrounds are in white while the characters are colored in (even though I usually prefer colorful backgrounds to go with the characters). It really felt like the characters are truly standing out, especially the images of the children and their parents doing various activities that require them to say “please” and “thank you.”
Overall, “Time to Say Please!” is a fantastic children’s book that helps teach children good manners and for anyone who is a huge fan of Mo Willems’ work, this is definitely one book to pick up! I would highly recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.
After reading the breakthrough children’s book hit Walter the Farting Dog, I wanted to check out more children’s books about dogs who have problems th...more
After reading the breakthrough children’s book hit Walter the Farting Dog, I wanted to check out more children’s books about dogs who have problems that cause them to smell and I stumbled upon this little unique book called “Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis” by Dav Pilkey!
Hally Tosis was a cute little dog who lived with the Tosis family and was extremely friendly towards everyone. But, she had one little problem…
SHE HAS REALLY BAD BREATH!
Everywhere that Hally Tosis goes; her bad breath would knock everyone off their feet including the Tosis family’s Grandmother Tosis! So when Hally Tosis’ bad breath becomes too unbearable for the family, the Tosis family decided to give away Hally, even though the children were upset about this. So in a last attempt to save Hally, the Tosis children tried to help Hally get rid of her horrible breath through various methods including taking her to a movie that would literally take her breath away. But, all of these methods ended up failing and the children were forced to say good-bye to Hally. But one night, two robbers ended up breaking into the Tosis family’s house and…
Can Hally Tosis save the day?
Read this book to find out!
I have read many books by Dav Pilkey, including his famous “Captain Underpants” series, but “Dog Breath” was probably one of the most unique books I had ever read by him! Dav Pilkey’s writing was cute and hilarious as it details Hally’s unfortunate problem with her bad breath and how it affects those around her. I loved the way that Dav Pilkey made Hally into such a friendly dog who is unaware of how bad her breath is and she is always shown to be cheerful and blissful, despite the fact that her bad breath causes people to either run away from her or be knocked out unconscious. I also loved the fact that the Tosis family really does care about Hally, despite them being put off by Hally’s bad breath and it really shows during the scene where the Tosis family is forced to find a new home for Hally and they are crying when they are putting up the “free dog” sign. Dav Pilkey’s artwork is cute and colorful to look at, especially the image of Hally herself as she is shown to be an extremely cute dog who has a big smile on her face despite her bad breath giving everyone grief. I also loved the way that Dav Pilkey shows Hally’s bad breath as it is shown as a green smoke coming out of her mouth and the images of various people being knocked out by her bad breath is hilarious to see!
The reason why I gave this book a four star rating was because compared to “Walter the Farting Dog,” I felt that some parts of this book were a bit bland in the storytelling. I actually wished that there were more dimensions to the Tosis family as they barely have any dialogue (save for the scene where the parents decided to do something about Hally) and I wanted to see the Tosis family deal with Hally’s bad breath in a more intriguing way. Also, it might be because I already read a book that was similar to this premise and had a more interesting way of dealing with a dog’s smelly problem (Walter the Farting Dog).
Overall, “Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis” is a really cute book about how a family tries to accept their dog’s unconventional problem and how that problem could be used more resourcefully than they thought. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book (unless the idea about a dog having smelly breath seems gross to some)!
Now, to be honest, my first exposure to Steven Guarnaccia’s artwork was through Rabbit Ears Productions’ version of Anansi, which was narrated by none...more
Now, to be honest, my first exposure to Steven Guarnaccia’s artwork was through Rabbit Ears Productions’ version of Anansi, which was narrated by none other than DENZEL WASHINGTON! So, when I found out that Steven Guarnaccia had written and illustrated a more modern version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” I just had to give this book a shot!
Basically, this book is a retelling of the popular fairy tale story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” where the story starts off with the three bears going out for a walk in order for their bowls of chili to cool off. Later on, a little girl named Goldilocks stumbles upon their house and starts ruining the three bears’ furniture and food when she tried to get herself comfortable in the house. This is a more modern day take on the classic story as the artwork is inspired by the modernism movement in its art style.
Steven Guarnaccia’s artwork was probably the best part of this story, as they brilliantly complement the contemporary style for the popular fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” I loved the way that in the inside covers; we actually see what the names of the furniture being shown in this book are, such as a sofa called the “Alessandro Becchi,” which is a 1971 Italian “Anfibio” sofa and a chair called the 1955 “Series 7.” The names of the furniture actually gives the book an extremely authentic and creative flair as each furniture have unique names that really made them stand out in the entire book. Steven Guarnaccia had also done a brilliant job at detailing the characters in this book, especially of the three bears themselves. I loved the way that each of the three bears have their own unique styles regarding their clothing; such as the Papa Bear wearing a purple and golden checkerboard shirt and a pair of shades; the Mama Bear wearing a pink bandana on her head along with beige colored pants and a shirt that seems like something that came out of an abstract art; and the Baby Bear wearing a raccoon hat along with a blue and white striped T-shirt. I also loved the illustrations of Goldilocks herself as she is seen with her hair pulled into a ponytail and she wears a shirt that is green with black stars and red pants that comes along with the black shoes.
The reason why I gave this book a four star rating was because I felt that this book could have been much more creative with the concept of having a more modernized version of the classic fairy tale. I was actually wishing that the three bears were in a jazz band or something like that because it would have fit nicely with the modernized artwork of the classic story, especially with the Papa Bear looking like he would enjoy playing a saxophone in a jazz band. I also would have liked it more if this book actually provided a back story of sorts for Goldilocks since that would have fleshed out her character further besides just being a little girl who just happens to stumble upon a house full of bears. I would have liked it if this version of Goldilocks was known to be a bad child (just like in both the Rabbit Ears version and James Marshall’s version of the classic tale) and had to learn her lesson about breaking into other people’s homes without permission the hard way.
Overall, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is a truly creative book that takes a more modern day spin on the famous classic fairy tale and children who love modernized takes on classic fairy tales will definitely enjoy this book! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the modernized style of the artwork might be too complex for some children
I will admit that I had just recently gotten into the new adult genre, since this genre was just recently created. So, after I heard so many...more4.5 stars
I will admit that I had just recently gotten into the new adult genre, since this genre was just recently created. So, after I heard so many good things about Colleen Hoover’s popular contemporary romance book “Hopeless,” I just had to give this book a shot and man, did this book take me on one intense and thrilling ride!
Sky Davis was an ordinary senior in high school (well, except that her guardian Karen refuses any kind of technology in their house, causing Sky to be clueless around technology when she got to school), until she meets a mysterious guy named Dean Holder, who seem to have a terrible reputation at school for getting into many fights years ago. But when Sky and Holder get to know each other, Sky soon realizes that Holder is not as terrible as he seems to be and she slowly starts to fall in love with him. Unfortunately, Sky ends up discovering a dark secret about herself once memories of her old life starts haunting her and her love towards Dean Holder will soon be tested to its limit once that secret is out.
Whoa…if I have any words to describe Colleen Hoover’s tale of secrets, betrayals and forbidden love, it would have to be…ABSOLUTELY INTENSE AND EMOTIONAL! Colleen Hoover had done a brilliant job at weaving true and raw emotion into this story while balancing the story with suspense and terror. I loved the way that Colleen Hoover portrayed Sky and Dean’s relationship with each other as they truly care for each other when they are protecting each other from their own insecurities about being together due to the both of them having tragic pasts that they have to overcome throughout the book. I also loved the sarcastic bantering that went on between them as it made them intriguing and cute as a couple and they both always give out the best comebacks to each other! I really loved most of the characters in this book, especially Sky’s best friends Six and Breckin since they were so hilarious to read about, but the two characters I loved the most in this book were both Sky Davis and Dean Holder themselves! I was really intrigued in Sky’s character as she is shown to be a strong and intelligent teenage girl who is always yearning to learn more about the world around her. However, when Sky’s tragic past ends up haunting her, I actually felt sympathy for her, especially during the moments where she would break down and cry, since I cannot imagine having to go through the horrific situation she experienced in her past. Now, Dean Holder was definitely one hero that ended up growing on me towards the end of the book and for that, I am grateful! I loved the fact that Dean really cares about Sky’s feelings and how he tried to do everything in his power to protect Sky from getting hurt from her own insecurities about being close to anyone in a relationship. I also loved Dean Holder’s personality as he is both kind and tough, which is something I love in many romance heroes.
The reason why I took off half a point from the rating was because I felt that the first half of the book was a little too slow in starting up the story line. I will admit I got a bit annoyed with both Sky and Dean holding back their feelings for each other for the majority of the first half of the book since it slowed down the pacing of the story. Therefore, things only got more interesting when Sky’s tragic past comes to light and the book’s tone shifted from heartwarming moments to pure terror and heartbreak. Also, there are some unsettling moments in this book, especially in the second half of the book where Sky’s tragic past is revealed, so readers who are easily offended by these moments might want to trend the second half of the book lightly.
Overall, “Hopeless” is a great book about finding out the true meaning of love and also finding the strength in yourself to live through life despite going through some terrible situations. I would highly recommend this book to new adult fans everywhere!
Now, I have been a huge “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fan ever since the 1980s animated series came out and I just had to check out e...more
Now, I have been a huge “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fan ever since the 1980s animated series came out and I just had to check out every reincarnation of my favorite four turtles on television no matter what! So, when I heard about Mirage Comics’ original dark and gritty version of the turtles, I was a little skeptical about it since the 1980s animated series had pretty much cemented my opinion on what the turtles should be like (well, at least until the 2003 animated version came out, which was actually closer to the original Mirage Comics). So, imagine my surprise when I found out that IDW comics was putting out the original Mirage Comics version of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” into a hardback collection and I was lucky enough to pick it up!
What is this story about?
This collection contains the first seven issues including the one shot “Raphael Micro-Series,” of the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series written and illustrated by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. In this collection, we find out the back story about how the four turtles (Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello) got mutated and what caused their mutation, see them go face to face with the threatening Shredder, meet up with April O’Neil and Casey Jones and end up facing the Triceratons!
What I loved about this story:
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s writing: Wow! This graphic novel was just so ASTONISHING to read! Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s writing was just fantastic in this graphic novel as all the characters were interesting and intense to read! I loved the way that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird really developed each character, especially Raphael as they explore Raphael’s massive problems with his temper and how he tries to control his temper, especially in his one shot story where he meets up with Casey Jones. I also loved the fact that we actually learn about both the turtles and Master Splinter’s background histories as I really wanted to know how the turtles and Splinter were mutated in the first place and how Master Splinter was able to learn the ways of the ninja through his former owner, Hamato Yoshi. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the fact that I loved the dark and gritty tone of this graphic novel since I grew up with the 1980s animated series, which was much lighter and softer in tone. Since I have always loved seeing different interpretations of my favorite stories (as long as they are written well), I did not have a problem with the dark and gritty tone of this graphic novel and I just loved the complex storytelling that was going on in this collection.
The artwork: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s artwork was beyond fantastic and vibrant as all the characters really stood out in this collection. I especially loved the fact that IDW comics decided to give out the colorized version of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original work on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” as they were originally in black and white colorings. It made the artwork stand out even more and the action scenes, such as various explosions and the turtles slicing their foes with their weapons, even more intense! I was actually quite surprised to see that the turtles had the same colored bandanas (all of them are red in this case) in this collection since I was so used to seeing them having different colored bandanas that would help us tell them apart (such as Michelangelo having an orange bandana, Leonardo having a blue bandana, Donatello having a purple bandana and Raphael having a red bandana) and I will admit that I got a little confused about which turtle was which and I had to go by the weapons that they are using to tell them apart from each other. I also loved how dark and gritty the artwork was as they usually show the turtles looking so menacing whenever they fight the bad guys and I really loved that edgy feeling I get from the artwork!
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
For anyone who had grown up watching the original 1980s animated series, you might be a bit put off by how dark and gritty this series is. To be honest, I was not really shocked at how dark and gritty this collection was since I was already told by other “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fans that there were comic books made about the turtles before the 1980s animated series came out and they were much darker and edgier than what we saw in the 1980s animated series. To add to that, this collections contains some blood, especially with the Ninja turtles cutting through their enemies with their weapons and some language, such as uttering the “d” word and the “a” word a couple of times.
Overall, if you are trying to find Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original work on the fantastic “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise, then you just hit the jackpot with this collection called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics: The Works Volume One!” Fans of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” can rejoice at finding the original work in all its former glory in this collection!
After reading many Caldecott Medal award winning books, I stumbled upon this rare gem called “Hey, Al” which won a Caldecott Medal and was written by...more
After reading many Caldecott Medal award winning books, I stumbled upon this rare gem called “Hey, Al” which won a Caldecott Medal and was written by Arthur Yorinks along with illustrations by Richard Egielski. Get prepared for one surreal yet adventurous journey!
Meet Al, the janitor and his faithful dog, Eddie. They live in a single room on the West Side and they do everything together. So, every thing is fine, right?
Al and Eddie’s life is miserable as they live in a small and cramped apartment and they are barely making it in life. One day, however, a large bird comes to their apartment and tells them about a place where things are so much better than the life they are currently living in. Al and Eddie then decided to let the large bird take them to this mysterious place and it turns out to be a beautiful island located up in the sky. Everything was going great for Al and Eddie as they were living the perfect paradise that they dreamed of, but it turns out that their “paradise” comes with a price…
Wow! I cannot believe that I had never read this book before! I had heard so many good things about this book and how popular it was, but I never had the chance to read about it until now! Arthur Yorinks had done an excellent job at writing this story as this story is extremely imaginative and surreal at the same time! I loved the fact that Arthur Yorinks approached the theme of “the grass is greener on the other side” and gave it a more fantasy spin on it as it has both Al and Eddie traveling to a magical island to gain a better life from the one they have, only to realize that it does come with a price. Richard Egielski’s illustrations are what truly sold this book to me. I loved how gorgeous Richard Egielski’s illustrations are, especially of the scenes of Al and Eddie going to the island in the sky as there are many images of luscious trees and different types of birds inhabiting the island. I also loved how realistic and colorful the illustrations are as they bring a sense of tranquility and beauty to the story.
Parents should know that the scene where Al and Eddie start turning into birds might be scary for smaller children. Parents might want to reassure their children that the story is purely fantasy and that it would not happen in real life. The story was merely trying to show readers about how the theme of “the grass is greener on the other side” can come with consequences in a more fantastical way.
Overall, “Hey, Al” is a fantastic book that teaches children about how sometimes the “grass is not always greener on the other side” and that being satisfied with what you have is important. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes of Al and Eddie transforming might frighten some children.
Now, I will admit that when I first heard about Marvel launching their “Marvel NOW” line (which is similar to DC doing their “New 52” re...more
Now, I will admit that when I first heard about Marvel launching their “Marvel NOW” line (which is similar to DC doing their “New 52” reboot, except that “Marvel NOW” is not a reboot), I was a bit hesitant about reading any of the comic books from this line because:
1) I did not like the direction that Marvel was taking some of their franchises (X-Men in particular). 2) Since I have not been reading Marvel Comics (or DC comics for that matter) that long, I was afraid that I would not understand some of the new comics coming out since I have not read a lot of the previous comics before the 1970s and some from the 1990s yet.
But, after I heard so many good things about this comic book, I just had to put my reservations about the “Marvel NOW” comic book line on hold and give Matt Fraction’s hit series “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” a chance! Lo and behold, I found myself loving this series and I wanted to read more from “Hawkeye!”
What is this story about?
Basically in this volume, it details the adventures that Clint Barton, also known as the legendary Avenger, Hawkeye, has whenever he is not with the Avengers. Along for the ride in these adventures, is Young Avenger member Kate Bishop and she and Clint end up fighting crime in New York City while wielding their bow and arrows in the process!
What I loved about this story:
Matt Fraction’s writing: Now I will admit that this is probably the first time I had ever read an “Avengers” comic book since I am more of an “X-Men” fan, but after hearing so many good things about this comic book, I decided to give Hawkeye a try and I found myself loving this volume! Matt Fraction has done a brilliant job at keeping this story self contained (which was what I was looking for when I picked up some comic books in the “Marvel NOW” comic book line) and I really enjoyed the solo adventures that Hawkeye went on. I also loved the way that Matt Fraction made Clint Barton into a truly hilarious and active character and I loved his little quips throughout the entire story. Some of my favorite lines from Hawkeye was when he was making fun of how the older comic books would set up the dialogues whenever they are translating foreign languages (like you know how the older comic books would tell the readers “translated from Russian” or “translated from Japanese”)? Well, his dialogue would go like this:
“(Some Spanish-sounding stuff)!” or “(French Stuff).”
I also loved the way that Matt Fraction portrayed Clint Barton’s relationship with Kate Bishop as it is both heartwarming and hilarious to look at and it was fantastic seeing another character who had the same sharp-shooting skills as Hawkeye does.
David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork: David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork were fantastic in this volume as they are reminiscent of the artwork in Frank Miller’s classic “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book. I loved the way that David Aja’s artwork in the first three issues is scratchy and bold lined while still capturing the essence of each action scene involving Hawkeye and Kate Bishop fighting against criminals. Javier Pulido’s artwork in the fourth and fifth issues are much lighter in color tone and much more detailed in designs and I really loved the way that they captured the characters and the action scenes.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
Probably the only issue that I did not care for in this volume was the “Young Avengers Presents #6” issue. For one thing, I do not normally read the “Young Avengers” comic book series, so I will admit that I was a little confused about what was going on, even though this issue is supposed to be when Kate Bishop first meets Hawkeye. Another thing about this issue was that I felt that the tone of the story was way too different from the tone of the rest of the volume, which was light hearted and action-packed while this issue was dark and had too much soap opera drama for my tastes. So, all in all, I think that this issue was just average and not as good as the rest of the issues in this volume. Although, I did enjoyed Alan Davis’ artwork in this issue as it was gorgeous to look at and the characters’ facial expressions were realistic.
Overall, “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” is one truly brilliant volume for anyone who is a huge Hawkeye fan and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of his series in the near future!