"Hey! What's this? The money is being sucked out of my hand by a mysterious force!"
Love! We all know that you don't have to make a statement like tha"Hey! What's this? The money is being sucked out of my hand by a mysterious force!"
Love! We all know that you don't have to make a statement like that in a comic. Even little kids know that that is funny because the picture already tells you what is going on. I don't know when over-obvious narrative became so funny. I guess Don Pardo. Maybe Love of Chair. But anyway, it is. Moving on.
The book is funny and great, and is a lot like the kind of story my kids make up with their dad. And it get the Special Achievements in Sound Effects Award for "Neeaaoww" as the sound a spaceship makes as it tears through Earth's atmosphere....more
Oh! What a great book for a storytime! Trying to ditch those pesky lemurs, our main character boards a train, rows a boat, travels by hot air balloon,Oh! What a great book for a storytime! Trying to ditch those pesky lemurs, our main character boards a train, rows a boat, travels by hot air balloon, and more. "Let's all pedal our bicycles!" "Uh oh, we're climbing a mountain and it's cold! Can you act cold?" It's definitely in the 'bear hunt' vein, but with the added appeal of lemurs!
Pictures are big and clear, easy to read from a short distance, and the art has terrific texture and expression....more
Ok first - anybody who knows me even a little knows that I would NEVER pick up this book on my own to read. I reviewed it for Booklist, sure. And it wOk first - anybody who knows me even a little knows that I would NEVER pick up this book on my own to read. I reviewed it for Booklist, sure. And it was unexpectedly good! Or unexpectedly better than ok at least. Not my thing, sure, but also not goopy or overwritten or formulaic.
I am feeling like I see a pattern. Everything I've read from Australia for as long as I've been paying attention (like, "Oh!" this is an Australian book!) has been kind of unusually well-written. Do we have better editors in Oz? Do they only try to publish stuff in the U.S. that hits a certain mark quality-wise?
What is going on in Australia? How come even the horsey series pot-boilers, which, no shit, this one totally is - are better written than big books by acclaimed authors in our country?
Ok now here's my review:
Jess and her best friend Shara spend all the time they can spare with their horses Diamond and Rocko. They compete in equestrian games put on by the pony club in their rural Australian district. But Diamond gets hurt, and Shara goes away to school, and Jess is left idle and sad. Fortunately, she is rescued by new friends, also riders, and soon gets to work training an older horse for a campdrafting (cowherding) contest. While this book is an obvious choice for horse lovers, other readers will appreciate its understated drama and clear prose. The author is clearly in love with the river flats and pastures of her country setting, and uses economical but descriptive sensory language to communicate the pleasures of riding and caring for horses. Australian vernacular and farm terms give the text additional color, and are easily deciphered from context. Summery and a little bit soapy, this is fine poolside reading. Paula Willey for Booklist Online...more
This is what I have to say about this book: you know all those picture books about the kid who Just Doesn't Fit In? The elephant ballerina, the sentimThis is what I have to say about this book: you know all those picture books about the kid who Just Doesn't Fit In? The elephant ballerina, the sentimental monster, the penguin who can't swim? Those books are always about our differences make us stronger and/or we all find our place eventually. They try real hard, but most of them just don't make it all the way there.
THIS book gets there. You've got your tidy, polite troll and your loud, messy little girl. The little girl drives her family nuts and the troll is a disappointment to the other trolls. So they trade places - now the girl gets to jump in mud and the troll gets to clean her room. Poor OCD troll. This is where a lot of picture books stop. Tabitha has found her true family - yay! But no, that's bullshit, that's a terrible long-term solution. Picture books that stop there make me CRAZY.
So Leigh Hopkinson (author of the funny and stylish Goldilocks book that I loved so much last year) follows up Tabitha and Timothy's initial "ah it's so nice to fit in" period - during which, hilariously, Tabitha's parents totally overlook the fact that their daughter is now a hairy troll with protruding teeth - with a lapse into boredom for all concerned. Turns out Tabby's family kind of liked her loud ways, and the trolls at least had something to complain about when Timmy acted all fussy and prim.
So they go back to their families and live happily ever after. The last page shows Timothy cutting loose with a loud burp and Tabitha sweeping up some dust, implying that they have each rubbed off on the other a little bit.
And since if I am not overthinking a 32-page picture book I am not truly happy - let's overthink this a little. What if the troll is not real? What if it's all Tabitha? She knows that her parents despair of her filthy room and hygiene, and she metaphorically banishes those traits to go live with the trolls. She goes a week or two keeping her room clean and saying excuse me. Her parents appreciate the peace and quiet at first but before too long miss the vitality of Tabitha's chaotic ways. So does Tabitha, and so in the end they all excuse themselves to go do gymnastics on the couch.
The last page, with Tabby using a broom, indicates that her "good" behavior interlude taught her that being tidy is not beyond her capabilities and that sometimes there's nothing wrong with a clean floor.
This of course would be a MUCH more tedious book, and I'm so glad Leigh Hopkinson wrote it with the troll. It's fun, and it's warmhearted, and if it lets parents compartmentalize certain behaviors so that they can get less worked up about them, then GOOD. ...more
I swear, the artists Chris Duffy gets for these anthologies do their very best work for him. People who do serious, sometimes hard to read long-form wI swear, the artists Chris Duffy gets for these anthologies do their very best work for him. People who do serious, sometimes hard to read long-form work like Habibi (Charles Thompson), Skim (Jillian Tamaki), and Asterios Polyp (Dave Mazzuchelli) let loose with all the humor and charm that they sometimes withhold from their main work. On the other hand, artists like Charise Mericle Harper and Raina, who are almost always fun and charming, add a little smidge of arch and sass to their pieces in this stellar collection....more
Gr 1-3 -- Who wants to be the Hall Monitor at a school called Eerie Elementary? Not Sam Graves, that’s for sure. He’s a little embarrassed at the shinGr 1-3 -- Who wants to be the Hall Monitor at a school called Eerie Elementary? Not Sam Graves, that’s for sure. He’s a little embarrassed at the shiny orange sash he has to wear as he patrols the halls, but when the playground sand tries to eat him and the school caretaker Mr. Nakobi tells him that it’s Sam’s job to keep the malevolent brick building in check, Sam can’t tell whether Mr. Nakobi is crazy - or he is.
Dynamic, cartoony illustrations underline the action and fun onomatopoiea provides atmosphere - Pow! Pow! - a vending machine fires water bottles at Sam, while CHOMP! CHOMP! a pile of metal folding chairs menaces the third grade cast of Peter Pan.
Readers who relish the action of Ricky Ricotta and the just-beyond-safe scares of R.L. Stine’s Rotten School may want to enroll at Eerie Elementary. Sam’s friends Antonio and Lucy are by his side (once he convinces them he hasn’t lost his mind), but a sentient, evil school is not a peril to be taken lightly.
"Why does this have to be so confusing?" Eva sighed, sat down, and closed her eyes.
I FEEL YA, SIS.
Gr 4-12 -- Return to Orbona, where Eva Nine is on th"Why does this have to be so confusing?" Eva sighed, sat down, and closed her eyes.
I FEEL YA, SIS.
Gr 4-12 -- Return to Orbona, where Eva Nine is on the run, branded a traitor and a spy by seemingly every species on Tony DiTerlizzi’s richly-imagined world. Travel with Eva through forests of walking trees and sentient plants, across deserts under curdled clouds, into caves hung with singing lichen. This magnificently lush planet, home to upside-down birds and immense tardigrades, has been colonized by several species of aliens, and also re-settled by humans, who lived dormant beneath the surface waiting for the planet to regenerate. Now they are at odds, and only Eva seems to believe that war can be avoided. Only Eva, who was born human, raised by a robot, and adopted by a four-armed blue alien, has the knowledge and the communication skills to try to reason with each species.
This is not a series that can be read out of order - The Battle for WondLa begins almost immediately after the events of A Hero for WondLa. Like Middle Earth and Oz, Orbona is packed full of proper names in unfamiliar languages, including place names, nicknames and species names, and while there are a few stabs at exposition, readers will more fully appreciate the epic sweep of this complicated story - and especially Eva’s development into a young woman of unwavering compassion and courage even in the face of betrayal, loss, and injury - if they read the books in order.
Heartbreakingly beautiful illustrations that recall mid-century sci-fi paintings, nineteenth-century botanical diagrams, and Maxfield Parrish all at the same time are by themselves worth the price of admission, and do much to help the reader distinguish between Dorceans and Arsians, treowes and turnfins. Rich online content extends the experience.
WondLa fans will be sad to see it all end, but satisfied with the result. And then they’ll read it again.