Seth, I love your drawings so much. Anytime there's an illustrated cover that catches my eye these days, it's his work. Amazing. Love those bold lines...moreSeth, I love your drawings so much. Anytime there's an illustrated cover that catches my eye these days, it's his work. Amazing. Love those bold lines. And if it wasn't for Seth, I wouldn't even have known about this sequel to this series by Lemony Snicket! You can't help but pick this up for the cover.
I was initially worried about having forgotten a lot of the details from the 1st book, but it all came back pretty easily once I started reading. So, Snicket is still working as an apprentice at Stain'd-by-the-Sea, and this time, he finds himself investigating the case of a missing girl. Plenty of questions abound!
It's what you'd expect from this author, and it works. Don't question it. The story winds and zigzags all over the place but it's never boring or too confusing. There's always another hint to chase, a surprise, another part of the mystery that keeps Snicket guessing. The humour can be too clever at times and leaves you chuckling. I don't know if labelling this as children lit is being fair because older kids and adults like myself can still enjoy this. I doubt I would've gotten a lot of the witty banter at a younger age (like when I read the Unfortunate Events series), so this basically means that you can't ever be too old for Lemony Snicket, yes?
Seriously, the drawings. What icing on top of an already awesome cake.(less)
One of those books I saw everywhere as a kid and despite adoring a lot of child protagonists at that age, I never picked it up. Harriet the Spy only g...moreOne of those books I saw everywhere as a kid and despite adoring a lot of child protagonists at that age, I never picked it up. Harriet the Spy only got on my radar because everyone looking back on it seems to really adore it as a classic. I don't worry much about not enjoying children books if I discover classics at an an adult, because I find that I'm able to love them even more with added context.
This was absolutely one of those cases. Harriet is one sharp-shooting child, no doubt about it. I'm actually not sure that I would've liked her if I read this at the targeted age, to be honest, because I had a hard time handling truth bombs back then. Shyness and insecurity wasn't a pretty mix. A lot of her observations are quite hilarious but the others were quite mean-spirited, which surprised me because I expected more harmless, dry humour. As a kid, I would've focused more on those and the consequences Harriet had to face once her notebook got passed around; it brings back a lot of elementary school memories. Instead, now as an adult, I gravitated towards her notes about complete strangers. I loved how diligent she was about keeping tabs on all these people and even though most of the time she had absolutely no idea what was really going on in their lives, she has such poignant thoughts about life and happiness. Those were beautiful. For this I'm glad I'm reading it as an adult because I can see myself personally missing a lot of what Harriet was witnessing.
An apt comparison for me would be like Rear Window where I'm not as interested in the main plotline and would much rather spy on the strangers in the other building through their windows. I loved all the potential in their stories even if we do only get bits and pieces from Cary Grant's spying. It adds depth to the surroundings. In Harriet's case, I had a greater sense of that time period in Manhattan and of the people that she would interact with everyday.
Aside from the spying on strangers, my favourite part of this book were of the relationship between Harriet and Ole Golly, and to a lesser extent, with her parents. I had my own assumptions about the relationships that were shot down, which was just awesome. On the other hand, I didn't find the resolution with the notebook incident that satisfying, or have strong feelings about Harriet's friendships.
I can see why this is a classic! That said, I'm not curious enough to read the next book so Harriet's adventures will stop for me here. (less)
I really, really didn't enjoy this one. Giving it 1 star would've been a bit harsh though, so it gets a weak 2. I think in all honesty I'd giv...moreOh dear.
I really, really didn't enjoy this one. Giving it 1 star would've been a bit harsh though, so it gets a weak 2. I think in all honesty I'd give Through the Looking-Glass 1 star but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland started off rather nicely and I have a lot of childhood nostalgia left over so that deserves about a 2.5.
Maybe I would've enjoyed it more as a child. I don't think I'd be annoyed at it, at least. It was just tiring to see Alice grow and shrink and grow and shrink and eat and run with all this nervous energy being lost in a rather terrifying place where everyone and everything spoke in circles and you would never know what exactly they're getting at and why am I even frustrated with this when really the point of it was just to go along with the ride but yet I can't. Can't do it. Nope.
I actually thought I somehow got the wrong version on my e-reader when I started Through the Looking-Glass but as I read I figured no one would even bother writing this as a fake. I mean, really. So I kept going and it just got worse and worse. Alice shows remarkable patience because I would've snapped, ages ago. Then again, I likely wouldn't even find myself in this place anyway.
I like to think I haven't lost my love for whimsy and fun in my reading. This is probably just the exception, because I've generally enjoyed books in this genre. Everything about this rubbed me the wrong way and I feel like a grouch for this review.(less)
In the kingdom of Bamarre, not since the days of the legend of Drault have the folks been brave. Attacks from ogres and...moreA lovely tale of two sisters.
In the kingdom of Bamarre, not since the days of the legend of Drault have the folks been brave. Attacks from ogres and dragons and other creatures are common. Worst of all, the Gray Death strikes and is an incurable disease until a prophecy is fulfilled. It's a magical land where elves and sorcerers are involved in human affairs, fairies are not seen but exist, and terror rule the smallfolk.
Meryl and Addie are the two princesses of this kingdom, as different as two sisters could be. Meryl is hungry for adventure and hopes to goes on quests to defeat the monsters like the great hero of the songs, Drault. She's the protector for her younger sister, Addie, who is frightened of a lot of things including her sister going off into the wild and losing her forever. But when the Gray Death chooses Meryl, Addie decides she must try to find the cure, no matter how terrified she may be of what lies beyond the castle.
The relationship between the sisters is wonderful. The crucial point in this entire story is how the love for Meryl provides Addie with enough courage to go onto this hopeless quest when all her life she expects Meryl to be the one going on an adventure. She also expected her sister to leave her one day but not like this, and the fear is also the source of her strength. It's inspirational. There's a bit of romance in this but flows well with the story, and I found Rhys quite adorable as the young sorcerer who rather adores clouds!
There's quite a bit of magic in here with plenty of adventure, a fantasy tale with great messages. I wish I had read it much sooner when I was a kid, but surely you can never be too old to read Gail Carson Levine. :)(less)
What a wonderful collection of poems! I've always been a fan so I was expecting to enjoy this one, and boy, did I ever LOVE it. There really is a bit...moreWhat a wonderful collection of poems! I've always been a fan so I was expecting to enjoy this one, and boy, did I ever LOVE it. There really is a bit of everything in this one. Kids will love the funny and silly poems, but for the grown ups, there are quite a few that will touch your heart. I laughed the loudest for Garlic Breath (p. 57), so much so that my grandpa asked what I was chuckling over.
I have so many favourites: Masks (p. 20), Yesees And Noees (p. 65), Growing Down (p. 77), The Clock Man (p. 95), Losing Pieces (p. 111), Underface (p. 132), amongst many others!(less)
This goes on my 'children-lit' shelf but I don't know if I'd ever read this to my future kids. It's a hilarious poem on its own, but to matc...moreI cackled.
This goes on my 'children-lit' shelf but I don't know if I'd ever read this to my future kids. It's a hilarious poem on its own, but to match it with the calming pictures is just perfection. Looks just like any other bedtime story if you flip through it and skip the words. I couldn't believe the title was real when I first heard about this book.
Recommend to everyone even if you don't plan on having kids! Maybe this book is one of the reasons why you don't plan on having kids.(less)
In the very beginning of the book, the reader is instructed to take the presentation as you would a film, imagini...moreAn innovative method to tell a story!
In the very beginning of the book, the reader is instructed to take the presentation as you would a film, imagining dark surroundings and letting yourself be engulfed by the story. I had a feeling I'd love it, and the many beautiful drawings speak for themselves.
Hugo Cabret is a young boy who lives and works in the train station, unseen by others as he keeps the clocks running on time. He holds a dear secret to his heart, hoping to figure out a possible message his father's left him, trapped in a broken automaton. We're left with many questions to answer at the very beginning, and Brian Selznick paces it all very well with his drawings.
I'd recommend this book on the choice of storytelling alone. :)(less)
...and I want you all to remember - that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, mus...more...and I want you all to remember - that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of - something he can work and fight for.
- Kim Malthe-Brunn, Danish Resistance fighter, in a letter to his mother written the night before his death.
What other words could I say about this book itself? Lois Lowry has always been one of my favourite authors growing up, and she managed to use very little words to convey the courage of the Danish people to bring their fellow Jewish neighbours over to Sweden during the occupation.
A powerful story of friendship, loyalty, and the fierce determination to do good no matter what the circumstances are. As Uncle Henrik tells Annemarie: "That's all that brave means - not thinking about the dangers. Just thinking about what you must do. Of course you were frightened. I was too, today."(less)