A story that's readable and sweet, but ultimately on the slight side for me.
Positives: I loved the narrative voice and the charming illustrations, wA story that's readable and sweet, but ultimately on the slight side for me.
Positives: I loved the narrative voice and the charming illustrations, which reminded me of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING (and also illustrated several characters as POC, though they're not specifically referred to as such); realistic handling of difficult subjects, especially the mom who abandoned Gertie and Gertie's conflicted feeling about her dad's job on an oil rig; non-nuclear family unit (Gertie lives with her aunt, and her dad is away for his job for long stretches of time); and best of all, the familiar outrages and embarrassments of being in school, including unfair treatment, fixating on another kid who always seems to get her way, not being able to help yourself from doing something wrong, and feeling betrayed by a friend. And Gertie herself, who is not afraid of resuscitating frogs, is just delightful.
Less successful: I was willing to believe in Gertie's unlikely quest to win over her estranged mom, but somehow that never came together convincingly for me until near the end with the play. (Although again, I appreciated how that played out.) Like all kids, Gertie was also selfish at times, but unlike the competitive scenario with Jean, she also rarely listened to Junior, and I don't think that was followed through very well--that is, I don't think she really noticed it. (The Mary Sue lesson was, as expected, a solid one, however.) And although I liked the writing style and dialogue, I think the book and characters start strong but don't finish with as much humor or wisdom or heart as they had the potential to.
So, a quick and enjoyable read, but not something I'd be likely to read again. But I'd check out another book by this author down the road.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Audiobook PS: I listened to about 30 minutes of the audio version and the style of narration was a little too zany for me. But don't let me stop you--I do a lot of audiobook listening at night before bed and generally prefer things a little less exaggerated. I'd guess this is a probably a good audiobook to listen to on a road trip/ or with kids....more
I was initially suspicious when I saw there was a new Pooh book. But then I saw the photo that proved that Christopher Milne had a stuffed penguin asI was initially suspicious when I saw there was a new Pooh book. But then I saw the photo that proved that Christopher Milne had a stuffed penguin as well, which helped to inspire one of the stories!
The physical book is gorgeous--just gorgeous. When you handle the clothbound hardback, it feels like a beautiful old edition of a children's classic tThe physical book is gorgeous--just gorgeous. When you handle the clothbound hardback, it feels like a beautiful old edition of a children's classic that has been handed down for generations. Its handsomeness befits the author, the art director who designed some of Penguin Classics' most iconic modern editions.
The illustrations within are pretty, and I liked the quiet story of a fox searching for a star that has always been his companion. But I'm not entirely sure that the book ended on as strong/emphatic/touching a note as I was expecting, so....I think 3.5 stars for me. This seems to happen with many artists who try their hands at writing for the first time, that style/artwork overshadow story. And no matter how lovely the illustrations or jacket design, it's still story that is king.
But man, is this book beautiful. I'm not sorry to have purchased it, though I wish I'd loved it as much as I was expecting to....more