Despite its silly-sounding title and comic book cover, “Death By Toilet Paper” is no Captain Underpants type of story. Benjamin Epstein’s dad died of cancer just last year and his mom has struggled to keep up with the finances ever since. Working as a waitress at a pancake house, every last cent, even if it’s covered in maple syrup, goes toward paying medical bills and rent payments that seem to fall further behind each month. The story begins with a letter Ben writes to the Royal-T toilet paper company in which he tells them just how superior their product is to the generic, rough toilet paper he is now forced to use.
Benjamin is a self-proclaimed “sweepstakes junkie.” He enters as many sweepstakes and contests as he can so that he might win that ever-elusive grand prize. The stakes get higher when he comes home to an eviction notice stuck to the door, so when Royal-T toilet paper announces a contest for the best slogan, with a grand prize of $10,000, Ben knows he just has to win.
The cover, title, and clever facts about toilets in each chapter heading will lure reluctant readers into this touching tale about a boy’s struggle to fill his father’s shoes in the wake of tragedy, and in the face of financial difficulty. Ben is a child dealing with grown-up issues and concerns, and this story is a heartfelt reminder that many kids, every day, put on a happy face to hide the stress they carry from home. As they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” parents and teachers – I urge you to take a good look inside these pages. If your reluctant reader doesn’t find this on his or her own, consider putting a copy in, you guessed it, the bathroom – where it will be easy to pick up and difficult to put down....more
It all started with The Unicorn Incident, which Pip describes in the prologue. It really wasn’t her fault. As it turns out, unicorns are not only huge show-offs, they are also really bad listeners. Pip knows this because she has the secret ability to talk to and understand magical creatures, which is perfect, because she doesn’t understand people nearly as well.
Sent off to help out at her aunt’s veterinary clinic for magical creatures, Pip encounters griffins, Hobgrackles, Bitterflunks, a baby Pegasus, and an anxiety-ridden unicorn with just about every imaginable phobia. But it isn’t until she meets her first Fuzzle that the trouble starts. Fuzzles are small furballs with eyes that spontaneously burst into flames when they are scared or excited. When the Fuzzles start to multiply, showing up in underwear drawers and setting all manner of things on fire, it is up to Pip to figure out why the Fuzzles showed up in the first place before they burn down the entire town or worse - are exterminated.
Part Shrek, part Doctor Dolittle, this story is adorable and smartly funny. With a perfect balance of illustrations and text, it is a great choice for reluctant and struggling readers, but strong readers will also enjoy this for the witty humor and the wonderfully-imagined magical creatures found inside. This book could easily be used as a gateway to the Harry Potter series, The Spiderwick Chronicles, or any other higher-level fantasy title. A classroom or at-home project might have kids dreaming up their own magical creatures, complete with a picture and description like those in Pip’s guidebook. If you’ve ever wondered why Miniature Silky Griffins are terrible people, or if you run into a Hobgrackle, you’ll want to pick up “Pip Bartlett’s Guide To Magical Creatures” by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater....more
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree , it will live its life believing it is stupid.” Sixth- “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree , it will live its life believing it is stupid.” Sixth-grader Ally Nickerson has always felt out of place at school. She’s been labeled “slow” by her teachers and picked on by classmates who tell her she is “dumb.” Escaping into her Sketchbook of Impossible Things and what she calls “mind movies,” Ally does her best to be invisible in class. If her teacher put her on the spot, she uses her “get out of jail free card” and acts out in order to get sent to the principal’s office. Ally is trying to hide a secret - she can’t read.
When a new teacher, Mr. Daniels, comes in, he challenges Ally and her classmates in new ways - ways that prove she is actually smart. It is Mr. Daniels who figures out that Ally has dyslexia. By showing her new ways to learn letters and words, he slowly helps her not only to read, but also to believe in the possible.
Prepare to be choked up by this beautifully-written book that hits home in so many different ways and with so many different people for so many different reasons. Literacy, special education, bullying, military family life, unemployment, friendship - every chapter is charged with lessons you won’t even realize you’re learning until you’ve turned the final page. “And remember,” the author tells us, “Great minds don’t think alike.” Hunt’s first book, One For The Murphys, has appeared on at least 22 state award lists, and her second is likely to follow suit.
This is my number one pick for middle-grade and junior high classroom libraries for the 2015-2016 school year. ...more
Dan Santat is amazing. He is easily one of the best, if not the best contemporary illustrator in children's literature. I could look at these pages foDan Santat is amazing. He is easily one of the best, if not the best contemporary illustrator in children's literature. I could look at these pages for hours and hours. It's a Caldecott with a great cover - not much else needs to be said by me. Get this book. ...more
This review refers to the NetGalley edition of this title.
My rating hovers at closer to 3.5 stars, but rounded up to 4 for the overall enjoyment factThis review refers to the NetGalley edition of this title.
My rating hovers at closer to 3.5 stars, but rounded up to 4 for the overall enjoyment factor. Alex Sheshunoff has written a humorous chronicle of his time spent in the Pacific, the things he did there, and the people he encountered. Many of the stories are really great.
However, it's just too long and too detailed and it seems like it's never going to end. Several chapters could have been edited out or down and it would have done wonders for the reading experience. Even the acknowledgments section went on for page after page. Sheshunoff writes very much like David Sedaris, but more verbose. This novel could have easily adapted well into a collection of Sedaris-like essays and removed the droning-on factor.
I want to be clear – Sheshunoff has a great sense of humor, his story is interesting and engaging and is so the entire time, there was just a small voice in the back of my head going "are we there yet?"
I recommend this for fans of memoir/David Sedaris/Augusten Burroughs and anyone who has fantasized about running away from home to their own deserted island. ...more
This review refers to the ARC received from the publisher.
Not previously familiar with Lauren Groff's work, I was perhaps a dozen pages in when I recThis review refers to the ARC received from the publisher.
Not previously familiar with Lauren Groff's work, I was perhaps a dozen pages in when I recognized the echo coming through Groff's voice – Proust. Groff is not just a storyteller; she is an artist.
That said, I was much more engrossed in the first half of the book, titled "Fates" than part two ("Furies"). I think I was so attached to the character of Lotto that I only reluctantly went along on the ride with Mathilde. It felt akin to watching a show or movie through the gaps in one's fingers while your hand covers your face – "I really don't think I want to see this, but I'm afraid I'll regret it if I don't."
Personal emotions aside, it is the sudden loss of momentum preventing me from giving this book 5 stars. Lauren Groff is, without a doubt, one of the best contemporary authors I have read to date with her refreshing yet classic voice and her unflinchingly real take on life and love, dreams and failures. I highly recommend this book to anyone who prefers a more authentic and less-idealized love story. ...more
Hands-down the best LGBT teen book I have read in recent memory, possibly ever.
Refreshing, thoughtful, engaging – real. This is not a "coming out" stHands-down the best LGBT teen book I have read in recent memory, possibly ever.
Refreshing, thoughtful, engaging – real. This is not a "coming out" story. This is not a morality tale or an exploration of sexual orientation. Rather, this is a story about what it's like to be in love with someone who is not in love with you. It is a story of friendship and family and the many forms in which love can manifest itself in our lives. It is a story about pain, courage, death, fear, defeat and victory. In short – it is a story about life.
Walton created this book with a soundtrack and a reading list, essentially. Sprinkled throughout the pages are songs to look up and books to read. I felt compelled to listen to Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen" while reading the party scene toward the end, for example.
Will Walton is, in my opinion, a remarkably talented author to watch for in the future. Cheers, Will!
Mature content advisory: some mild adult language, some sexual content and innuendo, suicide.
This review refers to the uncorrected proof edition. ...more
There are so many positive, glowing reviews of this book and series that I expected something great.
Did everyone miss the fact that this is the storyThere are so many positive, glowing reviews of this book and series that I expected something great.
Did everyone miss the fact that this is the story of X-Men and Rogue with a heavier dash of teen romance and some sex thrown in? If Christine Woodward (author of Rogue Touch) and Tahereh Mafi had gotten together and combined their ideas into a single series, they could perhaps have created an amazing series of X-Men spinoff books geared toward a YA female audience. Instead, they each miss the mark for different reasons.
In this case, I was distracted by both the unoriginality and overly-cheesy romantic subplot. Given this is the first and only fiction title and I have actually bought and paid for in 2015, I was incredibly disappointed. 2.5 stars is my final rating. ...more