When NorthSouth Books made Mr. Squirrel available for early review, I didn't hesitate to take them up on the offer. Without even checking up on Mr. MeWhen NorthSouth Books made Mr. Squirrel available for early review, I didn't hesitate to take them up on the offer. Without even checking up on Mr. Meschenmoser, I could tell just by the illustration on the cover that it was the same creator as Waiting for Winter, a children's book I read five years ago and just adored. With Waiting, it was both the story and the illustrations that drew me in.
With Mr. Squirrel, it was the illustrations that gave the book its strongest thread and kept me reading.
The story is fun, and clever. Mr. Squirrel wakes up one morning to find the moon has settled on the branch that is the front path to his door. There's a couple layers of moon-related puns here; the "moon" (don't worry, this isn't much of a spoiler, as it happens on the very first page) is actually a large wheel of cheese, but Mr. Squirrel and his friends don't understand that. Mr. Squirrel is primarily worried about being jailed if someone happens to come along and think he stole the moon, so he just wants to get the evidence off his furry little paws.
Likely my least favorite element in this new book is that Mr. Squirrel imagines himself thrown in jail next to a sad looking human prisoner and as his antics snowball his friends into helping him try and dispose of the evidence, he progressively imagines them all in that jail cell. Although I didn't necessarily like taking the animals from the cozy little forest (even just in Mr. Squirrel's imagination), it's difficult to complain too much, since the sketches set in the imagined jail cell are just as beautiful as the others....more
This book is intended to be all about how one should be themselves, unashamed. In that, it is a cute and well illustrated and written story.
On the otThis book is intended to be all about how one should be themselves, unashamed. In that, it is a cute and well illustrated and written story.
On the other hand.... it's kind of also about stereotypes. The poodles are raised to be prissy and dainty and love pink, because that's how poodles should be, right? And the bulldogs are raised to be rough and boisterous and down and dirty, because that's how bulldogs should be, right?
It feels like mixed messages: Gaston and Antoinette are raised in the wrong litters, by accident, and the moral of the story is that when they try to return to their "true" families, they don't really fit in. And yet.... the stereotypes of how each breed naturally behaves feels like a miscalculation to begin with. ...more
Last night while reading Shaun Tan's newest picture book, Rules of Summer, I experienced one of those bright moments of synchronicity when your real lLast night while reading Shaun Tan's newest picture book, Rules of Summer, I experienced one of those bright moments of synchronicity when your real life coincides with the words you're reading right in that moment.
"Never leave the back door open overnight."
Reading this beautiful book in bed, I sat up straighter and asked, "Wait. Did we close the back door?" We're in that transition time when you're still trying to put off turning on the central air for the first time for the season, and propping the back door open to cool and freshen the house always helps one to put it off that much longer.
I adore Shaun Tan; if you haven't read The Arrival yet, please just go do that. Right now. Now.Go!
Tan's illustrations are dark and a bit dystopian, intimately warm and industrially cold. Many of Tan's rules for the summer months are truly to be taken into consideration, whether literally or philosophically.
I love the autumn, it's my favourite season, and I become inspired and energized the first early morning I switch on the heater in the car. The heat during the summer here can be oppressive and seemingly interminable, so it's far too easy for me to get whiny and defeated. Rules of Summer, though, reminds me of companions highlighted in the light of the long days, and potential adventures to seize....more
I was surprised to come to goodreads to review this book and not find other reviewers writing what seems to me to be the obvious point: the value of rI was surprised to come to goodreads to review this book and not find other reviewers writing what seems to me to be the obvious point: the value of revision. Writing = revising, revising, revising.
Okay, I suppose it can also apply to other things such as science projects and sketches and product development, but as a writer all I saw was how easy it is to be inspired to write something, maybe even meticulously plan it out, and then be incredibly disappointed by the final first draft.
A girl and her dog work together to create something that will benefit them both (I didn't really realize what that thing was until the final project but maybe I'm a bit dense ) and when it doesn't turn out to the be Most Magnificent Thing, despite multiple revisions, she's really pissed off.
I can see why this is heavily featured at my local kids bookstores. Once I realized that Oliver Jeffers is the illustrator, I had to pick it up!
So muI can see why this is heavily featured at my local kids bookstores. Once I realized that Oliver Jeffers is the illustrator, I had to pick it up!
So much fun. The crayons are all annoyed at Duncan, and each has their own reasons why. They list their gripes in written letters to Duncan, and each letter is accompanies by examples of Duncan's pictures illustrating their reasons for their strike. The crayons not only tell Duncan what they think of his artistic skills but there's even interpersonal wars between the crayons themselves, and they're hoping Duncan will intervene.
I couldn't hep but question a slight hole in the plot: (view spoiler)[when Duncan reaches in his desk for his crayons he finds, instead, the letters they wrote to him, but when he wants to pacify all the crayons, then he just goes ahead and uses them to draw a picture... huh? where'd they come from? (hide spoiler)]; but, you know, it is a children's picture book, with limited space and plot, so I'll let it go this time.
Fantastic stories and so much to appreciate - I'd love to read this with a kid old enough to watch the drawing for clues and to understand the plot points. ...more
I liked this booked less than some of his others (I think the Hueys series in general just isn't my favourite). I was aboI just adore Oliver Jeffers.
I liked this booked less than some of his others (I think the Hueys series in general just isn't my favourite). I was about to give it 3 stars, until the final pages, in which Gillespie Huey distracts the other Hueys from their arguing by (view spoiler)[saying "Want to see a dead fly?" (hide spoiler)] And that definitely places it in four star range. ...more
I'm always particularly intrigued when a friend who isn't a Reader (capital R, there, as in someone like me who is constantly, constantly thinking aboI'm always particularly intrigued when a friend who isn't a Reader (capital R, there, as in someone like me who is constantly, constantly thinking about writing and stories - mine and everyone else's, and reading whenever possible) recommends a book to me. They often tend to have a lower threshold for sticking with a novel if it's not engaging them, and so I like it when they recommend something they loved.
I suspect that another motivation for recommending this to me was the element of cellos in the story - I've been (somewhat dismally, these days) messing around with a cello the last couple of years.
What a lovely, fantastical tale this is. It reminds of classics like A Little Princess, building a warm and magical-seeming world without actually delving into fantasy. I suspect this novel is appropriate for readers of an age who would also enjoy Little, though I adored it as an adult as well.
Sophie has the most amazing guardian/adopted parent ever created and because of this, the authorities in London are going to take her away from him because of the horrors inherit in a girl living with a man who allows her to wear trousers and think for herself.
Sophie remembers shreds of the mother she lost when she was only one year old and is convinced she's still alive. Under threat of being taken away from her guardian, Charles, and with his confidence in what she believes, they head off to Paris. There, Sophie meets the proud and almost mystical children who live above everyone else - on the roofs of Paris.
"Muscles, she thought, are a thing worth having. They make the world easier to reach."
Rooftoppers was a bit of a diversion for me and one I'm happy to have explored. Will certainly be reading Rundell again....more
LOVE this book. Okay, so I went into it biased: how very far wrong can you go with Jon Klassen and Lemony Snicket? This book was released the same dayLOVE this book. Okay, so I went into it biased: how very far wrong can you go with Jon Klassen and Lemony Snicket? This book was released the same day as Kate Atkinson's new novel and I was just slightly more excited for that release as I was this one.
Given that excitement, it could have been a huge letdown but it most certainly is not. Klassen's art and Snicket's words are a fantastic marriage. Of course, you know from the cover that the point of the story is the protagonist's confrontation with The Dark, but I adored how Laszlo, unlike some other protagonists, didn't wait until he was forced to confront his foe but tried, at first, to deal with it on his own:
"But in the morning the dark would be back in the basement, where it belonged. Laszlo would peek at the dark every morning. 'Hi,' he would say. 'Hi, dark.' Laszlo thought that if he visited the dark in the dark's room, maybe the dark wouldn't come visit him in his room."
Granted, this is more of a let's-give-a-little-sacrifice-to-the-monster-in-his-lair-with-hopes-he'll-stay-there than a full confrontation, but I applaud Lazslo his courage, nonetheless. The last line in the book - not provided here since I suppose it could constitute a spoiler - is so simple and yet insightful, so equally applicable for children and adults.