Review: Manga Classics: Great Expectations

Manga Classics: Great Expectations
Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Stacy King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve never really liked this story, but reading it as a manga was definitely better! Seeing Pip as a manga character, and being able to read his expressions, brought the story to life for me. I also appreciated that the story is condensed and clear, making it easy to follow what is going on.

The best part is seeing all the characters, both good guys and villains, strongly reflected in the beautiful artwork. Joe has an angelic face, peaceful and kindly in every circumstance. Miss Havisham is old and gaunt and ghastly. And Pip’s face is innocent and wishful. The brilliant thing about the artwork is that their whole character is written in their faces! Continue reading

Book Review: The White Company

The White Company
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Young Alleyne has had a sheltered up-bringing in a monastery, learning how to read and paint, but knowing very little about normal life in Medieval England. When he ventures out into the world as a young man, he finds a place as squire to the famous knight, Sir Nigel, the leader of the White Company, a band of English archers. They march to war with Spain, and Alleyne is determined to win glory, love, riches, and honor without losing the saintly virtues that the monks taught him as a child.

I loved the adventure, the action, the rousing dialogue, and knightly courage! The plot ran through all these unexpected turns that took me by surprise. Continue reading

Book Review: Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow
Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow by James Rollins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as good as the first time I read it!

Jake and Kady’s parents were archaeologists, lost and presumed dead in the jungles while they studied ancient Mayan pyramids. When Jake and Kady use an artifact their parents found, they are transported to a mysterious world of dinosaurs and lost tribes of people. They’ve barely had time to explore and make a few friends, when the lost civilization comes under attack from the evil Skull King. Jake and Kady must choose between searching for a way home, and defending the strange world they’ve been dropped into.

Magic crystals, strange alchemy, ancient tribes and traditions, extinct animals, and archaic festivals; this adventure has such a beautifully imaginative world! Continue reading

Book Review: Cloudy-Bright

Cloudy-Bright by John Rowe Townsend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I reread this book every few years, and it usually starts with insomnia. I’m up in the middle of the night, and I think, I’ll read this old boring book about photography and that will put me to sleep.
But then I get caught up in the story, and I remember why I gave this clever little book 5 stars! Before I know it, I’m not the least bit sleepy, and I’ve read half the book!

Sam needs a camera to win the photography contest at his college, so he borrows Jenny’s camera, but doesn’t realize that Jenny comes along with it.  The two are thrown together in a few funny situations, and through many ups and downs they become unlikely friends with a little romance simmering between photographs. Continue reading

Book Review: I Hate Reading

I Hate Reading: How To Get Through 20 Minutes of Reading A Day Without Really Reading
I Hate Reading: How To Get Through 20 Minutes of Reading A Day Without Really Reading by Arthur Bacon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whahahahaha! This is hilarious! The perfect book for kids who hate reading and would rather play outside. This book offers tips on how to trick your parents into thinking you are reading, when really you are just moving your eyeballs from side to side on the page. Such a funny book with almost no illustrations, but still colorful and clever.

What a great way to take the pressure off when a kid doesn’t care for reading, and get them interested in reading again! This book is very sneaky about getting kids to read, because when you’re laughing you will WANT to read. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Chicken Does Not Want to be a Chicken

Chicken Does Not Want to be a Chicken
Chicken Does Not Want to be a Chicken by Elsa Takaoka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This cute little picture book is perfect for beginning readers, and it’s hilarious to see the little chicken trying so desperately to be a dog! The illustrations are colorful and funny, drawing the reader into the story. I love that the sentences are short and easy to read, which is perfect for building confidence in young readers.

I can really imagine reading this out loud to a child and doing all the voices, barking, clucking, meowing, and doing other sound effects along with the story. It would be so fun to read with any little kid!

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Review: Manga Classics: Jane Eyre

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Stacy King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jane Eyre has always been one of my favorite books, so I had high expectations for this manga adaptation, and I was not disappointed!

Jane is beautifully portrayed, and all the complexity and grace of her character is reflected in her appearance, her facial expressions, and in every bit of dialogue. Simply brilliant! I loved her pretty dresses, and her fierce spirit and sweetness absolutely pours off the page! Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: The Jungle Book

Manga Classics: The Jungle Book
Manga Classics: The Jungle Book by Crystal S. Chan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked how this manga presentation of The Jungle Book actually followed the real stories from the original book, including not just the story of Mowgli, but also Rikki-Tiki-Tavi, The White Seal, Toumai of the Elephants, and others. I wish they would make another one for Jungle Book 2 with even more stories!

The artwork is so beautiful, and really brings the characters to life! I loved seeing the facial expressions of Mowgli and Rikki-Tikki and the others, showing their fierce jungle spirit. The action was easy to follow, since each panel shows what is going on very clearly. Really well put-together and beautiful art! Continue reading

Book Review: Seven-Day Magic

Seven-Day Magic
Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this last book of the series, a whole new set of characters take center stage for another magical adventure! These children love visiting the library every week and checking out piles of books, and when Susan finds a mysterious old book without a title, she opens it to discover that the book is all about her and her friends making wishes and going on adventures! The children take turns making their wishes on the book with mixed results. Wizards and dragons are not all they seem to be, and when they begin mixing the magic with other books and modern-day events, things get out of hand until the children can learn to follow the magical rules and find their own happy endings.

Yet another wonderful book in this series! The winsome and wild writing takes you to a new world of magic and fantasy, every page drawing the reader into the story. The characters are complex and delightful, making you truly care about each of them.

I love how there are many many references to classic books like Robinson Crusoe, the Wizard of Oz, and countless others. As always, Edward Eager highlights several children’s books by Edith Nesbit, which these characters have all read, of course!

Reading it for the second time was just as entertaining as the first!

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Book Review: The Well-Wishers

The Well-Wishers
The Well-Wishers by Edward Eager

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The five children are back for more magic from their wishing well. But this time the magic is including all sorts of unsuitable people in their adventures, and the children aren’t sure if they can accept these new people encroaching on their magic business.

Can the school bully really be reformed by the magic, or does he deserve to be punished for his previous schoolyard crimes? Will the children try to help an extremely annoying opera diva, or will they avoid her like the plague? And what about the crazy witch-lady from the local insane asylum? Surely, the magic wouldn’t expect them to make friends with a dangerous witch! But somehow the magic pulls through, the children find the courage and resourcefulness to overcome every obstacle, and they spread some good magic around their neighborhood while still having fun! They learn that anyone can become a friend if only you show them acceptance and kindness. Continue reading