Picture Book Review: Over in the Woodland

Over in the Woodland by Nicole  Abreu
Over in the Woodland: A Mythological Counting Journey
by Nicole Abreu (Author),Shar Abreu (Author), Susanna Covelli (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

This picture book counts up mythical creatures in a magical fairyland as they dance and fly with their parents. Each family of fairies, griffins, centaurs, and trolls grows in size as we count from 1 to 10. The rhyming text is meant to be sung to the tune of “Over in the Meadow”.

Each mystical family is in their own element. The mermaids swim in cool water. The centaurs practice archery in a forest. The dragons fly through the clouds. The dwarves carve rock and stone. The mother or father teaches their children to work together and learn the magic ways of the woodland.

The illustrations are marvelous. The art is warm, rich, and vibrant. There are tiny details in the illustrations that make each scene come alive with magic: little dew drops on a leaf, the sparkle of a waterfall, the strands of hair or fur on the mythic creatures. Each little whisker is alive with energy and movement.
Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Anne’s House of Dreams

Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Anne’s House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables, #5)
by L.M. Montgomery

5 out of 5 stars

Anne and Gilbert are married, and they settle into their first home while Gilbert starts his medical practice in a small harbor town on Prince Edward Island. They befriend their neighbors, Captain Jim, Leslie Moore, and the formidable Miss Cornelia.

Captain Jim tells them fascinating stories of his adventures at sea. Miss Cornelia hates men and criticizes them mercilessly. Leslie Moore has had a tragic life, and her heart is bitter. Each of these people find solace and compassion with Anne as they form strong friendships that help them through the storms of life. Continue reading

Book Review: Wings of Flame

Wings of Flame by Nancy Springer
Wings of Flame
by Nancy Springer 

3 out of 5 stars

Two warring nations worship the same horse deity, but their priests differ on how to worship. The warrior prince, Kyrem, is sent as a hostage to peace to be the guest of his enemy. An outcast girl, Seda, must masquerade as a boy, and befriends the prince when she saves his life from brigands on the road.

There were some things about this book that I really loved, and some things that were confusing, and some things that were just weird.

I loved the characters! Their relationships are complex and always changing. They all have secrets and inner turmoil that they have to resolve. I was so engaged in their character development and their emotional reactions. Continue reading

Book Review: The Rising Star of Rusty Nail

The Rising Star of Rusty Nail by Lesley M.M. Blume
The Rising Star of Rusty Nail
by Lesley M.M. Blume

3 out of 5 stars

Franny is a piano prodigy in a backwards country town. When a mysterious Russian musician arrives in town, Franny begs her to teach piano lessons.

I was not impressed with this book. As a piano teacher myself, I was hoping for something more, but it was pretty basic. Most of the book is about the townspeople and their little country lives. It’s supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t laughing. I was annoyed with the ignorant people. I didn’t like any of the characters. The children are all brats. The adults are all incompetent. The characters are one-dimensional. The writing is good, but not amazing. Continue reading

Book Review: Fyre

Fyre by Angie Sage
Fyre (Septimus Heap, #7)
by Angie Sage

4 out of 5 stars

At last, the wizards are preparing to destroy the evil Two-Faced Ring and all its Darke magic. But first they must kindle the ancient Alchemical Fyre, and only Marcellus knows where the old Alchemy chamber of Fyre is hidden.

I loved this book! The plot is full of action and magic and twists. I adore the characters, and I love how they grow and learn throughout the series. This book was particularly emotional for the Heap family as Princess Jenna prepares to be crowned Queen.

There are so many hilarious details in this book that make it really fun to read. Each character has a unique relationship with the others, and I love the complicated dynamics between them all. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: That Dog!

That Dog! by Emma Lazell
That Dog!
by Emma Lazell

5 out of 5 stars

A ruthless gang of dognappers is on the loose, and their next target is…. That Dog! But That Dog will not be caught unawares. He is on their trail, following the clues to rescue the other dogs who have been dognapped. The dognapper’s assistant is not too bright, and he mistakenly kidnaps a snake, a rabbit, and a cat while searching for That Dog.

I love the silly story and the fun characters. That Dog is quite a clever dog, and I liked how we see him with a notebook full of clues. He carries around a magnifying glass and reads books like “Sherlock Bones and Dog Watson”. He reads the newspaper and does the crossword puzzle. A dog who reads is my kind of dog. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The Runaway Shirt

The Runaway Shirt by Kathy  MacMillan
The Runaway Shirt
by Kathy MacMillan, Julia Castano (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

While a mother is folding the laundry, her child climbs into a big shirt, and she tries to fold the “shirt”. First she folds in the arms, and then folds the shirt in half by tucking in the child’s legs. But the “shirt” runs away! She tries to put it in a drawer, but it pops out again. She tries to hang it up in the closet, but the “shirt” is too heavy for the hanger.

This is such an adorable book! I love how imaginative the mother and child are as they pretend the child is a shirt. Their affectionate connection is evident on every page as they play and pretend together. It’s fun to see them transform a boring chore into a game.

Even though it’s such a simple story, I was giggling through every page, and almost cried when the “shirt” says “I love you, Mommy.” So sweet! So cute! Adorableness overload! Continue reading