Best and Worst Reads of 2018

Fahrenheit 451 Review:  https://youtu.be/LQ4PGXGSfzA

Alanna Review #1:  https://youtu.be/ZMfMyd7roBg

Alanna Review #2: https://youtu.be/JYlKt3vvvP8

Alanna Review #3: https://youtu.be/gBq3lNZUOu4

Alanna Review #4: https://youtu.be/0q59NJLNJgk

Barnaby Rudge Review:  https://youtu.be/8OaWLnePloA

Our Mutual Friend Review: https://youtu.be/YDkOH9gRvvA

Martin Chuzzlewit Review: https://youtu.be/sJm1_0Vb8Zs

Peter Simple Review: https://youtu.be/0yR7rUq9fmg

Lorna Doone Review: https://youtu.be/rwjz7-fceHE

Book Review: The Book of Boy

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The Book of Boy
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A young hunchback goatherd named simply “Boy” is indentured as a servant to a shrewd pilgrim traveling through France in search of various relics of Saint Peter. As the two journey together, they boldly endure various adventures in their pursuit of the holy relics of Saint Peter, until they arrive at last within the holy city of Rome. Boy discovers that the pilgrim is hiding a dark past, and the pilgrim gradually reveals Boy’s most closely guarded secret, his own true identity.

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Book Review: Willows at Christmas

The Willows at Christmas by William Horwood
The Willows at Christmas 
by William Horwood, Patrick Benson (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

It’s Mole’s first Christmas on the River Bank after meeting his new friends, the Water Rat, Otter, Badger, and Toad. Mole is concerned because no one seems to have any Christmas spirit, and all his friends find excuses not to attend his holiday festivities. Can Mole unravel the mystery of why a mysterious house guest at Toad Hall is ruining the Christmas season for the entire River Bank? The River Bank friends are launched into a Christmas adventure when Toad is arrested AGAIN, and an ancient law invoked by the Lord of the Manor could mean the end of the Willows.

I adore every book in this series, and this one is wonderful too! Such a great plot with lots of action and excitement interspersed with moments of sweet affection and simple home comforts. The writing style is so close to the writing of Kenneth Grahame that I can barely tell the difference. The old-fashioned charm of the story swept me away immediately into the wholesome world of the Willows.

Picture Book Review: Have I Ever Told You?

Have I Ever Told You? by Shani King
Have I Ever Told You? 
by Shani King, Anna Horvath (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This picture book reminds each child that they are loved, that it’s okay to ask questions, that it’s important to do the right thing, and that they should always be respectful and kind.

I loved the text of this book, with its insightful statements about being inclusive and kind, about honest communication, and especially about love and family. It reminds the reader that it’s important to talk about the important things, and make sure that every child feels safe and loved and heard. I think this book will open good dialogue between children and adults, and provide opportunities for “teaching moments”, or maybe just provide a chance to listen to a child and hear what they want to say.

However, I did not always love the artwork.

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Book Review: Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures

Don't Mess With Me by Paul Erickson
Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures 
by Paul EricksonAndrew Martinez (Photographs)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book tells all about the venomous creatures of the sea, with beautiful photographs of each type of fish, coral, and worm. Each page has wonderful explanations of how the creatures feed on their prey, how they deliver their venom to their victims, and how they protect themselves from other predators.

The information is interesting and memorable, but uses many big words and technical terms that children might find too heavy for enjoyable reading.
I loved the colorful photographs, and curious facts about each animal, and I found it very informative and impressive.  Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Miss Pinkeltink’s Purse

Miss Pinkeltink's Purse by Patty Brozo
Miss Pinkeltink’s Purse 
by Patty BrozoAna Ochoa (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Miss Pinkeltink is homeless, and she carries around a massive purse full of random stuff. Sometimes she knocks things over with her enormous purse, and the townspeople complain that she has run over their roses with her purse, or knocked down their fence, or bumped children off their bikes.

But Miss Pinketink has a good heart, and she shares the stuff from her purse with the townspeople. She gives out a roll of tape to fix a flat bike tire, or a comb to a bald man, a bone to a cat, and a plunger to a car mechanic with hilarious results!

A little girl named Zoey recognizes that Miss Pinkeltink’s heart is in the right place, even if her gifts are not always the most useful things. Zoey organizes the townspeople to provide a home for Miss Pinkeltink, and show their appreciation for all her gifts to them!
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