Book Review: Forgotten Beasts

Forgotten Beasts by Matt Sewell
Forgotten Beasts 
by Matt Sewell

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This beautifully illustrated book teaches about extinct animals from the ancient past. There are no monstrous lizards or dinosaurs in this book. This is all about other types of mammals, birds, and sea creatures who once roamed the earth. Some are familiar to us, like the woolly mammoth and the sabre-toothed tiger, but most are impressively rare and wild-looking.

The illustrations are soft and colorful, with a gentle and silky style. But I wish there were more detail in the illustrations, and I wish that there were more drawings of each animal. It would have been interesting to compare the bone structure of fossils to the artist’s rendition of fur, feathers, and scales. It is very beautiful, but I was hoping for more detail.

As always with these sort of scientific books, I’m put off by the assumption of theories and dates that have not been proven. The author writes about millions of years, as though those dates were established scientific fact. The theory of evolution is also discussed as though it were fact and not theory. It makes me lose confidence in the veracity of the writing when ideas that are not proven are written about as if they were true.
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Book Review: Poppy and Rye

Poppy and Rye by Avi
Poppy and Rye 
by AviBrian Floca (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This cute story follows Poppy as she travels to the far-away Brook to bring the sad news of Ragweed’s death to his family. But when she arrives, the Brook has been dammed by selfish beavers, and Ragweed’s family have been threatened and their home flooded. The only one brave enough to help Poppy stand up to the beavers is Ragweed’s younger brother, Rye.

I loved this sweet and whimsical story! The writing is old-fashioned and charming, and I loved the adorable mouse characters.
I was especially interested to see the depth of Rye’s character, and some character development from Poppy and Ereth. It was delightful to see a simple story with such deep themes.

Picture Book Review: The Big Book Adventures

The Big Book Adventure by Emily Ford
The Big Book Adventure 
by Emily FordTim Warnes

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Foxy and Piggy love to read. They share their reading adventures with each other, and describe all the wonderful characters they have met. They encounter mermaids and dragons. They fly on a magic carpet, and find buried treasure. Foxy goes to outer space on a rocket, and Piggy has tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter in Wonderland. The two friends decide to start a book club, so that they can go on even more reading adventures together!

I loved the sweet characters of Piggy and Foxy. They are so cute!! They bounce from story to story enjoying each adventure and happy to share the experience of reading with a friend. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Big Cat

Big Cat by Emma Lazell
Big Cat 
by Emma Lazell

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Isobel’s Grandma has lost her glasses, and when a stray cat wanders into the garden, Isobel and her Grandma adopt the very big cat. Without her glasses, Grandma can’t see that the new cat is really a tiger! Food goes missing, and all the little cats are jealous. How will Isobel take care of such a big cat, and when will Grandma realize her mistake?

This is the cutest, most adorable picture book I’ve ever seen! The story is so funny and whimsical. The characters are a delight, and I love how Isobel just takes things in stride when a massive tiger moves into the house. Meanwhile, Grandma is utterly oblivious, and can’t understand why they keep running out of cat food.

The illustrations are bright with wild splashes of color and movement. I especially love all the little details in the background of each page. We can look for Grandma’s glasses hidden behind a flower pot. We see a newspaper advertising “Missing Tiger!”, and Isobel reads a book about tigers while the tiger reads a book about Humans. So many sweet details like that, which make this book truly special and a joy to read.
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Book Review: Poppy

Poppy by Avi
Poppy,   by Avi

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Poppy and her large mouse family are held in servitude to the formidable owl, Mr. Ocax. When Poppy and her boyfriend, Ragweed, decide to flaunt Mr. Ocax’s rules, it means trouble for the whole mouse family. Only Poppy can discover the truth behind Mr. Ocax’s secret fear, and save her family from starvation!

This story was so cute! I loved the whimsical plot, and the funny characters. The writing is charming, and the illustrations are beautiful.
Poppy is such an idiotic little fool, but she has a good heart and she is brave in the middle of terrifying circumstances (well, terrifying to a mouse).
I loved grumpy old Ereth, and his hilarious insults! He brings so much comedy into the story.

I enjoyed this so much that I’m going to continue on with the sequel, Poppy and Rye.

Picture Book Review: Emiline

Emiline by Kimberli Johnson
Emiline: Knight in Training 
by Kimberli Johnson

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This picture book features Emiline, a little girl who is training to be a knight. She struggles with reading because she has dyslexia, but her teacher encourages her to do her best and rise to the challenge. When her fellow knights are in danger, Emiline is the only one who can lead the way to safety by reading the riddle on a magic door and opening the portal.

The story is simple and fun. The illustrations are soft and graceful. But I’m not particularly impressed.
The story is almost TOO simple. The illustrations are TOO soft. I would have liked a little more clarity in the artwork. And the plot needed some more depth. There’s a lot of “telling” instead of “showing”, and the dialogue could have been more polished.

It’s a lovely little book, and I enjoyed reading it. Emiline is completely adorable, and I admire her spunk.

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Book Review: The Great Brain Reforms

The Great Brain Reforms by John D. Fitzgerald
The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain, #5) 
by John D. FitzgeraldMercer Mayer

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Tom, known as The Great Brain, is up to his old tricks again, fooling the neighborhood kids into sucker bets, tricking his brother into doing all the chores, blackmailing his adopted brother out of his allowance money, and generally making trouble for the town.

But when a few kids nearly lose their lives in one of his pranks, will the shame and fear of death be enough to get the Great Brain to reform his ways?

I enjoyed this funny story about the mischievous schemes of Tom and how he drags his brothers along for the ride. He definitely reminds me of Tom Sawyer, only he’s WORSE!
The wholesome atmosphere of the old town and the simple quiet people who live there, are stirred up by the wild and crazy scenarios that Tom cooks up. There is never a dull moment! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: 20 Recipes Kids Should Know

20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn
20 Recipes Kids Should Know 
by Esme WashburnCalista Washburn (Photographs)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This colorful book of recipes for children has clear instructions for simple food made from scratch. Each recipe includes a little blurb from the authors about why they love the food and how their parents or grandparents taught them to cook.

The photographs are beautiful, with bright colors and mouth-watering food on every page.
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