Non-Fiction Review: Treasury of Bible Stories

Treasury of Bible Stories by Donna Jo Napoli
Treasury of Bible Stories
by Donna Jo Napoli (Author), Christina Balit (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


These are retellings of Biblical stories from Genesis to Daniel as interpreted by the author, and reimagined with embellishments and dialogue. Starting with Creation, this book includes 28 Old Testament stories, ending with Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Elijah, Job, Jonah, David, Solomon, Esther, and Ruth are all included with their struggles and failures, and the power of God in their lives.

The writing can be flowery at times, and the author takes a few little liberties with the history. However, there are also some really wonderful cultural and historical additions that enhance the stories as the reader learns about ancient cultures. I wouldn’t trust this as a source of my religious belief, but it is an enjoyable imagining of what Biblical times could have been like. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: The World According to Francois

The World According to François by Vincent Zabus
The World According to François: The Writer’s Secret
by Vincent Zabus,  Renaud Collin (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Francois is a little boy with a big imagination. He is always writing down stories and telling them to his classmates and teachers, but the bullies in school make fun of his stories and his teachers are exasperated with him. He meets a mysterious woman who tells him that he has a magical power over letters of the alphabet and can command any book to do his bidding. An evil man has seized control of the letters, and only Francois can restore balance to the secret world of authors.

I loved Francois’ character! He has a good heart and enjoys using his intelligence to fantasize about other worlds and magical creations.

Continue reading

Comic Review: Super Sons 1 & 2

Super Sons by Ridley PearsonSuper Sons by Ridley Pearson
3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Jon Kent and Ian Wayne are the sons of Superman and Batman. They team up with a mysterious girl named Candace, with a troubled past, and the unlikely friends investigate an evil plot involving a deadly illness sweeping the streets. Meanwhile, the world is drowning as the polar icecaps melt and sea levels rise. Metropolis is flooded, and millions are forced to evacuate their homes and find shelter as “flood runners” in nearby towns, Jon and Ian included. Can they outrun the floods and find out who is behind the deadly virus?

I feel conflicted about this book. The characters are good, and I loved the artwork, but the story is hard to follow, because the plot is very chaotic. The scenes jump around with very little explanation about what is happening. The characters have extreme emotional reactions to situations, but it is never explained WHY they are reacting that way. There is almost no backstory on anyone. Continue reading

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle’s Return

Doctor Dolittle's Return by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle’s Return
by Hugh Lofting

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Doctor Dolittle finally returns to Puddleby after having spent a year on the Moon. Tommy Stubbins has been struggling to keep the Doctor’s household running in his absence, caring for the animals and the Doctor’s beautiful garden. The Doctor returns with pages and notebooks full of scientific notes and information which he wants to use to write his great book about his experiences on the Moon.

Every book in this series just gets better and better! I am always fascinated by the Doctor’s character. He is so energetic and intelligent and kind. Tommy is just adorable, and a very capable assistant for the Doctor. The story is hilarious, and I loved all the funny situations the animals get into. Each plot line is so imaginative and interesting!

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary

Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary (Doctor Dolittle, #11)
by Hugh Lofting

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Doctor Dolittle hears the full story of a green canary’s life, from the time she was born in a cage to her tragic separation from her owner, the window washer. After their success in the Canary Opera, Pippinella and Doctor Dolittle set out to find the missing window washer, and restore Pippinella to her favorite owner.

I enjoyed this book so much! The characters are hilarious, and I loved Pippinella’s varied life experiences and all the weird circumstances that made her change owners so frequently. She lives with a coal miner, a marchioness, a troop of soldiers, an innkeeper, and a tramp. She also lives in the wild for a short time before being captured, stolen from her rightful owner, and sold in a pet shop to John Dolittle. Continue reading

Book Review: Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages
by Trenton Lee Stewart 

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

The whole gang is back for another adventure! Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance are a little older now, contemplating their next move into adulthood, and worried that the Society will lose their special connection as they grow up. They band together one last time to stop the evil Mr. Curtain from escaping from his high-security prison.

I love everything about this book! The character development is excellent, and the friendships within the Society are just perfection. The plot kept me guessing right up to the end, and I was surprised at every turn. I love the witty writing style, and all the puzzles and codes and conundrums that are solved as the team work together to save the day!

Book Review: Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
Juniper Berry
by M.P. Kozlowsky (Author)Erwin Madrid (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Juniper Berry is the daughter of famous movie stars. As their fame grows, they become more and more distant from their daughter until she begins to suspect that something else is going on. Juniper befriends a scrawny neighbor boy whose parents are also acting strange. They follow their parents deep into the woods where they meet with a mystic creature who promises to make dreams a reality.

I loved this book! The plot is creepy without being too scary for me. I didn’t have nightmares after reading it, but I was deliciously chilled and freaked out while reading it. It has just the right amount of scary as Juniper uncovers the dark secret of her parents’ success. I especially enjoyed the mystic magic that the villain uses and the imaginative world-building. Continue reading

Book Review: Fearless

Fearless by Elvira Woodruff
Fearless
by Elvira Woodruff

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


In 1695, the Eddystone Reef off the coast of Cornwall is called the “Widow Maker” with more than 50 ships wrecking on the rocks each year. When Digory’s father is presumed lost at sea, Digory travels to Plymouth to inquire about any possible survivors from his ship, hoping to find his father alive. He becomes an apprentice to an eccentric inventor named Henry Winstanley, who is the architect of the new Eddystone Lighthouse.

I didn’t even realize that this is historical fiction until the end, when I read the blurb about history at the end of the book. I was pleasantly surprised and it gave the story so much more depth and meaning. Henry Winstanley really did design and build the first offshore lighthouse on Eddystone Reef, saving thousands of sailors’ lives each year.

I loved the writing style, the plot, the characters, and the wonderful themes of courage and family. The writing really draws the reader into this historic time and makes the setting feel immediate and real. The characters are colorful and interesting, and I really enjoyed the smart dialogue. Continue reading

Book Review: A Handful of Magic

A Handful of Magic by Stephen Elboz
A Handful of Magic
by Stephen Elboz

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Kit is full of mischief and unruly vandalism, until his misconduct results in his best friend, Prince Henry being bitten by a werewolf. As Kit works to save Henry from the werewolf’s poison, he uncovers a deadly plot to cripple all of England while children are used as slaves to work in underground mines. To save his friends, Kit must learn to use his magical abilities for good, instead of for foolish pranks.

Full of steampunk magic and mythical creatures, this book creates a world where magic is at war with new scientific discoveries like the electric light and telegraph. Kit’s father, a prominent wizard-adviser to Queen Victoria, worries that magic is becoming obsolete in the face of new scientific inventions, and Kit is determined to prove that magic is just as relevant and necessary as it ever was.

I didn’t quite like Kit and his friends at first, because of their foolishness and vandalism, but they began to grow and learn, and their good hearts and generous spirits began to show through, so in the end, I liked them all and was cheering for them through their adventures. Continue reading