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.

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Book Review: Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake

Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake
by Hugh Lofting

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Doctor Dolittle returns to the Secret Lake hidden in the depths of Africa to interview the oldest living animal, a massive turtle named Mudface. His journey is perilous, but he has his trusty animals by his side. With the help of Chee-chee, Polynesia, Dab-Dab, Cheapside, Gub-Gub, Jip, and his faithful assistant Tommy Stubbins, the Doctor travels through swamps and jungles to find the old turtle and hear the story of the Flood.

I loved the plot in this one! The first part of the book is taken up with the Doctor’s preparations for the journey to Africa, and then his travels to get inland from the African coast to the Secret Lake. Once they find Mudface, the rest of the book chronicles his adventurous story about Noah and surviving the Great Flood.

The writing is charming and hilarious! The animals are all so funny and full of life, and the ridiculous situations are interesting. I’m amazed at how imaginative all of the Dolittle stories are, and the books never seem to run out of wild material for an adventure.

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle in the Moon

Doctor Dolittle in the Moon by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (Doctor Dolittle, #8)
by Hugh Lofting

5 out of 5 stars on GoodREads

Doctor Dolittle rides a Lunar Moth to the Moon using Moon Flowers to provide oxygen for the trip. There he finds forest, lakes, rives, and jungles, along with insect and bird life. The animals have summoned him there to heal their illnesses, but nowhere can they find a sign of the animals. With Tommy Stubbins, Polynesia, and Chee-chee the monkey, the intrepid explorers trek across the dark side of the Moon, searching for answers and discovering strange and wondrous phenomena on the Moon.

I was absolutely fascinated by this story, and all the imaginative and strange wonders on the Moon. The Doctor is wonderful and kind as always, with a fiery energy and intelligence. The story is told from Tommy’s perspective and he is an excellent narrator. I was so entranced with the crazy plot and the wild action, as well as the details of how the Doctor and his explorers survived, finding food and water, and fashioning clothing for themselves from bark and leaves.

It ends on a cliffhanger, so now I have to immediately read the next book in the series!

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: Explorer Academy The Double Helix

Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit
Explorer Academy: The Double Helix (Explorer Academy #3)
by Trudi Trueit 

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Cruz and his friends on board the Orion are heading to the Mediterranean, searching for clues left behind by Cruz’s mother before she died. The evil Nebula operatives are never far behind, spying on Cruz and threatening his family. In the middle of his secret quest for his mother’s clues, Cruz still has to attend Explorer Academy classes, compete with his team in class competitions, and try to have a little fun at a student Halloween party. His thirteenth birthday is quickly approaching, and Cruz is in more danger than ever as he navigates the intricacies of the toughest adventure yet!

I loved this plot! There is plenty of action and suspense. I never knew what was going to happen next! There are several plot-lines intersecting as Cruz juggles his school responsibilities, his personal relationships, dodging the nefarious Nebula, and keeping contact with Lani, his best friend back home in Hawaii. Continue reading

Book Review: Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure

Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure by National Geographic Kids
Explorer Academy Codebreaking Activity Adventure
by National Geographic Kids

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Enter the Explorer Academy as a recruit and crack the codes to find clues that will lead you through the mysterious halls of the Academy. Starting with easy codes and moving into more and more complex puzzles and encryptions, this book teaches the readers how to create and decode various types of ciphers, including semaphore and Morse code.

I loved the way the puzzles and codes are presented as part of an adventure, leading the reader through doorways to various parts of the Academy. Each code that you break gives you a clue to another place in the Academy that you need to go to find the next clue, and there are detours and hazards along the way. Continue reading

Book Review: The Switch

The Switch by Anthony Horowitz
The Switch
by Anthony Horowitz 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Tad is a spoiled rich kid, living in a massive mansion, with servants at his beck and call. Bob is a poor kid, living in a dirty caravan, working in a carnival, and surviving on the streets with thieves and pickpockets. When the two switch places in a magical swap, Tad must learn to survive on the streets, and Bob discovers that being rich isn’t always as good as it sounds.

This story was so much more than I thought it was going to be! I thought it would be your regular “Freaky Friday” body-swap thing with the pathetic rich kid having to learn how to live without his precious wealth. But wow! I was completely surprised at the turn the plot took, and the intricacies of the story. Even the smallest details took on a major significance as the truth behind Tad’s wealthy family is exposed. Continue reading

Book Review: Here Lies the Librarian

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
Here Lies the Librarian
by Richard Peck

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Jake and Peewee have a run-down country car garage that used to be a livery stable before the Model-T came roaring down the dirt roads of their little town. Jake loves to tinker with the newest automobiles, dreaming of building his own racecar someday, and Peewee is no slouch when it comes to repairing a brake line or patching up a punctured tire. When Irene, the new librarian, comes motoring along in beautiful clothes and an astonishing hat, Jake and Peewee’s lives will never be the same.

I fell in love with this book by the second chapter. I loved the plot, the classic 1910s setting, the kooky characters, the mysterious new librarian, and the hilarious antics of the farmers and rough-and-tumble country folk.
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Book Review: Calico Bush

Calico Bush by Rachel Field
Calico Bush
by Rachel Field,  Gail Herman,  Allen Lewis (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


In 1743, Marguerite is an indentured servant to a colonial family settling in the middle of Indian territory on the coast of Maine. Because she is French, she is scorned and ridiculed by her English employers, and is expected to work hard to tend to the children of the family. During their first winter on the small farm, Marguerite and the family struggle to survive in the harsh conditions, and face the threat of an attack from local tribes.

I was so enchanted with this book! The plot is interesting, the history is fascinating, and the characters feel wonderfully real and honest. It’s no wonder that this book won a Newbery Honor Award! Continue reading

Book Review: Horns and Wrinkles

Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson
Horns and Wrinkles
by Joseph Helgerson (Author),Nicoletta Ceccoli (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Claire lives along a stretch of the Mississippi river where magic is still alive, where trolls sit under bridges, and blue-winged fairies weave spells. When her cousin Duke bullies her, his nose begins to grow into a rhinoceros horn, and Claire is misled into a bargain with river trolls to cure him.

The world-building and magic system are quite imaginative and fanciful.
I liked the twisty plot and the odd characters.
The writing style is good, painting a vivid picture of freakish creatures and bizarre magic.

However, the book is much too long. The plot drags on and on with long scenes and lengthy dialogue that take forever to get to the point. I got bored with it, and then something new would finally happen and it would spark my interest again, and then it would drag on and on again, and I got bored again until the next new plot point finally got going.