Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos

Mustache Baby 
by Bridget Heos
illustrated by Joy Ang
40 pages
Clarion Books 
May 2013

Book Jacket Summary
When Baby Billy is born with a mustache, his family takes it in stride. They are reassured when he nobly saves the day in imaginary-play sessions as a cowboy or cop and his mustache looks good-guy great. But as time passes, their worst fears are confirmed when little Billy’s mustache starts to curl up at the ends in a suspiciously villainous fashion. Sure enough, “Billy’s disreputable mustache led him into a life of dreadful crime.” Plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor and cartoonish illustrations make this the perfect baby-shower gift for a mustachioed father-to-be.

My Thoughts 
Teeheheheel This was a funny concept that just begged for a picture book. Plus now I have a go to book for baby showers for my guy friends. It will be perfect for parents who have a love of 80's TV shows that starred cops with mustaches or cowboys with honor. I am not sure if the kids will understand all the cliches involved but some might have taken in our cultural literacy through other books or kid shows. I would say that this is more of an adult oriented picture book that parents will share with their children. That is not a bad thing though. I think the parent's joy over it will enthuse a child into enjoying it over and over. Also, a baby with a mustache will probably crack a kid up.
The art work is very well done and the mustache is perfect for each scenario that come up. Pick this one up and take a look!

Book Pairings
Mustache Baby Meets His Match


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Christian Robinson
40 pages 
Atheneum Books for Young Readers 
June 2014

Book Jacket Summary
A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Christian Robinson.

This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters.

But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?

My Thoughts
I thought that this was the cutest book with lots of puppies and a story about family. There is a switched at birth story that always fascinated me as a child. How would I react to such a situation? This book is beautifully illustrated and I love the cute dogs!
Apparently some people found it problematic with gender roles and nature vs. nurture. They thought that the feminine and masculine roles of Gaston and Antoinette were stereotypical. I didn't even notice until they pointed it out. I was more intrigued with the way they reacted to the new environment. I could understand the feeling of being thrust into a loud and boisterous family when you are used to a quiet one. This happened to me every summer growing up when I went to stay with relatives. Gaston just felt out of place with his birth family and wanted to go back to the family he understood. I don't think it was because his family was made up of all girls that he liked the "dainty" way his family lived. In fact, I thought it was nice to see a boy enjoy wearing pink and being comfortable with it. Maybe I am just reading to much into this and should just enjoy it for what it is.
I really like this one and I am glad I picked it up for my Kindle!

Book Pairings
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

I Got the Rhythm
by Connie Schofield-Morrison
illustrated by Frank Morrison 
32 pages
June 2014

Book Jacket Summary
On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her— from butterflies, to street performers, to ice cream sellers everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.

My Thoughts 
Colorful and bright! This book catches your attention right away. There are bold colors and the little girl is just bursting with energy as they walk through the park. Plus she is adorable and I love her hair! It is nice to see so many multicultural characters in one book. It is just like a real walk in the park.
I always wanted to incite an impromptu dance party on the streets. Growing up on musicals and Disney films will do that to you but this book almost makes it real. The little girl is dancing to the sounds of the world around her. The drummer in the park, the snapping of fingers, and the stomping of feet. The illustrations have fluidity to them and you can almost see the characters dancing to the music. The pure joy of music and dance will set your toes a tapping and itching to dance.
I highly recommend this one, if only for the illustrations. They are delightful and I love the main character! She gets everyone to dance and have fun. Plus it is nice to see a picture book about dancing that does not focus on ballet. There should be more books about just loving the joy of dancing. 

Book Pairings
Dance with Me by Charles R. Smith Jr.
How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle
Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning


Monday, February 2, 2015

Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean by Jane Lynch

Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean
Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean
by Jane Lynch and A.E. Embrey PhD
illustrated by Tricia Tusa
32 pages
Random House
September 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Glee actress Jane Lynch takes a look at bullying head-on in her first picture book.
Marlene is the self-appointed queen of the playground, the sidewalk, and the school. She is small but mighty . . . intimidating! Known for her cruel ways, the little Queen of Mean has kids cowering in fear—until big Freddy stands up to her and says what everyone has been too fearful to say. In Seussian rhyme, actress Jane Lynch, clinical psychologist Lara Embry, and former children’s book editor A. E. Mikesell gently and comically depict the undoing of a bully and her efforts to reform. Tricia Tusa’s charming illustrations make the story an even more accessible conversation starter for all ages.
My Thoughts
I am usually a bit wary of celebrity picture books but the more I heard Jane Lynch talk about how she used to be a bully the more I wanted to read it. Plus you should always be wary of girls with huge bows on their heads. That is one thing I learned from Saturday morning cartoons.
The book is simple enough with rhyming couplets that describe the atrocities that Marlene creates across the playground. She rules the school yard until one boy stands up and asks "Why?" Why is she ruling us? Especially since she is so small. The wind is taken out of Marlene's sails and she realizes that having power over people do not make friends.
The best part is that Marlene does slip back into her mean streak every once in a while. It is more believable than if she suddenly became perfect. Plus it is a good teaching moment for kids that even if people change they can still make mistakes and hurt you. Marlene backslides but still tries to be good most of the time.
It is a good book to add to the anti-bully pile. I would check it out of the library rather than run out and buy it though.

Book Pairings
The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill 
Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl by Jane O’Connor
The Only Boy in Ballet Class by Denise Gruska


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Magic Half (Miri and Molly #1) by Annie Barrows

The Magic Half
(Miri and Molly #1)
by Annie Barrows
212 pages
Middle Grade- Time Travel
December 2007

Book Jacket Summary
Miri is the non-twin child in a family with two sets of them--older brothers and younger sisters. The family has just moved to an old farmhouse in a new town, where the only good thing seems to be Miri's ten-sided attic bedroom. But when Miri gets sent to her room after accidentally bashing her big brother on the head with a shovel, she finds herself in the same room . . . only not quite.

Without meaning to, she has found a way to travel back in time to 1935 where she discovers Molly, a girl her own age very much in need of a loving family. A highly satisfying classic-in-the-making full of spine-tingling moments, this is a delightful time-travel novel for the whole family.

My Thoughts
I picked this up as a Kindle Daily Deal a while ago but put off reading it like I do so many of my ebooks. When I saw that the squeal was coming out I decided to just sit down and read it. Much to my surprise it turns out to be a time travel book! My favorite genre! There is just something thrilling about being able to travel back in time.
Miri set in the middle of two sets of twins and always feels left out. Her older brother don't want to play with her and her little sisters are just too young. Miri wants to have a friend all her own that loves to pretend. Moving to a new house is stressful but soon Miri finds magic that lets her time travel to the past. There she meets Molly and they hatch a plan to bring Molly forward in time with Miri to escape her abusive aunt and cousin. There is hidden treasure, magical glasses, fairy godmothers, and evil relatives to liven up this book.
I really like Miri because she acts impulsively; she whacks her brother in the head with a shovel and with rush to the past to save Molly. I think that I would have bee the same way when I was younger and caught up in an adventure. This book is really cute and I can't wait to see what time traveling Molly and Miri do in their next book. Plus we have to see how Molly acclimates to a new loving family. I recommend this fast read, especially to those who love a time travel adventure.

Book Pairings
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone and Greg Call
The Rise of the Darklings by Paul Crilley 
The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet 


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Magical Animal Adoption Agency #1: Clover's Luck by Kallie George

The Magical Animal Adoption Agency #1:
Clover's Luck
by Kallie George
illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Chapter Book- Fantasy 
February 3, 2015

Book Jacket Summary
Despite her name, Clover has always felt decidedly unlucky. So when she stumbles upon a mysterious cottage in the Woods, she can hardly believe her good fortune. It's the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, and it houses creatures of all kinds. Fairy horses, unicorns, and a fiery young dragon are just the beginning!
Mr. Jams, the Agency's owner, agrees to hire her as summer helper and Clover hopes her luck has finally changed. But when she's left alone to care for the Agency, a sneaky witch comes after the magical creatures! Will Clover outsmart her in time to protect the animals?

My Thoughts
Extremely cute! If you are looking for a brief description of the book those are the words I would use. I wish that I could wander into the woods behind my house and find a Magical Animal Adoption Agency. There were many mythical beasts that I would love to take of but I think the fairy miniature horses would be my favorite. Not the usual miniature horses mind you but ones the length of your finger. They live in an aquarium that has a miniature forest and I want one (or the whole herd).

Clover thinks she is unlucky at everything, especially when it comes to keeping pets. However, things start to look up when her latest pet, a bird, flies out the window and Clover follows it into the Woods. Finding the Magical Animal Adoption Agency is a stroke of luck for Clover because she can take care of the animals without the risk of loosing them at home. There are unicorns to brush down, a dragon to feed, and a white witch's cat that needs a home. 

I really liked Clover and her willingness to help out with the animals. I understand that love of animals but not being able to keep one. She is sweet and kind without seeming Mary Sue-ish. I think this will be a great series for children who like mythical creatures and fairy tales. Make sure you check this one out!

Book Pairings
Whatever After Series by Sarah Mlynowski
Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine
A True Princess by Diane Zahler


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To

January 13: Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To

This year felt for along the lines of what did I not read? These are the ones I want to read the most though.

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) 
A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Rat Queens by

Inland by Kat Rosenfield

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

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