13 August, 2010

Todd's TV Book Review

By James Proimos


"Todd loved his parents. But he had grown much closer to his TV." This quote says it all, Todd's TV is a hilarious story of what can happen if you constantly place your child in front of the television. Todd's parents just couldn't help it, they were both busy the night of parent-teacher conferences. When the TV offers to go with Todd instead they decide that it does make sense since he spends more time with Todd then they do, so they allow it. Soon TV is making breakfast, driving Todd to school, and giving advice... But one day the TV goes too far for Todd's parents and they become extremely jealous and try to win back Todd's favour.

James Proimos has written and illustrated another fabulous adventure with Todd's TV. Children will belly laugh (as parents nervously giggle) at the reality of this story. Proimos' style hasn't changed a bit with this book, his plot is still ridiculous and funny and his illustrations still simple. A fabulous characteristic of Proimos' work is the character's dialog in speech bubbles, it gives this story a great comic book feel. The only thing disappointing about this book is when they turn off the TV (sorry for the spoiler) because Proimos built up such an amazing friendship between Todd and the TV... The TV really was a good caretaker, it was sad to see him off.

Todd's TV is a great giggly read for everyone of every age. A great silly warning story for parents to be careful how busy you are and how much you plop the kids in front of the TV, you might just find your child chosing the TV over you!

I Need My Monster Book Review

By Amanda Noll
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam


Ethan finds himself in an enormous dilemma when he discovers a note under his bed from his monster. Gabe, who usually prowls beneath Ethan's bed, has gone fishing! Ethan doesn't know what to do! How will he ever be able to sleep without Gabe scaring him to stay in bed? As substitutes start filing in to take Gabe's place, Ethan is far from satisfied.

Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam have turned a child's nightmare into a dream-come-true! Noll's story is enchanting, a child will giggle at the silly substitute monsters and even smile at the menacing Gabe because he is talked about in such admiration by Ethan. McWilliam's illustrations are nothing less than perfection for this tale. His monsters are as beautiful as those from the Disney film Monsters Inc. and his backgrounds are so complete and detailed it leaves the reader right in the room with Ethan.

I Need My Monster is perfect for children of all ages, everyone can appreciate it for different reasons. A great story to tell little ones who are nervous to fall asleep wondering what is lurking undernieth their bed. This is a charming book of friendship and love, an outstanding debut from Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam.

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town Book Review

By Kimberly Willis Holt


Two dollars to see the fattest boy in the world is something that Toby and his friend Cal can't resist on a hot summer day in Antler, Texas. Little happens in Antler, so the whole town seems to show up when the trailer parks in the Dairy Maid parking lot. Everyone files into line and hands their money to Paulie, the owner of the trailer and the guardian of Zachary Beaver. To Toby and Cal six hundred and forty-three pound Zachary is not a disappointment, Toby is filled with shock and Cal with unending questions. The town expects them to be gone by morning, but when they awaken they find Paulie's car gone and the trailer containing Zachary parked in the same spot.

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town is a coming-of-age novel that takes place during the Vietnam war. Kimberly Willis Holt has created a picture of boys friendship quite perfectly, the two main characters are more than believable. However, Holt created too much plot with this book and this makes a lot of it difficult to digest. Each of the three main characters have at least one HUGE tragity, which causes the flow of the book to seem like a waterfall even though her attempt was the possitiveness of friendship. Upon finishing this book it almost feels like you need more, there are so many loose ends that didn't get tied together that leave the reader wondering what happens.

This is a book that discusses war, death, and parents sepertaing; not reccomended for younger readers, best for children in the mid-upper grades. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town is a novel that children can turn to to help remind themselves that when someone else is rude to them it probably means they are hurting inside and the best thing to do is love them rather than be mean back. An interesting perspective on friendships and hardships is what this book will leave you with.

07 August, 2010

The Hunger Games Book Review

By Suzanne Collins


Once a year all the districts stop their work in order to watch 24 children fight to the death on television. The Hunger Games is a sick and bleak story that should never be entertaining, it is dumbfounding that it has gotten such a huge audience, but then again we are living in an era where Twilight is almost considered a second Bible.

Suzanne Collins has very little talent in writing, although she puts a lot of effort into sounding as artistic and troubled as possible. Her sentences are very short and choppy, hopelessly trying to sound powerful, resulting in extremely dry context. There simply is no flavour to her words, they all taste like stale bread. Collins often gives the story To Much Information moments (we all understand that the main character is facing the wilderness and is dehydrated, but really, no one wants to know that when she urinates it is brown...). The Hunger Games is set in the future and is supposedly a Science Fiction novel, but aside from a chapter or two there really isn't much to call it futuristic, it's more wilderness and survival.

The plot of The Hunger Games as a whole is absolutely revolting, and it is meant to be, but still it is disturbing that this is giving so many people joy. As a reader you want to cheer on the main character hoping that she survives the games, but then you realize that with that it means you are hoping for the other 23 innocent children to either die by the elements or be killed. That is a pretty sick thing to be rooting for. The main character Katniss is prideful, self-conscience, and extremely unobservant. It becomes extremely aggravating at times, and it is completely strange that two perfect boys are in love with her, which is entirely irritating in itself.

The ending of this book is one of the worst imaginable, although clever from Suzanne Collins perspective because now everyone has to read her second book to know how the story ends (there was no real ending to this book, more of a chapter end than a book end). All in all The Hunger Games was a strange read and a sad realization to what brings happiness to the average reader.

29 July, 2010

Just Like Bossy Bear Book Review

By David Horvath


Bossy Bear is a bear with a SERIOUS attitude, he likes everything his way - the ONLY way, and you had better do as he says! But how does Bossy Bear feel when his best friend Turtle starts dishing out the same bossy sauce? Just Like Bossy Bear is a fabulous sequal to David Horvath's Bossy Bear, in fact it far outshines it.

This book has some of the most humorous and adorable drawings. Horvath being the creator of the world famous toy Ugly Dolls is no surprise: Ugly Dolls are simplistic yet hilarious and this book is simplistic yet hilarious! He has created a fantastic combination that is loved most highly in both the snuggling and the storytelling worlds. Bright and bold colours accompanied by the wonderous catroon-like characters creates a very-well-coloured-in colouring-book feel, which is very pleasing to the eyes. The three to five word sentences are pure genious and would leave even the grumpiest in a stitches.

Bossy Bear must set a good example to Turtle, but can he do so and still remain bossy? Unlike Bossy Bear's first adventure, Just Like Bossy Bear leaves readers with a new alternative to bossiness. Perfect for children of all ages who have that bossy streak running down their back, or for anyone else who just wants a good laugh. David Horvath has created a one in a million with Just Like Bossy Bear.

28 July, 2010

The Easter Bunny That Overslept Book Review

By Priscilla and Otto Friendrich
Illustrated by Adrienne Adams


The Easter Bunny wakes up to deliver eggs to all the children, but what he doesn't realize is that it's Mother's Day. Due to the cold and rainy weather, the Easter Bunny slept right through Easter! Through his bewilderment (and embarrassment) he tries to give out his eggs anyway, but is rejected, no one wants eggs on Mother's Day.

Priscilla and Otto Friendrich have created a charming tale of a timid, yet persistent, holiday character that children can flock to at any month of the year. As beautiful as the story is, Adrienne Adams' paintings are absolutely breathtaking. Adams creates a very soft and friendly world with her artwork, the 1950s style characters and settings truly add to the innocence of the book. Together the words and the pictures go hand-in-hand to becoming the greatest story ever told about the world's most famous rabbit. This book truly is a masterpiece.

But it doesn't just end on Mother's Day, you have to wander with the Easter Bunny throughout all the year's holidays. Will anyone accept his belated eggs? Will anyone help him to no longer be tardy? The Easter Bunny That Overslept is a fantastic story to teach children to remain friendly and do your best at your job even when people aren't kind to you, someone will be grateful in the end. Friendrich and Admas have made an unforgettable classic.

05 June, 2010

The Heart and The Bottle Book Review

By Oliver Jeffers


A joyful and curious child finds herself with a heart she must protect after she discovers her beloved grandfather's chair empty. Oliver Jeffers' newest book, The Heart and the Bottle, is by far his deepest message.

Those who are drawn to Jeffers' books because of the illustrations will not be disappointed! For the first time he starts out a book with "Once there was a girl" as opposed to most of his others which the main character is a boy. The simplicity and beauty of his artwork remains remarkably the same with this new character, however the girl creates a new personality amongst his paintings. Children and art-lovers everywhere will come again and again to The Heart and the Bottle to turn it's pages and admire the new friends on it's pages.

The storyline is a bit grim and unexpected from the cheerful and imaginative Oliver Jeffers, but the way he words it, it is perfect. He introduces us to a girl, and through the pictures we see her always with her grandfather. She is happy and full of wonder, until the day her grandfather's chair is empty (this is Jeffers' way of saying her grandfather had died). She wants to protect her heart so she puts it in a bottle for safe-keeping, unfortunately this causes her to loose all the joy and youth she once had. The book takes you through her life, until you find the very happy resolution that helped her regain her heart.

Although this book has a pleasant ending, it is a bleak journey to get there, so this book isn't recommended for the tenderhearted or for children who have not discovered the fact of death just yet. The Heart and the Bottle is a fantastic tool for children (and even adults) who have suffered a loss because it teaches a wonderful lesson of not to protect your heart so much that you loose trust and happiness.