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Book Review: A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

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Cover of "A Home Again" by Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: After the last brick is laid, a family moves into a brand-new house. As the family grows, the house delights in the sound of laughter echoing in its halls and the pitter-patter of little feet traversing its floors and realizes it is no longer just a house. It has become a home—their home. One day, the family packs up, and with tears in their eyes, they say goodbye. The house doesn’t know if it can ever be happy again until two men appear. It begins to feel a sliver of hope about this new family…perhaps it can become a home once more.

Told from the perspective of a house, this story’s heartfelt text and beautiful illustrations convey a warmth of feeling as two families change and grow at different times within the same four walls.

 

REVIEW: A Home Again is a cozy story about how a house becomes a home that warmed my heart.

I love that this story is told from the perspective of the house. The people, the laughter, the smells, the sounds, the personal touches all work in concert to create a beautiful, loving home.

I felt every emotion the house was feeling: from happy to confused, from sad to joy and love again. The house’s journey is mesmerizing and well developed.

I really loved this book! The rich vocabulary and smooth, bright illustrations made the story come to life. Things ended so satisfyingly hopeful. I would certainly recommend A Home Again!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Review: I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb, Illustrated by Suzie Mason

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DAY 22

Cover of "I’ve Loved You Since Forever" by Hoda Kotb, Illustrated by Suzie Mason

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: I’ve Loved You Since Forever is a celebratory and poetic testament to the timeless love felt between parent and child. This beautiful picture book is inspired by Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb’s heartwarming adoption of her baby girl, Haley Joy.

With Kotb’s lyrical text and stunning pictures by Suzie Mason, young ones and parents will want to snuggle up and read the pages of this book together, over and over again.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

This book was really well illustrated. I was blown away by the art and colors from the very first page. It’s a visually appealing and beautiful story about a parent/guardian/care-giver’s deep love for their child. The tone is relaxed, gentle, and peaceful. All the animals were so cute but I have a deep love for pictures of a starry night sky. Really enjoyable story!


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Illustrated Covers I Adore 💙

Happy Thursday, Bookworms!

What are some of your favorite illustrated book covers?

Illustrated covers are always so cute and a million times better than anything I could ever draw. I love the array of light colors for some, the simplicity for others, the use of pastels, and the intricate details.

Below are some of my favorite illustrated covers:

*images via Goodreads and NetGalley*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Review: Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book, Asian Lit
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quotes: “Sometimes you don’t need words to find common ground.”

“Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. And in a FLASH – we see each other for the first time.”

ABOUT: When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

 

My Review: Drawn Together is a heart-warming story that depicts in an array of stunning colors how a picture can be worth a thousand words.

The boy isn’t thrilled about visiting his grandpa who doesn’t speak English. The language barrier doesn’t make for a fun visit for either of them until the boy takes out a drawing and other art supplies. Excited, the grandpa grabs his own sketchbook – and the divide begins to lessen.

Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. And in a FLASH – we see each other for the first time.

I loved this beautiful story. I love the bond that forms between the boy and his grandpa through art. Dan Santat’s illustrations are gorgeous and Minh Lê’s words, though very limited, created such lovely lines.

I 1000% recommend this breathtaking picture book!


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Book Review: “Big Nate Makes The Grade” by Lincoln Peirce

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Genre: Children’s Fiction, Graphic Novel
Series: Big Nate: Comics
Rating: 2 out of 5 (DNF @ pg.114)
Recommend to Others?: No

 

ABOUT: Self-described comic genius Big Nate keeps parents and teaching on their toes in this hilarious……Nate Wright is known to his pals and teachers for many things, his penchant for mischief and his school record for detentions being the foremost. But beating out brainiac Gina’s grades is not one of those things! In Big Nate Makes the Grade, the school life goings-on of Nate, his pals, and his long-suffering teachers are recounted in hilarious detail……

 

My Review:
I wanted to read this book because it was a popular series for this age group and I wanted to know why. It looked like a good read. It’s a very character driven story. Nate’s character holds a lot of presence.

However, I couldn’t finish it because of Nate’s character. He’s very unlikable, oblivious, and too troublesome. He’s not the best academically (which is fine) but he doesn’t try out of sheer laziness it seems. He’s quick to blame everything and everyone else for his troubles. If this wasn’t a graphic novel, I’d say Nate was an unreliable narrator.

The comic art style is great and done in such a classically nostalgic way. The writing is really good. There were a few times here and there when I was actually liking the story because of the dialogue.

I just couldn’t care enough to finish and I don’t think Kid Me would have finished it either. The book has a few merits but not enough to keep me reading.


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Book Review: “Middle School Misadventures” by Jason Platt

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Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Jason Platt’s debut graphic novel, Ferris Bueller meets Calvin and Hobbes in this hilarious and embarrassing middle school caper that asks the important questions–like how long can one kid vamp before he embarrasses himself in front of his whole school?

Newell is always getting into trouble–whether it’s showing up tardy for most of the year, or mocking his teachers while authoritarian Mr. Todd is standing right behind him. When disaster strikes and Newell finds himself on track to summer school, he’s given one last minute option to get out of it–participating in the upcoming Talent Show. The only problem is that he doesn’t technically have a talent to show. Yikes.

In this fun and imaginative full-color graphic novel, Jason Platt sends a fast-talking, daydreaming, middle school kid on a desperate quest to pull off a great show and save his summer.

 

My Review:
Middle School Misadventures follows the unintentional troublemaker Newell as he scrambles frantically for a way to get out of going to summer school.

Newell is a great main character for this story. He’s kind, funny, and imaginative. He is such a dynamic, idiosyncratic character. Every laughable thing that happens to him is only something that would happen to a kid like Newell. And when he breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader it just adds to his charm.

He has a great relationship with his dad and his best friend, Collin. When you read about Newell’s dad, you immediately see where Newell gets some of his eccentric behaviors. I like that Collin is the voice of reason in his friendship with Newell. It’s a good contrast to have paired with. They even have an epic handshake.

The principle, Mr. Dodd, and subsequent arch enemy of Newell kind of reminds me of the really too-nice teacher, Mr. Simmons, from the Nickelodeon show Hey Arnold!. Actually, the characters in Middle School Misadventures remind me of the quirky kids in Hey Arnold! and I love that.

Middle School Misadventures is an oddly amazing book to read.


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Book Review: “Sunny Rolls The Dice” by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Watercolor by Lark Pien

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Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Sunny #3
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Too cool for school . . . or the least groovy girl in the grade?

Sunny’s just made it to middle school . . . and it’s making her life very confusing. All her best friend Deb wants to talk about is fashion, boys, makeup, boys, and being cool. Sunny’s not against any of these things, but she also doesn’t understand why suddenly everything revolves around them. She’s much more comfortable when she’s in her basement, playing Dungeons & Dragons with a bunch of new friends. Because when you’re sword fighting and spider-slaying, it’s hard to worry about whether you look cool or not. Especially when it’s your turn to roll the 20-sided die.

Trying hard to be cool can make you feel really uncool . . .

 

My Review:
Now this is what I have been waiting to read in this series: the middle school / middle grade aspect of Sunny’s life. She’s such a cute character that I really wanted to know more about her life in late 70s Pennsylvania. You definitely get a better sense of the kind of person Sunny is – she’s a pretty cool person.

Sunny faces two conflicts: growing up and staying true to herself. Sunny is who she is but she’s concerned that who she is and what she likes is not the way to go. Everyone young and old can relate to this universal internal conflict and peer pressure.

I liked seeing Sunny play Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve never played the game but learning about it was fun. It seems like a fun game to play.

Again I’m in love with the art and the cultural references. Sunny Rolls The Dice was definitely a step in the right direction. I hope there are more books about Sunny in the future.This is a great middle grade series and graphic novel.

 

More Sunny series:
Sunny Side Up – book 1
Swing It, Sunny – book 2


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Book Review: “Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous” by Keith Calabrese, Illustrated by Juana Medina

Full Title: Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: In the tradition of School’s First Day of School, debut author Keith Calabrese and Pura Belpré Award winner Juana Medina share a sweet, universal story about a clever little girl whose shoes are nervous about the first day of school.

Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem…

Lena’s shoes are nervous.

Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?

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My Review:
What a neat story about first day of school anxiety for kids! What makes this story stand out from other books on this topic is that the author has personified Lena’s outfit. It presents a two-fold meaning: Lena’s shoes are nervous or Lena is acting out her nervousness through her shoes. A well-placed juxtaposition.

I loved the art style chosen. No perfect lines but swift hand-drawn-like illustrations perhaps to add to the nervous feel of the story. I liked that not every spread was full color. Some pages where black and white with the most important parts colored.

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous is one creative, universal metaphor told in a unique way.


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Book Review: “Swing It, Sunny” by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Watercolor by Lark Pien

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Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Sunny #2
Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Summer’s over and it’s time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she’s doing, she always tells him she’s fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time.

Not only is the whole middle school thing confusing . . . but life at home is confusing, too. Sunny misses her brother Dale, who’s been sent to boarding school. But when Dale comes back, she STILL misses him . . . because he’s changed.

Luckily Sunny’s got her best friend and a mysterious new neighbor on her side . . . because she is NOT going let all this confusion get her down. Instead, she’s going to remain Sunny-side up!

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My Review:
Book 2 felt more like an impasse. Not much happened, very little action. You basically follow Sunny’s emotional journey as she tries to understand her brother’s drug problem and how it’s changed him. There’s little within the story that has to do with Sunny’s first year of middle school, which I was interested in also seeing more of.

As before, I liked the art and how certain scenes were conveyed. I think book 2 is meant to set up something bigger to happen in book 3. While I didn’t like this book as much as I did the first book I do plan to read book 3.


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Book Review: “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

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Genre: Picture Books
Series: Dragons Love Tacos #1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

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My Review:
Who wouldn’t want to read a book about two totally amazing yet completely polar opposite things: dragons and tacos? Dragons are one of my favorite magical creatures and tacos are super yummy, so this book was a lot of fun to read.

I loved learning about why dragons love tacos of all things. The dragons vary in all sizes and shapes and colors and vibrant personalities. Dragons Love Tacos is so ridiculous and silly, the writing creative and detailed, that I’m sure it will become an instant favorite for children.