The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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Book Review: Lilly’s Big Day by Kevin Henkes

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Series: Mouse Books
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Mr. Slinger has big news.
He’s getting married.
Married!

Lilly has big plans.
She’s going to be the flower girl.
(Lilly has always wanted to be a flower girl.
Even more than a surgeon or a diva or a hairdresser.)

But what’s the biggest,
the best,
the most perfect thing of all?
You’re invited to the wedding — so start reading!

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My Review:
I’m a big fan of Kevin Henkes’s books. He’s a very talented storyteller and artist. Lilly’s Big Day was a wonderful and funny read. I just adore Lilly’s character and how determined she is to be the best flower girl ever. Once she gets an idea in her head she doesn’t let it go – no counterargument can dissuade her. And it’s funny how she seems to be more excited about the wedding than Mr. Slinger (her teacher). Her excitement about the occasion is very infectious. I couldn’t wait to read what would happen next.

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Book Review: The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
The New York Times bestseller that celebrates the dreams, acceptance, and love that parents have for their children . . . now and forever!
 
From brave and bold to creative and clever, Emily Winfield Martin’s rhythmic rhyme expresses all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their children. With beautiful, and sometimes humorous, illustrations, and a clever gatefold with kids in costumes, this is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to kids—both young and old. A great gift for any occasion, but a special stand-out for baby showers, birthdays, and graduation. The Wonderful Things You Will Be has a loving and truthful message that will endure for lifetimes.

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My Review:
Wow. I felt so many emotions from the very beginning. This book was so cute and precious and emotional. The words reminded me of birthday cards I’d gotten from my parents, so I felt really connected to the story. I love the illustrations too – they’re so sweet and lovely and sweep across the pages with such gentle vigor. Not to mention all the babies are so cute! I also love the message of unbridled love and hope the parent has for their child and their future. Using rhymes to tell the story makes the author’s words much more effective than if rhymes hadn’t been used. The Wonderful Things You Will Be is a perfect book for all to enjoy; definitely need to add this to my bookshelf. There are so many good things that can be taken away from this wonderful story.


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Book Review: How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan, Illustrated by Lee Wildish

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky . . . it’s a sleepover at her house And with the useful tips found in this book, you’re guaranteed to become an expert grandma-sitter in no time. (Be sure to check out the sections on: How to keep a grandma busy; Things to do at the park; Possible places to sleep, and what to do once you’re both snugly tucked in for the night.) From the author-illustrator team behind the bestselling “How to Babysit a Grandpa” comes a funny and heartwarming celebration of grandmas and grandchildren.

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My Review:
How to Babysit a Grandma is a super cute story to read to children. I love the concept of the story and all the fun ways to effectively babysit a grandma. The illustrations were absolutely stunning and colorful – it all brought the author’s words to life really well. This was a funny and adorable how-to guide that belongs on every bookshelf.


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Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!? But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just make her magnificent thing — “she tinkers and hammers and measures, she smoothes and wrenches and fiddles, she twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

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My Review:
Not exactly what I expected. The use of present progressive to tell the story was jarring for much of it. But all the verbs and adjectives used to describe the main character’s actions I think will be really beneficial for child readers to learn. I also liked how the author lays out the illustration on and across the pages – that’s always a fascinating part of picture books. I kind of wish the main character had a name but I get that the focus was on the magnificent thing she was trying to build. The biggest win for me for this book was the main character’s determination and ingenuity. She kept trying again and again to achieve her goal even when things seemed hopeless – that is an important lesson kids should learn.


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Book Review: The Pigeon Wants A Puppy! by Mo Willems

Image via Scholastic

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Series: Pigeon
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
He really, really, REALLY wants one. He’ll take really good care of it! What’s the matter–don’t you want him to be happy? The latest book in the best-selling Pigeon series is the funniest one yet.

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My Review:
Fun. Interactive. Surprisingly hilarious. Reading this book was like watching a cartoon for really little kids where the characters break the fourth wall. The main character – the pigeon – addressing the audience in such a way made the story really enjoyable to read – and yes I did respond back to a 2D pigeon. I love how the pigeon uses so few words but has super expressive facial expressions and body language. My favorite line was when the pigeon said, “I’m a puppy-lovin’ pigeon” – such a funny and sassy line. I also like how the book ends with a humorous implication of what is likely to occur after the story is over. A great picture book overall.


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Book Review: If You Give A Mouse A Brownie by Laura Numeroff, Illustrated by Felicia Bond

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction
Series: If You Give…
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Mouse is back in this ninth picture book in the beloved #1 New York Times bestselling If You Give… series!

If you give a mouse a brownie, he’s going to ask for some ice cream to go with it. When you give him the ice cream, he’ll probably ask you for a spoon. He’ll start drumming on the table. Drumming will get him so excited he’ll want to start a band. . . .

Mouse makes his long-anticipated return to the spotlight in this winning picture book from the acclaimed team of Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.

Fans of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie won’t want to miss this!

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My Review:
I didn’t know there were so many books in this series – I’d only read the first two. If You Give A Mouse A Brownie is just as cute as the ones I’ve read. The cause and effect of giving the mouse a brownie takes the reader on a crazy adventure. And the illustrations are just so adorable and fitting for these books. I love all the colors – they’re so…welcoming, so to speak. It’s quite a different experience reading this book as an adult. The mouse comes off as very demanding (comically, sort of, in a way) that it’s no surprise the boy in the story is exhausted by the end. But reading it is still a fun experience.


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November Happenings!

H A P P Y     N O V E M B E R ! ! !

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Text edited in Paint

I’m writing this month’s intro post a little differently today because this month’s going to be more unusual than past months. Sorry if it’s all over the place.

I wrote a few interesting pieces of fiction last month that I can’t wait to edit. I’m hoping to share one or two in the future but most likely not until January. I’ve been watching a lot of really great anime shows that have given me all sorts of story ideas. It made me think of writing a collection of short stories. Of course, I’d like to finish the novel ideas I have first but I’m not opposed to writing a short story here and there if I decide to go that route as well.

Novels I plan to finish by the end of 2017:

  • Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (ARC)
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt (ARC)
  • Novel – TITLE TBA
  • Picture Books – I won’t be reading these for another week or so

*book reviews TBA

Writing plans for November:

  • write a couple more short pieces of fiction
  • write sample chapter 1 of sci-fi/fantasy fairy tale retelling novel idea
  • edit pieces written over the past few months

Unfortunately, I don’t have book to recommend this month.

I hope everyone had a great October and I wish you a wonderful November month! And, as always, happy reading and happy writing!