Book Review: Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Diana Princess of the Amazons cover image

Before she became Wonder Woman, Diana was a young princess on her hidden isle, longing for someone to play with. Her mother and the other Amazons were always so busy training, that they didn’t have much time to pay attention to her. So when she finds an unexpected playmate in a piece of clay come to life, she can’t believe her luck…until her new friend Mona leads her into serious trouble.

Diana: Princess of the Amazons is a graphic novel written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by Victoria Ying. It imagines what life for young Diana would be like as an energetic and playful young Amazon who is also lonely for a friend. It’s a cute story and sure to appeal to readers 9 to 13.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Up on Bob by Mary Sullivan

Up on Bob

Up on Bob with words and pictures by Mary Sullivan is a cute picture book that captures the relationship between a good-natured wiener dog and the kitten that just won’t leave him alone.

Bob loves his nap. But before he can get to sleep he’s got to create the perfect setting: a fluffed pillow, a scrunchy comforter, and a sunny spot next to the window. Just when everything is perfect, though, he feels Someone watching him. If he pretends to sleep, he reasons, maybe Someone will go away. Instead, Someone pounces and begins to knead and prod Bob until he’s the perfect setting for a nap.

Bob and Someone are adorable in the emotions they show, their facial expressions, and their relationship with each other. Anyone with a cat or dog or both or none will fall in love with this cute duo.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Green Lantern Legacy by Minh Lê and Andie Tong

Green Lantern Legacy

Tai lives with his parents and grandmother in the apartment above the family store, which seems to be getting vandalized more and more often. Tai’s family thinks about selling out, to avoid the violence. But a strange thing happens to Tai when his grandma dies. He ends up with her green jade ring. He soon discovers he has inherited more than a ring when he discovers special powers passed from his grandma to him, and that he is now part of group of space cops called the Green Lanterns.

Green Lantern Legacy by Minh Lê and Andie Tong is a graphic novel with a young superhero learning about his special powers and the responsibility and danger that come with them. With the help of his two best friends and his new superhero mentor, he figures out how to recognize the bad guys and fight for what’s right.

Green Lantern Legacy is a fun read full of action; I recommend it for ages 9 to 13.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon by Karen Romano Young

Pearl has grown up in the Lancaster Avenue branch of the New York City Library, where her mom is a librarian. But with circulation down and a crumbling building that’s expensive to fix, she’s worried that she won’t have much of a future there. Then something horrible happens: the head of a statue of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay goes missing from the garden. The mystery of what happened to the statue combined with the plight of the library brings community members together to determine what they all really want for the place they call home.

A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon by Karen Romano Young is a sweet coming of age tale about what it means to create a community of caring individuals amidst the backdrop of a larger city, and what those people can do when they are informed about a cause. There’s also a touch of magical realism in the form of a family of literate raccoons, who have taught themselves to read and even report for their own newspaper aimed at nocturnal creatures.

When the statue’s head disappears and the library is threatened with closure to make way for affordable housing, Pearl believes that if enough people know what they could do at a library, they would care enough to convince the city to maintain it and keep it open. She enlists the help of new friends and other allies to put more library cards into the hands of the people who live around her and go to school with her. She also has a tall order of changing the minds of some people who would rather see new development win out over old buildings.

With her eclectic group of allies, Pearl also sets about solving the mystery of the missing head, and finding the answer will upend everything she thinks she knows.

A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon is for anyone who loves to read, loves to visit libraries, and believes in the power of community action. I recommend it for readers aged 9 to 13.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Giveaway & Review: This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

Giveaway: I have one copy of This Book Is Gray to give away courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses only, please). For a chance to win, just leave a comment about your favorite gray thing in life. Mine is our family kitty, a gray tuxedo with lots of personality.

Be sure to comment by midnight (PST), on Saturday, January 18, 2020 to be entered into the drawing. Please note: The giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Wendy on winning.

Review: Gray just wants to help, but she’s always getting left out. The primaries—Red, Blue, and Yellow—have so much fun coloring that they don’t want to let dull, gloomy Gray play with them. So she decides to create her own story about a hippo, a wolf, and a kitten, all gray animals, of course. When the other colors find out, they want to join the action. But that’s not what Gray has in mind at all.

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward introduces children to concepts about color while also telling a great story about inclusiveness and diversity. A Color Glossary on the inside front cover helps kids identify achromatic colors like black and white, primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors and other terms.

Wards illustrations are playful and surprisingly colorful for a book named This Book Is Gray. The color comes from the characters who show up in Gray’s book wanting to change the story line. There’s lots of fun to be had by both parents and their little ones from multiple readings.

Here’s a little bit more about the author: Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives in Peninsula, Ohio, with her family. Gray is one of her favorite colors. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.Twitter: @lindsaymward

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The Grossest Picture Book Ever by Derek Taylor Kent

The Grossest Picture Book Ever cover image

Once upon a time there was a town named Gross, which claimed to be the grossest place from coast to coast. It was so gross, the story of this town became a picture book by Derek Taylor Kent, called …The Grossest Picture Book Ever.

Two small residents of the town show readers around. They get to meet Larry Magoo, who has a truck made of poo, Libby Sue Groches, who has millions of roaches, and Benjamin Blott, with his house made of snot. It’s all perfectly gross, and perfectly designed to appeal to young children who are fascinated with all things socially taboo (most of them). Kids will love the story, and indulging parents will learn to like it too, when they get to laugh with their kids while reading it out loud. The last page even has a challenge: try reading the book out loud and make a video of it without laughing. It’s all a lot of fun.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Most of the Better Natural Things in the World by Dave Eggers and Angel Chang

Most of the Better Natural Things in the World cover image

Dave Eggers and Angel Chang have created a picture book that shines a light on the beauty to be found in nature. Called Most of the Better Natural Things in the World, the book is sparse on words, highlighting the names of places, such as natural formations like a gorge, gulch, foothills, and fjord. Environments such as a steppe, cloud forest, estuary, and oasis, are among those also featured.

Chang’s illustrations are breathtaking, and parents will enjoy exploring the nuances of each page as they talk about the variety of places to be found on Earth. There’s even a panoramic fold-out page to illustrate a vista.

The story is also carried along through the journey of a lone tiger traveling with a chair and a rope. Readers find out his destination at the very end, when he arrives in the taiga to find what is waiting for him. A glossary of terms for each of the places visited is in the back. The whole effect makes a sweet story that parents will appreciate while they help their children learn about the natural world.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Insect Superpowers by Kate Messner

Insect Superpowers cover image

Insect Superpowers: 18 Real Bugs That Smash, Zap, Hypnotize, Sting, and Devour! by Kate Messner is a great book to feed any kid’s budding interest in science. Jillian Nickell’s illustrations show in graphics how these often tiny creatures repel predators, find food, and more. Some of the facts seem more fit for a “believe it or not” entry, like the African bombardier bettle, which sprays a hot, noxious mist from its backside when threatened. Or the Bullet ant, which has a sting so powerful its sting hurts for a full day.

The book starts with a descriptor of the insect family tree, and how these bugs are classified scientifically. Then, six chapters focus on different bug superpowers, such as speed camouflage, size, and chemical emissions. Each profile of an insect starts with the common name, what it’s commonly known as, and the scientific name. Narrative with facts is interspersed with scenarios that read like a superhero comic book. It’s designed to keep kids turning and staying engaged as they learn.

I recommend Insect Superpowers for readers aged 9 to 12.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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