Name One Beautiful, Wonderful, Magical Thing About Books

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Picturebook Review: Nighttime Ninja

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta; Art by Ed Young

Source: Scholastic Book Fairs

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal…and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?
With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.

My Review:

I LOVED this book! I can be a critical reader, but this one had me completely engaged. I spent a few minutes on each page because I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations and the suspense of the story. It doesn’t contain many words, but it’s still a book you can spend a while reading to kids because the illustration is so mystifying.

My favorite aspect of this book is the relationship between the visual and verbal narratives. The images and the story together tell the whole story, there is no way they could be separated. I knew I would love the visual narrative from the cover (yes, I judged a book by its cover). The paper cut designs and the textured leaves give a major appeal to this story before it is truly begun. And then the end pages utilize the back of the cover to create a template design…. brilliant! The first page would be much better if it wasn’t interrupted by the book’s crease, but I think this is my only real complaint about the book.

The art  is very abstract and imaginative. Many readers who disliked the book disliked it because of the strange art, but I believe that is what creates the story. The words of the story are short and sweet, but effective in creating the mystery of the story. The nighttime ninja, who is really just a little boy using his imagination, creates a setting in his house that is far more grand than what it really is. This story doesn’t just encourage creative play, but it does so without props, in one’s own home, on his own, and in the dark. It is about fearless play. And in the end, his mother is gentle with him and he agrees to go back to being a regular boy with a large imagination.

Nighttime Ninja is a really lovable story – great for adults and kids!

I think it goes without saying, but I give Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta and Ed Young a five out of five stars!

5 Stars

 

Musing Monday

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musings:

It’s the time of the Scholastic Book Fair again and I’v been showered in some new books. Here’s a list of some of my new titles:

AG* Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

TP* The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

LWW* A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

ffb* The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

nn* Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta; Art by Ed Young

I’m excited about the variety here. I’ve read mostly positive things about each of the books and I look forward to having them to read this summer. Today is a great day to start the reading! Happy Memorial Day!

If you’ve read any of these or simply are interested, I’d love to hear your input!

Read MizB’s original post at Should Be Reading 🙂

Picturebook Review: The Snatchabook

The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

Originally published by Alison Green Books

Received book from Scholastic Book Fair

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My Review:

The Snatchabook is good for a quick bedtime read, and then pass it along to another friend or family to enjoy. The story is entertaining, but lacks a true hook.

The cover is appealing as it looks like a feel-good adventure story. The artwork is colorful and textured, and while the cover image is of rabbit reading to the snatchabook, the book title displays a classic adventure-style font that slightly juxtaposes the warm, friendly cover image.

The illustrations throughout the book are quite beautiful; they are intricate and glow with an array of warm colors. The illustrations create the cozy feel of cuddling up with a book, which is exactly what readers are predicted to be doing. This is a bed time story after all.

The story itself is a series of short rhymes. The animal families of Burrow Down are confused as to why all of their books are disappearing. Until one night, a rabbit named Eliza Brown discovers the snatchabook. As it turns out, the snatchabook is simply a misunderstood creature and Eliza Brown is able to resolve the issue of missing books. What I like In about this story is the consideration of a night without a bedtime story, or owning any stories at all. The burrow was distraught at their missing books and this invokes reader sympathy. What would it be like without any books? And also, what about the children who aren’t read books at bedtime,or even at all? The story poses a challenging question to readers by way of a playful rhyme and beautiful pictures.

One of the images shows four families with parents reading to their children in bed. In each image the child is imagining him or herself within each story, displaying the use of reading as escapism but also reinforcing the idea that reading is playful and has a way of connecting people. Therefore, the snatchabook dilemma creates a real problem in the story.

One plot hole of the story is the discovery of the snatchabook. If the creature’s name implies his nature, why does the creature hang its head in shame? The character as an antagonist is severely underdeveloped. Why does the small creature have no one to read to him? While the snatchabook itself is a creative invention, I wished it had been a more rounded character.

Overall, The Snatchabook was a cute and engaging story of a small, misunderstood creature and the havoc he creates by snatching books from the families of Burrow Down. The rhyme and warm illustrations make this a good bedtime read-aloud, but some developments, specifically that of the snatchabook itself, are vague or ignored. It’s a good story. Share it with your kids or siblings. However, the story’s dilemma is simple and might not make for a favorite read.

I give The Snatchabook by Helen and Thomas Docherty a Three out of Five Stars

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The Dinosaur Daily: Book Bloggers and Your Book

The Dinosaur Daily

May 18, 2014

The Dino Daily

Article: DIY: How to Pitch Book Bloggers; Published May 12, 2014 by Publisher’s Weekly; Written by Allison Schiff

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To authors and book bloggers everywhere – here’s a great article about marketing yours or someone else’s book. With the increased number of independent authors and self-publishing platforms, it is no challenge to find a new book to read. The only issue is that most indie authors have to do all the work themselves on getting their book to market. This is a lot of hard work. And since most books aren’t written in a day, every author wants his or her book treated well – it is his pride and joy.

Book bloggers make an excellent market for authors to promote their works. This is something every author can take advantage of, since every blog has a unique set of readers. It can be terrifying sending your book out for review, but it is a fast way to spread the word about your work. Most bloggers know that your book is a hard-earned masterpiece to you, but every review has to be allowed honesty. As Schiff remarks in her article, it is important to do one’s research before sending his or her book for review. Make sure your book is in good hands. Most bloggers will try to say something nice about your book even if it wasn’t really to their taste, but still make sure to visit the blog before choosing to promote your book on someone’s site. In return, it is important to be professional with book bloggers. As Sue Gerth of Bookalicous Babe mentioned, no one wants to be told to do something, so even though so much of this exchange is done through various social media and email, always remember to be professional.

If you are thinking of self-publishing a book or have already done so, read this article by Vincent Paul on his journey with self-publishing and marketing his book.

Picturebook Review: Dinosaurumpus!

Dinosaurumpus!

by Tony Mitton, Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

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Just look at that jolly Stegosaurus on the cover! Wouldn’t you want to read this book?

The title page is a swirl of purples and pinks with an image of a dinosaur leaping into the story, action lines and all. It’s the kind of beginning that says, “let’s get started!” Following the pages of the book is a shifting in bright colors, from green to red to orange the colors are really lively – perfect for a dinosaurumpus.

The story opens by introducing the secondary characters (see if you can find them on every page) – but then again, maybe they are the main characters. The narration is ambiguous on this, which allows for some reader interpretation. So, our micey friends hear of a great sound coming…. get ready!

One thing I love about this book is the pages that are bursting with color and simple lines – all the way to every corner. It isn’t overwhelming, but warm and energetic. The palette is simple, but used artistically. A very good work for Mr. Guy Parker-Reese.

The story is cute as well. I liked the loose rhymes used throughout – they really contributed to the energy of the book. The story was predictable in many ways, but the rhyme and onomatopoeias make it a lively read despite its predictable end. The plot thickens when the T-Rex arrives, which is nearly literally an explosive moment in the book.  Of course the T-Rex is the obvious choice for this kind of plot development; my only wish is the author could have been a little more creative with it.

Perhaps, some of the most creative work is the text. The changing font types have the impact of directing HOW the story is read. This is a great tool for many children’s books. In the case of Dinosaurumpus, it is a great advantage to the reading.

I enjoyed this book! It is a fun read that can be read over and over again. There is a good amount of loose rhyme as well as some of repetition. The illustration is beautiful even though the story lacks some originality.

I give Dinosaurumpus by Tony Mitten three out of five stars!

3 Stars

 

Musings Monday (May 5)

Today I’m going to participate in a popular meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.Please check out her wonderful blog for some great reading!

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!


My Musings: 

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Let’s talk about reading about cultures. While I’m not reading about Cinco de Mayo festivities, I am currently reading India Was One by An Indian. Here’s a description:

India…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.

He was in South India and she was in North India…

Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.

How will they get together? Will India become one again?

Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.

 

What I’m really enjoying about this book is the strong cultural identity of the author and his passion for the culture in his writing. I’ve already learned so much about Indian culture and festivities that have intrigued me to take a deeper look into the colorful culture (not to mention take a plane to India right now). When I’m reading this book I feel like an accepted part of the character’s lives; I’m happy when they are and sad when they are. I’m still in the first half of the book and all is going well. I’m both excited and nervous to get to the part of the novel where the plot becomes much more bitter, as assessed from the book description. I’m excited to see what the author will reveal about Indian culture then.

Have you read anything culturally enlightening recently? Or any form of fiction that has compelled you to learn about something new?