Review: Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness (Narwhal and Jelly #6)

Title: Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness (Narwhal and Jelly #6)
Author: Ben Clanton
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Narwhal and Jelly become the coolest teachers in the world wide waters in the hilarious sixth book of this blockbuster graphic novel series!

Dive into four new stories about Narwhal and Jelly becoming substitute teachers! The two best friends come across an enthusiastic school of fish one morning. Unfortunately, Mr. Blowfish, their teacher, has come down with a cold, and class will have to be cancelled . . . until Professor Knowell (Narwhal) and Super Teacher (Jelly) volunteer to help out! The first subject is Wafflematics, in which Narwhal and Jelly calculate the number of waffles needed to feed the class. That’s what we’re chalking about! Next up is a super-fun science scavenger hunt, followed by a game of Tag! You’re Awesome! at recess. Narwhal’s teaching methods may be unconventional, but with Jelly’s help, the two teach (and learn) with their trademark positivity and humor. Before they know it, the day is over . . . but what grade will Narwhal receive from Jelly?

Review:

Narwhal and Jelly see a group of fish swimming one day, so they decide to follow them. The fish are going to school, but their teacher, Mr. Blowfish, is sick and can’t teach. Narwhal becomes Professor Knowell and teaches them for the day. They do all the important school activities, such as Wafflematics and a science scavenger hunt. Narwhal has unique teaching skills but he gets the job done.

Narwhal and Jelly books are so much fun! The two friends, Narwhall and Jelly, meet many different sea creatures in every book. I learned some sea facts, such as that a group of oysters is called a bed, and that a male seahorse can give birth to 1,000 babies at once. I love that I can learn these fun facts in a kid’s book.

This story was funny because of the differences in Narwhal’s and Jelly’s personalities. Narwhal is very carefree and innocent. He doesn’t understand everything so he often makes things up as he goes along. Jelly likes to follow rules, but he’s getting better at going along with Narwhal’s ideas. Jelly usually has to explain things to Narwhal in the story. Their different personalities make these situations so funny.

Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness is such a fun kid’s book!

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Happy Narwhalidays by Ben Clanton

Megabat by Anna Humphrey, Kass Reich

Other books in the series:

Have you read Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness? What did you think of it?

Review: Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights (Easy Classics)

Title: Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights (Easy Classics)
Author: Emily Brontë, Stephanie Baudet, Arianna Bellucci (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Classic
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 8, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An illustrated adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic – at an easy-to-read level for readers of all ages!

Many years ago, a young homeless boy was taken in at Wuthering Heights. Older now, Heathcliff is set on revenge, and destroying everybody around him.
And there is a lonely ghost roaming the moors, who is determined to be reunited with her lover …

About The Complete Brontë Sisters Children’s Collection
From the haunted Yorkshire moors to the towering battlements of Thornfield Hall, experience the Bronte sisters’ famous stories of love, self-discovery and family feuds. Adapted and illustrated for children aged 7+.

Review:

This children’s adaptation of Wuthering Heights tells the tragic love story of Catherine and Heathcliff. Heathcliff was brought to Wuthering Heights as a child, after Mr. Earnshaw found him on the streets. Cathy and Heathcliff quickly became friends and fell in love. However, many things drew them apart. Now, years later, Heathcliff is devastated by Catherine’s untimely death and is waiting for the day that he can join her again.

This was a great, condensed version of Wuthering Heights. When I first read the original in high school, I had a difficult time figuring it out. I’ve read it many times since then, and I know the story very well. This simpler version could help modern readers, either adults or children, to understand the story.

I liked the illustrations that went along with the story. The only part that I found inconsistent with the original story was that Heathcliff had the same skin colour as the other characters. Multiple times throughout the story he is described as having dark skin, so I wish this was depicted in the illustrations of the story.

This Wuthering Heights adaptation is a great way to learn this classic story.

Thank you Sweet Cherry Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre by Stephanie Baudet, Arianna Bellucci

Anne Brontë: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Stephanie Baudet, Arianna Bellucci

Other books in the series:

  • Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
  • Anne Brontë: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Have you read Wuthering Heights? What did you think of it?

Review: Sunny Days

Title: Sunny Days
Author: Deborah Kerbel, Miki Sato
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Morning sun, golden skies Softly waking sleepy eyes 

For preschoolers, sunny days are full of possibility. A sunbeam on the floor is the perfect place to curl up with a furry friend, and warming weather means seeds in the garden, mud pies in the yard, adventures at the beach, and ice cream in the shade. Evening brings the silly fun of watching little shadows stretch out long, and there’s nothing so cozy as watching the sun set as a family.

In Sunny Days, author Deborah Kerbel once again weaves a spell of early childhood magic with couplets as bright as a summer afternoon. Illustrator Miki Sato’s textural collage art nearly rises from the page with fascinating features made from paper, felt, and embroidery silk.

Review:

This picture book is about all the different things that you can do in the sun, from morning to night. When you wake up, there’s a golden sky. Then, throughout the day you can garden or swim. In the evening, the sky turns a rosy pink to say goodbye to that day. Each page had short rhyming lines that went along with the pictures.

This is a beautiful children’s book. I love the style of art, with layers of paper creating a picture. Each picture was made with pieces of coloured paper layered on top of one another. Some of the illustrations also had thread woven to make small lines and add texture to the pictures.

At the back of the book, there was a list of activities to do in the sun. These include, leaving objects on construction paper in the sun to create patterns, and tracing a puddle after the rain with sidewalk chalk to see how the sun shrinks it. These are fun and simple activities that kids can do after reading this book.

Sunny Days is a beautiful children’s book!

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Snow Days by Deborah Kerbel, Miki Sato

Sun Dog by Deborah Kerbel, Suzanne Del Rizzo

Have you read Sunny Days? What did you think of it?

Review: Evie and the Truth About Witches

Title: Evie and the Truth About Witches
Author: John Martz
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book, Fantasy
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Evie wants to be scared, but she’ll get more than she bargained for in this thrilling, witchy chapter book adventure! For fans of Sir Simon: Super Scarer and other spooky, kid-friendly books.

Evie wants to be scared, and the usual scary stories just aren’t doing it for her anymore. When she stumbles across a different sort of book, The Truth about Witches, she hopes she’s found something thrilling . . . but she’s forbidden by a kindly shopkeeper from reading the last page out loud! Naturally, her curiosity gets the better of her, and upon reading the last page out loud — a real summoning spell — Evie is spirited off to a strange land of magic, weird creatures, feasts and actual witches! They’re not as scary as they seem, until Evie asks to join their ranks . . . and only once she does is her quest for true scariness satisfied . . .

Review:

Evie wanted to read a scary book, so she went to a bookstore that specialized in scary books. She chose the book called The Truth About Witches. The bookseller warned her not to read the last page out loud. When Evie read the book before bed, she learned a lot about witches but wasn’t very scared. Though she knew she shouldn’t, she read the last page out loud. Evie had to face the life changing consequences of not following that rule.

This story would be perfect for Halloween. The illustrations were in black, white, and orange, giving it a Halloween theme. It also had a spooky theme with the witches that Evie learned about and eventually met.

The ending of this story really surprised me. It was abrupt and unexpected. As an adult, I loved it, but it could be a creepy ending for a child reader. It does teach an important lesson about listening and following rules, which Evie didn’t do.

Evie and the Truth About Witches is a spooky new children’s book!

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Black and Bittern Was Night by Robert Heidbreder, John Martz

Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate?: How Animals Keep Warm by Etta Kaner, John Martz

Have you read Evie and the Truth About Witches? What did you think of it?

Review: Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis

Title: Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis
Author: Rebecca Gyllenhaal, Kim Smith (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book, Science Fiction
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join the Doctor and her smallest companion on a madcap adventure through time and space! The beloved sci-fi TV series is now a charming picture book, perfect for Doctor Who fans of all ages.

Unable to make friends at her new school, Lizzie packs a bag and runs away. After accidentally stowing away in the TARDIS, she meets the Doctor, a mysterious woman who claims to be a time-traveling space alien. When the TARDIS malfunctions, Lizzie and the Doctor are sent catapulting through time and space, visiting the pyramids, the dinosaurs, an alien planet, and more. Along the way, Lizzie learns that making new friends isn’t so hard after all . . . but will she ever be able to get back home? Featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor and an adorable new alien species, this sweet storybook is a must-have for Whovians everywhere, young and old alike. 

Review:

Lizzie is having trouble making friends at her new school, so she packs some peanut butter sandwiches and runs away. As she’s running through the park, she finds a blue police box and goes inside. Lizzie hides in the box, which is bigger on the inside, until a woman comes in and causes the box to move. The woman is the Doctor, and her box, the Tardis, begins to malfunction. The Doctor and Lizzie visit many places throughout time and space such as the dinosaurs and the pyramids in Egypt. They eventually have to get a special species of engineers to fix the Tardis so that Lizzie can return to her home.

This was such a fun book for young fans of Doctor Who. There are classic Doctor Who moments, such as when the Doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with the Tardis, and the classic phrases “wibbly wobbly” and “bigger on the inside.” This short story captured the atmosphere of an episode of the show.

Lizzie’s story perfectly mirrored the Doctor’s life. Lizzie didn’t have friends, so she wanted to run away from home. The Doctor has struggled with loneliness and the loss of companions throughout the series, so she had this in common with Lizzie. The Doctor is constantly running away from something or someone, so she could also be considered a runaway, like Lizzie. I liked this comparison to teach children about loneliness.

Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis is a great children’s book!

What to read next:

The X Files: Earth Children Are Weird by Jason Rekulak, Kim Smith (illustrator)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by Jim Thomas, Kim Smith (illustrator)

Have you read Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis? What did you think of it?

Review: Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War

Title: Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War
Author: Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg (illustrations)
Genre: Children’s, Mythology
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 22, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A spunky, feminist take on the myth of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, and courage

From the moment she sprung from Zeus’s head, Athena was extraordinary. Even though some doubted her as a young goddess, Athena never backed down from a fight. Poseidon wants to be the patron god of a nearby city? Well, so does Athena! And she’s going to outwit him and found Athens. Perseus doesn’t know how to defeat Medusa? No problem! Athena can give him the knowledge (and shield) he needs to take off her head. Odysseus is lost at sea, seemingly doomed? Not anymore! Athena can get him home. Follow the goddess of wisdom through her adventures with gods and mortals, discover the perils of crossing her, and see how she eventually learned to better understand and aid the human race.

Review:

Athena was a Greek goddess who was born from Zeus’s head. From the moment she was born, she was ready to fight. She was often underestimated because she was a young goddess. However, she was able to hold her own against the gods. Athena defeated her uncle Poseidon to become the patron of Athena. She helped demigods on their quests. She even fought alongside the warriors in the Trojan War and guided Odysseus home. Athena was a strong and determined goddess.

The short stories in this illustrated children’s book show some of the most important moments in Athena’s life. She sometimes got in trouble with her father for meddling in the lives of humans, but she was also clever in finding ways to save people from their mistakes. When the Trojan War was getting out of hand, she persuaded the Greeks to make a large horse to sneak into the city of Troy. Some of these classic images from Greek mythology, such as the Trojan horse and Medusa’s head, came from Athena’s creativity.

Athena is a fun book to introduce children to Greek mythology.

Thank you Amulet Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Ancient Greeks by Isabel Greenberg, Imogen Greenberg

Marie Curie and her Daughters by Imogen Greenberg, Isabel Greenberg

Have you read Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War? What did you think of it?

Review: Gamayun Tales II

Title: Gamayun Tales II
Author: Alexander Utkin
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Nobrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enter a world of magic and adventure in this stunning series based on traditional Russian folklore.

Alexander Utkin’s Gamayun Tales are fresh and modern adaptations of familiar Slavic folktales, teamed with bold and beautiful illustrations. Jam-packed with stories of magical quests and talking animals, golden chests that turn into palaces and encounters with terrifying Water Spirits, there’s no end to the adventure in these books! Utkin’s striking art style takes inspiration from classic mid-century Disney animation, drawing readers in for a colorful journey even if they have no familiarty with Russian mythology.

Review:

This graphic novel collection tells stories inspired by Russian folklore. Baba Yaga was featured in some of these stories, making deals with the characters traveling through the woods. This collection is a continuation of Gamayun Tales I.

The longest tale in this book was about a dying King who sent his sons to find a cure for him. The King promised to renounce the crown and pass it on to the son who brought him the cure. Each of the sons had a turn to search for the cure, and they encountered many adventures along the way.

I love how interconnected the tales are in these two collections, Gamayun Tales I and II. The stories aren’t told chronologically but they follow certain themes and characters in a way that makes sense. Some tales from the first collection were explained in this one, so it was nice to see the continuation from the first book.

Gamayun Tales II is a fun and beautiful graphic novel!

Thank you Nobrow for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

Have you read Gamayun Tales II? What did you think of it?

Review: Verity Fairy: Snow White

Title: Verity Fairy: Snow White
Author: Caroline Wakeman
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: DK Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This sweet early chapter book provides a brand new perspective on the classic fairy tale Snow White. 

This delightful book with beautiful, illustrated characters is a magical retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale with a twist.

In this captivating interpretation of a classic fairy tale, children can rediscover the much-loved story of Snow White while exploring the kingdom of the fairies–a place where all of the classic fairy tales coexist and intertwine. In this retelling of Snow White, youngsters can follow Verity and her fairy friends in the Fairy-tale Kingdom and see how they help good prevail over evil, making sure everyone lives happily ever after. Verity means truth, and that is exactly what she does: she tells the truth, ALL the time, and it often gets her into a lot of trouble! It’s a spellbinding behind-the-scenes look at the battle between Snow White and her evil stepmother, with an extra sprinkling of fairy dust. Gorgeous characters, simple text, and a splash of humor make Verity Fairy: The Real Story of Snow White a captivating book to share. A perfect gift for every young child to enjoy, it will spark curiosity and imagination, while gently encouraging conversation around the difference between right and wrong.

Review:

The fairy named Verity is sent into the fairytale Snow White to be the voice of her stepmother’s mirror. Verity must make sure that Snow White stays alive. However, Verity can only tell the truth, so when she’s asked who is the loveliest of them all, she answers Snow White. This makes the Wicked Queen want to kill Snow White, so Verity had to work to counteract the Wicked Queen’s attack on Snow White.

This story was a fun twist on the fairytale of Snow White. The character of the Queen’s talking mirror isn’t prominent in most adaptations. Since Verity was inside the mirror, and she could only speak the truth, she couldn’t lie to the Queen about who was the loveliest. The only potential problem with this narrative in a children’s book, is that Verity causes problems when she tells the truth. The purpose isn’t to teach kids not to tell the truth, though the truth got Verity into trouble.

I liked that some words were defined at the bottom of the pages. Words that may be new to young readers had definitions. I loved books with those kinds of learning moments when I was a kid because then I could learn words without having to stop reading and look in a dictionary. This was a great addition to this book.

Verity Fairy: Snow White is a fun children’s fairytale retelling!

Thank you DK Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Verity Fairy: Sleeping Beauty by Caroline Wakeman

Hope the Happiness Fairy by Daisy Meadows

Other books in the series:

  • Verity Fairy: Sleeping Beauty

Have you read Verity Fairy: Snow White? What did you think of it?

Review: The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3)

Title: The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3)
Author: Kay O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.

Review:

Greta’s Tea Dragon, Ginseng, is having trouble adjusting to life without her former owner. Greta tries to help Ginseng while also figuring out how to impress a master blacksmith enough to take her on as an apprentice. Her friend, Minette, receives a gift from the monastery where she used to live, which brings back some old memories of her ancestors. Greta, Minette, and their friends and family have to learn how to adjust to the changes in their lives.

This is the final book in the Tea Dragon series. This is a great series because it has so much diversity. Some characters are non-binary. Most of the characters are like humans in behavior, but some have animal-like features. This gives them a diverse variety of appearances.

An important theme in this story was adjusting to life changes. Greta had to figure out how to make her Tea Dragon feel comfortable enough with her. Minette was adjusting to her new place with this group of friends. She had to learn to accept her history to be able to move on with her future.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry is a great conclusion to this graphic novel series.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Princess Princess Every After by Kay O’Neill

Dewdrop by Kay O’Neill

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Tea Dragon Tapestry? What did you think of it?

Review: Gamayun Tales I

Title: Gamayun Tales I
Author: Alexander Utkin
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Nobrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enter a world of magic and adventure in this stunning series based on traditional Russian folklore. Collected into a beautiful new paperback edition for the first time!

Alexander Utkin’s Gamayun Tales are fresh and modern adaptations of familiar Russian folktales, teamed with bold and beautiful illustrations. Jam-packed with stories of magical quests and talking animals, golden chests that turn into palaces and encounters with terrifying Water Spirits, there’s no end to the adventure in these books!

Series Overview: The Gamayun Tales are colorful stories based on Slavic mythology.

Review:

This graphic novel is a collection of stories told by Gamayun, a bird in Russian folklore who can see the future. The tales begin with talking animals, then they tell the story of a merchant and his family and the deals he makes with kings without understanding the consequences.

Each of the tales in this book were connected but they could be read on their own as well. Sometimes folktales with a moral or a lesson can have a tragic outcomes. I found that these stories had positive endings, even if they didn’t seem so at first. Everything worked out in the end, which makes it a fun, positive story for kids.

This was a beautiful book. It is printed on thick paper, which makes it feel like an art book. The illustrations had vibrant colours that made the story a fun read. The beautiful illustrations matched the tone of the folktales perfectly.

This is such a beautiful graphic novel of Russian folktales. The story continues in Gamayun Tales II, so I’m excited to read it soon!

Thank you Nobrow for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Gamayun Tales II by Alexander Utkin

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

  • Gamayun Tales II

Have you read Gamayun Tales I? What did you think of it?