Review: Terry Fox and Me

Title: Terry Fox and Me
Author: Mary Beth Leatherdale and Milan Pavlović
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope, this picture book biography tells the story of a friendship defined by strength and love.

Before Terry Fox become a national hero and icon, he was just a regular kid. But even then, his characteristic strength, determination and loyalty were apparent and were the foundation for his friendship with Doug. The two first met at basketball tryouts in grammar school. Terry was the smallest – and worst – basketball player on the court. But that didn’t stop him. With Doug’s help, Terry practiced and practiced until he earned a spot on the team. As they grew up, the best friends supported each other, challenged each other, helped each other become better athletes and better people. Doug was by Terry’s side every step of the way: when Terry received a diagnosis of cancer in his leg, when he was learning to walk – then run – with a prosthetic leg and while he was training for the race of his life, his Marathon of Hope.

Written from Doug’s perspective, this story shows that Terry Fox’s legacy goes beyond the physical and individual accomplishments of a disabled athlete and honors the true value of friendship.

Review:

When the new boy, Terry, wants to befriend Doug after he didn’t do well at basketball tryouts, Doug is reluctant to hang out with him. Doug quickly learns that Terry is willing to work hard to get better at the sport. Terry becomes a great basketball player and athlete, though he won’t run cross-country with Doug. Everything changes when Terry is diagnosed with cancer and has 80% of his leg amputated. Suddenly Terry is motivated to start running, creating the Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research. His best friend Doug stays by his side the whole time.

Terry Fox is a Canadian icon and hero. Every year, Canadians across the country participate in the Terry Fox Run in September. The run that Terry started in 1980 is honored every year with donations to cancer research. Unfortunately, Terry had to stop his run halfway through his cross country marathon. He started in St. John’s, Newfoundland and ended in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He passed away the following year though his memory lives on today.

I wasn’t familiar with Doug’s story before reading this book. He was a wonderful friend to Terry, who encouraged him throughout his recovery and training.

This is a great story for children because it teaches about the power of friendship. It could also teach young children who Terry Fox was and why he is such an important historical figure that we continue to honour today.

I loved this Canadian story!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Terry Fox: A Story of Hope by Maxine Trottier

Have you read Terry Fox and Me? What did you think of it?

Review: Dewdrop

Title: Dewdrop
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The tale of an axolotl who cheers on his underwater friends as they each bring their talents to the pond’s sports fair! 

Dewdrop is an easygoing, gentle axolotl who enjoys naps, worm pie, and cheerleading. When the yearly sports fair nears, he and his friends—Mia the weightlifting turtle, Newman the musical newt, and three minnows who love to cook—get ready to showcase their skills to the whole pond! However, as the day of the fair gets closer, Dewdrop’s friends can’t help putting pressure on themselves to be the best. It’s up to Dewdrop to remind them how to be mindful, go at their own pace, and find joy in their own achievements.

Review:

Dewdrop is an axolotl who is attending the pond’s fair with his friends. Dewdrop will be the cheerleader, while his friends do other activities, such as songwriting, weight lifting, and cooking. When Dewdrop’s friends get discouraged while they struggle with their activities, he is there to cheer them on.

This was a cute story about doing your best. When Dewdrop’s friend struggled with their activities, he pointed out that they were doing the best they could do. Even though the turtle couldn’t lift the heaviest weight, he could still lift more than he could before. When the fish felt like their food wouldn’t appeal to everyone, they realized that they wouldn’t be able to please everyone, but some would like it. The newt couldn’t find inspiration for a song, so Dewdrop told him that he finds inspiration by relaxing and taking the pressure off. Dewdrop had great solutions for all of his friends.

I wish the story talked more about the kinds of animals in the story. Dewdrop was an axolotl, which I had never heard of before. I had to google axolotl while reading. The illustrations look exactly like the fish. Sometimes children’s books have some information about the animals featured at the end of the book. That wasn’t in my copy, and I’m not sure if it was in the final book, but that would have been helpful to read.

This is a cute children’s book!

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

What to read next:

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Cat’s Café: A Comics Collection by Matt Tarpley

Have you read Dewdrop? What did you think of it?

Review: King Mouse

Title: King Mouse
Author: Cary Fagan, Dena Seiferling (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Books
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

King Mouse finds his authority in question when his subjects find crowns of their own. A gentle and humorous modern fable about imaginative play and kindness in the tradition of classics like Little Bear and Frog and Toad.

A sweet, thoughtful tale of friendship, sharing and play, King Mouse begins when a mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass. The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear subsequently comes upon him and asks if he’s king, the mouse responds “Yes.”

This diminutive monarch settles into his new role very comfortably . . . until a snake comes upon a crown and claims she is queen. The mouse is not amused, especially when one by one the other animals find crowns and claim they are kings too. But when the bear can’t find a crown, King Mouse make a most surprising decision.

This inspired collaboration between an award-winning author and debut picture book illustrator Dena Seiferling is quietly profound in its simplicity and has the feeling of a modern classic. 

Review:

One day, Mouse finds a crown on the ground. He puts it on and becomes King Mouse. The other animals, like a crow and a bear, bow down to him and do things for him, such as bring him food and entertain him. Then, a snake finds a crown and puts it on, becoming Queen Snake. Now, all of the animals are finding crowns, except for the bear, who is left out of being a King or Queen. King Mouse is left to decide what to do to help the bear.

This is such a great teaching story for kids. It shows how it feels to be left out, since the bear was very sad that he didn’t have a crown when everyone else did. It also shows that just because someone has something that makes them popular, doesn’t mean they deserve it. Mouse became a king just because he found the crown. The crown was important when there was only one but it became meaningless when everyone else had a crown.

The illustrations in this story were beautiful. They looked like sketches in monochromatic colours. The illustrations told the story along with the words. It would be easy for children learning to read to follow the story by the pictures without reading the words.

I loved this children’s picture book!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mouseton Abbey: The Missing Diamond by Nick Page, Tim Hutchinson (illustrator)

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale, Mika Song (illustrator)

Have you read King Mouse? What did you think of it?

Review: Twisted Fairy Tales: The Three Little Narwhals

Title: Twisted Fairy Tales: The Three Little Narwhals
Author: Stewart Ross, Chris Jevons (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Arcturus Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this whale of a tale, the Big Bad Shark is looking for a tasty snack… when he comes across three delicious-looking narwhals! The loveable, pointy-horned creatures-show-off Spike, arty Spiral, and shy Stubby-discover a sunken pirate ship, and are using the parts to build their own homes. Now they are out of their depth, locked in a battle of wits with the munching, crunching villain.

Review:

This story is a twist on the tale of the Three Little Pigs. Instead of pigs, the characters are the three little narwhals. They decide to build houses out of the parts of a shipwreck. The first house was made of ropes and sails, the second was made of wood, and the third was made of metal. Their homes are then destroyed by the big bad shark.

Narwhals are a popular animal for kids books. They’re the unicorns of the sea. There were also dolphins in this story, which were so cute. The dolphins pointed out the problems with the narwhals’ homes before they were attacked, so they explained to the reader why the homes were flawed.

I liked the twist on the traditional big bad wolf, which is the big bad shark. He said “I’ll crunch, and I’ll munch, and I’ll have this house for lunch.” This was a great way to change the wolf into a sea creature.

I really enjoyed this retelling of the Three Little Pigs.

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

What to read next:

Twisted Fairy Tales: Little Rude Riding Hood by Jo Franklin, Chris Jevons (illustrator)

Twisted Fairy Tales: The Ninjabread Man by Stewart Ross, Chris Jevons (illustrator)

Have you read The Three Little Narwhals? What did you think of it?

Review: Take it Away, Tommy!: A Breaking Cat News Adventure

Title: Take It Away, Tommy!: A Breaking Cat News Adventure
Author: Georgia Dunn
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Tonight’s top story: the intrepid team of feline reporters is back on the beat and tackling stories like a runaway toy mouse in this second collection of Breaking Cat News comics for middle-grade readers.

Once again Lupin, Elvis, and Puck—alongside boisterous field correspondents like Tommy—deliver hard-hitting reportage on all of the most pressing issues, such as Vacuum Awareness Week, the case of the missing breakfast, and the history of fuzzy blankets. The gang also meets new characters like Burt, the free-spirited barn cat who helps solve some AV problems. And these cats will need all of the help they can get to get to the bottom of some mysterious ghost sightings and prove they’re not scaredy.

The More-to-Explore section includes paper dolls, how to make pet rock cats, and explores the Big Pink House and the BCN apartment within.

Review:

This is a hilarious graphic novel, with cats reporting on the news.

The cats report on various issues in the house, including a ghost, holidays, and a kidnapping of a toy mouse. Their perspectives on human actions were so funny. They insisted on fixing a man’s hair once he got a haircut by licking his head. They had the common enemy of the vacuum cleaner, who they tried to become friends with despite the danger. They also got into any food that was left around the house.

There were some cute crafts at the end of the book. One idea was to make pet rocks for anyone who can’t have a pet cat. Another craft was paper dolls of the characters that could be cut out of the back of the book.

This book was so funny! It’s a great gift for anyone who loves cats!

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

What to read next:

Lupin Leaps In: A Breaking Cat News Adventure by Georgia Dunn

Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News That Matters to Cats by Georgia Dunn

Have you read Take It Away, Tommy!: A Breaking Cat News Adventure? What did you think of it?

Review: Twisted Fairy Tales: Little Rude Riding Hood

Title: Twisted Fairy Tales: Little Rude Riding Hood
Author: Jo Franklin, Chris Jevons (illustrator)
Genre: Childrens, Picture Book
Publisher: Arcturus Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Once upon a time, a fairy tale went very wrong! This new twist on a traditional children’s story is packed with fun, humour, and energy.

Little Rude is incredibly cheeky to everyone that she meets. She doesn’t even know the meaning of “please” and “thank you!” However, that could all change when she meets a surprisingly polite wolf on her way to Grandma’s house. 

Will Little Rude’s constant insults drive even this newly reformed Big Bad Wolf over the edge? This riotously funny remix on the traditional fairy tale will delight children and adults alike. 

This hilarious tale featuring brand-new full-colour illustrations will be sure to thrill readers aged 6+.

Review:

In this book, Little Red Riding Hood is a very rude girl, so she is called Little Rude Riding Hood. Her parents send her to bring her grandmother a present for her birthday, but Little Rude doesn’t want to. Eventually they convince her to go. Along her way to her grandmother’s house, she meets kind creatures, but she is still rude to them.

This story had a great twist on the original tale. Since Little Rude is so rude to her parents and everyone else, it shows kids that she is behaving badly. She behaves in the opposite way from Little Red Riding Hood, who was very kind and trusting. Another twist is that the characters who usually attack the grandmother, like the wolf and the lumberjack, are actually friends with her grandmother.

This is a fun twist on Little Red Riding Hood!

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

What to read next:

Twisted Fairy Tales: The Ninjabread Man by Stewart Ross, Chris Jevons (illustrator)

Twisted Fairy Tales: The Three Little Narwhals by Stewart Ross, Chris Jevons (illustrator)

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Little Rude Riding Hood? What did you think of it?

Review: Work it, Girl: Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama

Title: Work it, Girl: Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama
Author: Caroline Moss, Sinem Erkas (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this imaginatively illustrated book from the Work It, Girl series, discover how Michelle became an inspirational leader, FLOTUS, lawyer, author, and role model in this true story of her life. Then, learn 10 key lessons from her work you can apply to your own life.

Michelle Obama grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a little bungalow with a close-knit family. She loved going to school, and she knew that, one day, she would use her voice to empower other young girls, just like her. Young Michelle was a brilliant student and wonderful daughter. With hard work and talent, she propelled herself into the universities of Princeton and Harvard. She qualified as a lawyer and life was going smoothly…Then she met a guy named Barack.

Work It, Girl is an empowering series of biographies featuring modern women in the world of work, from designers and musicians to CEOs and scientists. Each of these vibrantly illustrated books tells the story of a remarkable woman in 10 chapters that highlight transformative moments in her life, following the ups and downs that she faced on her road to success. At the end, 10 key lessons show what you can learn from these moments, and self-reflection questions help you apply these lessons to your own life. Brightly colored photo illustrations of 3-D cut paper artwork featuring inspiring quotes from these amazing women bring their stories to vivid life. Learn how to work it as you lay the foundations for your own successful career. 

Review:

This children’s book is about Michelle Obama’s life. The first half of the book covers her childhood and young adult life. She was very focused on school and continued to follow her dream of going to Princeton, even when her school councilors said she wouldn’t get in. In the second half of the book, Michelle meets Barack Obama and they raise their family.

I didn’t know anything about Michelle Obama’s childhood, so it was interesting to learn about her. She is even more inspiring after hearing that she was discouraged from following her dreams, but succeeded anyway. This book has made me want to read her memoir, Becoming.

The books in this series are beautifully illustrated. The graphics look like cut out pieces of paper, layered to make pictures. That technique makes the pages look textured. The illustrations are brightly covered, which is uplifting.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Work it, Girl: Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison

Work it, Girl: Run the Show Like CEO Oprah Winfrey

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama? What did you think of it?

Review: Twisted Fairy Tales: Snow White and the Seven Robots

Title: Twisted Fairy Tales: Snow White and the Seven Robots
Author: Stewart Ross, Chris Jevons (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Arcturus Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When the wicked Star Queen shipwrecks her daughter, Snow White, on a remote forest planet, the plucky princess uses her engineering know-how to rebuild her ruined spacecraft into robot helpers! Can she and her mechanical friends find a way to defeat the Star Queen once and for all?

Review:

This is another great fairy tale with a twist.

This story takes place in space. Snow White has a talent for building robots. The evil queen sends her away, since she has been told by her “space book” screen that Snow White is the best. I liked these space and technology elements of the story.

There was a different twist to the story because the evil queen sends fruit robots to put Snow White to sleep, rather than giving her an apple. The fruit shoots a poison dart at her, and the only way to wake her is to remove it. This is another way a technological element replaced the magic of the original fairytale.

This was a great story!

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

What to read next:

Twisted Fairy Tales: Little Rude Riding Hood by Jo Franklin, Chris Jevons (illustrator)

Twisted Fairy Tales: The Ninjabread Man by Stewart Ross, Chris Jevons (illustrator)

Have you read Twisted Fairy Tales: Snow White and the Seven Robots? What did you think of it?

Review: David Attenborough (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: David Attenborough (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Mikyo Noh (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this book from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of David Attenborough, the inspiring broadcaster and conservationist.

Little David grew up in Leicester on the campus of a university, where his father was a professor. As a child, he spent hours in the science library, collating his own specimens and creating a mini animal museum. When he was old enough to go to university, he studied science and zoology—but what he wanted most of all was to be close to the animals he was studying. So, he started working in television, visiting animals in their natural habitats, and telling the world the untold stories of these animals. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the broadcaster’s life.

Review:

Sir David Attenborough is passionate about nature. He has always loved learning about how the natural world works. He created many tv shows about animals and nature. He was also knighted by the Queen for his work on documentaries about planet Earth.

I didn’t know some of these facts about Sir David Attenborough before reading this book. For example, there are many species of plants and animals named after him, such as a frog named Pristimantis Attenboroughi. He is an inspiring man who has done a lot of work to preserve our natural planet.

This is a great story to teach children about the life of Sir David Attenborough.

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

What to read next:

Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

Have you read David Attenborough? What did you think of it?

Review: Surprise Under the Stars (Creature Campers #2)

Title: Surprise Under the Stars (Creature Campers #2)
Author: Joe McGee, Bea Tormo (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Creature Campers are back for another adventure! To pass their map and compass skills test, they must find their way to a hidden spot in the forest, where a picnic feast awaits!

Follow Norm the Bigfoot and his friends as they brave a swampy lake, a scheming creature collector, and a starry night surprise to get to their deliciously sweet reward—and learn the true meaning of teamwork and trust.

Review:

I loved the first book in the Creature Campers series, so I was excited to read this one.

In this story, they have to do a classic camp activity, which is learn how to use a compass. They have to follow a trail to find a special pie. However, the activity is spoiled by the villain, Barnaby, who uses a magnet to attract them to him and disrupt their compass.

This was a funny story. The villain ended up messing up his own plot when he got trapped and the kids had to rescue him. It was a great ending to the story.

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

What to read next:

The Monster Squad by Joe McGee, Ethan Long (illustrator)

Have you read Surprise Under the Stars? What did you think of it?