Review: The Lost Path

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Title: The Lost Path
Author: Amélie Fléchais
Genre: Children’s fiction
Publisher: Lion Forge
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

If you’ve got the taste for adventure, come join this treasure hunt! Three young boys set off from Camp Happiness, map in hand, determined to be the first to find the treasure before anyone else. But the shortcut they take leads to something far more spectacular and sinister! All manner of magical beasties live in these woods, and the kids find themselves caught between warring Forest Spirits. Will the three boys find their way out of trouble? Get your map and ready, set, go! Amélie Fléchais’s incredible artwork combines the best of French illustration with manga influences. A spooky new fairytale, for fans of Over the Garden Wall.

Review:

I loved Amélie’s book The Little Red Wolf, so I was excited to read this one.

This is a quirky story with fairytale elements. It’s great that the main characters are boys, because most fairytales have girls as the main characters, so boys are reluctant to read them.

There were some strange monsters in the story that seemed to be part of the forest. I loved how the drawings showed the creatures slowly emerging from the ground through a series of images. One of the boys wore a robot helmet throughout the story, which reminded me of when kids have to carry around or wear one thing constantly for a period. At times, the story would switch to his perspective and he saw the world made of robots. I liked that unique twist in the story.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s a short read that would be great for kids!

Review: Tales of the Spectacular Spectacles: Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore

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Title: Tales of the Spectacular Spectacles: Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore
Author: K. Kibbee
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: BooksGoSocial
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: October 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Living life as a bumbling breadbox with fur, was hardship enough for Theodore the Corgi, but when the young dog finds himself cold and alone in a frightening animal shelter, it’s clear that his struggles have only just begun.
Labeled “unadoptable,” by shelter staff, Theodore mires in the gloom until a kind-eyed stranger with a pocket full of handcrafted jerky and a quirky smile, rescues him with the intent of making Theodore the newest addition to his curious Bookstore. Though overwhelmed at first, Theodore soon finds both his new friend and the odd bookstore are welcoming hosts, despite the Corgi’s run of clumsy mishaps. And while Theodore’s formerly dull and lonely life fades to memory, a new, adventurous one blooms before him—for hidden amongst the dusty stacks of books and things at the Enchanted Bookstore, waits a peculiar little man with a set of the most magical, Spectacular Spectacles imaginable.

Review:

Corgis are my favourite dog breed. I had to read this book when I saw one on the cover!

Theodore is a very cute puppy. I felt so sorry for him when he was left at the shelter. His owner thought he was too clumsy so she didn’t like him anymore. But luckily he was adopted by Sam, who owns a bookstore.

The narration was third person. But sometimes it gave Theodore’s perspective. Theodore noticed some things that he probably wouldn’t have recognized. For example, he saw girls walking down the street and he knew they were selling girl guide cookies. There was no reason for him to know what they were when he could just see them from across the street. It would have been funnier if he had to guess what different things were. That kind of confusion can create humour in kid’s books.

The story ended very abruptly. The “enchanting” part had just begun, and then the story ended. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more enchantment in the story since it was promised in the title.

Review: Honey Moon: Not Your Valentine

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Title: Honey Moon: Not Your Valentine
Author: Sofi Benitez
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Rabbit Publishers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A Sleepy Hollow Valentine’s Day dance with a boy! NO WAY, NO HOW is Honey Moon going to a scary sweetheart dance with that Noah kid. But, after being forced to dance together in PE class, word gets around that Honey likes Noah. Now, she has no choice but to stop Valentine’s Day in its tracks. Things never go as planned, and Honey winds up with the surprise of her Sleepy Hollow life.

Review:

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Here’s a Valentine’s themed review!

This is a great Valentine’s story. Honey Moon is hilarious and gets into lots of trouble. She doesn’t want to go to the dance with a boy, so she does everything she can to make them not like her. But this backfires on her. The dance at the end also provided a great twist. It wasn’t what Honey was expecting.

This story reminded me of when my class would celebrate Valentine’s Day when I was a kid. When picking out the cards for everyone, you had to make sure that the saying on the inside was appropriate. You wouldn’t want a boy in your class to get the wrong impression because you gave him a romantic Valentine. Honey takes that idea to the extreme by writing nasty things in the boys’ cards. That ends up backfiring on her because the boys like the gross things she wrote! Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday but it can also cause problems in the classroom.

I really liked this story. It gives a different perspective on a typical Valentine’s Day story, because Honey does everything she can to avoid getting a date to the dance.

Review: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race

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Title: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race
Author: Rebecca Rissman
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Capstone
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Tells the gripping story of four female African-American mathematicians who literally made it possible to launch US rockets–and astronauts–into space. Tells the thrilling tale of how each woman contributed, the struggles and resistance each experienced, and the amazing results. Consultants currently work for NASA.

Review:

This book is about the African-American women who worked at NASA. It’s a lot like the book and movie Hidden Figures but written for children.

There are many reasons this book is important for children, particularly girls of colour, to read this book. These women demonstrate how important women were to the work of NASA. They worked behind the scenes, so they were not the focal point of the news stories. Everyone can picture the white male astronauts who landed on the moon, but not the black women who did the math and science that made it possible for them to do it. It’s important for young children to be able to see themselves in historical figures.

This story also highlights the importance of math and science in the days before computers. The job titles for these women was “computer” before there were machines of the same name. Often today, children don’t understand the point of learning math when they can just do the same computations on their cell phones in seconds. But it’s important to know how to do these things, because sometimes even the computers can be wrong.

This book is nonfiction but each chapter reads like a short story narrative about the women who worked at NASA. This will make the story accessible and entertaining for young readers.

I highly recommend this book for young readers!

Review: Letters From Father Christmas

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Title: Letters From Father Christmas
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Children’s fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 1, 1976
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or some sketches.

The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents everywhere; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house.

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humor to the stories.

This updated version contains a wealth of new material, including letters and pictures missing from early editions. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and “authenticity” of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas

Review:

This is an amazing book! I just found it this year, and I wish I had read it sooner.

This is a collection of letters written by Tolkien to his children from Father Christmas. The letters are so sweet, that you can’t help but smile. Some say that “Father Christmas” couldn’t find stamps, or he was so busy he had to send the letter on Boxing Day. These parts demonstrate that they are being written by a busy father.

The stories in the letters become more elaborate as the children grow up. They start with just a short letter saying he hopes they enjoy their gifts. But once there are more children and they are older, Father Christmas tells them about his friend, the mischievous North Polar Bear, who chimes in on many letters too. There is also a big fight with Goblins which is described in detail.

These stories are a nice twist on the typical letters from Santa. They also show what an imagination Tolkien had. He didn’t just use it in his work, he brought his fantasies into his home life with his children. I think this book will be a tradition for me to read every Christmas from now on.

Review: The Little Red Wolf


Title: The Little Red Wolf
Author: Amelie Flechais
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Lion Forge
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais’ spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

Review:

This is an amazing adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood. 

Not only is the protagonist a wolf, but it is a male wolf. This is a great modern example for boys in fairytales. Usually the boy in fairytales plays the prince character, and is only the love interest for the princess. Or he is a fighter or hunter of some sort. But this is just an innocent little boy wolf who is sent on a journey to his grandmother’s house. 

There are also larger connotations with the wolf being the main character. The humans don’t like wolves and want to kill them. When they find Little Red Wolf, they want to kill him even though he didn’t do anything to them. This could represent global problems on a broader scale, when people are blamed for the actions of one person in their group. An example of this is racism. This book can be a great learning tool. 

As well as the fabulous story, the illustrations are amazing. I love the simplicity of it. The colour palette reflects the mood of the story. The colours are more vibrant when Little Red Wolf first enters the forest, and become darker when he meets the little girl. 

I felt like the ending was a little abrupt, but I really loved this story!

Review: 101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up


Title: 101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up
Author: Ben Bertoli
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Walter Foster Jr
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Have you got game? 101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up is the unofficial, definitive guide for the best video games ever made!

Each page in this interactive handbook offers behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia about the games that belong on your bucket list, along with parental rating guidelines, series background information, and storyline previews. Gamers can record their personal ratings of each series as they play their way through the list, making notes and critiquing the best and worst parts of each game.

All different types of video games are featured, including adventure, puzzle, platform, racing, and role-playing games. Both gaming newbies and more experienced players can learn tips and tricks about the best games out there, and discover new genres of games to explore next.

No matter what gaming system you have, this handy guide will help parents and kids alike choose the next best game to play.

Review:

This is a great book for kids who love video games.

There are so many games listed! Each game listing is very detailed. It made me want to play all of the games I haven’t played before.

What I like is that there is a space at the bottom of the page for kids to fill in their rating of the game and their thoughts on it. This gets kids to think critically about the games their playing. I used to learn so much from video games when I was a kid. They can be a great teaching tool.

There are fun facts about the creation of the game for each listing which are interesting to read.

I loved reminiscing about these games while reading this book. So many of these games filled my childhood, and are still relevant today, such as Mario and Sonic. I think you would even enjoy these games if you are already grown up!