Review: Fairy Mom and Me

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Title: Fairy Mom and Me
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series and our YA Finding Audrey, comes the first of a duology for young readers about a girl learning to become a fairy from her imperfect fairy mom, with a tech twist.

Ella Brook can’t wait to grow up, because one day she will become a fairy and have her own sparkly wings and a teacher on Fairy Tube, just like her mom! Until then, Ella has to learn by watching her mom in action. But sometimes spells go wrong, and Ella’s mom can never seem to remember the right magic codes. A lot of the time, it’s up to Ella to come to the rescue. Does she have what it takes to be a fairy one day? Or will there be more glitches than glitter?

Review:

When I saw that Sophie Kinsella had written a middle grade novel, I knew I had to read it!

This is such a cute story. Ella has to deal with regular kid stuff, like the mean girl next door, as well as fairy magic. Ella is a mature and smart girl who can often solve the messes that her mother makes with her fairy magic.

This story would be great for parents and children to read together. It’s quite funny. All of the spells end in “idoo” such as “cupcakeridoo” and “fixeridoo.” These funny, made up words would appeal to kids. Ella’s mom uses a fairy phone, like a smartphone, to cast her spells. However Ella’s grandmother still uses an old fashioned wand. Adults could relate to that since older generations often don’t want to adapt to new technology.

The pictures in the book would also appeal to kids. When I read with the children I look after, they are always looking for pictures in books. The pictures were also funny because they often depicted the spells that Ella’s mom had messed up.

I enjoyed this story. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the duology.

Review: Claudia and Mean Janine (Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novel #4)

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Title: Claudia and Mean Janine
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Graphix
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

This graphic novel adapted by Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, is now available in full color!

Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her artwork and The Baby-sitters Club than her homework, feels like she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, gets straight As, and even takes college-level courses! But when something unexpected happens to the most beloved person in their family, will the sisters be able to put aside their differences?

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and charm of the original novel!

Review:

I am loving the new Baby Sitters Club series! This is the fourth book, and like the others, it stays true to the original novels.

In this story, the girls have to deal with family issues. Claudia has to learn to get along with her sister, because she’s the only sister she has. They come together over their grandmother’s health problems.

I love how each of the Baby Sitters Club books demonstrate something that young girls have to face in their lives, while also working on their baby sitting jobs. The girls all feel for Claudia’s problems with her sister because they all love her grandmother and feel close to Claudia’s family.

I’m so sad that Raina is no longer going to illustrate these graphic novels. I hope the next artist can live up to Raina’s work!

Review: Harry Moon: Harry’s Christmas Carol

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Title: Harry Moon: Harry’s Christmas Carol
Author: Mark Andrew Poe
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Rabbit Publishers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

While everyone is singing cheerful Christmas carols, Harry Moon and the Good Mischief Team march to a different song–Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. With their swords of light, the team battles against the Fouling Curse threatening Harry’s magic teacher, Samson Dupree, and the Sleepy Hollow Magic Shoppe. As evil armies of toys rise up, Harry must leave the sword behind to find a more powerful means to take down the darkness threatening Sleepy Hollow’s entire world.

Review:

This is a great middle grade Christmas story.

The mayor of the Halloween town of Sleepy Hollow doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas. He fills the town with Halloween parodies of Christmas carols. One is “Jingle bells, Santa smells, A hundred miles away.” Another is “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, Had a very bloody nose.” I can imagine kids singing these parodies after reading this book!

The whole story is a Christmas Carol. The chapters are called verses, so they seem to be part of a song. At the end, Harry sings his own Christmas carol too.

This story shows the power of Christmas magic. Harry and his friends use Harry’s magic to rescue his friend Samson. But the real Christmas spirit didn’t come from magic. Harry and his new friend Thor find a way to give the town a Christmas celebration.

I really liked this book. It’s a great Christmas story!

Review: The Enchanted World of Honey Moon: A Scary Little Christmas

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Title: The Enchanted World of Honey Moon: A Scary Little Christmas
Author: Sofi Benitez
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Rabbit Publishers
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Honey Moon has had it with the scary stuff, at least for Christmas. She wants Sleepy Hollow to celebrate her favorite holiday like normal people. Honey and her friends, Becky, Claire and Isabela, have one chance to take the holiday back, but it means solving a decade old mystery and ringing some bells. YIKES!

Review:

Honey’s hometown is called Sleepy Hollow. It isn’t the famous Sleepy Hollow, though the mayor likes to pretend it is. This means that instead of Christmas, he planned a Halloween festival for the town.

This story reminded me of A Nightmare Before Christmas. The town only celebrates Halloween, like the town in that movie. Honey wants to celebrate Christmas, just like Jack did in the movie.

Honey was a brave and smart character. She’s so smart that she volunteers to help an eighth grader with his essay (Honey is in fifth grade). She also took it upon herself to search for the town’s church bells so she could ring them on Christmas Eve. That was brave of her since everyone else in the town wanted to celebrate Halloween.

This is a great Christmas story for middle grade readers. It teaches you to stand up for what you believe in, even when everyone else wants something different.

Review: The King of Average

Title: The King of Average
Author: Gary Schwartz
Genre: Middle Gradde
Publisher: Bunny Moon
Source: Author
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

James isn’t the world’s greatest kid, but he’s not the worst, either: he’s average! When he decides to become the most average kid who ever lived, James is transported to another world where he meets Mayor Culpa, a well-dressed talking Scapegoat who recruits him to become the new King of Average.

He’s joined on his quest by a professional Optimist and his grouchy companion, an equally professional Pessimist. Together, they set out on a journey of self-discovery that leads them all the way from the Sea of Doubt to Mount Impossible, the highest peak in the Unattainable Mountains. When James stumbles into a Shangri-la called Epiphany, he uncovers the secret of who he really is.

Follow James on his hilarious, adventure-packed journey to find self-worth in this heartfelt middle grade novel The King of Average by debut author Gary Schwartz.

Review:

This is a very cute middle grade story.

It reminded me of The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. James travels through the land of Average, much like Dorothy and Alice travelled through their magical lands. James also encountered many strange creatures just like them.

There are countless puns and jokes in this story. The names, such as Kiljoy the pessimist and Mayor Culpa the scapegoat, were funny. Some of the names of the places they visited included The Sea of Doubt and Lake Inferior. These names would be entertaining for the young readers, as well as their parents who may read the book with them.

I enjoyed the illustrations in the story. I wish there were more. Since there were many unusual things in the story, pictures would have helped me imagine what was going on.

I didn’t like that James and Jerome’s names were so similar. I kept mixing them up. Their similarity draws attention to their similar situations. But it was confusing sometimes when I was reading.

I really liked this story. It’s a funny read for middle grade readers!

Mary Anne Saves The Day (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #3)


Title: Mary Anne Saves The Day (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #3)
Author: Ann M. Martin, Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Who would have guessed that when the BSC girls get in a HUGE fight, it’s shy and quiet Mary Anne who manages to save their friendship?

When a terrible fight breaks out among the four BABY-SITTERS CLUB friends, Mary Anne is left to her own devices. She has to sit by herself at lunch, make new friends, and deal with her overprotective father without advice from the BSC gang. But the worst part is when she faces a terrible baby-sitting predicament, and she can’t find any help.

Luckily, Mary Anne rises to the occasion. Not only does she handle all her problems with aplomb, she also manages to get the BSC back together again.

Review:

The members of the Baby-Sitters Club have a huge fight. They stop speaking to each other. The next day at school, Mary Anne sits by herself at lunch and she is joined by a new girl, Dawn Shaffer. They start hanging out while Mary Anne isn’t speaking to her other friends. Meanwhile, the Baby-Sitters Club continues, but since they aren’t speaking to each other, they can’t have meetings together. They each take turns being at the meeting place to take the calls for their jobs. It all culminates when they have to work at a child’s party together. They have to decide if they make up or if the club is over.

I loved this graphic novel. It’s so nice to see my favourite stories brought to life by these illustrations.

I liked that the baby-sitters faced a major problem in this story. They had to get past their differences to continue together in the club.

I’m excited to see the rest of the series adaptated into graphic novels.

Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas


Title: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Author: Jun Asuka
Publisher: Tokyopop
Genre: NetGalley
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King, the ruler of Halloween Town and master of all things creepy and spooky. But he’s tired of his life in the shadows and longs for something new. When he accidentally stumbles upon Christmas Town, he decides this is the perfect chance to try his hand at a brand new holiday and is convinced he’ll have the world yelling “Scary Christmas”! With the young patchwork doll Sally trying to dissuade him and the evil Oogie Boogie waiting in the wings to take over Halloween Town in Jack’s absence, he’d better hurry if he wants to get his plan in place by December 25th! You’ve seen the movie, now read the manga for a new twist on an animated classic!

Review:

I’ve wanted to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas for a long time, but I haven’t yet. So when I saw the manga version, I had to read it. 

I really enjoyed the story. I love that it’s a cross between Halloween and Christmas. Though those two holidays are two months apart, they’re so connected, since as soon as Halloween is over, the shelves are filled with Christmas gifts. 

One problem I had (and I’m not sure if this will be the same in the physical copy) is the colouring. It’s in black and white, and some of the panels were so detailed that it was hard to tell what was happening. When only two colours are used, it’s difficult to distinguish between characters, so sometimes I didn’t know what was happening. Also, many of the speech bubbles didn’t have an obvious direction of who it was coming from, so I couldn’t tell who was speaking. These issues may not be as bad for someone who has watched the movie, but since I wasn’t familiar with the story before, I struggled with these visual problems. 

However, I really liked this story. I’m glad I read this manga edition!