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Attack of the Underwear Dragon

Attack of the Underwear Dragon - Scott Rothman
Dreams do come true, at least for Cole and knights, they really do cry. When Cole wanted to be an assistant knight to Sir Percival (a knight at King Arthur’s Round Table) he wrote him a letter asking for the position. This letter touched Sir Percival so much, that he cried and then, he appointed Cole his assistant knight.

Cole did everything that Sir Percival asked from him and he learned a lot! Cole learned what it was like to be a knight and he learned what Sir Percival was most scared of, a big, scary Underwear Dragon. Sir Percival would dream about this dragon when he was sleeping. Cole loved being an assistant knight even if sometimes this job was difficult and hard.

Dreams do come true for knights also, unfortunately. The day came when the kingdom was under attack by.... an Underwear Dragon! Yes, you heard me right. All the knights were fighting this Underwear Dragon and it wasn't looking good, for this dragon was fierce. Sir Percival was nervous as he didn’t want to have to fight it. Cole, being an assistant, knew how to fight like a knight should Sir Percival need him, but Cole was still just an assistant. The Underwear Dragon was putting up a good fight and Sir Percival thought he might be going into battle.

This was a cute story and the illustrations were wonderful. I thought Cole was a courageous young boy and I liked how he thought his way through the various situations that he was presented with. I liked how down-to-earth the issues were and how fun the book was. It’s a cute and entertaining story.
 
 

 

Everything Sad Is Untrue

Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story) - Daniel Nayeri

This is the story of Daniel; he’s not sitting beside you as you read this book but it’ll seem like he is.  Daniel is telling his classmates about Iran, exactly how he remembers it and what it was like when he left that country, because that’s important.

 

Twelve-year-old Daniel currently lives in Oklahoma with his family. Residing in Mrs. Miller’s classroom, Daniel knows about inequity and how individuals feel about Persians.  Giving his own personal story, Daniel wants his classmates to know him, to know who he is, as a person.  So, sit back and enjoy his story.  For these are his own memories, his whole personal life (his twelve years) you will be holding securely in your own two hands.

 

I adored this book, I really did.  I loved how he wrote the book; the way that I felt a part of it and how the style of writing he used, personalized the book.  The stories he wrote were interesting and they felt genuine and vivid.  When the family fled Iran with their hard, gray suitcase and his memories of his extended family, even the smallest of details, felt so important.  What a great treasure!

 

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” ….. “It’ll be alright in the end, folks.  If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.” 

 

(Wow, I really enjoyed this and it made me stop and think, it’s so true. If you want a happy ending to whatever is happening, keep going till you get one.  If you feel you’re getting an unhappy ending, keep going, perhaps you’re not at the end and you can change things.)

The Girl With the Louding Voice

The Girl with the Louding Voice - Abi Daré

All fourteen-year Adunni wanted was an education but her father had other plans for her.  He had promised her mother that Adunni would be attending school but that was before her mother passed away and the rent became due. Now, Adunni’s bride price was dismissing both of the promises that he had made to his wife about Adunni’s future.   

 

Adunni will become wife number three to Morufu. A third wife!  I cringed when I thought of what that must have been like for her. To enter an established household with two other women and four young children already running around. As Adunni enters the house, it was a bit better than I had thought it would be.  She’s not able to stay long, as a tragic event sends her packing and she is off to Lagos. 

 

Adunni has always dreamed of going to Lagos but currently, she cannot follow those dreams as she must find a way to survive.  Finding work with Big Madam, she finds the mansion impressive as she arrives for work, until she realizes that she’ll be a housemaid inside that mansion.  Adunni days remain dark, as Big Madam relentlessly controls her, “expect me to clothe you and accommodate you for substandard work, do you?”

 

Adunni knows that she needs her education.  She’s been out of school for too long and she knows that it’s her only way out of these dark days, that have become her way of life. An awaking begins to occur within Adunni and things start to change in the book. 

 

I didn’t love this book as much as other individuals did.  I did enjoy the book and the storyline.  I guess the main issue I had was that the story didn’t captive me and draw me in.  This is an interesting story with great characters, it just didn’t grab me like I thought it would.  3.5 stars

Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook - Ina Garten
I used to watch Ina on cable and she was such a joy to watch. She had this calmness about her and the way that she moved through the kitchen, putting her recipes together, it all seemed so easy. I've tried a few of her recipes and they've been great, so I thought I would love this cookbook. I also love cookbooks. I have quite a few cookbooks (my husband thinks I have too many) and I also subscribe to some cooking magazines, but I like to read and try different things (within reason). When I saw "Modern Comfort", I thought who doesn't love comfort food? You know how some people definitions are different? I think this is one of them.

I love many things about this cookbook but the recipes themselves, they just don't do much for me. I'll get to that in a minute but let's talk about what's great about this cookbook. The cookbook is very attractive and pleasing to look at. It's definitely a heavy one too, with 256 pages. I liked the smooth, glossy pages and the page count includes the two recipe indexes yes, I said two! She has included one A - Z index and one index that breaks the dishes into their specific categories. These categories include breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, vegetables & sides, and desserts. The author also made a reference to these categories at the bottom of each page, down by the page number, so you know where you’re at when you’re looking inside the cookbook. I like these little extra touches. Each recipe gets a 2-page spread with the recipe on one side and a picture on the other. Detailed, step-by-step directions are easy to follow and each recipe includes a small paragraph about the recipe too. The recipe includes how many it will serve but not the individual serving size. It might say, "Serves 6" but it doesn't say how big each serving size is.

The book itself is set up by categories, the ones I mentioned earlier. The first section is Cocktails. Listed on one page, it has all the recipes for that section. I thought it would have been nice, had she also listed the page number for each cocktail on this page. I know that the recipes go in sequence according to this list, and I know that I can go back to the indexes but having it here would be helpful.

I found there were only about 5-6 dishes inside this cookbook that I found comforting. When I was thinking “comforting”, I was thinking pasta, meat, potatoes, salads, soup and “modern” to me meant, making these foods healthy and/or easier to prepare. This is where I was confused. I found inside this cookbook Brussels Sprouts Pizza Carbonara, Roasted Shishito Peppers with Easy Hollandaise, Maine Lobster Stew, English Lemon Posset, and Pomegranate Gimlets. These didn’t sound comforting to me. These seemed rather fancy to my everyday life. It’s a beauty of a cookbook but it’s just not one that would get much use at my house. 3.5 rounding up to 4 stars

The Story of Fish & Snail

The Story of Fish and Snail - Deborah Freedman

I will admit, I had to read this picture book a second time to fully understand it. There were a few key points that I was definitely missing to fully appreciate this story even after I slowly read it and looked at the illustrations the first time through. The story is about two friends who have a disagreement and what happens.

Fish and Snail live inside the pages of a storybook. Snail waits patiently, every day for Fish to arrive, to tell him a story. Snail's ideal story would have kittens and princesses in it but when Fish arrives today, he wants Snail to join him in a new book that he has found. A huge agruement errupts as Snail doesn't want to leave their current book yet Fish tries to presude his friend how much better, the new book actually is. Fish is ready to make the leap into the new book and leave his friend behind.

I can't talk about what caused my confusion without giving away some of the story's ending but it made more sense for me after a second reading. I was really surprised by Fish's actions and I thought that Snail was brave. I can see children enjoying this story. The illustations were creative and interesting too.
 

A Stone Sat Still

A Stone Sat Still: (Environmental and Nature Picture Book for Kids, Perspective Book for Preschool and Kindergarten, Award Winning Illustrator) - Brendan Wenzel

This is all about perception. This is a stone (or a rock) which is surrounded by water, dirt, and grass and it is, what it is. To all different animals, through all the different scenarios, this stone sits where its at and it becomes whatever it needs to be for its habitat. It could be daylight, the stone could be large for some animals or tiny for others, it didn't matter the time of the year or the weather condition, the stone was there. This stone, this hard, solid piece of matter was predictable, and all the the animals were using it.

The illustrations were fantastic and I loved how they showed exactly the different scenarios how the stone was used. It's a great book to get you to start thinking. What a terrific book.

Sumokitty

Sumokitty - David Biedrzycki
He was just a hungry kitty looking for food when he met up with the sumo wrestlers. He'd sneak in and eat their leftovers after they finished their meals each day. Kitty was soon offered a job at the heya (training center) and he doesn't have to sneak around the heya any longer.

Kitty was good at his new job, actually he was very good and it began to have a negative effect on Kitty's appearance. It got to the point where it started to affect Kitty's job but he just couldn't do anything about it. Or could he? He's had an ideal opportunuty right in front of him this whole time yet he hadn't realised it until now. It might take some hard work and lots of disapline but within Kitty there lives a SumoKitty.

I learned a lot about sumo wrestling while reading this book, which was interesing and included more specific words than I realized. This story had some humorous moments which the ilustrations do an excellent job emphasizing. This was an entertaining read and I thought there were some great messages in the book.. The illustrations were fun and they definitely added to this story. 4.5 stars

LIttle Elliott, Big Fun

Little Elliot, Big Fun - Mike Curato, Mike Curato

This is the best Little Elliot book yet. Little Elliott and Mouse are going to the far edge of the city to the amusement park. I thought Mouse would be the one with issues being the smaller one but Little Elliot is just not liking the looks of what Mouse likes. Mouse seems to like the adventurous rides and he like all the different sights of the park but not Little Elliot.

I liked that Mouse didn't get upset with Little Elliott when he didn't like what Mouse liked. I liked that Mouse accepted Little Elliot's fears and insecurities. Little Elliot did try to have fun after being scared at first and by the end of the book, they had a great time together and the ending was so sweet. The ending is what makes them best friends. You can have differences and still have fun together and be best friends. What a great book! 

The Book With No Pictures

The Book with No Pictures - B.J. Novak

Definitely one that needs to be shared with others. This is such a cute book that forces the reader to say silly things to their audience. You don't really need an illustration, if you're admitting that you're a monkey with a head made out of blueberry pizza but wait, did I just say that? Reading the text, you can't help but get into a rhythm and a character, as you read these humorous and outrageous ideas and then, realize that you have just done these crazy things because you are reading the book. I really liked the font and how the author's used the space in the book. Definitely a book that will leave a smile on your face.

“And now it’s time for me to sing you my favorite song!

A song?
Do I really have to sing a -----"

Be Who You Are

Be Who You Are - Todd Parr
What I like most about this book is how colorful it is. This book screams color! The book addresses indviduals to be who they are, whoever that may be. They want individuals to accept who they are and also, to present your true self to others. No matter what is going on in your life, no matter what has happened in your life, you need to be yourself. Indivdiauls need to have a fun life and embrace life.

The book is written in a positive light which is great. The statements on each page are short and I'm on the fence about this. I like the idea of this but I have to wonder if the message that they're trying to convey, is really getting across to the readers of the book. This book would be a great starting-off book as it has a variety of topic for conversations or another activitities.

"Be Your Own Family"
"Be brave"
"Try new things"
 

The Tiny Chef

The Tiny Chef: and da mishing weshipee blook - Rachel Larsen

I don't know what led me to pick up this book but it's cute. Tiny chef lives in the bottom of a tree stump and I loved the inside of his house. His pans are made out of bottle caps and it looks-like thimbles and his chairs are spools of thread. The house is quite quaint and homey but right now, it's a mess! Because it's the first day of fall, Tiny chef is getting ready to prepare a special dish to eat and right now, he can't find the recipe book that has the recipe in it. Tiny Chef is looking everywhere! He's getting quite upset as he needs that book, it has all his favorite recipes. Realizing that he's not getting anywhere in his searching, he decides that he needs to do something else for a minute and that's when, Tiny Chef makes a big discovery.

I enjoyed following Tiny Chef through this process and the ending made me laugh, as I think we all can relate to Tiny Chef and what Tiny Chef learned. The illustrations were enjoyable and entertaining and weren't too busy. I normally don't care for these types of illustrated books but I liked how the illustrations were faded out in the back as I thought they helped to concentrate the story more and provided just enough detail. A great read and highly recommended.

Lights on Wonder Rock

Lights on Wonder Rock - David Litchfield
This book was dreamy. As a young girl. she had dreams of going into outer space, so she sat on Wonder Rock with her flashlight, staring into the dark sky. If only, the aliens would see her flashlight and take her back to their home. Off and On. Off and On. Off and On, she clicked her flashlight. Then, it happened! A bright light lit up the sky and Heather face beamed. The alien was friendly and Heather was so happy! Yet, while inside the alien's spaceship, Heather discovered that perhaps living in outer space with the aliens, wouldn't be so great. She has waited so long for this chance but now, Heather is having second thoughts.

The illustrations in this book are terrific. I love how they were broken up into different sizes and the detail is fantastic. This is a larger size book which works perfectly for some of the illustrations. This book is a gem! Check out this book as I highly recommend it. I think many of us have dreamed of visiting the aliens in outer space. 

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy - Oliver Jeffers

What a cute book! It was an accident really, the way this all started. Henry wasn't paying attention when he took his first bite, it was one single word out of a book. Henry enjoyed it so much that he continued eating words until eventually, he was eating whole books! Henry got so good at eating books that instead of taking the books apart, Henry was swallowing the books whole! This part made me smile as I thought Henry must be related to the, "I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a ...." as Henry was beginning to swallow some pretty big books!

This new talent that Henry had discovered was also beneficial for him too. He discovered a reward for all this eating and this is where he should have had some self-control! Henry should have enjoyed his new life and it's perks but nope, Henry had to shoot for the stars.

Another great story by Oliver Jeffers! 

LIttle Elliott, Fall Friends

Little Elliott, Fall Friends - Mike Curato

I'm in love with this little elephant and his mouse friend. This story is simple but their friendship warms my heart. Little Elliott and Mouse love living in the city but sometimes it gets to be too much, so the decide they need to get away. The two jump on a bus and head to the country where they can enjoy everything the country has to offer.

I liked how the two friends realized that they needed to get away and they chose somewhere, where they could just relax and enjoy themselves and each other. I loved how everyone accepted the two friends in the country and how the two friends fit right into the countryside. The illustrations were wonderful and bright and captured the energy of the book. 4.5 stars

Merry Christmas, Little Elliott

Merry Christmas, Little Elliot - Illustrator) Mike Curato (Author
So where do you find the Christmas Spirit? Where can someone discover that good feeling you get about Christmas? This is the question that Little Elliott must answer as he searches with his friend Mouse, after their visit with Santa didn't produce the results that he wanted.

As the two friends try different seasonal activities, Little Elliott struggles to find his Christmas Spirit and he begins to lose hope. When a misplaced envelope finds its way to Little Elliott, he takes it upon himself to deliver the envelope to the right person. This action is the beginning of their adventure as Little Elliott discovers what he was missing. This is a cute story with beautiful, colorful illustrations.

Dinosaur Countdown

Dinosaur Countdown - Nicholas Oldland
I liked how straight-forward this book was. It wasn't busy, filled with unnecessary things or words, it stated the facts and that was it. This book counts down from ten to one and then on the final page, the author reminds us that, yes dinosaurs are extinct.

Each number is given a two-page spread and on those two pages you get a specific dinosaur, the number (1-10) and you get the number written our in words and you an adjective for that dinosaur . So, for 9: it reads 9 nine lazing deinosuchus and includes 9 of them on the page in their various shades of color. What? I don't know what a deinosuchus is? But, I bet a few children do. There were included in this book, dinosaurs that I knew too. Now, I like dinosaurs but some of these dinosaurs have names that I haven't heard before. At the back of the book, the author has included how to pronounce some of the dinosaur names, which does help.

It was an okay book but I think the pronunciations would have helped me more, if they were on the page with the dinosaur. I also didn't care for the illustrations as they didn't match the language of the book. I did like the added adjectives in the book and again, the simplicity of the book , I enjoyed. 3.5 stars