Picture Book Review: The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Hunter (Illustrator)

Picture Book Review: The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Hunter (Illustrator)The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Hunter
Published by Flying Eye Books on February 14th 2017
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 32
Goodreads
five-stars

Ever wondered about the mysterious place we all visit when we fall asleep? Robert Louis Stevenson's classic children's poem about dreamland is given new life in this wonderfully illustrated book. Accompanied by Robert Hunter's bold and beautiful illustrations, this picture book will bring the beloved Scottish author's work to a whole new generation of young readers.
Robert Frank Hunter is a London-based illustrator. Working on a range of projects in both print and moving image, he is keen to keep applying his work to new disciplines.

When you open the gorgeous and colorfully illustrated The Land of Nod, you are instantly captivated. These beautiful images provide a dream-like landscape to accompany the words of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “The Land of Nod”. Every single page is full of details and whimsical drawings reminiscent of the “feeling” of a dream. Which is sure to draw readers deep into the story. Because of the lovely hues of blue and pink Mr. Hunter uses in his illustration, he is able to create a “twilight-type” mood and truly bring the poem to life.

 

It is clear from the illustrations and the words of the poem that the little boy is feeling isolated from the outside world. However, in his dreams, he can go on all kinds of adventures and see all sorts of different things. This would be an excellent choice for a bedtime story, or for inspiring young poets. As well as a book to read to little ones when they are sick and have to stay in bed. I highly recommend The Land of Nod to dreamers of all ages.

 

 

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.”

 

*Thank you to Flying Eye Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.  

five-stars

Children’s Book Review: The Fox Who Ate Books by Franziska Biermann

Children’s Book Review: The Fox Who Ate Books by Franziska BiermannThe Fox Who Ate Books by Franziska Biermann
Published by Annick Press on October 11th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 56
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Meet Mr. Fox, who loves books so much that every time he finishes one, he eats it (with a little salt and pepper, of course)! His insatiable appetite drives him to seek more and more books, until one day, he discovers the local library, where he can “devour” books to his heart’s content. Eventually, the librarian catches him “sampling” from the collection and bans him from the library.Down on his luck, the crafty Mr. Fox must find other ways to satisfy his cravings. His attempt to rob the local bookstore, however, ends badly. Arrested for stealing, Mr. Fox lands in jail, where he discovers a surprising way to satisfy his literary cravings (and become rich and famous).With its deft combination of humor and whimsy, and bright, edgy artwork, The Fox Who Ate Books is a tongue-in-cheek approach to promote a love of books and reading. The ever-inventive, wily Mr. Fox is the perfect anti-hero whose antics are guaranteed to make young readers laugh, while the play on words will delight older children.

Fox is a book lover, but he also has an insatiable appetite for eating books. The bookworm in all of us can understand what Mr. Fox is going through, and even commiserate with him. However, I think the book lover in us would be appalled with Mr. Fox for gobbling up the books and causing them physical harm.

Mr. Fox’s appetite is so ravenous that he ends up selling everything he owns to buy more books to read and eat. Once he runs out of books and money, he turns to the library and eventually the corner bookstore to subdue his hunger. Unfortunately, he does not consider the consequences of his actions at each location and ends up in quite a bit of trouble. Luckily, reading and eating all those books might have given Mr. Fox the fuel he needs to write his way out of the trouble he ends up in.

Overall I enjoyed the story. I love Mr. Fox even though he is a bit of a rascal. Mr. Fox loves everything about books, from their smell to the feel of the pages, and I can totally relate to that sentiment. I’m pretty sure most young readers will enjoy cheering for Mr. Fox to find more books to eat, and for him to cause additional mischief. The author did not shy away from using bigger and harder vocabulary words, which I approve of. This is important as it can lead to a great teaching moment for younger and older readers alike. The illustrations though vivid and bright left were not aesthetically pleasing.

Although the end resolution wasn’t handled in a way I find appropriate for younger readers, I do believe there is plenty of positive messages in this book. There are many themes that can develop into great conversations with young readers. Such as the proper care of books, following library rules and all the places where books can be found. Another great message is to consider the consequences of your actions and the importance of not being greedy. Younger readers might even be inspired to write up their own stories, just like Mr. Fox does. Whether you read it to a group or by yourself, there is plenty of humor to be found in the story.

three-half-stars

Chidren’s Picture Book Review: Marcel by Eda Akaltun

Chidren’s Picture Book Review: Marcel by Eda AkaltunMarcel by Eda Akaltun
Published by Flying Eye Books on September 20th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 40
Goodreads
four-stars

Marcel is a New Yorker through and through--he and his human know the best spots, especially downtown. But when a new human suddenly enters their lives, they're spending all their time uptown! Everything is changing and it looks like this new human isn't going anywhere. Why couldn't everything stay as it was? Why did things have to change?
Eda Akaltun is a New York–based illustrator and printmaker from Istanbul. Prior to her work with Flying Eye, her illustrations can be found in the Nobrow magazine, of which she is a founding contributor.

Marcel is a cute little french bulldog who lives in New York City with his “human” owner. Together they have fun adventures exploring the city and going to all his favorite places. Soon a new “human” comes into their lives and starts to take time away from Marcel and his “human”.  This new human even dares to take Marcel’s favorite spot on the couch. Now they spend all their time uptown where Marcel feels cramped by all the people and not enough places that cater to Marcel’s needs. Eventually Marcel starts to see that the new human isn’t too bad after all and they form a bond.

Marcel is adorable and will win over every reader’s heart. The version I received was an early ARC from the publisher so they illustrations weren’t in color, but if they turn out anything like the cover it will be stunning. Even without the color, there was movement in the art and I liked how you got the “feel” of the hustle and bustle of NYC. I also appreciated that they gave you a little taste of what street life is like in different parts of the city. I also loved the hint of a potential second book at the end of the book too. Though this is a story about a puppy and his growing family, I think the idea/concept of the story could and will work to help explain to readers why their family dynamic might be growing or changing.

The story is simple, but really sweet and could be very helpful in explaining many scenarios be it a new baby/sibling, new parent/partner or even a new pet joining an already established family. With growth comes change and though not all things will have to be different, some things will need to change and to evolve. I think the author captures this idea in a fun, entertaining and non threatening or scary way. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys beautiful picture books, silly and adorable puppies, or who will be expanding their family dynamic and need an aide to help breach such a sensitive topic.

Thank you Tucker at Nobrow and Flying Eye Books for providing me with a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

Children’s Picture Book Review: Too Many Moose! by Lisa Bakos

Children’s Picture Book Review: Too Many Moose! by Lisa BakosToo Many Moose by Lisa Bakos, Mark Chambers
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on July 5th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book, Humor
Pages: 40
Goodreads
five-stars

Everyone Needs At Least One More MooseWhen Martha decided she must have a pet,she marveled and mulled over what she should get.But much of the choices made Martha quite glum…instead of magnificent, most were humdrum.And just as it seemed like it might be no use…she made up her mind that she must have one...moose!
When Martha gets an unusual pet, she's delighted by all of the fun things they do together. If one moose is this marvelous, then more moose must be even better! Pretty soon, Martha has more moose than she can handle in this playful pet story.

A moose is an interesting choice for a pet, especially one you can order through the mail. This was a cheerful and memorable story about a little girl and her “ultimate” pet. I love how Martha does her research about which pet she should get before making her final decision. Martha and her moose go to the movies, get manicures, drink tea and swing in the garden.

moose1Martha is having so much fun with one moose, that she decides it would be even more fun with a few more. They go swimming in the pool, bake muffins, make spaghetti and even mambo by the moonlight, but soon there are far too many moose and Martha’s house gets dirty, messy and far too crowded. Martha starts to think that maybe there is such a thing as too many moose after all. The rhyming and alliterations make this book come to life and enjoyable to read. The illustrations are delightful, funny and full of bright colors. It made me giggle and I am sure I won’t be the only grown-up who reads this story to do so.

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I highly recommend this silly and amusing “read out loud” book for story time, a group read or bedtime. It is sure to bring lots of cheer to all little readers out there.

Special thanks to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, and Lisa Bakos for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

five-stars

Blog Tour and Childrens’ Graphic Novel Review: The Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

Published by First Second Books, Macmillan Genres: Animals, Children's Picture Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
five-stars

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Hippopotamister RGBTitle: Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

  • Edition: Hardcover, 96 pages
  • Published: May 10, 2016 by First Second
  • Characters: Hippo, Red Panda
  • Rating: 5 Stars
  • Goodreads and AmazonMacmillian

Synopsis

The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run-down and falling apart. Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

About the Author

John Patrick Green grew up on Long Island and has worked in New York City since graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a degree in graphic design. He was the comics consultant for Disney Adventures magazine, where he wrote and often drew the popular Last Laugh feature. John is the co-creator and illustrator of the graphic novel series Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden and Teen Boat!, both with writer Dave Roman. He has also worked as a writer, illustrator, or designer on comics and graphic novels for Nickelodeon Magazine, DreamWorks, Scholastic Graphix, and DC Comics. John lives in Brooklyn with zero cats and way too many LEGOs.

Review

Hippopotamister is a charming story about two animal friends, Hippo and Red Panda. Hippo finds himself tired of his surroundings and without purpose in a zoo that is falling apart and has no visitors. Red Panda is also done with living at the zoo and convinces Hippo that he could find both of them jobs in the “outside” world. As the story proceeds, we see a series of different types of jobs that they both try to do. Hippopotamister has lots of silly parts especially with how poorly the Red Panda does at the different jobs which is sure to make even the oldest of readers giggle. Hippo seems to have a natural gift for doing a great job at just about anything he tries, but nothing seems to quite fit (plus Red Panda keeps getting them fired due to his poor work). Young readers are sure to delight in the silliness of this book but there are good lessons and morals cleverly sneaked into this story by its talented author John Patrick Green.

The pacing of the story is just right, and though 96 pages might seem like a lot but they actually fly by. The story is so engaging that there should be no issue with getting through it in one sitting. The artwork though seemingly simple is bold, detailed and colorful. I can see why the illustrations would greatly appeal to lots of readers. I loved that when you reach the end of the story Hippo does find a purpose for himself that also helps his friends at the zoo. He even finds something for Red Panda to do and that fits him perfectly. The drawing lesson at the end of the book will engage young readers to draw their own Hippo and Red Panda and to follow their own creative whim as to what adventures the Hippo and Red Panda could have next.

Hippopotamister is a fantastic and sweet story about friendship, never giving up, the importance of how everything we learn could one day be useful to us and so much more. Filled with hilarious shenanigans and a creative outlet for readers of all ages, Hippopotamister is sure to be a hit. I highly recommend it. 

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**A special thank you to Nori from Read Write Love 28 and Gina from First Second Books /Macmillan for the opportunity to read this adorable book. 

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour!

May 10, 2016: Perusing Pages
May 11, 2016: Pages Unbound
May 12, 2016: Melanie Hays
May 13, 2016: Midwestern Book Nerd
May 14, 2016: Charmingly Simple
May 15, 2016: 
Novel Cravings
May 16, 2016: Bookish Babes
May 17, 2016: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
May 18, 2016: Book Stacks Amber
May 19, 2016: Lyseofllyr
May 20, 2016: M & Em Read
May 21, 2016: Trisha Jenn Reads
May 22, 2016: Twirling Book Princess
May 23, 2016: The Whimsical Mama
May 25, 2016: The Vivacious Hobo
May 26, 2016: Fangirl Confessions
May 27, 2016: The Plot Bunny
May 28, 2016: Reading With Cupcakes
May 29, 2016: Hermit Librarian
May 30, 2016: The Kindred Reader
May 31, 2016: Polished Page Turners

*I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

five-stars