Ronyell (a.k.a Rabbitearsblog)

Ronyell (a.k.a Rabbitearsblog)

Hey everyone!!! I'm Ronyell aka Rabbitearsblog and I just recently joined this site because I love to read so much!!! I can't wait to chat about various books with other people!

 

 

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Here's a photo of all the books I'll try to read in June!
Here's a photo of all the books I'll try to read in June!

Hello everyone! I'm going to participate in a new book meme that is hosted by me, Rabbit Ears Book Blog called "Book Photo Sundays" where you get to post up various book photos you have taken.  The photos can come from your Instagram account or from any other account you have where you keep photos of your books at.  I will post up a new book photo every Sunday and you are free to link up your book photos to the link up on the page. To participate in this week's Book Photo Sundays, go to the link here:

 

http://rabbitearsbookblog.blogspot.com/2017/06/book-photo-sundays-34-june-18-2017.html

 

Review
5 Stars
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess  - Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
4.5 Stars
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm - LeVar Burton, Susan Schaefer Bernardo, Courtenay Fletcher

Genre:  Drama / Weather / Inspirational / Children's / Folktale


Year Published: 2014


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Reading Rainbow

 

 

Rhino


I have been a huge fan of “Reading Rainbow” ever since I was a child and I have always enjoyed reading the books that were either featured or suggested on the TV series. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that LeVar Burton, the longtime host of “Reading Rainbow” was going to write a children’s book called “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm,” along with co-writing with Susan Schaefer Bernardo and artwork by Courtenay Fletcher. This book will surely inspire many children to get through hard times themselves!

The story starts off with Mica Mouse sitting with her father during a storm and she became worried about the storm due to a hurricane coming in and destroying her home over a year ago. Mica’s father then went to comfort her by reading her a story about a rhino who also went through some hard times.

In the story, the rhino was living peacefully in his home when all of a sudden, a strong storm came through the valley and started destroying everything that the rhino cared about. The rhino was so upset by all the destruction that it ended up swallowing the storm. After the rhino swallowed the storm, the storm started causing so much disturbance within the rhino and the rhino was at a lost at what to do. The spider then comes by and tells the rhino this verse:

“The world up above is shattered and gray,
But it’s where you belong, so you must find a way
To let that storm out and move through your sorrow.
You’ll find many helpers on your road to tomorrow.”


So, the rhino decided to go on a quest to get rid of the storm that is boiling inside of him.

Will the rhino be successful on his quest?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I was quite impressed with this inspiring children’s book that was written by none other than LeVar Burton of “Reading Rainbow” fame! LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo did a great job at writing this story as I found this story to be quite inspirational, especially for children who have to deal with the harshness of the real world and need to find a way to go through life in such a negative world. I actually found myself relating to both Mica Mouse and the rhinoceros in the story as I sometimes found myself wondering about how I can deal with all the wars, deaths and prejudice going on in this world and I like the fact that this book tries to encourage children to get through tough times by inspiring them to remain positive and be aware of all the friends and families they have that will help them through tough times. Courtenay Fletcher’s artwork is highly creative and cute to look at as I enjoyed the images of both the rhinoceros and Mica Mouse as the artwork for Mica Mouse and her father are in smooth watercolors while the artwork for the rhinoceros is in cut out figures to help the readers distinguished between the two stories.

Rhino

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that this story was a bit too lengthy in trying to get its message across and I wished that they would have trimmed out a few verses that the animals were trying to tell the Rhino in order to get to the meat of the story much faster.

Overall, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” is a great inspirational book for children who are also going through hard times and want a good book that can inspire them to remain positive in such a harsh world. I would recommend this book to children age five and up since the length and complexity of this book might be difficult for some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
5 Stars
Choo Choo by Virginia Lee Burton
Choo Choo - Virginia Lee Burton

Genre:  Trains / Adventure / Classic / Drama


Year Published: 1937


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Company

 

 

Choo

I have read at least two books from Virginia Lee Burton when I was younger and they were “The Little House” and “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” and I had enjoyed both books immensely! So, I then picked up another book by Virginia Lee Burton called “Choo Choo” which was quite a unique read and is one that I would definitely recommend for children!

The story is about a beautiful little locomotive named Choo Choo who would pull trains from the city to the country and back again every day. She was always accompanied by three workers who were named Jim the Engineer, Oley the Fireman and Archibald the Conductor who would all come together to take care of Choo Choo. One day however, Choo Choo was getting tired of pulling trains in between the cities and the country and she decided to run away from the station and show everyone in town how beautiful she really is!

What sort of adventures will Choo Choo get herself into?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I never would have thought that I would enjoy this book so much! Just like Virginia Lee Burton’s other works, this book has a classic and old fashioned feel as we get to see how trains look like during the 1930s. I also loved the fact that this story has a different twist to the usual children’s story about trains, as it details the story about a young train running away from its owners, which I rarely read about in previous books about trains. Virginia Lee Burton does a great job at making this book both cute and exciting at the same time as I loved the fact that Choo Choo’s owners really do care about what happened to Choo Choo when she goes missing as it brings in a heartwarming element to the story. I was also sitting on the edge of my seat as I wondered if Choo Choo was ever going to make it back home safely and I liked the way that Virginia Lee Burton detailed the dangers of running away from home as Choo Choo gets into all kinds of danger on her travels and it would help teach kids about the dangers of running away from home by themselves. Virginia Lee Burton’s artwork is quite unique in this book as most of the images are in black and white colorings, giving this book an old fashioned and bold feel and I also enjoyed seeing the images of Choo Choo herself as she is drawn as a cute looking locomotive, which strongly reminds me of the image from “The Little Engine that Could!”

Choo

The only real issue with this book is that there is one image in this book where Choo Choo ends up going through a scary looking forest that might frighten smaller children. The trees are drawn in a much eerier manner compared to the rest of the images and parents might want to go through the images in this scene first to see if their children can handle such scary imagery.

Overall, “Choo Choo” is a truly cute book that children who enjoy reading about trains will definitely get a kick out of! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the image of the scary forest might scare some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
3.5 Stars
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
The Love That Split the World - Emily Henry

Genre: Science Fiction Romance


Year Published: 2016


Number of Pages: 390 pages


Date Read: 4/23/2017   



Publisher:  Razor Bill

 

 

Love


“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”


I must admit that I rarely read romance novels that deal with time traveling since time traveling stories tend to confuse me due to trying to figure out what events are going on in the present versus what events are going on in the future and sometimes, the line between past, present and future can be blurred in certain stories. One such novel that I had read called “The Love That Split the World” by Emily Henry actually dealt with time travel and I have to tell you that it was one doozy of a read!

Natalie Cleary was your average high school student who is friends with her ex-boyfriend Matt Kincaid and Megan and lives in a happily adopted family with her siblings Jack and Coco and life was going well for Natalie. One night however, Natalie meets up with a mysterious boy named Beau at her high school football game and the two instantly fell in love with each other. But then, Natalie starts noticing some weird things going on around her small town in Kentucky, such as a preschool suddenly appearing where the garden store should have been and when the people in town suddenly disappear before her very eyes. It was then that a mysterious old woman called “Grandmother” came to Natalie’s dreams and gave her a warning that she has three months to save someone she really cares about. So, Natalie spends the majority of the book trying to find out who she is going to save while spending some time with Beau and trying to figure out these weird events happening around her town.

I have to admit that for a time traveling story, Emily Henry has definitely done a great job at putting a unique spin to the usual time traveling story as its core focus is the romance between Natalie and Beau and how they try to stay together throughout the different time rifts that goes on throughout their worlds. I also enjoyed the relationships between the characters, especially between Megan and Natalie and Natalie and Beau. I loved the fact that Natalie usually confides in Megan about her various visions that she has and how Megan is so understanding about Natalie’s “odd” dreams and visions as it is nice to have another character who knows about the main character’s secret abilities without having the reader go through the entire book wondering if the main character will ever reveal their secrets to anyone else. I also enjoyed the relationship between Natalie and Beau, although I found it a bit too contrived at times that Natalie suddenly thinks that Beau is her true love upon their first meeting. I loved the fact that Natalie and Beau truly love each other and I really like their cute little bantering with each other, despite the turbulent situation that they are stuck in.

The reason why I gave this book a three-and-a-half-star rating is because while the story had a strong start at the beginning, the story got a bit confusing once the time travel elements got introduced and I started to lose a bit of interest in the story due to being constantly confused about what is really going on with Natalie and Beau’s time traveling shenanigans. I also got a bit annoyed with Natalie throughout certain parts of the story as it seems like all she does is whine and complain about how bad her life is and how she is indecisive about her feelings about Matt when it is obvious that she would rather be with Beau in pursuing her relationship. Also, there were times where the pacing was a bit slow, especially during the scenes where the time traveling aspects were being explained in full detail and I was hoping for these scenes to be shorten so that we could get to the action sequences much faster.

Overall, “The Love that Split the World” may had had a strong start, but the story came apart once the time traveling aspect was introduced and it might be difficult for some fans of time traveling stories to get into. However, it is an interesting read for anyone who is a fan of time traveling romances!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
5 Stars
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle

Genre:  Animals / Colors / Children's / School


Year Published: 1967


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Company

Series: Bill Martin's Bears #1

 

 

Bear

I have been an avid fan of Eric Carle’s works, especially of his well-known children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and one of the books that Eric Carle had worked on that I did not get the chance to read when I was little was “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” which was also written by Bill Martin Jr. All in all, this was one children’s book that children should definitely check out!

Since this story is extremely short, the summary will be brief.
Basically, the plot of this book is about the reader seeing various animals comment on what other beings they are looking at that precise moment, while each animal states a variation of this quote:

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.

Red Bird, Red Bird,
What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me.”

Wow! I cannot believe that I waited this long to finally pick up this popular children’s book and it was definitely worth reading in the end! I loved the simplistic style that Bill Martin Jr. brought to this book as the plot is basically having readers see various animals in different colors popping up in the book and commenting on other animals they have seen. I loved the fact that each animal is a different color such as having a blue horse and a purple cat as it brings a unique spin to the storytelling of this book and I was quietly anticipating seeing what kind of animals we will see pop up in this book. Eric Carle’s artwork is as always, a delight to look at as all the characters are rendered in paper cut outs which gives the book a creative look and I really loved the images of the different animals that show up in this book, such as the purple cat and the blue horse!

Bear

Even though there is nothing wrong with this book, I have to wonder why it was banned in the first place? Well, it turns out that when it was banned, the person who banned the book made a mistake regarding the author of this book, who is Bill Martin Jr. and the person thought that it was the same Bill Martin who wrote the book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.” Now, I have never read any of the “other” Bill Martin’s books, but this was the first instance where a book was mistakenly banned for the wrong reasons and that got me curious yet annoyed.

Overall, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” is a truly cute book for children who want to have fun with identifying animals and colors all wrapped up into one book! I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Love You Forever - Robert Munsch, Sheila McGraw

Genre:  Family / Growth / Life / Childhood / Love


Year Published: 1986


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Firefly Books

 

 

 

Forever

I have another bookish confession to make: Even though I have been reading many of Robert Munsch’s books when I was little, I had never once read his most highly acclaimed book “Love You Forever” and I am still kicking myself in the rear for not reading this book sooner! “Love You Forever” is a heartwarming story written by Robert Munsch along with artwork by Sheila McGraw that is definitely worth checking out!

The story starts off with a mother holding her newborn baby boy in her arms and as she rocking the baby to sleep, she started singing a little song:

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”


We are then treated to the little boy growing up throughout the story as he started out as a troublemaking toddler to a teenager who likes to listen to strange music to a full grown adult man who eventually moved out of his mother’s house. One day however, the boy’s mother had gotten ill and…

What will the son do about this predicament and what will happen to the mother?

Read this book to find out!


Oh my gosh! How in the world could I not have read this book when I was little? I mean, I had read many of Robert Munsch’s other books including “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Stephanie’s Ponytail,” but this one seems to have fallen off the radar for me! Robert Munsch did a fantastic job at writing this story as we get to see how a mother witnesses the growth of her son throughout the story and how she still loves her son no matter how different her son becomes through looks and personalities. What made this book extremely unique in my eyes is how we get to see the positive and negative aspects of parenthood as while the boy occasionally got on his mother’s nerves whenever he got into trouble, we also see that the mother still loves her son no matter what the boy does and this aspect of the story made this book a truly heartwarming experience for me. I also loved the message of this book as it proves the importance of love by showing that the mother has always cared about her son no matter how much older she got and I think that children should read books that deals with the true meaning of family and shows that your family will always care about you through thick and thin. Sheila McGraw’s artwork is simply beautiful to look at as all the characters look realistic and I loved the images of both the mother and the little boy growing older with each progressive page. Probably my most favorite image in this book is of the son as a toddler sitting on the bathroom floor with toilet paper littering the floor and the boy holding a watch over the toilet!

[****SPOILER ALERT!!!!****

There is an infamous scene in this book where the mother ends up sneaking into her son’s house, who is at this point a full grown adult living on his own and this scene might be a bit unsettling for some readers to handle. Now, I can understand how this scene would be upsetting to some readers as the idea of a grown woman sneaking inside her adult son’s house without him knowing about it would cause a lot of uncomfortable mental images such as what if the old woman was actually a burglar in disguised and the son had no way of knowing this because he was asleep the whole time? For me personally, I was not really upset by this scene as I thought that it was an exaggerated show of affection that the mother shows her adult son and because these are fictional characters, I did not really take this scene that seriously. Now, if the mother sneaked into an unknown child’s bedroom late at night or someone got hurt in this scene, then I would have felt a bit differently about this scene.

****SPOILER ENDED!!!**** (hide spoiler)]


Forever

Overall, “Love You Forever” is a truly memorable and heartwarming book that children who wants to read books that shows the importance of love and family, will immediately enjoy! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
5 Stars
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
The Adventures of Captain Underpants - Dav Pilkey

Genre:  Superheroes / Humor / School 


Year Published: 1997

 


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  The Blue Sky Press

 

Series: Captain Underpants #1    

 

 

Underpants

Here comes that valiant hero, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS! “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is a popular children’s book from the creative mind of Dav Pilkey and it is about the hilarious adventures of George and Harold as they try to trick their strict principal Mr. Krupp, but their trick ends up backfiring on them! “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is absolutely one of the funniest books ever created!!!

“Tra-la-laaa!”

Man, I am going to be saying that throughout this review! Dav Pilkey has done a great job with both the illustrations and writing this book as they make this book full of pure hilarity and adventure! I love the way that Dav Pilkey writes this book in a sarcastic and humorous way as George and Harold are shown to be the greatest practical jokers in the history of all practical jokers as they are constantly pulling pranks on the school and somehow succeeding in their jokes. I really enjoyed the sarcastic humor in this book as it is smart and witty and it strongly reminded me of the humor in “The Stinky Cheeseman” as it plays a satire on the world of superheroes, except this time there is a superhero that runs around the city in his underwear! One of the most impressive characters in this book is Captain Underpants himself as he saves the world but saves it in his underwear! Captain Underpants sort of remind me of Quailman from the Nickelodeon show “Doug” as both characters saves the word in their underwear.

Quailman

Dav Pilkey’s illustrations are truly hilarious and childish in this book as George and Harold always have mischievous looks on their faces. George is drawn as a child with a tie and a black flat top hair and Harold is drawn to have puffy hair, which makes the two characters look hilarious to children. The illustration that stood out the most for me was the illustration of Captain Underpants himself as he has a bald head and is shown wearing a red cape and is mostly shown in his underwear! Also, I like to point out that the illustrations are in black and white; however Dav Pilkey’s illustrations are so hilarious and childish that many children will overlook the black and white coloring.

Parents should know that this book was banned in many schools because it was considered insensitive and encourages children to disobey authority (I did not really understand the insensitivity part, but I did understand the part about disobeying authority). The main thing that parents should be concerned about is the crude humor in this book such as Harold and George using a fake doggy doo-doo to trick a villain and the cheerleaders being described as having mucus running down their noses after they were exposed to the pepper in their pom-poms and parents who do not approve of crude humor might want to wait until their children get older to enjoy this book. As for the banning, I honestly do not believe in banning books and I thought that this was an enjoyable book for children of all ages, but it was not meant to be an educational book. I think that if the content in this book is really offensive for educational classes, then teachers could use this book as a special treat for children to read if children did some good deeds or did their schoolwork, sort of like a reward for their efforts.

“The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is truly a book that children of all ages can enjoy as it has great humor and spectacular characters and I think this book will be wonderful for children who love reading about superheroes and great humor! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the crude humor might be a bit too inappropriate for smaller children.

“Tra-la-laa! Captain Underpants away!”

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
4.5 Stars
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Amelia Bedelia - Peggy Parish, Fritz Siebel

Genre:  Humor / Housework / Maids / Jobs


Year Published: 1963


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Greenwillow Books

Series: Amelia Bedelia #1

 

 

Amelia


I have a confession to make: even though I had read the “Amelia Bedelia” books when I was little, I had never read the very first book in the “Amelia Bedelia” series, which has surprised me since I thought that that would be the first thing that I would have read (but, I was a kid back then and I just read whatever was put in front of me). So, I finally got the chance to read the very first book “Amelia Bedelia” by Peggy Parish along with artwork by Fritz Siebel and I was pleasantly surprised by this introductory book into the popular “Amelia Bedelia” series!

The story starts off with Amelia Bedelia starting her first day of work at the household of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers and Mrs. Rogers left Amelia Bedelia a list of things she must do around the house while the Rogers are out. Before Amelia Bedelia went to work, she decided to make a lemon meringue pie for the Rogers once they get home and after she finished making the pie, she started going through the chores she has to do around the house. The first task that Amelia had to do is:

“Change the towels in the green bathroom.”

Sounds simple enough, except that Amelia thought that Mrs. Rogers had meant changing the designs of the towels and Amelia ended up cutting the towels into odd shapes. Next, Mrs. Rogers asked Amelia to:

“Dust the furniture.”

Instead, Amelia Bedelia took some dusting powder from the bathroom and dusted the furniture with it.

How much more damage will Amelia Bedelia cause in the Rogers’ household?

Read this book to find out!


I cannot believe that I waited until just recently to actually check out the very first book that jumpstarted the fantastic “Amelia Bedelia” series! I was quite impressed with how simple yet hilarious this story was and it is clear to see why the “Amelia Bedelia” series remained to be well -loved by children all over the world! Peggy Parish did a great job at writing Amelia Bedelia’s character as Amelia Bedelia remains to be a charming and likable character who usually takes things extremely literally and the fun in the story is seeing Amelia Bedelia do bizarre things with the chores she has to do around the house, such as a simple task of putting out the lights turn into Amelia Bedelia literally putting the lights outside to dry out in the sun. Fritz Siebel’s artwork is simplistic, yet cute at the same time as Amelia Bedelia is always drawn with an innocent look on her face and is always wearing a black dress with a white apron in front, signifying her status as a maid. I also loved the way that Fritz Siebel illustrated Amelia’s escapades in the Roger household, especially the scene where Amelia is dressing up the chicken as they were hilarious to look at. I also like the fact that the colorings are mainly in green and white colors as it makes it truly stand out from other children’s books that usually have black and white colorings in the artwork.

Amelia

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was that I felt that the pacing was a bit slow in some places and I sort of wish that they trimmed down the activities that Amelia Bedelia has done around the house just so the pacing would be faster.

Overall, “Amelia Bedelia” is a must read if you want to read about how Amelia Bedelia’s adventures began and if you are a huge fan of the “Amelia Bedelia” book series! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
4 Stars
Shrek! by William Steig
Shrek! - William Steig

Genre:  Monsters / Manners / Fantasy / Romance


Year Published: 1990


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  Farrar Straus Giroux

 

 

Shrek

“Shrek!” is another memorable classic book from the great mind of William Steig and it is about how Shrek, a repulsive ogre, tries to find the princess to marry after he leaves his parents’ home. “Shrek!” is a great book for children who love reading books about monsters.

William Steig has done a great job at both illustrating and writing this modern day fairy tale that is full of attitude. William Steig’s illustrations are truly beautiful and hilarious especially of the images of Shrek himself as he has a green and warty face, a purple shirt and yellow and green striped pants, which make him, look more hilarious than menacing. I also love the images of the trees in this book as they look simplistic yet beautiful, giving this book a somewhat simplistic tone. William Steig makes this story extremely hilarious and full of attitude as Shrek is a character who loves being repulsive and scaring off innocent bystanders, but at the same time, he gives a powerful message to the audience about loving yourself as Shrek loves his own repulsiveness, even if other people do not like his repulsiveness. William Steig makes this book extremely unique as it was one of the few books to have a repulsive character as the main character of the story.

Shrek

Parents should know that this book does contain the word jack--- and that might offend many parents who do not want their children learning such a word. Even though jack--- is used to describe a donkey in this book, the way that the “a” word is being used now might confuse smaller children and might even entice them to say the word so often. Also, another con of this book is that, in my opinion, it was not as memorable as the movie which is why I gave it a four star rating. Shrek seem more repulsive in this book than he was in the movie and that aspect of his character sort of made him a less likable character in the book, while in the movie, Shrek was a more benevolent ogre who was upset at the way that people treated him and that made him a very likable character in the movie. Also, I felt like the character development was not as strong in this book as it was in the movie and the audience might not feel any kind of bond towards the characters in this book.

“Shrek!” is a great book for children about the importance of being yourself no matter what other people think, but the movie might be a better choice about learning this message since the movie developed the characters much better than this book could. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the use of the word jack---.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
4 Stars
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier

Genre: School / Conformity / Controversial


Year Published: 1974


Number of Pages: 272 pages


Date Read: 8/30/2010   



Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf

 

 

 

Series: The Chocolate War #1

 

 

War

When I started reading this book, I was wondering to myself about why this book was banned in so many schools. Now, I know why. “The Chocolate War” is a popular young adult book by Robert Cormier and it is about how a young teenage boy named Jerry Renault refuses to sell chocolates at his school, Trinity and how he faces some hardships from Brother Leon and the Vigils because of his defiance. “The Chocolate War” might be a bit too disturbing and dark from some people, but this book is clearly one of the most memorable banned books ever written!

Oh my goodness! When I first heard about this book, I thought it was simply going to be about a group of kids fighting over who should eat the chocolates. But then, when I got around to reading this book, I realized that this book was all about the cruelties of the world such as manipulating various students into selling chocolates, even if you do not want to sell the chocolates and the consequences if you step out of line from the rest of the student body. Robert Cormier has certainly done an excellent job at making this book extremely disturbing and dark as he cleverly builds up tension around Jerry Renault’s defiance against selling the chocolates at the chocolate sale. The true highlights of this book were the characters themselves as they are realistic in personalities that you would normally see at any high school. Jerry Renault plays the underdog hero in this book as he tries to defend his stance in not selling the chocolates since he believes everyone has the right to do what you think is right and as it happens to every hero, he goes through so much hardship and danger when he defies the rules of Trinity. I find myself liking Jerry so much in this book since he tries hard to defend his rights, even if the other students do not believe in him and I love the idea that people will try to defend themselves when they believe that the activities set for them are not right for them. Some other interesting characters in this book are Archie Costello, the leader of the Vigils and Brother Leon. You will never know a truly terrible villain in any book until you read about what Brother Leon and Archie Costello has done to so many people in this book. Both Brother Leon and Archie Costello are truly frightening characters as they use manipulation and cruelty to get what they want from the school, to the point of using violence to get what they want.

Some people might have a problem with this book as it is extremely dark and disturbing and there is also extreme violence in this book, especially towards of the end of the book and that might not sit too well with people who do not like violence. Another problem that most people might have with this book is the language as this book has strong language and many people might be sensitive about such strong language being used. Probably, the reason why this book is dark and disturbing is because it was told from a villain’s point of view, which is either Archie or Brother Leon and in most books or movies that are told from a villain’s perspective of the world are usually dark and disturbing (well, except for certain movies or books where the villain is a bumbling fool and the story is more like a comedy or dark comedy rather than a horror story, like the cartoon series “Invader Zim” for example, where the story is told from a villain’s point of view, but is still hilarious to watch.

Invader Zim

Now for the reason why “The Chocolate War” was banned in so many schools. “The Chocolate War” was one of the most banned books in history because of its strong profanity, some sexual discussions, extreme violence, and the theme of bribery and manipulation being used in a negative way (that is a lot of reasons, is it not?) However, I did enjoy this book because of the original and exciting plot, even though it felt like the ending was a bit “incomplete” meaning that so much more could have been said about the event that concluded the book. Hopefully, the sequel, “Beyond the Chocolate War,” might conclude this book more properly, so that is definitely one of the books that are worth checking out. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading books from the villain’s point of view and love reading banned books.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
5 Stars
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Good Night, Gorilla - Peggy Rathmann

Genre:  Bedtime / Animals / Zoo / Humor / Children's


Year Published: 1994


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons

 

 

Gorilla

Now, I have a confession to make: I have often seen the book “Good Night, Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann around many times when I was little and yet, I had never bothered to pick up the book despite the adorable looking cover. It was not until years later (way into my adulthood) that I finally got the chance to pick up this book and I have to say that I cannot believe that I waited this long to pick up this charming little picture book!

The story starts off with a zookeeper saying goodnight to a gorilla in his cage and as soon as the zookeeper goes off to say goodnight to the other zoo animals, the gorilla slyly take the keys from the zookeeper’s pockets and unlocks himself out of the cage. As the zookeeper goes around saying goodnight to the other animals, the gorilla quietly follows the zookeeper around, while freeing the other animals, which includes an elephant, a lion, a hyena, a giraffe and an armadillo, from their cages without the zookeeper noticing anything wrong. When the zookeeper finally goes back to his home to get a good night’s rest, the zoo animals ended up following him inside his house and…

Will the zookeeper discover that the animals are out of their cages?

Read this book to find out!


I cannot believe that I waited for years to actually read this book and it was definitely worth the wait! Peggy Rathmann had done an excellent job at writing and illustrating this book as I found this story to be extremely hilarious and cute! I really loved the way that Peggy Rathmann made the zookeeper and the gorilla’s adventures so cute and interesting at the same time as I was smiling the whole time during the scenes where the gorilla used the zookeeper’s keys to free the other animals from their cages. I also thought that it was cute about how the animals followed the zookeeper to his home as it added a unique twist to the usual children’s story about animals and the zoo as we have the animals actually break out of the zoo to follow the zookeeper home. Peggy Rathmann’s artwork was cute and gorgeous to look at as all the zoo animals are adorable looking, especially the small mouse and the armadillo and I also loved the fact that the majority of the story takes place during the night as it gives the artwork a soothing feel. I also loved the way that Peggy Rathmann made the backgrounds so luscious as it gives the artwork a beautiful feel to the story.

Gorilla

Overall, “Good Night, Gorilla” is a truly cute and hilarious story that children who love reading books that take place in the zoo and bedtime stories will definitely enjoy for many years! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
5 Stars
We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy by Maurice Sendak
We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy: Two Nursery Rhymes with Pictures - Maurice Sendak

Genre:  Homelessness / Friendship / Surrealism / Nursery Rhyme


Year Published: 1993


Year Read:  2008

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

 

 

Dumps

“We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy” (whew, long title name!) is a Mother Goose nursery rhyme along with illustrations by Maurice Sendak. This book tells the tale of two guys trying to save a kid and a lot of kittens from a band of shrewd rats. This book may not be a classic like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen,” but it is still full of good humor and excitement!

The nursery rhyme is surreal yet creative to read because the characters themselves are not what you would expect from a normal nursery rhyme. The characters seem to be tough and even cruel to a certain extent but they are also brave and even friendly especially when Jack and Guy seem to hate the kid at the beginning of the book but they risk their lives to save the kid at the end. The moon is the most surreal character of all as it tortures anyone who harms the kittens and the kid such as when the rat bites the kid and the moon ended up carrying Jack and Guy towards the rye field and when Jack tried to hit the kid, the moon transformed into an intimidating looking cat. Maurice Sendak’s illustrations are truly surrealistic yet beautiful as he makes the main characters dress up in old rags and running around the streets with no shoes to wear. The moon’s image is surreal as it has a grumpy looking face throughout the whole book and looks menacing when it transforms into a cat that is white all over and has intense looking eyes.

Dumps

“We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy” may not have the comforting tone as “Where the Wild Things Are” or light humor like “In the Night Kitchen,” but it is certainly a truly unique and creative little book as it is in a nursery rhyme format. Many children ages five and up would greatly enjoy this book as soon as they get pass the violent images and understand the confusing plot.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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Review
4 Stars
Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau
Argyle Fox - Marie Letourneau

Genre:  Childhood / Family / Humor / Animals


Year Published: 2017


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Tanglewood Publishing Inc

 

 

Fox

I would like to thank NetGalley and Tanglewood Publishing Inc. for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It was time that I read more children’s books from NetGalley and I happened to pick up another children’s book from NetGalley called “Argyle Fox” by Marie Letourneau and I actually found this book to be quite cute!

The story starts off with a young fox named Argyle Fox who wanted to go outside and play, but his mother warns him that it is very windy outside and that he might not be able to play the games that he wanted to play. But, Argyle Fox went outside to play with his cards anyway and while Argyle was playing with his cards, the wind blows his cards away and Argyle had to go back home to find something else to play with. Argyle then finds an old spider costume and decided to play as a spider in the trees outside. But the squirrels warned Argyle that it is too windy outside to play as a spider. But Argyle ignored the squirrels’ warnings and continued playing outside, but then the wind comes up and blows at Argyle, which causes him to get tangled in his homemade webs. Argyle then goes back home and tried to find another game to play outside and every time Argyle tries to find a new game to play on this windy day, the wind just keeps on messing up his games. Just as Argyle was going to give up playing games outside, his mother quietly encourages to think of another game to play on a windy day.

What game can Argyle play on a windy day?

Read this book to find out!


I have been reading many children’s books that deal with the main characters (usually children) trying to find a fun game to play whether they are inside or outside and it has been awhile since I had read such as book as this. Marie Letourneau has done a great job at telling a story about a young fox’s determination to play outside, despite it being a windy day and I enjoyed seeing the various games that Argyle tries out on the windy day such as playing as a spider and playing as a pirate. I also like the fact that Argyle never gave up on trying to find the right game to play on the windy day as it shows that he has a lot of determination in trying out various games, no matter how windy the day got. I really loved the fact that Argyle’s mother was supportive of Argyle’s determination in finding the perfect game to play on a windy day as it was great seeing a parent support their child during their time of need and I liked the fact that Argyle’s mother encouraged Argyle to find a different game that would be more suitable to play in the wind. Marie Letourneau’s artwork is adorable and colorful to look at as I loved the images of Argyle Fox doing different activities such as playing as a spider and playing as a pirate and I also loved the images of the wind coming in with the words “WHOOSH” accompanying it as it gives it a huge presence in the story.

Fox

The reason why I gave this story a four-star rating was because even though I found the story to be really cute, I have already read plenty of children’s books where the main character is trying to find a new game to play either outside or inside the house and I just found this story to be a bit repetitive at this point.

Overall, “Argyle Fox” is a truly cute story about encouraging children to find good games to play on a windy day and I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - William Steig

Genre: Family / Drama / Magic / Animals


Year Published: 1969


Year Read:  2008

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

 

 

Pebble

“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is one of William Steig’s earlier books and has proven to be the most emotional and heartwarming of all of his books. Also, this was William Steig’s first controversial book due to the image of the police being portrayed as pigs, even though I do not think that it is an issue because all the characters are animals, but it depends on how you view this issue. Anyway, William Steig’s dramatic storyline and illustrations has won this book a Caldecott Book Award and will surely be a treat to read.

William Steig has done an excellent job at beautifully detailing a young donkey’s attempts to change back to normal after a wish goes awry. Both children and adults will feel for Sylvester’s great sadness at not being able to tell his parents that he is still alive and his parents’ misery as they thought that their darling son was dead. William Steig’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed as he vividly draws the sad and happy emotions on Sylvester’s parents’ faces when they worried about their son, Sylvester. Also, the illustrations of the flowers and the trees and even the snow during the winter scene are memorizing as they provide a calm background the images.

***Small Rant:***

Alright, so everyone who has been browsing through various banned books knows that the reason why this book was banned was because of the image of the policemen being portrayed as pigs. First of all, I have an issue with this book being banned because of that reason. I mean, this is a book about TALKING ANIMALS, so what is wrong with the police being portrayed as pigs in a book about talking animals? Also, the main character is a DONKEY! So, that means that if the characters were switched and the main character was a pig and the policemen were donkeys, would that still be an issue? There were a couple of banned books where I do not agree with the reasons of it being banned (although, I never agree with any book being banned), but this was one of those books where I think the reason for it being banned was COMPLETELY unjustified.

***Rant Ended***

Pebble

Also, the scenes where Sylvester's parents worry about Sylvester's whereabouts might worry smaller children who might worry about whether or not Sylvester will ever transform back into himself again. Parents should reassure their children about the importance of staying safe if they wonder out into an unknown area.

“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is William Steig’s milestone children’s book as it discusses the love that Mr. and Mrs. Duncan have for their child, Sylvester, when he turns up missing and [how the spell of the magic pebble is broken when Mr. and Mrs. Duncan wished for their child’s return. (hide spoiler)] This book will be a cult favorite for both children and adults and is suitable for children ages five and up, even though it discusses the loss of a child.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

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Review
4 Stars
True Paranoid Facts! by Calvin Zeit
True Paranoid Facts! - Henrik Drescher, Calvin Zeit

Genre:  Nonfiction / Humor / War / Politics



Year Published:  1983



Year Read: 3/11/2017

 

 

 

 

Publisher: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

 

Facts

I must admit that I was on a shopping spree on Amazon for books that were obscure and out of print and I happened to stumble upon this really obscure book called “True Paranoid Facts!” “True Paranoid Facts!” is a factual book that was written by Calvin Zeit along with artwork by Henrik Drescher and the only reason I bought this book in the first place was because of Henrik Drescher’s artwork and I actually found this book to be quite an interesting read!

Basically, this book is filled with facts that deal with wars, historical figures and nuclear weapons that were relevant during the 1980s and these facts include:

“You can run, but you can’t hide.”

“Most wars in history have been fought over RELIGION!”

“Valley of the Dolls is the best-selling novel in the history of the world!”

“YOU are your own worst enemy!”

“Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”


Calvin Zeit has done a great job at detailing various facts that were relevant during the 1980s and compiling them into this graphic novel that is more aimed towards adults than anything, especially if you have knowledge about the Cold War paranoia going on during the 1980s. I like the fact that Calvin Zeit provided some source notes at the end of the book that details where he researched the facts in this book as I wanted to know where these facts had stemmed from and how authentic they were during the 1980s. There were also some facts that I found surprising as I did not know about some of these facts until I read this book such as “Valley of the Dolls” being the best-selling novel in the history of the world or that Nancy Reagan is more popular than Mother Teresa. Henrik Drescher’s artwork is as usual humorous and bizarre to look at as the artwork is mostly rendered in black and white colorings and the characters shown in this book are exaggerated beyond comprehension. One of my most favorite images in this book is the image of the food coming after a man as the facts state about how some foods contain dangerous and poisonous chemicals that could kill a human being and the image of the food coming alive really reinforces that fact.

Facts

The reason why I gave this book a four-star rating was because I felt that the information in this book were a bit outdated. Of course, since this was written during the 1980s, this cannot be helped, although it still bothered me a bit when I look at information like “Valley of the Dolls” is the best-selling novel in the world and you look at the current best-selling books and that fact has changed dramatically over the years. Also, just because the cover of this book looks extremely humorous, does not mean that this book is for younger readers. This book contains lots of violence and nudity and that might make some readers uncomfortable if they do not like such elements in a story.

Overall, “True Paranoid Facts!” is an interesting book if you are looking to see what kind of facts about war, nuclear weapons and historical figures were relevant during the 1980s. I would recommend this book to fans of books that deal with the society of the 1980s!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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