Holiday Kids’ Book Reviews

Image result for little fox lostLittle Fox, Lost by Nicole Snitselaar with illustrations by Alicia Padron – although not a holiday themed book, the story is set in the beautiful winter snow. Fox is, of course, lost. A simple story with a simple message. The illustrations make you feel like you are viewing the story through a snow-globe.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague – Interestingly written to show all the “bad” things the Dinosaur is actually not doing. Love that each type of dinosaur is listed somewhere on the page. Image result for how do dinosaurs say merry christmas

Image result for how do dinosaurs say happy chanukahHow Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague – Same format as the Merry Christmas, but for Chanukah instead.

The Itsy Bitsy Snowman by Jeffrey Burton with illustrations by Sanja Rescek – Board Book – Super cute for infants, easy for multiple reads at a time.Image result for the itsy bitsy snowman

 

 

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer – The little critter series was a favorite of mine growing up and I loved the Christmas one, then and now. The illustrations add much for kids to find and laugh about. BTW – there was an announcement that they will be making a movie/show out of the Little Critter series. Image result for merry christmas mom and dad

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Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson with illustrations by Jane Chapman- cute story which follows a very sleepy bear and his forest friends as they make sure Bear stays awake.

Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift by Dora Goldman – Touching story which mixes friendship with Chanukah and Christmas together. Image result for boris and stella and the perfect gift

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How to Catch Santa by Jean Regan with illustrations by Lee Wildish – This book was uber adorable! Loved this story full of giggles.

Image result for over and under the snowOver and Under in the Snow by Kate Messner and art by Christopher Silas Neal – this story feels like Owl Moon as I read it. A quiet story which is nonfiction, but not so much that kids will know they are learning as the story goes.

The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present by Harriet Muncaster – A story about a tiny girl who continues to get presents from Santa that are just too big for her, until the perfect present arrives. Image result for the biggest smallest christmas present

***There were zero books about Kwanzaa at my local library as well as Overdrive. I did not exclude them on purpose, there simply were not any available. As an author I know that this “lack of” issue for Kwanzaa has been mentioned by publishers and librarians in the past.***

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – *spoilers*

20161117_160423Let’s talk Gilmore Girls: A year in the life.
Whether you watched Gilmore Girls within the last few years on Netflix, or were an original fan, chances are you binge watched the new four episodes. The show felt like an old comfy sweater that was accidentally stuck in the dryer and shrunk. Chances are you loved parts of it and not others. Here are my thoughts.

Luke, Jess, Logan, Dean (one minute of), and Emily were true to character. The way they handled Richard’s death was excellent. The fact that so many original characters were involved was amazing. Did anyone notice that Gypsy was also Berta (Emily’s maid)??

The musical parts of episode three felt like a part made for Sutton Foster that had nothing to do with Gilmore Girls. Yes, she can sing, but it was horrible to watch, it made no sense. Even for something that Taylor thought up.

The replacements of food celebrities (Roy Choi and Rachel Ray) to cover for Sookie was bad, just plain bad. Sookie’s part was nice, but appeared what it was, a last minute addition.

Rory, was out of character from the start, her behavior with Logan and Lorelai’s reaction to it, not normal after she lost it about the book. Did she nor remember when Rory slept with Dean?

Everyone crying “it ended on a cliffhanger,” nope it didn’t if you think about it. How did Lorelai’s life story start? By getting pregnant with Rory. Lorelai also mentioned “full circle” in the episodes.

One question I have, was Gilmore Girls a close to life story for writer/director Amy Sherman-Palladino. As it shows in episode three and four, when Rory starts to write The Gilmore Girls.

Nowhere Out ~ POEM

by Savannah Hendricks

 

His tears fell with the rhythm of the rain

            Streaming down the diminutive window

Her captivation with a creased photo of a retriever

            Held firmly between unkept fingertips

He glared at grimy walls

            Whispering names from his lips

Locks and alarms

            Bars and codes

Time existing through television

            Memories and nightmares

They filled paper cups

            Water to help the colors slide down throats

Her fingers tapped

            A code in her mind

            Nowhere out it screamed

            Nowhere out

Thanksgiving Book Reviews – kid’s books

Pete the Cat – First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean – This story read a little too over the top non-fiction, a story that is all telling without showing anything.

Thanksgiving Rules by Laurie Friedman – I loved this book! The rhyming of the story is excellent and the story is something new that kids will enjoy. Loved the illustrations by Teresa Murfin too. I

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes – Other then the first and last page this book didn’t work as a Thanksgiving book for my taste. The concept is to be thankful for everyday things, but it didn’t flow right for me.

The First Thanksgiving Day (A Counting Story) by Laura Krauss Melmed – Old world account of Thanksgiving in a fun new way to count. However, the rhyming of the story read forced.

A World of Fake Images

First, let me say that I understand body shaming is happening to both men and women. I am well aware that there are airbrushed magazines with shirtless guys on the cover. However, I am a woman and I can only view it from a woman’s perspective.

My friend recently sent me an airbrushed photo of a selfie I took a week ago. She uses this app, or whatever it is on her photos, and did the same to my photo (saying I looked more beautiful with the airbrushing). My reaction….OMG I LOOK…HORRIBLE. I didn’t like the airbrushed me at all. Why was I thinking this way? The one thing I would change most of all (my freckles) had disappeared! So why was a I still hating this image of myself? I looked, impossible. That’s right, impossible. How could someone look impossible? Well airbrushing makes the impossible, possible. Yet for me, I didn’t like how I looked, I looked like I had Barbie’s skin!!! Don’t get me wrong Barbie rocks it, but we know she is fake and the impossible to obtain.

I did some on research on my own phone, there are settings on it that actually make your face thinner!! There are settings that make things change on your face/body/skin before you even take the picture! What have we become as a society? I remember back when Faith Hill graced the cover of Redbook and the media went crazy over the airbrushed and regular photo taken for the cover shoot because the airbrushing backlash was at a high point in society bashing at the time.

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Regular/Airbrushed

Here is my regular photo taken outside without a filter and my friend’s airbrush app version. (yes, I’m aware, I’m wearing a Faith Hill shirt haha)

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Regular

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Airbrushed

I got to thinking about magazines and the airbrushing of famous people and how much it has changed who we are and what young girls strive to be. What even adult women think they need to be. For anyone to think that the airbrushed picture is the “okay” one, the better representation to share, goes far beyond wanting to be perfect. It is about self-worth. We all have our thoughts about what we like and don’t like about our bodies. We all have flaws we want to get rid of instantly. Yet, the fact that this can be accomplished with an app or setting on a phone represents human weakness, in my mind. I am fine with saying a picture is at a bad angle, or you had a bad hair day, or the jumbo zit on your nose is VERY noticeable. But, that is what is human about us. What lets people know that we are not Barbie, and can never be Barbie. And by using these settings and apps we are saying YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Is that what we want to be about? That we are okay, but better with some airbrushing?

Maxi’s Secrets (or what you can learn from a dog) – book review

Image result for maxi's secretMaxi’s Secrets by Lynn Plourde

This middle grade book is about the relationship between Timminy, his dog Maxi and his neighbor Abby. While it was an enjoyable story, I felt it lacked the arc needed to make the story really sizzle. For me, the side character, of Rory felt unimportant, when it really could have been a much larger part of the story. As the friendship with Timminy and Abby was lackluster. Also, I am not sure that the secrets belong to Maxi, but to Timminy, which I found a little confusing.

The reader is told in the second sentence that Maxi dies, which kept me reading to find out why, but sadly had that not been in the opening I might not have made it very far into the book. Maxi’s Secrets was well written with excellent descriptions of Timminy and Maxi, yet I didn’t feel connected with the characters emotionally as I should.

Middle graders can relate to the story of Timminy, but Abby as well. I just wish that Rory had played a bigger role as there seemed to be an underlining story in which middle graders would like to know more about.

3 out of 5 stars.