Friday, June 17, 2016

REVIEW: Cecil's Pride: The True Story of a Lion King by Craig, Juliana & Isabella Hatkoff, with photographs by Brent Stapelkamp

**** (4) out of 5 stars!

I loved this book!  It is so bittersweet to read though.  It brought so many feelings of anger and sadness from the manner in which Cecil died.  But the story itself, minus that part, was very interesting, quite informative and ultimately very touching.  

I loved that Cecil and Jericho formed not only an unlikely working alliance, but apparently a true friendship.  It was especially poignant that Jericho disappeared right after Cecil was killed, apparently to go looking for his missing buddy.  And it was very touching that Jericho, unlike most male lions who take over a pride, accepted and nurtured Cecil's cubs, rather than killing them.  

The accompanying pictures were beautiful and awe inspiring.  

The only thing I don't like much about these books by the Hatkoffs is when they switch from third person narrative near the end of the book, to a kind of preachy soapbox stance in first person.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

REVIEW: The Frog in the Skyscraper by Faiz Kermani

**** (4) out of 5 stars

This is a cute little story about Frijibold the Frog. Instead of the ordinary life at the pond with his extended family, he longs to do something more grand, and hatches a plan to land in a new apartment building. Fate seems to smile on him… for a time. But he soon learns that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the road.

This is a very good book for newly independent readers, or even as a read-aloud for younger children. The fairly short chapters make it easy to navigate; the language is straight forward and simple to follow. The occasional pictures are bright and fun. Kids will probably especially enjoy the menu for Mrs. Boggel’s Pond Paradise CafĂ© and its description of all the frog delicacies offered there. 

I received a free copy of this eBook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

REVIEW: Eye of the Drone (Around the Globe with Suki & Finch, Wild Cats, #2) by Rebecca Merry Murdock

*** (3) out of 5 stars

This book is number two in a series.  It literally drops you right in the middle of the action.  (In the middle of a frozen river, no less – by Santa!)  With no background, it was hard to figure out what in the world was going on.  For readers of the first volume, I am sure that it made much more sense.  But, really, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the kids’ exploits were, where they got their resources or funding, why they had passports but didn’t have them stamped from any of the countries they’d visited, and later it didn’t even sound like they were human – but I have no idea why.

The book itself though was very clever and unique.  I loved the use of real photographs as the background, especially scenes of wildlife and their habitats.  The little bits of information on many of the pages were quite interesting, whether about the topic at hand or some other related thing.

I think kids would love the multi-media format, especially in an eBook, which is how I read it (on an iPad).  If it comes in a print copy, I’m not sure that it would have the same effect.  Although I did have quite a bit of difficulty getting some of the more graphically heavy pages to load.

There were many inconsistencies that I found quite annoying.  Like how Suki says the iPad and solar pad aren’t working, and then shortly thereafter she is thrusting the iPad at Finch so that he can talk to his grandmother.  Not to mention that the entire episode of him being sick was just weird, especially if the kids are not in fact real humans.  I found it especially odd that everyone they saw either spoke English or they were magically able to translate every language that they heard.  Not to mention the one nightgown that Suki turned into heart decorations for tons of trees across several countries.  That is one big nightgown!

All of the fantasy type elements of the story detracted a bit from the information presented, at least for me.  But I could handle the talking animals and such, even Santa’s presence; but the woodland fairy was a bit too much.

Overall, the one word I would sum it up with is: Eh.  Not horrible, not wonderful, just somewhere in between.  But, again, I probably would have enjoyed it much more if I had read the first book in the series and had some idea of what was going on!

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

REVIEW: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Castaways by David McDonald

**** (4) out of 5 stars!

A story with clear plot-lines, believable situations and straight-forward action. I could visualize the characters from the movie and hear the dialogue in their voices most of the time they were speaking, especially when they were interacting with one another. The only character who really seemed a bit lacking in this regard was Drax, but he also played a very small part compared to the other central characters. The explanation of the happenings on the planet was well thought out and plausible, although the final battle did seem a bit too easy. All in all though, a good, fun read!

I received a free eBook copy of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.