Review: PIRASAURS!


Pirasaurs!
by Josh Funk
Illustrations by Michael Slack
Published by Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic (August 30, 2016)
Ages 3-5

My rating: 5 Stars

Review:

Imagine you’re the smallest and newest member of a raucous crew of Cretaceous corsairs. That’s right, you’re a little dinosaur and you want to be a pirate. You try and try, but to no avail. Then, one day you lead the way and deliver not only gold and jewels to your pack of prehistoric picaroons, but peace with a rival ship of seafaring dinos.

This is the kind of delightful tale you get from masterful storytellers like Josh Funk. Pirasaurs! is one of two new picture books from Josh Funk that were recently released just a few days apart (Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale is the other). With lively rhythm and rhyme, Josh introduces us to zany characters, such as Captain Rex and her “fabled sword” and Triceracook, whose food makes the crew “slurp and belch and burp.” It’s an imaginative story that’s sure to satisfy the most rambunctious crowds.

Real magic happens when you are able to combine a fun-to-read story that has a heart with colorful, expressive illustrations. Josh Funk and Michael Slack have created a sea-worthy vessel for little ones to explore themes like perseverance and cooperation. And, the journey is so fun, they won’t even know it.

Is your crew ready for a boisterous adventure with marauders from the Mesozoic Era? “Come join the Pirasaurs!

What else has Josh Funk written?


Check out my review of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast here.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.

Review: Hello, My Name is Octicorn


Hello, My Name Is Octicorn
Created by Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe
Additional illustrations by Binny Talib
Published by Balzer + Bray (May 17, 2016)
Ages 4-6

My rating: 4 Stars

Review:

As the title and cover suggest, Hello, My Name Is Octicorn is a humorous take on what it’s like to be different.

Octicorn speaks directly to the reader – asking questions, telling the story of how he came to be the only Octicorn in the world, and letting the reader in on why it’s sometimes difficult to be a half unicorn, half octopus.

In a friendly way, Octicorn also tells the reader what he likes to do. One could almost imagine Octicorn as a young child introducing himself to another young person his age.

With its likable character, Hello, My Name Is Octicorn is a lighthearted approach to the concept of being different from the crowd. It would make a fun, interactive introduction to kindness and not judging a person based on their looks. The suggested age range is 4-6 years, but I can see this being read to much younger children because of its simplicity and engaging character.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.

 

 

Review: Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny (Giveaway!)


Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny
by John Himmelman
Published by Henry Holt and Company (October 28, 2014)
Ages 6-8

My Rating: 5 Stars

Review:
A couple of the children in my life are starting to grow into the stage of reading beginning level chapter books, so I was on the lookout for something funny enough to keep a young reader’s attention and smart enough to provide value beyond entertainment. That’s when I saw Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny.

Isabel, the best bunjitsu artist in school, is like a fluffy, long-eared Zen master. She can hit, kick and flip her opponents like no one else, but more often than not she uses her most powerful weapon – her brain – to outsmart pirates, giant waves, enormous rocks and more.

Each chapter is a short, separate tale in the life of Bunjitsu Bunny. The stories each have a particular moral that will be evident to an adult reader, but the lessons are delivered with humor and authenticity. The stories carry the weight of their lessons with ease, so the reader isn’t beaten over the head.

The first tale, after we’re introduced to Isabel, shows her using her smarts instead of her fists. When the students are confronted by a locked door, they try to kick it down and punch it down. They are about to head butt it down when Isabel unlocks the door from the other side. She had climbed through an open window. Most of the stories after this one are a little more complex, but it is a good taste of the types of lessons to come.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny is just the first installment of adventures. The follow-up, Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move, was released this past October.

Giveaway! [Update: This giveaway has ended. Look for more giveaways in future posts!]
Some books are too good not to be shared, so I’m giving away 2 copies of Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny through an Amazon giveaway. All you have to do for your chance to win is click here and follow me on Twitter. Good luck everyone!

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.

 

Review: Bad Kitty Does Not Like Candy


Bad Kitty Does Not Like Candy
by Nick Bruel
Published by Square Fish (May 12, 2015)
Ages 2-5

My rating: 4 stars

Review:
Nick Bruel, once again, delights readers with the crazy antics of Kitty, in Bad Kitty Does Not Like Candy, one of his new paperback picture books.

As usual, Kitty thinks she knows what’s up. That candy on the counter looks delicious, even though Kitty has never tried candy before. It’s got to be better than fish, and it’s got to be better than walrus. The pesky human who keeps insisting that candy is bad for cats can’t possibly be right. Without a doubt, Kitty will have that candy on the counter. But, is Kitty ready for the consequences?

By far, my favorite spread in this book is the one where Kitty is dreaming of herself in a river of candy – all the candy in the world. But, the facial and bodily expressions of Kitty are hilarious throughout the entire book. Bad Kitty Does Not Like Candy is similar to the original Bad Kitty, but is a much simpler story without the alphabet learning. Still, it is a humorous tale that’s just right for precocious 2- to 5-year-olds and the adults who will be reading it over and over again.

Just remember, all Bad Kitty books are not alike (for a comprehensive list, click here.) This one is for the preschool audience. If you’re looking for something fun and full of shenanigans for your young reader, try something from Bruel’s chapter book collection, such as Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray or Bad Kitty: Puppy’s Big Day

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews.

Review: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast


Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast
by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Published by Sterling Children’s Books (September 1, 2015)
Ages 5+

My Rating: 5 Stars

Review:
Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk is set to be released on Tuesday, September 1st. I unwittingly stumbled upon my “advance copy” at the local bookstore over the weekend. The cover art is what caught my eye. It was also hard to ignore the delicious title that said, “Hey, I’m going to be funny. Pick me up.”

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, the best of pals, are hanging out in the fridge when along comes their neighbor, Miss Brie. She tells them there is only one drop of syrup left. Suddenly, the best pals begin to race each other to the bottle of syrup – leaping over beets, getting stuck in chili, climbing up celery and scrambling through the fridge to reach the coveted last drop of syrup. Will competition destroy Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast’s friendship?

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast is very entertaining. The fast-paced race to the finish line moves the story quickly, and the rhyming text, with antics at every page turn, is a pleasure to read. The illustrations are colorful, quirky and delightful.

In the end, a lesson in sharing is learned, but how they learn it is too fun for me to give away.

Goodreads Giveaway: If you go to the Goodreads page for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast between now and August 31st, you can enter to win a copy of the book.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews.

Review: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Flora & Ulysses


Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
Written by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by K. G. Campbell
Published by Candlewick Press (2013)
Ages 8-12

My Rating: 5 Stars

Review:
I’d wanted to read something by Kate DiCamillo for a few months. Her name and face kept popping up all over the place. It makes sense, seeing as she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2014–2015. When it came down to choosing which book to read first, I simply couldn’t resist the one with a young girl and a flying squirrel on the cover.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a middle-grade novel about ten-year old Flora Belle Buckman, a self-described “natural-born cynic.” Her parents are divorced, and Flora feels alone in the world. She lives with her mother, a distracted romance novelist. Flora only sees her father on the weekends and misses the special bond they had reading comic books together. Flora’s favorite comic book, The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto!, helps her make sense of a seemingly crazy world. When a squirrel is surprisingly sucked up by the neighbor’s vacuum cleaner, Flora Belle runs to the rescue. What follows are a whole lot of “unanticipated occurrences” that change Flora and everyone around her. Would you find reasons to hope if your champion was a flying superhero squirrel who writes poetry? I sure would.

Kate DiCamillo has been called a master storyteller. It’s a well-deserved description. What makes Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures special is that it addresses tough issues, like loneliness and divorce, with a sense of humor.

There is so much love in this book. The way that Ulysses feels passionately about life after being born anew as a superhero squirrel is genuinely heartwarming. His love of poetry and love of Flora make it seem like anything is possible.

Another element that enriches the story is Flora’s discovery of friendship with William Spiver, a quirky kid who is in many ways a mirror for Flora’s loneliness. His quirks annoy her, but she can’t help but find comfort in his presence. He chips away at her cynicism, while the larger story elements propel her toward hope.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a journey of discovery. A young girl in a mixed-up world discovers that not everything is what it seems to be. She is loved, and sometimes, it’s okay to have hope.

The comic-book elements, illustrated by K.G. Campbell, are integral to the story – and they’re funny – making the book an excellent choice for younger or more reluctant readers.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is the winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews.