I have been rather slow reading books since the last time I posted book reviews. I believe it is because we have moved and I am more in charge of taking care of my son, so I have a lot less free time. Well that and I’ve started playing Lord of the Rings Online again, which is so addictive I pretty much play it whenever I have free time, lol. Audiobooks have been a lot easier for me to use because of my 30 minute commute to and from our babysitter and back and forth to work. I am currently listening to The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan which is the first book in the series, and is very good so far. I am also trying to read a cookbook/parenting guide called What Chefs Feed Their Kids: Recipes and Techniques for Cultivating a Love of Good Food as well as a young adult adventure book entitled Natalie’s Good Fortune: A Tale of Piracy and Adventure. Hopefully I will be able to finish the actual books soon.
Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau
An adorable rhyming board book about four small bears who sit in chairs and are happy with them until a fifth bear comes along. They must problem-solve to figure out how to fit all five of them in chairs. I read this aloud to my 8 month old and he loved it! Recommended for ages 8 months – 3 years, 4 stars.
Belly Button Book! by Sandra Boynton
A cute book, with the author’s trademark adorable illustrations, about hippo belly buttons (called bee-bo by the very small). It documents how much the hippos love their belly buttons, so much in fact that they like to take them to the beach and sing songs about them. This oversized lap board book was perfect for reading aloud to my 8 month old at the library, which we did this week on my day off. Recommended for ages 8 months – 3 years, 3 stars.
Spot Loves His Friends by Eric Hill
I normally love the Spot cartoon show, so I figured the books would be great for my son. This board book was a very short Spot story about the British pup playing with his friends Tom, Helen, and Steve. Recommended for ages 3 months – 2 years, 2 stars.
Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! by Kyle Mewburn
A cute story about a young boy named Andy who tries his hardest to get away from his over-zealous Aunt Elsie, who always gives him sloppy kisses, which he thinks are yucky. At least that’s how things are until Aunt Elsie breaks her leg and doesn’t come back for weeks, then Andy starts missing her. Once she comes, he’s the one who jumps on her and gives her kisses and hugs. The illustrations were a mix of cartoons and real-life pictures. Recommended for ages 8 months+, 3 stars.
The Collected Stories of Winnie The Pooh by Stephen Fry, Judi Dench, Michael Williams and Various (Narrator) A.A. Milne
I had been looking forward to listening to this for awhile ever since I had found out that Stephen Fry narrated part of it. He has such a distinctive voice, which I thought would be excellent in audiobook format. Dame Judi Dench played Kanga and one of the narrators, Stephen Fry was Pooh, Geoffrey Palmer (who starred in the BBC “As Time Goes By” with Dame Judi Dench) was Eeyore, as well as many other well known British actors and actresses. The readers did an excellent job and really made the stories come alive. I had actually never read the actual Pooh books so I figured this was as good a way as any to do it. The two stories themselves were actually really funny, more so than I would’ve thought, in the way that Shrek appeals to both kids and adults for different reasons. My only gripe is the way Rabbit, Owl and Eeyore kept berating Pooh and Piglet for being “of little brains”, even though I thought that Pooh came up with some pretty awesome ideas, poems and songs. Recommended for ages 5+, 4 stars.
There are Monsters Everywhere by Mercer Mayer
My review is a little biased because I absolutely love Mercer Mayer books, especially his monster ones, and this one is jam-packed with monster illustrations. In this book, a young boy is certain there are monsters everywhere in and around his house, so he decides to take a karate class to scare them away. It works and he feels more safe in his house, plus he picks up a new hobby. I think the illustrations are great, especially the green and yellow monster behind his bedroom door. This books makes me want to read its predecessor, “There’s a Nightmare in My Closet.” Recommended for ages 5+, 4 stars.
Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-A-Zoo by Mercer Mayer
Professor Wormbog collects beasties. He has every beastie from A to Y, but not the elusive Z monster, the Zipperump-A-Zoo. So he goes in search of it all over the world, from the beach to caves to forests. But he doesn’t find it, so he goes home and falls asleep next to the fire, where of course the monster has been looking for promptly come out and start playing. This book has fantastic illustrations, though ones that are more geared towards adults than children. My favorite illustrations is the pirate octopus on page 17. I tried to read it to my 8 month old but his attention span wasn’t long enough for all the details in the book. Recommended for ages 5+, 5 stars.
A Beasty Story by Bill Martin Jr.
In this book, kids are introduced to four mice narrators who describe a dark colorful house where a beasty lives. They follow the beasty to another house where another monster lives and discover that it was just a prank done by two other mice. It is a very simple story but has great illustrations done by Steven Kellogg, which make the book awesome. Recommended for ages 3-7, 4 stars.
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
This book was a cute wordless story about a young girl and her dog Daisy. They go to the park and play with another dog who bursts Daisy’s ball, which makes her sad, so the other owner goes out and buys her a new one. The illustrations are very simple ink and watercolor drawings, which are very appealing to young children because it looks like something they might’ve done. While I liked this book, I think there were better books out there that should’ve won the Caldecott Award. Recommended for 8 months-5 years, 3 stars.
Children and Young Adult
Falling for Henry by Beverly Brenna
The description looked interesting, but I only read about 40 pages of it. I just couldn’t get into it. The writing was not good, and the main character was whiny and full of self-loathing. Recommended for ages 12+, 2 stars.
Emma, Volume 7 by Kaoru Mori
I have been waiting a month to read this book, after I finished the last one, so I’m very glad to get my hands on it today. This is probably one of the best ones yet, as so much story happens here (figures that it would in the last volume of the actual Emma story). In this volume, Emma arrives in America and is unceremoniously thrown off the ship. Meanwhile William and Hakim hurry to the States to rescue her and bring her back to England. Emma asks Mrs Meredith to help her act like a lady, and Emma ends up staying at William’s mother’s house. William finds out that the Viscount Campbell was behind Emma’s deportation and dashes over to his mother’s house to tell Emma that he will protect her and asks her to marry him in the future. The Campbells cut off all ties with the Jones’, which leads to society shunning them. The Viscount blames Eleanor for the engagement trouble and sends her to Brighton. I felt kinda sad for Eleanor who seemed to be getting the rotten end of the stick in that situation as it totally wasn’t her fault. William’s mother and Mrs Meredith have fun dressing up Emma for a ball. Recommended for ages 16+ due to the three pages of nudity in the middle of the book, 5 stars.
Emma, Volume 8 by Kaoru Mori
Apparently these next couple of volumes will tell the story of secondary characters in the Emma series. This volume starts out with the background story of Kelly, the former employer of Emma, and her new husband Doug. They go to the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace and are blown away. Eleanor and her sisters are in Brighton so she can get over William, and meets a friend of his instead, who she ends up liking. We catch a glimpse into the life of Tasha, Emma’s friend at the Meredith house, and also Violet (now Mrs Meredith) before she is married. My only confusion was: Is she Edna? Or is Edna her mother? Recommended for ages 16+ (due to nudity in the middle of the book), 4 stars.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Disclaimer: If you are a bible-literist, this is not the book for you. The New Testament is kind of sketchy about giving information on the life of Jesus between 1-9 and 9-30s. So if you were ever curious about the life of Jesus between the ages of 9 – 30 and have a good sense of humor, then this is the book for you! I thought it was an absolutely hilarious take on what might’ve happened, and really a lot of it made a lot of sense.
The book is about Jesus and his best friend since age 6, Levi who is called Biff (which is the sound of his mom smacking him upside the head). Jesus, who is called Joshua in the book, has to learn how to be a messiah and goes off in search of the three wise men Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior, to learn how to do this. Biff and Joshua travel from Galilee to Afganistan to China and on to India, and having all kinds of adventures. They learn about Confuscianism, Daoism, meditation, Kung Fu, how to handle weapons and poison, and the Divine Spark. Recommended for ages 16+, 5 stars.