Friday, July 7, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: And To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess

So apparently this was the very first Suess book. Published nearly 80 years ago it is a classic indeed. I had never heard of this book before. My stepdaughter was cleaning out her room at her mother's house and brought my son a giraffe that she was given at Easter. Apparently, that giraffe had to do with this book so my son wanted me to read the book to him.

Normally, right here I would give a synopsis of the book but there is a more pressing issue I have to get into. So the copy I read to my son was an old one. As in it was as it was originally written. I wish I had known that there was a not so minor change made back in the late 1970s. I had sat down and was reading the book to my son while my husband sat across from us playing a game on his iPad. All the sudden I came to a part in the book that I read and after I read it I hesitated for a half a second before quickly moving along.

You see I came to something that shows the blatant racism you would find in the 1930s. I had just read the word "chinaman" to my son. I was horrified and couldn't even look at the corner of the page where I just knew there was going to be a horrible caricature that I did NOT want him looking at. I quickly showed him the man with a long beard in the middle of the page praying he had not looked at the picture on the left-hand side.

Suess had agreed to change the wording to "Chinese man" and the drawing was changed to be less stereotypical. I still haven't looked at that picture but I know that the man was yellow in color. My husband and I discussed it afterward. We both were kind of not sure how to handle the situation. Do I have a discussion with my son? Do I just let it go and hope he didn't absorb any of it?

In the end, we decided to let it go as my son is special needs and right now this is a discussion that he does not have the capability to understand. But we have put it on our list of future discussions to have with him.

As far as rating this book it was an OK book up until that point. I just can't reconcile what I read. There is also a bit in there which ticked off my inner feminist but nowhere near as much as that racist moment. I understand that at the time it was considered perfectly normal but I'm a modern person and I can't just ignore something like that. I won't ignore something like that.

So I'm sorry but this Suess book is a 0 out of 5 stars for me.

SOR Book Reread Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling

When the Harry Potter books first came out I refused to read them. Yeah, I know some of you are probably thinking what the heck is her problem. Well, back then I had a thing about reading books with lots of hype behind them. I couldn't handle the disappointment when they didn't live up to the hype. It was even worse than when a movie doesn't live up to the hype. Thankfully, at some point, I got over it and gave the books a chance and soon I was a Potterhead waiting in line at midnight for that next book.

I won't bother giving a synopsis because quite frankly if you don't know the plot by now or haven't read the books you most likely never will. Confession time by the way...I've read this first book more times than I've read any other book. I've lost count but we are up in the double digits by now.

Hogwarts is like coming home for me. I read the first couple of books at least once or twice a year. It is the book equivalent of chicken soup. When everything else in my life is falling apart I can pick up the first Harry Potter book and fall right back into the world I so wish I was a part of. 

Don't get me wrong these are not perfect books and the more I read them the more I see the problems and failures of logic. But I can ignore all of that. I love these books and have gotten over the guilt I feel when I decide to read it over again versus reading a new book. Because, what is the point of having a favorite if you can't reread that favorite over and over and over and over again?

This will always be 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: When a Wolf is Hungry by Christine Naumann-Villemin Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

You can always seem to rely on *Netgalley to have some of the cutest and original picture books. I wasn't disappointed by this SOR read!

Edmund Bigsnout has a big craving for a rabbit. But not just any he wants city rabbit. Edmund, however, encounters the rabbit's neighbors. He is forced to go back and forth from his home to the city as each neighbor mistakes him for a new neighbor.  Each one borrows the items he has brought in order to eat the rabbit. 

EEEK!! I LOVED this! First, the story was adorably funny. Edmund didn't want any of the neighbors to catch on so he willingly lent them his items like a rope, pot, and chainsaw. I found myself actually laughing out loud when I read this.

The illustrations are awesome as well. The texture detail is great. I loved the high heeled shoes on the turkey and the tuxedo that Edmund wore. The drawings are sure to keep the interest of readers of all ages and both adults and children will find the story itself amusing.

5 out of 5 stars!!

*I recieved a free ecopy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

SOR Children's Book Review: The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl Illustrated by Quentin Blake

I grabbed this from a pile of books I've had since my own childhood. Roald Dahl was always a favorite of mine as a kid so it is always a delight to go back and reread the books I read as a kid. This is on the 1001 book list and being read for SOR.

Enormous Crocodile is a vile evil huge greedy croc. This nasty crocodile has plans to eat some nice plump children. Despite being admonished by several animals he meets on the way he isn't deterred. However, these animals come back later to stop each and every single one of his dastardly plans to eat up a child or two.

I honestly didn't remember much about this book from my childhood so I don't think it was one of my favorite of his. But I do know I read it at some point since I own the book. But I guess 30 some years later it is understandable that I don't remember it. 

The illustrations are the very recognizable ones that you see through most of Dahl's books and that is very comforting. The ever present humor in them and the nostalgia makes me smile.

The story itself is funny and I love that as always Dahl doesn't candy coat things for children. He knows that they like gruesome horrible things but he does it with his unique style that makes it acceptable for kids to read but still gives a bit of a naughty delight. 

3 out of 5 stars

SOR Picture Book Review: Little Detectives At School: A Look and Find Book Illustrated by Baretti

I saw this on *Netgalley and thought it looked like a nice book to check out. Since I don't want to just read fiction books for the summer this gave a nice change up.

Follow along the school year and find as many hidden objects as you can. How many did you find?

For those of us who grew up reading Highlights magazine, we all know the very first page every single one of us would go to. The hidden object one of course! There was nothing worse than being at the doctor's office only to find some parent handed another kid a pencil so that kid could ruin the fun for all the other kids. 

This one is not an overly complicated one so it is perfect for the toddler set. Older children will find it too easy but hit the right age group and they will love it. In fact, because this is meant for the youngest of children I loved it even more as most hidden object books seem to cater to school aged children. This is also a good one for special needs children. The book also encourages counting, color recognition and at the end has extra activities so the children can go back through the pages and try and find more items. 

The drawings were great and even as an adult I enjoyed finding the objects simply because the illustrations were such a delight. There is something to look at on every inch of the page.  

5 out of 5 stars

*I received a free ecopy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review.

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

My First Harry Potter Moment of the Week! This week we were asked if we could save ONE character who would it be.

This is a tough one and I know the obvious answer that a lot of people would give is Fred. But honestly, for me it is Hedwig. She had such a distinct personality but she was loyal. Her character shown through and it made me so sad when she died. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

I've been eyeing this book on *Netgalley for a while now. I knew I had to read it this summer as I have a huge love of foxes. There is just something so adorably cute about them.

Argyle Fox just wants to go out and play. But on this Spring day, it is extra windy. Everyone keeps telling him he can't play the things he wants while it is so windy and sure enough the wind ruins all his fun. Defeated he returns home but Mama Fox tells him not to give up and to think hard about what he can play in the wind. Using his creativity he manages to create the perfect windy day fun time activity.

Oh my goodness, this book was cute and fun. I love that Argyle Fox was so determined to have fun. He really reminds me of my own son. Strong willed and angry at what he can't control. But he overcomes it and has fun creating something with his own hands.

The artwork was drool worthy. My favorite thing about picture books is the artwork and this one didn't disappoint. The details on Mama Fox's sweater and even the mailbox just made this book for me. This is the kind of book you read over and over again and just stare at the wonderful drawings. 

5 out of 5 stars!

*I received a free ecopy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review.