Saturday, July 05, 2014

All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett (illustrated by LeUyen Pham)

All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett (illustrated by LeUyen Pham) is very similar to Pat-a-Cake, which I reviewed yesterday (here), as they feature the style because they have the same author and illustrator. In this adventure, all kinds of things fall down.

All Fall Down is a bright, rhyming board book filled again with all kinds of different looking characters, which I really appreciated because I think it is super important for children to experience from a young age. There is a lot more text in this book than I expected based on Pat-a-Cake and I think it is a bit much for the small pages. I'm also unconvinced about the scenario that features a young child dumping all their food on the floor and it being celebrated-- I'm not sure that's something a parent, or whoever is reading the book to the toddler, wants to encourage, even in fictional form. Although the dog getting the scraps sure looks happy.

Overall, All Fall Down is a cute fun book that would definitely keep a child's attention but if you are only going to get one I would go with Pat-a-Cake instead. 
Release Date: January 7th 2014 Pages: 16  Format: Board Book
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Candlewick Press  Buy It: Book Depository

Friday, July 04, 2014

Pat-a-Cake by Mary Brigid Barrett (illustrated by LeUyen Pham)

A quick review for a quick little book. Pat-a-Cake by Mary Brigid Barrett is a board book, illustrated by LeUyen Pham with not much text and bright colourful pictures. A lot of the words inside the book are sounds that things make when you pat them, like a pudding "wibble, wobble" that make it fun and easy to read out loud. There's also a rhyme going on that helps it flow easily.

I appreciate the diversity of the characters in Pat-a-Cake it's nice to see all kinds of races represented. I also think the book is great for encouraging interaction with the child as they can pat the different items represented, and also discuss what those things feel like and what they would do with them. So overall, even though there's nothing super surprising about Pat-a-Cake it is a cute fun book for toddlers. 

Release Date: January 7th 2014 Pages: 16  Format: Board Book
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Candlewick Press  Buy It: Book Depository

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

King Lear by William Shakespeare

A novel I was really excited to read referenced King Lear by William Shakespeare on the back of the book, so of course I had to pick it up and read it immediately. Although I read a lot, I am pretty much a failure when it comes to classics and I've only read a handful of the many "must reads" that exist. However, a play, even a Shakespeare one, isn't that much of a time commitment, so I picked it up. It turned out that it wasn't at all necessary to read it for the book that mentioned it, but the end result was me being a little more well-read, so no harm done.

I am always afraid when reading a classic that there's some deep meaning I'm missing, so I actually read 3 different versions of King Lear at the same time to make sure I got the full impact and analysis. I actually found it a lot of fun to read that way, and I definitely plan to pick up more Shakespeare in the future. In terms of King Lear itself, it's the story of an aging King, who asks his daughters who loves him. While the two older daughters make grand pronouncements, the youngest, Cordelia, refuses to and is cast out by her father. However it turns out that the two older daughter quickly ally themselves in a quest to take over as King Lear is so upset he begins to descend into madness.

As I said, I really enjoyed King Lear. It's hard to critic somebody like Shakespeare, but this definitely one of my favourite plays I've read by him. Although it's a classic, I didn't know how things turned out, and I really enjoyed the ending because it was unexpected and left a big impact. There is flowery prose, but there is also a strong message about love and death. I'm not one to say anything given how poor my own classic reading is, but it is definitely worth picking this one up!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Elegy by Tara Hudson

I actually preferred the second book Arise in Tara Hudson's Hereafter Trilogy to the first, so I decided to pick up book three, Elegy not long after, hoping it would be even better. Unfortunately, it was not. In this final book Amelia is threatened by the demons of high bridge that unless she turns herself over to evil forces, one person she knows will die every week. She and her friends plot to destroy the bridge-- and stop evil from crossing over for good. However, Amelia has a plan of her own, and she's not telling anyone until it's too late to stop her.

I felt like a lot of Elegy was a bit of a mess. The plans the teenagers make don't always make sense, like showing up at prom to recruit people for a secret plan. With alcohol. It just felt random and like a bad idea, created only to cause tension that didn't come across as authentic. The ending also felt like it was really trying to tie up all the loose ends and as a result it came across as forced and wasn't overly satisfying-- nor did it really tie many of them up. Despite getting some enjoyment out of book two, I was just really tired (and bored) of this series by the time I finished Elegy.

Release Date: June 4th 2013 Pages: 386  Publisher: HarperTeen  Buy It: Book Depository

Monday, June 23, 2014

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

There are a lot of recent young adult novels with crossways into parallel universes, and I actually own a couple of them, so I figured it was time to start reading. Through to You by Emily Hainsworth is one such novel, and it captured my attention partially because of male narrator. Camden's girlfriend Viv has died, in an accident he blames himself for. She was his world, and when he sees a girl appear at the site of Viv's car accident, it turns out she's from a parallel world--one where Viv is still alive. However, as Camden travels to this alternate universe, he learns things aren't exactly perfect there either, and the window between the two worlds is quickly closing.

Through to You is an incredibly easy to read book mainly because of Hainsworth's writing which is clear and straightforward. However, it is kinda annoying how it takes so long to get to the point of the book that is promised in the blurb, where Cam actually travels to the other universe. I also feel like there wasn't anything I really loved about this book, there were plenty of things that were okay, but I figured out 100% how it ended almost as soon as it started, so that plot wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. I think it's a cool premise, and it's not even one I'm bored of yet, but I didn't feel like it was used to its full potential in Through to You.

Cam is also not as interesting a protagonist as I would have liked, pretty much everything bad has happened in his life but he is still kinda annoying at times. That said, even though it was very obvious where the story was going, it was still fun to read, and for a lighthearted, quick read I enjoyed Through to You well enough and would consider picking up another novel by Hainsworth in the future.

Release Date: October 2nd 2012 Pages: 272  Format: Egalley
Source: Edelweiss  Publisher: Blazer + Bray  Buy It: Book Depository