Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Bucketloads of Friends: A Look & Find Book by Mia Cassany and Miguel Bustos (Picture Book Review)

I received a free physical copy of this picture book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Bucketloads of Friends: A Look and Find Book
by Mia Cassany
Illustrated by Miguel Bustos
Published by Prestel
on October 23, 2018
Length: 35 pages

Lucas is looking everywhere for a best friend: the park, the circus, by the lake, and at school. He meets a lot of people along the way. But what about a best friend? This entertaining and colorful book is full of details for kids to search and find. Every spread features line drawings that are humming with activity. From an animal hospital populated with every kind of pet to an office filled with workers too busy working to give Lucas the time of day; from a restaurant that appears to serve only sandwiches and salad to a botanic garden where the visitors are just as strange as the plants. As Lucas travels around the city, he meets a lot of people, but will he find a best friend? Young readers will turn again and again to these drawings, discovering new details each time, and sparking their own ideas about how people interact in everyday situations. Many look and find questions will increase the fun and help to spot even more details. 

My Thoughts:
Lucas woke one morning with a feeling that something was missing from his life, so he went out in search of a friend. He visited all sorts of places around town, from the beach to the park, to a cafe. He even visited a circus and the airport but no matter where he went and how many people he talked to he could not find that very special friend he was looking for.  

This look-and-find is a ton of fun! It kept us busy for hours!
The doodle-style illustrations are iconic and entertaining. They kept us on each page for so long that we had to take several sittings to get through the entire book! We just kept coming up with new things to look for and ask the other to look for on every page. 

We loved that characters introduced in earlier scenes could be found in most scenes directly after, so it became another game to search for the dog reading the paper or the girl who came from the rock concert in each new scene. It was easy making up new stories about the characters and why they were at the park or at the vet or the airport. It was also very fun to spot the odd animal-headed person. Or was it human-bodied animals?

I like that this gave my daughter pause at how different every single person is, with different features and clothing and hobbies.  While following Lucas on his search, we contemplated what makes a good friend, how to find a friend, and where to find a friend, which I think will be especially helpful when starting school. 

I was surprised at how easy it is to 'go off on your own' and create your own entertainment with this book. I especially enjoyed this because many other 'look and find' books geared towards toddlers or young readers are too simple with maybe 5-10 pictures that don't make us want to return to them. Bucketloads of Friends, on the other hand, has kept us busy for hours and will most likely be one of our favorites for a while!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #112 - MUSIC

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

It's been a minute or two since I've participated in a Top Ten Tuesday around here! 

This week's prompt is an Audio Freebie 
and since I'm not big on audiobooks and have listened to maybe five tops,
I'm going to use this to share some of my eclectic music tastes. 

Who else listens to music while reading, writing, and basically all day?

Anyway, here are some of my latest favorite songs. The ones I discovered recently and keep on repeat.

Chet Faker - House Atriedes

TENDER - Machine

Tash Sultana - Free Mind

Sleep Party People - I'm Not Human At All

The Neighbourhood - The Beach

Waterstrider - Twice (Little Dragon cover)
[My fave Little Dragon song]

HKG Knights - Leave it for Sweet

TENDER - Fear of Falling Asleep

A Perfect Circle - Disillusioned

ALT J - Taro

What is your favorite song RIGHT NOW?
What is your favorite song of all time?
I'm always open to music recommendations! 

Monday, March 25, 2019

New York Day & Night by Aurelie Pollet & Vincent Bergier (Picture Book Review)

I received a free physical copy of this picture book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

New York Day & Night
by Aurelie Pollet
Illustrated by Vincent Bergier
Published by Prestel Junior
on March 19, 2019
Length: 30 pages
Ages: 3-6

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Some of New York's most familiar sights look very different at night in this highly amusing introduction to the city. 

Sometimes your eyes can play tricks on you, especially in the dark. This enchanting picture book shows how New York City can look quite peculiar at night. Each brightly colored spread is overlaid with a sheet of translucent blue paper and when lifted, voila! A space ship and Martian become The Guggenheim, a giant serpent is actually the subway, King Kong's jungle turns into Central Park, and a superhero takes on the shape of a construction worker. Exhilarating and captivating, all the scenes are easily switched between day and night and will take the reader on a unique journey that lets imaginations run wild while revealing that some things at night aren't as scary as they seem. 

My Thoughts:

New York Day & Night is a fun book that tells a story that contrasts night and day in the Big Apple. 
Sandy the cat introduces herself and takes us on a journey through the city that never sleeps, showing us the odd and strange things that can be found in the dark of night, while Frankie the squirrel shows us the brighter side of the city. 

This is such a unique picture book! Each scene of New York City is overlaid with a dark blue page of plastic that shows us what can be seen at night. Lift the plastic and it's day time!  

We get a glimpse into what our imaginations can do when faced with shadows or dark objects at night and are reminded that everything looks so different during the day! 

The bold tones and minimal text make this a wonderful bedtime story for little ones who don't mind braving the night. It's a reminder that even when things seem dark and scary at night, it might just be your imagination running wild. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (Young Adult Book Review)

The Sun Is Also A Star
by Nicola Yoon 
Published by Delacorte Press
on November 1, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Ages: 12-17

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Literary Awards:
California Book Award for Young Adult (Gold) (2016)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2016)
John Steptoe New Talent Author Award (2017)
Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2017)
Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Nominee (2017)
Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee for Honorable Mention (2018)
Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2018)

Natasha: I'm a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I'm definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won't be my story. 

Daniel: I've always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents' high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store--for both of us. 

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

My Thoughts:
Natasha has lived in the U.S. since she was 8 but she's undocumented and today is the day she's being deported back to Jamaica.
Daniel has to take up the torch of success now that his brother, Charlie, has flunked out of Harvard but it's not what he really wants.
Natasha needs help. Daniel wants a sign.
And then something like fate brings them together, again and again.
She doesn't believe in love and he is determined to change her mind and convince her that they are meant to be. 

This is a whirlwind love story gone awry, all taking place in one day, and with an ending that (deep sigh) was not what I was expecting. 

I mostly read this because of the upcoming movie adaptation (because I try to read the book first) and went into not knowing it was an insta-love story. I don't read those often and I can't say that I'm a fan, but I kind of didn't mind it here so much because at least one of the characters doesn't even believe in love and isn't willing to just fall head over heels, even if she eventually does. 

I loved all the existential contemplations about true love and fate and science and the universe. This book seemed to cover a lot of topics from immigration to prejudice to both strict and strained family relationships. It was all a little eye-opening for me. 

I also enjoyed all the small chapters involving side characters who had minor importance in Natasha and Daniel's day but still had big impacts on them or were impacted by them. Those really helped push the 'fate' narrative and round out the story. 

If you like contemporary or romance, I'd recommend reading this before seeing the adaptation! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Cat & Mouse by Britta Teckentrup (Picture Book Review)

I received a free physical copy of this board book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Cat & Mouse 
by Britta Teckentrup
Published by Prestel Junior
on March 19, 2019
Length: 24 pages
Ages: 1-3 

This charming book about a cat and a mouse feature cut-outs that help teach young readers about prepositions in a fresh, innovative way. 

The perfect place for a mouse is inside a cozy, warm house, but a cat lives there too, and once the cat sees the mouse, a chase ensues. As the cat and mouse scurry about--on top of a chair, inside a box, outside a window, through a hole--young readers will learn about important prepositions that help them understand where one object is in relation to another. At the end of this colorful chase, the cat and mouse curl up together and nap until they're ready to start the whole thing again. Britta Teckentrup's eye-catching, simple illustrations are cleverly enhanced with cut-outs that help reinforce the words, providing a unique and fun interactive experience that teaches young readers about basic prepositions. 

My Thoughts:

"The cat's on the prowl. Watch out, Little Mouse!"

This fun and interactive board book has clever cut-outs throughout that make the story quite entertaining as we narrate to the mouse that the cat is on his heels and he must run through doors, hide in boxes, and up and down stairs in the house. No matter what mouse does or where he hides, Cat is close behind. This cute little story has a surprising ending that everyone is sure to love! 

Britta Teckentrup has created an entertaining book that will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they help Little Mouse hide from Cat. The illustrations are simple but I loved the bold colors used and the texture and the lovely trees in the outdoor pages. The cut-outs made this book extra interesting! 

More from this author:

Happy reading! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls' Rights by Malala Yousafzai (Children's Book Review)

Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls' Rights 
by Malala Yousafzai
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
on  October 9, 2018
Genre: Children's Nonfiction, Middle Grade, Biography
Length: 176 pages 
Age Group: 7-10

A chapter book edition of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's bestselling story of courageously standing up for girls' education. 

Malala's memoir of a remarkable teenage girl who risked her life for the right to go to school is now abridged and adapted for chapter book readers. Raised in a changing Pakistan by an enlightened father from a poor background and a beautiful, illiterate mother, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. Her story of bravery and determination in the face of extremism is more timely than ever.
In this edition, Malala tells her story in clear, accessible language perfect for children who are too old for Malala's Magic Pencil and too young for the memoir. Featuring line art and simplified back matter, Malala teaches a new audience the value of speaking out against intolerance and hate: an inspiring message of hope in Malala's own words. 

My Thoughts:
This is the abridged version of Malala's full-length memoir. It's geared toward young readers and is very concise and educational as well as eye-opening. This gorgeous new edition will help bring Malala's shocking true story to younger generations all over the world. 

While it is a sobering story, it is still very hopeful and inspiring. Malala was an incredibly courageous young girl who used her education and voice to help others go to school and to speak for girls when their right to education was being denied. 

Now she uses her voice and infamy to get her story out into the world; to spread knowledge, tolerance, and equality.

Includes a glossary, pronunciation guide, and a timeline of Malala's life. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Song of Spring by Hendrik Jonas (Picture Book Review)

I received a free physical copy of this picture book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Song of Spring
by Hendrik Jonas
Published by Prestel Junior
on March 19, 2019
Length: 52 pages
Ages: 2-5

In this charming book children will delight in the sounds animals make, as they come together to help a young bird find a friend. 

It's spring and everywhere birds are calling out to each other. But one bird has forgotten which sound to make. He tries "Woof," and meets a dog, who encourages him to try "Oink," with the expected result.
Moo, Hee-Haw, Baa, Meow--each successive call adds another animal friend to the page. Will the young bird find another bird friend? As young readers are introduced to each type of animal and their sounds, Hendrik Jonas' clever illustrations grow increasingly crowded. The result is a beautiful celebration of friendship that will delight young children everywhere.

My Thoughts:

Every Spring the birds begin to sing their songs, but one little bird, in particular, can't seem to find his 'voice'. He tries 'bark' but it doesn't seem quite right. He tries again. "Oink." And again. "Moo."
The little bird attracts plenty of animals to help him in his quest to find his own voice but soon their sounds drown him out until they meet another little bird with a very loud--and strange--sound of her own. 

This cute little book is perfect for young readers learning animal sounds. It reminds me of P.D. Eastman's 'Are You My Mother?' but for a slightly older audience as there is a lot of text included with the onomatopoeia, which stands out big and bold in lovely script typography that matches the title. 

I really loved the illustrations with their array of fun textures and mediums. Some look like they were scrapbooked while others have colored pencil markings or splashes of watercolors mixed in. I felt like it made the book even more fun and brought a lot of character to the animals. 

It was overall an adorable read that my daughter and I loved. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy & Elizabeth Baddeley (Picture Book Review)

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
on September 20, 2016
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography
Length: 40 pages
Ages: 4-8 

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Literary Awards:
Sydney Taylor Book Award for Young Readers (2017)
NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book (2017)
Blue Stem Book Award Nominee (2019)

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg--in the first picture book about her life--as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! 

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what's right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice's story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements. 

My Thoughts:
"Disagreeing does not make a person disagreeable. In fact, it can change the world!"

In a time where girls were only supposed to think about growing up to be wives and mothers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood out and went above to become who she is today; a well-known and celebrated Supreme Court justice. 

Luckily, Ruth had a mother that fostered her love of learning and instilled a sense of higher purpose, letting her know that girls could be whatever they put their minds to. 

And she did. Ruth went to college and law school and worked her way up, disagreeing with the status quo and making her mark by fighting for the equal treatment of women, becoming a judge, and finally, a justice on the Supreme Court. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up during times of deep segregation, not only for African-Americans but for Jews like her. Ruth disagreed with this prejudice and would go on to promote equality for all and become the first Jewish woman in the Supreme Court. 

This picture book biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life is wonderfully illustrated with some very bold but fun typography that brings style to the story. Young readers will enjoy seeing the lively and spirited Ruth grow over time into the powerful and inspiring woman she is today. 

Looking for more children's book about incredible women?

Happy reading!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman (Young Adult Book Review)

by Neal Shusterman
and Jarrod Shusterman
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
on October 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Climate Fiction
Length: 390 pages

The drought--or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it--has been going on for a while now. Everyone's lives have become an endless list of don'ts: don't water the lawn, don't fill up your pool, don't take long showers. 

Until the taps run dry. 

Suddenly, Alyssa's quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don't return and her life--and the life of her brother--is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she's going to survive. 

My Thoughts:
I read this fast-paced young adult dystopian for the 'cli-fi aka climate fiction' PopSugar prompt. The premise is that after years of drought, water flow to California just stops, leaving millions of people without water. 

Alyssa and her little brother, Garret, aren't prepared and when they run out of water, their parents head to the coast where desalination machines have been set up. When they don't return, Alyssa and her brother realize that they have to do something. Luckily, their across-the-street neighbors are 'preppers' that have a son, Kelton, who just happens to have a big crush on Alyssa. Coming together for the sake of survival, they maneuver chaos and desperate characters alike as they search for water and a safe place. 

I feel like this is a very important read that poses a lot of important questions about what would happen if a crisis or disaster were to strike.
What would you do if there was no more water? How would you survive? How would your neighbors survive? How would society as a whole be affected?

We get a little taste of this every time there is a hurricane here in Florida. Everyone flocks to the store to buy up the last of the water, bread, and canned goods. Gas is gone before the storm even hits but everyone still needs to go to work or evacuate. Society basically falls apart and I've seen first hand how people suffer because they were not prepared beforehand.  

It's good to be prepared, but it won't always make things better. It's nearly impossible to 'prep' for every single scenario and it's likely that it'll all go south and not as you planned anyway. Kelton found this out pretty quickly!  

This is the second novel by Neal Shusterman that I've read and I think I'm seeing a trend of defying the status quo and writing about real problems that affect us as a country and a society. I'm looking forward to reading more! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I Am Harriet Tubman by Brad Meltzer & Christopher Eliopoulos (Picture Book Review)

I Am Harriet Tubman
by Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Series: Ordinary People Change the World
Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers
on January 16, 2018
Length: 40 pages
Age Group: 5-8 years

Harriet Tubman's heroic and pivotal role in the fight against slavery is the subject of the fourteenth picture book in this New York Times bestselling biography series. 

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great--the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America's icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero's childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos. This volume focuses on Harriet Tubman's brave heroism as part of the movement to abolish slavery. As one of the key players in the Underground Railroad, she helped enslaved African Americans escape and find freedom. 

My Thoughts:
"I am Harriet Tubman. Follow Me. I will lead the way to freedom."

I Am Harriet Tubman is a kid-friendly look into the life of the infamous Harriet Tubman, whom not only 'conducted' the Underground Railroad and helped many slaves reach freedom in the North, but also became the first American woman to lead an army raid in the Civil War.

One of the neat things about the Ordinary People Change the World series is that they are all told in 'first person'. The person of interest (Harriet) narrates her life to us, in both text and thought bubbles. I thought this helped put us right into the story and made reading it a lot more entertaining. 

The only odd thing to note is that we start out with the young version of Harriet and even though her life progresses well into old age, she visually never changes and remains as she was on the first page. I kind of like this idea because it helps kids identify with the people in the books and can see themselves doing grown-up things.

This is one of many similar biographies in the Ordinary People Change the World series and I am so glad this series exists. Each illustrates a life that has changed the world for the better. 
We have otherwise only read I Am Jane Goodall from this series but are looking forward to more! 

Looking for more biographies or books about women that have changed the world? Check these out!

Happy reading! 

Monday, March 11, 2019

The A-Z of Wonder Women by Yvonne Lin (Nonfiction Picture Book Review)

The A-Z of Wonder Women
by Yvonne Lin
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
on December 4, 2018
Genre: Non-fiction, History, Feminism
Length: 48 pages

Celebrate historic and contemporary Wonder Women from around the world, from Ada Lovelace to Zaha Hadid!

Highlighting notable and inspiring women from across the globe throughout time, The A-Z of Wonder Women features biographies of trailblazers and groundbreakers, including Ada Lovelace, Oprah Winfrey, Ruth Ginsberg, and Wajeha al-Huwaider.
This empowering alphabet-style book celebrates a wide range of skills and masteries in the arts, politics and activism, STEM, and more, providing accessible facts about these heroic women--and inspiring young readers to make the change they want to see in the world. 

My Thoughts:
Another fantastic collection of inspirational women from all over the world. This little book features 26 women, one for each letter of the alphabet, with a lovely illustration, a quote, and a little excerpt about each woman. 

Of course, cutting the list down to just 26 women must have been difficult indeed, and I'm glad to say that there are 22 more wonder women (without illustrations) listed in the back of the book.

I did find it slightly disappointing in how few facts were included for each person. Each biography was quite minimal with only one or two sentences. 
Otherwise, I loved how the usage of bold colors as backgrounds and the illustrations are well-done and clearly recognizable. 

Looking for similar books?
Try these!


Happy reading! 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Read It First: Book to Movie Adaptations Master List (2019+)

Do you read the book before watching the movie adaptation? Know of any upcoming adaptations that aren't on this list? Let me know in the comments!



Five Feet Apart
by Rachael Lippincott
releases: March 15, 2019
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)


Pet Sematary
by Stephen King
releases: April 5, 2019


The Sun Is Also A Star
by Nicola Yoon
releases: May 17, 2019
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)


Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer
releases: August 9, 2019  May 2020

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
by Alvin Schwarts
releases: August 9, 2019

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
by Maria Semple
releases: August 9, 2019  Aug 16


IT [Part 2]
by Stephen King
releases: September 6, 2018
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein
releases: September 27, 2019  August 9
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)


The Woman in the Window 
by A.J. Finn
releases: October 4, 2019
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
releases: October 11, 2019  September 13


Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King
releases: November 8, 2019
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

The Good Liar
by Nicholas Searle
releases: November 15, 2019
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)


The Call of the Wild
by Jack London
releases: December 25, 2019  Feb 2020

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
releases: December 25, 2019
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)


The Voyages of Doctor DoLittle
by Hugh Lofting
releases: January 17, 2020
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

by Noelle Stevenson
releases: February 14, 2020  March 5

Death on the Nile
by Agatha Christie
releases: October 2 or 22, 2020
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

2020 TBA

[Chaos Walking]
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
releases: 2020

Fear Street
by R.L. Stine
releases: 2020 TBA
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

The Willoughbys
by Lois Lowry
releases: 2020 TBA
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)

by Jerry Spinelli
releases: 2020 TBA
(Goodreads) (imdb) (movieinsider)


by Gregory Maguire
releases: December 22, 2021

I'll be adding to and editing this list throughout the year so feel free to comment if you know of any new adaptations or updates!