Friday, October 1, 2021

The Strangest Thing in the Sea: And Other Curious Creatures of the Deep - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Hachette Book Group via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*




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Title: The Strangest Thing in the Sea: And Other Curious Creatures of the Deep

Author:  Rachel Poliquin
Artists: Byron Eggenschwiler
Upcoming Release Date: October 5, 2021


Synopsis: An intriguing look at some very strange creatures in the sea --- but which is the strangest? A feathery tutu dancing through the water? A tiptoeing rock wearing a wig? A mountain of skulls on the ocean floor? Not everything is quite as it seems in this fascinating exploration of 12 bizarre and little-known sea animals. Each creature is introduced with an imaginative first-person depiction of its appearance, accompanied by an artistic interpretation and the question, “Am I the strangest thing in the sea?” Then, open the gatefold, and an illustration and full description of the actual creature in its habitat are revealed, along with the tantalizing answer that, no, this is not the strangest thing in the sea. That is, until the last creature, which is the strangest. But what could it be? The question-and-answer approach and gatefolds in this innovative and engaging book of wonderfully weird sea creatures are sure to pique children's curiosity and encourage scientific inquiry. Rachel Poliquin has included a range of the very oddest sea creatures --- the yeti crab, goblin shark and vampire squid, to name a few --- and she provides unique, interesting and quirky information about each as well as their size, prey, habitat and depth. Award-winning illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler's beautiful art gives the entire book an otherworldly feel, as all the creatures seem to be fantastically imagined. The material aligns with elementary life sciences curriculum: animal adaptations and characteristics, evolution, ecology, habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity and food webs. A final gatefold shows all the creatures together. Includes a glossary.



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Review: This is a great book for kids interested in weird animals and the ocean. This nonfiction book has facts, poetry, and great artwork. It's both informative and fun. The animals covered include giant siphonophores, peacock mantis shrimp, and yeti crabs. There's even a glossary at the end. This book gets a 5/5 from me.



--PAUL

Friday, September 3, 2021

An Earth-Bot's Solution to Plastic Pollution (picture book) by Russell Ayto - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Kids Can Press via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*



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Title: 
An Earth-Bot's Solution to Plastic Pollution
Creator: Russell Ayto
Upcoming Release Date: September 7, 2021


Synopsis: In his signature quirky style, Russell Ayto takes on plastic pollution with this story about a video game-loving boy named Neo and some unexpected aquatic visitors who need his help. Neo lives next to the ocean, where there's a big plastic pollution problem. But Neo doesn't notice. He's too busy playing his favorite video game, joining forces with all the other Earth-bots to defend the planet against invading aliens. One day, though, Neo's sea creature neighbors keep interrupting his game, as one after another comes to his door, pleading with him to help them clean up the plastic that's ruining their home. Finally, to get them to go away, Neo agrees to check it out. And the plastic mess he sees in the ocean shocks him. He suddenly realizes there's an actual invasion taking place right outside his door --- one that's too big for him to handle on his own! With a refreshing approach to the timely topic of plastic pollution in the world's oceans, here's a readable picture book that manages to be offbeat and loads of fun without making light of the issue. Award-winning author-illustrator Russell Ayto's one-of-a-kind storytelling and hilarious illustrations will keep the pages turning, leading readers to concrete suggestions for how they can help. With its important environmental message and positive themes of teamwork, responsibility and stewardship, this book offers excellent connections to life science, earth science and social science curriculums. 



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Review: This picture book contains a relatable story about kids playing video games who learn about plastic in the ocean. The artwork is very cute. There's a great message about conservation. The wonderful 3 R's are referenced. There need to be more books like this that encourage children to make an impact on their world. I give this book a 5/5.



--PAUL

Friday, August 27, 2021

My Sister, Daisy (picture book) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Capstone via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


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Title: My Sister, Daisy

Author: Adria Karlsson
Artist: Linus Curci
Upcoming Release Date: September 1, 2021


Synopsis: Daisy’s older brother is thrilled when he gets a new sibling. They are best buddies who do everything together. But in kindergarten, things change. His sibling tells him she is a girl and wants to be called Daisy. Daisy’s brother must adjust to the change — including what it means for him and their relationship. A powerful, moving picture book based on a true story, My Sister, Daisy handles a sensitive subject with warmth and love.


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Review: The author of this book didn't see any books that represented her family situation so she wrote one! There's a lovely story at the end of the book explaining the background. This book is an excellent introduction to young people who may be going through similar experiences, especially for kids who have a trans sibling.

An older sibling is told by his younger sibling that she is a girl. The older brother questions his sister in an understanding way. The emotions are very evident.

I give this book a 5/5. This is a beautiful picture book for children these days. I highly recommend it for parents with toddlers or slightly older children.



--PAUL

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Mutts Go Green: Earth-Friendly Tips and Comic Strips - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Andrews McMeel Publishing via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*



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Title: 
Mutts Go Green: Earth-Friendly Tips and Comic Strips
Author: Patrick McDonnell
Release Date: March 30, 2021


Synopsis: Mutts Go Green is a special kids' collection of the popular comic strip MUTTS, featuring themes of ecology, environmental friendliness, and animal education.

This special collection of MUTTS comics for kids includes eco-friendly lessons on how to keep the environment clean and ways to help create a greener future for our furry friends and future generations. Mutts Go Green draws on Patrick McDonnell's 25-year career of writing and illustrating heartwarming comics starring Earl the dog, Mooch the cat, and a host of other adorable animal friends.



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Review: This collection of comic strips was made in celebration of Earth Day. Interspersed among the humorous strips are conservation messages and actions. This would make a perfect gift for a kid interested in conservation. This book is all about appreciating nature and the world around all of us. I give this book a 4/5.



--PAUL

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Way of the Hive: A Honey Bee's Story (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from HarperCollins via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*




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Title: 
The Way of the Hive: A Honey Bee's Story
Creator: Jay Hosler
Release Date: April 20, 2021


Synopsis: Experience the life of a honeybee in this coming-of-age story about a bee named Nyuki, in this full-color graphic novel by Jay Hosler, perfect for curious kids who are fans of the Science Comics series.

Nyuki is a brand-new honeybee—and she has a lot of questions. Like


When does a bee go through metamorphosis?
Why does a queen bee sometimes leave her hive?
And where does all this honey come from, anyway?!
But Nyuki’s biggest question is, “What is this inner voice I hear, and why does it tell me to go forth to adventure?

Follow Nyuki on a lifelong journey as she annoys her sisters, avoids predators, and learns to trust her inner voice as she masters the way of the hive.

And if you still have questions at the end, the back of the book uncovers even more mysteries about the lives of these incredible insects!



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Review: This graphic novel opens up with a creation story involving a flower sending pollen into the universe. And then evolution-ish. The book focuses on a bee colony integrating both fantastical anthropomorphizing elements with interesting facts about bees. It's actually quite informative. It's a fun way to learn about the bee life cycle. Mantises and beetles are also included and even plants have some dialogue. 

I give this book a 5/5. It's unlike any graphic novel I've read before. It's right up my alley. Animal sociology and biology with added storytelling for flavor. It's not quite as cartoony as most comics about insects, but it still adds some more human elements to the bees' lives. A great tool to increase empathy for animals. I want to see more comics like this.  

--PAUL

Friday, June 11, 2021

Sexuality: A Graphic Guide - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Icon Books via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*



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Title: 
Sexuality: A Graphic Guide
Author: Meg-John Barker
Artists: Jules Scheele
Upcoming Release Date: June 15, 2021


Synopsis: From the dream team creators of Queer: A Graphic History and Gender: A Graphic Guide

Sex can seem like a house of horrors – full of monsters and potential pitfalls. We often live with fear, shame and frustration when it comes to our own sexuality, and with judgement when it comes to others’. Sex advice manuals, debates over sex work and stories of sexual ‘dysfunction’ add to our anxiety.

With compassion, humour, erudition and a touch of the erotic, Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele shine a light through the darkness and unmask the monsters in this illustrated guide. From sexual identities to having sex, to desire, consent and relationships, we’ll explore the invention of sex as we know it and imagine sex as it could be. Along the way, we’ll move past thinking of sex as meaning just one thing, defined by the genders of those doing it, instead making space for lots of different types of attraction, desire, relationship and act.



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Review: This book definitely is more textbook than comic book. There's multiple paragraphs of information on most pages. It's a lot of reading. This is a book that will most likely take you some time to get through and fully digest. Not a breeze-through type of book.

This book covers so much material. There's the history of sex and societal expectations and cultural norms surrounding sex. There's historical context given for so many different subjects. This book is very informative with plenty of references in case you want to dive deeper into these subjects in other books or papers. 

I give this book a 4/5. There's a lot to take in. I've enjoyed these type of nonfiction informative graphic novels before that have more story and that are primarily illustration. This is different than that. This is 176 pages of information.


--PAUL

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Aster of Pan (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Magnetic Press via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



Title: Aster of Pan Vol.1
Author & Artist: Merwan
Release Date: February 16, 2021


Synopsis: The year is 2068. The place, Fontainebleau forest, ancient home of some of France’s mightiest monarchs on the outskirts of what was once Paris. The post-apocalyptic society of Pan survives by growing rice and scavenging among the ruins of a destroyed civilization. Their precarious existence comes under threat when the powerful, technologically advanced Federation of Fortuna forces them into a dangerous choice—submit to Fortuna’s rule, or try to best them in a barbaric, ritualized game known as Celestial Mechanics. Pan’s only hope? A hot-headed outcast they’d rejected for being “un-Pan”: a girl named Aster.



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Review: It's 2068 and the world is very different. It's a post-apocalyptical world where a certain sport has become a ritual ceremony. I'd say this story is The Hunger Games meets dodgeball. The artwork is great with plenty of fun colors. This is a wacky cool concept, but I found myself bored while reading. The combination of military and sports just don't vibe with me well. 

I could absolutely see this graphic novel adapted into an action packed film. I give this book a 3/5.


--PAUL