#BookReview Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi by Eugenia Chu

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is a beautiful little story that should be read across the nation!

Jiǎo zi is a dumpling, in case you didn’t know (because I didn’t until the book told me!). Brandon loves dumplings – make them and eat them (mostly eat, obviously). One day, Brandon’s Grandma from China comes to visit and everything becomes super, duper exciting! Mistakes occur along the way, but everything is made to be fun!

Epic positives:
1. The description and quick lesson about Pinyin was super cool! I don’t know much about Chinese characters and Asian languages, so the little lesson was very much appreciated! I’ve always been curious how translations can work, so this totally spiked my interest. I can totally see families bonding over the language barriers, especially if they are learning a new language!

2. This book is really positive. It not only is educational but shows that Brandon could make mistakes and it was able to be fun and not a negative experience. I can totally appreciate that! Kids make mistakes in the kitchen all the time and they should be embraced, not ridiculed!

3. The glossary! I normally am not a super big fan of them, but I liked seeing all of the words used so I could do a little learning myself.

The pictures are also hand drawn and it’s obvious. I think it’s sweet and gives a very homey feel, but this may be a negative for some readers. So – readers beware!

Overall, this is definitely one of my top children’s reads this year! It’s short and sweet, but packed full of adorableness!

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Barnes & Noble

Check out the read-through for this book:
YouTube

You can find out more about the author, Eugenia Chu, by clicking the links below:
Goodreads Author Page – Eugenia Chu
http://eugeniachu.com/
Twitter – @chuauthor

 

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#BookReview Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

Who doesn’t love a book about a strong female character? Especially a girl like me who grew up needing some strong female influences!

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence is a wonderful, little book that is a must read for children.

To begin with, there is a super, evil villain who has decided the best way to ruin the world is to stop the spread of knowledge! This monster is big, mean and scary and seems to be content with his super devious plan. In walks Marie Curie, a woman who will turn into a superhero scientist through her amazing intelligence and experiments! Our evil villain wants Marie Curie stopped before she can get too smart and stop his wicked plans. Along the way, we will learn how Marie Curie is full of persistence in many different ways!

This little book is a wonderful mix of fiction and non-fiction. There’s lots of learning opportunities about this super scientist scattered among the pages. Definitions, facts and timelines about Marie Curie and information about the things she studied and created are all available to see. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good STEM book for their kids, especially since it’s about Marie Curie. She was a legend!

Also: references… in a children’s book… I LOVE IT.

On a side note, I thought the pictures were lovely and very unique. I haven’t seen this style a lot in children’s books, so I was impressed. It was colourful, fun and had lots of awesome details.

I am so thankful for this book. It is absolutely amazing and I wish I would have had books like this in my youth. Hopefully many kids are able to pick this book up or many educators get their hands on it! Seriously, we need more books like this – educational and fun!

Five out of five stars!

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Explore for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo

 

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#BookReview The Underground Toy Society Helps Ellie the Elephant

The Underground Toy Society series continues with a marvelous addition!

This time around, those pesky kids left Ellie the Elephant behind! But no worries faithful audience, the Underground Toy Society is going to come to the rescue!

My positives:
1. I love the opening picture of the book with two girls holding their stuffed animals and reading. It’s utterly adorable and gives you a great feel for what this book is going to be: heartwarming.
2. The squirrel drawing. That’s all. The squirrel itself is a positive. I think Chippy’s cute.
3. This children’s book is a little longer. It has paragraphs and a full story instead of the typical simple sentences with rhyming schemes.

My negatives:
1. As with the other books by Jessica, the aesthetic of children’s drawings may not please all readers. It is by no means a negative for me, but I can see some readers not enjoying it.
2. How did the mole get a bow and a skirt? Did someone leave them behind and Mindy decided to wear them? I need to know. This is crucial. It is not explained anywhere in the book!
3. This book didn’t have as much of a theme as the original did, but it’s still a marvelous little story.

Overall, this is a cute book and I’d highly recommend picking it up! If you’re looking for something different for your kids, then grab this unique book! The pictures are drawn by Jessica’s kid, she’s a self-published, indie author and it’s just a magical little series!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Jessica D. Adams, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check this book out on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out Jessica on:
http://onesweetday48.wix.com/undergroundtoysociet
Twitter – @onesweetday48
Facebook
YouTube

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#BookReview Mr. Hoopeyloops Saves Christmas by Andi Cann

Kids Books + Christmas Books = My Guilty Pleasure

I was SO PUMPED to find this book for free via Bookbub! I absolutely love a cute children’s book and adding in some holiday spirit just made it all the better!

We open this book with Zoey visiting Mr. Hoopeyloops, and boy is she upset! Didn’t you know?! Christmas is canceled! Santa has a bit of a labour issue (and who doesn’t these days?) which ruins everything! So, Mr. Hoopeyloops grabs his friend Rex and they set off to save Christmas! How could he help, you might ask. Well, turns out Santa Claus is his brother!

While this is a picture book, it’s a little longer than the typical children’s book I’ve been finding lately. It has paragraphs beside the pages, which I absolutely love! I miss the days where children’s books had longer plots! I’d recommend this book for five to twelve year olds, because it’s an absolute delight!

I absolutely love the art style. It’s soft yet busy and fits perfectly with the story. I’d highly recommend reading this book just for the art alone! It’s probably my favourite picture book this year.

At the very end of this book, there’s a little educational moment about the history of glass Christmas ornaments. Having those educational side notes always makes me a very pleased reader, so that only made this book better! This could easily be used in a classroom or for reading buddies!

Overall, this book is absolutely marvelous! I was stunned at how great it is and I would highly recommend it!

Five out of five stars! Spread the Christmas cheer!

I found this book for free via Bookbub.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

Find out more about Andi Cann on: https://www.andicann.com/

 

If you love children’s books, check out some others you might enjoy:
#BookReview Zachary and the Great Potato Catastrophe by Junia Wonders
#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

 

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#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps was one of my all time favourites as a kid. I scrambled to the library at every chance to get my hands on any Goosebumps novel. I didn’t care if I read them over and over and knew the story by heart, I’d read them again! And then hope the library got the television show and movie versions so I could watch them.

As an adult, I’ve been trying to find the Goosebumps series in my home town without much luck. Then, lucky me found five at a local thrift shop and my inner child went wild.

Fortunately, these books were just as good as I remembered!

Monster Blood follows Evan and Andy at Evan’s great-Aunt’s house. They buy some monster blood, slime like toy and suddenly all heck breaks loose! Evan’s dog grows in size, the cat is evil and his Great-Aunt Kathryn is seemingly weird. Is she a witch?! Is she crazy?! Either way, that monster blood is taking over the city!

This book was a hundred pages of pure fun and mild terror. As a kid these were so much scarier, but they were still just as epic! I loved the story moving quickly, being full of wild twists and turns and being a great book for both children and adults. This book also brought me back to my childhood with lots of nostalgia. Do you have any Nintendo games?!

Was there any negatives about the book? Yes. Trigger was an elderly dog who acted very young. Was it super duper scary? No. I think it might scare the middle grade readers who this book is aimed to scare, but it’s not scary to adults. Either way, it was still a fun and easy read that had me chuckling along the way. I enjoy R.L. Stine’s writing style. It’s not meant to be taken seriously (it’s not It or Carrie or any Stephen King book). This book was meant to bring the younger demographic a little horror novel and introduce them to the genre. Can every Goosebump book be an absolute winner? No.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a little spooky and is totally getting me in the mood for Halloween and October!

Four out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Audible
Indigo
Kobo

 

Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview The Mega Collection by Scott Gordon – Nine Awesome Bedtime Stories!

 

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#BookReview Matt, The Green Cat by Jenny Mitchell

I love cats, so this little picture book already had me interested when it presented me with a cute, little, itty, bitty, green kitty! Matt, our lead, was a ginger cat who accidentally got some green paint on him!

The plot of this book is really simple – we learn all about Matt the cat and his general day. The book is all about his life as an accidental green cat and how friendly and lovely everyone is. As it says at the end of the book, it’s a short story!

The cartoon style of this book was really lovely! I think it fit in wonderfully with the story and I loved looking at all of the pictures. The details were incredible, and yet just enough at the same time. There’s lots of animals and fun backgrounds to keep you occupied when you aren’t reading the words on the page. There’s just so much to look at!

If I had one con about this book it would be that it was hard to read on my device. Some of the pages looked like they would have been better suited for an actual two page spread on a physical copy rather than the electronic copy I got when I downloaded it.

Four out of five stars!

I found this book on Bookbub.

 

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy!
#BookReview Backyard Hullabaloo by Junia Wonders
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

 

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview Zachary and the Great Potato Catastrophe by Junia Wonders

This tale is super sweet and adorable! The very beginning had me hooked instantly – this tale might be true, and the identity of the leads are disguised. How much cuter can this book get?!

The soft tones of the art in this book made me feel really happy. I love the style and I think it went well with the story. The rhyming scheme was also silly yet it worked! I found myself giggling along the way. Sometimes the words didn’t rhyme exactly, but it was the thought that counts.

If you’re looking for a goofy, short, animal filled story book, then you’ve come to the write place! I absolutely adore Junia Wonders and her picture books. They are filled with silly plot lines, amazing art, and lots and lots of fun!

Overall, the story is cute and fun and I’d highly recommend parents and teachers pick this book up! Children will love it! This book is totally worth every penny!

Four out of five stars!

I found this book on Bookbub!

 

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!
#BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Boy and the Very Lonely Pony by Junia Wonders
#BookReview Backyard Hullabaloo by Junia Wonders

 

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid

Yossi Lapid does it again with another beautifully written story with a truly marvelous (and important!) theme.

Yara’s Tawari Tree follows a young girl named Yara in her rain forest, jungle hut. Her parrot friend brings her to a little tree seedling that is going to be cut down due to deforestation and together they save it! Years down the road, her family needs that tree’s help and it delivers!

This is a truly wonderful story with absolutely remarkable art work. The water colour style really fits with this story and is really beautiful! I’d love to see more stories with this art style. Give a big round of applause to the illustrator because W-O-W! Throw in the fact that deforestation is a really big issue these days, and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

I love Yossi’s stories because they are cute, fun and always bring something to the table. When you’re looking for a quality children’s story book with lots of pretty pictures and an important theme, why wouldn’t you pick up this book? It hits all the marks that an educator or parents would want! There’s also a cute rhyming scheme so you could make a fun song up about this story!

Overall, I think this is a really lovely book and should be read by many parents, teachers and reading buddies alike! Stories like these are important to share and a fun, colourful way to spend time together.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you like Yara’s Tawari Tree, you might enjoy some of these books and reviews too!
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

 

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#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

 

There are few books that lift up my mood (and out of my reading slump!) quite like this one did!

Peter Green and the Unliving Academy was an absolute delight of a book! Fantasy, friendship and fun is all wrapped up tight into this neat, little package. If you haven’t read this book yet, what in the world are you doing?!

As the title suggests, we follow Peter Green when he goes to an “Unliving” Academy. Our lead has died and is now in the afterlife, but if you thought school stops there then you’d be wrong! Peter meets a large array of wacky characters and goes on many mischievous adventures, including but not limited too battling a werewolf teacher, dealing with ghost security guards and trying to lift a curse from upon the school. And YOU thought high school was hard…

Peter also tries to learn about himself and his past life. He knows he remembers a family, but just can’t put his finger on it. Unfortunately, it’s against the rules to find out about your past before you graduate!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY liked this book. I can’t express in words how much fun I had along the way reading it! Just because this book says ‘Young Adult’ does not mean an adult could not enjoy it! To me, it felt like a Harry Potter and the Philosopher/Sorcerer’s Stone-esque book. I would have loved to read it to a reading buddy or as a fun classroom read. The book is relatable from all angles – finding out about yourself, dealing with life’s (or death’s…) difficulties and making the right but hard decision. The book was definitely written in a way that the adult reader could enjoy it along with their kids. Therefore, it’s a family friendly book!

What were my downsides about this book?
1. Some of the plotlines could have been pushed to the second book, but it didn’t affect me all that much. I hope they are continued into the sequel because that would make those tiny, barely there plotlines make SO MUCH MORE sense.

2. Like other reviews have suggested, there were some minor grammar and spelling errors. I don’t really care, but I’m sure someone does. It didn’t pull me away from the story at all.

3. THE BOOK ENDED AND I DON’T HAVE THE SEQUEL IN MY HANDS. Yep, that’s a major downside. I got into this book and then it ended. I want moooooore!

Overall, this is a great middle-grade read! I’d highly suggest it for a fun, fantasy book to devour as soon as possible! If you liked the first two Harry Potter books then you’ll love this one! There was lots of world building and fun stories that built in this book. I truly hope a sequel comes out and more people read this book. I haven’t had this much fun in a book for a while!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher TCK Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out the following links:

Purchase the book: http://geni.us/petergreenbook1m
Check out the publisher, TCK Publishing: https://www.tckpublishing.com/
TCK Publishing’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tckpublishing/
Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/TCKPublishing

Find out more about the author on Goodreads! or Facebook or maybe even Twitter. She also has a website too!! https://www.aaallsopbooks.com/

This book can also be found on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Barnes & Nobles

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#BookReview Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

One of my New Years Resolutions was the read more “classics” this year, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of the first I was able to pick up. I was so lucky that I found this book at a local charity book sale! It was screaming my name the minute I saw it on the table and it’s been screaming my name while it’s been sitting on my bookshelf (well…desk. My bookshelves are rather full. I need to get reading faster and more to clear some room…).

I’ve seen both of the movies (Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp) so I knew what was coming. It was going to be a book full of shenanigans with some humor and lessons sprinkled throughout. And boy, did it not disappoint! I have to say, Roald Dahl is one amazing author and I really want to read more by him now. This classic is so full of childish nonsense and valuable lessons all at the same time. It’s mesmerizing what this man could do with his words.

The book has some deep, dark material that comes off as playful. Charlie and his family weren’t well off and Roald make that very, very clear. Yet the prose he puts this narrative in makes it seem… fun? Silly? I can’t even pick the right word. As an adult, I am in awe of how this family survived but I could easily see a child laughing their way through. A child would truly have no idea what the horror of starving is like, yet it is described so amazingly in this book…

Seriously, I’m in awe. I am in complete and utter awe over this man’s writing. He’s a literary genius, to say the least.

There are parts as an adult that I can pick apart, but I don’t think this book was intended to be some literary work that needs to be examined like Shakespeare. This book shows the good and the bad of being a kid – don’t be stubborn, don’t be a brat, don’t watch television all day, don’t go ahead without listening – stuff that we all learn as a kid. Charlie is the “perfect” child who listens and does what he is supposed to, and in the end he wins. Is this how life works? Nope. Is it still important to teach? Heck yes!

Wonka is such a wild and interesting character too. He’s a very old adult but doesn’t act like it who employs Oompa Loompa and pays them in cacoa beans. He has a giant workshop but no workers and wants to give a child his only life’s work. Yes, that makes so much sense… Not. But it’s believable in this book, because he’s so wild and zany… I’d love to see a perfect adaption of this book – word for word, picture for picture, etc.

The language, dark humour and sarcasm in this book also make it absolutely hilarious. Snozzberries gets me every time! And Wonka’s absolutely amazing sarcasm against the children… Well, it’s mean but it’s funny. So funny. I found myself giggling at how ridiculous some of the comments were, yet I still loved it all the same.

Either way, this book is amazing! I wish I would have read it as a kid but reading it as an adult was so much funnier! Amazingly enough, this book only took me two days to finish.

Five out of five stars!

I need some more Roald Dahl in my life!

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Check out some more reviews and books you might enjoy:

#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid

#BookReview HughTube by Richard Clark

#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

 

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads