• Books

    How About A Night Out?

    How About A Night Out?

    Have you ever wondered what cats do when the sun goes down? Sam Williams “How About A Night Out?” gives a glimpse into the life of a city cat. Illustrator Matt Hunt beautifully illuminates the night life of a city cat. The characters are cute and fluffy and I want to take them all home!

    Story

    The lights go out and the cats go out to prowl. Sam Williams story is both realistic and magical. He takes you through a the journey of cats throughout the night. My favorite page in the book says, “How about a night out? A walk about? A prowl about?” There are a lot of phrases in this book that are just a joy to read out loud.

    The story is in rhyme. In most stories this type of rhyme wouldn’t work, but the focus is more on the repetition of the words than the actual rhymes themselves. It’s a very fun story to read out loud. My 3 year old loves this book, but it’s fun enough that I’d read it to myself.

    Art

    These cats look like they are having a lot of fun throughout this book! Though the story is at night, and Matt Hunt uses a lot of black in the backgrounds, the pictures are bright and cheery. There are no drab pages. Matt uses bold, bright, colors in his art.

     Matt uses several angles to tell his story. Most of the story is close up to the cats or an overview of the city rooftops (but always with the cats in view). My favorite image is in the center of the book where silhouettes of cats travel over a bridge. The perspective he uses for the different planes of the top and bottom of the bridge aren’t accurate, but put together they make a strikingly beautiful scene. 

    Get The Book

    Pick up How About A Night Out: https://www.amazon.com/How-About-Night-Out-Williams/dp/1912757141/

    Sam Williams’s Website: Sam Williams doesn’t appear to have an official website or use social media at all. Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/36802.Sam_Williams 

    More about How About A Night Out?: http://ww.boxerbooksltd.co.uk/uk/book/210/how-about-a-night-out

    Illustrator Matt Hunt: https://www.matthuntillustration.com/

    Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a good review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!

  • Book Review,  Books

    I Wish You All The Best

    I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

    “I Wish You All the Best” by Mason Deaver is a beautifully written story. This book was extra emotional for me so it was hard to write about. I can’t even imagine how Mason felt writing this story. This book is amazing. I need more stories like this in my life

    I am bisexual and I really felt for Ben in this story. Their parents are much like my parents were when I was a teenager. I don’t know what would have happened if I had come out as (or even known that I was) bisexual in high school.

     I want to send a bunch of hug and love to everyone who comes out to their parents. If anyone lost their parents because they came out I will give you an extra special mom hug if you ask.

    Story

    This story starts with eighteen year old Ben coming out to their parents as nonbianary. Ben’s parents, who are very conservative in their values, kick Ben from the house. Ben leaves the house with just their socks and flimsy clothes in the freezing cold. Ben calls their sister who they haven’t seen in years. At a new school Ben meets Nathan. Nathan is nice to Ben despite the fact that Ben is withdrawn.

    “I Wish You All the Best” is an absolutely beautiful journey from start to finish. Ben is devastated with losing their family and the life they’ve known since birth. Ben becomes depressed and needs the support of the the people around them.

    The characters in this story feel real. Ben is such a strong character! Ben’s parents remind me of my own. Every character has a reason and a purpose in the story. There aren’t characters that fall flat. The story is realistic and can be sad at times. Even though there is a lot of sadness it’s overwhelmingly hopeful. This book is absolutely one of the best novels I’ve read.  

    I hate to give spoilers, but so many stories like this end in tragedy. If you are looking or needing a coming out or queer story that has a happy ending this is a great book to read! Just don’t forget to bring the tissues.

     

    Buy The Book

    Pick up I Wish You All the Best here: https://www.masondeaverwrites.com/buyiwyatb

    Mason Deaver’s Website: https://www.masondeaverwrites.com/

    More about I Wish You All the Best: https://www.masondeaverwrites.com/i-wish-you-all-the-best

    Jacket Art by Sarah Maxwell: https://www.sarahmaxwellart.com/i-wish-you-all-the-best

    Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a good review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!

  • Books,  Smart Dummies

    Book Review of “Another”

    I found this beautiful book by searching my library for new books! There are so many GREAT books coming out right now. The books I want to review are piling up! If you’d like me to review your book please send a request via my contact page: https://www.daniduck.com/contact/ 

     

    Story

    Cover of "Another"
    My toddler loving "Another"!

    “Another” by Christian Robinson is a story about a child and their cat who both visit another dimension. In the beginning the child’s cat sees a portal open and a black cat (that looks just like the child’s cat) come through the portal. The cat and the child follow the cat into the portal and explore this strange new world.

    The story of “Another” is completely wordless. Absolutely everything is told in pictures. It’s very imaginative and fun. There is no explanation as to how things happened. It just happened and it’s fun!

    Art

    A quick sketch of "Another" drawn upside down (for a class project). Here it is right side up!

    The artwork for another is as bright and imaginative as the book. “The illustrations for this book were rendered in paint and collage, with digital editing.” I’ve seen a lot of collage/paint collage being used, but Christian’s strong paint style separates it from other pieces.

    The strange thing is this book has almost no backgrounds. When the child steps into the portal the background becomes a stark white. I feel like this exaggerates the strangeness of this whole world.  

    This book is a lot of fun and a great book to “read” over and over again. 

    Buy the Book

    Pick up Another here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/another-christian-robinson/1128864446

    Christian Robinson’s Website:https://www.theartoffun.com

    More about Another: https://www.theartoffun.com/another

    Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a good review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!

  • Books

    Review of Sun by Alison Oliver

    Sun by Alison Oliver

    Sun by Alison Oliver is such a warm and whimsical book. I’d like to say that I came across it in a direct effort to find beautiful picture books for kids. Instead I did a random search for 2019 picture books at my library and this was one of the books I found! I feel so lucky to have found this book at my library. 

     

    Story

    Sketch practice after Alison Oliver

    Sun loves soccer. He seems to eat, breathe and (of course) play soccer. He has an emptiness in his life and doesn’t know what to fill it with. Sun goes on a journey of self discovery and meets with Fox (who is actually a fox). Fox shows Sun a playfully magical world that he will never forget.

    This story is so sweet and beautiful. The friendship between Sun and Fox is an interesting one. Fox brings out Sun’s creative side. Maybe Fox is supposed to be Sun’s creative side personified. Fox allows Sun to experience things that he missed in life while having a life totally devoted to soccer. It’s good not to get too focused on one thing, because there are so many wonderful things to experience in life!

    Art

    The images in this book are absolutely breathtaking. Inside the book it says “The illustrations for this book were executed in watercolor, brush pen, charcoal and collage and assembled digitally.” I love that it didn’t just say “mixed media”. I always love finding out what medium the artist used! In this case Alison used many!

    I love the warmth of this book. It is like the colors were taken from the sun! The colors are vivid and feel like a great big hug. The brush strokes that Alison makes in this book are nothing less than gorgeous. It makes the images feel like so much movement is happening. 

    Buy the Book

    My toddler was shocked with the beauty of this book

    Alison Oliver’s Website: http://pure-sugar.com/

    More about the book: https://pure-sugar.com/sun/

    If you can’t afford to buy this book consider leaving a review or requesting your library buy this book!

  • Books,  Smart Dummies,  Uncategorized

    Review of Teach Your Giraffe to Ski

    199
    Inside of my copy of Teach Your Girafee to Ski!

    “Teach Your Giraffe To Ski” is a fantastically fun story about a child teaching their giraffe to ski. The story is written by Viviane Elbee and illustrated by Danni Gowdy. I picked up this copy because Viviane is one of my wonderful critique partners! Unfortunately (or fortunately) she had submitted and had this book accepted before we were in a critique group together! I can not claim to have helped her with this one, but she obviously didn’t need my help, because she wrote a wonderful story! 

    This is one book I’m happy to have on my shelf. I was so excited that my local indie bookstore could get the book in. Since Viviane lives so far away she sent me a lovely bookplate which I love. My kids were so excited to get this book as a gift for Christmas!

    Story

     

    This story is written in the second person. I don’t know that “Teach Your Giraffe to Ski” could have been written as well in a different P.O.V. I’m not sure how many other kids books are written in the second person. The second person usually doesn’t work for most books. It’s  especially hard for picture books to use the third person, but Viviane did a wonderful job writing this book. 

    I love the humor in this book. The illustrations and words meld perfectly together to make this a laugh out loud story! One thing about the story, be sure to read this on a full stomach. All the french fry and pizza talk was making me hungry. Be sure to have lots of french fries and pizza before starting this book! Especially pizza, pizza, pizza. That word is used a lot in this book. 

    184
    My toddler wants you to get this book!

    Art

    I love the color scheme in this book. The colors are cool and perfect for a winter scene. I love the beautiful soft colors.

    All the characters have big, beautiful, outlines. It makes the whole story more comical. I also love how Danni makes the images so expansive. I believe that there is a whole wonderful world beyond the confines of this book.

    The expressions on the characters faces are priceless. Especially the poor child’s face who is just trying to get the giraffe to ski. It’s a very big task teaching a giraffe to ski!

    Buy the Book

    Buy the Book: https://vivianeelbee.com/wheretobuytygts.html

    Viviane Elbee’s Website: http://vivianeelbee.com/

    More about the book: http://vivianeelbee.com/teachgiraffetoski.html

    If you can’t afford to buy this book consider leaving a review or requesting your library buy this book!

  • Books

    Odd One Out

    Nic Stone’s, “Odd One Out” isn’t what I expected. Mostly unexpected because when Matthew Winner talked with Nic about her book on his podcast I missed the part about the book being divided into three point of views. It threw me off, but the story is put together so well! Once I realized this it was fantastic, though I do want to hear more from each character’s POV. I have heard there will be a sequel! If you want to hear Matthew Winner’s Children’s Book Podcast #508 with Nic Stone go here: http://www.matthewcwinner.com/single-post/Nic-Stone

    Story

    There are three main characters in this story. They are Courtney, Rae and Juniper. Courney is a basketball player and off season cheerleader. He starts off the story and it’s soon revealed that he compares all girls he dates to Juniper. Rae loves word puzzles and becomes a flyer with a bit of help from Courney. She’s had a boyfriend in the past and is most likely straight, but that doesn’t stop Juniper from crushing on her. Juniper is confident and loves music. She is determined to only give the charms of her bracelet (each representing an intimate act) to the right girl. 

    OOO
    inside book

    The story has all the elements of an average love triangle in this book, but this is not your average love triangle. In your average love triangle A likes B, and B likes C and sometimes C likes A or B. In this love triangle Courtney likes Juniper. Juniper likes Rae. But does C like B, or A? Could B like A even though B just likes girls? There is a lot of questions characters ask themselves about their sexuality. The answers to these questions aren’t as clear as they might appear at the beginning of the book. While lots of things are explained, none of the answers feel set in stone at the end. 

    There is so much that Nic packed into one book. All of the characters are dealing with lots of different life issues outside of romance. I feel like each character goes through a full journey of self discovery that’s intertwined and also independent of the other characters. 

    The characters are all fully developed in this book. There are side characters that may seem shallow at first, but all of the side characters feel real. Nic Stone does an amazing job making the teens in the book feel like real teens and their actions make sense.  There were things in the book that made me scream at the book “DON’T DO THAT” and the characters don’t listen. Sex does happen. Bad things happen. “Odd One Out” is such a good read!

    I am overwhelmed with how much I liked this book. I wish I had books like this when I was younger. It’s definitely one of my MUST READ books for everyone. If you’ll excuse me I’m going to go order “Dear Martin” from my library.

    Buy the Book

    Buy the Book: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781101939567?aff=penguinrandom

    Nic Stone’s Website: http://www.nicstone.info/

    More about the book: https://www.getunderlined.com/books/534051/odd-one-out-by-nic-stone/

    If you can’t afford to buy this book consider leaving a review or requesting your library buy this book!

    book back
  • Books

    The Prince and the Dressmaker

    My aim is to review one book every week. I will be doing a lot of picture books, because I usually have time to read a few of those. I’m only going to be talking about books I like. I’m also going to try to stick with books written in the past couple of years. I read “The Prince and the Dressmaker” by Jen Wang, and it gave me the push I needed to start reviewing books. This book just happens to be an awesome graphic novel!

    This is my first step into doing book reviews, and I hope I almost had the text done for this post before I said anything about the actual story. I also realize that I sent this out without any images. I’m a bit new at this so stop judging me! 

    —–

    Story

    Not long after Frances is offered a job by a secret patron who turns out to be the prince. Sebastian (the prince) wants Frances to make dresses for him. What happens next is a wonderful journey of self discovery for the both of them. 

    The story starts with Frances a dressmaker. What I love about Frances is that she seems to look into people’s souls and knows how to make dresses that are perfectly them. She quickly gets into trouble by making the perfect scandalous dress for a Lady.

    It is a roller coaster of feelings throughout the story. All the bad things that can happen, do happen! There is so much nice in the book that it all balances out in the end. 

    Art

    The Prince and the Dressmaker has everything 7 year old me loved when deciding adult me would become a fashion designer. That obviously never happened. (I didn’t even try, but I know I’d be an awesome fashion designer.)

    There are so many beautiful frilly dresses in this book! I love them all but my favorites are Lady Sophia Rohan’s dress (page 12), The first dress she makes for Sebastian/Lady Crystallia (page 50) and the magical dress (page 266). 

    Jen’s whimsical art style is absolutely perfect. I don’t know that I would change anything. Well I would want a second book, or just another book with Jen creating dresses! I adore everything about this book and will be looking for more books by Jen Wang in the future!

    Get the Book

    Buy the Book: https://www.powells.com/book/the-prince-and-the-dressmaker-9781626723634

    Jen Wang’s Website: http://jenwang.net/

    More about the book: http://jenwang.net/archives/939

    If you can’t afford to buy this book consider leaving a review or requesting your library buy this book!