Dad of Divas' Reviews: June 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Review - The Beautiful Lost

The Beautiful Lost

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About the Book
Here are three things to know about Maia:
  1. Ever since her mother left, Maia's struggled with depression -- which once got so bad, she had to go to an institution for a while. She doesn't want to go back.
  2. Maia's sure that if she finds her mother, if the two of them can talk about whale songs and constellations, then everything will be okay again.
  3. She's in love with Billy, the handsome, brooding boy who lives in the group home in town. He doesn't seem to know that Maia exists... until now.
When Maia sets off on a road trip in search of her mom, Billy unexpectedly comes along. They drive up the East Coast, stopping along the way for lobster rolls and lighthouses. Maia learns that Billy has dark secrets of his own -- and wants to outrun his past, too. But what will the future hold if they reach their destination?

From internationally bestselling author Luanne Rice, this is a sweeping, stunning story about the surprising directions our hearts can take.




My Take on the Book
I had not read any of this authors' books in the past but after reading this I can see why people like Luanne Rice. This was a powerful book that brings out great characters and a wonderful story too. In the book readers will connect to the plight of the main character. They may even see something of themselves in her struggles. You will feel the love that she has for Billy as well as better understand the real struggles that she has with depression. The story is real and you come to really care about the characters and what happens to them, This is a powerful book and has some more touchy topics that are dealt with, but in the end it is an amazing book that you will love to read!


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Book Review - And Then Comes Summer

And Then Comes Summer

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About the Book
A joyful, sun-drenched tribute to the anticipation and adventures of the warmest season of the year.

When the days stretch out like a slow yawn, and the cheerful faces of Johnny-jump-ups jump up . . . then it’s time to get ready for summer! From flip-flops and hide-and-seek to fireworks and ice-cream trucks, from lemonade stands and late bedtimes to swimming in the lake and toasting marshmallows, there’s something for everyone in this bright and buoyant celebration of the sunny season. Tom Brenner’s lovely, lyrical ode to summers spent outdoors will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever counted down the days until school gets out, and Jaime Kim’s jubilant, nostalgia-soaked illustrations leave little doubt that summer is indeed a time unlike any other.




My Take on the Book
Summer is always a fun time and this book really celebrates all things summer. The book allows you to remember summers past but also think about summers to come. The illustrations in the book were also a ton of fun and you will find yourself connecting to the characters and what they are going through as you may also be experiencing similar things as your summer progresses.


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Book Review - Papillon Goes to the Vet

Papillon Goes to the Vet

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About the Book
Papillon, the kitty so fluffy he floats, is back! Only this time, he's grounded. Literally.



My Take on the Book
This was a very cute book that brings back an amazing cat. We loved reading the first Papillon book and this book was a great continuation of what we saw in the first book. Highly recommend this and the other book to all!


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Book Review - The Apprentice Witch

The Apprentice Witch

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About the Book
A special middle grade debut of magic and courage in a world of witches, written with the charm and enchantment of Circus Mirandus and The Apothecary.

Arianwyn has flunked her witch's assessment: She's doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch-- much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her.

With every spirit banished, creature helped, and spell cast, Arianwyn starts to get the hang of being a witch--even if she's only an apprentice. But the worst still lies ahead. For a sinister darkness has begun to haunt her spells, and there may be much more at stake than just her pride . . . for Arianwyn and the entire land.




My Take on the Book
This was a great book with a great book of characters that I would love to see again in the future. The book was a ton of fun and the action makes the book a compelling read throughout the book too. I loved the premise and how witches were there to help other humans. You really get to see how witches have celebrity status and how one witch to be has to struggle to learn the craft and to make her place. While this book is geared toward younger readers as an adult I also enjoyed the story too. You will fall in love with Arianwyn and from the beginning you will see how special she is.


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Book Review - Wandmaker's Apprentice


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About the Book
Henry Leach the Eighth and his sister, Brianna, have survived a faulty spell, defeated a wicked spellcaster, and saved the world . . . but their greatest accomplishment might be convincing Grand Wand Master Coralis to take them on as official apprentices.

For the first time in centuries, the reclusive Wand Master has opened the doors to his castle and invited a new generation of Wandmakers to learn the secrets of the craft. But danger lurks around every corner in a world of magic, curses, and fantastical beasts. And the greatest threat of all may come from within the Wandmakers' own ranks.

Perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Charlie Bone, the Wandmaker series puts a humorous spin on magical coming-of-age stories.




My Take on the Book
WOW, this was a fast read. I found myself entranced by the story, the action, the humor and more. As someone that enjoys a bit of magic, this book really brings you on a journey that was a ton of fun to experience with characters that I would love to see in another story in the future!


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Book Review - Eden Summer


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About the Book
It starts like any other day for Jess. Get up, draw on eyeliner, cover up tattoos, and head to school. But soon it's clear that this is no ordinary day, because Jess's best friend, Eden, isn't at school . . . she's gone missing.

Jess knows she must do everything in her power to find Eden. Before the unthinkable happens.

So Jess decides to retrace the life-changing summer she and Eden have just spent together. But looking back means digging up all their buried secrets, and she soon begins to question everything she thought the summer had been about, and everything she thought she knew about her best friend . . .

A tense and moving journey through friendship, loss, betrayal, and self-discovery, Eden Summer, will plunge its way into your heart and stay there forever.




My Take on the Book
This was a great book that explores friendship in a new way. The book is a powerful read and really allows you to connect with the characters and the plot itself. You find yourself wanting to find out what happens next and this makes the book move along very quickly. This is a book that holds nothing back and you will be entranced by the power of the friendship you will find.


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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review - Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time


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About the Book
Stop Procrastinating

Get More of the Important Things Done—Today!

There just isn't enough time for everything on our to-do list—and there never will be. Successful people don't try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure those get done. They eat their frogs.

There's an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're done with the worst thing you'll have to do all day. For Tracy, eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task—but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life. Eat That Frog! shows you how to organize each day so you can zero in on these critical tasks and accomplish them efficiently and effectively.

In this fully revised and updated edition, Tracy adds two new chapters. The first explains how you can use technology to remind yourself of what is most important and protect yourself from what is least important. The second offers advice for maintaining focus in our era of constant distractions, electronic and otherwise.

But one thing remains unchanged: Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination. This life-changing book will ensure that you get more of your important tasks done—today!




My Take on the Book
This is a great book that will make you rethink the processes and the things that you do and how you do them. Too often we get stuck in the world around ourselves. We start things that we do not finish and we procrastinate. This book provides simple ideas and exercises that you can implement right away. These ideas, tips and exercises will allow you to be more productive and more efficient in the things that you do and will help you to complete the projects that you start too!

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Book Review - Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag: An Oh Susannah Story

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag: An Oh Susannah Story
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About the Book
From award-winning author Carole P. Roman comes a new chapter book featuring Susannah Logan, a young student having a very bad day. It all begins with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover that she doesn't want to go to. Would you want to go to a sleepover in a creepy house? Rather than dealing with her problems, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack. But how much can a backpack take? Will she be able to confront her worries before the backpack bursts? Or will she just continue to hide them away? Join Susannah and her friends in this story sure to charm busy young readers everywhere.



My Take on the Book
Sometimes everyone feels like the main character in this book. There are times when we all feel overwhelmed. This book really allows you to think about dealing with stress in a new way. The book is a quick read but has a ton of great messages spread throughout the book. I loved that one of the take-homes was to ask for help to get the assistance that you need as there are so many people out there that are willing to assist!

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Book Review - Teddy the Terrible

Teddy the Terrible

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About the Book
''Run for your life!'' ''Take cover!'' ''The monster is coming!''

No one knows why Teddy the Terrible -- the little local ''monster'' -- is such a bully. He picks on frogs, frightens the squirrels, and steals food from the baby boars. He is a terrible terror! . . . That is, until he meets someone bigger than him. What happens when Teddy the Terrible comes face to face with a big, full-grown bear? She gives him something that he s never been given before -- and his life is forever changed.

Hardcover with dust jacket
34 pages
Ages 4 to 8
Full color throughout
9-1/2 inches wide by 11-1/4 inches high.

Christian Jolibois, born in Les Yvelines, France, is an author, screenwriter, and stage director. He dedicated the first part of his life to theater and started writing stories for children when he became a dad. Marianne Barcilon was born in Paris. A graduate of the Beaux-Arts de Cergy-Pontoise and Bordeaux, she also studied animation at the Ecole des metiers de l'image, in Paris. Marianne lives in the Parisian suburbs with her son, daughter, and husband.



My Take on the Book
This is a rhyming story that will delight you and your child. Teddy is a bully and as you read the story, you will see visually how he is mean to the other animals. He deliberately takes food away from them, shakes them from trees, says mean things, and scares little creatures. There is a different Teddy in the evening as he goes home alone.

I love the ending as Teddy tries once again to bully another creature. However this time the bigger bear decides to show Teddy love and kindness. Teddy is transformed and changed. Maybe bullies are not receiving the love , friendship , and kindness they need to become kind and gentle creatures/people.

A good story to talk about, but also to enjoy with the delightful illustrations and rhyming verse.

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Book Review - Rosie and Crayon

Rosie and Crayon
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About the Book
Rosie and her pup, named Crayon, lead readers through the colorful seasons of growing up together and what it means to love . . . and then experience loss. After a long, colorful life, Crayon dies, and Rosie s world becomes black and white. We follow along as she processes her grief and embarks on the most important journey of all -- opening one s heart to love again.

  • 34 pages
  • Hardcover with dust jacket
  • 8-3/4 inches wide by 11-1/4 inches high


Deborah Marcero received her BFA in drawing and photography from the University of Michigan, and her MFA in poetry from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her debut childrens picture book, Ursa s Light, received a Starred Review from Booklist, which described it as ''a visual standout.'' Rosie and Crayon is Deborah s second Peter Pauper Press picture book.


My Take on the Book
Deborah Marcero has written a heartfelt story about a little girl and her dog crayon. If you have a pet, you can understand the relationship of love, kindness, and fun that a child and their pet share. You can also relate to the grief and loss when that pet dies.

Rosie had to work through her grief. With the help of a boy who had lost his cat, Rosie was able to look beyond her own grief and help the boy.

The author did an amazing job of showing the love Rosie had for her pet. She used beautiful colors in her illustrations while Crayon , Rosie's dog, was alive. However as soon as Crayon died, the illustrations reverted to black , white and gray which definitely reflected Rosie's feelings. The ending brings back the color.

This is an excellent story to share with your child and discuss the feelings the characters displayed.

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Book Review - Blue Sky Yellow Kite


Blue Sky Yellow Kite

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About the Book
Here is a beautiful, poetic picture book about discovering one of the most beautiful treasures of all -- friendship.


  • Daisy sees a yellow kite flying in the sky and is immediately taken with it. It leads her to a young boy, William, who lives on the other side of the hill.
  • William shares the kite with Daisy and shows her how to fly it. But before she knows it, Daisy is running away, back to her home -- with Williams kite.
  • Daisys elation over the kite turns to guilt, a feeling that keeps her awake all night.
  • Having the treasured kite doesnt seem as important anymore. Will Daisy be able to right her wrongs?
  • 32 pages.
  • Full-color illustrations throughout.
  • Hardcover picture book with dust jacket.
  • 8-1/2 by 11-1/4 inches high.


Author Janet A. Holmes was born and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. After completing an Arts Degree at the University of Western Australia, Janet worked as a research assistant. Following a Graduate Diploma in Education, she worked as a teacher-librarian in a primary school. She then moved to Canberra, Australia, where she currently resides and writes.

As a little boy, illustrator Jonathan Bentley liked soccer and drawing. When he was about eight years old he realized that he might not be good enough to play soccer professionally and so he concentrated on drawing instead. He likes to work with a range of materials including acrylics, oils, and line and watercolor. Jonathan looks forward to the day when he has a big barn-like studio somewhere in the countryside.



My Take on the Book
It was a beautiful day with sunny blue skies and a good stiff breeze. Daisy was outside and saw a kite that William was flying. Being a good friend William allowed her to use the kite, but Daisy ran off with it. You can only imagine how William felt as his kite was taken after he shared it with Daisy. 

This is a beautiful and sensitive story about friendship, forgiveness, and kindness.

The authors created the perfect ending as Daisy returns the kite and William helps her make a kite of her own. There is much to discuss with your child about the events and actions of the characters as you read this story.
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Book Review - If You Were Me an Lived in...Cuba: If You Were Me and Lived in...

If You Were Me an Lived in...Cuba: If You Were Me and Lived in...

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About the Book
Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the exciting island of Cuba in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the Caribbean to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the country through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.



My Take on the Book
While I have heard a lot about Cuba over the years I have never visited there and really did not know a lot about the country. This book allows you to get inside of the country and better understand the people, the culture, the food and other customs. In short, the book really allows you to get inside of the country and allows you to leave with a better understanding of the overall country in general!


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review - Mom and Me: An Art Journal to Share: Create and Connect Side by Side

Mom and Me: An Art Journal to Share: Create and Connect Side by Side

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About the Book
This full-color art journal for moms and kids to color and draw together in is designed to be a sharing experience. Mom and child can write each other letters, draw what scares them, imagine what they want to be when they are grown up, color a scene using only one favorite color, whatever their imaginations lead them to!

Mom and Me: An Art Journal to Share is filled with fun hand-lettering and artwork from Bethany Robertson along with creative prompts from licensed art therapist Lacy Mucklow.

Mucklow offers up the best ways to communicate with a child through creating together; how to start an open conversation with your child; questions you can ask that will help generate thoughtful responses; and how to tailor the quality time so it's still fun and engaging for your child.

This art journal has 50 full-color spreads to color, fill in, draw, and more. Each spread has a creative prompt or another exercise for mom and child to fill out together.



My Take on the Book
Even though this is called Mom and Me, as a dad I used this with my daughter and we still had a ton of fun The book is filler with great prompts that get you to think, engage, react and more. The whole idea is allowing you to be create with your child, but also to engage with your child too. The book allows you to be open with feelings and really to delve into topics that might otherwise be harder to talk about. This is a type of book that, when completed, could be a book that you could go back to many years from now and cherish!


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Book Review - Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets

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About the Book
Your hand lettering contains a little bit of you! It expresses what you have to say, and demonstrates your creativity in all your communications. In Hand Lettering A to Z, artist and author Abbey Sy has invited four international artists--Meg Hyland, Joao Neves, Tessa Go, and Lisa Lorek--to join her in designing all new alphabets for you to draw and use in many different languages.

You don’t have to be a trained artist to master the art of hand lettering. These alphabets are for every skill level, and will suits any taste: colorful, or black and white, classic or just plain fun. It’s all about getting creative with the twenty-six letters and a little bit of you.



My Take on the Book
A great book that will walk you through the process of creating some very cool letters that you can use on cards, projects and more. If you love to create hand-made graphics or artwork that uses lettering, this book will definitely help you make some sustainable changes that will really stand out!


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Book Review - Mastering Excellence: A Leader's Guide to Aligning Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience & Measures of Success

Mastering Excellence: A Leader's Guide to Aligning Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience & Measures of Success

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About the Book
This book is for leaders with high expectations, a vision of the possible, urgency to engage employees and impatience for results that improve the lives of many others. If you are looking for the road map to dramatic success, this is it. Mastering Excellence provides you with a new way to think about work and customers, an elegantly simple framework and tools you can immediately apply to transform your organization and your role in it. Based on the author’s 30 years of work with organizations of all kinds and sizes, including multi-nationals, small start-ups, government agencies, healthcare, education and defense, you get an engaging and practical speedway to dramatic change you would not think possible. There are many approaches to change. Most emphasize process improvement. They use tools that are mathematical, analytical and operational in nature and assume that the absence of things gone wrong is equivalent to achieving excellence. That focuses on minimums, not optimums. Virtually none provides an integrated strategic system that begins with articulating purpose from the customer’s perspective, uses linguistics to reveal and destroy the ambiguities we allow to persist, and redefines knowledge and service work in tangible, countable ways we can design for excellence. This book does that and far more. As the CEO, executive change leader or consultant to leadership, you want customers that are enthused, employees that are engaged and fast, highly visible results. Eye-popping savings, customer wait times cut by 90%, strong revenue growth and an avalanche of customer kudos are the kinds of sustainable and continuing results many Masters of Excellence have achieved. This provides the means and rewires your brain to understand how. Ambiguity, Vital Lies, complexity and the fragmented pursuit of excellence are hidden barriers this book systematically destroys. The reader’s mind gets rewired in surprising ways, enabling clarity of thought and purpose that is easily tied to deployment. Practical application reinforces and makes memorable every key idea. Many examples are paired with how-to’s the reader can immediately apply. Robin Lawton follows his first book, 5-star ranked on Amazon, with MASTERING EXCELLENCE. This engaging, practical and thought-leading read is for leaders seeking a strategic systems approach to customer-centered organizational transformation.



My Take on the Book
This is a practical book that explores the concepts of alignment. The book is filled with a ton of great examples that will help you better conceptualize the concepts that are being shared by the author. The book also explores outcomes and how what we produce have to be aligned with what what we are providing to others too. The book is truly set up to walk you step-by-step through the things that you need to do to make a transformation within your own organization. There are assessments you can use and more! The book is entertaining and informative and you will find that the advice that is being provided is such that you can put it to work right away!


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Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review - Gabby Duran: Multiple Mayhem

Gabby Duran: Multiple Mayhem

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About the Book
CASE FILE: The Third (and fourth and fifth and sixth . . . ) Unsittable

SUMMARY: Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, Sitter to the Unsittables, has proven herself an integral member of A.L.I.E.N.--the Association Linking Intergalactics and Earthlings as Neighbors. She has amassed an impressive roster of alien clients, and is a trusted babysitter among humans and intergalactics alike. We here at A.L.I.E.N. are proud to call her one of our greatest success stories, and believe she is ready to take on more responsibility.

Which is why Gabby has now been entrusted with the care of one of our most volatile charges. His name is One and he's a member of the Tridecalleon species. While One and his parents present the appearance of a normal, human family, they have some intriguing qualities that make caring for their young a unique challenge. And while, under normal circumstances, inviting outsiders to aid an agent with an Unsittable job would be strictly forbidden, we have decided to forgive Gabby calling in her friends Satchel and Zee in this case. After all, a babysitter only has so many hands. (Unless, of course, he or she is a Flarknartian.)

Making this highly unstable situation an even greater challenge? Gabby has also been assigned to protect a very dangerous object--one that, if it falls into the wrong hands, could cause the destruction of Earth itself. It remains to be seen whether Gabby and her friends are able to handle the demands of eleven . . . wait, twelve . . . no, thirteen babies, while ensuring the safety of the world at the same time. All we can do is wait, and hope, and trust. And ready our escape pods.



My Take on the Book
Another great book from the Gabby Duran series! We love this character and my daughter and I always enjoy seeing what kind of fun, action, humor and more will come up in these books and this book did not disappoint. The book is a quick read and you will find that there are not only fun ideas about babysitting but also some great connections to STEM and some hidden learning gems too! If you have never read a Gabby Duran story in the past, it is about time to start!


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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Book Review - The Jolley-Rogers and the Monster's Gold

The Jolley-Rogers and the Monster's Gold

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About the Book
Ahoy there, shipmates! Join Jim Lad and Matilda as they sail the seven seas (and the coast of Dull-on-Sea) in search of treasure in this latest adventure from Jonny Duddle featuring the Jolley-Rogers.

When Matilda discovers a treasure map inside an old bottle, she shows it to the Jolley-Rogers and they all set sail to find the mysterious island on the map. Unfortunately, they end up in the belly of the dastardly Pirate Cruncher! Can Matilda and the rest of the Jolly-Rogers rescue themselves before it is too late? Or will they end up trapped there forever? Expect adventure, laughs, and perhaps an almighty sneeze.



My Take on the Book
Matilda is fishing with her father when she reels in a bottle with a treasure map. The map will lead Matilda, her friend Jim Lad , and the Jolley Rogers to an island where a sea monster guards a huge treasure chest of gold. In this chapter book which is meant for ages 6-9, the crew find an island inhabited by a pirate , a huge number of monkeys and scarlet parrots. As you read the story you will understand the importance of the parrots in thwarting the sea monster's devouring of the crew. In an interesting twist to the story , Matilda and Jim find themselves in the monster's belly along with discovering 91 old pirates who live there. Quick thinking helps them escape and the old pirates , Matilda, and her friends/family live comfortable back at home. The story is full of action and will keep the reader engaged throughout the story.
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