Dad of Divas' Reviews: November 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Review - A Web by Isabelle Simler

A Web by Isabelle Simler



About the Book
From New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book artist Isabelle Simler, a picture book (and nature guide!) to linger over.


  • In nature, there is much to see.
  • Look closely as a spider -- both a collector and an artist -- skillfully crafts a masterpiece from all that falls into her path.
  • Patient and observant, she appreciates all the wonders that make up her landscape -- from ferns and feathers to bugs and butterflies.
  • Readers will come back again and again to the luscious and intricate illustrations, soaking up all of Simler's delicate details.
  • 48 pages.
  • Picture book measures 13'' wide x 9'' high.
  • Full color throughout.
  • Sturdy hardcover binding with dust jacket.


Isabelle Simler graduated from the Graduate School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, France. She is the author and illustrator of several childrens picture books, including Plume, which was selected by the New York Times as one of the Best Illustrated Childrens Books of 2017. She lives and works in Paris.


My Take on the Book
This was a beautiful book that allows the reader to see nature in a very different way.The book uses language that does not talk down to the reader but instead provides the reader an opportunity to learn and grow throughout the book. The images are beautiful and so realistic. You can tell that the illustrations were painstakingly created and as you read this you will find that you will linger over the illustrations simply enjoying the beauty of them all.  You also learn so much as you go through the book! This was such a great book that people of all ages can enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review - Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow



About the Book
This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history's most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In a stirring account of emancipation, the struggle for citizenship and national reunion, and the advent of racial segregation, the renowned Harvard scholar delivers a book that is illuminating and timely. Real-life accounts drive the narrative, spanning the half century between the Civil War and Birth of a Nation. Here, you will come face-to-face with the people and events of Reconstruction's noble democratic experiment, its tragic undermining, and the drawing of a new "color line" in the long Jim Crow era that followed. In introducing young readers to them, and to the resiliency of the African American people at times of progress and betrayal, Professor Gates shares a history that remains vitally relevant today.



My Take on the Book
This is such a powerful book written for middle school aged readers that will really open their eyes to this important time in the history of our nation. The book is written in a way that all will completely draw you in and you will meet people that are so inspiring in so many ways. The author really knows his history and as you move through this book you are transported into history along with him. This book is one that I am so glad that I read because I learned a ton from reading this. I read this with my daughter and we both did not want to put this down, as each chapter brings more and more amazing insights into people and experiences that will keep you coming back for more.

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Book Review - Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! 100 Years

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! 100 Years



About the Book

Ripley's Believe It or Not! is globally renowned as the authority on the weird, the eccentric, and the amazing. Ripley's Believe It or Not! provides entertaining books for children of all ages which educates and informs them in a humorous style. The Ripley brand is known around the world as a trend-setting source of family-friendly fun and excitement! Every day the researchers at Ripley's are busy digging up the craziest true stories and the most unbelievable facts.

From its inception in 1918 and the days of Robert Ripley’s travels and broadcasts to the creation of the first BION and the company’s proud publishing history through the years after Ripley’s death to the incredible collections and the expansion into a world-class attractions company, fans and friends of the brand will be inspired, awed, and amazed. This book is a spectacular artifact of an American icon that people will want to make a part of their own collection and enjoy again and again.


My Take on the Book
This is an amazing book. I have read all of the new books as they have come out, but this book is so much more than the regular books. Not only is this book about twice as large (in size) but it is also offers you over 250 pages of awe-inspiring information. The book has pull out images and more. BY the end of the book you will have learned so much and you will be bringing in facts that will completely floor your friends. The book has beautiful images and it also has a great information that was put together in a way that makes you want to keep reading from start to finish. My daughter and I loved reading this together and you will too!

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Book Review - Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls

Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls



About the Book

Inspired by Kate T. Parker’s internationally bestselling Strong Is the New Pretty, which Drew Barrymore called “the first thing in a while to kind of knock me off my feet,” this guided journal invites girls ages 8 to 12 to discover and celebrate their independent, wild, silly, powerful selves.

Illustrated with favorite photographs from the book Strong Is the New Pretty (as well as more than 20 brand-new images), each page features an inspiring, interactive prompt that encourages writing, doodling, and creative self-expression:


  • Draw a picture of yourself as a superhero—what is your superpower?
  • Invent a new language, and write down some translations here.
  • What makes you unique? List three things about you that make you different.


As girls make their way through the journal, it becomes a source of motivation to be their most powerful selves. It’s a personal keepsake to revisit again and again.


My Take on the Book
This is a great book with so many great activities. The book is a book that really allows readers to think about their lives and their future in a different way. The book encourages kids to use creativity to be kind. Also, the book asks a lot of questions that helps to inspire and to build confidence for young readers. I loved the questions and my daughter loved going through the book for herself. She would carry the book around with her no matter where she was going so she could finish the journal. At the end she told me how fun the journal was!



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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Review - Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves

Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves



About the Book

Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves.

Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images.

A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.



My Take on the Book
As a father of daughters this book is one that I would recommend to anyone that has a daughter. The book does an amazing job at promoting and showing girls that being strong is a good thing and something that all girls should do. I have read this book with my daughters and they kept asking me to read just a bit more. I think that while this book may be made to be a coffee table book, it is also a great book that is one that will be good for kids to read along with with parents. What I loved was that the book offers inspiration and motivation for all who read this. This is a book I would highly recommend to all!

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Book Review - Eerie Elementary: The Art Show Attacks!

Eerie Elementary: The Art Show Attacks!



About the Book

Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In the ninth book of this spooky series, Eerie Elementary is having an art show. Sam is working on his project for the show when suddenly the clay he's working with comes ALIVE! Then Sam and his friends start seeing signs of mad scientist Orson Eerie everywhere. First Orson's face mysteriously appears on a painting, then he leads them to a new, secret room in the school. What is Orson up to this time? Is he trying to spread his creepy power outside school grounds yet again? Sam and his friends need to act FAST!




My Take on the Book
Great addition to the series. My daughter has read all of the other books in this series so she was excited to see what would happen in this book. This book brings back the characters that you love and you will love to see what mysteries and fun come out in this book as we thoroughly enjoyed reading it. These books are quick reads, but every page compels you to keep reading. This was a great addition to the series!

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Book Review - American Girl: Like Sisters - Caitlin in Charge

American Girl: Like Sisters - Caitlin in Charge



About the Book
What animal makes the loudest sound?

Caitlin knows it's the blue whale, of course! She has a talent for trivia and is delighted when Emma, Zoe, and Natalia vote her captain of their school trivia team. She's determined to lead them to victory through multiple levels of competition-all the way to the top prize, a trip to New York City!

But being a team captain is more complicated than Caitlin thought it would be. Her drive to win is starting to create a rift between her and the other girls. When a potential advantage for an upcoming contest falls in her lap, Caitlin has to decide what to do. Is this the big break her team needs. . . or is it cheating?



My Take on the Book
This is a great addition to the American Girl series. The book was easy to read and had some great characters that your kids will love. The book introduces the characters to some challenging situations that they must overcome. My daughter liked seeing how the characters in this book had to work through the challenges to figure out the situation for themselves. As a dad, I loved that the book had a great plot, but also characters that were not one dimensional. I also loved that the characters had to figure out issues together and along the way they teach the reader some valuable lessons.

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Book Review - Disney Villains: The Evilest of Them All

Disney Villains: The Evilest of Them All



About the Book


Dive into the devilish thoughts of Disney’s most masterful villains and become a part of the story . . . for better or for worse.

WANTED: The most evil, wicked, abhorrent, vile villain to ever curse this world . . . or any others.

A villain acting vile is merely part of the job description . . . but which of Disney’s famed scoundrels is the evilest of them all? Dive into the devilish thoughts of The Evil Queen, Jafar, Ursula, and more as they recall their most wicked achievements. With gatefolds and lift-the-flaps, readers can dive into minds of the best of the worst in this fun read for Disney fans of all ages.
Villains Include...

  • Evil Queen (Snow White)
  • Jafar (Aladdin)
  • Mother Gothel (Rapunzel)
  • Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
  • Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
  • Scar (Lion King)
  • Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
  • Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Malificent (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland) Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
  • Hades (Hercules)
  • Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)


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My Take on the Book
If you are a fan of the Disney Villains you will want to read this book. What is great about this book is that it allows you to get inside of these characters' minds to then be able to see their stories and their world in a different way.  This was a guide that really gives you insight into each villain. The villains even get the opportunity to justify their actions. The book is a fun read that any Disney fan will love.


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Monday, November 5, 2018

Book Review - The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms: An Extended Novelization

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms: An Extended Novelization



About the Book

This dazzling novel will not only retell the moving story from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, but half of the book will expand and explore the world of the Walt Disney Studios film with brand-new, exclusive content. Complete with beautiful full-page chapter opener illustrations and never-before-seen details that add new depth to the story, this novel will have readers eager to step into the resplendent world of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for generations to come.



My Take on the Book
This book goes deeper than other books that I have seen about The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The book has a great story line and the characters throughout the book are amazingly vibrant. The book examines all aspects of the story and prepares you more than other books I have read to see the movie. The plot even has a bit of a twist that I was not expecting!

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Book Review - The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Read-Along Storybook and CD


The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Read-Along Storybook and CD



About the Book

Follow along in this captivating Read-Along Storybook and journey to a strange and magical world where a young girl named Clara meets a soldier named Phillip, a gang of mice, and regents who preside over the Realms. Complete with word-for-word narration, original character voices, sound effects, and enchanting stills from the film itself, there's no better way to revisit The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Transport back into a world alive with song, dance, and the magic of storytelling!



My Take on the Book
This book will walk you through the movie and by playing the CD you will hear actual voices from the movie too. The book gives you a great walk through of the movie and with the voices you will get to know the actual characters as well. This is a quick read that really gives you a great way to get to know the characters and the movie!

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Book Review - The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms



About the Book
With breathtaking painterly illustrations, a deeply enchanting story, and a foreword written by celebrated dancer Misty Copeland, this picture book brings The Nutcracker and the Four Realms to life in a brand-new way. As the adventure from the film jumps off of the screen and onto the page, a new generation of readers and fans will be drawn in and enchanted by the holiday spirit, the beauty of dance, and the magic of storytelling.


My Take on the Book
This book has amazing illustrations and really walks you through the story of the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. This is a great story that makes me even more excited to see the new Disney movie. In reading this to my own daughter she echoed my own thoughts on the story. This book will really get you excited about the movie!


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