Dad of Divas' Reviews

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Book Review - The Beatryce Prophecy

The Beatryce Prophecy



About the Book

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world.
We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all—for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories—powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves—ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her—a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone—will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo’s lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.
 

My Take on the Book
I have been a huge fan of this author ever since my own kids were young. This book was an absolute delight when it came to the story but also the characters within the book. As you read this book you will find yourself smiling as well as feeling deeply for the characters themselves. The author does an amazing job at allowing you to feel and experience the world of the book and because of this, you will find that this book is one that you will not soon forget!


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Book Review - When We Say Black Lives Matter

When We Say Black Lives Matter



About the Book

In a powerful, poetic missive, award-winning author-illustrator Maxine Beneba Clarke celebrates the meaning behind the words Black Lives Matter.

Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter,
we’re saying Black people are wonderful-strong.
That we deserve to be treated with basic respect,
and that history’s done us wrong. . . .

Darling, when we sing that Black Lives Matter,
and we’re dancing through the streets,
we’re saying: fear will not destroy our joy,
defiance in our feet.

In this joyful exploration of the Black Lives Matter motto, a loving narrator relays to a young Black child the strength and resonance behind the words. In family life, through school and beyond, the refrains echo and gain in power, among vignettes of protests and scenes of ancestors creating music on djembe drums. With deeply saturated illustrations rendered in jewel tones, Maxine Beneba Clarke offers a gorgeous, moving, and essential picture book.
 

My Take on the Book
This is an amazing book that intertwines poetry with a message that is powerful. The images and prose work together to create a tableau that allows you and your whole family to better understand, appreciate and advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. The book really explores inequity and what that means and as a family it provides you with a way to broach a topic that needs to be addressed!

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Book Review - The Midnight Fair

The Midnight Fair



About the Book

As darkness falls on the fairgrounds, the animals venture out of the woods for one magical, memorable night! An exhilarating wordless picture book.

Far from the city, but not quite the countryside, lies a fairground. When night comes and the fair is empty, something unexpected happens. Wild animals emerge from the forest, a brave raccoon pulls a lever, and the roller coasters and rides explode back into bright, neon life. It’s time for the woodland creatures to head to the fair! In a gorgeous wordless picture book, author Gideon Sterer and illustrator Mariachiara Di Giorgio offer an exuberant take on what animals are up to when humans are asleep. Suffused with color and light, the panel illustrations celebrate the inherent humor and joy in deer flying by on chair-swings, a bear winning a stuffed bear, three weasels carrying a soft pretzel, and a badger driving a bumper car. With thrills both spectacular and subtle, Midnight Fair will have readers punching their tickets again and again to revel in this fantastic nocturnal world.


My Take on the Book
This is a beautiful book. The illustrations leap off the page and you will be transported from beginning to end into the action and world of the fairground. While the book is wordless, the illustrations alone let you or your child the story in their own way. You will love to see how the animals make the fairground their home away from home. This is an amazing book that you will want to read over and over again!


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Book Review - The Rock from the Sky

The Rock from the Sky


Look up! From the Caldecott Medal–winning creator of the hat trilogy comes a new deadpan gem.

There is a spot.
It is a good spot.
It is the perfect spot to stand.
There is no reason to ever leave.
But somewhere above there is also a rock.
A rock from the sky.

Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.
 
About the Book


My Take on the Book
This was a very fun book. The author brings in a dry humor in the writing but also the illustrations. The story itself brings in a lot of cultural connections that you will be able to connect with. Every time that you read this you will notice something a little bit different. The book is also written in a way that young readers will be able to connect with. All-in-all this was a wonderful book that will make you chuckle but also will draw you in from beginning to end!


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Book Review - Amber and Clay


Amber and Clay




About the Book

The Newbery Medal–winning author of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! gives readers a virtuoso performance in verse in this profoundly original epic pitched just right for fans of poetry, history, mythology, and fantasy.
 
Welcome to ancient Greece as only genius storyteller Laura Amy Schlitz can conjure it. In a warlike land of wind and sunlight, “ringed by a restless sea,” live Rhaskos and Melisto, spiritual twins with little in common beyond the violent and mysterious forces that dictate their lives. A Thracian slave in a Greek household, Rhaskos is as common as clay, a stable boy worth less than a donkey, much less a horse. Wrenched from his mother at a tender age, he nurtures in secret, aided by Socrates, his passions for art and philosophy. Melisto is a spoiled aristocrat, a girl as precious as amber but willful and wild. She’ll marry and be tamed—the curse of all highborn girls—but risk her life for a season first to serve Artemis, goddess of the hunt.
 
Bound by destiny, Melisto and Rhaskos—Amber and Clay—never meet in the flesh. By the time they do, one of them is a ghost. But the thin line between life and death is just one boundary their unlikely friendship crosses. It takes an army of snarky gods and fearsome goddesses, slaves and masters, mothers and philosophers to help shape their story into a gorgeously distilled, symphonic tour de force.
Blending verse, prose, and illustrated archaeological “artifacts,” this is a tale that vividly transcends time, an indelible reminder of the power of language to illuminate the over- and underworlds of human history.


My Take on the Book
This was a wonderfully written book! The story captures your attention from beginning to end. The characters are flushed out well and you really feel that you can connect well with these characters. The book has a mix of poetry and prose to create a piece of literature that is truly unique! If you enjoy Greek mythology this is a book that you will love. The author also really takes you on a journey through time as the story plays out which makes the story memorable. 

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Book Review - Merci Suárez Can't Dance

Merci Suárez Can't Dance



About the Book

In Meg Medina’s follow-up to her Newbery Medal–winning novel, Merci takes on seventh grade, with all its travails of friendship, family, love—and finding your rhythm.
 
Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suárez. For science she’s got no-nonsense Mr. Ellis, who expects her to be a smart as her brother, Roli. She’s been assigned to co-manage the tiny school store with Wilson Bellevue, a boy she barely knows, but whom she might actually like. And she’s tangling again with classmate Edna Santos, who is bossier and more obnoxious than ever now that she is in charge of the annual Heart Ball.
 
One thing is for sure, though: Merci Suárez can’t dance—not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else. Dancing makes her almost as queasy as love does, especially now that Tía Inés, her merengue-teaching aunt, has a new man in her life. Unfortunately, Merci can’t seem to avoid love or dance for very long. She used to talk about everything with her grandfather, Lolo, but with his Alzheimer’s getting worse each day, whom can she trust to help her make sense of all the new things happening in her life? The Suárez family is back in a touching, funny story about growing up and discovering love’s many forms, including how we learn to love and believe in ourselves.
 

My Take on the Book
The author continues to bring you a great follow up to her amazing first book in the series. The characters are ones that you can relate to and cultural nuance that will draw you in and keep you connected from page one to the end of the book. In this book Merci is in a new school and that beings many challenges that she has to address. On top of this, she is also having to deal with the fact that her grandfather now has Alzheimer's and there is a sense of loss that she is struggling with. Outside of this, there are so many other characters that are so fun. You will love this book and stepping back into Merci's world.



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Book Review - The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain



About the Book

With a masterful mix of comic timing and disarming poignancy, Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin offers a memoir of growing up in Cold War Russia.

Drama, family secrets, and a KGB spy in his own kitchen! How will Yevgeny ever fulfill his parents’ dream that he become a national hero when he doesn’t even have his own room? He’s not a star athlete or a legendary ballet dancer. In the tiny apartment he shares with his Baryshnikov-obsessed mother, poetry-loving father, continually outraged grandmother, and safely talented brother, all Yevgeny has is his little pencil, the underside of a massive table, and the doodles that could change everything. With equal amounts charm and solemnity, award-winning author and artist Eugene Yelchin recounts in hilarious detail his childhood in Cold War Russia as a young boy desperate to understand his place in his family.
 

My Take on the Book
This is a book that allows you to see life in a world that may be so foreign to the one that you know. While the story is serious and I sometimes the story is sad. That being said it is also a story told through humor. You get brought into the day-to-day life of one family that is living in a society that represses life. You get to see this society through the eyes of a child when adults will not allow him to know what is happening and why is happening.  In the end you leave this book with a much broader sense of life in a whole new world and you leave it with a better appreciation for the life that you have. 

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