Reviews by MariaK
An Excellent Winter Picturebook
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Five mischievous ducklings play in the snow on a winter day in this charming book. The energetic rhyming text and adorable illustrations perfectly complement this cheerful storyline. An excellent book to read aloud on a snowy afternoon!
Bartie's Back!
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Honestly, I was surprised to see another Bartimaeus book pop up after the extremely...final...nature of the conclusion of Ptolemy's Gate. I was afraid that without the snark-filled interplay between Batimaeus, Nathaniel and Kitty, this book would be somehow lacking, but that was not the case. While I did miss Nathaniel and Kitty, Asmira, Khaba and Solomon are quite interesting enough to make up for their absence. This book does not sequentially follow the original trilogy, but I'd still recommend readers start there -- Bartimaeus' backstory as revealed in the trilogy adds a lot of depth to this story's subtext. Overall, a very enjoyable, witty read! Fans of this series might enjoy Sarah Rees Brennan's "The Demon's Lexicon"-- more demon-summoning magicians, but played for drama instead of laughs.
Sadly Disappointing
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I had heard some promising things about this book, but, when I checked it out, I found it lacking. Both the art and the text is stiff and lacking in fluidity -- especially unsuited to telling a story about something as mobile as a kitten. For a similar story told with more verve, try Kevin Henkes' "Kitten's First Full Moon."
Fascinating and Heartbreaking
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Isabel Wilkerson explores the Great Migration by following three Southern emigrants who left from different cities in different years with different destinations. Through this relatively simple frame, she explores complex sociological issues surrounding race relations in the US. The horror, injustice and human suffering recounted here will break your heart, but it will, hopefully, provide greater insight into modern urban issues. If you like the work of Jonathan Kozol, or Nell Irvin Painter's "The History of White People," this book is a good choice for you.
Zany Magic
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Ingrid Law has created a fun little world for her characters to grow up in -- like "Holes" meets "The Wall and The Wing," with a dash of "A Year Down Yonder" thrown in for good measure. The focus of this book isn't really the zany and chaotic magic that Ledger and his family share, but how Ledger learns to grow up and help those around him reconcile their differences. His 'savvy' and how he learns to use it is almost a metaphor for how everyone else around him grows and changes as the book progresses (you'll understand what I mean when you read it!). The author has a great way with words -- this book is fun to read, if maybe just the slightest bit didactic at times. All in all, a fun, magical coming-of-age tale.