Monday, August 13, 2012

Four 2012 Picture Books

Jangles. David Shannon. 2012. Scholastic. (October) 32 pages.

When the sun goes down and the weather's just right, Big Lake gets smooth as glass and a thin mist whispers across it. That's when you might catch a glimpse of Jangles. My father told me lots of stories, but my favorite was about a giant trout he saw when he was a kid. I still remember sitting with him in front of the big stone fireplace at the cabin. He pulled out a dirty green tackle box and shook it a couple times so it rattled. Then he told me this story....

My review: I found this one dark and creepy. The author probably wasn't going for scary-creepy-dark-and-disturbing, I think I brought that along with me. But there *was* something disturbing about the art to me. I can't help that. The text of the story itself is fantastical. It is a celebration of storytelling, perhaps. Not that I exactly appreciated the subject of the storytelling: the big fish that always, always gets away. I can see this one appealing to fish enthusiasts. For boys who love going fishing with their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, etc. But for me, it didn't appeal at all.

Read Jangles
    •    If you love fishing
    •    If you love tall tales
    •    If you love books that celebrate fathers telling stories to their sons

Bailey at the Museum. Harry Bliss. 2012. Scholastic. (September) 32 pages.

Today is the school trip. Bailey is excited.

My review:  I believe this is not the first picture book starring Bailey. Anyway, Bailey is a dog in Mrs. Smith's class. (His classmates are all human.) He is very, very, very excited to be going to the museum. As are most of the other students. But Bailey has a way of getting into trouble--more trouble--than the other members of the class. He gets into so much trouble that he has to have a new partner for the day, a guard.

Read Bailey at the Museum
    •    If you like silly picture books starring trouble-making dogs.
    •    If you like picture books about field trips and museums.

It's Duffy Time. Audrey and Don Wood. 2012. Scholastic. (October) 40 pages.

Oh no!
Duffy overslept!
The air smells like breakfast.
Duffy races into the kitchen and asks for a bite to eat.
"Not yet," his mistress says.
"It's time to go out and potty."
So Duffy does.
Waiting at the door in the warm sunshine makes Duffy sleepy, so he takes his before breakfast nap.

My review: This one was very, very cute. I think for dog-lovers especially, it will be a must read. This book celebrates dogs and their doggy habits. What does Duffy love? Well, Duffy does love playing. And he does love eating. But most of all Duffy loves to take naps. He takes before breakfast naps, after breakfast naps, midmorning naps, early afternoon naps, etc. The text is just fun. And I'd definitely recommend it for those that love dogs.

Read It's Duffy Time
    •    If you love dogs
    •    If you love naps
    •    If you love Audrey and Don Wood

Tabby McTat: The Musical Cat. Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. 2012. Scholastic. December. 32 pages.

Tabby McTat was a busker's cat with a meow that was loud and strong. The two of them sang of this and that, and people threw coins in the old checked hat, and this was their favorite song: "Me, you, and the old guitar, how perfectly, perfectly happy we are. Meee-ew and the old guitar, how purrrr-fectly happy we are."

My review: I do love cats. And I do love music. But oddly enough this picture book about a musical cat just didn't work for me. It was definitely an almost book for me. Tabby McTat becomes distracted one day by an oh-so-lovely cat with green eyes. He becomes so distracted that he doesn't notice that Fred, the busker, has been robbed and in the process of chasing the thief, he breaks a leg and has to go to the hospital. Later when he is somewhat less distracted and ready to return to his work, Fred is gone. He thinks Fred has left him, abandoned him. So he finds a new home  (with his lady friend) and in due time three kittens are born. Meanwhile, part of him still misses Fred. And this missing-Fred grows and grows until he decides one day to leave his new family and go in search of his old. He does find Fred, but, he also finds that the musical life is no longer for him. However, one of his kittens, seems to be a perfect match for Fred.  This one was so odd! And slightly disturbing in some ways!

Read Tabby McTat

    •    If you like/love cats
    •    If you like/love music, traveling musicians

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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