Sunday, September 22, 2013

Three 2013 Picture Books

Lost Cat. C. Roger Mader. 2013. (October 2013). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Ever since Slipper was a tiny kitten, she'd lived with a little old lady in a little old house in a little old town. Slipper was well cared for: tasty food, a brushing every day, and a little rug to sleep on, right beside the lady's bed, next to the fluffy slippers she loved so much. Life was good.

The title says it all. Slipper, the cat, is forgotten on moving day. Her owner whom we simply know as "Mrs. Fluffy Slippers" appears to have forgotten her in her packing. Slipper tries to follow the moving van, but soon tires. Mrs. Fluffy Slippers returns to the house for Slipper, but the cat is gone. Many people see Slipper and want to take her home. But she doesn't want to go with just anyone...

This book has the happiest of endings. A nice twist that adults might predict but might surprise younger readers. I like the story just fine. But I really like the illustrations. The illustrations are so beautiful. Cat lovers should be quite pleased! One thing you'll notice is that they provide a cat's point of view in that everything is seen on the level of a cat. All the humans in the story are only seen from the knees down.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Summer Saltz: I'm So Hollywood. Connie Sewell. Illustrated by Elyse Whittaker-Paek. 2013. Tiny Hands Publishing. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

My name is Summer Saltz. My mom says she loves summertime and that's why she named me Summer. My dad says my name fits me to a tee. "Fits me to a tee?" I ask. My mom says that's a figure of speech and it means my name fits me perfectly. Well, I think what fits me perfectly is anything Pink. I love Pink! And another thing that fits me to a tee are my new white sunglasses.

Summer Saltz, our heroine, is given the compliment that she is "so Hollywood." Not quite understanding the figure of speech, Summer decides to be so Hollywood all the time. She loves dressing up and showing off! She wants to be one-of-a-kind. But things don't always go as planned. Her best friend? Well, she has the exact same sunglasses. And when Summer's own glasses break, well, Summer is understandably upset...

The text of this one is quite fun. The repeating trend seems to be Summer not quite understanding all the phrases (the figures of speech) that her parents and relatives use around her. She repeats them quite well, but, interprets them her own way. The illustrations are super-cute. My favorite is probably the illustration of her (big) dog Penelope. The text reads "How do you put a DOG in a purse?" (Summer had a brand new pink cupcake purse!)

I liked getting to know Summer, Penelope (her dog) and Molly (her best friend).

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair. Kate Bernheimer. Illustrated by Jake Parker. 2013. Random House. 40 pages.

There once was a girl who wouldn't brush her hair. Her hair was wonderful--bear-brown and wavy. The girl also had a doll that looked just like her, except the doll had no hair and was only a baby. The doll's name was Baby. After the girl's bath every evening, she'd pile a turban upon her head and pretend she was queen. At bedtime, she would unravel the turban and let her hair fall down in a tangled heap. No brushing. "It's just my way," she explained to the grown-ups.

This book has a good premise: a little girl who refuses to brush her hair learns a lesson slowly but surely. She does seem slow in learning it, however. It is not enough for one mouse to make a nest in her hair and take up residence. It's not even enough for three dozen mice to take up residence in her hair. The mice are unruly, bossy, and nocturnal...

It's a fun and playful story starring a very stubborn heroine. The illustrations, in a way, are just as fun as the text itself. I liked seeing what the mice were doing in each picture. The story has a good resolution too. This story reminded me--in a good way--of a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle story.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2013 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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