June 5, 2014

[Book Review] Meet Kirsten: An American Girl (American Girls: Kirsten #1) by Janet Beeler Shaw

In the summer of 1854, after a long and dangerous journey on a small ship, Kirsten Larson and her family arrive in America. Everything in the new land is different from the small village Kirsten left behind in Sweden. The way people dress, how they talk, and the ways they travel all seem strange to her. Will she ever feel at home in this new place? Getting lost in a big city and parting with her best friend make her wonder. It is only when the Larsons arrive at a tiny farm on the edge of the frontier that Kirsten believes Papa’s promise--America will be a land filled with happy opportunity for all of them.

June 4, 2014

[Book Review] The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.

What is Duncan to do? Debut author Drew Daywalt and New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers create a colorful solution in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

So, The Day the Crayons Quit is fairly acclaimed, as far as year-old picture books go. It won the 2013 Goodreads Choice Award for picture books, which is how I discovered it (and, no, before you ask, it was not my vote; I favored The Dark by Lemony Snicket). I've seen it called "laugh-out-loud funny", "the best new children's book of 2013", "one of the best picture books of all time", "a winner for sure", etcetera--just about any praise you can come up with, this book's received it from somebody. And, uh, I ain't seeing it.

Sure, it's a cute book. The crayons are pissed about their repetitive lives--they keep being used for the same things!--and they rebel. Little Duncan learns to think outside the box, so to speak. Yadda, yadda, the end. That's a really typical kidlit message right there, and I think I've seen it so many times that I simply cannot be bothered to care about another delivery that isn't outright fantastic. And while The Day the Crayons Quit is an entertaining concept, it's also kind of a one-note gimmick. I can't really be amused for thirty pages about the idea of angsty crayons, and I'm kind of surprised that so many people can.

Me, I can totally take it or leave it.

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June 3, 2014

Top Ten Books in My Beach Bag Today

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

[Book Review] Shrek the Third: Friends and Foes by Catherine Hapka

Friends and Foes is a (mostly) complete recap of Dreamworks' Shrek the Third; I say mostly because it is a bit more abridged than is justified by the length restriction, in my opinion--it cuts Fiona's pregnancy, the King's on-screen death scene, and Rapunzel's betrayal of the other princesses... the first two of which are pretty damn important to the movie's plot.

Cuts aside, the art is interesting. Instead of matching movie screencaps with words, like the other Shrek the Third picture books I've seen, Friends and Foes translates the 3D CGI art style of the Shrek franchise into a 2D traditional art style. It works rather well, but I noticed that the Ugly Stepsister gets unfortunately gussied up in the transition; she's much more feminine in Friends and Foes than in the movies themselves.

It's another one of those books/reviews when I want to just say, "Watch the movie!" because, frankly, this doesn't add anything to the experience of seeing the film (and it's not a great film to begin with). But I suppose it's a good way to reinforce reading skills for Shrek fans... assuming there are any fans of Shrek the Third.

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June 2, 2014

[Book Review] Shrek the Third: Royally Wrong by Annie Auerbach

Royally Wrong is a picture book adaptation of a scene from Shrek the Third; specifically, it's the lead-up to Shrek's quest to fetch King Arthur. The subplot about Fiona's pregnancy, which is present in the movie's version of this scene, is cut entirely.

Frankly, there's no real reason for this book. If your child desperately needs reading comprehension and basic language skills reinforced and also loves the third Shrek movie, perhaps it'll be a good book for you.

Otherwise, it's just another piece of rather pointless kiddie flick merchandise. *shrug*

Want to buy this novelization or one of the Shrek movies? Refused by the Call is an Amazon Affiliate; support the blog by buying from one of the links below!

June 1, 2014

Showcase Sunday [2014 #7]

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme from Books, Biscuits, and Tea.

[Reading Challenge] Clean Sweep ARC Results

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge ends today, and I'm ready to post my results. If you happened to see my goal post, you may recall that the list of books I had hopes of reading was quite huge. I didn't read nearly as much as I'd hoped to this May, but I didn't do terribly. Here's what I managed.