Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: Tinker and Tom and the Star Baby

An amazing artist that claims to have started drawing when he was two years old, David McPhail is a well known and loved illustrator/author.  His water colored illustrations and use of animal characters create his signature style and both are included in this wonderfully imaginative story about a boy, a bear and a star baby from outer space.  Tinker and Tom can’t sleep and while staring out at the stars spot a bright star that falls into the backyard.  When they go to investigate they find a baby star inside of a spaceship.  Tinker and Tom must work together to figure out a way to get Star Baby’s ship running and return the baby to its mother.  I love the idea of a baby star that actually looks and acts like a real baby.  Both the story and sweet illustrations evoke a warm feeling of childhood dreams and believing in the impossible.

Title:  Tinker and Tom and the star baby

Author/Illustrator:  David McPhail

Publisher:  Little Brown and Company

ISBN:  0-316-56349-8


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Book Review: A Monster Calls

This powerfully moving book is about loss and coming to terms with grief.  This dark story features thirteen-year-old Conner who has awoken from his nightmare.  It is the nightmare that started when his mother first began her cancer treatments and the one that he can not fathom telling anyone about.  However, he awakens to face a new kind of monster, an ancient creature made from the old yew tree in the back yard.  The monster continues to visit Conner at seven minutes past midnight, sharing three stories and demanding only one thing of Conner… his story, his truth.

The original idea for this story comes from Siobhan Dowd, an acclaimed young adult author who died from cancer before finishing this book.  Patrick Ness was given her beginning and continued to write the amazing and deeply sad story of young Conner.  Glossy pages are filled with dark drawings and sketches that contribute greatly to the overall feel of the story.  See the drawings come to life in this book trailer.

This was a difficult book for me to read due to the recent loss of my father to cancer.  Many tears were shed while reading, but I was impressed with Ness’s ability to tackle the complexity of feelings that children face when dealing with the prolonged sickness and death of a parent or loved one.

Title:  A monster calls

Author:  Patrick Ness (Siobhan Dowd)

Illustrator:  Jim Kay

Publisher:  Candlewick Press

ISBN:  9781406311525

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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Family, Fantasy, Young Adult


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Book Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Grace Lin spins a magical story that weaves her own versions of traditional Chinese folktales with the adventures of a poor, young, farm girl named Minli.  As Minli sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon from her father’s stories and change her family’s fortune, she encounters mystical friends such as a talking goldfish, the lucky twins and a flightless dragon.  One of the many reasons I adored this book was the wonderful message that unfolds as the reader begins to link each story along Minli’s journey.  Additionally each chapter opens with a beautiful full-color illustration by the author.  There are discussion questions included in the back of the book and the author’s website includes a wonderful book trailer and corresponding activities.  This book is recommended for grades 3-6.  It has won numerous awards including the 2010 Newbery Honor Award. A nominee for the Oregon Reader’s Choice Awards and part of 2011/2012 Oregon Battle of the Books (3rd – 5th grade).

Title:  Where the mountain meets the mon

Author/Illustrator:  Grace Lin

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

ISBN:  0316114278


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