Category Archives: Picture Books

The Girl Who Said Sorry by Hayoung Yim

Title: The Girl Who Said Sorry
Author: Hayoung Yim
Illustrator: Marta M.
Genre: Children’s Fiction , Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Self-published
Publishing date: 5th of October 2017
ISBN: 9780993717482

Synopsis: Too girly or too boyish. Too thin or too fat. Too quiet, too loud. Be ambitious, but don’t hurt feelings. Be inquisitive, but don’t interrupt. Be outspoken, but don’t be bossy. Most of all, be yourself — but be a lady. What’s a girl to do in a world filled with contradicting gender expectations, aside from saying sorry?

My Review:

The Girl Who Said Sorry is a short and easy read, this is a book intended for 4 – 8 year olds. It does serve a good narrative for all the things that girls are told to do but not to do from an early age on. This is a picture book, and the illustrations are simplistic and colours are used sparingly. I think the design goes very well with the books theme.
This book does cover a topic in great need for coverage, and I think it that this book could definitely help both child and parent. This book could potentially help a little girl to get on the path of discovering herself.

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Illegal Aliens

Title:Illegal Aliens
Series: Aoleon The Martian Girl-Part 4
Author: Brent LeVasseur
Genre: Children’s Science Fiction
Publisher: Aoléon Press
Publishing date: February 1st 2015
ISBN:B00T3P4S92

Synopsis: After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoléon’s parents are being held captive.

My Review:

This series quickly loses its charm on me. During the first few books I found it charming, but in the fourth book I just find the storyline annoying and too much is going on all over the place. The description of the book says that we will finally figure out whether or not they can save Aoleon’s parents, but nope that doesn’t happen. It seems like someone wrote the description then someone else wrote the book and they never bothered with checking the two against each other. Much of the humor that made the books funny and endurable before has went underground just like Aleoon’s father (which we never hear anything about anymore).

Cottonmouth and the End

Title: Cottonmouth and the End
Series: Cottonmouth #3
Author: C. S. Fritz
Publisher: David C Cook
Publishing date: May 1 2015
ISBN: 9781434706911
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: Not everyone has a furry beast for a best friend. But Freddie does. Tug loved Freddie so much he gave his life for him, then came back to life and left the boy with three mysterious gifts. Now Freddie’s determined to find Tug … but to do so, he must first discover the secrets of the gifts.

My Review:

Cottonmouth and the End is the conclusion to the story of Freddie and his journey. Yellowthroat is still with him. The dark land he has entered will again test him, and he meets Menson the Deceiver again. In this book the parallel to the Gospel is much clearer than in the first two, but the story can still be enjoyed without adding religious dogma to the interpretation. It is a story of spiritual growth and moral. It shows us that there is nothing to be feared in the dark other than our own mind. Tug the King of the Great Blue makes a grand Aslanic entrance back into the story after Freddie has faced his final trials. All loose ties are tied up in the ending, I know where Freddie is going, I know where his parents are and I have a feeling of completion.
Again, the illustrations are great, but simplistic, and they are accompanying the words rather than drawing all the attention.

Cottonmouth and the Great Gift

Title: Cottonmouth and the Great Gift
Series: Cottonmouth #2
Author: C. S. Fritz
Publisher: David C Cook
Publishing date: September 1st, 2014
ISBN: 9781434706904
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis:When his best friend comes back to life, Freddie is determined they’ll never be apart again. But to find him, Freddie must rely on three mysterious gifts Tug left him.

My review:

Again we meet little Freddy who is alone in his house. It takes a little while before Tug shows up with the task he has for Freddie. Alone, with only a bird, Yellowthroat, as a friend Freddie has to set out on a dangerous mission, to deliver a black egg to a sad girl.
The illustrations are still as spectacular and simplistic as in the previous book. The narrative is easy to follow and it’s just enough text.

“Tug was silent for what felt like many long minutes, and right as Frederick was opening his mouth to break the silence, Tug spoke listen very closely …Frederick. I have to tell you something very important. I need you to do something for me. I need you to go and deliver something to someone who is in grave despair. I don’t want you to be naïve, Frederic, this is a dangerous thing I ask of you.”

It is easy to see how this story is a retelling of the ascension of Christ into heaven as an adult reading the story, but the hints are not overwhelming which makes the book readable outside of a religious context as well. It is a story of struggles and friendship, which everyone can relate to.

Cottonmouth and the River

Title: Cottonmouth and the River
Series: Freddie Cottonmouth #1
Author:C. S. Fritz
Publisher: David C Cook
Publishing date: May 1st, 2014
ISBN: 9780781410335
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: Meet Freddie Cottonmouth – A Boy Who Loves the River, Big Adventures, and a Furry Beast named Tug.

My Review:
The story of the lonely boy Cottonmouth, is a rather sad one. The little boy has lost both his parents, and he lives in an empty house alone. Every day he goes to the river, hoping for his parents to return. It is rather unclear whether his parents left him or if they died, though from the sound of the story I would guess that they are dead.
The monster Tug is a rather interesting character, and made me think of “Where the Wild Things Are” though he does not possess the anger or “the Wild Things”
The simplicity of the illustrations adds to this rather straight forward story. Cottonmouth finds an egg that can grant him anything he wishes (but not the return of his parents), but he must never eat it. Of course he is struck with temptation, and must face the consequences of his actions. It is a very moralistic sort of story.
The story is rather grim, but it has a few up-notes. It’s ending has a pretty clear hint to what’s to come next.

Luna’s Red Hat

Author: Emmi Smid
Publisher:  Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Publishing Date: 21.04.2015
Purchase linkamazon.co.uk
ISBN: 9781849056298

Synopsis: An Illustrated Storybook to Help Children Cope with Loss and Suicide

My Review:
Luna’s Red Hat takes up the important subject of suicide, a little discussed  taboo topic in our society. Following a beautifully illustrated story of one day in Luna’s life, we get to know how she lost her mother just a year ago and we see a father who is struggling with helping Luna understand what happened as well as coming to terms with his loss.

Through the story Luna behaves realistically, though her thoughts might not be as genuine as her behavior. The loss and the lack of understanding of what happened, has made her frustrated and angry. Her father pulls er through and help her understand is small, clear words what happened to her mother as well as explaining that it was not Luna or any one else’s fault.

As well as containing the small story of Luna and her little family the book ends with an informative essay by Dr. Riet Fiddelaers Jaspers. The essay outlines how to tell a child about such a thing as suicide, and why it is important to actually let the child know what happened.

This book is designed to help children deal with loss and suicide, but I believe adults also could benefit from reading it.

The Night Horses

Title: The Night Horses
Author: Anaka Jones
Publisher: Anaka Jones
Publishing Date:: 26.02.2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
ISBN: 9781452882789

Synopsis:
In “The Night Horses”, Anaka Jones creates a playful children’s book that imagines the secret lives of barn horses who chatter, chow, play and work all while their owners are away.

My Review:
The Night Horses is a short, comedic story about a day in a horse lives. All the horses at the stable are presented to the reader, and then the fun begins. The story doesn’t have any sort of plot, but it is a well-rounded story, and it is humorous that the horses are given human characteristics. For example one of the horses is a comedian during the night, and two other horses does each other’s hair and make up.
I did find the story cut and funny, but I don’t feel like it is one I will read again. It should have been a bit more of a story in the book. Maybe if the book was twice as long (it only has fourteen pages) it would have some sort of story o it and feel more like a book.

Missing Jack

Author: Rebecca Elliott
Lion Hudson Plc
Published: 20.02.2015

amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

Missing Jack is a nice little book which can help children come to terms with loss. It is a short story about the best cat in the world, but sadly he grew old and died. Though the book the narrator explains why Jack was the best cat in the world, and that he misses Jack. And that is okay. Children need to learn about loss in a safe manner, and they need to learn about death in order to grief.
In the end the narrator comes to terms with the fact that it is okay to get a new cat, but the new cat will not make Jack less special.

I enjoyed reading this book, and even though I’m an adult I did feel a bit sad while reading the part where Jack died.

Pretend Friends (book review)

pretend friendsA story about schizophrenia and 
other illnesses that can cause 
hallucinations 
Author: Alice Hoyle
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Published: 21.02.2015
Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

“Pretend Friends” paints a good picture of psychosis, what it is and how it works. It is written in simple words and uses “pretend friends” as a simile, which makes it easier for a child to relate to and understand the subject.
The story is short but it still gives a lot of information, both for the adult and the child. The child’s pretend friends and the “pretend friends” that portray adults are drawn differently as to better distinguish between the two (without making the latter one look scary).

Also the book features and introduction for adults as well as a F&Q at the end with questions that children might ask after reading the book. The F&Q is very informative as well as being formulated in a way that a child also can understand (with some help from an adult).

I did really enjoy this book and I would also like to see more of these kind of stories to explain other mental illnesses. As the lack of understanding of mental illnesses is evident in out society, I think we could hugely benefit from more books like this one.

All royalties earned by this book goes to support rething.org and their work with mental illnesses!