Thursday, June 30, 2016

[BOOK REVIEW] Pamela Camel by Bill Peet

Title:  Pamela Camel

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Circus / Bravery / Self-Esteem

Year Published: 1984

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Minor Insults)

Buy or Add on:  Amazon  //  Goodreads

Now, it has been awhile since I have read a book by Bill Peet since at one time, I was reading various books by him all at once. I had taken a break from reading Bill Peet’s books due to checking out other picture books at the time and now, I have come back to reading another Bill Peet book, which is called “Pamela Camel” and it was quite an interesting read!

Pamela Camel was a camel who belonged to the Brinkerhoff Brothers Big Top Circus and unfortunately, she could not do any tricks like the other circus animals and she was not considered beautiful.  So, the only thing that Pamela could do is stand in the menagerie tent and be stared at and ridiculed by the bystanders and the worst part is that the bystanders keep calling her “dumb,” “stupid” and “bad-tempered.” One day, Pamela decided that she had enough of her miserable life at the circus and she decides to run away and live in a barn located in the alfalfa field.  But just as Pamela was about to get settled into her new life, she realizes that there is a break in the train tracks and that if she does not warn anyone of the break in the tracks, then the train will meet with a tragic accident!

Can Pamela save the train from crashing?

Read this book to find out!

What I always loved about Bill Peet’s works is that most of his books deal with the importance of being yourself no matter how different you are from other people.  What was so inspiring about this particular book was that it focused on the importance of bravery and it was great seeing that despite the fact that Pamela was not able to perform impressive circus tricks like the other circus animals; she still finds another talent that makes her special and that is her bravery! Bill Peet’s artwork is truly beautiful as I loved the fact that he uses mostly crayons to color in the characters and the settings.  It is rare to see artwork being done entirely in crayon and colored pencils since most artwork in children’s books are done in watercolor paints and Bill Peet has definitely made his artwork stand out by using this traditional style.

The reason why I took off half a point from the rating was because I felt like the pacing for this book was a bit slow in some parts and I almost felt the need to rush through this book just to get to the more interesting bits of the story.

Overall, “Pamela Camel” is a truly inspiring tale about the importance of bravery and the fact that you can find your own special talent if you believe in yourself, which sends a touching message to many children.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book, unless you do not want small children repeating the phrases “dumb” and “stupid.”


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #5: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Hello everyone! "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and the purpose of this event is that we spotlight upcoming releases of books that we are excited for! 

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Title: Nevernight

Author: Jay Kristoff

Expected Publication Date: August 9, 2016
The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
Other than the fact that the cover looks so cool, I'm also interested in a revenge story line that stars an assassin and I really can't wait to see where this book goes!
So, what upcoming books are you looking forward to?  Please respond below!

Monday, June 27, 2016

[BOOK REVIEW] The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco

Title:  The Art of Miss Chew

Author:  Patricia Polacco

Genre:  School / Drama / Family / Art

Year Published: 2012

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Nothing Objectionable)

Now, I have been reading many of Patricia Polacco’s books over the years and even though I continued to be mesmerized by her childhood stories, I have always wondered how Patricia Polacco became such a prolific artist, as well as being an effective storyteller.  So, when I got around to reading one of Patricia Polacco’s newer books “The Art of Miss Chew,” I finally found out how Patricia Polacco became such a talented artist!

After Trisha spent the summer with her grandmother who was a talented artist, Trisha wanted to become an artist herself. Unfortunately, her school does not have an art class that Trisha could participate in until her Irish teacher Mr. Donovan, suggested that Trisha could join a special art class at the high school that is being taught by none other than Miss Chew!  Trisha loved having Miss Chew as her art teacher, as Miss Chew helped Trisha learn the language of art and how she could see the objects she draws in a whole new light.  Unfortunately, a tragic day happened when Mr. Donovan’s father passed away and Mr. Donovan had to attend his father’s funeral, leaving his students in the care of a substitute teacher named Mrs. Spaulding.  Mrs. Spaulding was often cruel towards Trisha as she would not give Trisha enough time to work on her tests, since Trisha was a much slower learner than the other students; and Mrs. Spaulding even threatened to have Trisha thrown out of Miss Chew’s art class since she believed that the art class was distracting Trisha from her studies.

Can Trisha and Miss Chew convince the student board that Trisha should stay in art class?

Read this book to find out!

What I always loved about Patricia Polacco’s works is that her books allow the readers to take a look at her childhood and be inspired by the various teachers that helped her throughout her school life.  I always loved the emotional touches that Patricia Polacco brings to her work as you truly feel her sorrow as she struggles through school due to her learning disability and it was great that she had teachers that really cared about her and try their hardest to help Trisha pass her classes.  As soon as I picked up this book, I knew that I was going to automatically fall in love with both Miss Chew and Mr. Donovan!  Even though Mr. Donovan’s name was not in the title of this book, I loved the fact that Trisha had another teacher who was supportive of her and the fact that he was from Ireland and loved his father dearly really made me love his character!  But let us talk about the true star of this book and that is Miss Chew herself, as she was clearly the one who inspired Trisha to fulfill her lifelong dream to become an artist!  I loved the fact that Miss Chew showed Trisha how to look at the objects she draws in a different light and I also loved the way that she continues to encourage Trisha to follow her dreams of becoming an artist no matter how impossible the odds may be.  I really loved the fact that both Mr. Donovan and Miss Chew were teachers that came from foreign countries (Mr. Donovan came from Ireland and Miss Chew came from China) as it brought a whole new perspective of the teaching experience for young children.  Patricia Polacco’s artwork is magnificent as the characters look so realistic and gorgeous and I loved the fact that we have a book in Patricia Polacco’s works that detailed her inspiration in becoming an artist!

Overall, “The Art of Miss Chew” is a truly beautiful and touching book about the power of art and the importance of supporting students who are struggling in school.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the length of the book might be a bit difficult for some smaller children.