Tag Archives: children’s book

Book Review: Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford

Self Published
January 17th 2019

With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible!

Join Timothy on a magical rhyming adventure as he skips through time and pranks with pirates, gets daring with dragons, and even teases a T-Rex! – Goodreads

I would like to thank the author, William A.E. Ford for reaching out to me and sending me an arc to one of the most adorable picture books, I have read in a long time.

Timothy Mean builds this time machine at a point of looking for something new to do and as fast as he can think of it, he goes to another time period.

What I loved about this is it gave me the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day feel. Yes, they are two different books but something about this read made me feel very nostalgic and I was for it.

I loved the artwork. Its whimsical with bold colors that doesn’t take away too much from the text.


Book Review: The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Ryan Andrews (illustrator)

Candlewick Press
Aug. 7th, 32018
416 Pages

Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business.

Fortunately, his family is willing to give it a try. But is the Dollar Program too good to be true? The homes are in horrible shape, and the locals are less than welcoming. Will Millville and the dollar house be the answer to the Grovers’ troubles? Or will they find they’ve traded one set of problems for another? From the author of Small as an Elephant and Paper Things comes a heart-tugging novel about guilt and grief, family and friendship, and, above all, community. -Goodreads

Long read but definitely worth it. There were a lot of messages/themes within this book. However, the biggest one that bothered me the most or should I say affected me the most was how the adults treated the new families, specifically the children.

The whole purpose of those families moving into these crap houses, is to fix them up and bring business into a dying a community. But the town, which voted for each family, are fairly rude and disrespectful to new comers. This occurs throughout the entire book and it really bothers me. New comers to a town, school, work anything is very hard to deal with it. It is even worst when people generally don’t want you there. I felt so bad, mostly for the kids, who were being call the dollar kids by the adults.

The shooting of Abe is an important part of the book but it stays a bit in the back burner. It’s the elephant in the room that doesn’t exactly show itself all the time but you know it is there. When the truth comes out and that guilt is released, you exhale because its the tension within the novel and you’re just happy to let it go.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It is simple but then complicated (in a good way) with overlapping issues that push the reader’s involvement on a emotional level. You are able to connect to the characters, not just Lowen but to everyone in the family and that is a hard thing to do as a writer knowing that more than likely adults will read your book.

I would recommend this read, especially for kids who need to see grief play out and see a different way to deal with your past and what looks like your future.

3 Pickles

Book Review: Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers’ Club by Robert J. Harris

Kelpies TBP: June 15, 2017
TBP: June 15, 2017

Artie Conan Doyle is 12 years old and while in the future he will write the great Sherlock Holmes for now he has to deal with the mystery before him. When sneaking out with his best friend, Ham, to explore Greyfriars Kirkyard, the two spot a woman in grey walking through a cemetery and footprints of enormous hound.

Not one to look past questions, Artie, with the reluctance of Ham, follow clues to discover a series robberies that will lead to a villain that Artie may not be able to defeat.

Jumping right in, I would recommend this read to children who have not been introduced to Sherlock Holmes. It is a really creative spin to focus on the author as a child. Yes, it has been done with Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland) but only to a certain extent.

What I liked about this book is how the author was able to show the reader glimpse of Sherlock, without actually mentioning it. I enjoyed the personal struggle Artie goes through, although it is not the full focus it is a starting point in the book and a good one I might add. It shows, for a lack of better term, a human emotion/reaction other than curiosity and the need to solve something. I appreciated that.  I also loved how the story was told through Artie and not by his friend Ham or some random voice. It was a better read because of that.

The pace of the novel was acceptable. At one point, it did feel like the book was going nowhere but with the turning point(s) it added more depth to the novel. Character development was non-existing but I didn’t have an issue with this. The way the author wrote this book, there wasn’t any real need for it. Did some things change? Yes. Did any characters change? Kind of. One character, side character, a fairly key character experienced a significant change but it didn’t really apply to the mystery.

Overall, I would recommend this to my nieces and any child that wants a good mystery. As an adult I am glad I found this series.

4 Pickles


NetGalley Review: Don’t Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine

St. Martin's Griffin To Be Published April 17, 2015 304 Pages
St. Martin’s Griffin
To Be Published April 17, 2015
304 Pages

After the car accident that left her father dead and her mother in a case, Lisa has been haunted by nightmares and is forced to see a doctor.

When her doctor suggests for Lisa to take a job baby sitting, she immediately find a position watching a young boy on fear street. But what she thought would be easy money turned out to be the biggest mistake of her life. 

I love R. L. Stine. I am a loyal fan for life but that doesn’t mean that I will always love his stuff. The thing about this read is that it was good but I would love it more if I was 13 years old.

Lisa isn’t really like-able. She was a brat before the accident and a brat after. She also couldn’t tell the truth for the life of her, which is interesting because the only thing she felt comfortable telling anyone was the monsters she sees.

Another issue I had with this book was the “romance.” I feel that it was added to appeal to Young Adults but it was as lackluster and felt forced. Lisa made it seem as if she was forced to be with him. There was also an issue with all the relationships. I didn’t understand why Lisa or any of the characters are friends. It doesn’t feel like a friendship there is no emotions no love within it.

Also the book was misleading. You feel that Lisa’s nightmares are tied into what she thinks she sees but that isn’t the case. I felt that this read although filled my need for a R.L. Stine it didn’t meet the expectations of a horror book.

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

Katherine Tegen Books Published May 6, 2014 496 Pages
Katherine Tegen Books
Published May 6, 2014
496 Pages

Kara Westfall is six-years-old when her mother is killed for being a witch. Many years after her mother’s death, Kara and her brother are being shunned by the village and their father is in a almost child like state. 

The dark woods called the Thickety are filled with creatures and evil magic. It is  forbidden in the town, however the woods are calling Kara. When she finds a strange book, she believes belongs to her mother, things become complicated for a little girl trying to stay as normal as possible.

When I see a book that involves magic, a town that watches everyone and dark woods, I am immediately drawn to it because I am expecting twists, turns, and secrets on top of secrets . . . even if it is a children’s book.

However, this book fell short and was boring for most of the book. Kara spends a lot of time trying to prove that she is normal and because of that I really didn’t see or feel her personality. Her younger brother Taff had more personality and enthusiasm than she did. He even had more emotion when it came to their mother than Kara did which was weird considering the fact that she was there when she died and had her for 6 year before.

But despite the one dimensional character what made this book hard for me to push through was the fact that beside the big two questions “was her mother really a witch? and why does the dark woods want her?” there was nothing else left in the book.

2 Pickles

Children’s Book Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee


Knopf Books for Young Readers Published Jan. 28, 2014 240 Pages
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 28, 2014
240 Pages

Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard believes that nothing is true unless science can back it up. Since her mother died, her father has been working like crazy at a odd museum and her sister, Alice, has been isolating herself.  

Let to her own devices in this museum, Ophelia discovers a boy locked in a hidden room, who says he is prisoner to the Snow Queen and he needs Ophelia’s help (although she is late).

All that Ophelia has known is about to be tested as she tries to save the boy and ultimately save the world.  

Such a wonderful story! The most important thing I loved about Ophelia was the fact that she wasn’t afraid to say what needed to be said. If she didn’t believe something then she questioned it and if she felt things weren’t the way they were supposed to be she questioned it. Granted being curious backfires but I liked the fact that Ophelia didn’t take things as they were.

I also liked the fact that there were three different types of grieving. The father threw himself into his work, the sister isolated herself and then attached herself to the first older woman to show her attention and Ophelia spoke to her mother’s ghost.  The story itself was creative and had a fairy tale to it; evil witch wanting to live forever threatening to kill anyone in her way. It did get a bit creepy but I have a sense the author realized as such and moved the focus.

What I didn’t like about the book was the simple ending. It was as if the author was like okay I’m done. There are parts of the ending I completely love but the overall ending wasn’t the greatest for such a wonderful story. Overall this book gets 4 Pickles.

Book Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Published Aug. 27, 2013 416 Pages
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Published Aug. 27, 2013
416 Pages

Life couldn’t get much worst for Olivia Stellatella. Her mother left her, her father and Grandmother. Her neglectful father, a maestro of a failing orchestra moved her and her Grandmother in the broken down concert hall to save money. Her only friend is a cat named Igor.

However, although Olivia can’t believe her situation, things get more complicated when she meets four ghost who have asked for her help to cross over. 

So with the help of the most popular boy in school, who also happens to work at the concert hall, Olivia makes it her mission to help the ghost. But when helping the dead, life itself becomes deadly.

I loved this book the moment it started. The author did  a great job of reeling me in and keeping me there. When the story opens, you’re with Olivia as she moves into her new home. There is no horrible, boring lead up to the action. You know about Olivia’s past (or at least the important parts) in the beginning of the book as well as throughout the book. That reminded me and it could have been a reminder to Olivia why the way she was.

I also liked the fact that Olivia wasn’t necessarily a emotionally withdrawn girl. She had feelings and although a lot of it was anger, she was able to express herself as well as hide them if need be. Another thing I liked was the fact that she grew as a character throughout the book. In the beginning she didn’t want to get close to people outside of her Grandmother but she grew to accept love and I really appreciate that especially since she is such a young character.

The only flaw I have with this book is it was long. No it didn’t feel dragging nor did it feel like the author was reaching. However, I noticed the length of the book because that is just my pet peeve.

Overall this book gets 4.5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Sherlock, Lupin & Me: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler

Capstone Young Readers   Published Feb. 1, 2014              240 Pages
Capstone Young Readers
Published Feb. 1, 2014
240 Pages

Irene Adler is on vacation with her family. When trying to escape cleaning, she finds William Sherlock Holmes and the battle of wits begin. Lupin, Sherlock’ friend, joins the two and soon they are off exploring.

But when they find a body washed up on the beach, all the fun is gone and a mystery begins.

As much as I appreciate a good Sherlock Holmes story, it has been forever since I’ve read one. None the less, this book was surprisingly a really great read.

Firstly, for those who only know of Holmes, the story introduces Irene, who has been in the Holmes early stories. Lupin is actually a world class thief (fictional), not in one Holmes stories, but in a story created by French writer Maurice Leblanc.

Anyway, Irene is a brat. She is an only child, who doesn’t like to stay home and has issues with her mother and completely adores her ever working father. But despite the fact that she is a brat, I actually really loved her character. She was bright and open-minded. Despite the fact that when she didn’t get her way she made a fit, she was still a like-able character.

Holmes wasn’t as much of a jerk or know it all and according to Irene that is because he is young. I liked him because he actually allowed (maybe because of his inexperience) Irene and Lupin to find answers and be right. He didn’t have his hand in everything.

Lupin was a breath of fresh air. He is portrayed extremely young in this book and is really like-able. I picture him with a head of ruffle hair, a bit buff with a really cute smile.

The writing was great, easy to read and fast. The suspense was still there as well as a shock factor. The story was well weaved and descriptive. I loved it. Overall it gets 5 Pickles.



NetGalley Review: Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb

         Sourcebooks Jabberwocky  To Be Published April 1, 2014
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
To Be Published April 1, 2014

*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book to the Rose Series. Rose has found out that she is a magician and that powerful one at that. In this book she is no longer a poor orphan but a servant girl as well as a magician’s apprentice to the King’s magician.

But when Rose begins to get comfortable in her position, the kingdom’s beloved Princess goes missing and it is said that a dark magician has done the deed. Now it is up to Rose to find the Princess before the world she just entered is no more.

This book is purely for children. It is not fast pace and there isn’t a lot of action but it can keep a child’s attention. What I liked about the book was the constant drawing in it did. Rose was a bit whinny for a girl who in the first book defeated a evil witch but you feel her excitement and her growth.

I also like how there aren’t a billion and one questions that need to be answered. The problems that are in this book for the most part stay within this book. The only on going issue is her parents and what happened to them. I like how the book stayed focus and I feel that is really important in a children’s book, especially a series.

The only downside beyond Rose and her whinny self is the book was boring. Because of the fact that there wasn’t much action happening in the majority of this book, I lost focus. I expected more action when a Princess is missing and expected even more because this is a book dealing about someone learning to use magic.

I also expected more fight out of Rose but she was too scare throughout most of the book and it was too unbecoming.

Overall the book gets: 4 Pickles

P.S. Don’t you just love that cover!

How Cute! Book Review: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

       HarperCollins  Published Sept. 17,  2013            114 Pages
Published Sept. 17, 2013
114 Pages

This book is so adorable and perfect for kids.

Two children wake up to eat breakfast and discover that there is no milk. Their father sets out to get milk from the corner store but he takes longer than normal.

This book was more bubbly than you would expect from author Neil Gaiman. Nothing dark about it not even the aliens.

But it did stay true to his nature by adding talking dinosaurs, ponies, aliens and time travel. This a really quick read filled with great black and white illustrations done by Skottie Young.

I thought the book was really creative and really detailed, which is a trait I love from Gaiman. Although this is a short review I highly recommend this book.

Overall for a children’s book it gets a 10 out of 10.




Tania loves long walks in the park, ice cream and horror movies. When not studying communications, she is cyber stalking GCH follow her twitter here 



Don’t forget to like & Share :)