Tag Archives: For the Kids

Book Review: Shadow Warrior: Based on the True Story of a Fearless Ninja and Her Network of Female Spies by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Celia Krampien (Illustrator)

Annick Press
Published Sept. 12, 2017
64 Pages

It’s 1558, and warlords across Japan are battling for territory and control. Into this setting, Tanya Lloyd Kyi weaves the stories of three people: Mochizuki Chiyome, a young woman determined to become a ninja whose plans are thwarted by an arranged marriage; Takeda Shingen (The Tiger), a fierce warlord seeking a new weapon to outsmart his enemies; and Aki, an orphaned tavern girl whose destiny is changed by a mysterious woman.

As their stories intersect, the three characters become key players in an elaborate network of undercover female ninjas who will eventually shift the balance of power in Japan. Based on the true story of Mochizuki Chiyome and her all-female spy network.- Goodreads

*Short Review*

I really enjoyed this. I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up this book but the amount of history and story placed in this quick read was amazing. From the beginning, you are pulled in and you don’t want to leave.

This book is detailed without being dragged out and its colorful and complicated without feeling the author is trying to do too much. My only issue with this read, is I wish it was longer.

I loved how the author moved easily between three different point of views/three different stories. But I wanted to know more about each of them. Not necessarily their past, but what they were doing presently, what happened when the world started changing. I know that this book is meant for children, specifically middle schoolers but this read opened my curiosity to Mochizuki and what women did during this time.

It really is a good starting point for anyone that is mildly interested in badass women.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon by Rena Rocford

Curiosity Quills Press Published Nov. 23, 2015 230 Pages
Curiosity Quills Press
Published Nov. 23, 2015
230 Pages

Allyson has really bad acne; so bad she cakes on make-up to hide it but it doesn’t stop the teasing she experiences at school. It also doesn’t help that she and her mom is constantly moving, so her friends are limited. When she meets Beth, a social outcast, she attaches to her quickly but that isn’t enough to help Allyson feel as if she doesn’t belong. 

The day before her birthday, Allyson finds out that she is part dragon and her best friend Beth is part troll.  Thinking this explains everything, Allyson doesn’t begin questioning life until Beth is accused of kidnapping a unicorn.

To prove her innocence, Allyson and Beth begin a journey to find the kidnappers and along the way find the truth about Allyson’s father. 

One of the most perfect covers I have seen in 2015. I solely picked up this book because of the cover. It was love.

Anyway, this book is for middle schoolers just getting into the fantasy genre. There is no way in the world I would recommend this for a Young Adult or an Adult because it comes off as if the author is trying too hard. So my review is purely from the standpoint of would I let my nieces read it. Bottom line is yes; I wouldn’t mind them reading it.

The author decided to take a less complicated approach with the characters especially Allyson. She took almost everything fairly easy as if being a dragon happens all the time. There wasn’t much emotion out of her until crap couldn’t have gotten worst and then she made it worst.

I didn’t really understand her relationship with her mom. I understand why she was upset at her but the relationship was non-existing; even at the end it was just horrible. I wish there was some development with that. It would have made the ending better for me.

Although I would recommend this to middle schoolers, there was too much going on. It was just condense with almost every kind of fantasy creature. I was a bit over it. I felt that there was no need to have so many. Trolls, unicorns, dragons . . . . blah.

I thought it was nice pace and I also thought it was creative. But it isn’t for adults and I am okay with that. I think this is a wonderful introduction to fantasy for kids.

3 Pickles

For the Kids Book Review: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

    Walden Pond Press    Publsished Sept 27, 2011               312 Pages
Walden Pond Press
Publsished Sept 27, 2011
312 Pages

Hazel and Jack have been friends since they were six years old. They are now in fifth grade and still really close of friends sharing books and stories created by their imagination. That is until one day Jack stops talking to Hazel. Just completely stops leaves her for other friends and begins acting mean to her. Hazel doesn’t understand why the sudden change.

Smart for her age Hazel knows in time they may not be friends anymore but this was too sudden.  And she’s right Jack goes missing. Comes to find out a woman dressed in white that lives in a castle of ice has taken Jack and it is up to Hazel to get him back in the deep mysterious woods.

This book was a surprise because it didn’t contain action although it feels like it should. Not to say that it is a bad story because of this because it is not. In actuality it was a very cute story about friendship and what the heart truly desires.

For Hazel, Jack is what makes her life worth living. She is adopted, her parents divorced and she had to go to a new school in which everyone acknowledges the fact that she is an Indian girl with a white mother. Jack doesn’t make her feel different and he is helping her through these changes.

Now Hazel’s mother was getting on my nerves. She didn’t want Hazel to spend all her time with Jack. She wanted Hazel to have female friends so she forced her to go hang out with another little girl. Although Hazel did branch out a bit, her mother was a bit of a mess. She wanted Hazel to do different things but when she asked to do something different she told her no.

When Hazel enters the forest she is told constantly to return home and not approach the witch. She is also told constantly throughout the story that even if Jack came back he wouldn’t be the same and at some point she would be a pleasant memory to him. I liked the fact that Hazel acknowledge that but didn’t care she wanted him home and safe.

What I didn’t like about the book how there weren’t any real challenges. All she did was say no throughout the entire story and push through. Even when she reached the Queen she wasn’t evil nor was there a fight or a trick, it was simply if you can convince him to leave then I won’t stop you. I thought that was too easy even for a child.

Overall the book gets 8 out of 10. A slow but recommended read for children who do not mind the non violence.

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For the Kids Book Review: Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

Flora Belle Buckman is a cynic. She also happens to love superhero

   Candlewick Press (MA)   Published Sept. 24, 2013              155 Pages
Candlewick Press (MA)
Published Sept. 24, 2013
155 Pages

comic books, which agitates her romance writer mother. However, when Flora sees a squirrel getting sucked up by a vacuum she knows that she must do something.

Unexpected series of events begin to happen when Flora saves this squirrel’s life. I’m sure no one is prepared for.

This book was adorable. Told in words and illustrations, the reader sees the point of view from Flora and Ulysses (the squirrel; she named him).  I thought this added more to the book. It did because it wasn’t just all about Flora and how she thinks the animal can understand her and what he did for her. It was what Ulysses thought and what they did for each other.

I love how Flora is a reader and not blonde hair, with the perfect parents. Her parents are divorced but her father is in her life. Her mother is sucky . . . neglectful and selfish. Her father is weird but she loves her father and that is pretty clear.

I also love the fact that no one thought she was crazy and they believed her about Ulysses and his abilities.  It’s a breath of fresh air when I see this.

Overall the book gets 10 out of 10. It’s a quick read, zero clichés, completely creative and at the same time inspiring.



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