Review: Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, Illustrated by Dom Lee

Book Information:

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Dom Lee
Lee and Low Books Inc.
Published in 1993
ISBN 1880000199
32 Pages

Series Information:

None

Review/Rating:

4 out of 5

4/5

Ease of Reading Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Plot: 5 out of 5

During World War II, a young Japanese American boy and his family are forced to live in internment camps. Trying to get by in these camps, everyone decides they need something different to do — baseball.

This is a pretty simple book, but it still delivers a small message. :) I love how the author was able to write it in a child’s point of view of how a Japanese Internment Camp was like during this time period. Another thing I like is how different of a plot it is compared to other World War II fiction books — most of the ones I see are about concentration camps or going into hiding in Europe during the war — so it is a nice change. Even in my high school class, I don’t remember going over it that much. :S The descriptions and everything else are very well done, and I was able to feel the emotion of the child who was sent to the camp. ;)

For the text, I was able to see/read the text just fine since it was black text on white paper. As for the illustrations, I don’t really like the style of them, but they do deliver the emotion of the characters better than if it were a style I was used to. :)

Overall, it is a pretty good book, but I can’t really figure out why someone would banned/challenged. Oh, I guess it was banned/challenged because of the slight racism and history America would love to keep hidden from people. Though, I do wish there were fiction books about this period in time. :P

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2012
Banned/Challenged No Limit

Other Reviews/Author Site:

Ken Mochizuki
Dom Lee
Goodreads

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Review: Top 10 Deadliest Sharks by Joe Brusha, Illustrated by A Lot of People (See Post)

%Top10DeadliestSharks

Book Information:

Top 10 Deadliest Sharks by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Anthony Spay, Shawn McCauley, Marcio Abreu, Agustin Alessio, German Nobile, H. G. Young, Gabriel Rearte, Shawn van Briesen
Colors by Andrew Elder, John Hunt
Letters by Jim Campbell
Designing by David Seidman, Christopher Cote, Cause Design Co., Rod Whitney
Main Editing by Jennifer Bermel
(Many other people…)
Silver Dragon Books
Published in 2011
ISBN 9781937088905
120 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.

Review/Rating:

4 out of 5

Ease of Reading Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Plot: 4 out of 5

Gives information, such as fun facts; recorded attacks; unprovoked fatalities; what their prey are; and other things, to promote knowledge of sharks.

Okay, I’ll start with how they presented the information. I read some interesting information about 10 sharks they thought was the Top 10 Deadliest sharks. At first I didn’t get how they made their Top 10 list, but now, I think they made it based on how aggressive the sharks are in their attacks. :S

Anyways some of information that was interesting was how sharks played a role in World War 2 – with how the pilots landed in the sea, wounded, with sharks. Another interesting piece of information was about the shipwreck and how many people died from the sharks. However, on one of the sharks, it didn’t give any kind of example of any attacks – only ways to avoid sharks. Most likely, the tips would have been better at the end of the book, as a way to summarize the book. >.<

Next, the artwork and coloring was really pretty. I liked how they drew the sharks and made it look like it was really under water. Also, the artwork and panels perfectly matched what was being said in the text. The text was also very easy to read since they were in boxes or circles, instead of the background. :)

Overall, it is a pretty good graphic novel, but I would have preferred the tips be at the end of the book, with the shark having an actual example of an attack.

Where I Got It:

Bought from Wal-Mart, and I still own a copy.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2012

Re-Reading:

Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Joe Brusha
$New_Bullet Anthony Spay
$New_Bullet Shawn McCauley
$New_Bullet Marcio Abreu
$New_Bullet German Nobile
$New_Bullet Gabriel Rearte
$New_Bullet Shawn van Briesen
$New_Bullet Goodreads

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan

%HomelessBird

Book Information:

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Harper Collins Publishers
Published in 2000
ISBN 006028452
216 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.

Review/Rating:

4 out of 5

When thirteen-year-old Koly’s parents arrange a marriage for her, she discovers that her husband is very sick. However, things turn out for the worst when her husband dies, and she is abandoned in a city with other widows. What will become of her?

The plot kind of reminds me of The Dowry Bride, but on a less gruesome scale since the mother-in-law isn’t trying to kill her. Also, it is a little bit more romantic, in my opinion. So, the book already had my attention because of these two things. However, there are some similarities between the two books, especially with the characters’ personalities. Evil mother-in-law, weak father-in-law, mommy’s boy, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Anyways, even though the characters are kind similar to The Dowry Bride, I think this book captures a different light and is much better at describing and having a good ending. Also, it is a lot less gruesome because no one is trying to kill Koly. ^^ The characters in the book are still pretty enjoyable, despite the similarities with the personalities.

The descriptions, metaphors, similes, etc all paint a pretty good idea of what Koly is going through in your head. They were all pretty much done beautifully and some of them made me laugh, and this was a very good aspect of this book.  ;) I think I mostly enjoyed this book because of these things. :D

Anyways, with everything Koly goes through, including the ending, kind of reminds me of a cultural Cinderella. However, even though the ending was pretty good, I wish there was more to this book. Though, the author left the story at a good enough spot so that you can imagine a happily ever after ending yourself.

Overall, I am pretty much satisfied with how this book turned out, especially with the romance (for a young adult book).

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

Not planning to re-read, but leaning towards maybe.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Gloria Whelan
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

%TheMidwifesApprentice

Book Information:

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
Clarion Books
Published in 1995
ISBN 0395692296
122 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.

Review/Rating:

4 out of 5

When Jane, the local midwife, finds a girl sleeping in a dung heap, she takes her in as her apprentice. What will happen to this homeless girl now?

The plot is very simple, but for me, it was still kind of touching. Though, I wish the author could have figured out a way to make this book a little bit longer than 122 pages. :(

Anyways, this book takes place during the medieval times, so the book tries to make you feel like you are during that time period. There is also some insight on how a midwife’s life might have been like during the medieval times, which I found very interesting to read. ;) However, most of the information I found out was towards the end of the book (the Author’s Note). :|

There are not as many details as I would have liked, but the “feeling” of the book kind of helped me overlooked the almost non-existent details. And the characters’ personalities helped the author make the emotion in this book so much better. They had a normal and real-life air to them, so it was kind of refreshing. ;)

Besides the shortness, I also kind of disappointed that nothing really happened between Will and the girl. xD I kind of was hoping that they had a spark between them, but I guess it was just me seeing that. :P Another thing I was kind of was disappointed with was the ending and how it was kind of normal, but I think the author’s message came across okay.

I finished this book in a little bit more than an hour, but I still loved it. ;)

Oh, before I end this review, there are mentions of affairs (kissing) and some other acts, but no in-depth details to them. ;)

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

Not planning to re-read, but leaning towards maybe.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Karen Cushman
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

2nd Review: Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

%WickedGirls

Book Information:

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
Balzer + Bray
Published in 2010
ISBN 9780061853289
408 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.

Review/Rating:

3 out of 5

2ND REVIEW. 1ST REVIEW IS HERE.

Ann, the queen bee/drama queen, overhears the men talking about witchcraft. So she, Mercy, Margaret, and the other girls get an idea… They start accusing people as witches, but how long will this attention-grabber last?

I love reading historical fiction, especially if it has romance in it, so I like this book a little bit more. I gave it a higher rating than last time because of the fact I wasn’t in a rush to read it like last time. ^^;

I really do not like the format of the book (evocative verse) since it made it seem like a very short read. It kind of reminded me of the Dear America books, but shorter and a lot of POVs (points of view). Which brings me to who narrates, Ann, Margaret, and Mercy are the main narrators. It was pretty interesting to have each different girl have a POV, and it was surprising that the book still had a pretty good flow to the storyline despite the multiple POVs.

Anyways, despite the feeling of the book being too short, the author still managed to give the girls a good enough personality. And somehow with these personalities, the author was able to make people pity them because the author tries to give the girls a good enough personality and enough background life to notice them. Another thing I like about this book is that you also get to see a new side on how the girls are treated after they put an end to the accusing. In other books I’ve read about the witch trials, I don’t think any of the authors end the accusing and how society treats them afterwards.

I like the idea behind the book, however, it feels like something was missing from the book — it could have used a little bit more substance, action, and plot. I definitely would have liked it even more if it expanded it with more description and substance to it. >.>”  Also, it felt more like a junior fiction book than a young adult book, despite having a little sex scene in it. >.< However, that scene didn’t go that into detail, so you don’t have to worry about it too much. ^^

The idea is worth reading, but the lack of descriptions, details, and action makes it feel too incomplete and short. >.>”  I like this book a little bit better than when I first read it, but not by much.

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

This is the 2nd review, 1st review is here.
Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Stephanie Hemphill
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet Book Envy
$New_Bullet Simply Books
$New_Bullet My Reading Room
$New_Bullet Book Whisperer
$New_Bullet Dog-eared and Well-read

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

2nd Review: The Sacrifice by Lynne Ewing

%TheSacrifice

Book Information:

The Sacrifice by Lynne Ewing
Volo
Published in 2001
ISBN 0786807067
269 Pages

Series Information:

Daughters of the Moon Book 05

Review/Rating:

5 out of 5

2ND REVIEW. 1ST REVIEW IS HERE.

Stanton has been a Follower of the Atrox since he was a child. However, this force of evil has fallen in love with Serena, a force of good. This relationship is forbidden, and when this secret is discovered, he starts to push her away. Will he choose a life of love? Or the life he is living now, without love and Serena?

I decided to do a better review of the Daughters of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing since my first ones weren’t done very well. This book is really a fast read, but since I really didn’t like this one, it took longer than the other two books.

Unlike the other books, this one doesn’t begin with a mythology story. Instead, it begins with Stanton’s past. The other thing that is different about this book from the others is that this is the only book that features a male or someone from the Atrox.

The tone and dialogue reminds me a lot of my teenage years and my high school, so the author did a really good job at writing the book in teenage words and their world. The descriptions were also very well done, and both of these things made the book go a little bit faster than most other young adult books. So, I really like this book from this standpoint. Another thing I liked about this book is the mythology that is incorporated in it. Also, the character growth and their personalities are believable (for a supernatural book). Also, I like how you can see the character growth of Stanton, and it was very nice to read about his past. As the books/series goes on, you get more information about the Daughters of the Moon and the Atrox, which is good because it won’t overload you with information with just one book.

Also, out of all the books so far, this one is my favorite. Why? Because it focuses on my favorite male character in the series, and also, it does something different from the other books in this series. I also like this book and series because of the amount of descriptions and growth.

The only thing I really didn’t like was the twist to the ending. I totally didn’t expect the ending to be like that. :( Oh, well… I would have liked it better if the author kept that one aspect of what she changed in Stanton since it would have been more interesting. Also, I wish there was a separate book for all the guys in this series. :)

Anyways, this book and series are very well done, so go ahead and read this book and the other books.

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

This is the 2nd review, 1st review is here.
Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Lynne Ewing
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet Natalie’s Bookshelf

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by David Diaz

%SmokyNight

Book Information:
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by David Diaz
Harcourt Brace & Company
Published in 1994
ISBN 0152699546
40 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.

Review/Rating:

3 out of 5

#Old_BlueBooks-3_5

Ease of Reading Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Plot: 5 out of 5

Riots are breaking out in the streets of Los Angeles, and it isn’t any different in Daniel’s neighborhood. Daniel and his neighbors learn an important lesson after two always-fighting cats finally get along.

This picture book is set during an actual historical event, the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Because it uses a historical related event, the plot is very well informed and good because it teaches anybody who read this book, including adults, that we should value people and get along, no matter how different we are. Also, it teachers young children about the racial differences we had, and still have, through simple measures.

Even though the plot is very nicely done, the illustrations and how easy you can read the text isn’t. The illustrations seem overdone with the textures all over the place, and I paid more attention to the textures instead of the actual drawings. Also, with most of the text, it was over textures that were hard to read the black text.

Anyways, those were the only two things that I had a problem with in this book. It also has a wonderful lesson for everyone to learn and remember. Though, I have just a word of warning, it has the theme of racism in the book. However, it isn’t really that noticeable, if the kid is really young. This is a very good book with an important lesson to learn, no matter how young the child is, but the illustrations and how well you can see/read the text is kind of hard and bleh.

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Eve Bunting
$New_Bullet David Diaz
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet The Rookie’s View
$New_Bullet Best Children’s Books

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

2nd Review: The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd

%TheCasebookofVictorFrankenstein
Book Information:
The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Published in 2008
ISBN 9780385530842
353 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.

Review/Rating:

4 out of 5

2ND REVIEW. 1ST REVIEW IS HERE.

After Victor Frankenstein goes to London to study at Oxford, he meets Percy Bysshe Shelley. They become fast friends, but with Shelley’s radical views, will Victor get an idea that will put him on the road to darkness?

This is the second time I’m reviewing this because I want to. :X Actually, I’m re-doing some (most) of my reviews so that I can make them (hopefully) better. With this one, I will compare it to the original a little bit more.

Anyways, in this retelling of Frankenstein, Peter Ackroyd makes it out so that a fictional character actually knows historically accurate people. I still find that part of this part kind of intriguing, and it also made this book rather interesting than if the author just told it through Victor Frankenstein’s and a little bit from his monster’s perspective. However, now that I read the original, I don’t know what perspective is better since they both were interesting, so they both get equal points for that.

Although how both Mary Shelley and Peter Ackroyd told the story receives equal points, the descriptions and the growth of the characters actually goes to Peter Ackroyd. With Mary Shelley’s, it is mostly someone re-telling Victor Frankenstein’s story as Victor tells him it, so the growth and descriptions really don’t have that much room to grow. So, basically, I like how Peter Ackroyd tells it because the way he makes the characters grow appeals to me more than the original. Also, in Ackroyd’s version, the person who turned out to be the “monster” was someone Victor Frankenstein knew and maybe even friends with. I found that also very interesting and even gave the monster even more of an identity than Shelley’s version. The characters are also completely different in Ackroyd’s version. It has the same thing happen to a character in each book, but the circumstance and character are off. I also like how Ackroyd did his version in that aspect as well since it had a little bit more depth and development than the original.

Let’s see, some other things that are different, but I wish Ackroyd put in his version. In Mary Shelley’s version, I actually felt like crying and feeling pity towards both Frankenstein and his monster. However, with Ackroyd’s version, it had less emotion. Also, the ending is more disappointing and confusing than the original. The ending in the original is more emotional and appeals more to me.

Now that I had a chance to read the original, I think it would have been better if some of the original’s aspects, like some of the emotion, were in this book. So, I rated it a four stars this time because, despite the original re-telling thing, I like the emotion and ending of the original Frankenstein more.

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

This is the 2nd review, 1st review is here.
Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Peter Ackroyd
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet New York Times Book Review
$New_Bullet A Study of Reading Habits

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: The Trojan Horse by Emily Little, Illustrated by Michael Eagle

%TheTrojanHorse

Book Information:
The Trojan Horse by Emily Little
Illustrated by Michael Eagle
Random House
Published in 1988
ISBN 0394896742
48 Pages

Series Information:

Step into Reading (Level 5)
Not a real series, and you can read them in any order.

Review/Rating:

2 out of 5

A simple retelling of the Trojan War and how the Greeks won this war. The city of Troy lives in wonder, with a stonewall protecting it, while the Greeks live on rocky land and can’t grow wheat. In order to get wheat, they have to trade with Asia, but they can’t get past the channel because Troy won’t let them pass without paying the toll (gold). After the Trojans kidnap Helen, Menelaus’ wife, the Greeks declare war on Troy. The war goes on for years, until the Greeks finally have a plan to defeat Troy, which involves a wooden horse.

The facts in the books are all really simple and not really interesting, so it is not as engaging as I would like it to be. They pretty much had all the information that you most likely remember from school, so it won’t really expand your child’s knowledge on the subject. From what I remember when I was little, this book mentions almost the same information as what is in the history book, just less pictures. Also, even though the illustrations seem to be pretty, there seems to be less than the previous Step Into Reading book I have read. The artwork also looks a little bit blander than the Trail of Tears‘ illustrations.

I think it would be more interesting if I read it myself, but the purpose of the children’s book is to have your children read it to you. However, you help them when they having trouble with a word or page or have questions. Basically, you need to definitely participate reading with them with this one because of the names, but I found it boring. It had too many details of the history for little kids, at least to me. >.>” Also, go over the pronunciation guide with your child, which is at the book of the book, FIRST before having them read it since most of the words will be hard for them.

Where I Got It:

Bought from Amazon, and I still own a copy.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Emily Little
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet Collingswood Public Library

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: The Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac, Illustrated by Diana Magnuson

%TheTrailofTears

Book Information:
The Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac, Illustrated by Diana Magnuson
Random House
Published in 1999
ISBN 0679890521
48 Pages

Series Information:

Step into Reading (Level 5)
Not a real series, and you can read them in any order.

Review/Rating:

3 out of 5

#Old_BlueBooks-3_5

Through simple explanation, the author explains the history behind the Trail of Tears and the challenges that the Cherokee Nation faced during this time period. Chief of the Cherokee Nation, John Ross, and his people (17,000) must leave their homes and go west. During this trying time period and journey, a lot of deaths and hardships will befall them.

The information given is pretty much interesting, which one of the reasons why I like the book, and even some of the history I don’t really remember that well. The hardships that they are faced and the history facts are not really watered down, but phrased in a way that won’t have your kids ask questions you wouldn’t really want to answer when they are still kind of young. If your kids don’t understand that we have done bad things in the past, you might have some explaining to do. Now some of the interesting information they give are about Cherokee legends of how their people came to be, the legend of the Cherokee Rose, which is thought to come from the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee written language and the newspaper, and some other pieces of information. Basically, it is kind of like a miniature history book with fun and interesting information, but I wouldn’t count on it for tests and things like that since most schools depend on their history books for making tests. It’s also great if you want to give a head start for your kids about the subject before they start on it in school. Another reason why I like this book is because of the illustrations inside the book. They are some pretty, and I liked looking at some of them. :D

The only thing I didn’t like the book is the boring parts and not enough history/facts to keep me personally interested, which is the main reason why I rated this book a 3 out of 5. However, it is a good little book that will tell your kids about the Trail of Tears before they learn it in school.

I would recommend this book for kids who are having difficult time learning about the Trail of Tears and need a little bit easy way of explaining the basics of what happened during that time. However, I wouldn’t depend solely on it for their school projects. Also, make sure you read it with them because some of the words they will have trouble with like the Cherokee language and maybe some other things. But, it is pretty much easy to understand.

Where I Got It:

Bought from Amazon, and I still own a copy.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011

Re-Reading:

Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Joseph Bruchac
$New_Bullet Diana Magnuson
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet Back to Books

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble