Saturday, May 15, 2021

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo is a fun story for children. When Mercy Watson, a lovable, corpulent piggie crawls into bed with her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Watson, her weight is too much for the floor, which begins to crack, threatening to spill all its occupants into the first story of the house. But not to worry! Mercy goes to the rescue! Or does she? Follow Mercy Watson on her adventure to...get sugar cookies? Or was it alert the fire department? This story is a funny tale for small children to enjoy, and it brings a smile to the faces of grown ups reading the story to children! This story was first published in 2009.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Author J. Scott Savage

One of my favorite authors, and lucky for me, a good friend as well, is J. Scott Savage. As of the writing of this post, he is the author of 18 novels, including The Far World series, (Water Keep, Land Keep, Air Keep, and Fire Keep), the Mysteries of Cove series, (Fires of Invention, Gears of Revolution, Embers of Destruction) and The Lost Wonderland Diaries which has just begun. I love J. Scott Savage's books for the fun adventures they contain, the action that hardly lets up until the end, the surprising twists that happen, and the positive morals they teach kids (and adults) without being overly didactic.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of my favorite books of all time.The reluctant hero, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins sets off on a quest to help a group of dwarves regain their homeland, an extinct volcanic mountain that is hollow inside, from a dragon that took it from them.
Hobbits, incidentally, are a human-like species that, when full grown, are only about 3.5 feet tall, at the tallest. Their feet are extremely tough, and therefore they don't need to wear shoes. Even in winter. On his adventures with his new friends, Bilbo Baggins encounters all sorts of trouble, from trolls to giant spiders. Will he succeed in his quest? And will he return home alive? Read the book and find out! The Hobbit was first published in 1937.

The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull follows the adventures of three friends, Nate, Summer, Pigeon and Trevor as they become aquainted with Mrs. White, the proprietor of The Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shop, a new candy story in town. At first thinking that she is a sweet but otherwise unremarkable motherly middle aged lady they quickly discover that she has special candy. Candy that has magical properties.
It's pretty great to be able to pop a candy into your mouth, and then bounce around like you're on the moon, right? But Mrs. White doesn't just want to share her magical candy with the kids. When she starts asking them to do illegal things for her, the kids balk. And that's when Mrs. White shows her... not so sweet side. Can the kids avoid her wrath? And along with that, will they be able to help John Dart and Mr. Stott keep her from her ultimate goal...of taking over the world? Read the book and find out! The Candy Shop War was first published in 2007.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz was an enjoyable middle grade about a middle school girl, Filomena Jefferson-Cho who finds herself whisked away from the real world into the fairy tail world of her favorite books series. The story itself was entertaining, and I feel that while I didn't like it as much as I had hoped, I'm not the target audience. As an adult, I found a lot of plot holes, unnecessary gaps, and big chunks of time jumped where things happened quickly, but needed, in my opinion, to be explained more.
I can understand the appeal to middle grade readers. Filomena is an awkward child, overprotected by the parents who adopted her, and picked on by the school bullies. A character many middle grade readers can empathize with. And as many middle grade readers also imagine and dream about, she is wisked away to a world where she is no longer awkward, but one of the key heroes. A very fun and relatable tale for younger readers. This book was first published in 2020.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Wielder Series by Franca Ogbonnaya

The Wielder Series by Franca Ogbonnaya is an exciting series of books set in a fantasy world populated with fascinating and diverse species. So far, there are two books, and a novella. I have read both books, The Novice Wielder and The Wielder Trials. The main character of both books is a young lady named Britea. The first story begins with her thinking she is an average teenager with nothing unusual or special about her, until she exhibits the ability to wield water.
Like in Avatar, there are four types of elements that can be controlled by wielders, air, water, fire, and earth. Some of the species I mentioned earlier are the Dyhaeri, a water-dwelling human like species, and the Alkynaia, sea-serpents who are intelligent. Oh, and did I mention there's an evil queen who drains the lives out of young wielders, in a sort of Elizabeth Bathory situation? While the series is only two books long at the moment (plus a novella) it promises to have more excitement in future books!
I've known Franca Ogbonnaya for quite a few years as an online friend. And when I found out she had gotten some of her books published I was so excited for her! She is a great writer (she even won a writing contest I had done a long time ago to celebrate the publication of one of my books) and I was glad that her books were published! The series is aimed at teens, but anyone who enjoys exciting adventures in fantastical lands would enjoy this fun series! The Novice Wielder was first published in 2018 and The Wielder Trials was first published in 2020.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Rikki Tikki Tavi directed by Chuck Jones

The movie Rikki Tikki Tavi, directed by Chuck Jones is, in my opinion, as delightful as the written story. The storyline is mostly the same. There are a few differences, however that I noticed. Not large enough to change the story as a whole, though. One small difference is that when Rikki Tikki is found after having crawled out of the river half choked, Teddy, his young human friend, and Teddy's mother Alice find him in the written story. In the animated movie, it is Teddy and his father who find him. Other than that, there are few other deviations between the movie and written story. The animation is fun, the colors are bright, and Rikki Tikki's characterization, including his expressions are well done, making him endearing to the audience, especially to children.
As in the written story, Nag and Nagaina, male and female cobras try to ambush Rikki, but he is saved by the warning of a pair of Taylor birds. Later, Rikki confronts and defeats Karait, another snake after Karait threatens Teddy. But Rikki still has Nag and Nagaina to deal with, and when Chuchundra, the muskrat fearfully warns Rikki that the two cobras are trying to get into the house, Rikki knows he doesnt have much time! The DVD version that I watched also had a bonus story, Yankee Doodle Cricket, which I thought was also well done. The animated version of Rikki Tikki Tavi, directed by Chuck Jones and based on the story by the same name by Rudyard Kipling was published in 1975.