Tag Archives: genre:animal stories

Max the Flying Sausage Dog: The Seaside Tail Colouring Book Review

max_the_flying_sausage_dog_seaside_tailMax the Flying Sausage Dog: The Seaside Tail Colouring Book by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley; illustrated by Arthur Robins

Words in the Works LLC, 2017. 978-0997228458

Synopsis: When Tom’s cousin Katie comes to visit, the family takes a trip to the seaside to enjoy the waves. But what happens when a wave sweeps Katie out to sea? Will Tom use Max’s special power to help save his cousin?

Why I picked it up: It’s the perfect end of summer read! Plus, it’s also a coloring book!

Why I finished it: If you have read some of my other posts, you will know how much I have been enjoying Tom and Max’s adventures. And now, with this coloring book, the reader can take a role in the story by playing illustrator! I loved being able put down my own version of Robins’ wonderful illustrations and putting a different spin on this story that was all my own. The story itself is not as long as the other three Max books, but there’s lots of blank pages that invite the reader to fill it up with their own drawings and doodles. Plus, there are pages from the previous stories for the reader to color as well! This may be a quick read, but it will provide hours of entertainment.

Other related materials: Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Tail from London by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Max the Flying Sausage Dog: Tails from the Pound by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Scary Tail (Bullies, watch out!) by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Gumwrappers and Goggles written and illustrated by Winifred Barnum-Newman; That Day in September and Other Rhymes for the Times by Liz Lime; Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan; Nate the Great books by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont; Roscoe Riley Rules books by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs; George Brown, Class Clown books by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Aaron Blecha; The Notebook of Doom books by Troy Cummings

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Welcome to Camp Woggle Review

oodlethunks_3The Oodlethunks: Welcome to Camp Woggle by Adele Griffin, illustrations by Mike Wu

Scholastic Press, 2017. 978-0545732918

Synopsis: School is out for the summer and Oona and her brother Bonk can’t wait to help their dad over the vacation. But now that the kids aren’t in school, Stacy, their pet stegasaurus, is bored. So Oona and Bonk decide to create a summer camp for their pet and the pets of the other kids – Camp Woogle!

Why I picked it up: I loved the idea of having a dinosaur for a pet.

Why I finished it: Clearly I have a thing where I start series not on the first book, which I have referenced before, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this prehistoric adventure. Oona and Bonk are clever, entrepreneurial young cave people with a can-do spirit and big hearts. They see that Stacy is driving their mom crazy and tearing up the cave, and so the two put their heads together in order to solve the problem of keeping their pet entertained and keeping themselves occupied during the school break. Oona wants to be able to include all of the community’s pets, but runs into a problem when she realizes that one of the newcomers has a pet T-Rex that could potentially eat the other campers. Her ability to create and enforce rules as well as compromise on an effective punishment for rule-breakers shows younger readers that they themselves are capable of creating solutions to everyday dilemmas. Oona and Bonk show a positive attitude in the face of some adverse situations that at first seem discouraging, but in the end turn out okay. Wu’s art reminds me a lot of the animation for the film Inside Out, which seems appropriate since he has done work for Disney. It has a realistic yet whimsical quality that adds to the fun of the story, helping Oona, Bonk, and rest of their friends and family come alive. I’d recommend this book for those of you like me that love strong female characters and for kids who have dreamed of having a dinosaur for a pet – it’s a enjoyable and inspirational story about how we face challenges and overcome setbacks.

Other related materials: Oona Finds an Egg (Oodlethunks, Book 1) by Adele Griffin, illustrations by Mike Wu; Steg-O-Normous (Oodlethunks, Book 2) by Adele Griffin, illustrations by Mike Wu; The Dino Files books by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Mike Boldt; Dino-Mike series by Franco; Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putman Oakes; Dino Detectives books by Anita Yasuda, illustrated by Steve Harpster; Haggis and Tank Unleashed series by Jessica Young, illustrated by James Burks; Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster by Matthew McElligott; Who Would Win? Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Veliciraptor by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster

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Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Scary Tail Review

max_the_flying_sausage_dog_3Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Scary Tail (Bullies, watch out!) by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley; illustrated by Arthur Robins

Words in the Works, 2016. 978-0997228427

Synopsis: Tom and Max are always picked on by the bullies next door and their bigger, meaner dogs. Could a neighbor in a run-down house have the answer Tom needs to get the bullies to be nicer?

Why I picked it up: This series is so cute and fun!

Why I finished it: This might not be a Halloween story, per se, but it has ghouls, ghosts, and witches that will thrill each reader. When Tom’s parents convince him to go and help out an older lady everyone thinks is a witch, he and Max are nervous about what will happen to them. But there’s no need to worry because Miss Amersham isn’t actually a witch – she’s just lonely since her dog died, and Tom knows what it’s like to lose a friend. Miss Amersham tells Tom he needs to confront the bullies (whatever that means) and then they will stop picking on him. While the solution isn’t immediately apparent to Tom or the reader, the solution is both creative and clever. What is so enchanting to me about this series is that it hits on a lot of different themes, like responsibility and bullying, that are things most of us have to deal with all the time either directly or indirectly. We might be afraid to go to that scary house down the street and interact with a weird neighbor, but it’s still someone’s home and that neighbor is still a person that needs to be treated with respect. We shouldn’t make fun of something or someone just because we perceive it as different or weird. We need to celebrate our individuality and be willing to do things that might seem a little bit scary at first. But these experiences are the ones in which we grow the most. Sweet, charming, and full of love, this book can be enjoyed by all ages and all reading levels either read to yourself or out loud. I’m always excited to read more about Max and Tom’s adventures!

Other related materials: Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Tail from London by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Max the Flying Sausage Dog: Tails from the Pound by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins Gumwrappers and Goggles written and illustrated by Winifred Barnum-Newman; That Day in September and Other Rhymes for the Times by Liz Lime; Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan; Nate the Great books by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont; Roscoe Riley Rules books by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs; George Brown, Class Clown books by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Aaron Blecha; The Notebook of Doom books by Troy Cummings

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Molly and the Bear Review

cameron-company-molly-and-the-bear-soft-cover-1Molly and the Bear by Bob Scott

Cameron & Company, 2016. 978-1937359850

Synopsis: When pan phobic Bear moves in with Molly and her family, life becomes anything but ordinary. But with a lot of patience and understanding, Molly gradually begins to help Bear outside of his shell…even if there is some crying and whining along the way.

Why I picked it up: I am a huge fan of quirky animal stories, strong female protagonists, and family comics.

Why I finished it: It takes a special sort of person to handle a 900-pound pan phobic grizzly, and Molly happens to have the right personality. Despite the fact that some of Bear’s trivial idiosyncrasies leave Molly scratching her head, she is (to a point) happy to oblige to his requests. It’s not that she’s being dismissive; she merely wants to find a way to relieve some of Bear’s anxieties: his fear of cats, his worry that the air isn’t safe to breathe when they land after a plane flight, the stress of whether or not Molly is going to leave the house when she puts her socks on (sometimes she just has cold feet), and how to get her father to warm up to him. Originally published as a webcomic, Bob Scott has collected the most comprehensive collection of his strips to give the reader a little bit of a taste as to what Molly and the Bear is about. As previously stated, it’s easy to  get drawn in to the comic not only because of the characters, but because Scott’s art pays such a loving homage to the Golden Age comics of which we are so fond. There is a playfulness to the art and the writing that shows the reader just how much fun Scott has writing and drawing the strips. I thought it was particularly clever that he’s thrown in a few artist gags into the mix – they might go over some reader’s heads because they seem somewhat out of context, but I think it’s a way for Scott to poke a little bit of fun at himself. It’s a funny, heartwarming comic about just being yourself and the joys of friendship. For more of Molly and Bear, check out the comic here.

Other related materials: Garfield comics by Jim Davis; Snoopy: Contact! (A Peanuts Collection) by Charles M. Schulz; Woodstock: Master of Disguise: A Peanuts Collection by Charles M. Schulz; Charlie Brown and Friends: A Peanuts Collection by Charles M. Schulz; Beginning Pearls: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis; The Croc Ate My Homework: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis; Skip School, Fly to Space: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis; When Crocs Fly: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis; The Mutts Diaries by Patrick McDonnell; The Mutts Winter Diaries by Patrick McDonnell; AAAA!: A FoxTrot Kids Edition by Bill Amend; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Oh, Brother! Brat Attack! by Bob Weber, Jr. and Jay Stephens

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Max the Flying Sausage Dog: Tom’s Birthday Tail Review

toms_birthday_tailMax the Flying Sausage Dog: Tom’s Birthday Tail by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins

Words in the Works, LLC, 2015. 978-0991036493

Synopsis: It’s Tom’s birthday and Mom has a special surprise for him: they are going to the pound to pick out a dog! Which one will he pick to be his new friend?

Why I picked it up: I really enjoyed the chapter books and I was excited to know that it was being adapted into a picture book.

Why I finished it: All of the characters we loved from the chapter books are now going to entertain children of all ages. The picture book is a delightful way for readers not ready for chapter books to enjoy Max and Tom’s adventures. The full page illustrations and condensed text make it easy for children to read by themselves or read out loud. Robins’ illustrations are fun and whimsical, taking us into the pages and helping us to experience the story on another level. It’s a fun story about making new friends and experiencing everyday magic, if only we are willing to see it.

Other related materials: Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Tail from London by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Max the Flying Sausage Dog: Tails from the Pound by John O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Macavity!: The Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Mr. Mistoffelees: The Conjuring Cat by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Gumwrappers and Goggles written and illustrated by Winifred Barnum-Newman; That Day in September and Other Rhymes for the Times by Liz Lime; Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail by James Horvath; Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail by James Horvath; Work, Dogs, Work: A Highway Tail by James Horvath; Sausages by Jessica Souhami; Daredevil Duck by Charlie Alder

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A Very Babymouse Christmas Review

a_very_babymouse_christmasA Very Babymouse Christmas (Babymouse #15) by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Random House Books for Young Readers, 2011. 978-0375867798

Synopsis: The holidays are here and everyone’s enjoying their favorite traditions—eating latkes, decorating for Kwanza, singing holiday songs, and most of all, being with family. Well, everyone except Babymouse. Babymouse only has one thing on her mind—PRESENTS!!! And whether she has to face down the ghosts of mean girls past or outsmart Santa himself, she’ll do whatever it takes to make sure she gets the present she wants. Will Babymouse find a whiz-bang under the tree? Will she learn the true meaning of the holidays? And what do you get for a narrator, anyway? – from Amazon.com

Why I picked it up: This series is pretty popular and it came highly recommended by my librarian colleagues and my second cousins.

Why I finished it: This series is fun and funny, so I can totally understand the reader appeal. Yeah, I’m a little late to the game having only started reading the Holms’ work this last summer, but the sibling duo has definitely tapped into the mind of the reader and won their hearts. Christmas puns abound in this installment, beginning with a nod to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Readers will laugh out loud at Babymouse’s somewhat over-the-top antics in pursuit of the perfect Christmas gift – to receive, not to give. I love the multi-cultural cast of characters made up of a host of different animals – plus, I found it appropriate that the mean girls are cats. Despite the cover, the book is quite pink, which contributes to Babymouse’s personality. The art is fun and whimsical, befitting our day-dreaming heroine and it’s simple. I write that, and it has a sort of negative connotation, but it would seem the Holm siblings are relying on the characters and the plot to fuel the story along. Rather than an intricate page with details galore, it’s easier to follow with minimalist backgrounds and the three color scheme – an important factor in encouraging reluctant readers. Babymouse is full of humor and wit that will appeal to readers of all ages and remind us that there is more to the holidays than just the presents.

Other related materials: Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; Squish series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon; Hamster Princess books by Ursula Vernon; Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney; Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renèe Russell; The Princess in Black books by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale; Phoebe and Her Unicorn books by Dana Simpson; Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke

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The Mutts Winter Diaries Review

two-mutts1The Mutts Winter Diaries by Patrick McDonnell

Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015. 978-1449470777

Synopsis: Grab your sweaters, hats, and gloves and join Mooch, Earl, and their friends as they discover and explore the excitement of the winter season.

Why I picked it up: I’m an animal lover with a mutt of my own.

Why I finished it: This is a cute collection of previously published comics specially chosen for kids that will have the reader longing for your own snow day (well, for those of us that enjoy snow, anyway). It’s the season to try new things – hibernation – and continue with old traditions – evening walks in the snow with a new sweater. Mooch and Earl are two best friends that will go anywhere and do almost anything for each other, and the love between these two friends and between the pets and their owners really comes out in these comics. They are very real animals as well: Mooch preferring to curl up in a warm lap or on the armchair instead of being out in the cold winter winds; Earl’s facial expressions when he thinks it’s too cold to go outside for a walk is reminiscent of the look my own dog gives me. I loved the additional “More to Explore” portion at the end of the book that tells about what different animals do in the winter time. McDonnell’s art is just as fun and playful as his characters, avoiding angles to create rounded edges that make the comic more accessible to readers of all ages. Animal lovers and comic fans alike will re-live some of their favorite Mutts moments that can be shared generation after generation.

Other related materials: The Mutts Diaries by Patrick McDonnell; Beginning Pearls: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis; The Croc Ate My Homework: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan T. Pastis; Charlie Brown and Friends: A Peanuts Collection by Charles M. Schulz; Woodstock: Master of Disguise: A Peanuts Collection by Charles M. Schulz; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson; Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson; Unicorn vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson; Bird & Squirrel books by James Burks; Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue by Paige Braddock; Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon; Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon; Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

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