As a kid, my favorite fairytale was Cinderella. I would read the story over and over and would even write what I now know to be fanfic of it. I love stories about good people who are downtrodden and mistreated but are able to escape, work towards, or be rescued and carried off to a better life. For some reason, I strongly related to this. Life in Jamaica wasn’t bad, but it was (and is) hard, and I would often dream of the day my parents would come rescue me and carry me off to live with them in the fabled land of America, where anything is possible.
Now that I’m living in America and saddled with student loans, I now dream of the day that I win the lotto/find a long-lost rich uncle/get a huge raise that will help me pay off my student loans quickly.
My love for Cinderella did not fade over the years. It grew stronger. And although I hardly ever reread the fairytale, I easily fall for its retellings, like Cinder by Marissa Meyer, or stories that have characters who allude to Cinderella in some way, like Harry Potter. So, I was beyond excited when Millie from Milliebot Reads featured this edition of the fairytale in one of her Judging a Book by Its Cover posts. I knew right then that I had to purchase it. The illustrations and book design called to me. And when the NEWTs Magical Readathon came around, I took the opportunity to finally reread one of my favorite fairytales.
I’m surprised at myself that I haven’t read much illustrated books or comics so far this year. I wonder what’s going on with me. These two books bring me to a total of 4 illustrated children’s books read so far. Hopefully I’ll read a few more before the year is done.
Both of the books I’ll discuss in this post where cover buys. I love looking at illustrations of architecture and both books have illustrations of buildings on their covers. Naturally, I picked them up, ran my hands over the cover, and convinced myself to purchase them. I bought them at two different independent bookstores and I’m glad to now know that both were good purchases.
Sky High by Germano Zullo, illus. by Albertine
In this charming illustrated tale, two competing neighbors begin embellishing their mansions, only to find themselves caught up in a race to build the tallest, most decadent skyscraper featuring solid gold doors, diamond-encrusted pillars, grand ballrooms, expensive paintings, live tigers, and indoor swimming pools—with consequences inevitable, and not. Kids will love spotting the funny details hidden in this witty take on an age-old moral, while their parents—particularly any who’ve ever undertaken a remodel—will chuckle with recognition. (Goodreads)
This will be a week filled with reviews of illustrated books and comic books. Putting it that way makes it sound like I’ll dump loads of reviews on here this week, but it’ll be just 3 of them. For me, that’s a lot since I usually manage to churn out only a few reviews every couple weeks. I like to pair up my reviews of illustrated books and comics, but I only read one illustrated book. So here is its lonesome review.
Flotsam by David Wiesner (illus.)
A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam — anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share … and to keep.
Flotsam is a wonderful children’s picture book with quite an imaginative story that’s told without words. I think I’m leaning toward such books. The absence of words draws my attention to other details and makes me focus on other ways we communicate.
It seems that I have a trend here of posting these memes things late because here’s my Top 5 Wednesday post on Thursday. Then again, my whole week has been skewed since Monday felt like Sunday, which made me think Tuesday was Monday, so all this can be excused since I’m confused about what day it is.
This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I do purchase special editions of books and multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!
Why did I read this book? Because by January 26 I was one book away from having read 5 books in the month and my competitive side kicked in and pushed me to grab something quick so I could round out the month with 5 books. Who am I competing with, you ask. Well, I have no idea. But that Goodreads reading goal I had set for myself at the beginning of the year sure niggles me.
George R.R. Martin’s Ice Dragon is an illustrated children’s book set in an imaginary world about a young girl’s friendship with a legendary creature. It’s a bildungsroman since we follow the protagonist, Adara, as she interacts with the fabled Ice Dragon throughout her life.
Adara was born during one of the fiercest winters in her land and is considered a winter child both because of when she was born as well as her constitution. She is withdrawn, keeps to herself, and hardly exhibits any warmth toward others. Even her skin is cool to the touch. There is conflict between Adara’s country and the land in the north. As Adara gets older, the tension increases between the two lands and the war draws closer to Adara’s village. But with the help of the Ice Dragon, Adara just might be able to stop the war’s progression.
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is an illustrated middle-grade novel about a 12-year-old orphan, Warren, who maintains his family’s hotel. The hotel fell into disrepair since Warren’s lazy uncle Rupert took over after Warren the 12th died. Despite its dilapidated state, Warren takes pride in the hotel and tries his hardest to improve its condition. But his attempts are thwarted by his evil Aunt Anaconda who rips the hotel apart as she searches for the All-Seeing Eye, rumored to be hidden somewhere in the hotel.
Soon the hotel is overrun with guests who are also interested in finding the All-Seeing Eye and it’s all Warren can do to keep the hotel together as the guests rip it apart in their search. Knowing that his aunt wants the All-Seeing Eye for nefarious means, Warren joins the search with his friends hoping to locate it before his aunt does.
Another adventure in the Chronicles of Prydain series. This time, Taran embarks on a quest to discover who he is and where he’s from.
This installment picks up shortly after The Castle of Llyr. Eilonwy is still on the Isle of Mona learning to be a lady but Taran is back at Caer Dallben. He misses Eilonwy and wants to be worthy of her hand so he begins to inquire about his origins. He first sets out for the Marshes of Morva because who better to tell him who he is if not Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch.
But lack of a fair trade leaves Taran more puzzled about his origins than before. The witches try to help by telling him of another way he can get the answers he wants. Apparently, there is a magic mirror in the Free Commots, a land in where people govern themselves, that could possibly give Taran the answers he seeks. Taran and Gurgi set off for the magic mirror and have several adventures along the way. They traverse King Smoit’s land for some time, where they find Fflewddur, who decides to accompany them on their quest since he’s not yet ready to return to his own lands. While in King Smoit’s kingdom, Taran helps him resolve a grievance between two troublesome lords that almost lead to war. Taran’s show of wisdom makes King Smoit respect him even more.