Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

18383325Title: The Most Magnificent Thing

Author: Ashley Spires

Genre: Children’s, Short Stories, Picture Books

Number of Pages (Hardcover): 32

Date Published: April 1st of 2014

Publisher: Kids Can Press


Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!? But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just make her magnificent thing — “she tinkers and hammers and measures, she smoothes and wrenches and fiddles, she twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I want to thank the publisher for making it possible for me to have an access to the book in exchange for an honest review, via Netgalley.

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I have a weakness for all things children and illustrated and I thought this was so cute! I greatly admired the artwork here, especially because the author did them–talk about multi-talented!

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Book Review: Stitched #1 by Mariah McCourt

31451222Title: Stitched #1

Author: Mariah McCourt

Illustrator: Aaron Alexovich

Genre: Children’s, Comics, Fantasy

Number of Pages (Paperback): 96

Date Published: May 2nd of 2017

Publisher: Charmz


Crimson Volania Mulch has a problem; she just woke up in a crypt and, besides her name, has no idea of who, where, or what she is. Welcome to the Cemetery of Assumptions, a vast landscape of stones, mausoleums, and secrets. Home to monsters and mayhem, it may also hold the answers to her unknown parentage.

Crimson is a resourceful patchwork girl and determined to find them. Along the way, she meets the mysterious Wisteria, who has a tendency to change and a witch named Parameter whose spells tend to go awry. And two boys, Simon and Quinton, who make her feel something besides lost and confused. She must battle ghosts, zombies, and monsters in order to learn where she came from and who her real “mother” is. But will she do it alone, or will she have help from her new friends and unexpected crushes?

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

I want to thank the publisher for making it possible for me to have an access to the book in exchange for an honest review, via Netgalley.

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Before I start with my review, I just want to tell you all that today marks my one year anniversary with this blog! My blog is one year old! Time blows by so fast and I cannot believe it has been a year since I actually decided to make these little notes on all the books that I read! What a year! Anyway, here goes my review for Stitched #1!

This might have been the cutest thing I have read in a while. Though the fact that I am still fond of children’s books still holds, I am also feeling that I’m shifting quite a bit into the Young Adult genre as of late. So, what I’m saying is, I may be veering away from children’s books as much as I can because I feel like I’m already too old for the genre. Crazy, I know but I’m glad my reading taste is also evolving.

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Miss Feesenschneezen Is Ill by David Parmelee

34503179Title: Miss Feesenschneezen Is Ill

Author: David Parmelee

Series: None

Genre: Children’s (Middle Grade)

(Expected) Date of Publishing: April 20th of 2017

Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

When the beloved teacher of a “tough class” is out sick for a week, everyone must endure a succession of colorful substitutes. Each brings a lesson; all bring smiles.

“Miss Feesenschneezen Is Ill” is a middle-grade chapter book that entertains.

Rate: 2.5 of 5

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me access to an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Now, help me out a little bit over here. I am currently trying to reconcile if I have already outgrown middle grade books because of this book.

Oh, believe me when I say that I wanted to like this book. But alas, there were just too many things that made me not like this. There were parts of the book that afforded me a glimpse of an alternate reality where I would have liked it because I love middle grade (with a passion! haha), I love these kinds of quirky titles, I love the plot-line BUT, there was just something off with the writing.

Having said that, I will be terribly horrible to say that there isn’t anything redeemable about the book. The hilarious storyline is a plus. And oh, let us not forget about the beautiful illustrations!

Now, let me get back on the off writing. What I mean about this is that all throughout the book I was confused to the point-of-view level of the writer. There were times when the mindset was too childish and then it would shift to too adult-like. And I don’t go with that. It is extremely crucial for a children’s book to be uniform to the age-level speech and thinking of the point of view. In some cases, there are some exceptions to this, e.g. a child that’s mature for his age and such. However, with this one I noticed that that is one avenue that this could improve on.

It is nice to find books about the student’s love for their teacher and that is really heartwarming but there was just too much air of oddness (for a lack of a better term) going around.

P.S. This made me think of my fourth grade teacher–she’s small (even smaller than me and that’s really saying something :P) and stellar-strict.

Do I recommend it? I’m sorry, no.
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*Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads.

The Loud House #1: “Fullest House” by Chris Savino

General Info


Title: The Loud House #1: “Fullest House”

Author: Chris Savino

Series: The Loud House

Genre: Comics, Children’s, Humor

Number of Pages (Hardcover): 56 pages

(Expected) Date of Publishing: May 9th of 2017

Publisher: Papercutz

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Ever wonder what it’s like having a big family? 11-year-old Lincoln Loud lives with his 10 sisters. The trick to surviving the chaos is to remain calm, cool, and collected. But most importantly for Lincoln, you’ve got to have a plan. With all the chaos, and craziness, one thing is always for sure: there is never a dull moment in the Loud house!
All-new stories from Nickelodeon’s newest hit-series, created by Chris Savino.

Rate: 3 of 5

Get a copy: Book Depository (HardcoverPaperbackWordery (Hardcover, Paperback)

Upon reading the book, I didn’t know that this is an existing TV show. And since I’m really a child inside person fond of cartoons, I’m going to tell you that yep, I’m going to start watching it haha.

This makes me wonder about the knick-knacks of having such a large family! I imagine I won’t be able to walk around for five minutes without bumping to another person (which is kinda well erm, disconcerting)–I mean, I am in a house of four and I hardly get around without seeing or hearing another person. 😛

This made me feel a little nostalgic of the time when I used to read Archie comics. I was so fond of those, I still am. There really were funny story instances and this would be perfect for children. It’s also ideal because it’s a very thin read and can be finished in a short while. Of course, I won’t forget to remark on the illustrations, the life of the comics! Very beautiful illustrations! It’s also beautiful how every character in the Loud family has their own depth and branding/quality–it’s such a diverse household and oh boy I want to say kudos to their parents! Haha.

This reminded me of the novel Jacky Ha-Ha, which is also a children’s book but around middle-grade level.

Do I recommend it? Yup!

*Cover image via Netgalley; Synopsis via Goodreads

*Thanks to the publisher for giving me a copy of the book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

7718597Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Dave McKean

Genre: Children’s, Fantasy, Fiction

Series: none

Awards: Newbery Medal, Hugo Award for Best Novel, etc.

Date Published: September 28th of 2010 (first published on the 30th of September, year 2008)

Publisher: HarperCollins

Synopsis (via Goodreads):


Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient indigo man, a gateway to abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible fleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will be in danger from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

Rate: 5 of 5

Get a copy: Book Depository (Hardcover, Paperback, CD-Audio) National Bookstore (Paperback), Kobo (eBook), Audible (Audio book)

As you may well know (I’m totally assuming on this but whatever), I reserve my five-of-five ratings for those types of books that really blew my mind. It may not be a certain simple work of literature or a complex one or a swoon-worthy one, but rest-assured I’ll be giving five-of-five for those books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. These are the types of books that I had the delight of reading with all my heart and that maybe something that people should take a chance on. I mean, if we have the same tastes. Suffice to say, I rated this book a whooping five-of-five so you may have a hint now of how nice of a book this is.

This is the first Gaiman book that I actually completed. I tried to read Coraline and Neverwhere before but I didn’t finish them. The first work of Gaiman that I have picked up was Neverwhere, I think I got as far as a third of the book. That was the era when I was just not into fantasy, I wasn’t really into very complex characters and plot lines that time I guess–I was perhaps fifteen, sixteen (?) and was loving chick lit back then haha. I borrowed it from my cousin and she said that it is very good. So now, I’m a little guilty for not reading it to the end. Haha. The second Gaiman book I tried reading just in the latter parts of 2016 was Coraline. It was actually in my Goodreads TBR list but I ended up removing it because uhm I really don’t know. I’m not really sure why because I’m particulary fond of Children’s books but ugh IRDK. I had mini reading slumps sprinkled all throughout 2016 so maybe the book just took the runt of that slump.

I think the reason why I really liked this book was that there is a different allure to the notion of this book: a child–very much alive–growing up with ghosts and the like. There’s a certain appeal and contrast to the notion that is the living trying to breach the divide that is death. (Does that make sense? haha) There’s a nice contrast to it because a child living with people that are dead. (I just made the ghosts sound like zombies lol) It’s extraordinary how this is often flagged as a children’s book but opens with a rather bloody murder scene and then later on morphs into the setting of the graveyard. I loved the air of mystery.

Okay, characters. Let’s start with Nobody Owens. I’m gonna put it out there: WHO NAMES THEIR KID NOBODY?! Like nobody does that. (Wink, wink. I know excellent pun right. Right?! Say yes.) It is a witty name and really kick-ass name but wow parents please don’t name your child that please. LOL, kidding. I loved his character because he is just so innocent and cute, which is really not something that you would expect from a boy that was raised up from a grim place such as the graveyard. Again, the contrast of his character to the setting is quite extraordinary. Second, Silas. What is up with him? Mr. and Mrs. Owens, there wasn’t really much time for me to love their characters because they weren’t really thereMs. Lupescu, on the other hand, is a character that I actually liked. She’s so stern and strict–I love it. And also, is it just me or do you guys ship Ms. Lupescu and Silas?! No? Just me? Okay. Lastly, Scarlett Perkins, her character kinda irked me a bit. There were qualities in her that I didn’t particulary liked but maybe the thing I wasn’t really keen into is that she’s too trusting. There were many characters mentioned in the book that I won’t be including, e.g. The Sleer, Indigo Man, Jack, Mrs. Perkins, Liza Hempstock, etc. because I won’t be able to bring justice to the rest of the characters. But what I’m going to say is that the author did an excellent job on outlining the characteristics of each person in the story, simple and straight-forward but endearing all the more. 

I’m trying to rationalize the elements of the book such as the ghosts, ghouls, etc. and I’m telling you I’m having a hard time. I can’t flag it as Bod’s hallucinations or it’s just Bod is really crazy or something on that line. There’s just so many elements to be rationalized. For example, how the hell can a child climb a crib or let alone stroll around outside in the cold air and even managed to climb a hill all on his own?! I mean…how the hell can people not see him?! I mean it’s night…but still. Haha. BUT, I’ve come to the conclusion that that is just the nature of this book. It’s just the universe in which the characters walk in, and that I should really just leave it at that. 😛 I’m having a hard time to process it because the story of this one is really in touch with the real world (not like all the High Fantasy I’m currently reading–okay, okay all the Maas books I’m reading haha). So that’s the reason why I’m feeling the need to rationalize this one but ehhhh I should just let it go.

The part of the book that is my favorite are the last two pages. I really bawled my eyes out right there. I even read it over and over, perhaps eight times. This was the part that got me into heaving sobs. I’m in that part in my life where I’m trying to be more independent and to start my own life away from my comfort zone and it just struck a nerve. I found a little part of me in Bod in the latter part. Reading this book just felt like perfect timing. As I have said before, some books just come to your life in the right time as long as you want to take a chance on it. (I totally made reading books some kind of a love life problem hahahaha.)

thought this book has a movie out already but apparently not. After a quick Google search, I found out that it was picked up by Disney but then let go after four months and then was forwarded to another person to make and currently is still in the works. So, I’m looking forward to that!

This book was just so simple and classy yet has a certain dimension to it that comes alive through Gaiman’s writing. There’s just a classic tone to it that you can’t help but be lulled in the story. And not to mention, McKean’s beautiful, beautiful illustrations. It’s such an easy read yet something that is also so inspiring. I’m going to go ahead and say that this is amongst my favorite books to date.

Do I recommend it? Hell yaz.

*Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads

Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson

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Title: Jacky Ha-Ha

Author: James PattersonChris Grabenstein, and Kerascoët (for the Illustrations)

Publishing Date: March 21st, 2016

Rate: 4 of 5

*Get a copy from Book Depository*

I love these kinds of books—those set in the middle school. I don’t really know why. I loved this book. Why?

First off, the illustrations. I am a sucker for illustrations especially those doodly looking ones that the book has boasted. I think I really am a wee child at heart. Also, the story isn’t really childish. It tackled the joys and fears of having a large family, a parent that’s away, being the middle child, struggling for approval, etc. It sure is kind of tackling mature stuff for a children’s book—which is why I loved it! It has all the elements of a children’s book but somehow not. (Do I make sense? Anyway…) I actually dreaded ending the book. Like, I just wanted it to stretch on to forever. And please. Don’t get me started on the fact that it was set in 1990. Although, to be honest, I wish the author played on about that much more. There were times that I forgot why Jacky wasn’t able to just call his father—and THEN I remembered, Oh right it’s 1990. So yeah, that’s just one downside I saw to it. But otherwise, I loved it! I am actually set out to find more books like this. That’s how I loved it.

It’s so humorous and lighthearted that it just paints a beautiful window on Jacky’s childhood and how it has affected his adult life, too. Check it out, guys!