Hi Everyone, this is going to me a once a week post in which Jake and I review some picture or middle grade school books. We will both give our opinions, because I really believe that we should hear from the people that the books are for, and not just from the opinion of parents, teachers or librarians. I also think it will be good for Jake to be able to learn to express himself more and build his confidence.
Kids Can Press
Ages: 4 - 8 (I believe ANY age, would enjoy it)
Purchased at S&B books at the OLA 2010 - book is signed to Jesse from Melanie
Description: Chester’s finally ready to write his own masterpiece — he just needs to get pesky writer-illustrator Mélanie Watt out of the way. Chester’s solo attempts at storytelling are messy, to say the least, but he’s determined to go it alone. But where’s his story going? After several alternative (but always unhappy) endings, Chester is confronted by a problem he never bargained for.
Jake's Review: I love this book, why is it signed to Jesse? This book made me laugh. I really liked how the mouse and Melanie argue with Chester all the time. It made me laugh when Chester ran out of ink and couldn't communicate anymore. Chester looked funny when he was dressed as a mime. I liked the last page where you find out that Chester has dumped all of Melanie's stuff in the kitty litter.
Mom's Review: Ok Jake, you are not the only kid in the family. You have 2 books already signed by Melanie Watt and far more books than Jesse. Jesse should have one too -- now leave me alone so I can write my review. But MOM -- Jesse just eats books! I know Jake, but I'm hoping he grows out of it (at this Jeff laughs hysterically and says don't think so). Ok, now back to the review. I'm prejudiced with this one, since I absolutely adore Melanie Watt and all of her work. It would have to be pretty crappy (Yes Jake, I know I owe you a quarter for using crappy) for me not to like it. However, I wouldn't be lying or exaggerating when I say this book is outstanding. Both parents and kids of all ages will fall in love with Chester's Masterpiece and i dare you not to giggle out-loud while looking through it. The illustrations are adorable and the characters just plain delightful. I loved watching Jake while he read it, because he really took his time looking at everything and was constantly giggling out loud. A very simple and lovingly done story about the creative process involved in creating a story/book. One of my favorite things about Melanie Watt's picture books is that she makes everything interesting, even the verso information, which lets face it, most people just skip over. With Melanie you read and look at every single part of the book.
The King's Taster
Received Free from HarperCollins at OLA 2010 - book signed to Jesse
Description: Max is the cook’s dog. And because he is also the king’s taster, Max gets to feast on wild boar! cheese pies! rose pudding! No wonder Max loves his job. Who wouldn’t want to dine on these delicious dishes? The new king, that’s who. Max and the cook must find a new recipe—and fast. Otherwise, if the new king has his way, they’ll be losing more than just their jobs!
Jake's Review: This book is boring and I don't like it. The dog is cute and I like the picture where he does this (Imagine Jake sticking out his tongue, just like the dog on the cover). I didn't like how the cook was going to have his head cut off because the picky little boy didn't like any of the foods. The King is not a nice little boy and I don't like him. I liked the end part when the cook and the dog didn't have to work for the little boy anymore. Wouldn't read it again though
Mom's Review: I wanted to like this book, but I have to be honest, I really didn't. There were some cute parts for instance when the child king gets busted for eating candy, but it was few and far between. I found the art far too sophisticated for the target audience, but adults will definitely appreciate it. The illustrations were quite unusual and I would have to say I liked them, but not for a picture book. I found the characters to be unremarkable and totally forgettable. The whole premise of the story was a fantastic idea, but in this case I believe it was poorly executed. I have read other works by Kenneth Oppel and have enjoyed him, but not in this case.
Note about my Reviews
Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!