Lions and Liars by Kate Beasley

LL_JKT_template.inddGenre: Middle Grade Fiction
Pages: Print 304
Release Date: June 5,  2018
Author: Kate Beasley 
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I received a free copy of this book while attending the Texas Library Association Conference in 2018. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or the author. 


Synopsis:

Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick’s a flea.

Fifth grade is off to a terrible start when Frederick is sent to a disciplinary camp for troublesome boys. His fellow troop mates—Nosebleed, Specs, The Professor, and little-yet-lethal Ant Bite—are terrifying. But in between trust-building exercises and midnight escape attempts, a tenuous friendship grows between them. Which is lucky, because a Category 5 hurricane is coming and everyone will have to work together—lions and fleas alike—to survive!

*synopsis take directly from Goodreads.com*


Final Thoughts:

I first met Kate at a discussion panel at the Texas Library Association Conference this past April. I feel in love with her book then and new I had to attend her book signing. Lions and Liars is a creative novel that discusses the importance of friendship. Kate uses a variety of approaches to showcase the woes of friendships and the challenges each character must overcome. The main character Fredrick Frederickson is a charismatic self enthused young boy who wants to be seen as a lion. He wants to win so much that he starts to loose sign of what is important, friendships.

I actually selected this novel for my recent tween book club and they loved it. Some of course stated they were more a lion versus a flea. I would say I am a tie between a flea and a lion. I enjoyed the interaction between each character in this story and the relatable of each scene. Sometimes you want something so bad but in the end you realize that the thing you wanted wasn’t that important. Fredrick comes to that realization at the end of the story and finally understands what is important. I enjoyed watching him grow as a character throughout this novel. I actually really liked this book and am excited to read more books by this author. 

So, if you are in the market for good middle grade read about friendship, camp, and surviving the odds, then this the book for you. It has mild language and content is appropriate for all ages. 


nterested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Boy, The Bird, and The Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods

CoverTitle: THE BOY, THE BIRD, AND THE COFFIN MAKER
Author: Matilda Woods
Genre: Children’s Fantasy Fiction
Pages: Print 189
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.


Description:

Friendship and magical realism sparkle on the page in this heartwarming, delightfully eccentric illustrated middle-grade gem from an extraordinary new literary voice. Perfect for fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Penderwicks.

Alberto lives alone in the town of Allora, where fish fly out of the sea and the houses shine like jewels. He is a coffin maker and widower, spending his quiet days creating the final resting places of Allora’s people.

Then one afternoon a magical bird flutters into his garden, and Alberto, lonely inside, welcomes it into his home. And when a kindhearted boy named Tito follows the bird into Alberto’s kitchen, a door in the old man’s heart cracks open. Tito is lonely too–but he’s also scared and searching for a place to hide. Fleeing from danger, he just wants to feel safe for once in his life. Can the boy and the old man learn the power of friendship and escape the shadows of their pasts?

With a tender bond that calls to mind The Girl Who Drank the Moon, charming characters reminiscent of The Penderwicks, and the whimsy of A Snicker of Magic, this is a novel to curl up with, an extraordinary work of magical realism that makes the world feel like a warmer and happier place. Complete with dazzling interior illustrations, a gem from start to finish.


Author Bio:

Matilda Woods (www.matildawoods.com) grew up in the small town of Southern Tablelands, Australia. She graduated from Monash University with a Masters of Social Work. Matilda splits her time between writing middle grade fiction and working as a youth social worker. The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker is her debut novel. She currently lives in the same small town where she grew up, with her four chickens, three dogs, two cats and one bird.


Final Thoughts:

This entrancing middle grade read follows the life of a boy, a bird, and a coffin maker. Alberto has been making coffins since the death of his family. Allora, once a thriving town, is merely a place of silence. Sickness has taken over many lives and in the wake of death, silence is imminent. Alberto continues to make coffins in hopes of giving back to the dead. One night, Miss Bonito is brought in. She was found in her home in a still warm bed. As the weeks follow after her funeral Alberto starts noticing food items missing. Who is the their in his home? Did Miss Bonito really die alone?

Overall, this was such a great book. I loved the interaction between characters and the turmoil between the thief and Alberto. I would have liked for more of a backstory on Miss Bonito and more explanation about Mister Bonito. The author did a great job portraying the challenges of diseases during a time where there was no cure. I assumed the story was written in a time before medicines were popular. It was a bit harder to tell the setting and time frame of this novel. The text had me wanting more. I would recommend this book to any middle grader looking for a good read pertaining to families, friendships, and unlikely relationships with animals. Birds are free, are you?


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review!: Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines

cover.jpgTitle: Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines
Author: Adam Gidwitz , Chris Lenox Smith, Jesse Casey
Genre: Children’s FantasyFiction
Pages: Print 176
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.


Description:

A fully illustrated, globe-trotting new middle grade fantasy-adventure series about mythical creatures and their cultures of origin, from the Newbery Honor-winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale.
Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly excited about starting at a brand-new school in a brand-new town; he’d much rather stay at home and read a book. But things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his weird new teacher, Professor Fauna, has planned a field trip for Elliot’s very first day. Along with a new friend–brave, outspoken Uchenna Devereaux–Elliot gets caught up in a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.

Unicorn Rescue Society is an exciting and hilarious new series about friendship, adventure, and mythical creatures from around the world by Newbery Honor-winning author Adam Gidwitz teamed up with Mixtape Club founders Jesse Casey and Chris Smith, and Hatem Aly, illustrator of The Inquisitor’s Tale.


Author Bios:

Adam Gidwitz is the author of the critically acclaimed, New York Timesbestselling Grimm trilogy. He spent six years researching and writing his Newbery Honor-winning The Inquisitor’s Tale, including a year living in Europe. Adam lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY. Find Adam online at adamgidwitz.com or @AdamGidwitz.

Chris Lenox Smith is the Creative Director and cofounder of Mixtape Club, an award-winning audiovisual creative studio. Mixtape works with a range of brands and artists, including Google, HBO, ESPN, Spotify, Primus, and They Might Be Giants, to create memorable, narrative-driven films. Chris is a two-time winner of the ADC Young Guns Award for animation and music composition, his work spans across media, from short films and commercial work to musical scores that marry influences from the precomputer era with modern techniques.

Jesse Casey is the Managing Director and cofounder of Mixtape Club, an award-winning audiovisual creative studio. Mixtape works with a range of brands and artists, including Google, HBO, ESPN, Spotify, Primus, and They Might Be Giants, to create memorable, narrative-driven films. Drawing from his twin backgrounds in computer programming and printmaking, Jesse’s work embraces contemporary technology as a means to recreate the craft and artistry of classic film and animation.

ILLUSTRATOR
Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured on television and in multiple publications worldwide. He currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife, son, and more pets than people. Find him online at metahatem.com or @metahatem.


Final Thoughts:

Unicorn Rescue Society is a book that will take anyone on an adventure through a forest. In this imaginative tale, two young students make some unlikely friends as they discover the real secrets of the Pines. It’s Elliot’s first day of school, and he has already been roped into an adventure by his new best friend, Uchenna. Uchenna is spunky, outgoing, and not afraid to go on experience. The author did a fantastic job capturing my attention and portraying teachers in a different light. The two adventurers become friends with the teacher they feared the most, Mr. Fauna. But, Mr. Fauna harbors many secrets about the Pines and the mythical creatures that lie within. The two must learn who to trust and learn new ways to protect their newfound friends. I recommend this book to anyone in elementary. This adventurous novel takes any reader on a mythical journey through friendship, trust, and the Pines.


Question: What mythical creature would you like to meet?

-I would actually like to meet a mermaid. I would love to get a selfie with one. It partly has to do with my name being Ariel but, also I think mermaids are interesting creatures. I would also like to meet a Pegasus and see if it will take me on a ride.-

Comment your answers below! I’d love to hear your responses!


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com