Category Archives: quick review

Review: A Big Guy Took My Ball!

A Big Guy Took My Ball!
A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Not my favorite Elephant & Piggie but Mo Willems is like Pixar to me — even his weaker books are still better than most!

Like most of the Elephant & Piggie tales, this story doesn’t end up where you think it will, and I think teaching kids to not always assume and expect things is a good idea. There’s a lot to talk about with a child in these very few pages – you could discuss what to do when you find something unattended, what is a bully, and about confrontation.

Not my favorite of the bunch but still lots of great moments.

Plus, this picture just broke my heart:

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Review: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I listened to this on my drive to work for a few weeks and I loved it. It felt like I was back in college, listening to a wonderful lecture series on the history of cooking and how humans have manipulated ingredients to create food.

Like In Defense of Food, Cooked is a mix of microhistories, anecdotes and a dash of politics (but just a dash). Less preachy than In Defense of Food, this book focuses on baking (bread), cooking with fire (BBQ), and fermentation (plants, dairy and alcohol). But within these three activities, Pollan finds a wealth of cultural and historical things to discuss. You will finish this this book full of random factoids about all the foods you eat and the science and stories behind them.

Be warned, you will find yourself craving some delicious barbecue, cheese, and beer before this book is through!

I highly recommend this in audiobook format, though it is a great read too. But Pollan’s conversational tone helps the hours on the road fly by. It would be a good listen for teens/young adults who will enjoy hearing those bits of history you never get in school.

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Review: Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever

Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever
Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adore this series, perfect for the precocious beginning chapter book reader since the language and humor can be a bit advanced, even if there are only a few sentences on each page. Tony Fucile’s artwork is some of the best out there (he works for Disney/Pixar so it is not really a surprise).

In this book Gollie discovers her great-great-[…]aunt was royalty and decides she will be queen for awhile (Bink is not amused), Bink decides she should be tall and places and order with Acme, and then Bink & Gollie decide they want to break a world record of some kind…and end up making their own fun.

I always recommend these titles for parents and kids to read together because I feel like the humor and art will appeal to all ages.

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Review: That Is Not a Good Idea!

That Is Not a Good Idea!
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another hit from Mo Willems! Super cute and I loved the ending.

It’s meant to look like a silent film, with the pictures on one page and the text on a blank black page. The little chicks are the “viewers” reacting to the story.

I think this would be really fun for storytime, especially if you’re good at doing different voices – a sinister voice for the wolf, a sweet, innocent voice for the duck, and then a frantic set of voices for the little chicks.

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