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Pretty in Pink

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The Pink Umbrella by Amélie Callot, illustrated by Geneviève Godbout

// BOOK REVIEW //

Thank you to Tundra Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

"For the villagers, the cafe is a refuge, a small lantern always lit... The cafe is the heart of the village. And Adele is the heart of the cafe. She is the village's sun - lively, sweet and sparkling." - The Pink Umbrella

It all begins with a pair of pink rain boots… This sweet story with absolutely adorable illustrations will capture your imagination and quite possibly leave you with a desire to add a pink, polk-dot umbrella to your wardrobe. Younger readers (ages 4-6) will enjoy the face-value of the story while older readers (ages 6-9) will be more likely to understand the themes of the story that center around the importance of friendship, community and showing little acts of kindness. Most importantly, I enjoyed the story’s emphasis on finding the good in what may originally be interpreted as a bad situation.

Book Details:

Title: The Pink Umbrella

Author: Amélie Callot

Illustrator: Geneviève Godbout

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781101919231

Such pretty end papers and adorable illustrations…

Such pretty end papers and adorable illustrations…

Isn’t this little cottage the sweetest!

Isn’t this little cottage the sweetest!

Such lovely illustrations!

Such lovely illustrations!

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Lovely Serendipity

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

// BOOK REVIEW //

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Each and every one of us has a story - the composite of our individual life experiences that makes us the person we are at this very moment. Jon Cohen beautifully displays this reality for the reader through a motley cast of characters (from the lovable to the despicable) in the magical world of Harry’s Trees.

Two major themes Cohen expertly addresses in this book involve grief and magic. In real life, grief does not come with a handbook that cross-applies to every situation. We each handle and process grief in different ways and on our own unique timeframes. As a reader, it was heartwarming to observe Harry (while mired in his own grief) help Oriana heal from her grief. I don’t want to expose too much of the storyline with examples from the book so I will not detail the meaningful moments of the character’s grieving and healing processes other than to say that it was authentically and beautifully written.

In addition to grief, I was completely and happily immersed in the fairytale-like nature of this book. Although we, the reader, observe moments of magical realism in the story, I think the author points us to those little moments of serendipity in our real lives where fairy-tale magic and the real world convene. Woven through the story are additional themes of love, loss, regret, abandonment, greed, healing, the beauty of nature, insecurity, guilt, the importance of human touch, new beginnings, the innocence of childhood, childhood lost, lifeboats, combining the old with the new, letting go, breaking emotional chains and the power of fairy tales.

If you enjoy creative, original stories that link both the real and moments of magic, pick up a copy of Harry’s Trees today!

Book Details:

Title: Harry’s Trees

Author: Jon Cohen

Publisher: MIRA Books

Format: Hardback

ISBN:  978-0778364153

Favorite Quotes from Harry’s Trees:

“Oh my. You have a story.” - Olive to Harry

“It’s only five words long - she died a year ago. And I’m out here to say goodbye. Which turns out to be a long and complicated process. I’m not sure I’ll ever finish saying it.”

“Olive reached for him, and they sat for a long moment, Harry and the old woman, holding hands on the stone wall. ‘You never finish, Harry. I’m not finished with it either. Why does the universe allow love to happen? Against such odds - death, abandonment and a thousand other misfortunes and ordeals - why would we risk falling in love? When it can be snatched from us at anytime for any reason?’ Harry looked away. Olive closed his fingers over the wedding band. ‘Because it’s worth it. Worth the risk and the pain. Of all the glorious enchantments of this world - spring, snow, laughter, red roses, dogs, books - love is by far the best.’ ”

“ ‘ By its very nature, though, love is tragic. You can’t protect it. No matter how tightly you hold onto the one you love, they leave you or you leave them. That’s what life is, loving and letting go. I am grateful to those two young lovers of sixty years ago. I am so grateful to have tasted love. But all love ends tragically. Because tragically, love always ends. What a heartbreaking and wondrous conundrum!’ “

“What other function do books have, the great ones, but to change the reader? Books to comfort. But most of all, books to disturb you forward.”

“He was not an all-knowing god, after all. He was simply a man trying to heal the heart of a little girl by making her fairy tale come true.”

“Oriana looking at him, so intently. What did she see? The grum of course. And what would she see when he plinked away the final piece of gold? Would she like him as much when the grum turned into plain old Harry? So complicated, when life has been transformed into a fairy tale and a fairy tale into life.”

“ ‘Is everything a story to you?’ Harry called after her. ‘Absolutely!’ came Olive’s voice. ‘I’m a librarian, dear!’ “

“Deep are the bonds of friendship. Long are the memories or discord.”

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Book Love

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

// BOOK REVIEW //

I don’t know if you feel the same way but sometimes when my life is crazy and hectic I find it so refreshing to read a lovely, bookish story that is delightfully told and easy to process. The Bookshop on the Corner’ was a perfect December read in the middle of the busyness of the holiday season. I enjoyed the charming, colorful and at times even a bit cheesy story of a librarian who loses her job but gains everything she really always wanted but never had possessed. Although this story is sweet and romantic, Jenny Colgan effectively addresses important themes of starting over, following your dreams, the value of community, the bonds of friendship, turning bad situations into good, helping the needy, finding joy in the little moments, and the wonder presented through reading the perfect book! I listened to the audio version narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis and I completely enjoyed the Scottish accents!

** This book was the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club pick for December. I just finished our monthly book chat and found out that many of the titles that Colgan introduces in the story are made-up books! I initially recognized the titles she referenced and then as I read through the book I was surprised that I knew none of the books she referenced! I kept thinking that I would need to go back through the book and look them up! Now I know why I didn’t recognize the books! I love learning new things from other readers!

Book Details:

Title: The Bookshop on the Corner

Author: Jenny Colgan

Publisher: William Morrow

Format: Paperback

ISBN:  978-0062467256

Favorite Quotes:

“Some people buried their fears in food, she knew, and some in booze, and some in planning elaborate engagements and weddings and other life events that took up every spare moment of their time, in case unpleasant thoughts intruded. But for Nina, whenever reality, or the grimmer side of reality, threatened to invade, she always turned to a book. Books had been her solace when she was sad; her friends when she was lonely. They had mended her heart when it was broken, and encouraged her to hope when she was down.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can't fix anything. And your life might turn out full of regrets.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“Books were the best way Nina knew – apart from, sometimes, music – to breach the barrier; to connect the internal universe with the external, the words acting merely as a conduit between the two worlds.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“Anything that spreads books and brings about more books, I would say it is good. Good medicine, not bad.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“In front of the fire If you haven’t got a fire, a candle will do. The one thing I really look forward to as the nights draw in is a big cozy fire and a good book—the longer the better. I love a really, really long novel, a large cup of tea, or glass of wine depending on how close to the weekend we are (or how much I am in the mood to stretch the definition of what constitutes the weekend), and a bit of peace and quiet. A dog helps, too. Dogs are tremendously good at showing you you don’t have to check your phone every two seconds to have a happy life.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“Because life is like that, isn’t it? If you thought of all the tiny things that divert your path one way or another, some good, some bad, you’d never do anything ever again. And some people don’t. Some people go through life not really deciding to do much, not wanting to, always too fearful of the consequences to try something new. Of course, that in itself is also a decision.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things.” - The Bookshop on the Corner

“I am of the old-fashioned conviction that reading is a pleasure to be carefully guarded at all times.”  - The Bookshop on the Corner


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Meals on Wheels

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Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

// Book Review //

Thank you to Scholastic Press for this complimentary review copy!

“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.” It isn’t often that the first words in a book begin in the middle of a fervent chase, however Mortal Engines wastes no time in setting the pace for this fantastical story. Thousands of years after the world as we know it ends, surviving cities and towns roam the earth on the sea, in the sky, and most notably - on wheels. The feared city of London grows tired of hunting small towns for resources and longs for more suitable prey. In the event that led to the earth’s intense shift, the most highly advanced technology of the old era was lost to time… until London learns of a top-secret “old tech” weapon capable of restoring them to their former glory. The daunting race gets rolling between the feared towering city and a group of improbable intercontinental friends for the control of the future.

There are a number of areas that Phillip Reeves knocks out of the park in Mortal Engines, such as the elegiac painting it creates of our altered world and the descriptive scenery along the way. The protagonists of the story travel long distances throughout the book, and while the story never seems aimless it remains easy to appreciate how sizable the traveled world feels. Another highlight of the book for myself was that it at no point felt predictable. The story is so inherently unique and the character’s roles so unfamilliar that they make for an undeniable rollercoaster from start to finish. With today’s release of the cinematic take on this book, I recommend to anyone interested in this captivating story to read the book first. While I expect the movie to be a stunning visual depiction of events in the book, I can not confidently assume the movie will build the stories depth quite as thoroughly as the book in the readers mind. Mortal Engines is a sometimes fierce, sometimes silly book that is always fun.

Book Details:

Title: Mortal Engines

Author: Philip Reeve

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Paperback

ISBN:  978-1338201123

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You'll Want to Add This Book to Your Library!

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Red Sky at Night by Elly MacKay

// Book Review //

Thank you to Tundra Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

I am so excited to share this book with you! I have been recently posting a variety of children’s books that make great gifts and this book is a delectable treat that you will want to enjoy over and over again! If you already know Elly MacKay’s work you know the wonder and whimsy of her creations. If you are not familiar with Elly MacKay’s art, I am so excited to introduce you to her stunning photography!

Elly creates tiny little treasures from paper, arranges her paper creations in a paper theatre, creatively adds light and then beautifully photographs the stage she has set. The final product is a gorgeous photo that has a feel of magnificent water color creation! Elly’s incredible art is featured on the cover for the Tundra Books paperback editions of the Anne of Green Gables series, Emily of New Moon series and other Montgomery titles including Mistress Pat, The Golden Road, The Story Girl, Jane of Lantern Hill and The Blue Castle.

While Red Sky at Night is a visual dream, the reader will want to slowly meander through the pages while soaking up the delightful details, it is also an interesting compilation of weather folklore. I remember when I was a child, my grandfather used to say phrases such as “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight”. At the end of the book, Elly includes a list of the weather-related phrases mentioned in the story along with an explanation on what they mean and whether or not they are true.

Red Sky at Night is a perfect combination of interesting text accompanied by stunning illustrations! I am confident that you will want to add this beauty to your home library!

Book Details:

Title: Red Sky at Night

Author: Elly MacKay

Illustrator: Elly MacKay

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Hardbound

ISBN:  9781101917831

The end papers in  Red Sky at Night  are stunning!

The end papers in Red Sky at Night are stunning!

Weather is such an interesting topic for children to talk about!

Weather is such an interesting topic for children to talk about!

Adorable!

Adorable!

The clouds do look like woolly fleece!

The clouds do look like woolly fleece!

I only knew a saying or two before I read this book. My understanding of weather folklore has now significantly increased!

I only knew a saying or two before I read this book. My understanding of weather folklore has now significantly increased!

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