Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: The Heath Cousins and the Moonstone Cave by Eileen Hobbs

Publisher: XLIBRIS | Published: October 31, 2017

Title: The Heath Cousins and the Moonstone Cave

Author: Eileen Hobbs | Illustrator: N/A

Theme: Adventure and Teamwork

Character Origin: Human and Animal

Book Type: Chapter Book  | Pages: 74

Ages: 8-12 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

Addie B. and her cousins Jack, Beanie, and Bodie are mourning the loss of their grandmother Winnie. While visiting their grandfather’s beach house in Maine, Addie receives a mysterious treasure box once owned by her grandmother. In it is a moonstone ring and a mysterious poem from her grandmother. The poem leads Addie and her cousins to nearby Moonstone Cave where, together, they enter a secret and magical garden and embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Along the way, they meet wonderful friends like Gemma, who reminds them all of a younger version of their grandmother; Jumani, a large white wolf; and Jadira, a strange and smelly creature whom they grow to love. During the adventure, they learn the most important lesson of all: they must work together if they want to escape the dangers ahead of them and find their way back home.

My overall thoughts…

This book really brought to mind that love can heal the deepest pain and bond together those that, at first sight, are so different. Like many of us, summer is a time that we look forward to doing things we enjoy doing, not forced to do the things we dread. However, sometimes, it’s in the uncomfortable and unexpected moments that we learn the most about ourselves. Hobbs does a great job of merging this concept into a relatable experience that kids can appreciate. She also lovingly addresses loss in a very touching yet meaningful way. 

I was drawn into the story right away. Each of Hobbs’ main characters has a layer of complexity that adds to their genuineness and authenticity. It felt as though the reader was alongside the cousins on their adventure. That in itself is no small feat. I enjoyed how fantasy and reality were interwoven together, each telling its own unique story. Additionally, I enjoyed how the story started with the cousins being really separate and sort of incongruent to one another. However, through their shared experiences and individual gifts are they able to overcome the challenges ahead of them. 

The font size aligns with the recommended age group for this book. There are only a couple of pictures, but they match well with the text. The chapters are short but are filled with great content and quite descriptive. There was no lag in the story; it flowed well throughout the chapters. The Heath Cousins and the Moonstone Cave is well-written for the audience, and I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

I’ll give it…

Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: Family Time: I’m a Star by Brandon Foster

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ARC provided by the author for my honest review.

Title: Family Time: I’m a Star

Author: Brandon Foster | Illustrator: Pia Bley

Publisher: Allegory Publishing | Published: TBD

Theme:  Pride and Leading by Example

Character Origin: Human 

Book Type: Comic  | Pages: ≈ 40

Ages: 6-12 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

Friends, how many of us have them?

Simone has it all! Popularity, good friends, and a loving family. But it appears that that may not be enough. What happens when the need for more drives you in the wrong direction? Join Simone as she discovers not just the price of chasing fame, but also the consequences.

My overall thoughts…

I was eager to take a sneak peek at Foster’s follow-up comic to Family Time: Who Do You Love and needless to say it was FANTASTIC! This is definitely a comic that will appeal more to girls than boys but the message is appropriate for both. It deals with one of the seven deadly sins–pride; as well as leading by example. Foster was up to the challenge of tackling this complicated subject, in a relatable and comprehensive manner for both child and parent, as they both have lessons to learn here. What I’ve found quite dynamic about comics is that the illustrations play a more significant role than those in picture books. The reader can connect viscerally with the imagery before ever reading a word. I find that very intriguing. Overall, the execution of the content and character development was presented in a fluid and easily intelligible manner.

The illustrations and text…

Bley’s illustrations were beautifully drawn and matched meticulously to the characters in the previous comic. The cool color palette adds softness to the page. The font size and text is easy to read. The dialogue bubbles were distributed well throughout the panels. Foster’s use of the various bubble types was nicely interwoven throughout the comic, which demonstrates the diversity of the text and provides more insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters themselves. Adding a reference page at the beginning may be helpful for those that are new to reading a comic. This reference could include what the different types of bubbles mean, how to read a comic, and what the different parts of a comic are. Doing this could be especially helpful to younger readers or parents.

I’ll give it…