Review: Hocus Pocus by Sylvie Desrosiers

hocus pocus

Hocus Pocus by Sylvie Desrosiers and Remy Simard

This wordless picture book has the feel of a graphic novel, but one designed for very small children.  It tells the story of Mister Magic who heads home with his pet dog, feeds the dog, and then settles in listening to music with his headset.  Once he has fallen asleep, the rabbit jumps out of his hat.  On the counter is a grocery bag and he spots some carrots up there.  But he has to sneak past the sleeping dog to get there.  He has the great idea of wearing slippers to be quieter, but then he crunches on a peanut.  The dog wakes up and discovers the rabbit’s activity, but the rabbit is able to soothe him back to sleep with some violin music.  But that is only the first round, as the dog and rabbit try to outwit each other.

This is a very funny picture book that emerging readers will enjoy.  It’s not a wordless book for toddlers who would miss the humor of the story, but rather one for slightly older children who will read this book like watching a silent cartoon.  The humor is pure slapstick fun, channeling the Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny feel with plenty of physical gags. 

The art here is crisp and clean with a modern vibe.  The colors are vibrant, bright and very appealing.  Children who pay close attention to the illustrations will see some of the jokes coming, making it all the more fun to read.

A modern picture book that is full of classic humor, this book has great appeal.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.

Also reviewed by 100 Scope Notes and Sal’s Fiction Addiction.

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

lola boy next door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Released September 29, 2011.

Lola’s clothes are beyond fashion, they are costume and she is proud of it.  She has a hot rocker boyfriend, who is 5 years older.  She has two great dads who may be strict, but they adore her.  The only trouble is they don’t adore her boyfriend at all.  She also has a mother who struggles with addiction and homelessness, and whom Lola tries to minimize contact with.  But Lola has things pretty much under control until the Bell twins move back in next door.  There is Calliope Bell, the famous ice skater, but even more devastating is the return of Cricket Bell, who broke Lola’s heart two years ago.  Now Lola has a life she’s built for herself, but there’s no denying that her feelings are still there for Cricket along with a tingly connection that she feels only with him.

Perkins returns with another gem of a romantic novel that is sure to be very popular with teen readers.  She once again features a strong and unique heroine who is a charming mix of confidence and doubt.  Lola is also smart and funny, making her a pleasure to spend time with.  Perkins also excels at having sexually active characters who don’t regret their sexuality.  Her female protagonists feel lust as well as love, making them very believable teen characters.

Lola is a great lead character, and Perkins surrounds her with other strong characters as well.  From her fathers who are gay men written without any stereotyping to Cricket himself to her best friend, all of them are well-rounded and interesting.  There are a couple of characters who are written less positively, like Calliope Bell and Lola’s mother.  Even these characters are well developed and reach beyond what could have been cardboard depictions.

If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, you must get your hands on this companion novel and meet Lola.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Dutton Books.

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