Eddie Gets Ready for School by David Milgrim
Eddie can get ready for school all on his own, but his routine is not what his mother would have done! That’s for sure! His healthy breakfast is spilled around so much that it becomes a way to take care of feeding the dog too. He washes up with a diving mask on. When he’s gotten dressed he has on a cape, no shirt, and his underwear is on his head. Then comes watching cartoons and drinking root beer. That is until his mother shows up! His routine continues to be uproarious fun and he does make it onto the bus on time, even if he is carrying his clean underwear in his hand!
Milgrim taps into exactly what small children will find funny. The underwear jokes are bound to get big laughs, but so is the idea that a school snack includes a whole watermelon. Each page contains something that children would have loved to do themselves, therefore they will love to see what happens when Eddie tries it. It is a very satisfying premise for a book.
Much of the humor is visual and told in Milgrim’s bright colored illustrations. The white background on many of the pages make the colors really pop. There is a feeling of enthusiasm within the illustrations and the story itself.
Perfect for fans of the No, David! series, this book has the same zany humor and energy. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Three nights after her father’s death, Liesl first meets Po. Po just appears in her room, a piece of darkness that comes to life along with his pet, both of them are ghosts. Po has come from the Other Side and the two slowly become close friends. Meanwhile, another story is unfolding, one where a young apprentice to an alchemist makes a mistake and loses the biggest magic in the world because he accidentally picks up the wrong box. This is not a small mistake, but a large one. In this world devoid of color and sunshine, only potatoes grow. The large magic is one that can change the course of the world or make someone the most powerful person in the world. It all depends on whose hands it falls into.
This is an old-fashioned children’s book written by an author who usually writes edgy teen novels. From the cadence of the story to the characters themselves, it could have been a story that was stereotypical. But it is not. Oliver has created a story built on a familiar structure that turns out to be a rousing adventure that speaks to grief, loss and recovery. The themes are large, they are well drawn, and if young children do not see the themes they are still in for a good story.
While the action is great fun and the characters well drawn, I do wish they would have broken further from the stereotypes in the end. The culmination of the story is very satisfying and the writing is a pleasure to read. Much of the story, one is not sure what is going to happen because of the all of the twists and turns the book takes.
Magic and the Other Side are mixed together seamlessly. The dark themes used in a children’s book carries this book into the realm of Dahl. The black and white illustrations make it very friendly to young readers who will enjoy the fantasy and adventure blend.
A familiar but refreshing story, this book nicely combines tradition and larger themes into a magical read. Appropriate for ages 8-12.
Reviewed from library copy.
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