Fantasy, Fiction, young adult

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children–Ranson Riggs

We’ve made it out of the Roald Dahl vortex. Thank God.

I was originally reading this book because I had been interested in it for awhile and then the movie was coming out, so naturally, I was trying to prep myself for the movie!

And then I never went and saw the movie.

I hold all the logic in my hands, don’t I?

Anyway, this book freaked me out. But only because there were pictures of what everyone looks like in it and the pictures are creepy as all hell. Nobody likes old timey circus photos Ransom Riggs! NOBODY.

On the whole though, this book was really good. I liked Jacob, and the back story of why he can see things others can’t, I enjoyed the entire plot, the writing was great, I really look forward to reading more of these. (And finally watching the movie.)

Maybe I’m just saying that because I can’t take anymore kid books though.

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Classic

The Roald Dahl Collection

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Admittedly, I didn’t know Roald Dahl even wrote this. I thought it came from the likes of someone with a twisted mind like Tim Burton.

Well, given what his other books, I wasn’t totally wrong.

This book was good, but had some serious darkness in it. I didn’t like reading to the kid that the foxes were trapped at one point and that the evil farmer was trying to basically set them on fire.

Not exactly kid friendly those bits.

Plus the foxes were starving to death at one point I think.

It’s okay though, they build a small society with their other animal friends.

I don’t 100% remember this book, so maybe read it before you read it to your kid.

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Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

I didn’t know this book existed. This follows Charlie, his grandfather, and Willy Wonka on their adventure after they burst through the roof.

There’s probably a reason why I never knew this existed, and that’s because it turns a little sci-fi on us and moves away from the classic Chocolate Factory aspect of things.

They end up going through space, then nearly being gunned down by the army, and a whole slew of misadventures.

It was still cute, but not as good as the first, which is probably why he never revisited these characters again.

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The Magic Finger

Another weird one for the record books. But only in that it had an odd magical element, nothing truly creepy or life threatening could come of this one. It was just about a little girl who was mad at the neighbours for hunting and turned them into birds.

It was okay.

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The Twits

Have you had enough of my non-review reviews? Have you had enough of Roald Dahl?

Me too.

I’ve heard about this book for awhile, it’s noted as one of his best, and I can’t agree on that. I definitely enjoyed Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory better. Hell, I enjoyed The Witches better.

The Twits was good in that it was odd, but that’s where it ended. I didn’t like them at all (I’m guessing you weren’t supposed to) and I can’t stand books where it’s teaching kids new ways to be bad.

But then again, I guess it’s also teaching kids what retaliation is for when you ARE bad. Because there’s a monkey uprising in this.

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Danny the Champion of the World

I love a good gypsy story, but I think I’m just on the outs with Roald Dahl at this point. Reading the entire collection he has to a kid over the span of months is really daunting if you find some of his stories to be flipping weird.

On the one hand, this story was sweet because it was about a father and son, how they plot ways to get back at a mean man, but on the other hand: I can’t read anymore of these books.
Yeesh. Maybe it’s just the way I perceive them, maybe other people see the good parts where the villain is conquered, but I just see these books as a ‘How-to’ on misbehaviour.

I think I’m turning into an adult.
It’s finally happening. Oh God. Help me.

I bet I would’ve loved these books as kids! To see adults get their comeuppance for keeping the kids spirits down! But as an adult I can’t help thinking what little brats some of the kids in these stories are.

Anyway…. this wasn’t the worst of them. I’d say you could read this to your kid, no matter what age.

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So that’s the last of the Roald Dahl! Next week will be back to regular programming!

(Especially since the kid wants me to sing to him at naptime instead of read to him.)

Constant vigilance!

Classic, Kids Books

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–Roald Dahl

Contrary to what I’ve been writing about Roald Dahl’s books on here (those were the questionable ones to be sure) I do actually enjoy his writing. It is not really for toddlers, but I should’ve probably knew they weren’t going to be. My bad.

However, this book was totally lovely! Just as I remember it.

Funny story: One of my cousins that I look after, his school makes it mandatory to go to the library (as they should) and one day they were having a Free Books day for the old books to leave the school. Everyone got to take home whatever they wanted. He chose ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. It was busted and old and has an old school hardcover.

He thought it was really cool that there was even a library card in the back with all these peoples names on them.

I read through them and realized not only did I start recognizing the names of some of the students, but I recognized their handwriting! Some of the names it was hard not to given that they had written down their quite obvious nicknames. And in between all those was a name written in in pencil:

“Allison”. Full with the funny ‘A’ I used to do and my attempt at cursive.

I had read that book when I was his age and now he was holding a piece of my history. How weird is that? Weird and cool.

Anyway, THIS is a safe book to read to your kids. It’s just as sweet as we remember and quirky too. Definitely pass this one down, or snuggle up with your kids for it.

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Kids Books

Roald Dahl

The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me—Roald Dahl

This book was short and sweet and so will this review be:

This was about a little boy who was introduced to his new neighbours: a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey. They had just moved in and were renovating a house to be their business. They were opening a window cleaning business and the boy shows them a house that really needs it since there are several hundred windows and they all live happily ever after cleaning these windows.

It was short, which was good since there was zero plot for this kids book, and I liked it. It was cute and Daryl liked the bits about the animals.

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James and the Giant Peach—Roald Dahl

Again, being a kid of the 90s I watched the movie version of this first and I believe I thought it was super creepy.

The book however was quite sweet. The story is, of course, that James’ parents die, he moves in with his terrible aunts, they mistreat him, magic makes a peach grow alongside a bunch of bugs in the area, and adventure begins as the aunts are bowled over by the oversized peach.

I really liked this one, it had funny jokes, wordplay, and I learned some interesting information on bugs.

Definitely a good book for any age child.

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The Witches—Roald Dahl

Hey there, here’s another for the list of things not to read to children.

Firstly, I don’t know why the hell I thought Roald Dahl WASN’T going to be a big creep. The descriptions alone should’ve made me turn away from reading these to a two year old.

I mean, the book is called “The Witches”. I should’ve known.

But hey. Live and learn, right?

Short, creepy, and full of witches, mice, and mayhem, this book is about a kid who discovers real witches and learns from his grandmother how to fight them off.

The problem is: Witches look like any normal person.

In the beginning of the book Dahl goes on to give you a list of people who are likely witches, they are always women and could be anyone from your teacher to your mother to the person reading the book right now. And then goes on to describe how you can tell who is a witch and who isn’t.

The only saving grace I had working with this book was that Daryl would fall asleep pretty easily during it. And that I would use a witch hand to tickle him so that it wasn’t so terrifying.

Good for older kids I suppose.

If you hate them and want to give them nightmares.

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Kids Books

Matilda–Roald Dahl

The kid and I, well mostly me, decided to start reading all the Roald Dahl books in his sisters room after I had read the Disney stories until I could barf. (And I love Disney stories.) I basically knew the entire thing cover to cover, and it had pictures, and it was heavy to hold, so I decided to move on to paperbacks.

As a kid who grew up in the 90’s I had watched the movie Matilda and prayed that someday I would get magical powers and be able to move things with my mind.

Reading the book now, as a 29 year old human, I have come to one conclusion:

I want magical powers and to be able to move things with my mind.

This book is (if you haven’t heard about it or read anything) about a little girl whose family is wretched and she ends up getting telepathic powers and decides to exact revenge for them being terrible people on them and anyone else who acts wrongly.

I liked this book, I like his style, I liked the story, I liked Matilda and Ms. Honey, and I loved that Hank loved it. He would get tired and ask for “Batilda” with a sigh like I was the one keeping him awake.

What I didn’t like however, was some of the cursing and the fact that Matilda’s parents were actually just going to leave her behind. And then let Ms Honey adopt her like it was no big deal to just get rid of their kid. Made me mad. But whatever.

Lovely book otherwise.

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Biography, Comedy, Fantasy, Fiction, Kids Books

The Short Stack.

Good morning everyone!

I’m clearing house of the tiny reviews. So here’s four to take a gander at.

Summer of My Amazing Luck—Miriam Toews

Literally only picked this up because I knew it was set in the summer. (Book challenge #14-A Book Set in the Summer [26BooksWithBringingUpBurns 2015.])

What a treat it was though! I love this writer, she’s really in tune with empathy over sympathy. It’s very interesting to read her books because they are about real humans and their struggles.

All about people living on welfare and their troubles, stories, and how they rise or fall.

Definitely interesting to pick up. In this you follow Lucy through how she got to the Have-A-Life welfare housing, how she makes friends, and then ends up on a road trip with her friend Lish to find a fire eater that knocked her up awhile ago.

Very cool take, I can’t gush enough about this writer, but I’ll stop for your sake.

Truly great.

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I Feel Bad About My Neck (And Other thoughts on being a woman)—Nora Efron

Okay. This also might seem like an odd choice for me to read but hear me out:

I was reading a lot of female authors and was like ‘Hey. This lady writes sweet movies and books and maybe she has some perspective as well on being a woman that would interest me like the last five!”

Well unless you are over 50, don’t bother with this.

I found it quite boring and useless. Which sounds awful since I do like her movies, but I didn’t gain anything from this or learn anything besides ‘I never want to get old’.

*Audience booing*

To be completely fair to her: I will read her other books in the future, I just happened to pick a dud for my age group. Her writing was good, I just didn’t connect to what she was going through and didn’t much care for her stories.

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(#16 A Book You Learned About Because of this Challenge….this might be a stretch I think, I was just trying to fill in holes. But I did learn about this because of the other books I was looking through for this challenge, so that has to count.)

The Pilot’s Wife—Anita Shreve

Someone suggested this to me when I lived in Vancouver and it’s been sitting around on my shelves ever since.

That’s how backed up my reading list is. I’m hitting living at home for two years already.

Jesus Christ I need to get my shit together.

Anyway.

This book is about a woman (obviously) who’s husband was a pilot.

Shocker. Haha.

Her husbands plane goes down and she has to deal with all that comes with it. Including their teenage daughter and her grief.

I really loved this book actually, it was beautifully written, not overwhelming with emotions and drama, and enough mystery to hold my attention.

Thank you to the random lady in Vancouver who suggested that I read Anita Shreve’s books. I’m excited to read more of her stuff in the future.

(#18 A book with a blue cover.)

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Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and Other Seasonal Scourges—Jen Mann

This book jumped the line because I was in the mood for a holiday laugh. (I read this around Christmas) My cousins family gave this to me. (I’m their nanny and I get all the good stuff from them. Including baby snuggles!)

It was hysterical. And accurate as all hell.

Start to finish had me laughing. And nodding like ‘I feel ya girl!”.

Definitely worth it for a present to someone with a sense of humour around the holidays. Or for a treat for yourself because it was awesome.

Short and sweet and to the point. Just like this review.

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Bunnicula—Deborah and James Howe

Another present from a family member, my Auntie Jo (or as she calls herself Aunt Torage. Best word play of life.) I was presented with this for my birthday because I love bunnies, I love horror, and I love ridiculous novels written for children.

This was a good and spoooOOOoooky read.

Okay, it was all right. It IS for kids after all. But it was pretty cute and funny and I’m sure some kid somewhere is having nightmares about this rabbit.

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Happy Monday everyone! Constant vigilance!

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Kids Books

Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates–Sean Cullen

Kiddy book time! I found this in a thrift store and thought to myself “Mac would like this! Time to see if it’s appropriate!” (Mac being my little cousin.) Definitely suggest this for kid around nine or ten, it was a pretty cute story. Hamish X is bounced from work house to work house and he has magic boots and a book on plumbing that his mother gave him.

 

            He ends up in a cheese factory working underneath a tyrant where he meets two new friends, Mimi and Parveen, one: a rough talking ass-kicking girl, two: a tiny Indian boy who has a penchant for inventing. Together they decide to break out of the cheese factory and head for greener pastures, until the Cheese Pirates strike that is. Then they must save all the other orphans and the lady who looks after them.

 

            It’s pretty funny, not much adult humour of course, which is fine. Good writing, good plot, kids will like it. Not on the scale of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, but a good easy read.