Lenny the Lobster Can’t Stay For Dinner by Finn Buckley

5 stars Children’s

This is a cute book and I liked how the book was written, by a father and son team when the son was seven.  How cute is that? The story is written with two different endings and the reader gets to decide which ending they want to read. I liked the simplicity of the book yet, if you know nothing about eating lobster, I think you will have a hard time understanding the book.  It’s a fun story and I enjoyed it.

The story is about a lobster named Lenny who is thrilled to be invited to a dinner party.  Lenny, makes the perfect dinner guest, as when dressing for the party, he gets all snazzy and he brings gifts for everyone he thinks might be attending.

Arriving at the party, everyone is excited to see Lenny, perhaps too excited (you have to see the illustrations- they were hilarious!). They even offered Lenny a gift, which he was not expecting. At this point, Lenny should be questioning exacting what kind of party this is.  His gift can actually take on different meanings. Is Lenny optimistic or doesn’t he understand?  This begins the twist in the story. 

Before you go any further in Lenny’s story, you have to decide whether Lenny should stay or leave the dinner party.  Should he stay for the rest of the evening or should he turn around and walk out the door?

I, my friends, had Lenny walking out the door!  These people do not look very friendly towards poor Lenny, and he was really looking for a good time at this party.  To have Lenny leave the party, I had to move forward in the book to a different page.  How fun is this?  If I had chosen to have Lenny stay at the party, I would have just continued reading.

I liked how this book all came together.  It was a fun read and I really enjoyed the illustrations.  I thought the language was entertaining and children will enjoy it.  I like how there were only two options and I can see how this book would give children the idea of creating their own books based n this idea.  I think children who understand about lobsters will enjoy this book.

F**k, Now There Are Two of You by Adam Mansbach

4 stars Adult Humor

I didn’t think this book was as good as the first book. I really struggled with the rhyming aspect in this book as I had to really slow down and say each word before I was able to get the rhyming to work for me. What I did like in this book was the illustrations and the message that the text was getting across (aside from the curse words).

Just when you thought you had things under control and you could go out in public w/o taking half your house with you or knowing that you could actually go eat at restaurant for about an hour, w/ an individual who brings you food, you decide that your life is too quiet and you have another baby. I’m sure that was your first thought, right? You think about the individuals who have their children close together and wonder, how can they handle all those kids in diapers and then you, wait until things have calmed down at home and the add another baby to your house and now, things are crazy again and calm is a word in the dictionary.

In this book, the parents have just found out that they’re pregnant again. Their son will not be getting all their attention anymore and they knew there might be some behavior issues yet as you read, their son becomes quite a handful. The whole family must now make adjustments for the baby as he arrives and makes his presence known. Meanwhile, their son is also making his presence known. There are some sweet moments and the parents love their children but with two children on two different schedules, the parents are running out of energy.

The illustrations show the love and chaos that families face. Many of the illustrations made me laugh as I remember trying to juggle my own kids. I think the text and illustrations worked for me and if I didn’t try to rhythm, I liked the book.

The book brought back a lot of memories. Trying to juggle my own kids and not lose it. I think it helped when I tried to walk in my kid’s shoes. So, would it be okay to play in the mud? Be messy with my food? Draw on the walls? How about give them a place where they can draw (a big section of space)? Sometimes, there is a time and a place for these activities (boundaries).

Go the F*** to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

5 stars Fiction

This is definitely not a kid’s book so please don’t leave it lying around so kids can peek inside its pages because the language inside is not for their eyes. I laughed as I read along and at times, I had trouble keeping up with the rhymes that made up this story but that was okay, because I totally understood exactly what the author was trying to get across. Why won’t my child go to sleep?

What I found so funny in this book was the mixed message located in the text that I read it. I liked how the author mixed the sweet, tender and picturesque moments of childhood with the exasperation of an adult. The adult uses some harsh language in the book and his frustration builds as the evening grows longer as the child continues to stay up. Adding to that, I remember all too well, having the same experiences that the author is referring to in this book.

The book begins with sweet cats and their kittens and sheep with their lambs nestled down to slumber with the adult wondering why their child will not sleep in their warm, cozy bed. The adult’s frustration is emphasized with a swear word on that page, which grabs your attention, as that line didn’t follow the previous gentle tone.

The adult does many things in the book to get their child to go to sleep, like many of us have, all the while getting more frustrated as their child prolongs going to bed.

I loved the part where the adult actually nods off as their child runs down the hallway. Who is guilty of this, raise your hand? Then it finally happens, their child has fallen asleep and all is well until, what? Oh no! the nightmare continues…….

It’s a very funny book and I raced through it the first time and then, I read it a couple more times just enjoying it for the moments it took me back in time to when my children where little. There are quite a few swear words but the laughs I had were well worth it. The illustrations were different, they weren’t what I expected. They definitely didn’t take-away from the text. A few individuals I know people have heard this book before, as a few famous individuals have read it out-loud on TV and/or on radio. I hadn’t heard it before until now.

You Tube video of Go the f**k to sleep, read by Samuel L Jackson on 6/4/16

Middle School Misadventures by Jason Platt

3 stars Graphic Novel

The illustrations were great but I just couldn’t get into the story. The colorful, brilliant illustrations really jumped off the pages and I really thought this graphic novel was going to be a hit. It was the story itself that just didn’t make any sense to me as I read it but I continued reading it, as I liked the illustrations.

Let’s begin with the story and then, end this review on a positive note, the illustrations.  The story was about a middle-schooler Newell who is signed up for his school’s first talent show. Newell spends countless hours trying to come up with a talent that he can showcase and its really painful, as he can’t find anything.

Why doesn’t he just cross his name off the list?  If he doesn’t perform, he’ll have to attend summer school.  Yes, I found this weird.  The principal is offering the students the opportunity to exchange the academics of summer school or the punishment of detention, if they perform in this show. Newell was scheduled for Summer School, so he’s excited to do something/anything for this show but he needs to find something worthy.

The book is funny and sometimes, I thought, just a bit on the weird side. I wanted Newell to just move on, perhaps experiment with something(s) and let’s see how he does instead of just talking/thinking about it[S1] .

The illustrations are action-packed and tell a great deal of the story.  A variety of text fonts add a great deal to the action. The colors are vivid and the rich in detail and burst from the page.

I feel there’s a lot of talent here and I would like to see what else this author can provide to us readers in the future.  


The Mystery of Eatum Hall by John Kelly & Cathy Tincknell

5 stars Picture Book

This book is a hoot!  I loved it!  The illustrations alone are worth the read but when you add in the text, you will absolutely fall in love with it. It’s a book where there are clues everywhere, but who is looking?

Glenda and Horace, are invited to spend the weekend at Eatum Hall and they’re all excited.  All the gourmet food that they can eat and they can eat a lot! Yet, when they arrive, they cannot find their host.  They find a note instead (with fun clues in it) that tells them to enjoy themselves and their host will join them later. 

There were plenty of times while reading this book that I was chuckling but now, I was laughing.  Here in this isolated older house, were a plump goose and a pig and they’re looking forward to staying here by themselves. As they look around, they don’t even see all the clues that are everywhere around them.  I would have been running out the door, had it been me.  The illustrations are fantastic and you can get lost just admiring them.  Their host provided the best for them and they begin to settle in.  They were going to take advantage of this relaxing weekend. 

Noticing the clues around them, Glenda comments on the doctor’s love of art while Horace remarks on how smart the doctor is, as the doctor has put a lot of detail in making sure that his guests are comfortable in his absence. Meanwhile, the author reveals to his reader, the true identity of Dr. A. Hunter, and what his true plans are.   

This is definitely an exciting and fun book.  I’ve read and thumbed through it a few times, just admiring how it all comes together and it truly is a book worth reading. I highly recommend it.

I do feel that some children might be too young for it though. Why?  There’s a lot of inferring that occurs in this book to truly enjoy it and they might not get or understand it and/or the child might not care for the book’s ending.  Just know your child before reading this book to them.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

2.5 stars Fiction

This wasn’t as good as The Rosie Project but it was an okay read.  I ended up listening to the audio of this book and it was a good audio to listen to.  The book picks up right where The Rosie Project left off but you don’t really need to read that book to appreciate it.   

I did laugh while reading this book but I found Don so annoying that I wanted to lock him in a closet. I knew that Don was just trying to help but I thought that he was relentless in his tactics. Immersing himself in Rosie’s pregnancy, his concern consumed everything and every part of her life. I would expect some of this behavior from Don, but he was over-the-top.  I don’t know if I could have been as calm as Rosie during the whole ordeal, but Rosie knew who Don was when she married him so she knew somewhat, what would occur if/when she got pregnant.  I thought she handled the situations very well.  

It was nice to see Don concerned about his wife and child (but the extremes were just too much) and I liked how Don referred to the baby as Bud.  I wished that Rosie would have made more of an appearance in this book instead of letting Don steal the show.  Even more interaction between the two of them would have been good.   

The Evil Princess vs. The Brave Knight by Jennifer L. Holm

4 stars Children’s

Sister and brother, evil princess and brave knight.  They lived together in a castle but that didn’t always mean that they got along. The Evil Princess liked to be mean to the Brave Knight. The Brave Knight liked to be brave but he could also be mean, when the Evil Princess was evil to him. The Magic Mirror got tired of their mischief so she sent them each to their rooms!

That was fine…….at first. They played in their rooms and did what Evil Princesses and Brave Knights do by themselves.  Then, it got rather boring as they each had no one to play with.  The Magic Mirror said they could each come out ONLY if they played nice together.  When they came out of their rooms, it was boring playing nice together then, they decided to go on a quest together and then, well……let’s just say that the Evil Princess and the Brave Knight just might need to spend more time in their rooms later. 

This is a cute picture book that teaches a good lesson on playing together and getting along but what really gets resolved in the end?   It also helps children discover that not all kids get along and that perhaps they need to find something to do beside doing the same thing every day.  The illustrations were comical and colorful.  A very fun and engaging book.

The Ferret’s a Foot by Colleen Af Venable

4 stars Graphic Novel

Sassypants and Harnisher are at it again!  They saw Mr. Venezi put a sign in the window advertising for an assistant and they want to put a stop to that.  Working together they correct all the pet-shop signs but a little bit later the signs have all been messed with.  Someone(s) has changed all the signs and now the duo needs to figure out who has done it and why?

This book was funny but I didn’t think as funny as the previous books that I have read by these famous detectives.   I thought the fish were hilarious and Herbert, the turtle.  I like how they talk about the animals and how the animals all want to be together.  The illustrations are easy to follow and their facial expressions are sometimes really funny.  It’s a crazy, mixed-up pet shop which is owned by a Mr. Venezi, who doesn’t quite know what to put in his pet-shop nor does he know how to name what he does have. 

I like how the book introduces information about the pets and later, at the back of the book, there is a two-page section titled, “Hamsiher Explains….” and here the author explains what was introduced in this graphic novel.  There is also a one-page dictionary of terms that were used in the book including that word used in a sentence.  This is a cute, entertaining, graphic novel series and I hope the author continues to write them.  

Mascot by Antony John

5 stars Middle School/ Children’s Chapter

I loved this book! There is so many reasons why I loved it and those reasons kept mounting as I read it.  I’m only sorry that it took me a while to find this book and now, I’m wondering what else this author wrote that I should be reading. 

In the beginning pages of Mascot, you will meet Noah who is adjusting to life in a wheelchair.  Noah was with his father in a car accident, were his father was pronounced dead and now, Noah is a paraplegic.

From his tone, Noah isn’t happy with the way his life is headed. During his weekly physical therapy sessions, Noah’s passive/negative remarks have him moving nowhere, whereas another patient in the room, who Noah has been watching, is slowly making progress.  His former teammates taunt and bully him, every chance that they get.  The pitcher, once his close friend is the leader in this cruel act.  Once a star catcher on the school’s baseball team, Noah can’t use his legs anymore.  With his father gone, he must rely on his mother for everything and the way things are going, Noah feels this might be a long time. 

When Ruben enters the picture, this book just blew up. Ruben cracked me up!  Ruben, a.k.a Double Wide or Dee-Dub, arrives in his true form.  When he was first introduced to the class, I had many thoughts going through my head as Dee Dub basically says the honest truth without any filters.  Like Noah thought, Dee-Dub was crazy or a total genius that knows that being a new kid he can get away with anything.  I think he was a little bit of both.

Ruben ends up sitting next to Noah and they form a friendship.  Ruben is now associated with Noah which gets the attention of everyone especially the baseball team.  I wondered how Ruben would handle the harassment now that he was a part of it.  Noah and Ruben were now a pair but could they do anything against a team?  We meet Alyssa, who is a friend of Noah’s.  I thought she was one tough girl.  Noah needed to start hanging around her more as she would teach him something, for she was not taking any gruff from anyone.

Ruben was not afraid of speaking his mind and now, Noah finally has someone to talk to.  Ruben helps us, as readers, get to know the characters as he’s not afraid of talking to them and inquiring into the lives of each of them.   

What a remarkable, outstanding book!  I loved the characters as they felt realistic and I liked how they felt a variety of emotions.  There were fears and bleak situations but they worked through them.  Now to see what else I need to read by this author.

Enemies (Evil Alien Warlord Cat #2) by Johnny Marciano

5 stars Childrens/Middle School Humor

Oh no!  Klawde doesn’t have to worry about overthrowing his enemy on his own planet because guess who is on Earth now? Yes, Ffangg!  Earth is not big enough for both of these supreme kitties and so, the move is on for one of them to go.  Klawde has been training some Earth kitties for his own army but now Ffangg has caused Klawde to rethink his plans.  

I liked that in this book we get more of Raj.  Raj has a new student in his classroom at school, it is ….Cam!  Oh, no!  Raj is afraid that his friends will uncover the truth about him from Cam, his former best friend.  With a competition at school, Raj has a lot on his mind.

With humor and wit, this series continues to entertain me.  I can’t get enough of the feisty Klawde and his bold and spirited attitude for he tells it like-it-is and when he is in his cat mode, I swear he acts like my cat, Charlie. I like the laid-back attitude of Raj and with the introduction of Cam, we got to see another side of Raj.  This is a fun, entertaining series.