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: A. Blob on a Bus by L.A. Kefalos

Title: A. Blob on a Bus

Author: L.A. Kefalos | Illustrator: Jeffrey Burns

Publisher: Laughing Leopard Press | Published: July 3, 2019

Theme: Bullying

Character Origin: Human and Blob 

Book Type: Picture Book  | Pages: 38

Ages: 4-8 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

A. Blob on a Bus continues the story of This is A. Blob, which first introduced us to the purple pest. The sticky, purple bully, A. Blob, is back in this second installment of The Blob Series, and it appears it still hasn’t learned that being mean won’t make friends stick. As A. Blob pokes, prods, and pesters, it seems like the children will never be able to ride the bus in peace; that is, until one brave girl decides to take a stand. Suitable for children ages 4-8, this picture book encourages readers to take action against bullying and shows how one act of bravery can change everything–maybe even a bully.

My overall thoughts…

Let me take a moment and applaud this book. It was quite refreshing to read a book that handles bullying so well and with great balance. This is the second book in a three-book series that approaches bullying from three perspectives. That is GENIUS! But I can say that this one is my favorite so far. I love how one firm act of bravery is the catalyst that the kids need to find their very own courage to stand together against their bully. Their comradery is a thing of beauty, and maybe what other kids need to see to overcome their current situations. The ambiguity of the bully is a powerful statement that allows the reader the ability to apply those traits to anyone.

The illustrations and text…

The illustrations are colorful yet reflect the mood of the text. The diversity of the characters further demonstrates that all children, despite your race or gender, can experience bullying. The rhyming verse is easy to read. There was an excellent synergy between the balance of words and imagery. The viridity of the text refines the topic in a way that is relatable to young readers. Kefalos does a fantastic job of showing the vulnerability of children while also capturing their strength. That can be tricky, but she nailed it. This book (and the series) checks so many boxes for me as a mom and as an educator. It opens the door to informative and instructive dialogues for parents and teachers to have with their children. I can’t wait to see how the final book unfolds.

I’ll give it…