Review 5 star
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Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan is a children’s book about the magic of a girl’s relationship with her grandfather, beautifully illustrated by Lenny Wen. The girl, Madeline, narrates the story of how her Grandfather Gilderberry, creates little potions in his workshop. She drinks a potion on every one of her birthdays for fourteen years. Each potion is a different color and causes something magical to happen to her for that birthday. Her grandfather always admonishes her not to choose the pink one. “Don’t drink the pink!” But when her grandfather dies, it’s the only potion left. What will happen when she drinks it?
This is a high-quality book. The combination of detail in the storytelling and illustrations in Don’t Drink the Pink is really exceptional and the concepts are presented in a sophisticated way. The colored potions are cued to an activity—such as controlling the weather or super-strength—and I felt there was an intuitive suitability between each color and the power it gave Madeline. And I was delighted by the honesty of B.C.R. Fegan’s writing that used the seemingly fantastical idea that a grandfather could give you special powers on your birthday to echo a child’s feelings accurately. Relationships with older relatives are unique in a child’s life and can be truly magical. Throughout the book her grandfather is a touchstone for helping Madeline ground herself as she ages year by year and the potions she receives are in harmony with her personal development. The conclusion helps prepare children for the natural concept of a loved one’s passing as well, rounding out a great book I was delighted to read.
Review 4 star
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Reverberations II is a book of haiku poetry by author Charles E. Rawlings, M.D. J.D. It consists of over fifty poems each paired with a photograph with the intention that they balance each other and be two halves of a whole. The theme of the book is individual response to the poems in order to alter the vibrational patterns around the reader and improve their life journey. Mr. Rawlings explains that all our actions, including our thoughts, are part of quantum mechanics and are made of vibrating waves that can be changed or elevated by any activity, such as perceptions of things like these poems and accompanying images.
Reverberations II is a poetic experience I found to be very creative as I went about creating links between the haikus and their accompanying images. The idea was to expand my mind when I deciphered the connection between the images and the verses as they come together to locate a hidden idea, which is a very interesting and challenging way to read. In the verse Harmony (Of Contrasts) the focus of this book was described especially well: “Lines, Curves; Black, White; Spring, Winter, Merging Energy.” Color stood out to me as a feature as most of the pictures were of the natural world and buildings shown in stark sharp colors—lavender, teal, black and white, silver, pale yellow. Charles E. Rawlings captured for me just how interactive a book of poetry can really be. I was able to create my own story, in part, in my responses, while still keeping close to the framework of his original intent.
Review 5 star
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Kassy O’Roarke, Cub Reporter is an entertaining children’s mystery book by Kelly Oliver. 12-year-old Kassy (named after Kassandra in Greek mythology) has big plans to win an award by writing the best story in her school newspaper so she can impress her dad, who has recently broken up with her mom. She wants her parents back together. When a cougar cub goes missing from her mother’s petting zoo, Kassy finds the story is right under her nose. But first, she’ll need to navigate a number of disasters, escape from a locked shed, learn the truth about her brother’s involvement, and get the help of some friends to save the day and find the cougar before Agent Pinkerton Killjoy shuts down the petting zoo.
Kassy O’Roarke, Cub Reporter is a whole lot of fun and delivers in every way an adventure story should. The twists and turns in the mystery are clever and unpredictable, and the sprinkled references to Star Wars and Greek mythology give a distinctive quirky flavor to the book. Kassy’s first-person voice bubbles throughout the book as sassy, down-to-earth, and delightfully frank about how she feels. An aspect I found especially endearing was how Kassy’s solving of the pet mystery led her into a better understanding of the people around her. Her new sister’s development into a friend added a lot of complexity towards the end of the story—as did Butler and his older brother Oliver, two lively boys who came in handy whenever Kassy needed them. Kelly Oliver builds more than a detailed mystery. She also creates a heartwarming world populated with believable characters who feel like people you know.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.