The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons Review

The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

I discovered The Boy who Grew Dragons a while back and adored it so I ended up buying all three books. And then they announced there would be a fourth one and I immediately preordered it because between the cute illustrations and the adorable story, I was sold (plus, dragons, very important part).

The best way I can summarise what the book is all about is to say that it is a transition story, from what happened in the previous three to what is to come if there are more books (which I hope there are). There a lot of changes for the superhero squad, and some new characters added.

Tomas is struggling to cope with the changes and feels like things are moving too fast, but there are ways around them and change brings growth which is a lesosn he definitely has to learn in this book. Plus one of the new characters brings potentially lots of new stories to the game (and I am hoping they will come in more books for sure). We see more Flicker and more dragosn whcih was enjoyable, I just was sad that my original idea of what dreaming of dragons meant wasn’t what happened but I still liked what the title implied to (and it was more fo a “I went expecting/guessing this and something else happened but I still wish this one thing was something in this universe” maybe it will be at some point…)

One of my favourite things is the cute dragons and how unique they are which was wonderful to see here. And the relationships of family like how Tomas and his sister Lolli get along and I love that, or when he interacts with his grandfather. It is lovely to see some family around and the dynamics behind them.

As I mentioned before, the artwork is great and very enjoyable, giving the story a little bit more fun and depth. So go get the first one, or maybe the whole set, because maybe you will suddenly find an interesting fruit and need to know how to deal with the little dragon that may pop out of it!

Fox and the Box Review

Fox and the Box by Yvonne Ivinson

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

I got this book gifted by a friend frm my wishlist, and I loved it. I can review it here but I think the best review you will get is my reading it aloud.

I absolutely adored the story and the artwork to match, it is easy, sweet but such a delight to read as you can see from the video. It is a gorgeous fun book that I would recommend as a joy to read to anybody who wants a bit of kindness and niceness in their lives or who wants a cute book to read to their children.

Come on, it has a fox in it!

A Mouse Called Julian Review

A Mouse Called Julian by Jow Todd-Stanton

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Look, picture books that have sneaky foxes in the cover or involved foxes as characters, I will most probably add to my wishlist, and this was not the exception.

I needed a small filler book while I waiting between budyd reads and this fit the bill perfectly. It made me feel good and surprisingly goes well with the whole avoiding others and staying inside because of lockdown.

Julian likes to keep to his own company and has learned how to avoid his neighbours, until a sneaky fox shows up and things change for Julian. The artwork is extremely cute, and the story was sweet for a moment making you think something may happen and then it gets better whcih was nice to read.

I liked the concept behind it and feel like feel good books about those that keep their own company are rare, but this one was cute, fun and just worth reading.

So if you like mice, foxes, cute stories or just something to cheer up, I can recommend this book!

Ava Twist, Scientist Review

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and Illustrated by David Roberts

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

I got this lovely little book from Faye from my wishlist and it did not disappoint.

Ada Twist is a very curious little one and that may get her into trouble. the artwork is wonderful, the relationship of the family and how they try to help Ada, figure out how to answer her questions (because she is absolutely crammed full of them) and just be there.

Obviously at times Ada may get into trouble and still you can feel the love from her family, the curiosity from Ada and how much she has a scientific hypothesis approach in everything.

I think this is a wonderful book to give a curious kid that has all the questions and keeps looking for answers, and to the parents too as it wil show both sides and maybe afterwards add a book about the kids best interests because I just felt like researching and diving deep into a book after reading this.

Roller Girl Review

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

When I was a teenager I went from artistic rollerblading to inline hockey and loved it. Derby sounded fun but it just wasn’t an option so I did the ones I had available and loved them. This meant that when I saw this book pop up in suggested reads I got curious and bought it because it sounded fun.

We start with Astrid being bullied a little about the fact she’s rollerblaidng and that it is something for little kids rather than teens/older kids (she’s 12 years old) by someone she doesn’t like and her used to be best friend.

Their friendship soured over summer camp as Astrid had fallen starry eyed for roller derby and wanted to do a roller derby summer camp whereas Nicole (the ex best friend) is a ballet dancer and didn’t tell Nicole she wasn’t going to go with her, just kinda let her assume she would join and then told her she was actually going to ballet camp. (Is there a camp for everything?)

Astrid sees this as a betrayal and this adds up to the fact that roller derby isn’t as easy as she thought it’d be and the camp is hard work.

The story is very much a “becoming a teen and dealing with confusion, new emotions and changes in your whole social life” which I got so well as it went along. Astrid has to navigate making new friends, evaluating who she is and what type of friend she wants to be versus what she used to be and relationship dynamics (not just friends but what about her relationship with her mother?).

It is a lovely graphic novel dealing with a lot of interesting topics, particularly bases of changes as you slowly turn into a teenager and hormones start making you a bundle of confusion (plus how we all do things at a different pace, and how some do it due to peer pressure whereas others just do their thing and become outcasts).

I’d happily give this book to teen me as she struggled to comprehend and deal with all the sudden changes, it would’ve made it a little easier. As Astrid did, I found skating was a wonderful activity and gave new friendships and new things to do outside of school.

All in all, it kept me in the story, I felt for Astrid but also wanted at times to shake some sense into her but at the end felt very proud of where she got to. And now I want to do some rollerblading too…

The Snow Dragon Review

The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone & Fiona Woodcock

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

I don’t know why, but I expected a much younger book (that is my bad, nothing with the book), so it took me a little bit to get into it. It is still an illustrated young children’s book, but it is on the more wordy side than not.

The story is extremely sweet and kept me thinking of some of my favourite stories as a child, including The Rescuers or Madeleine. This felt like those stories made me feel but it stands on its own well.

Phoebe hopes for a miracle day of her own and to be able to leave the orphanage, but it may never be. However she does her best to hope, and to be happy alongside her sausage dog Herb. A little miracle is all she may need when it is close to Christmas.

I finished the book and felt uplifted and happy. I guess it can be classed as a Christmas story but I definitely didn’t read it with that vibe, but it’d fit fine.

All in all, a snowy story of an orphan full of hope. And there’s a dragon, who can say no to stories with kind nice dragons that give you hope?

Ghosts Review

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

The premise of ghosts is a family that moves to a new city due to the younger sister (Maya) having cystic fibrosis (CF). Catrina, the older sister, is very unhappy because it is disrupting her life, plus the town they’re moving to apparently has a lot of ghosts and she doesn’t like this.

Maya is a bundle of joy that is trying to live her life to the max and then has issues due to CF. Catrina is being a difficult teenager, afraid of ghosts, tired of having to share everything with her sister and that her life revolves around Maya.

The idea of the story is about confronting the fact that Maya may die soon and the old traidtions of their family. It also tries to bring Day of the Dead into it, and this caused some odd feelings about it.

Catirna is terrified and also not really wanting to make friends or anything, so the story works on her being gloomy and it being spooky. At the same time we have super hapy Maya, things randomly happening to her and the neighbours and suddenly everyone is Mexican or has Mexican ancestry and wow, look, Day of the Dead exists. Everythign just kinda happens, everyone accepts the traditions and everyone participates in them.

The artwork for the celebration scenes was great but they still had some weirdness happen through it and the best way I can describe it, is that it didn’t feel genuine. It reads and looks like the author had friends who celebrate Day of the Dead, or liked the idea of it and applied to her idea of trying to accept the potential death of a family member. So I really liked the approach of how to deal with death but I am not sure trying to make it about Day of the Dead was the right choice, maybe it won’t matter that much for those that don’t have it is as their tradition or aren’t confused by it but to me, it took some of the joy of reading it, and a lot of the wonder of the intention of the story from it.

So I can’t really recommend this for the Day of the Dead value, but for the family and friendship value it does great things.

The Fire Never Goes Out Review

The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

If you’ve been following Noelle Stevenson since the tumblr days and the Broship of the Ring, then this book will be like a walk through memory lane with a selection of comics/doodles/etc from those times. And the summary posts of her year that she had on her blog. Which may make this book feel a bit too familiar and maybe not that surprising/new.

However, for me, despite being one of those from way back then, I enjoyed it a lot. It was a refresher of whereshe was (and a reminder of her age and what she’s done so far), but it was also, a reminder of my own ghosts, successes and battles. Because in some ways I had similar things happen to me, grand things and then that fear of “will this be the last grand thing because I have used all the grand-thing-points alloted to me during this lifetime already?”. She is way better at wording this and even illustrating.

And it is a memoir of where she was before she realised a lot of her identity, but also, as her career in art got a massive kickstart and also what pushed her to find the way into it.

Reading it was fun and when I finished it (it was relatively fast since it’s art and short posts on how her year had gone and what was accomplished/not done/etc), I felt inspired to draw, to put some of my own experiences to paper. And at the same time I wanted to give her a hug. And maybe just sit down and talk because I have similar fears, I have had similar fears.

Afterwards, I even had a deep conversation with my husband pondering if I had done the most amazing thing I could’ve done already and how I felt I may have wasted that chance because life happened and well, I am relatively happy where I am, but I am doing less amazing stuff now than I was 5-10 years ago. I won’t go all into it but it was an interesting talk, and I can only recommend reading this book. Or if not the memoir, maybe give Nimona a go?

Little Lost Fox Review

Little Lost Fox by Carolina Rabei

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Another cute children’s book I recently got gifted from my wishlist. It is easy to figure out why it was on my wishlist. Yes, it is because it has cute foxes on the cover and the title goes about it too.

The story is about a little girl who has a many toys but her favourite is a cute fox, but suddenly her fox disappears and is lost. So she follows some paw prints and finds a fox cub who seems lost and lonely, which it is why it has borrowed the fox toy.

And so they set off to search for Mother Fox around the area until they find her, but the little girl has made new friends so she has more company to play with afterwards.

The artwork is really cute and the story is lovely and just nice to read. The foxes are gorgeous and it wins at being easy to read but entertaining and heartwarming.

Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! Review

Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! by Lorna Scobie

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! was gifted by a friend from my wishlist because I saw it and thought it’d be a fun book to have and read (plus it made me think of my sister who keeps rabbits, and the friend who gifted it also has rabbits).

Best part, it has a surprise fox featuring in the story which made it even better.

But this is a book about a small bunny who gets all the best things and all for itself, until suddenly the rabbit parents surpise with a lot of siblings (you get it, the whole “like rabbits!” definitely applies here). So our bunny isn’t too keen on having suddenly a lot of comapny and having to share.

But what will be done about having so many new siblings around?

I thought the whole story was really cute and the artowkr is fun, with each new rbabit being unique in its way and a lot going on in page as we move further and further. Plus, despite thinking I knew what the next page had to say I was still surprised nicely by it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Highly recommended for children or just yourself as a treat for your tired mind and just needing something soothing and that will end well.

Witch in Winter Review

Witch in Winter by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This is the last one of the Elsie Pickles books that are out there for now, and I just wish there were more. I had such a blast reading through the series as part of the #Februwitchy readathon. They are magical, fun and really cute.

I would’ve loved them as a child and read them over and over until the book fell apart. That kind of delightful and fun that they are.

Some of my faovurite things about them, and it applies particularly well for the things that happen in Witch in Winter, is that Elsie has a very small repertoire of magic, she only knows a few spells and none of them are the kind of spells that are impressive or anything special. They’d be classified as “child’s play” type of things. But somehow, she finds creative ways of making use of them and leveraging them to help her friends.

In Witch in Winter, it seems winter has been to long, there is just too much snow and Magenta has gone missing. And someone seems to be wanting to take over the Tower, so Elsie gets involved to try to see how to help. And she does very well, once again, making the best of the things she has at hand and her customer service skills.

Aggie/Silvine does well in this one too, leveraging her odd parts accidentally (everything is technically an accident with her) to make new friends and somehow get things to work out way better for everyone while Elsie saves the Tower from the mysterious one that may have caused Magenta to disappear.

Don’t want to spoil all the fun but I enjoyed it, thought it was a great follow up to Witches (Un)Welcome! and just want to know more fun and more adventures with Elsie and her crew of friends.

Each character is developing better into their own space and identity with their specific strengths and weaknesses and it is nice to see them not being cookie cutter characters but unique and very “human” in their own way (or as human as they can be).

Once again highly recommended for all ages!

Witches (Un)Welcome! Review

Witches (Un)Welcome! by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

The third book in the series of Elsie Pickles. If you’ve been following my reviews, I read them for #Februwitchy. I had bought the first two and wasn’t sure if I’d like them, but I did, so after finishing the first I ordered this and the fourth one (that’ll be the next review out).

The whole series if lighthearted and fun and witchy but also it is about customer service and how to interact with others.

In this particular book, Magenta, who in the previous one had her shop almost close, decides that a better way to deal with having a shop is to have a physical one rather than mail order. Less complaints through the mail, less postage, etc. But she’s not really a people person.

She doesn’t take this into consideration, and using a gift from her sister that allows her to do a shortcut for magic, sets up a magical shop in Smallbridge, where Elsie lives.

This is not exactly welcome news for the villagers who have a split in their views towards witches. And so chaos and crazy things ensue. The fact that the shop is there means it attracts magical folk, and they find the town quaint and decide to set up shop too, maybe offer their own wares, which is quite disruptive and confusing for the people in town.

Of course, Elsie, being a people person and knowing her customer service rules saves the day and surprisingly, Silvine/Aggie does too in her own chaotic clumsy way.

It was lots of fun, with a tiny bit of cringe for Silvine (I don’t think I’ll ever not feel a bit of “oh gosh, damn” for her), but still, I read it in an afternoon after dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Can still recommend it alongside the previous two. Fun for read aloud, fun for young readers, fun for older readers…

Picklewitch & Jack and the Cuckoo Cousin Review

Picklewitch & Jack and the Cuckoo Cousin by Claire Barker

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This is the sequel to Picklewitch & Jack, I read both for #Februwitchy, and I have to say I enjoyed this one a little more than the first one. Maybe because Jack and Picklewitch have eased into a better interaction and relationship.

And they are getting into a pattern, despite Picklewitch being unpredictable and easily bored still. But she is fun and Jack is ahppy they are friends, and she respects his boundaries better. But then she gets a letter about her cousin visiting and she gets all excited and ready to be with the cousin.

Jack gets a little jealous and also terribly worried because if Picklewitch was enough to handle, a cousin can only mean more trouble, right? So it is a big surprise when the cousin turns out to be a very well behaved boy who is also very knowledgable and seems to fit almost perfectly at the school.

He doesn’t disrupt things like Picklewitch, barely uses magic and seems to good to be true. And that is exactly what it is, too good to be true.

It was fun to see the creative and clever plans Picklewitch and Jack devise (some on the spot) to try to fix the chaos that is happening due to the truth behind who the couisn is. And it just made their relationship more valuable to both of them as they each got jealous of the other having a better friendship with the cousin.

I can happily recommend this as a fun witchy book which made me laugh and feel happy after finishing it.

Hicotea Review

Hicotea by Lorena Alvarez

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This was in my wishlist and the gorgeous Lauren from Northern Plunder gifted it to me for Christmas (go give her a follow and a read, she’s awesome). And of course it was a great read.

The artwork is vibrant and full of colours that make me think of dreams and ideas (not in a sleepy way), and the story shifts between reality and imagination and it is one of my favourite things as you can see the interactions and how they affect Sandy and make it real to her rather than what an adult would say is just her imagination.

In this second book, Sandy is trying to work on a project for school where they travel to a forest and have to wrtie about the experience. She finds a turtle shell and this plunges her into a magical world where things are slowly falling apart and Sandy tries to help.

Same as with Nightlights, it has a scary component, and imagination goes rampant on the pages but it is a gorgoeusly odd tale that I enjoyed a lot. I cna only recommend this one and the previous one. However, you do not need to have read the previous book to understand this one. It is still recommended because it shows a bit more of Sandy and her imagination.

The Chicken Thief Review

The Chicken Thief by BĂ©atrice RodrĂ­guez

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

A friend I’ve known since we were 14 or so, was in Spain and made a small trip to come see me in the UK (we’re both from Mexico). On the last day she was here, she gifted us (husband and I) this book. I teared up a little.

For starters, this is about a fox “stealing” a chicken. We keep chickens and my logo is a fox. No need to say more, right? This book has no words in it, a language agnostic book. All of it is pictures and the pictures do their job amazingly well.

Our fox steals the chicken and runs away, when ehr friends find out they pursue them. And so goes th story as they are being pursued so the chicken can be rescued. But does the chicken need rescuing?

It is a gorgeous book, the artwork is brilliant, the story is very well doen and as mentioned, not even need for words. And well, it questions preconceptions and assumptions on others very well, plus choices and reactions to things.

I highly recommend it because it is a sweet one and charming.