This is a mix “review” of two things I got that I couldn’t really separate just for the sake of posting about them.
The first is the deck of Tarot of the Divine. This was made by Yoshi Yoshitani and the focus was to make it diverse, queer and just full or new meaning. Each card is a story, some deeper meaning and I absolutely love the artwork and the connections made, plus the fact that it features stories and lore from all over the world, not just the usuals or just the European fairytales. It goes beyond that and does an amazing job and the meanings of the story/lore matching the meaning of the card they represent in the deck.
As a tie in, there is a book, Beneath the Moon, which collects the artwork and stories that feature in the deck. It doesn’t collect everything, since it’d be a very thick book if it did, but it features the main ones, and it made me really excited to read the stories and feel like this is a perfect fairytale book to keep coming back to. It has the stories, gorgeous colourful art and a lot of diversity in cultures and countries.
As a coherent couple fo things, I am just in awe at the immense work Yoshi put into making this deck and book. Every card has packed so much detail trying to convey the story but at the same time, to make them tie in with their meaning and with the opening of many possible interpretations.
There are stories from every continent, form every type of story, I don’t even have enough words on how exciting this is for me since it is gorgeous and perfect.
I reviewed a while ago Beatrice’s other book, Once Upon A Unicorn Horn, so when I saw this one was coming, I preordered it. It is easy, make a book I enjoyed, I will almost always preorder your next books.
The artwork was top class, but that was no surprise given I enjoy Beatrice’s art a lot. And as per the previous book, this is a book giving things a new “origin” so in this case it is centered around a dragon and fire.
This is about two children that made up adventures and were obsessed with dragon stories so they decide to go search the dragon and thanks to them “fire” is invented.
Look it is way better than I am describing!
In all honesty the story is a great read out loud or act out one, the artowkr and pictures are full of detail and cuteness, and the story is reaffirming and all about tenderness and warmth (and some dragon fire too).
It has a dragon, fire, and a great story, so this is a definite win and I am eagerly awaiting what else we may get as an origin of this thing type of book from Beatrice Blue.
I bought this book as it was on sale and it had dragons and a mental health focus, plus it was illustrated so it sounded like something I’d read and review. Which it is.
The artwork is interesting and there’s deffnitely dragons and it’s mostly black and white. And the focus of the book is how the author sees depression as a dragon that is trying to set her on fire or that sets things she likes on fire, that the smoke fromt he dragon is tiring and draining. And of course, it is about hope, about how the cycles of depression can go and you can see again a little better.
I have to say I liked the metaphor of depression as a dragon and the illustrations did this well, but the prose didn’t really stick in my head or capture my attention enough, it was for the images and the metaphor that I stuck around rather than the way it was written (which is why it doesn’t have a higher rating, as I have seen a variety of comics and ways of representing depression and this was nice but it didn’t hit as well as others had done before).
Still, it is a nice book and the art is great, so I’d still recommend, particularly if you like dragons. As much as it may not have struck as well with me in with the words, it may strike better on you or a loved one to share this with.
I got a sampler on one of the free comic book day events, and made a mental note to buy it full at some point. That point was a lot later because I don’t have the sampler anymore. But I did buy the book, so it kinda worked to give me a sampler for it? (Honestly I wish there were more demo/sampler options for books and other items, but that’s a discussion for some other day and post).
Sheets is the story of a young girl, Marjorie, trying her best to keep her family, school and laundromat afloat after her mother’s death. And a ghost, Wendell, who isn’t fitting in the ghost world after dying.
Being outsiders and just not fitting right makes for two parallel stories that at some point join when our ghost accidentally ends up haunting the laundromat and causing a lot of issues for Marjorie who does her absolute best ot help.
Thankfully at the breaking point where things are all going wrong and there is no saving grace, Wendell pulls through and works some ghostly magic for Marjorie, changing her life in a great way, plus becoming good friends.
Reading through Sheets was emotional, bittersweet but it was also nice ot read a book about some realities some kids have when the main adult checks out and they have to take adult duties and make it look the adult is still functioning so they care for themselves and any siblings.
Sadly the artwork wasn’t really my style so I wasn’t as keen on ti and it was the story that won my over this time. Still I think this is the kind of book I’d have in a school or kids library available for those that feel like ghosts in their own home and environment.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin. illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Look, a book that mixes dragons and tacos? Yes please! And lovely friend saw it and decided it was the perfect gift sonow I have a cute tiny dragon holding a taco at home.
Isn’t it adorable?
The book is all about how dragons love tacos with cute drawings of different types of dragons, what to put on the tacos to make dragons love them more and what to avoid and even features a taco party (this felt perfectly like it was describing me as I love hosting taco parties and sharing the taco love around) so it was most certainly the right book for me and I kept cooing over it.
And it comes with the little plush toy which is a nice bonus. I recommend it is a gift for a child (or an adult like me that loves dragons and tacos) and it will mean a lot fo time spent in joy looking and playing with the taco dragon and pondering what dragons one might have over for a taco party when it is possible to do that again!
A friend gifted me this book out form my wishlist and I had it there because it has foxes and the artwork looks adorable!
A short cute book celebrating diversity (even if it is mostly with animals) and being different. It is in a way a readalong, an activity book and just cute to look at. Each set of pages has some information about the animal in the opposite page and then the idea is to find the one that is not like the others (hints of what makes it different are in the description).
At the end you also have more activities ifyou want to, and you could read this along, or hand to a child to just be mesmerised by the many animal sin the pages and the subtle differences (or the poignant ones) and what makes them special. Or play a “which one do you feel like right now?” I can see a lot of potential of keeping younger children absorbed in it and the little details.
All in all, a cut ebook for searching, celebrating differences and just larning a tiny bit about animals.
Giant Days Volume One by John Allison, Lissa Treiman (Illustrator), Whitney Cogar (Colors)
At some point I got a sampler for this and then on a whim bought the first volume. Completely forgot about it. And recently I was doing a clear up and organising of my graphic novels/comics and this one popped up. I decided that since it looked short I’d give it a read and decide if I was actually into it or not.
You can guess what the result was… (I have somehow now purchased up to volume 13).
The three girls that share a dorm room/area are as interestingly differnet as can be. Innocent ray of sunshine, “normal” and drama queen. And well, this is a delightful mix. I giggled a lot and also I found it refreshing that the drama queen isn’t trying to be one and even bets against causing drama intentionally or not (it doesn’t go well for her bet), our normal girl isn’t that normal (woops, even if she tries) and the cute innocent sunshine has a bit of gloom and bad luck around her.
I like their weird adventures and the relationship between them which made this a fun read, the artwork worked well to give a laidback college vibe and keeping it fun even fi topics range from lighthearted crushes to mental health and drugs.
I obviously will keep reaidng once the next volumes arrive, so expect more reviews to come about Giant Days!
The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.
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!
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.
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!
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and Illustrated by David Roberts
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.
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 by Abi Elphinstone & Fiona Woodcock
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?
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.
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?