Book Review: The Voyage of Barracks

The Voyage of Barracks by Stuart Petrie

The Voyage of Barracks
by Stuart Petrie
5 out of 5 stars
The Gunn family love their beautiful country home, but when a nasty factory is built across the road, they decide to attach a balloon to their house and float around the world looking for a new peaceful place to live.

I adore this book. I’ve read it several times now, and it is delightful every time!

I love all the different places that they visit; a desert oasis, the top of the Acropolis, an island with cannibals, a small village in the Alps, and the beautiful beaches of the French Riviera.

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Book Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Kiki’s Delivery Service
by Eiko KadonoEmily Balistrieri (Translator)
5 out of 5 stars

Kiki is a young witch who goes to live in a new town all by herself. She is only 13 years old, but must work as a witch as part of her coming-of-age ritual. She starts a delivery service, flying all around the town delivering parcels and helping her neighbors.

I loved this charming story! I have watched the Ghibli movie many times, and this book has the same enchantment! Other than the basic premise, the movie and book are quite different, but they have the same magical flavor.

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Book Review: Danny the Champion of the World

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Danny the Champion of the World
by Roald DahlQuentin Blake (Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars

Danny and his father have a close relationship. They live in a caravan behind their gas station and car mechanic garage. Danny learns to be the youngest mechanic in history. One night he discovers that his father is keeping a delightful secret, and he needs Danny’s help.

This is my favorite Dahl book! The connection between father and son is so precious! I love the way that Danny describes his father and their simple life together living in their little caravan. Danny is such a clever and intelligent little boy with a good heart.

There is something so charming about Dahl’s writing style. Every time I read one of his books, I am swept away into a world of enchantment and hilarity. There are so many funny scenes in this book! I always laugh so hard each time I reread it.

Book Review: Magic or Not?

Magic or Not? by Edward Eager

Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)
by Edward EagerN.M. Bodecker (Illustrator), Quentin Blake (Cover Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
I loved rereading this children’s classic! When twins Laura and James move to the country, they find an old wishing well, and begin to test the magic waters with their wishes. The wishes seem to come true, but in such regular, mundane ways that the children can’t be sure… was it magic or not? The eccentric Lydia comes blasting into their adventures, and their neighbor Kip joins in the fun.

The wishing well definitely appears to be influencing their adventures, but only when they wish something good for others, never when they wish for themselves. So the four friends attempt a quest of good deeds, with mixed results when the disgustingly spoiled rich kid, Gordy, begins to tag along and pester them. Can the children accept the strange directions that the wishing well sends them, or will they draw the line at including the nasty Gordy in their group?

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Book Review: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH, #1)
by Robert C. O’Brien
5 out of 5 stars
Mrs. Frisby’s son is sick in bed, and cannot be moved. But the farmer is coming to plow up the field where they live as soon as the frost has left the ground. Mrs. Frisby goes to the rats to ask for help, and discovers the secret past of the rats of NIMH.

I just love this book more and more every time I read it. It’s so interesting to find out about the rats and how they live and their past history. The whole world-building of the society of all the animals who live around the farm and in the woods is fascinating. I love stories about mice because they are so little. Who doesn’t love a good under-dog story?

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Mystery Review: Cold-Blooded Myrtle

Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Cold-Blooded Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery #3)
by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Goodreads Author)
5 out of 5 stars

Myrtle is preparing for Christmas, when the proprietor of a mercantile shop is murdered and the culprit rearranges the display window to predict the next murder. Myrtle has to investigate the cold-case of a young woman who disappeared from the local college years before, in order to solve the string of murders that are threatening to ruin everyone’s holiday.

I cannot describe how much I loved this third book in the Myrtle series!
One of the things that made me fall in love with this book is the incredible character development. I love how the main characters change their minds, discover new information, grow in their personalities and abilities, and suddenly realize that their relationships with other characters can be different.

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Graphic Novel Review: Kyle’s Little Sister

Kyle's Little Sister by BonHyung Jeong

Kyle’s Little Sister
by BonHyung Jeong
5 out of 5 stars

This graphic novel follows Grace as she begins middle school in the shadow of her older brother Kyle. Grace and her friends have an argument, and Grace blames Kyle for getting involved. She worries that her new friends only like her because it gets them closer to Kyle, one of the most popular boys in school. How can Grace repair her friendships and make her own mark as her own person when Kyle is always getting in the way?

I loved how complex the characters are in this book! Grace is navigating some very awkward situations and there is a lot of tension among the characters. They all have such vivid personalities and different ways of approaching problems. Kyle is outgoing and sporty, while Grace is quiet and good at video games. I loved seeing how the dynamics between characters played out and how they each grow and change through the story.

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Journal Book Review: Take Me to Museums

Take Me To Museums by Mary Richards

Take Me To Museums: The Young Explorer’s Guide to Every Museum in the World
by Mary Richards
5 out of 5 stars

This guide offers the reader the perfect journal for recording their experiences while exploring any type of museum, really noticing the things they see in different exhibits. You can draw a map of the museum layout, sketch a famous painting, and design your own poster to promote the museum. There are little tidbits of information about the history of museums and different famous museums around the world.

I loved the colorful pages full of fun activities and journal prompts! Doing these activities is really relaxing and thoughtful. It forces you to consider a different perspective and see things in a fresh way. I really liked all the cool illustrations and bits of history.

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Book Review: Twenty-One Balloons

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois

The Twenty-One Balloons
by William Pène du Bois
5 out of 5 stars
Professor Sherman is sick of teaching mathematics to unruly children in San Francisco, so he decides to take a year-long balloon ride around the world and never touch land in all that time. However, within days his balloon crashes near the mysterious island of Krakatoa, and he discovers the secrets of the island where a most unusual society is flourishing and fabulous diamonds are available to anyone.

This is such a fun and entertaining story! The plot has all these hilarious details all about the reception for Professor Sherman when he returns to San Francisco, his arrangements for his balloon house and how he planned his balloon trip, and the strange society that lives on Krakatoa and how they organize their days. Most of the narrative is explaining things, so there isn’t a ton of action, but the descriptions are so wild and interesting that you never feel bored.

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Book Review: Island of the Aunts

Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson

Island of the Aunts
by Eva Ibbotson
5 out of 5 stars

The aunts need help, so they decide to kidnap some children and train them up. But these will have to be special children; children who can be trusted with the greatest secret of the island.

Fantastic and imaginative! I loved it! I had me gasping in surprise, and laughing and crying and laughing some more.

Update: Reading this the second or third time is just as enjoyable and magical.

I love all the weird and wacky characters! The aunts are just hilarious, Minette is utterly sweet, and Fabio is such a brave little fellow.

I love all the magical creatures, the mermaids, and selkies, and other wild creatures. It’s all so imaginative and interesting. The details make it all feel real and exciting.

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