Book Review: This Book is Upside Down by Erin R. Wage, Illustrations by Simona Ceccarelli

Even though I absolutely love picture books, I don’t normally review them. But this one I have a personal connection to; I know the illustrator, the wonderfully charming and accomplished, Simona Ceccarelli.

Of course, every good book starts with a brilliant story and Erin R. Wage has written a great one, thisbkisupsidedown20200401that looks at, literally, both sides of the story. The cherry on top of this delightful book is the beautiful illustrations. I love how Penelope Giraffe’s neck is as expressive as her face and I must mention how fabulous Gus Penguin looks in his bright Hawaiian shirt.

Your pre-schooler will have so much fun with this book as you both try to help Penelope and Gus decide which side is up. This is one storytime where the thing which is not staying still is the book itself.

I love how interactive this book is. If you have a toddler who likes animals and loves to find out THE answer, you have to get this book.

Happy Reading!

syc

Book Review: Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball + Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords by Laura E. Anderson

Now,ameliafangBarbaricBall20200322 these books are not my usual selection but I bought them and read them because an agent said that one of my pieces of writing sounded “Amelia-Fang-ish”. So I thought I look into this Amelia Fang person, thinking she was an author, but it turns out she is the main character of a series of middle-grade fantasy books.

I must say I really like Amelia Fang! She is spunky and determined, such a good friend and brave when the situation calls for it. She has great friends in a grim-reaper and a yeti. She does not always plan for what happens but her heart is always in the right place.

Nocturnia is where Amelia and her ghoulish friends live. It’s a place where you can find The Ricketty Residences, Zombie Yoga Hall, Post-bats and even a putrid pond. They go to school at Catacomb Academy and disobey their parents when the situation calls for it. But they always try to do what they think is right.

In the Barbaric Ball, Amelia has to rescue her pet pumpkin from the spoilt Prince Tangerine of Nocturnia, who turned out to be only a half-vampire. But when Amelia finds out the prince’s true family situation, it softens her heart towards the prince and they end up as friends.

ameliafangUnicornLords20200322In the Unicorn Lords, that dark secret Amelia discovered in the Barbaric Ball takes them to the Kingdom of Light in search of Tangerine’s long-missing mother. There they uncover a sinister plot to control both the creatures of the light and the creatures of the dark. But can these four friends really save both kingdoms?

The illustrations are absolutely fab. I like how each book cover has its own accent colour and the sides of the pages have the same colour.

The storyline has lovely little twists and turns, and each character we get to know not only has a part in the story but is also well fleshed out. The descriptions of the various places are not overwhelming but just enough to allow you to picture them in your head.

I am confident any middle grader would enjoy these books. Dare I say, I know some adults who would enjoy these too. There are also a few more books in the series, you can check them out here.

Happy Reading!

syc

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

This is one of those unusual situations for me – i watched the movie before i read the book. This time around i didn’t read the book first because i heard about the movie before the book and there was such hype about it, we just decided to watch it.

It was a good movie, which showcased some parts of Singapore but we felt that it showed little of what Singapore is really like or how the average Singaporean lives. But of course, the story had little to do with the average Singaporean.

41rujicffol._sx327_bo1204203200_i thought i would read the book to see if there was more to it. While there was not much about normal Singaporean life, it did have more.

It contained, as expected of a book, so many more layers and sub-plots than a movie can present. i also felt that the movie presented a few of the characters in quite a different light than the book did. But again, this was not out of the ordinary for a movie adaption.

i, of course, liked the book better! No surprise there. The book followed not just the story of Nicholas and Rachel but also of Nicholas’ cousin, Astrid. Kwan keeps us on the edge by moving between the storylines, yet maintaining a strong link between the various plots and really showing off how complex family relations can get in a large, wealthy Asian family. It was great to have the family tree at the beginning of the book to guide us through the complicated who’s related to who bits.

i love how the various cousins and aunts are all trying to get a piece of the action by being their super KP (kaypoh = colloquial for busybody) selves and stepping over what most would consider normal family actions/reactions. In this aspect, i feel Kwan has done a good job.

i also enjoyed the ending which doesn’t quite tie all things up in a nice bow, we leave the story sort of in the middle of the action and this gives the reader room to imagine what might happen after. It gives a nice sense that their stories are not at an end, that there is more to come.

If you want to learn some Singaporean slang, dive into the completely upside-down world of the super-rich and a good Romeo/Juliet-type story, then this is the read for you.

Happy Reading!

syc