Books read in January

The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain, #2)The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, Disney really did butcher this series, didn’t they? I’m glad that Tim made me read them and I am looking forward to the next 3 in the Pyrdain Chronicles. I was surprised by how INTENSE the last few chapters were, with actual threats to our heroes lives and one character going off the deep end in a big way. Wow. Great for fans of the LotR movies who might not be ready to read those books, but want a good fantasy series.

Star Wars: Jedi AcademyStar Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a cute idea but it never quite pulled me in the way that “Origami Yoda” did. Both of them want to be a Star Wars Wimpy Kid but Roan’s story was missing…something. I’m wondering if it is because this was the first in the series and so many introductions had to happen and setting up the whole Jedi Academy plot line. I might pick up book 2 and see if it has a little more to it.

I did REALLY like that Brown has, as the final page in the book, instructions for how readers can start their own journal like Roan’s. He encourages them to draw and paste in newspaper articles etc.

I would recommend this to late elementary school aged Star Wars fans. I think anyone older would probably enjoy the The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series more, but this could tide them over while waiting for Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue: An Origami Yoda Book to be released.

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic NovelA Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never read the original book but I thought this graphic novel was very accessible and it did make me want to read the other books in the series. I have been a fan of Hope Larson’s art style since I happened to pick up ‘Mercury’ randomly one day. I really like the whole feel of it. The blue-gray-black color scheme worked well too.

I think reading this as a graphic worked best when it came to explaining all the mathematical theories behind the tesseract and time travel.

Would definitely recommend this to someone who is a fan of Doctor Who and other science fiction/fantasy stories with lots of weird but also lots of heart.

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Boxers (Boxers & Saints, #1)Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know absolutely nothing about the Boxer Rebellion so Yang’s “Boxers & Saints” is really the introduction to this part of history for me. I haven’t read “Saints” yet though, so I’m not quite sure how fair it is to review this book alone. But I loved “Boxers”. Beautifully drawn and easy to understand. I will post more once I have read “Saints”.

Saints (Boxers & Saints, #2)Saints by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this in one sitting. It really is the companion to “Boxers”, you shouldn’t try to read it on it’s own because there will be several parts that don’t quite make sense. The ending, particularly, won’t pack as much punch if you haven’t read “Boxers”.

This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I still enjoyed it. While “Boxers” focused on one boy but ultimately gave you a view on why a group of Chinese wanted to rebel against the “foreign devils” and their religion, “Saints” is all about Four-Girl/Vibiana and I don’t know if it really explains why so many other Chinese converted to Christianity during this time, which by the end of “Boxers” I was really curious about.

I liked the story though and it was an interesting look at the other side of this conflict.

Year of the JungleYear of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’m not sure what to do about this book. I’m not sure who to give it to. But it was an interesting peek into Collins’ childhood. I really liked the art style too. It would be a good conversation starter for kids who are becoming aware of the news going on around them.

…but I’m still not sure who I would actually give this book to…

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