Book review: The Serpent’s Shadow, by Rick Riordan, adapted by Orpheus Collar

Riordan, Rick. Adapted by Orpheus Collar. The Serpent’s Shadow. (The Kane Chronicles Graphic Novels series, book 3.) Disney Hyperion, 2017. unp. $21.99. ISBN: 978-148478132-6. Gr. 5+. P9 Q8

Apohphis, the chaos snake, is once again trying to conquer the world. First he first has to deal with Carter and Sadie Kane and those who follow them. It is up to the Kanes to save the world and defeat Apophis. I have enjoyed reading this series and I love the fact that students reading them are gaining so much information on Egyptian mythology. This adaption by Orpheus Collar is packed with action to the very end. Though it is the third book in the series, I had no trouble understanding what was going on. The simple language helps reluctant readers love this series. The illustrations are colored some more darkly that others but they do carry the reader through the story.

Verdict: This action-packed mythology book will appeal to followers of the Riordan Kane Chronicle books.

June 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

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Book review: Catch My Breath, by Paul Briggs

Briggs, Paul.  Catch My Breath.  “Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase.” Disney Hyperion, 2017.  ISBN 978-148472837-6.  $16.99.  48 Pages.  Ages 6+.  P7 Q8

Digitally created illustrations with black bold lines on white background and splashes of color here and there, create a world where a little boy attempts to determine the actual meaning of the phrases he hears from his mother which contain the word “breath”.  How does someone “Catch their breath” or “Grumble under our breath”?  The illustrations and the author’s literal interpretation of the phrases are both delightful.

Because of the topic, I don’t feel children will pick up this book on their own, but will have to be introduced to it by an adult.  Additionally, because the author is depicting the literal version of the phrase, some children may continue to be confused as to what the phrases actually mean.

Verdict:  A good example of idiom beautifully illustrated for elementary schoolers and people of all ages.

May 2018 review by Terri Lippert.

Book review: Click’d, by Tamara Ireland Stone

Stone, Tamara Ireland. Click’d. Disney Hyperion, 2017. ISBN 978-148478497-6. $16.99. 288 pages.  Ages 8-12. Q8P8

A modern day junior high school student in a competition to make a smart phone application!

I really liked this book because the main character, Allie, is a female computer geek!    I also like that the application Allie is creating, with the help of an all-girls team, is a social application designed for people to meet other people they wouldn’t have met otherwise.  She does this by matching their likes/dislikes and personality quirks, thereby filling a social media niche that hasn’t been.  I thought the author realistically captured the capabilities of a 7th grader and had great detail around the process of developing an application.  You can tell she’s worked in the industry.  With that said, I wonder if some of the practices and terms used are understood by the target audience.  Probably??  I understood them, but I have a, admittedly archaic, degree in Information Technology.  I also appreciated Ms. Stone’s depiction of the every-day trials of middle school.

Verdict:  I love the message of Girls in Technology and the idea behind the application.  I do wonder if the vocabulary and programming process description will decrease the potential audience due to its technical and sometimes boring, arduous nature.

March 2018 review by Terri Lippert.

Book review: The 12 Days of Christmas, by Greg Pizzoli

Pizzoli, Greg. The 12 Days of Christmas. Disney Hyperion, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 978-148475031-5. 48 pgs. Ages 3-8. P9 Q8

A fun twist on an old favorite. The original text accompanies illustrations of a young elephant who is given gifts by another young elephant. Meanwhile the child’s parent watches on with increasing alarm as the gifts become more numerous and intrusive.

Verdict: I love the illustrations! They are simple yet full of wonderful expression, especially by the parent who isn’t too sure what to do with 10 lords a leaping or any of the other gifts. I found myself giggling throughout and enjoyed the story from a new perspective. I gave this book a popularity rating of 9 because of the illustrator’s other works which would make this a more desirable book fans of his work as well as the humor factor which make it a fun read aloud. I gave it a Quality rating of 8 because of the illustrations and fun perspective.

November 2017 review by Michelle Cottrell

Book review: Cookiesaurus Rex, by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans, illustrated by A.G. Ford

Dominy, Amy Fellner and Nate Evans. Cookiesaurus Rex. Illustrated by A.G. Ford. Disney Hyperion, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9781484767443. Unpaged. Ages 4-7. P7 Q8

Have you ever thought of viewing life from the cookie’s point of view? Cookiesaurus Rex comes out of the oven, along with other cookies, and demands to be frosted first. Throughout the story, Cookiesaurus Rex has other demands, which are written in dialogue text with the hand that is frosting him. Cookiesuarus is self-centered and things do not go as he has planned. The other frosted cookies watch as Cookiesaurus gets frosted and makes his demands. Told from Cookiesaurus’s point of view, this book adds imagination to frosting cookies.

Verdict: Children will find themselves wondering how Cookiesaurus will be frosted next and what his reaction will be. This colorful book will make a great addition to any children’s library. If you are making cookies with children, this is a fun book to read first. Children can imagine what their cookie is thinking while they are frosting it.

December 2017 review by Tami Harris

Book review: The Adventurer’s Guild, by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Clark, Zack Loran and Nick Eliopulos.  The Adventurer’s Guild.  Disney Hyperion, 2017.  ISBN 978-148478801-1.  $16.99.  306p.  Ages 9-12.  Q8P8

An easy to read fantasy novel with characters equally as easy to like!  The authors spin a unique tale with humans, elves, and dwarves who must live behind the walls of villages or they’ll be killed by the evil Dangers.  The village of Freestone is protected solely by the Adventurers Guild.  Members of the Guild are the only people allowed, and crazy enough, to go outside the walls.  The children newly recruited into the Guild all have endearing qualities, even the spoiled King’s son comes through in the end.  This is not a book that spends a lot of time on character or plot development, but is a fun book to read none the less.  This is the first book in a series and left me excited for the next book.

Verdict:  An easy read with lots of characters to like.  A great introduction to Fantasy for kids in the middle grades!

December 2017 review  by Terri Lippert.

Book review: Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty

Beatty, Robert.  Serafina and the Black Cloak. (Serafina series, #1) Disney-Hyperion, 2015. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4847-0901-6. 293 pages. Ages 8-12. P9Q7

beatty-serafina-and-the-black-cloakSerafina is an unusual girl who lives top-secretly and inconspicuously in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate. She has strange amber eyes, a mane of streaked, lion-like hair, and other peculiar characteristics. Her pa has warned her to keep herself hidden from the fancy folk above. Thus, she prowls through the darkened corridors at night sneaking through the hidden doors and secret passageways of the vast house. But one night, she sees a sinister stranger in a black cloak capture a little girl. When other children at the estate start disappearing, Serafina faces a difficult decision. Should she step out into the light to save these children? Should she risk everything by approaching the young Vanderbilt boy? To defeat her black-cloaked enemy, Serafina must not only confront her darkest fears, she must dig into the mysteries of who she is and where she came from.

Summer 2016 review by Penny McDermott.