Tag: Children’s

Mrs. Murray’s Ghost

Author: Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Published: August 31, 2018
112 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Mary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever.

Kim’s Review:

This was a fun little story and I would definitely recommend it to upper elementary and middle school kids. The imagination was entertaining and vivid; the characters were mostly believable and lovable. My main issue is Mary. She was cute and I did like her, but she just acted older and more mature than a 10-year-old. Had she been a little older, then I would have completely believed her. The brownies were easily my favorite. Their Scottish brogue surprised me, but once I got into the rhythm of listening, instead of just reading, they became the best part of the story. I wish there was little more about Mrs. Murray. Her story was clear and I was glad of that, but I guess I would have liked a little more insight into what Mary could do for her. Thankfully, she grew on me too and that frustration turned into curiosity. I would love to read more about Mary and all the creatures residing in her cool mansion. An excellent story!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Cat Who Ate Christmas

Author: Lil Chase
Illustrator: Thomas Docherty
Published: Today, October 9, 2018
96 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read:April 18, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

A charming Christmas story for the whole family about a cat who is up to no good!

It’s Christmas, and Jingles the kitten has knocked over the Christmas tree and unwrapped all of the presents! What a naughty kitty. When Jingles eats the entire Christmas turkey, it’s the final straw! Jingles is in big trouble now. While his family is busy cleaning up the mess, a guilty Jingles disappears. Realizing what matters most, the family sets out to look for their naughty kitten–it won’t be Christmas without him.

To continue in the holiday spirit, this book includes fun Christmas facts, Christmas jokes, the best recipe for cocoa, and even instructions for making your very own Christmas tree topper. The Cat Who Ate Christmas is the perfect gift this holiday season.

Jessica’s Review:

This is a fun story set on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and features a kitten named Jingles that just keeps causing trouble!  Any cat owner will identify with this book and the illustrations are great and will keep the kids entertained.

Though set at Christmas ( the story shows the children’s excitement of Christmas), the story can be read anytime.  This is not a Christmas story, but a ‘real life’ story.

If you are getting a cat anytime soon, be wary of Christmas time and what kind of disasters may occur!

WAIT!  Once the story is over there is more! The boy Alex loves his facts, so there are some facts about cats and Christmas, there are some Christmas jokes, Dad’s hot cocoa recipe as he made the family cocoa, and an activity: How to make a Christmas angel like Mom did!

Thank you to the publisher for my e-arc copy!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


The One and Only Ivan

Author: Katherine Applegate
Published: January 17, 2012

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 15-20, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Jessica’s Review:

I listened to the audiobook version of The One and Only Ivan: It gives the fictional story of a real gorilla, Ivan, who lived for 27 years in a shopping mall until he was moved to Zoo Atlanta in 1994 where he lived the rest of his life. Ivan passed away  on August 20, 2012.

The One and Only Ivan is written for children, but adults could enjoy it as well. Ivan and the other animals did not have a happy life and Applegate made Ivan’s story feel all the more personal through this novel.  There are tough issues addressed in the novel (the death of an animal) and the protestors.  The tough issues are handled well for children to understand and adults to feel something as well. 

I encourage you to learn about the real Ivan and his story before reading this fictional version.  The book ends with a timeline of Ivan’s history. 

The narrator did a very good job keeping my interest.  He did great with Ivan’s voice with Ivan having been a silverback.

The One and Only Ivan is recommended.

Zoo Atlanta’s site about Ivan is here.
Ivan’s obituary is here.
Here is a video of Ivan: https://youtu.be/FF1oWHL-lSs

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK