Book Reviews, Children's Books

Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Every reader at some point wishes that they had the ability to read a favorite character to life. Unfortunately for Mortimer, this ability is all too real, and his and his daughter Meggie’s lives are drastically changed when he accidentally reads characters out of the epic fantasy drama Inkheart. Though Mortimer tries to shelter Meggie from the truth of what happened that night nine years ago, it all comes back to haunt him when one of the characters shows up in the middle of the night with a warning and a secret.

Inkheart is full of intriguing and unique characters, from the cranky bookworm Elinor to Dustfinger the fire-eater to the somewhat narcissistic author of Inkheart, Fenoglio. Most of the story follows Meggie, a twelve-year-old girl who loves books almost as much as she loves her father, who is forced to uncover the secrets her father has been keeping from her. Though her father’s ability to read characters off of a page is the cause of their troubles, Inkheart teems with enough magic and wonder that the reader will wish they possessed the ability as well.

The magnificence of Inkheart comes from the relationships and complexity of each character. Meggie quickly learns that no one is completely good, everyone keeps secrets, and magic always has consequences. But even when it seems that everything she thinks she knows is wrong, there will always be people she can depend on to set things right again.

FOR THE PARENTS:

Inkheart contains mild swearing and violence. At around 150,000 words (a length somewhere between the third and fourth Harry Potter books), Inkheart is larger than most children’s books, but the story is so well-written that it is still doable for many kids. My first experience with this book was when I was nine years old and my mother read it aloud to me and my brother; if you have the time to read this book to your kid(s), I highly recommend it. It was, and still is, my all-time favorite book.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (translated from German by Anthea Bell)

Children's Books

Book Review: Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay

AGE: 8-12

Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay, is one of my favorite books. Its innocent yet truthful depiction of a dysfunctional family is surprisingly cheery and inviting while still telling the flaws in both human beings and in familial relationships. The Casson family is a small group consisting of Bill and Eve (the artistic and sometimes neglectful parents), Cadmium Gold (the eldest daughter), Saffron, Indigo, and Permanent Rose. After a family loss, Saffron (or Saffy, as everyone calls her) begins a search for the angel that’s meant just for her. In the process she hopes to find the validation that she is right where she belongs.

Book Reviews, Children's Books

Book Review: The Edward Almost Ready Series by Rosemary Wells

Today, Diannika Alyse Star reviews the Edward Almost Ready series byRosemary Wells, intended for children ages 2 and up. The series contains the books “Edward Almost Goes Swimming”, “Edward Almost Sleeps Over”, and “Edward Almost Goes to School”

What kids want to know:

Edward is a cute little bear cub who is ALMOST ready for some big-kid things in the Edward Almost Ready series. There are 3 books.

One is about when Edward is almost ready to go swimming. He is invited to a birthday party at a pool! But he is not ready to swim with no water wings yet.

The second one is about when a big snow storm makes it hard to drive. Edward needs to sleep at his friend’s house. But he is not ready for that yet!

The third one is about when Edward is almost ready to go to school. He tries, but he just is not ready yet.

And every time, his Mom and Dad tell him that it is ok to not be ready yet. To find out more, you should read the books!

What Parents Should Know:

The Edward Almost Ready series contains 3 books. The e-books were made from the hard-copy books, and in a couple places there are some small formatting errors. Nothing major, but a couple lines of text in the series don’t line up to the boxes the text and pictures are in quite right.

The series teaches children that it is ok to not be ready for things at the same time others think they should be and that it is ok to try anyway and need to stop.

To me it seems like Edward may be mildly autistic, however, that may not be the case. Either way, I can see these being very helpful to children with ASD or other developmental and/or learning delays. That said, every kid learns and develops at their own pace, and so I think that these books teach lessons every kid should learn, and every parent keep in mind.

On the negative end of things, in Edward Almost Goes Swimming there is a part where some kids are not very nice and nothing is done about it, and when they cause problems for Edward, the adult present says that Edward isn’t ready for that kind of party. As long as you take the time to explain why that happens or that it shouldn’t have happened, it shouldn’t be a problem.