Review: Barnacle is Bored

Barnacle is Bored

Barnacle is bored.

Bored. Bored. BORED.

Every day is exactly the same.

Until the day everything changes.

Will Barnacle ever be bored again?

The grass is always greener on the other side. Except when it’s not….. Barnacle longs for a more exciting life, and dreams of being as footloose and fancy-free as the polka-dotted fish. He quickly realizes, though, that there’s something to be said for living a boring life.

Author/illustrator Jonathan Fenske gives us a perfect example of an effective, economical text. There are so few words that each one has to be perfectly chosen for maximum effect, and the illustrations are used to fill in all the gaps and expand upon the minimalist text. Just look at those facial expressions!

This is such a fun story for sharing with kids at story times – the ending is just hilarious, making this a real winner. We’re only a week or two into the summer vacation and already the library is filled with a chorus of school children chanting “I’m bored!” What better time to introduce them to bored old Barnacle?

#IMWAYR – July 11, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

I’ve got a bunch of reviews coming down the pipeline this week – I’ve been devouring picture books recently, and the shelves at my library are bursting at the seams with great new books. If want to make sure you don’t miss any reviews, feel free to follow my blog so you’ll be notified of each new post.

Don’t Touch This Book

Barnacle is Bored

Excellent Ed

Moonday


The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur (BD + DVD + Digital) [Blu-ray]

OK, so I didn’t read this so much as watch it, but this is my blog and I can do what I want so there (yikes, I think the toddlers in my story times are starting to rub off on me….).

I hadn’t caught this one in theatres and Pixar has really been hit or miss recently (curse you, Planes!), but I’m a dinosaur fanatic and and my partner’s an optimist, so we decided to give it a try.

Our lead character Arlo lives in a world in which the mass extinction of the dinosaurs never occurred. He’s the runt of his farming family, and longs to impress his parents and make his mark like his more successful siblings. When tragedy strikes and Arlo is separated from his family, he must find an inner source of strength so that he can conquer his fears and find his way home.

The story is nothing that hasn’t been done in children’s films before – think “The Lion King”, or “The Land Before Time” – and the characters are pretty generic. You could replace all of the dinosaur characters with humans, or dogs, or elephants, and you’d barely notice the difference – the film rarely takes advantage of the fact that its characters are DINOSAURS! At times it felt like I was watching an old Disney TV special featuring a jovial cowboy… I did appreciate the quiet gentleness of the story, though – many filmmakers think that children need to constantly be barraged by noise, colour and movement in order to be entertained, when in reality a quiet, thoughtful story told with a gentle hand can be just as effective.

There were definitely some heartwarming and hilarious moments, and I cried at some scenes (though I cry during Tim Hortons TV commercials, so take this with a grain of salt). The animation, too, was breathtaking. My god, the scenery was just incredible, I could’ve watched the wind blowing through the autumn foliage for the entire run-time. And the water! Water has always been a challenge for animators to recreate, but the rushing rivers in The Good Dinosaur were so realistic it was hard at times to believe it wasn’t film footage of an actual river. Incredible.

So, the story is generic, the characters are likeable if forgettable, and the animation is incredible. The Good Dinosaur isn’t one that you’ll likely feel the need to re-watch, and it likely won’t be remembered as one of Pixar’s finest, but it’s not a bad movie, just all around serviceable. Which isn’t something you ever want to say about a movie with DINOSAURS.

Have a great week everybody!!

#IMWAYR – July 4, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.


Happy Independence to all my Yankee friends! Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy holiday.

On the blog front, I’ve got a few exciting bits and pieces of news to share!

First off – I’m now a regular host for the incredible kids lit meme Diverse Kids Lit, which is an opportunity for kid lit bloggers to share diverse children’s lit! As a children’s librarian and co-chair of my local library association’s LGBTQ interest group, diversity is a subject that is very dear to my heart. I shared a powerful Canadian picture book as part of the linkup on Saturday,you can check it out here, and don’t forget to check out all the other great posts on the list.

Next up, I’m now an official Book Warrior! I’ve been a guest contributor to this amazing children’s literature blog for a few months now, and the fantastic ladies behind the site have invited me to become a fully-fledged member. I couldn’t be more excited – it’s like being invited to sit with the cool kids in the school cafeteria, except these cool kids are also incredibly smart and nice to boot. I’ll hopefully be posting fairly regularly over there, focusing mainly on picture books (of course), so check it out!!

Now, on to some of this week’s reads.

The Hangman’s Daughter

I read this historical mystery for my book club, and while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it either. To be honest, I found the whole thing pretty meh, and had to force myself to actually finish it (I’m a serial DNF-er).  I love historical fiction, and I’ve always been fascinated by Medieval Europe, so the story of a hangman and a young progressive physician who work together to solve a mystery and prevent the eruption of witch hunting mania sounded really promising. But the text is just kind of clunky. There’s a lot of “but what do X, Y and Z have to do with A?” dialogue, as if the author knows that the plot is getting overly complicated and is worried that the audience won’t be able to follow along. There characters aren’t particularly fleshed out, the inevitable romantic pairing isn’t all that romantic, and it’s just a lot of meh.

I did wonder if some of the clunkiness of the text might have to do with the fact that this is a novel in translation. Even the best translations risk losing some of the spark of the original language, and some expressions and cultural assumptions simply don’t translate easily.

Either way, it’s not a terrible book, but if you enjoy historical fiction set in Medieval Europe, I would recommend Ken Follet, Bernard Cornwell, Philippa Gregory,  and many of the novels on this list instead.

Maybe Something Beautiful

Super Happy Magic Forest

Reviews coming this week!

Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year

What an inspiring article! Whether you’re a writer, artist, creator, athlete or job hunter, this article is a must-read. Putting yourself out there again and again can be terrifying (my job interview batting average is an unspeakable horror at the moment), but as the author explains, it’s only by actively courting rejection that you can ever hope to secure success.

Have a great week everybody!!