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


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 – May 2, 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. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

Please Open This Book


I really enjoyed Warning: Do Not Open This Book, but I didn’t like this sequel quite as much. The premise is simple, yet kind of disturbing – whenever you close the book, all the animal characters are trapped inside in the dark, which frightens and upsets them. The animals desperately beg, barter and plead with the reader not to entrap them in the dark. Worse still, several animal characters are apparently injured in the process of closing the book, and are depicted wrapped in bandages with pained expressions. If a child wants to finish reading the book and put it away they have no choice but close the book and injure the poor animals trapped inside. I’m sure lots of kinds will find it hilarious, but the animals just look so sad! 


A Pig, A Fox, and a Box

I am Fox.

I am Pig.

I am little.

I am big.

I have a box. I like to play. I think I will trick Pig today.

Assuming, of course, that you didn’t find the antics of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner emotionally scarring on account of their wanton violence, I highly recommend taking a look at this silly little levelled reader. The text is similar to Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books in both length and complexity, and features a similar conversational structure between two characters, but this title is definitely all about the slapstick. Lots of fun. 

Hope you’ve all been having a great reading week!!