Friday, March 3, 2023

There's What in the Attic?

The House on East 88th Street and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber

A family moves into a new house only to find that a crocodile already lives there.

So, the idea of a crocodile living with a family is a fun idea.  But I'm not sure why these stories became so popular.  I can get over the fact that people are happy for their children to be playing with a crocodile, it is fiction after all.  But he is living in a house all by himself and no one wonders how he is surviving.  And the man who got Lyle into show business is a terrible person.  Am I supposed to hate him?  Because I do.  I don't even think Lyle likes him that much.  But then he acts like they are good friends.  So that relationship confused me.  Maybe I am just too cynical.  Maybe a more light hearted person (like a child) would be able to overlook all the odd bits that bothered me.  I won't be reading the rest of the books in the series.  But if you want to try them make sure you start with The House on East 88th Street, that is the first one and some of the stuff in Lyle, Lyle Crocodile I found confusing until I went back to the beginning.

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile starring Winslow Fegley and Javier Bardem

A family moves into a new house only to find that a singing crocodile lives in the attic.

Lyle is cute.  And you do warm up to him just like the family he lives with does.  It's a fun story with a villain who is suitably scummy and a nice heart warning ending.  But why can Lyle sing but not talk?  That bothers me.  Just have a talking crocodile, or not.  I do like the relationship Lyle has with the pampered cat next door.  It is fun to watch and I think kids with like it.  But for me it is just average.

How does the movie compare to the book?  A lot of the same elements and scenarios show up in both.  And the story is pretty much the same story, with slight variations.  The biggest difference is that Lyle can sing in the movie but not the books.  But in the books Lyle is a performer so it isn't totally off base.  I think the book to movie transition was a good one.   I think I liked the movie slightly better because it seemed to have a little more explanation of how everything came about.  (Not how Lyle came to be able to sing, unfortunately.  But you can't have everything.)   And the entertainer who got Lyle into show business was more firmly put in the villain category so I didn't have to wonder about that relationship.  I think the movie is worth a look but I wouldn't recommend the books.

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Friday 56



* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

My book this week is The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy by Jennifer McCartney.  This book reminds us to slow down and enjoy the moment.  Not exactly a new thought but in our world of constant motion, perpetual activity and a thousand list of things your supposed to do, books you are supposed to read and places you are supposed to go before you die, it is nice to be reminded that sometimes you can just stop for a moment.  You can read my review here.

The Friday 56:

This is page 56 of the book.  There are a lot of words in the book just not on this page.  But you do get to look at this cute sloth.  And who doesn't want to look at a cute sloth?

Thursday, February 23, 2023

That's Some Brave Ham


Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter by Rich Moyer

Ham comes from a long line of vampire hunters.  He has always been the odd pig out in his family.  But when all the other vampire hunters in the family meet tragic (and stupid) ends it is up to him to carry on the family tradition.  So he sets out to save a village from the vampire that has been terrorizing it.

Ham may not be as brave as his vampire hunting relatives but he is determined to carry on the Helsing vampire slaying tradition.  Along the way he meets many quirky characters, including a ninja pig, an evil hench-chicken, a werewolf, undead minions (aka - strips of bacon) and, of course, the vampire.  Ham is endearing and adorable as he heads off with nothing but his resolve to help him kill a vampire.  Soon he part of a rag tag group who together learn not to judge people (or pigs) too quickly, how to be selfless in order to help others and the benefits and joys of working as a team.  The story is told with lots of humor and the illustrations are cute, detailed, hilarious and expressive.  It is just a lot of fun to read for young and old alike and it ends leaving you wanting more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Taking it Slow

 The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy by Jennifer McCartney

In the fast paced world in which we live it is a good idea to slow down some times.  This book takes some ideas from the lives of sloth to help you slow down and enjoy the moments along the way without always being worried about the destination.

Everyone has heard that you should stop and small the roses.  But what if you don't even want to smell the roses?  What if you want to take a nap instead?  This book reminds us that we do not have to be doing something all the time.  Sometimes it is okay just to be.  Sometimes self care is a spa day or a run in the fresh air but sometimes it is sitting on the sofa in your pajamas with a cup of coffee.  And you shouldn't feel guilty about that.  This book reminds you that you don't always have to live up the the world's fast paced expectations.  And it gives you some pointers on how to slow down, physically and your brain activity, including a reading list, a play list and some slower paced sports to try.  It is a good read when you start to feel guilty that you still haven't finished that book, or tried the eight recipes you printed off the internet, or ever run a marathon.  And the occasional, adorable sloth illustration along the way doesn't hurt.  If you are feeling harried and overwhelmed, take a breath and some slow advice from a sloth. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

The Friday 56


* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

My book this week is The Hummingbird's Gift by Sy Montgomery.  It is about two women who are trying to raise orphan hummingbirds.  They got them before they even had feathers.  They had to be fed every 20 minutes.  If you feed them too little they die, if you feed too much they die.  Raising hummingbirds is a tricky business.

The Friday 56:

The little bird zigzags after the flies, seizing them in a tweezer-like bill that has grown at least a quarter inch since I saw him.  Zuni's flights last only seconds and sound like a propeller plane - but to me, they are miraculous

Apparently when a hummingbird makes a lot of noise when it is hovering it means he is not very good at it.  Zuni is still learning here.  But since mites could kill him, poison to kill mites could kill him, too little or too much food could kill him, everything is seems could kill this delicate little thing it was a miracle he was alive at all.  It was an interesting story and I learned some things I didn't know about hummingbirds.  And at only 79 pages it is a quick read.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Brindille Review

Brindille by Frederic Brremaud (author) and Federico Bertolucci (artist)

A young girl runs from a fire, loses consciousness and wakes up with no idea who she is.  She must face the forest and her fears to figure out who she is.

The illustrations are beautiful.  They are lush, detailed and expressive.  And the little creatures that rescue the girl are adorable.  But the story is all over the place.  A lot of it felt very random.  And I don't know how all the characters fit together.  There were all these people who knew about her somehow, some trying to help, some trying to hinder, and I never knew why.  Even at the end where everything was supposed to be explained I was still confused about most of it.  It seems like the story could have been very interesting if a few more things were explained.  As it is, I feel Brindille is more enjoyable for it's art than it's story.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Don't Go Into the Forest

The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Leelo has spent all her life on an island surrounded by a poisonous lake and protected by a forest that is alive and wants blood.  Outsiders are not allowed on the island and if they find themselves there they are sent away.  None are ever seen again.  Leelo is told it has to be this way, for the safety of everyone she loves.  But as the day approaches where her brother will be sent away for not having magic, and she meets an outsider that seems anything but evil she starts to question everything.  She finds that the home she loves may not be what she thought and she is caught in a web of lies and secrets and must decide what she will believe.

I love a conflicted main character.  And I think it is done well here.  Leelo is likeable and I feel for her as she struggles between being loyal to her community and her family and doing what her heart tells her is right.  And there is a good amount of tension that Rutherford was able to keep up through the book.  Leelo is danger but sometimes you are not sure who she is in danger from.  And you (and Leelo) know there is so much that she doesn't know and the mystery as it unfolds is entertaining and gripping even if it is not all completely unexpected.  I also think there were some things that could have been explored a little more.  I wanted to know more about this malevolent forest.  And, quite frankly, I was never really sure what it was that the magic of the islanders did.  (Except lure people to their deaths.)  There was a wolf that was mentioned once, seemed like he would be a significant part of the story, but then he never surfaced again.  I enjoyed the book.  It had a lot of interesting concepts and I like the mix of fantasy and romance with a slight horror edge to it.  But there were a couple of things that made me stop short of love for this one.

I got a free copy of this book from Bookish First.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Seelie or Unseelie? That is the Question.


Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman

Seelie is a changeling raised in the human world as twin sister to the one she was meant to replace.  But as an autistic changeling she has trouble fitting in.  And the two sisters find themselves out on their own and on the run when they become mixed up in a mystery that involves both the human and fae worlds.

Unseelie is fun to read.  I like the idea that the girls' mother was unwilling to give up the changeling and raised both children as her own.  I think the characters are well written and interesting, although the good guys are better developed than the bad guys.  It was a fun journey as this unlikely group travels around, bouncing between the human and fae worlds, fighting magical enemies and learning to trust one another.  But there were a few times when it started to drag a little and I was ready for the plot to move on.  There were also a few things I wish had been explained a little better, there were just a couple of things that seemed rather random.  And at the end there are a lot of unresolved things that you have to wait until the next book to get closure on.  I didn't really like the way several things were sprung on me right at the end and all left as questions.  But it did exactly what it was supposed to do.  It piqued my interest and I will more than likely read the next book to see how it all works out.  Because I enjoyed reading about these characters and I want to know what happens to them.  I was happy to have read it and I think lovers of fantasy will find it an entertaining journey.  

I got a free copy of this book from Bookish First.