Tag Archives: children’s fiction

Late to the Party ARC Review – Imagine by John Lennon & Jean Jullien (Illustrator)

Title: Imagine

Author:  John Lennon & Jean Jullien (Illustrator)

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Join one little pigeon as she sets out on a journey to spread a message of tolerance around the world. Featuring the lyrics of John Lennon’s iconic song and illustrations by the award-winning artist Jean Jullien, this poignant and timely picture book dares to imagine a world at peace. Imagine will be published in partnership with human rights organization, Amnesty International.

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I don’t normally review picture books on my blog, despite reading a lot of them as part of my job at the library. That being said, I couldn’t resist checking out this beautiful picture book put to the lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine.

There is a wonderful simplicity to the artwork, as you’re watching this pigeon explore the world around him, trying to unify people. Ultimately that was Lennon’s message on a whole, finding peace, loving others regardless of race, gender, colour, sexuality or creed. He believed that one day the world would be “one” and peace would defeat war. We need the hope that Imagine provides to remind us that people are not inherently evil.

I enjoyed Yoko Ono’s forward in the book and he discussion of John Lennon’s thought process when he crafted Imagine, and what he hoped from the world. She said that we need Imagine now more than ever because the world isn’t “one” and hope must triumph over despair. This picture book is a lovely addition to anyone’s picture book collection and worth the read with your loved ones.

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ARC Review – Ninja Librarians by Jennifer Swann Downey

17845804Title:  Ninja Librarians

Author: Jennifer Swann Downey

 

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians

Dorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor’s closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch’s Library -the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.

Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?

Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Netgalley for this ARC.

Sam’s Review:

With a title like Ninja Librarians, how could this book not be amazing? Unfortunately, despite the unique and interesting premise, what readers are left with is a very one-dimensional story with not enough of that unique spark to keep it engaging.

I think this book will be a five star read for a lot of people, but where this book fell short with me was the fact that everything in it felt same-y throughout. The tone is consistent, but never interesting enough that I found myself impressed. The idea of Librarians as ninjas is fabulous and if you consider the line of work, they really are in a lot of ways, but how its presented here — I just wanted more from it than Librarians are sneaky and can do kung fu.

One thing I have to praise Ninja Librarians on is its atmosphere. Petrarch Library, as described in the text, is vivid and its easy to feel lost within the library and its walls. It’s no wonder then that Dorrie is so in love with the place and when she first encounters it. I actually thought Dorrie was wonderful — she has all the curiosity and tenacity a girl her age should have, but the rest of the cast was so unmemorable and one note that I had a hard time remember each one because, “omg ninja librarians.” I need more than a stereotype to keep me invested in the characters, and I felt like Downey wrote caricatures for everyone but Dorrie.

Ninja Librarians is not a bad book, but for me it needed more than a quirky premise to stay memorable. The writing is charming, the humor is spot-on, if a touch cheesy, but what this book has, that I will give it credit for, is that it has a ton of heart, and for what its worth, knows its audience very well. I still think the premise is brilliant, I just wish there had been more variation in the plot and a lot less emphasis on just the unique premise alone.