Saturday, September 12, 2015

Magelica's Voyage

4 stars

Magelica is a young girl, who like all of us, wants to know who she is.

Where did she come from? Why was she left with Gri to care for her? Where are her parents?

Her journey begins after a storm rushes her home where a hot bath is waiting to take her on an adventure of a lifetime.

Magelica's Voyage is a level 2 read for young readers, separated into small chunks like chapters making the story easy for kids to read and giving them places to stop and rest before the next leg of the race.

The artwork is fantastic, beautiful imagery to accompany the story. The story itself is a bit lacking following a straight path rushing from beginning to end. The overall question, where did Magelica come from, is kept hidden, but the rest plays out just as it should and all is well in the end. Even though the prince is still missing... Which segue's into the next book.

I think it is worthy to note the lessons taught in the book. Using your imagination, caring for others, discovering who you are. Lessons are lined up at the end of the book for readers to contemplate and I strongly suggest parents join in and guide their readers through these lessons.

Overall, Magelica's Voyage is a book I would suggest to new readers and as a parent-child story time read.

3 Stars

The Rescue is the second book to the Majolica's Voyage series, I was given both for review and after a more positive review of the first, I was glad I was given the second because it is not nearly up to par with the first.

Beginning with Magelica's first journey, there are a few lessons to be learned. Self acceptance, creativity, believing in yourself, all good things for kids to focus on.

This next leg of the journey, The Rescue, missed it's mark when it comes to lessons. Magelica dreams of Prince Will and sets off to rescue him. She believes in herself, she's brave as Will's entire kingdom comes with her to rescue him... Everything goes smoothly and as planned and all is well in the end.

On that note, I'd like a little more story and maybe a hardship or two. Not everything goes as planned. Let's have a little unexpected.

As for the lesson in this book... I'm not quite sure what it was. Yes, Magelica believed in herself, yes she set off to rescue someone in need, but as soon as they're together suddenly it's all about how they are destined for one another and his love for her inspires him to help her discover who she is and where she comes from.

So the lesson is what? Girls need boys and boys will help them define who they are? Girls need the love of a boy to be happy?

I think the story would have been better if he was simply indebted to her for the rescue and as repayment he sets off to help her. Starting a romantic relationship in a book for kids so young is a bit odd and uncomfortable for me as a parent to let my young child read.

That may be reading too much into it, but I would rather see Magelica stand on her own as a strong, independent, heroic female figure rather than a Princess desiring love.

Aside from the sudden Disney romance, and the anticlimactic climax, they artwork continues to be stunning and I have high hopes for the next installment of the series.

I was given both these books for review by Mother Daughter book reviews.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

4 Star Read

I was once asked, after revealing my hometown of Berea, Ky, if we had yet discovered the technology of flushing toilets. You know, the system where you hit a button and water washes away your bodily fluids to a treatment plant, and so on and so forth.

Taking the man for a prankster I simply replied, yes, we figured that one out long ago.

As proof, he asked me which way the water would spin in the bowl. I told him and then added, to impress him my higher than third grade education, that in Australia the water spins the opposite direction.

That actually backfired because he had no idea what I was talking about... 

The point is, having shared with a stranger that I grew up at the base of the Appalachian Mountains I was immediately stereotyped into the group of 'mountain people', with no running water, or flushing toilets, most likely uneducated in the traditional sense, and I'm sure he was curious if I had a social security number.

To be fair, I've met quite a few true Appalachians who fit the bill.

Now, I am not an avid hiker. I've hiked a lot of trails, any I could find or any I heard about within 50 miles of my home searching for photographic opportunities, but I despise camping and all my hiking escapades have been short day trips that require no more than a few bottles of water and a granola bar or two.

I have no ambition to hike the Appalachian Trail, but I can't help wonder at the amazing photographic opportunities a trip like that would provide...

I have two main reasons for wanting to read A Walk in the Woods. First was to read an outsiders view on the landscape and the people of Kentucky and the Appalachian mountains, which sadly I discovered he did not pass through the area. My second reason was to talk a friend out of walking the Appalachian Trail.

From the first few chapters you get a feel for Bill Bryson, sarcastic, a bit in your face, but upbeat and generally a nice guy. He's outspoken, funny and likable. 

The book starts off slow, lots of facts about the trail, plenty of gruesome bear attack stories, and I began to wonder if reading the book itself would be as much an undertaking as walking the dreaded 2,000 mile (or more) Appalachian Trail.

It picks up a bit with some good hearted humor and chuckle worthy tales and encounters, and lots more facts. In all, it's a good weekend read where you can learn a bit of history and fun facts while you're at it. Bryson is an intriguing writer, has a great sense of humor, and more than a bit of crazy for undertaking the Appalachian trail.

A Walk in the Woods is a pleasurable read for a few chuckles and more than a few reasons to enjoy the indoors and daily hot showers.

This book was given to me for review by blogging for books.