Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: Herding Cats: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen

Sarah's Scribbles,  Goodreads Choice Award for 2016:  Best Graphic Novels & Comics
". . . author Sarah Andersen uses hilarious (and adorable) comics to illustrate the very specific growing pains that occur on your way to becoming a mature, put-together grownup. Andersen’s spot-on illustrations also show how to navigate this newfound adulthood once you arrive, since maturity is equally as hard to maintain as it is to find … "
--The Huffington Post
Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah's Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.
I'm a fan of Sarah Andersen's work so when I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I just had to read it. I was not disappointed.

The comic strips are so relatable (especially the ones that talked about anxiety/introversion) and I laughed so many times. One of my favorite comic strips was the In the Future/millenial slang one. I laughed so much at that one.

It's not all jokes, though.There's one comic where Sarah looks up what her childhood heroes are doing. I'm not going to spoil that one, but it was very relatable for me. There's also one comic where a neuro-oncologist is at a press conference and instead of being asked about her work, she gets asked what it's like to being a woman in her field. The bully-nerd comic was pretty poignant as well.

I didn't expect the second part of the book which was called "Making Stuff in the Modern Era: A Guide for the Young Creative." It's directed towards artists, but even non-artists can take something away from it.

Part One is about her art journey, from when she was just a child and what it's like for her now. It's mostly text with comics interspersed throughout. She makes a lot of good points, and I'd have to agree with the part about there being a lot of jerks online. Thankfully, there are a lot of good people too. Otherwise, the internet would be unbearable.

Part Two dealt with how artists tend to view their works from before and now, as well as how to deal with criticism and harassment. It's well worth the read for any artist and any creative, as well as others who are looking for something that can make them smile and laugh.

"Contrary to popular belief, being introverted is not about your ability to socialize. It's about what you do after."


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Firefighters and What They Do by Liesbet Slegers

Fires are really dangerous. Luckily there are firefighters! They jump into their special suits, and within minutes they are at the fire. But they also help people in other ways. An informative book for toddlers about firefighters and what they do. Now in a simplified and fun pocket-sized edition.
This book is from the same series as the book I reviewed yesterday (Pilots and What They Do) and my son and I loved this book as well.

The illustration style and coloring are very eye-catching and age-appropriate (this book is aimed at toddlers).

I liked that aside from showing that firefighters fight fires, the book also included another task that firemen do. There's also a mini activity on the last two pages, wherein children can trace hoses to find out which one leads to the fire.

The vocabulary is mostly simple, although like Pilots and What They Do, there are some words that may not be familiar to younger kids yet and there are several relatively long sentences every other page so this works best as a read-aloud book. Of course, this also means that you'll get a lot of use out of this book since your child will probably still find it interesting and challenging even when he/she is in elementary school already.

When we were deciding which book to read, my son saw the cover of this book and said, "Oh, I like Fireman Sam, Mommy!"

We read the book together, and when I pointed to words he knew, he would sound them out with joy. Plus, he learned a new word ("fire").

He was very excited while reading the book, jumping in his seat and pointing at the words and pictures throughout the book. The book was able to maintain his interest until the last pages, which is pretty impressive because unless he really likes the book, he starts getting bored as the book nears the last few pages.

"Thank you! You're my heroes!" waves the driver.


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: Pilots and What They Do by Liesbet Slegers

The pilot flies the airplane along with his copilot. He has to make sure he and his passengers arrive safely. That’s why he keeps a close eye on things during the flight. A playful and informative book for toddlers about pilots and what they do. Now in a simplified and fun pocket-sized edition.
My son and I enjoyed reading this book. It had brightly-colored, cute illustrations. I'm not sure what medium was used. It looks like paint, but there are some spots here and there where the blending of the colors made me think of oil pastels.

Some of the illustrations have little notes/captions ("what a beautiful view") and labels ("landing gear"), which I appreciated since it added an interesting element to the drawings.

The illustrations are also able to convey well what the text is saying so even if the child just browses by his/her lonesome, they can still more or less see what's going on.

I felt that this is more of a read-along/aloud book than a early-readers book, though, because there are some words here and there that beginner readers may not be familiar with yet ("direction," "column," "splendid," etc.) and there are 3-5 sentences on each page so depending on how easily your child gets bored/loses focus, it may be best to read this together first.

My son likes airplanes and actually enjoys flying so he recognized the pilot on the cover right away.
He could easily identify with the child in the book and when I asked him who it was, he said it was him.

He also had no trouble identifying the objects in the drawings (house, bag, tree, etc.). The only object he asked me to identify was the fuel nozzle, but that's understandable since we don't go the gas station very often.

My favorite reaction of his while we were reading was when he saw one of the first pictures in the book, which was a child in vacation clothes,and he said "Look, the baby is going swimming!"

Overall, I'm pretty sure he liked the book's illustrations because when he doesn't like a book's drawings, he wants to flip through the pages quickly or he just ends up abandoning the book.
He also seemed to like the story. Even though he can only sight-read a few words now, he was able to follow along with the story when I read it aloud and his attention didn't wander.

Both girls and boys can be pilots, of course! 
The clouds sparkle in the sun. He can see snow-covered mountains, islands in the ocean...


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