Tag Archives: monsters

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye (Tania Del Rio & Will Staehle)

13 Jan

Triskaidekaphobia, schmriskaidekaphobia.  It may not bode well for Warren the 13th, but Squinks, today, on a decidedly lucky Friday the thirteenth (tempting fate, my paraskevidekatriaphobic friends), you get some goodies, including an introduction to my new friend, Warren.

 

Warren the 13th - Book 1 

Squinklethoughts

1.   I would be way too terrified to ever enter an ancient, dilapidated house – though why I would be compelled to even approach one is beyond me.  But I really enjoyed walking the corridors alongside Warren as he fulfilled his duties as bellhop, valet, and about six hundred other occupations at his family’s rickety hotel.  If you like places with corners that are dark, dank, dusty, and lit  by “a tarnished chandelier that clung to the ceiling like an insect” (not to mention odd creatures lurking in those dark, dank, dusty corners), then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy Warren’s ancestral home.  (Twelve generations is enough to consider Warren the 1st an ancestor, right?  I’ll have to look that up.)

2.   About the guests at the Warren Hotel … Well, I use the term “guests” loosely.  The mysteries in The All-Seeing Eye begin right away when a tall, thin figure – the first guest in years, might I add – strides into the lobby.  Warren bows to him, and then … silence.  Crickets.  (No, seriously, there were probably crickets outside the hotel chatting away to one another wondering what on earth would have possessed Paleface to visit the hotel.)  I like stories that introduce mysteries and conflicts right away.  It just makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth on the ride.  It doesn’t mean every single story has to be that way, but when I encounter one like this, I really appreciate it.  Plus, it leaves room for my favourite literary phenomenon: mysteries upon mysteries upon mysteries upon … (I know some readers dislike this very thing, so just a heads up.)

3.   Tania Del Rio got me in the feels with this gem: “That was the main reason Warren worked so hard: because he knew his father had worked hard, and his father’s father had worked hard, and his father’s father’s father had worked hard, and so on.”  Truth, right?  I mean, even with the words I’m typing right now, I wonder … would Mom and Dad be proud?

4.   Puzzles, secret codes, and (did I mention) mysteries?  Need I say more?

5.   If you’ve been keeping up with my squinkle journey, then you’ll know by now that I LOVE illustrations and that I scour the middle-grade section of bookstores for my Next Great Read.  The All-Seeing Eye stands apart from many books out there because not only is it a great MG story (that, by the way, I would totally recommend to readers who are MG-at-heart like me), it has some gorgeous two-colour illustrations.  And, you know, I think I like Warren a little more now that I’ve seen him.  I can’t draw to save my life, so I’m always enamoured by those who can.  I tip my hat to Will Staehle.

 

Warren the 13th IG 

6.   Students of mine who stalk me on Instagram are well aware of my love for words, names, and etymology, in general (a linguistics background will do that to a person).  It may seem like a small thing, but I love the names in this book.  Warren, Rupert, Annaconda, Petula, Scalene, Friggs, even Sketchy!  It’s a cornucopia of delightful monikers!

7.   Warren has wanderlust.  (Who wouldn’t if you were stuck doing six thousand jobs in a dingy hotel?)  Kindred spirit.  That is all.

 

Warren the 13th 2  

8.   It’s taken a really long time for the sequel, Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods, to pop up, but wait no longer … well, no longer than March 21.  (That’s not that long, right?)  In the meanwhile, click this.  No, THIS.  Enjoy a short story and some puzzles to tide you over until the pub date of Book 2.

 

Warren the 13th SS 

9.   One last serious note.  I highly regret passing on getting a galley of this book at a previous BEA.  I, as you all know, judge books by their covers.  Why would I not, when so much work goes into them?  Well, I didn’t have a lot of time to thumb through this galley, so I passed up Warren and his friends all because I thought the book would be too scary for my taste.  (Maybe I had just seen the cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and was completely influenced.)  So, let this be a lesson kids: Do not pass up on a book without thumbing through it first.  Otherwise, you’ll miss out on getting to know people like Warren with his six million jobs.

 

4.5 Squinkles

 

Tania Del Rio’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Chapters

Will Staehle’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Chapters

 

Thank you, Quirk Books, for sending me a copy of
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye in exchange for
an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

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Bookcation 2016 #3: Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors

15 Mar

As we are all fans of Desmond Pucket, I wanted to make sure you knew that we now have the third book in the series in our library. Following the laugh-out-loud Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic and the hilarious Desmond Pucket and the Mountain Full of Monsters is the recently pubbed (just last month, in fact) Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors.

 

Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors

 

This time around, Desmond and company use some of the scary props from the second book to put on a wild event. Knowing Desmond, I’m sure you can guess how the whole thing goes … especially since he’s competing to put on the greatest (scariest?) ride ever! Find out what happens to Desmond, Mr. Needles, Keith Schminsky, and the rest of the gang in this installment.

 

Desmond Pucket and the Carnival of Horrors - First Day

 

If all our copies have been checked out and you just can’t wait to dig into Desmond’s world again, check out this page full of awesome activities to tide you over. And don’t forget to let me know how you liked this third adventure.

The Last Kids on Earth (Max Brallier)

29 Oct

Squinks, just in time for Halloween, I’ve got a title to die for (mwahaha). Max Brallier’s The Last Kids on Earth is full of terrifying fun and adventure that’s perfect for this time of year. Oh, and there are zombies.

 

Last Kids On Earth

 

Squinklethoughts1. Okay, so zombies aren’t really my thing. And no, I don’t watch The Walking Dead, but I know many of YOU like it, which is why I gave it a whirl. For someone who’s not into these kinds of stories, I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it.

2. Brallier is terrifically funny. The humour starts right off the bat with the first page, and it continues all throughout the story. You’ll love Jack Sullivan’s voice, – I can certainly hear many of you in him – for he’s full of amusing one-liners and witty observations.

3. Speaking of Jack, I love how cautiously optimistic he is. I mean, it IS rather a feat to be dealing with monsters and zombies taking over the town. Jack knows where his strengths lie, although he does have some laugh-out-loud moments of delusions (“I’m a zombie-fighting, monster-slaying, tornado of cool … And I will Rescue June Del Toro and complete the ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success!”), and his plans to rescue June are not always completely thought out. He is fiercely loyal to his best friend, Quint, though, and for that, he’s a hero in my books.

 

Last Kids on Earth - Jack Sullivan 

4. I’m sure many of you will find a lot to like in Jack and Quint’s friendship. They work well together despite being very different. For one thing, Quint is always tinkering with things and using science to solve problems, while Jack is more about bat swinging and monster jumping. This combination serves them well when they’re two of the last kids on Earth.

5. I’m also happy that June Del Toro is a lovely damsel not in distress. And I’ve always been used to (and enjoyed) being the only girl in a group of boys, so that bit was particularly interesting to me. June’s feisty, but she’s pretty cool to Jack, so I find her a welcome addition to the growing posse that includes Dirk, an erstwhile-bully-turned-friend.

 

Last Kids on Earth - June Del Toro 

6. For those of you who love to draw, I’m sure you’ll find great inspiration in Douglas Holgate’s illustrations. They really add spirit to the story – in fact, much of the tale is told through the images, so not only do the drawings enhance the tale, they are actually vital parts of the plot as well. This book is like part graphic novel, which really adds to its appeal. I particularly like the many faces of Blarg. And I have to admit – Rover is rather cute.

7. What can I say about this book that I didn’t like? Well, except for the fact that there are monsters and zombies, and I now wonder what’s lurking outside my window every time I turn off the lights, not much. This may not have been my cup of tea, but I’m positive many of you will enjoy it nonetheless. I’d give it just under 4 stars … like 3.87, maybe. ‘Cause, as I mentioned, monsters and zombies.

 

4 Squinkles 

Max Brallier’s Online Corners
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Douglas Holgate’s Online Corners
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Thank you, Penguin Canada, for sending me a copy of The Last Kids on Earth in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Student Review: Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic

21 Sep

Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic 

Have you ever heard of Desmond Pucket?  If not, well let me tell you about him.  He is a monster maker.  He is very good at scaring people with his creations, which include paint-filled balloons, confetti cannons, and more.  In the beginning of the story, readers are told that he is really good at special monster effects and pranks that scare other people.  Then, a school disciplinary officer named Mr. Needles stops Desmond from going on the Mountain Full of Monsters ride at Crabshell Pier.  So Desmond has to be Mr. Perfect until school ends, or else he could get expelled!  This is no easy task.

 

Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic - Excerpt 

Some things about this book that readers might like are the illustrations because there are lots, and they’re all really cool.  Also, the book is easy to read and the text is big.  Lastly, it is a short book, so it doesn’t take too long to finish, which is good because the story is very interesting, and you just want to find out more!  Something I wish the author, Mark Tatulli, had done is make the book a little longer, but I am glad there are more books in the series.  I think people who believe in monsters and those who like pranks will enjoy this book.

Alex P., grade 6

 

Squinklethoughts

1. It’s hard to find books sometimes that can appeal to a wide range of readers, but this is one of them.  It’s a great book for students in elementary school, young and old alike.

2. Tatulli’s voice is engaging and very funny – definitely a plus when it comes to MG books.

3. The drawings are fantastic.  They look hand drawn (and I suppose they are), and that adds to their appeal.  I’ve found students trying to make their own versions of some of the doodles, which is a great sign that they’ve taken a liking not just to the illustrations, but to the story itself.

4. Both my boys and girls liked this book, but I’ve found that my boys tended to laugh out loud much harder and louder.  Make of that what you will.

5. One of the things I missed out on by growing up in the previous century is the extension of the reading experience through activities, events, and (especially) websites.  There’s an entire site dedicated to Desmond Pucket that is chock full of information and handouts that my kids have enjoyed exploring.  Take a look at the trailer below, too.

 

  

 

4 Squinkles 

Mark Tatulli’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Chapters

 

Thank you, Andrews McMeel Publishing, for sending me a copy of Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

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