Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mini Reviews [14]

Moon by Alison Oliver
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Like many children, Moon leads a busy life. School, homework, music lessons, sports, and the next day it begins again. She wonders if things could be different. Then, one night, she meets a wolf.

The wolf takes Moon deep into the dark, fantastical forest and there she learns to howl, how to hide, how to be still, and how to be wild. And in that, she learns what it’s like to be free.
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Moon is a book we borrowed from the library, and I'm having a hard time convincing my kids we have to take it back! I promised to buy them a copy for their shelves, and they eventually relented.

I initially grabbed this one because of the beautiful cover, but the author conveys something really important within the story that children (and adults) will be able to relate to.

Every day Moon has a schedule that she follows -- school, sports, lessons, etc. She doesn't feel like she has time for herself, and then something wonderful happens when she ventures outside one night. She spends time with wolves, and they teach her how to play. They also show her how to be still and listen (bonus points for the author!).

Sometimes I think parents and adults forget how important it is to play. It's crucial to a child's development and their happiness. Adults should also play -- firing synapses and whatnot -- but it's not healthy for kids to have their entire day planned around work and expectations. They need time to just exist, even if it's in their own head.

I love the message Moon presents, and the delicate way the author shared her story. I highly recommend this one.


Infinity Countdown: Champions (#1-2) by Jim Zub 
Emilio Laiso & Clayton Crain (Illustrators)

Synopsis (via Goodreads): SPINNING OUT FROM THE FALLOUT OF THE BATTLE FOR THE POWER STONE IN THE PAGES OF INFINITY COUNTDOWN! The Champions head to space to save the Nova Corps and stop Warbringer, but other forces are moving against them... These young heroes are in for the fight of their lives! 

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I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't a group of children fighting Chitauri and Thanos.

I love that Riri Williams (Ironheart) and Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) were included in Champions! I've read and enjoyed their individual comics in the past. I think I started reading Ms. Marvel at the wrong time, because the five or so issues I read didn't have Kamala Khan. She was hiding somewhere for some reason... so it never felt like I was reading about Ms. Marvel. Her friends were trying to be superheroes, but they just kept risking their lives. As for Ironheart, or The Invincible Iron Man, I believe Tony Stark came back and they revamped the comic.

If you're looking for a short series (and you're not sick of Thanos), this one is only two issues and ties in to the rest of the Infinity Countdown shenanigans. There's so much going on with that... I cannot keep up with it all. I think it's Infinity Wars now.

32 comments:

  1. Moon sounds wonderful! Being still and listening... I wonder if this book could convince my kid to do either?!

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    1. Haha! I feel like my children listen occasionally, but they are rarely ever still. They're always moving, even while they eat, and it's hard to keep up with all three of them. ;)

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  2. Quote: "She spends time with wolves, and they teach her how to play. They also show her how to be still and listen (bonus points for the author!)."
    Haha, that's handy, isn't it?

    Quote: "kids [...] need time to just exist, even if it's in their own head."
    That is a beautiful sentence! and so very true. As a kid, I used to exist in my own head so much. Of course, that's not really ever changed 😉.

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    1. As a child, I loved inventing my own stories and playing pretend games. We didn't have the technology that's available today, and I think that's hurting our society. We also expect way too much from children now, at home and in school, and it's not fair to them. They are still learning and developing, and play is a huge part of that.

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  3. Moon sounds great. I can’t imagine being a kid today. Way too much pressure. When I was a kid it was just me, my friends and our imagination. Sounds like an important book.

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    1. There's so much pressure! When I was teaching second grade, we were required to cover so much material every day. It didn't leave a lot of time to work on lessons during class, and most of it was sent home to be done with their parents. I tried to make sure that happened as little as possible, but sometimes it was unavoidable. It's also distressing how many schools are cutting out the arts in favor of more class time. PE, band, art, music -- these are essential for developing minds and creating important pathways in the brain.

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  4. They sound great. I love when kids end up loving a book.

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    1. Right? It makes me happy to see them enjoying a good story! <3

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  5. Oh, I loooooooove the cover of Moon. 💜 The story sounds wonderful. I will have to look for it. Thanks for the heads up. 👍✨

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    1. The cover and the illustrations are beautiful! They really complimented the story, which was fantastic. :)

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  6. I agree, kids need time to play and I think the society we live in puts to much pressure on academic progress when they're far too young. The younger kids have far too much homework when I think they should have little or none so they can go outside and play! I remember my 5th grade daughter spending like 3-4 hours on homework and her math teacher telling me she needed to spend more time on homework to improve. I told him if she isn't improving then maybe she should have some more intensive instruction in the class because she was not going to be doing any more homework! Kids need some free time to unwind and de-stress! What a bunch of nonsense! This was about 15 years ago and I know it's worse now. :(

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    1. Truth. Younger kids are required to do way more than they should. When I was teaching, I tried to avoid sending them home with too much homework, but it's hard to cover everything in a single day. If there wasn't time to work on it before they went home, I gave them quiet time at the beginning of the next day to finish up. It was the only way I could think of to not overwhelm them at home. It's a horrible system... they're at school all day and should be allowed to relax and play once they go home. Kids need to spend time with their families and their friends, not confined to another table working on more of the same lessons they did throughout the day.

      I'm so happy you stood up for your daughter! Her teacher should have spent more individual time with her in class, and not expected you to shoulder the rest of the work at home. Home should be a happy place where the children love to be. They should be allowed to play and not have to think about what they did in school that day. I do think it gets worse every year. I also hate that they are cutting out PE and recess, and decreasing the amount of time spent on the arts. All of those things are important for children, and allow them a break from the curriculum. They also touch on a separate part of the brain that's equally important.

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    2. It sounds like you had a great balance, Lindsi. I admire teachers out there because they really have to put up with a lot. My daughter-in-law is a teacher and she spends countless hours of her own time for her kids. Money too. I think school has become more about testing than teaching, and that's no fun for anyone involved.

      I totally agree about arts and play. As an adult I know I feel better after getting out and running or taking a walk. It clears my mind and I feel way more relaxed so I know it has to helps kids with waaayyy more pent up energy than I have, lol! :)

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    3. Teachers spend a lot of their own money for resources the school does not (or cannot) supply. It's beneficial for the children, yes, but it's really draining on teachers. I remember staying late at the school and then coming home and working at night. There's too much to do in a single day, and now classrooms are being overcrowded. That just adds to everything else a teacher is already doing. I really wish our government thought education was more important and paid teachers what they deserve to be paid. I also think all education should be free. Imagine all the children who would seek higher education if they didn't have to fund it themselves. I think we'd see a lot of improvement in small communities, as well as a widespread increase of jobs and ideas.

      I love taking a walk or going to the playground with the kids first thing in the morning! Getting out of the house and doing something fun is such a stress relief. I know that children are required to sit in a classroom most of the day, and a 30-45 minute recess is not enough time to really stretch their legs. They need more than what they're getting. It's why I'm seriously considering homeschooling for the first few years.

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  7. And I meant "too" not "to" much pressure. Lol, maybe I need some more homework! :)

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    1. Hah! I have no desire to go back to school and spend endless hours studying and doing homework. I have a degree that I'm happy with, so I'm okay with that for now. Maybe one day when the little ones aren't so little. :)

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  8. Moon sounds awesome, I'm glad you guys enjoyed it so much! You'll have to buy a copy real quick it sounds like.

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    1. I went online and ordered a copy the same night! We tend to do that with books we love and want to read again. The library is a good way to find those books, and we're forever building our collection. When my kids are too old for children's books, I'll store them so they can give them to their children. <3

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  9. Moon looks awesome! Love the message about play, and yes- I totally agree. Kids need freedom to just play, and be. So true! Looks like a delightful book!

    I think Marvel's gone crazy with the Infinity stuff. I like to think I can keep track of convoluted stories and continuity but good grief Marvel these days... I was looking at solicitations for October and the sheer amount of variant covers for titles made my head spin. Gah! Plus the Chitauri feel like a movie thing to me, there are SO many races in the MU that I don't know why they had to carry those over. Same with making Thor look like the movie version now. Might just be me though... :)

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    1. I remember being outside a lot as a child, and I try to encourage my kids to do the same. We go various playgrounds and to the library throughout the week, and sometimes just spend time in the backyard. Chalk and bubbles go a long way! :)

      So. Much. Infinity. Stuff. Jacob is crazy good at keeping up with all of the different comics and how they crossover, but I'm awful at it. I depend on him for most of my comic-related information. He keeps up with it, follows threads, and listens to podcasts. Me... I'll ask him to put them in the order they were meant to be read and go from there. Like right now, I'm reading the older Venom series, and there are a few crossovers/tie-ins to X-Men Blue and others. He put them in the correct order for me, so all I have to do is grab the next one in the stack. <3

      I haaaaate it when a comic as 10+ variant covers. It seems excessive. It's also hard for comic book stores to meet the requirements to receive all the different options. For example, they would have to order 200 copies of the main cover to get cover F, 300 to get cover G, and so on. They cannot afford to do that, and end up with a lot of unsold copies. A lot of times they charge a crazy amount for certain variants to cover the cost of ordering so many of the original.

      I dislike it when comics and their covers resemble the actors playing them in movies. I think it undermines the work artists and illustrators have been doing for years. The movies should try to replicate the comics, not the other way around.

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    2. Chalk and bubbles are good. :) And yes I was outside all the time- -I mean even if it was just going through the backyards to my friends house, or we'd put the tent up and sleep outside (mainly so we could prowl the neighborhood at all hours, but still) The point being yeah we played video games and electronics but we still somehow got outside too?

      Ha ha that's good! See you've got a good one then. :)

      Agreed. I mean I like some of the variant covers- they're fun- but yeah I imagine it does put store owners in a bind. As if they don't have enough t worry about. And same about following the comics- I mean yeah Hemsworth makes a good Thor, but when a character has had a look for thirty some years or whatever, it's kinda dumb to all of a sudden make him look like the actor? *rolls eyes* but I've noticed they've been following the movies' lead a lot lately, and it's kinda sad.

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    3. I've actually never slept in a tent -- not even in the backyard! My parents were cabin people, haha. We'd go on family vacations, but we'd always stay somewhere with beds and plumping. I was appreciative as a teenager, haha. My husband LOVES to go hiking and camping, and we used to hike together all the time. It was easier with just one kid, because I would carry him in a harness while my husband carried the backpack with snacks, water, etc. We would hike for a few hours with the dogs and then go home. My husband likes to backpack for miles and camp on a trail overnight, so he'll do that on his own occasionally. By the time our son was old enough, I was pregnant with the girls, so we never camped as a family. We plan to in the future!

      Oh, yeah. Jacob is the best! We've been together for ages, and I think it's because we met at a bookstore. ;) We worked together for a few years before we started dating, and everything just clicked. It hasn't been without its ups and downs of course, but I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else. He's the best -- the bees knees. <3

      Chris Hemsworth does make a nice Thor, but I want him to be modeled after the comics and not the other way around. It's really sad that comics are changing so much, but I can also see why. They're are trying to get a wider fan base so they don't die out. Local comic book stores are going out of business, and online shopping is taking over (like with everything else). I think they hope the movies will make comics more popular, so they make their comics reflect that. I honestly don't think comic book stores will last much longer, so we're trying to enjoy them while they last. At least our kids will have had that experience, you know? Bookstores, too. We're becoming more and more digital every day, and that effects everything. Toys R Us is a good example. That was THE toy store when I was growing up, and my kids barely got to experience it before it was gone. The girls probably won't remember it all, but I know my son will. He still asks to go sometimes, and there really isn't a replacement for it. Yes, we can shop online at Amazon or whatever, but it's not the same thing. There's no replacement for going into a toy store as a child and being able to look at whatever you want. Everything in there was made for children.

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    4. That's a really good point about Toys R Us. I felt the same way- a little sad when I heard the news. How can there not be a Toys R Us?? Where are kids supposed to look at toys- and not just online? To actually handle them? I loved it as a kid that stores carried toys and you could wander through there. I know Target and some places still do, but it's not the same.

      And I think you're right about comics and change. I'd hate to be a comic store owner these days (and it's funny when I was younger I thought it would be SO cool). But online drives everything out I guess. Heck ComiXology even has an impact, I like being able to read online but if I'm buying something on ComiXology I'm not going into a store, right? It is sad. And yes I want more of the comic version of Thor! But I'm probably not going to get it, for exactly these reasons lol.

      Aw that's a cool story of how you guys got together. It's nice too if you share common interests like comics and whatnot. Nice to be able to share those things. :)

      I am not a huge fan of tent camping ha. We had a cabin up north (parents eventually sold it after divorcing) so we always had a place, so same here. As a kid it was all about just being out of the house, of course, but the first time I really tent camped it rained and everything was wet and muddy. Fun times. :) But we've gone a few times. We love being in the woods and campfires, all that good stuff. And hiking *nods* there's a national lakeshore a few hours north where we vacation a lot, and they have dunes and beautiful forests with lots of trails, and we used to go all the time. We don't go as much now but it would be fun with dogs I would think.

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    5. There isn't anything quite like Toys R Us. Stores like Target and Wal Mart have a toy section, but it just isn't the same. Toys R Us was one of the few places kids could go and handle all of the items in the store. There were models they could play with and try before actually buying them. All of their presents usually came from Toys R Us, so I hate to see it go. It was also nostalgic being in there with my own kids, you know? It was a part of my childhood that I was able to share with them.

      Online shopping is taking over everything -- even groceries! I'm not going to lie... I've taken advantage of that many times (who wants to take a four-year-old and two-year-old twins to a grocery store). It's more convenient to just go pick everything up or have it delivered to my house.

      I remember you talking about the national lakeshore on your blog! There were pictures showing how it had changed over the years (or at least since you'd been) and everything looked a little different. I wish we had something like that close by (we did in Georgia), but we'd have to vacation for a week to get somewhere like that. One day! It's a blast with our dogs (unless Kennedy gets off his leash, because ugh). One of our dogs will stay close by, but the other will follow the trail at full speed until he collapses. The last time we all went (before the girls), K got off and Jacob ran ahead to get him. I was hiking a leisurely pace behind them with my son in a harness on my chest. As we're walking, A HUGE FLARKING SNAKE fell from the sky and landed between me and my son. He was around 18-months if I had to guess. I think the snake was on a branch and slipped or lost its balance. I was trying to freak out without freaking out, because I needed to get it off without it biting me or my baby. I shudder just thinking about it! I love campfires and smelling like woodsy smoke. <3

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    6. I have never done online grocery shopping but I've heard of people doing it! It sounds so... convenient? I feel like that's something I could get used to in a hurry lol. Pretty soon I'd never leave the house other than work! And ditto- Toys R Us was part of our childhoods too so I totally get that.

      The snake thing- WOW. That would freak anybody out. Super scary. Glad you guys were okay (since it sounds like you weren't bitten). And yes that woodsy smell is the BEST. when we go up north there's a state park we often stay at, and it's right on the main drag, and as you drive down the road you can smell all the campfires ... it's the best thing.

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    7. It's extremely convenient! I try not to rely on it too much, but it saves me an hour at the grocery store, or more if I have the kids with me. I feel like I used to be very social, and now I never want to interact with people. Hah!

      We were fine! I disentangled the snake and we sped away from that area of the trail. Yes! Campfires and the woodsy smell -- the best thing.

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  10. oh everything looks good there!

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  11. Moon sounds awesome and I remember being a young kid and hating to return certain library books as well. Little did I know my addiction to books started so early!

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    1. That's wonderful! My parents never took me to the library, and I wish they had. They were sooo confused when I started high school and became obsessed with books. One of my English teachers was reading something while we were taking a test. I kept being distracted by the cover, so I asked her about it before I left that day. She told me what she was reading and said they had a copy in the school library. I'd never used the library for anything other than school assignments, and it was like she'd opened up an entirely new world for me. I remember grabbing more books than I was able to check out, and falling in love right there.

      My English teacher kept up with my reading after that, and would occasionally make suggestions. I will forever love her for that. I remember my initial love of reading started in the fourth grade with Harry Potter. My teacher was reading the fourth book aloud to the class, I checked out the first three to catch up. I devoured those books, but it never occurred to me to try something else. I would read the Harry Potter books as they came out, but never more than that. In high school my passion grew, but again it fell away as I started college and had less time for "fun" reading. It wasn't until I was working and met a girl reading Twilight that I fell back down the rabbit hole of reading. That stuck with me for awhile until I had kids and felt like I barely had time to bathe, let alone read. ;)

      It's taken me awhile, but after all these ups and downs I think I've finally found myself and where books fit into my life. Reading is a huge part of who I am, and it's nice to take time for myself and lose my thoughts to another world or place. I think it helps with stress and anxiety, too. (Definitely should have kept reading through college, lol.)

      I have no idea where I'm going with this... I think my reading experience has shaped how much I encourage my children to read. There are always books available to them, and we go to the library often. I let them grab whatever they want to read, or want me to read to them. I want my kids to know that books and reading are always available to them, no matter where they are in life. I want to instill a desire to read and learn at a young age, which is something my parents never did for me.

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  12. I need to get my hands on Moon soon!!

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless