Gugu's House

January 7, 2018
Subheader: 

And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? Before it destroys my house, I mean.

Gugu's work is not really my kind of art, but it's not bad. I wouldn't say there's an awesome message to get out of it, but it's a pretty good book. As far as I can tell, it treats the Zimbabwe culture and the specific person that this is based on rather respectfully.

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Message: 

Nature is cyclical.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

January 3, 2018
Subheader: 

A decent introduction to street art.

The book doesn't really talk about mental illness much, and the story part of the book also doesn't mention that Basquiat died at age 27 from a drug overdose. The reality is that he died quite young and was addicted to drugs, so his story was a bit more tragic than this children's book accounts for.

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Message: 

Jean-Michel Basquiat had a very interesting life.

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

December 28, 2017
Subheader: 

The main "wonder" is what kind of drugs the author/illustrator was taking.

This is a very disturbing book on many levels. It's not "bad" disturbing; it's just "creepy" disturbing. It's not, like, "keep away from children at any cost" disturbing. I really don't have much else to say about this except how profoundly disturbing this book is.

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Message: 

Birds are cool, and they're in danger of going extinct?

Extra Yarn

December 26, 2017
Subheader: 

Maybe she should learn to crochet or something.

It's pretty. It's fairly innocuous. It's just a weird book. It doesn't go anywhere. There's no reason for her to be making these things. There's no impetus for it, and the only conflict resolves itself. I guess the message is, "Don't steal things." I don't think most people nowadays need to be taught that.

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Message: 

Don't steal things. Or, trucks need sweaters, too.

Chrysanthemum

December 24, 2017
Subheader: 

Deus ex flora.

Why couldn't the music teacher just say, "Guys, seriously, shut up. Flowers are awesome," or anything like that? What is a kid reading this book going to do if somebody makes fun of their name and nobody cool has a name like theirs? It's stupid. The book isn't bad. It doesn't send a bad message. It's just that it doesn't offer a real solution to the real problem that it shows.

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Message: 

Don't be embarrassed about your name because cool people have weird names too.

Geraldine's Blanket

December 22, 2017
Subheader: 

Jerk parents are jerks.

While I don't like the way the parents act in this book, I do like the child's solution to it. I guess some parents are like that. I'm not. It's definitely not a good book, but she's got a very creative solution to it that her parents are just bemused by. "Oh well, those kids and their blankets. What are you gonna do?"

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Message: 

You have to get rid of your favorite toy when you get older.

Cock-a-Doodle Doo

December 20, 2017
Subheader: 

Cock-a-doodle-whoop-dee-doo.

This is one of those like super old books (1939) that just tells this meandering story with incredibly detailed pictures, alternating between black and white and full color. It just goes on and on. The story just meanders. It doesn't go anywhere. It's not terribly interesting. At least there's some conflict in there for a slight bit of interest, but there's no point to it.

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Message: 

The world is dangerous for baby chicks.

The Iron Man (AKA The Iron Giant)

December 16, 2017
Subheader: 

Very different from movie. Spoilers in review.

The illustrations are great, if a little abstract. The text design is also quite inventive. As far as the story goes, it's... strange. The text is well-written, but the plot goes in unusual directions that aren't properly foreshadowed. The ending chapters totally come out of left field. It really reads like a dream, where everything makes sense until after it's over and you're just sitting there going, "How did I think that made any sense while it was happening?"

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Message: 

Befriend everything of unknown origin; it's definitely peaceful.

Lucky Song

December 14, 2017
Subheader: 

I feel lucky I don't have to read this again.

The book is just a list of "She wanted X" and "So she did Y." The only thing that really happens is her flying a kite. And at the end it tells you to restart the book from the beginning. It doesn't go anywhere, doesn't say anything, and is just a list of mundane events, making it boring.

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Message: 

None.

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