Alma and How She Got Her Name

October 11, 2020
Subheader: 

It must be hard to initial things.

This clearly is not my culture and as a young child growing up in the culture, either she would already know the answer to this (in which case she wouldn't be asking this question) or she merits a more thorough explanation. Maybe she's supposed to be a really young kid and it's supposed to not matter.

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Message: 

Names can be something that ties you to your family history.

I am Jazz

October 4, 2020
Subheader: 

Like “Heather Has Two Mommies” for transgender people.

I know there are going to be people who are going to look at my review and go, "You're such an SJW, yadda yadda", as if accepting that transgender people are actually their mental gender instead of their physical gender is a political position instead of a moral responsibility, but I think this book really works.

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Message: 

Transgender people are different, but that's okay. Being different from others is good.

Journey Cake, Ho!

September 27, 2020
Subheader: 

Journey Cake, Huh?

It seems like fairy tales have a strange fascination with runaway pastries. I understand why Johnny's chasing it: he's poor and hungry, and it's his to begin with. But why are all the animals so fascinated by it? They can barely tell what it is.

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Message: 

Sometimes poor children have to go make their own lives? Or, Everybody loves pastry.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

September 13, 2020
Subheader: 

Full of “quiet joy, love, and beauty”.

In and of itself, it's a really pretty story that has gorgeous illustrations. As a bonus, it's also what those in children's literature call "Own Voices", meaning that it's written about Asian people, by an Asian person. But that's icing on the cake, and the book stands on its own as a good book, with a good message.

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Message: 

Your family loves you even if you make mistakes.

Picture THIS! Imagine THAT!

September 8, 2020
Subheader: 

I’m imagining it with better art.

It's not a terribly compelling story, but I can see the good message behind it, about the power of imagination, and trying to see things from others' point of view. And I like the concept, which is that the author took a story that was told by his highly imaginative preschool-aged son, and polished it up to make it into a full book.

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Message: 

Imagination is fun.

The Storm Book

July 26, 2020
Subheader: 

Don’t use it for scientific accuracy and you’ll probably be fine.

Come on. Rainbows don't have a purpose. And they don't always happen after a storm. They might even happen before a storm. You could even make one with a garden hose. And you can definitely have a storm that doesn't end with a rainbow, which raises the question of how this mother would know the storm was over.

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Message: 

Storms are pretty to look at.

The Happy Day

July 19, 2020
Subheader: 

I can’t figure out the point.

Animals do hibernate, but they don't hang out in large groups around whatever flower they can find. And I don't think anybody would argue that it's trying to be realistic in that sense. It's not trying to teach us anything scientific. It's just trying to make a silly story about animals and a flower and it's... boring. It's really boring.

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Message: 

Spring comes after winter.

Rain Drop Splash

July 12, 2020
Subheader: 

Doesn’t make much of a splash.

The length of time over which the book's events occur is very nebulous. How much of it is literal? Metaphorical?

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Message: 

Water flows from rain and down the mountains, and eventually ends up in the ocean.

Eddie the World’s Greatest Creature

July 8, 2020
Subheader: 

Creature Feature

It's a decent book. It's got an interesting idea, but the execution of the story could use a little work. It feels like it should offer some more reasons that he would want to be himself instead of this weird other animal. And it's unclear whether he's saying that he himself is the best animal, or that humans are the best animal.

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Message: 

Be yourself. Or, humans are the best animal.

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