Category Archives: Children’s Fiction

SECRETS OF THE LOOKING GLASS – REVIEW

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The Lost Wonderland Diaries Vol. 2 - Secrets of the Looking Glass
 J. Scott Savage Children's Fiction Children's Fantasy & Magic Book
Secrets of the Looking Glass
J. S. Savage
TitleSecrets of the Looking Glass: Volume 2 (The Lost
Wonderland Diaries)
AuthorJ. Scott Savage
PublisherShadow Mountain (September 13, 2022)
FormatHardcover
Pages368 pages
GenreChildren’s Fantasy & Magic Books
LanguageEnglish
ISBN10/131639930442 / 978-1639930449

AUTHOR

Author J. Scott Savage is the author of 19 published novels. He has been a teacher and presenter at writing conferences for adults and youth, and has developed Common Core-aligned projects for elementary school writing curricula. He has presented at more than 3000 schools across the country, inspiring students to read,

write, embrace their own creativity, and change the world. He is represented by Michael Bourret of Dystal, Goderich, and Bourret.

Scott is the author of The Lost Wonderland Diaries, which is the Juvenile Fiction Bronze Medalist for the 2020 Foreword Magazine Indie Book of the Year.

Scott lives in Utah with his wife of 34 years, Jennifer. He has four amazing children, and nine perfect grandchildren. He enjoys reading, watching movies, camping, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Excerpt taken from J. Scott Savage website.

SYNOPSIS

The Secrets of the Looking Glass is the second installment of The Lost Wonderland Diaries series. In this episode our protagonists, Celia Lofton and Tyrus Weller, are tricked by the Bandersnatch and part of their id’s are stolen. Celia has all of her logic taken and Tyrus loses his imagination to mirror images of themselves. The Bandersnatch whisks the two doppelgängers through the looking glass into another dimension.

Celia and Tyrus follow their mirror images and the Bandersnatch through the mirror and find themselves in a strange and conflicted world. In order to become whole once again, they have to convince their other halves to rejoin with them. What follows is an adventure across another dimension, a war between the White and Red Queens, a trip across the uncharted seas and a journey through dangerous mystical lands.

Celia and Tyrus have to overcome a continuous array of obstacles in the search for their other halves. Not only must they pursue their doppelgängers, but they have to keep themselves and their images alive long enough to reunite. Can they do it? Read the book to find out.

CONCLUSION

Secrets of the Looking Glass is another exceptional book in this series. The author has outdone himself once again in this installment. He has created another world full of imagination and imagery. He filled that world with suspense, thrills, charismatic characters, and a hefty dose of conflict and tension. The plot is well thought out and proceeds along an established, yet exciting pathway. Along the way there are several side plots that have to come together in order to not only save the characters but to also save the Looking Glass world.

If you have not read any books in this series, I strongly recommend that you do. The Lost Wonderland Dairies (Book 1) is a masterpiece in itself. These books will appeal to all reading ages. WARNING! Once you start reading it is very difficult to stop.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank J. Scott Savage, Shadow Mountain and NetGalley for affording us the opportunity to read and review Secrets of the Looking Glass: Volume 2 (The Lost Wonderland Diaries)

OTHER PUBLICATIONS BY THIS AUTHOR

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Frances and the Monster – review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleFrances and the Monster
AuthorRefe Tuma
PublisherHarperCollins (August 23, 2022)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Audio CD
Pages352 pages
GenreChildren’s Robot Fiction Books / Children’s
Spine-Chilling Horror / Children’s Mystery,
Detective, & Spy
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/130063085763 / 978-0063085763

AUTHOR

Refe Tuma is an author in his own right, and a Co-author with his wife. He lives in Kansas City with his family and their plastic dinosaurs.

SYNOPSIS

Frances is a super-smart scientist little girl. Her mother and father are great scientist and she wants to be just like them, only better. Raised in an overprotective environment, Frances couldn’t even leave the house. She spent her days studying and doing experiments with her mother and father. When her parents leave to go to a symposium; Frances, left on her own with just the robot nanny, finds her grandfathers secret laboratory.

Studying her grandfathers notes, she quickly picks up his experiments where he left off. She wants to succeed where her grandfather failed. She uses the robot body from her nanny to enhance the cadaver left in the laboratory. Then BOOM! The monster awakens! He goes on a rampage and escapes the laboratory and starts to terrorize the town. Frances has to catch him and bring him back. What follows is an adventure through a town she has never been in. Being chased by the local constable, Frances has to stay one step ahead of him while trying to track down and capture the monster. Can she stay out of jail? Will she capture the monster before it kills someone? The chase takes her through seedy alleyways, in the sewers and over the rooftops. Her adventure has just begun.

CONCLUSION

Frances and the Monster is targeted at kids 8-12 years old, but will appeal to most ages. It is a high paced thriller with a bit of horror; especially at the end. The prose is appropriate for anyone 8 or older, while the plot is both interesting and engaging.

Refe has done a great job with this story. I was unable to put it down and almost finished the entire book in one sitting. The last 2 chapters really threw me for a loop. The plot twist and the horror element was surprising and disturbing (in a good way).

I definitely recommend this book. If you like thrills, suspense, excitement and a little horror, then you will love this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Refe Tuma, NetGalley and HarperCollins for affording me the opportunity to review Frances and the Monster.

A Dragon Named Egg

A Dragon Named Egg is written for children 4 to 7 years old. The tale revolves around Egg and makes up a wholesom morality and ethical tale. A Dragon Named Egg not only entertains but also delivers a life lesson. The work is age appropriate, picturesque and short, this book is the perfect length for a brief children’s bedtime story.

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BADGER IS BORED – REVIEW

Litercurious.com

Audio & Book Reviews Site. Why watch when you can read?

Badger is Bored by Moritz Petz & Illustrated by Amélie Jackowski
TitleBadger is Bored
AuthorMoritz Petz
IllustratorAmélie Jackowski
PublisherNorthSouth Books (April 19, 2022)
FormatHardcover
Pages32
GenreChildren’s preschool book, Children’s fiction
Reading age: ‎ 4 – 8 years
ISBN# 10/130735844798 / 978-0735844797

AUTHOR

Moritz Petz was born in Hamburg, Germany. Upon completion of his studies, he traveled through Italy, Denmark, and Sweden, working a variety of jobs before returning to study history and German. His interests include: music and writing.

Excerpt from NorthSouth.com

ILLUSTRATOR

Amélie Jackowski was born in Toulon, France. She studied at the Higher School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg and at the University of Provence in France. She has published many children’s books. Her work has been exhibited at numerous group shows, including the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.

Excerpt from NorthSouth.com

SYNOPSIS

Badger is Bored by Moritz Petz and illustrated by Amélie Jackoski is a magical and original tale. When the story begins, Badger is alone and at a loss to find a distraction for his listlessness. Soon however, a cast of animal characters arrives and together they manage to conquer tedium through group participation and collaboration. 

CONCLUSION

Badger is Bored is illustrated throughout in a colorful, child friendly style. The work is ideal for children 4-8 years of age and is 32 pages in length. The book is short enough to maintain a child’s attention and yet long enough to be entertaining. The story is uplifting and positive. The illustrations and the narrative combine in harmonious unity.

Badger is Bored is a perfect way to harness and reset preschool children’s indifference, encourage their engagement and provide them inspiration. The brevity of the book is its strength. Sadly, this book will only be distributed in hardcover format. Overall, there is a feeling of fun and it is a great way to fill those times when children’s minds want to wander. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Moritz Petz, NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for affording me the opportunity to review Badger is Bored.

A Dragon Named Egg

A Dragon Named Egg is written for children 4 to 7 years old. The tale revolves around Egg and makes up a wholesom morality and ethical tale. A Dragon Named Egg not only entertains but also delivers a life lesson. The work is age appropriate, picturesque and short, this book is the perfect length for a brief children’s bedtime story.

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A Dragon Named Egg

Litercurious Book Review

TitleA Dragon Named Egg
AuthorHeidi Howarth
IllustratorDaniel Howarth
PublisherWindmill Books (December 15, 2020)
FormatLibrary Binding, Paperback
Pages32 pages
GenreChildren’s Dragon, Unicorn & Mythical Stories,
Children’s Self-Esteem Books,
Children’s Family Life Books
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131499486448 / 978-1499486445

AUTHOR

Heidi Howarth lives in Devon in the UK with her husband and two children. She writes picture books for children and my husband illustrates them. They have in excess of 100 titles available and enjoy a worldwide readership.

ILLUSTRATOR

Daniel Howarth started drawing from a very early age and went on to study Art at college and then university. He graduated with a degree in illustration in 1994 and started creating his own range of greetings cards with his wife, whom he met at university.

Daniel works from his studio in Exeter and enjoys the wealth of inspiration and imagination that comes from living deep in the Devon countryside with his wife and two children.

Excerpt taken from Little Tiger.

SYNOPSIS

Egg is different from all other dragons. The only dragon ever born from a cracked egg; he is the runt of the litter. He doesn’t possess any of the special abilities of other dragons. He feels like an outcast. He is self-conscious and a little depressed. He just wants to fit in and be like everyone else.

Will Egg ever fit in with the other dragons? Will he ever find his niche in life? Read the story to find out.

CONCLUSION

Written for children 4 to 7 years old, A Dragon Named Egg is a moral and ethical tale. Egg not only entertains but also delivers a life lesson. Age appropriate, picturesque and short, this book is perfect for a quick bedtime story.

Daniel is a wonderful illustrator and his art brings this tale to life. Egg is just the cutest little dragon! I immensely enjoyed looking at the artwork and how it synergizes with the story. I found myself going back through the book time and time again just to enjoy the pictures. The illustrations are breathtaking!

I whole-heartedly recommend A Dragon Named Egg. It is a wonderful, short bedtime book for all children.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Heidi and Daniel Howarth, NetGalley and Windmill Books for affording me the opportunity to review A Dragon Named Egg.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

Meg and Merlin – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Meg and Merlin by Tanya Landman
TitleMeg and Merlin: Making Friends
AuthorTanya Landman
IllustratorSònia Albert
PublisherBarrington Stoke Ltd (January 2022)
FormatUnknown, e-ARC used for review
Pages64
GenreChildren’s Literature, Children’s Equestrian Books
LanguageEnglish
ISBN978-1-80090-085-1

AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR


Tanya Landman has authored more than forty books for children and young adults. She writes across a broad age range and has earned many awards and accolades for her literature. Learn more about her and her books on her website.

Sònia Albert is an illustrator from Mataró, a Mediterranean city near Barcelona. Her true love has always been the illustration world. When she’s not drawing you can find her walking by the beach, reading or learning to play the ukulele.

SYNOPSIS

Meg just turned ten today and she dearly loves horses. Her sole wish in life is to have her very own pony. She dreams of ponies; she wishes for ponies; she even writes Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy asking for ponies. Unfortunately, for Meg, her parents have fallen on hard times. Not only can they not afford a pony, but they had to dramatically cut back on her riding lessons.

When Meg wakes up on her tenth birthday, she notices something is different today. She smells stables, but that can’t be because she lives in a housing estate. Going to the window Meg sees a pony in her front garden! Did her dream finally come true? Did mom and dad finally find a way to get her a pony? Read the book and find out what happens to Meg and the pony.

CONCLUSION

Meg and Merlin: Making Friends is a wonderful tale for young children. The reader can feel Meg’s frustration and anguish at being unable to have her own pony or be able to ride when she wants to. The reader sympathizes with her plight and roots for her to get her very own pony. When Merlin arrives in the yard, there is a feeling of expectancy yet tempered with suspense; will she be able to keep the horse?

The story is heartwarming and up-lifting. I enjoyed all the little nuances the author included in the story such as when horses twitch their lips when they are tickled. She does an outstanding job of integrating the horse characteristics with the riders instincts.

Sònia Albert has done a superb job with the illustrations. Although they are black and white, they are age appropriate and tell the story wonderfully. Her depictions are accurate and simplistic in nature and possess just the right amount of detail to make them perfect for this book.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever wished to have a horse or misses their own horse. Young children will love this feel-good story!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Tanya Landman, Barrington Stoke Ltd and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Meg and Merlin: Making Friends.

HORSES – Review

Horses, by Paula Hammond is a stunningly illustrated, beautifully narrated and skillfully written work. Containing 200 high definition, highly colored, rich, photographs that paint an evocative image of the species. So powerful in fact, that you can almost smell the leather, sweat, and soil that is so familiar to horse lovers everywhere.

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Jubilee – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Jubilee K T Johnston
Jubilee by K T Johnston
TitleJubilee: The First Therapy Horse
and an Olympic Dream
 
AuthorKT Johnston
IllustratorAnnabella Ortiz
PublisherCapstone Editions (February 1, 2022)
FormatHardcover
Pages32
GenreChildren’s Literature, Historical Non-Fiction
Equestrian competition,
LanguageEnglish
ISBN10/13168446255X / 978-1684462551

AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR

K. T. Johnston Author

Learn all about KT Johnston, her works and her upcoming books on her website.

Annabella Ortiz Illustrator

Annabella Ortiz is a freelance illustrator and designer. Learn all about her on her website.

SYNOPSIS

Jubilee is the story of a Danish woman named Lis Hartel. As a young girl Lis was always around horses. She trained and later competed in dressage competitions. In 1943 she became the National Champion of Denmark. However, a year later she was struck down with Polio.

Fearing she might never walk again, Lis was determined to ride again. Eventually she started working with young gentle horse named Jubilee. Together they worked and trained. Although Lis was handicapped, she never gave up and through her determination and Jubilee’s good nature they started competing again. Not only did she have to overcome her disabilities, but she had to overcome the male dominated sport. She and Jubilee qualified for the 1948 Olympics. However, women were not allowed to compete in the Olympic dressage competition at that time. In 1952 women were allowed to compete and she and Jubliee won the Silver Medal!

CONCLUSION

Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream is a book about courage, determination, overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and a love for horses. This book is an inspiration to all those who not only love horses, but to those who are undergoing extreme hardships.

Lis is a heroine to all young girls! She teaches them to never give up, keep working for what you believe and love. Through hard work and determination, anything is possible.

The story itself, while inspirational, is a little choppy. I feel as if the story has been condensed a little too much. While all the main points are covered, there is much more to her story.

The illustrations are very good and age appropriate. Annabella Ortiz did a wonderful job depicting the horses, the people and the riding attire.

I enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end of the book. It was here that I learned more about Lis Hartel and Jubilee, although I wish this information was included in the book itself.

A great and inspirational story! I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves horses or needs some inspiration to get through a rough time in their lives.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank KT Johnston, Capstone Editions, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

Railway Jack by K. T. Johnston
Railway Jack by K. T. Johnston

RELATED POSTS

HORSES – Review

Horses, by Paula Hammond is a stunningly illustrated, beautifully narrated and skillfully written work. Containing 200 high definition, highly colored, rich, photographs that paint an evocative image of the species. So powerful in fact, that you can almost smell the leather, sweat, and soil that is so familiar to horse lovers everywhere.

Keep reading

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Turkey Goes To School Wendi Silvano
Turkey Goes To School by Wendi Silvano
TitleTurkey Goes To School (Book 5)
AuthorWendi Silvano
IllustratorLee Harper
PublisherTwo Lions (August 1, 2021)
Pages40
GenreChildren’s Books, Children’s Fiction, and
Children’s Farm Life
LanguageEnglish
ASINB08P1H5ZN7

AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR

Wendi Silvano Author of Turkey goes to School

You can learn all about Wendi Silvano and all of her different children’s books on her website

Lee Harper Illustrator

Lee Harper is an author, illustrator and farmer. You can learn all about him, his books, and upcoming projects on his website.

SYNOPSIS

Turkey Goes to School is the story of how a barnyard full of animals try to go to school. They try multiple ways to get into school, but they are constantly thwarted. However, they are not easily dissuaded and try more and more imaginative ways to sneak into the school. Do they ever get in?

CONCLUSION

Turkey Goes to School is an imaginative tale and designed for children 4 to 7 years of age. I found the book a bit blasé and the puns a little too much for the age group. The book feels as if the wording is for children 8 to 12 but the story is for kids 4 to 6.

The illustrations are wonderful and colorful. Lee Harper does and excellent job portraying the story. His illustrations are appropriate for the age group, vivid in color, and very nice. I must say that the pictures are the best part of this book.

As a Kindle Unlimited free book, the price is right. It is something that the pictures will entertain young children even if the story doesn’t.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Wendi Silvano, NetGalley, and Two Lions Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Turkey Goes to School.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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The Eye of RA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TITLEThe Eye of Ra ( Book 1 “Eye of Ra” series)
AUTHORBen Gartner
PUBLISHERCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2020)
FORMATKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
FILE / PAGES3864 KB / 279
GENREChildren’s Historical Fiction / Children’s Egyptian Fiction / Children’s Archaeology Books. / Science Fiction
LANGUAGEEnglish
ASIN / ISBN 10/13B082WS8H4C / 1734155248978-1734155242

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

The Eye of Ra is the first book in the saga of Sarah and John. They are a preteen sister and brother who travel through time and experience all sorts of adventures and life challenging situations. Sarah is 12 and believes she is worldly. Whilst John is 10 and is more reserved and the “Little Chef” of the house. Together they make a great team of adventurers.

In this first installment, we are introduced to the siblings and their upcoming move from Colorado to Maryland. They experience all kinds of reservation about the move; the loss of friends and the unknown that lies before them in a new state. Sarah, the more adventurous of the two, is looking forward to the move. While John doesn’t want to leave his best friend and the only home he has ever known.

Prior to the move, the family goes for a hike up the mountain behind their house. Sarah and John go off on their own and find a cave. Of course Sarah wants to explore the cave while John thinks that is a bad idea. In the cave, they are astonished to find ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on the wall. While tracing the Eye of Ra with her hand, Sarah accidentally transports the two to ancient Egypt.

Lost in the time of the Pharaohs, Sarah and John have to find a way back home. They meet a local boy, Zach, who takes them in while they are trying to figure out what happened and how to reverse it. While in Egypt they meet all kinds of people, learn about ancient Egyptian culture, and even help build the first pyramid! They even become temporary sleuths and uncover a local criminal. Along the way they have to deal with cobras, scorpions, and Nile crocodiles.

Will Sarah and John ever make it home? Will the criminal come after them? Will they ever see their parents again? Are they stuck in the land of sand forever?

CONCLUSION

The Eye of Ra is the introduction into the series. It is an entertaining and exciting historical science fiction story. In this first installment Ben Gartner sets the stage for the future adventures of Sarah and John. While it doesn’t have as much adventure as the later two books, it is a great beginning. Sarah and John experience life and death situations, criminals, venomous snakes and scorpions, and crocodiles. Along the journey we learn about ancient Egyptian culture, beliefs and their religion. Sarah and John learn valuable life lessons and more about their own strengths and weaknesses.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it isn’t as fast paced or as crammed packed with adventure as the next 2 books in the series; I found it gripping and hard to put down. I read it in less than 2 days.

The Eye of Ra is recommended for children 8-12 years of age, but I believe people of all ages will be entranced by this series. If you like science fiction, time travel, ancient history, travel and adventure; then you will enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

PEOPLE OF THE SUN – REVIEW

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People of the Sun by Ben Gartner
People of The Sun – Third in The Eye of Ra Series
TITLEPeople of the Sun (book 3 “Eye of RA” series)
AUTHORBen Gartner
PUBLISHERCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2022)
FORMATKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
PAGES262
LANGUAGEEnglish
GENREChildren’s Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
ASIN / ISBN
10/13
B09B9FGWSW / 1734155272 / 978-1734155273

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra Series here.

SYNOPSIS

People of the Sun is the third book in The Eye of Ra Series. Sarah and John continue their adventures in time!

Sarah is John’s older sister and together they make up a team of time traveling detectives. Their goal is to make sure that the time line remains intact. It seems that Dr. Tidewell (Sarah) and Mr. Tidewell (John) created a time machine in the year 2049. During a demonstration things go awry, and the entire audience is transported to various places throughout time; and the trouble begins!

The adult brother and sister duo travel back in time to enlist their earlier versions of themselves to help fix the timeline. If they can’t fix the timeline then life ceases to exist on Johns birthday in 2049 (the date of the presentation).

In this installment, they travel to Mexico in the year 1519 to prevent the death of Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, a Spanish Conquistador. Toci, an expert scholar in Aztec culture and fluent in English, Spanish and the Nahuatl language, is determined to prevent Cortés from conquering the Aztecs. What follows is an adventure that sees Sarah and John almost becoming human sacrifices, battling for their very lives and having to make some hard decisions about whether or not to change history.

CONCLUSION

People of the Sun is an excellent book. It has time travel, history, action, and adventure! It is filled with moral conundrums, universal impacting decisions, and morality.

Ben has done another superb job with this book. He has managed to mold history with adventure again. Just reading this book and the Author’s Note at the end, I learned quit-a-bit about the Aztecs, Cortés and the fall of an entire empire.

This book is a great read for the young and old alike. I highly recommend this series and don’t forget to read the Author’s Notes. Ben provides links to the historical references if the reader would like to learn more about the period.

I can’t wait to read about Sarah and John’s next adventure!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Ben Gartner and Crescent Vista Press for affording me the opportunity to review People of the Sun.

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

The Eye of Ra is now available for a short time for 0.99 cents.

ANTHONY AND THE GARGOYLE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Anthony And the Gargoyle Written by Jo Ellen Bogart Illustrated by Maja Kastelic
Anthony And the Gargoyle Written by Jo Ellen Bogart Illustrated by Maja Kastelic

INCLUDING 5 MORE FREE TO READ KINDLE UNLIMITED BOOKS

TitleAnthony and the Gargoyle
AuthorJo Ellen Bogart
IllustratorMaja Kastelic
PublisherGroundwood Books (October 5, 2021)
Pages48
GenreChildren’s European Books, Children’s
Friendship Books, Children’s Fantasy &
Magic Books
LanguageEnglish
ISBN /ASIN #978-1773063447 / B0937KDQJH

#Children’s European Books #Children’s Friendship Books #Children’s Fantasy & Magic Books

AUTHOR

Jo Ellen Bogart studied education and psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.

SYNOPSIS

Anthony and the Gargoyle by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Maja Kastelic, is a revelation. The story begins with the enigmatic image of a small house with a tiny garden in a semi-rural setting; and just like that the scene is set for Anthony’s adventure. The story revolves around the friendship between a young boy, Anthony, and a recently hatched Gargoyle. 

We quickly learn that Anthony is part of a traditional French family unit consisting of his Mother (Mère), Father (Père) and Anthony (Antoine). His home environment is comfortable without being extravagant. Going to bed one night his favorite rock metamorphosis’s into something rare. On waking he discovers a surprise that leads him into a close relationship with his new-found friend. Recognizing that his new pal is different from him, Anthony questions his mother in order to better understand his bon ami. An unexpected phone call requires his mother to go to Paris. She takes Anthony and the Gargoyle with her. What follows is a journey of discovery for both Anthony and his Gargoyle. Anthony experiences love, loss and mortality. The Journey is tinged with both happiness and sadness; with new beginnings and endings.

CONCLUSION

Bogart’s work relies heavily on the graphics of Kastelic and together they have managed to infuse what could have been an average children’s book into a sparkling gem. Anthony and the Gargoyle exudes warmth and magic previously only seen in works of great authors such as Lewis Carroll. Whilst the styles are diametrically opposed, they both share the ability to tell a captivating story and include illustrations as a central part of the process.

The illustrational nature of the book is compelling from the outset. The plates are so finely sculpted that they capture the natural inclination of the child to continue exploring until the end. In this kind of word-free novel the synergy between the writer and the illustrator are crucial and Bogart and Kastelic together have created a rare synergy here. Nothing less than a literal feast for the child’s eye and mind. The pictorialization is exquisite throughout and the force of Bogarts illustrated narrative are enhanced through the symbiosis of their collaboration. The quality of their mutual creativity and the visualization of their work stands alone and speaks for itself. 

The story seems to be inspired by an allegoric theme, that is to say in the style of a morality play. The absence of text frees the child from the encumbrances of reading whilst enhancing the child’s ability to stretch their comprehension and their imagination simultaneously. Additionally the concepts of love, responsibility, and mortality are all covered providing a realistic view on life and its challenges. 

The work may be especially valuable to challenged children and their guardians. Children who find communication difficult could benefit greatly from the lack the print in this wordless novel. 

Bogart’s story is recommended for ages 6-9 years but it could easily be enjoyed by younger or older children. It would not be hard to imagine that Anthony and the Gargoyle could easily become a favorite of any child. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Jo Ellen Bogart, NetGalley, and Groundwood Books (October 5, 2021) for affording me the opportunity to review Anthony and the Gargoyle.

5 CHILDREN’S FREE TO READ

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