booksinckids's blog

The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate by Scott Nash

Talking birds with hats! Air pirates! Sword fights!

This very handsome hardcover edition with engaging ink and watercolor illustrations by the author will make a fine gift for a backyard naturalist who loves stories of swashbuckling derring-do. Comparable to Brian Jaques' Redwall series with language accessible for a 9 year old, or strong 8. The coming-of-age/ bird-out-of-the-nest aspects of the story will appeal to older kids and the whole family will enjoy the high adventure. There is a clever balance between imaginative, unique world-building and accurate ornithological details. As an lifelong scholar of fantasy literature and an avid birdwatcher, this book seemed especially written for me, but I hope other readers will share my appreciation of this cunning blend of Roger Tory Petersen and Robert Louis Stevenson.

--Reviewed by Chris of Compass Books in SFO

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

Adenville, Utah, it's 1896 and that great state has just joined the Union. Nestled in a small town is a genius of cunning and style. Known to the unsuspecting adults of the town as plain, old Tom. He is feared and respected by the children as, "the Great Brain." Tom is a con-man par excellence. If there is a deal to be done and a penny to be made, Tom will do it. His tale is told by his hapless middle brother.

This often overlooked old friend from 1969 is perfect for 3rd to 6th grade readers. Especially those boys who don't care for fantasy.

--Reviewed by Elizabeth of Books Inc. Alameda

Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys by Amy Novesky

Ms. Novesky gives us another picturebook biography of a fascinating female artist (Georgia in Hawaii; Me, Frida)...this time celebrating photographer Imogen Cunningham who spent much of her life in San Francisco. A lovely introduction to a ground-breaking talent. Will be a good addition to any Women's History Month reading list in March.

--Reviewed by Summer of Books Inc. Laurel Village

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

I don't read many graphic novels but I was drawn to this one because I heard great things about this author and another kids specialist was really moved by this story. I can totally see why. This story was great and I loved that she had gay characters in it. I think any kid could find something from this story they can relate to, I know I did and I'm no longer a kid in age...but always in heart The art was beautiful and I think the story sends a very good message about excepting others which is a very much needed lesson it seems these days. I will definitely be reading more from this author and will try reading some more graphic novels in the future. --Reviewed by Melanie of Books Inc. Berkeley
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