Saturday, January 28, 2023

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Book of Answers, by David Wentworth Lazaroff

This is interesting, well written, well-organized, and useful for those living in the Sonoran Desert.  It also has great pictures and useful appendices.  

It is a bit old (1998), so I fear a few of the sections may be slightly misleading because the author was speaking about the habitat destruction and climate change of 25 years ago, and I'm afraid that at least one of those things has sped up.  I would love to see a new edition with just a few small updates, because it's a great book.


Friday, January 20, 2023

The Wimp-O-Meter's Guide to Extreme Sports, by Tracey Turner

There were NO reviews for this on Goodreads.  How????

It's full of fascinating facts, cute humor, and great pictures.  There's a lot of good information, clearly explained, and clever little quizzes. 

Overall, very enjoyable to this adult, and I think it would be very enjoyable to many kids.  I would recommend it for reluctant readers, since the topic is so fascinating and the writing style is so breezy and fun.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of all the facts, but if they're true, then I'd give it a definite 5 stars.  

There are other Wimp-O-Meter books in the series.  I look forward to reading more.  

Monday, January 16, 2023

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures, by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

So often, I read the super-popular, highly rated book of the hour and I’m like, “Meh.”  Then I find some book I LOVE, and the 47 reviews are ho-hum, and no one I talk to has ever heard of it.


I LOVED this.  Reading as an adult who loves animals (and invented animals) and light-hearted reads where violence is not the solution, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I even made myself ration it. 

So, yeah, maybe some of the characters were a bit one-dimensional, and maybe I would have liked to know a little more about how all these creatures fit in (or didn't) in the wider world outside the story, and maybe the solution was a little too easy…but it was all so delightfully fun and charming and full of great imaginary creatures and really funny bits that I just didn’t care about any of its minor issues.

I highly recommend Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures.  With some series I’m like, “Great.  I have to read MORE?”  With this one I’m like, “Yes!!  There’s more!!!!” [Happy dance].

I rarely give 5 stars to novels.  This is probably more like a  4 or 4.5 for the average reader who isn’t quite as obsessed with magical animals as I am, but for me:  5 stars, no question. 

P.S.  As a writer, I'm always curious how the process works when a novel has two authors.  Whatever Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater did, it worked.  Full disclosure:  I listened to a YA novel by Maggie Stiefvater that I didn't love (Call Down the Hawk).  Her talent was apparent, but I didn't particularly enjoy the book.  This one, however, has all my stamps of approval.