Children’s Book Review – A River by Marc Martin

Procurement

I purchased this book.


Stats

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover
  • 32 Pages
  • Published March 25th, 2015 by Penguin Aus.
  • Type – Children’s Literature

About

From the publisher, “There is a river outside my window.

Where will it take me?

So begins an imaginary journey from the city to the sea. From factories to farmlands, freeways to the forest, each new landscape is explored through stunning illustrations and poetic text from this award-winning picture-book creator.”


My Thoughts

This is a quiet and contemplative book. Full of soft and colorful graphics that impart an air of wonderment from page to page. It follows the imagining of a child sitting at their drawing desk looking out their window at the world beyond them. Traveling from window to window is a long winding river. The child begins to imagine themselves aboard a small ship traveling the currents of the river place to place, all while they remain safe in the bosom of their home. The river journey is long and wild. It goes through cities, farms, factories, hills, and valleys. It travels over waterfalls and down into the neverending darkness of the ocean at night. Once the adventure is done, the child comes back to himself and is sitting back at their drawing table in the dark, the river always there snaking from window to the other having had a fantastic adventure indeed. 

Although this is a picture book, the beauty of it is that all of us, adult and children alike, have sat at a desk longly gazing out the window and wondering what journey is before them. The same can be true of planes, or oceans. Adventures abound even though we are stuck inside looking out the window. We can all relate to this brave heart in a child. 

This is a subtle and beautiful book worthy of your child’s attention or sitting on a shelf being admired by all. I highly recommend checking it out. 


About the Author

Marc Martin is an illustrator, artist and bookmaker based in Melbourne, Australia. His illustrations have been commissioned by clients such as Monocle, Wired, The Financial Review, GQ, Luxury Travel, Telstra, The Australian Open Tennis Championships, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and various publishers. 

He is the author and illustrator of A Forest (Penguin Random House, 2012), The CuriousExplorersIllustrated Guide to Exotic Animals A-Z (Penguin Random House, 2013), Max (Penguin Random House, 2014), A River (Penguin Random House, 2015), and LOTS (Penguin Random House, 2016).(http://www.marcmartin.com/about-1/)

Review – Diary of An Oger by Valeria Dávila, Mónica López, Laura Aguerrebehere (Illustrator)

 

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

Thank you, NetGalley, Chouette Publishing, and CrackBoom! Books for an advanced English translated readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Synopsis from the publisher, “My dear diary: this is the end. There are no ogres left. The world is wrong. What does this ogre hide? Is it true that he teaches wrestling with sticks and belching and snot courses? Is it true that the pant is never changed?
The intimacies never before revealed of an ogre with style. Surprising, crazy, secret: a newspaper that you have to spy on yes or yes.”

I am always thrilled when I get an opportunity to review a children’s book. In general children’s books bring a genuine smile to my face, and this book is no exception. Oger’s are funny creatures. Who demonstrate poor hygiene, and poorer life choices. Generally, from Shreck to Harry Potter their depiction is of a smelly, but a lovable brute who is steadily falling all over themselves, and eating fly ice cream. Pratfalls and fly ice cream are funny concepts and relatable for kids. The author took something that could be scary and made it funny which is excellent for kids! This is why this is such a great book. I mean, who doesn’t think that an award given to an ogre who never changes their underwear isn’t funny.

My only real complaint is that it doesn’t have much of a plot and because of this, it relies heavily on the great graphics. I think plot-wise, the author could have hammered home how important it was that ogers need to become ogers of old. She touches on it, but it seems a bit disjointed.

Graphically, Laura Aguerrebehere did a great job conveying the silliness of the ogers. The graphics are bright and again fun to look at.

This is hilarious! Graphics, pacing, everything. I think boys or girls would get a total kick out it!

 

 

Camping is Crap – Sorta

ee0a857b7172a61aab4ebe47d7bfcf59Well no, it really isn’t crap. Maybe you could liken camping to cold french fries that you warm up in the microwave. It is supposed to be satisfying, but they are never really as good as you expect it to be and it will probably leave you with a stomach ache and/or the runs. Also, isn’t camping supposed to bring you all sorts of enlightenment? Get out into nature and experience a oneness. Let me set the scene. Last minute, “why the hell not” decision to camp on a Friday night. insert an inadequately prepared family of 4 with neurotic dogs. Grandmother, husband, me and a 14-month-old baby. Here is what I learned on my last camping trip.

  1. Setting up a tent on a hillside where you sleep at a 45-degree angle could be classified as a weird sort of psychological torture. Constantly sliding down a hill while sleeping makes you dream you are going to slip-n-slide to hell or the world is covered in lube.
  2. Never camp with a 30-year-old tent. I am still coughing out the shredded plastic fibers. The only upside is the calming pea green color. Why did folks in the early eighties think pea green was the color du jour?
  3. Only camp with your toddler if absolutely necessary. If there is a cliff, river, or patch of poison something your toddler will run at it full speed. Which means as a parent you will have to hold your screaming toddler.  The whole time. (see the previous comment about being inadequately prepared) My kid weighed thirty pounds. I hated everyone after hour 3.
  4. Never camp with my dog. My dog hates other dogs. He tries to simultaneously shred them to pieces and run away scared. The dog had to remain on a leash for the entirety of camping outing. Thus, the dog made a circular track around the tree while he tried to maim every foreign thing he saw. This included wildlife, trees, stumps, the stars, me after awhile. It was all a crazy fever dream for him. This got annoying at 2 am. For the extent of the trip; I hated my dog.
  5. Mosquitos were invented by the devil to taunt me.  If only they sucked fat instead of blood. (see number 6) Ever read the book, “Thinner?” That would be me.  They will hassle no one else. I swatted mosquitos away and prayed for a firestorm. The other members of my camping party told me it was all in my head. I wanted to push them in the aforementioned poison-something bush.
  6. I ended up eating only chips because it was both too dark to see and I was too tired to give a damn. Actually, this wasn’t all that bad.
  7. Fire is beautiful and the thought of roasting smores by the campsite is great until your toddler wants to play with the shiny bright thing.
  8. Raccoons are jerk faces.

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I want to like camping. I used to love it when I was a kid, but now it seems like it lacks all the things I want in my daily life; toilets, showers, hot food, no bugs. I end up feeling like, “what fresh hell is nature bringing me now?” I’ll camp if it is not torture so my kid can eat a s’more. But future self will need a fabulous RV or tasteful beekeeper suit. I can look out at nature and flip off all the bugs.

Troll Prodigy

trollface

 

 

As quoted to me from my patient husband.

“Vivian and I were chilling this afternoon, watching Internet videos. I introduced her to Eduard Khil’s Vocalise, better known as the Trololol song. We got to the second chorus, and Vivian did her grunt/shout thing just about 1 beat after each note for five notes, which I thought was pretty neat but probably a coincidence. Then I caught a whiff of the air.
My baby daughter just farted to the beat of the Trololol song.

Trololololo song

I feel like I really should have foreseen that mixing my genes with Beth’s would produce a troll prodigy.”

3 months!

Wow it has been three months since my last post.. slacker! Got out of the habit of writing, than didn’t feel like I had anything remotely interesting to write about. So what have I been up to? Well aside from running screaming from political posts on facebook, I have been making a busy book for my kid. “Why,” you ask?  I have no idea, aside from the fact that I like felt. Yay felt! A material that has really no other use than making crazy busy books that will entertain my kid for a few mins. Plus they have the added bonus of allowing me to exercise my incredibly geeky self.. hello Star Wars, Dr, Who, and Firefly pages. I might even throw in an incredible lieutenant Riker beard page. Seriously, have you seen that mans beard? It needs an instagram..


I kid, I kid, that’s Data.

 


He is looking majestically into the ether, as it looks back upon him and gives him a head nod for his amazing beard.

 

Anywho back to our regularly schedule blog post.

Here are some of the recent pages I have been creating. No theme really just seeing things on Pinterest I like and saying to myself, “Yo, I can do that.” Well not really with the “yo.” I’m not cool.


 

If there is any interest I’ll make How-tos and I will keep update on my progress on these. It is fun because I can let my inner geek out.

All Children Should Twirl

I don’t think there is a more pure form of happiness than the glee that comes from a piece of fabric. It makes a child so sublimely happy. The swirl, swish, or clunk of the fabric seems to have magical affects on kids. I know that when I was a child I loved to twirl. I would put on this baby blue dress that I wore at my brother’s wedding and stand in front of the mirror and spin and spin. So much so, that I would get dizzy and fall down on the tile. But that was part of the fun. Spin, spin, spin, spin, fall, pause, and get up again. Over and over. I would watch the way the sunlight poured through the lace of the dress and feel beautiful in the way that children do. I would feel special, because this was a special dress that had been worn on a special occasion. In wearing it again I was getting an opportunity to relive that moment.

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I am a flower garden wrapped up in a toddler. 
 

For this Easter I dressed my viking up in a tutu made of all the colors of the rainbow. She is too young to get the full affect of wearing a giant tutu. But I caught her out of the corner of my eye discovering the joy of spinning around in a skirt and the glee that would come from it. For me that was so much better than all the candy and eggs I could have had. I will continue to buy her things that make her smile: Costumes, skirts, aprons, whatever. Girl/boy clothes whatever she wants to wear. If it brings her those moments of standing in front of a mirror giggling, spinning, and falling on the floor she can have it.

I heard a very wise person once say, you should not buy any clothing that doesn’t make you want to twirl in front of a mirror, even as an adult. Since then I have bought 3 fringe shawls. Fringe I have discovered makes me want to twirl.

As experiences go, this one was a biggie for me. Watching my viking twirl for a moment and giggle was awesome.