You Are NOT a Cat!

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You Are NOT a Cat!

Sharon G. Flake
Illustrated by Anna Raff
Boyds Mills Press, 2016

From the dust jacket, “Cat thinks Duck should stop meowing and act like a duck. But Duck has other ideas.”

Totally cute story about a crazy duck who acts like a squirrel one day and a cat the next. What will he be tomorrow? We don’t find out but he does drive Cat loony with his meowing and other cat-imitating behavior. Duck ties leaves on his head for ears and an acorn around his neck like Cat’s collar. But Cat isn’t having any of it – or so he thinks!

I enjoyed this book and laughed at Duck’s antics. It would make for some fun reading to the youngest kittens – they could help out by meowing like Duck and quack, quacking like Cat. The mix-up is hilarious!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for laughter and cute illustrations.



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One of Our Thursdays is Missing

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One of Our Thursdays is Missing
Thursday Next, Book 6

Jasper Fforde
Viking, 2011

Brace yourselves, this is a long intro from the dust jacket (the story of Thursday Next is so twisty and turny that it’s better to let the publisher explain!): “It is a time of unrest in the BookWorld. Only the diplomatic skills of ace literary detective Thursday Next can avert a devastating genre war. But a week before the peace talks, Thursday vanishes. Has she simply returned home to the RealWorld or is this something more sinister?

“But all is not yet lost. Living at the quiet end of speculative fiction is the written Thursday Next, who is attempting to keep her own small four-book series both respectful to her illustrious namesake and far from the grim specter of being remaindered.

“Despite her desire to stay out of the spotlight, written Thursday is asked by Jurisfiction to investigate a novel that has suffered an in-read breakup and deposited a narrative debris field halfway across the BookWorld. It’s not quite so straightforward: Someone has ground the ISBN numbers from the wreckage, and all of a sudden the mysterious Men in Plaid want her dead.

“As the hunt for answers takes her from the Council of Genres to Fan Fiction and from Comedy to Vanity publishing, written Thursday realizes that real Thursday had been investigating a plot fiendish enough to be killed for. But who is responsible? Only a trip up the mighty Metaphoric River and a visit to the hideously frightening RealWorld can provide the answers.

“With her clockwork butler, Sprockett, and her Designated Love Interest, Whitby Jett, Thursday has to come to grips with her inability to live up to her namesake’s talent and prove to herself to the one person she respects more than anyone else: the real her….”

Throughout the book, Thursday wonders if she is the real Thursday or the written one and it makes the reader wonder the same. And, as its been several years since I’d read the book, I had forgotten as well. The book takes the reader deep into BookWorld where clowns are soldiers, mimes are assassins, and the Men in Plain actually wear tartan suits, drive Buick Roadmasters and are the Secret Police who keep the citizenry of BookWorld under control. There’s lots of twists and turns along the way – the reader has to pay attention, or they will be completely lost. But the story is worth it and I’m always up for another Thursday Next novel!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because as much as I like the written Thursday, I do prefer the real one. Or, is it the other way around? Hmm…



The Handmade Marketplace

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The Handmade Marketplace
2nd Edition, Updated and Revised

Kari Chapin
Storey Publishing, 2010, 2014

This book covers the ins and outs of turning your craft items into money. The author covers setting goals, branding, basic business practices, basic marketing – which includes advertising and publicity, and social media. It is full of advice and lots and lots of testimonials of other crafters who have been successful at both online and brick and mortar sales.

I found the book to be very readable and informative. All the testimonials got a little annoying for me, but that’s a personal thing. It really boils down to whatever you put into your business is what you’ll get out of it.

Rating 3 out of 5 paws, mainly due to the testimonials that go on and on and on. Maybe if the pertinent information was all in one place and the quotes from successful folks were in different parts of the book instead of mixed in together – you’re reading info that’s really good, turn the page and wham! there’s another testimonial to wade through before going on with the info – then I would have liked the book more.

Reviewer: loc jackJack

First Among Sequels

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First Among Sequels
Thursday Next: Book 5

Jasper Fforde
Viking, 2007

From the dust jacket, “Fourteen years after she pegged out at the 1988 SuperHoop (Something Rotten), Thursday Next is grappling with a host of new problems in the BookWorld: a recalcitrant new apprentice, the death of Sherlock Holmes and the inexplicable departure of comedy from the once-hilarious Thomas Hardy novels. The Council of Genres is trying to broker a peace deal between certain antagonistic genres: Racy Novel has been recklessly placed between Ecclesiastical and Feminist, and they are all at each other’s throats.

“Back in Swindon, the government is reporting a dangerously high stupidity surplus, the Stilonista Cheese Mafia is causing trouble for Thursday and the literary detective scene isn’t what it used to be. And Thursday shoulders the burden for the Acme carpet business, which is both a front for SpecOps and a real business for the underemployed force.

“At home, Thursday’s idle sixteen-year-old son would rather sleep all day than follow his destiny as a member of the ChronoGuard, the force that regulates time travel, and save the world from imminent destruction. And when things get really bad—reality book shows look set to transplant realty TV shows, and Goliath invents a transfictional tourist bus—Thursday must once again have her wits about her as she travels to the very limits of acceptable narrative possibilities to rescue the reading experience from almost certain destruction. She captains the ship Moral Dilemma, fends off vicious Mrs. Danvers clones, dispenses with a so-so Thursday Next novel called The Samuel Pepys Fiasco and faces down her most vicious enemy yet: herself.”

Another Thursday Next novel! This one I didn’t enjoy as much as the first four. Don’t get me wrong – I still love the series but, in after writing 4 other standout books, all authors are allowed one of lesser quality! The main thing wrong with this one is that the author has his character spending a lot of time explaining who BookWorld works – where books are built, and how; how the story is transmitted to the reader via the Imaginotransference Storycode Engine. Even after reading how everything works, it still doesn’t make logical sense so why spend all that time explaining. As a reader it is my job just accept what the author is saying and enjoy it. I didn’t pick up the book to be taught a lesson in how a book is formed in my imagination as I read it! But, once the story got going it was really good and fast paced and ended in a smashing cliffhanger! I can’t wait to start the next in the series!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because of all the boring bits in the beginning in an otherwise 5-paw novel!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue


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Graeme Base
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 1987, 2012

From the dust jacket, “Celebrate 25 years of this classic alphabet book with this special silver-anniversary edition! More than three million copies of Animalia have been sold worldwide, making Graeme Base’s amazing alliterative alphabet book one of the most beloved titles of the past quarter century! Animalia’s incredible imaginary world intrigues all readers, whether or not they know their ABCs.

“Each page includes hidden objects and ideas: start with “A is for An Armoured Armadillo Avoided an Angry Alligator” and you’ll find aprons, ants, aces, Atom-brand anchovies, and much more. The rest of the alphabet is just as fun!”

This is really a fun and challenging book. You can look for a long time on each page and still see new stuff. There’s also a bit of “Where’s Waldo” with the young boy at the beginning of the book hidden on every letter illustration. Graeme Base is an amazing artist – the amount of detail is, well, amazing! I can’t wait to check out his other books!

Strangely, the book was challenged at a school library in Texas for violence and horror, and at Storm Lake Public Library (IA) in 1992 when “two citizens discovered ‘satanic symbols’ and offensive images inside the book’s artwork.”

As we were unable to find evidence of violence and horror, I’ve included 2 images that might be borderline for some readers: “Horrible hairy hogs hurrying homeward on heavily harnessed horses” and “Kid Kookaburra and Kelly Kangaroo kidnapping Kitty Koala.” As for the other complaint of satanic symbols and offensive images, we found a zodiac calendar on the letter ‘Z’ page; a yin and yang symbol on the ‘Y’ page; a witch on the ‘W’ page; a vampire, a voodoo doll and a bottle of vermouth on the ‘V’ page – shall we go on? Maybe it was the Soviet flag or the swastika that was on the ‘S’ page that offended. As with any thing, if you’re looking for stuff to be offended by, you will most definitely find it. We find it better to let each reader decide for themselves and no one else!

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws for a totally imaginative book with out-of-this-world illustrations. Not to be missed and never duplicated!!



simon-loc   loc jack

Simon & Jack

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