Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the Protectorate holds the Day of Sacrifice where one baby is given to the evil witch in the woods in return for leaving the villagers in peace. This day causes great sorrow in the town as children are ripped from parents’ arms and a constant fog looms over the isolated and dreary residents. The Elders who rule the Protectorate do not believe that a witch exists and use the story and sacrifice as a way to manipulate and rule over the townspeople. Xan, an ancient but kind witch, does in fact live in the forest and rescues these abandoned babies, giving them new homes in the Free Cities. One baby, who Xan names Luna, accidentally becomes “enmagicked” when Xan feeds her from the moon instead of the stars. Xan decides to raise Luna with the help of a gentle and naïve dragon and large but softy swamp monster.…

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Review: Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

Giraffe is bored and decides to write a letter to anyone who Pelican can find over the African horizon. In fact, Pelican is pretty bored too and can use some excitement. Giraffe’s letter makes its way into the hands (or flippers) of Penguin who immediately writes back. Commence an endearing pen pal relationship as the two animals attempt to better understand each other and grow a new and comical friendship. Geared toward high-level first grade readers to lower-level fourth grade readers, Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is a sweet and playful story about friendship, connection, differences, and learning. I laughed out loud as Penguin tries to find Whale’s neck and as they attempt to look like each other. Littler kids can enjoy the human-like and relatable qualities of the animals. Takabatake’s illustrations are simple and clean, helping to support Iwasa’s endearing text. Unfortunately I empathized with Giraffe, finding myself slightly bored. While…

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Book Review: Star-Crossed By Barbara Dee

Eighth-grader Mattie is struggling through the school year. Unlike her friends, Tessa and Lucy, she is not invited to Willow’s party. In an act of rebellion, Mattie disguises herself as Darth Vader and decides to attend anyway. Even though the night ends in disaster, Mattie begins to realize that she enjoyed her time with a girl, Gemma, more so than if she was with a boy. Mattie begins to spend more time with Gemma as they are cast together in the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Although Mattie initially tries out for the part of Paris, she eventually finds herself as Romeo with Gemma as Juliet. The play as well as the upcoming Valentine’s Day dance forces Mattie to reconcile the unease she feels about her sexuality and decide whether or not to come out to her friends and Gemma. With heartfelt, realistic characters, Star-Crossed is a well-written and…

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