Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: WINTERLING by Sarah Prineas

By: Sarah Prineas
Released on: January 3rd, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher to review
5 stars: I Loved It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

With her boundless curiosity and wild spirit, Fer has always felt that she doesn’t belong. Not when the forest is calling to her, when the rush of wind through branches feels more real than school or the quiet farms near her house. Then she saves an injured creature—he looks like a boy, but he’s really something else. He knows who Fer truly is, and invites her through the Way, a passage to a strange, dangerous land.

Fer feels an instant attachment to this realm, where magic is real and oaths forge bonds stronger than iron. But a powerful huntress named the Mor rules here, and Fer can sense that the land is perilously out of balance. Fer must unlock the secrets about the parents she never knew and claim her true place before the worlds on both sides of the Way descend into endless winter.

Sarah Prineas captivates in this fantasy-adventure about a girl who must find within herself the power to set right a terrible evil -quoted from Goodreads

An enchanting story that's full of magic, adventure, danger and action. Sarah Prineas's WINTERLING is an exciting read that will take readers on an unforgettable fantasy adventure, introduce them to a young fearless heroine and leave them wanting more. I really loved the way in which Sarah wove together and introduces young readers to various folklore. This not only captured my attention, but it kept me completely invested in Fer's story. I wanted to know about her ability, what her Grandmother was hiding her from, what is really going on in the world of Way and who the strange boy that can turn into a dog and horse is.

Fer is such a fabulously written character. She's someone young readers will be able to connect with as she's courageous, loyal and has this innocence about her that makes her both vulnerable and relatable. It's her bravery and quest for truth that I admired most. Here she is in a world she's drawn to, but knows little about and yet she's able to find the answers to questions that are heartbreaking to hear. She's kind hearted and sincere in her quest to help those who are changing against their will in the land of Way. During her journey her knowledge of what has happened also empowers her to make a decision that will change her and the land of Way.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking this unforgettable adventure with Fer. The world of Way is magical, dangerous and is ruled by a wicked huntress named Mor. There's plenty of unique characters that make up the creatures of Way, and many of whom are wilding, which means they're changing into wild animals. This is very fitting for the feeling of this strange, yet enchanting land. There's also some memorable characters I also enjoyed getting to know along the way, like Fer's Grandmother who will do everything she can to protect Fer in the human world. Then there's Rook, the dog Fer saves at the beginning of the story. Though his story starts out heartbreaking, I loved seeing his character journey and how much he changed over the course of the story. I'm looking forward to getting to know more about him, The Greenlady, and Phouka.

Sarah's writing is fabulous! I loved the way she told Fer's story. She did such a brilliant job at crafting together her lore with the different elements that make up this story. Sarah kept me on my toes with Fer's adventure. I enjoyed the unknown, the action and the suspense that is felt through out the story. The setting, the entire feel of the book and the different folklores that make up this exciting read will be enjoyed by both middle grade and older readers alike. WINTERLING is a wonderful read, and I'm looking forward to reading it's sequel.

Book Review: The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll

Written by: Steven Kroll
Illustrated by: Jenni Bassett
Publisher: Scholastic
Published Date: January 28, 2006
Source: Purchased
Ages: 3 - 5 years

Synopsis: When Mrs. Mousely asks her class to make valentines, Clayton and Desmond decide to make one together and give it to their teacher as a surprise. But things don't go as planned. First Clayton puts too much glitter on the card. Then Desmond puts on too many hearts. Soon the friends are arguing and they rip the card in half. "I'm going to make my own valentine!" they both say and go home in a huff.

But then Desmond and Clayton realize that by working together they can make the biggest, best valentine ever!

Kids can use the colorful foil stickers to make their own valentines!

The lesson of working together is an important one for all ages. Heck, I still need a reminder myself. Having my third grader read this outloud to our family, reminded me of the pressure we all feel to create something that is THE BIGGEST and BEST in all the world. I do this with kids' birthday parties. My kids do this with homemade gifts especially those for a favorite teacher.

Desmond and Clayton argue, try to do their own individual cards and then come to the realization that working together is best after all. It's a hard lesson and being reminded of it using colorful illustrations of adorable mice is a nice way to visualize the story.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~