We’re twins. I’m Ruby. She’s Garnet.

We’re identical. There’s very few people who can tell us apart. Well, until we start talking. I tend to go on and on. Garnet is much quieter.

That’s because I can’t get a word in edgeways.

from Double Act

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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Heeeeeelllo readers, hope you’re well and happy this pretty cold and rainy day. It’s been a long week and I can see it getting longer and longer but – and it’s taken a long time. I’VE FINALLY GOT BACK INTO READING. It’s honestly been November since I honestly *felt* like picking up a book to read and to be completely honest with you it’s been a little terrifying. I’m currently reading Microserfs and something abut it has just grabbed me – today is a book/poem I’ve been meaning to get round to since FOREVER and today I am finally reviewing it for you wonderful readers.

“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.”

So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.

This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

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Before I start this review I’m going to put a word in that I struggled to review this and looking at the really varied reviews on Goodreads it seems like I wasn’t the only one. The book follows the story of a relationship with a young boy and a selfless tree who will do anything for the boy. We see the boy grow up and as he does, he takes more and more from the tree; wood for a house, apples for money but the tree continues to support the boy in all the ways she can until the boy. The tale ends with the two joining together for a really upsetting but thoughtful ending.

Did I enjoy it? Yes and no. Do I think I understood what the author was trying to tell me? Yes and no. It’s one of those books that I think could have 47573858392 meanings and messages and it’s the personal engagement that the reader themselves adds to the story that changes how the story affects you. I liked that the tale was really unpredictable – I really didn’t think that I would be feeling anguish for the tree and yet, eating my tomato soup and reading through this I did feel a little upset? I’m sure alllll of us have been in a situation where we feel we’re being taken from and despite that we just, keep, giving.

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“… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.”

This line particularly hit me – I have been told of by friends before for giving a little too much and wanting putting other’s feelings first even if it affects me in a negative way. I think we can all relate to that – the thing is as a child did I? No, I’m not sure I did. Which is where a lot of the negative reviews appear to have arisen.

In terms of the writing it’s simple and easy to read. The lines are short enough in read to be read by a child but I can also see this being read by an adult to the child and potentially discussing the storyline. I have read a number of reviews saying NEVER GIVE THIS TO A CHILD, but I’m not sure that had to be the answer. As a child I read a book that went along the lines of Alice and Wonderland – although the girl was incredibly selfish and aggravatingly annoying character. Even now I can remember my feelings of surprise and annoyance – which I think even to now taught me something and this might have done the same.

“And the tree was happy”

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The infamous line – was the tree happy? Could she be happy? As I’ve discussed there will be many a difference in opinion mainly relating to how you’ve viewed the rest of the book but I think this line really opens up a number of questions. Could the tree know happiness? Did the boy learn a lesson? Is the book truly to create the question that your own happiness at the cost of others is not happiness at all.

I’m going to leave this review here and go and read the tale again I think – but overall I liked this little tale. There’s so much more to it than meets the eye. I would love to hear what you thought in the comments below?

Liiiiiinks

Goodreads 

The Adventures of Precious Penny by Dina Marie Filippini

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well and have had a wonderfully bookish week. I have a children’s book to review for you today and it’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed this type of book but I’m super excited. Without further waffling onto le review.

 Dina Marie Filippini lives in New York and has three children. She has participated in the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and this is her first children’s book. Having picked up her fair share of misplaced coins, one day she stopped to consider where a particular penny had come from—and her children’s story The Adventures of Precious Penny was born. Now, when she spots a penny on the ground she often wonders about its backstory.


I’ve mentioned this before and will probably mention it again, children’s books are so important in creating future readers, learners and creaters; it all starts here. I’ve read a lot of children’s book and I think this is a really interesting concept; we follow the life of Precious Penny as she makes her way from the safe haven of the bank into the sticky pockets of young children into dark and cold puddles, with a little bit of sandpit adventure on the way. As she travels through the various different situations Polly reminisces about the pennies and other coins she has met and the adventures she has had; jumping in puddles, running, skipping and singing in the car.

In terms of writing I think it’s the perfect text style for readers aged 6/7+ but could be easily used by parents to read to younger children. Although there is a larger amount of text than normally seen in children’s books it’s not unrealistic in terms of engaging a child. There’s just enough but not too much. The images are beautifully created and styled. They have bright colours, and they are a mix of realism in the drawing of the coins but the illustrations of the children are fantasy and cartoon it’s beautiful to look at and I can imagine this becoming a child’s favourite book to pick out of the shelf and had read to them.

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The story doesn’t tell a moral as such but I think it would teach children to think about the little things. To remember that there is a story about everything, that we should treasure the small things; I had never thought of the adventures the coins we use everyday go through but here it has been woven into an interesting and telling tale. It also tells of friendship, of keeping strong through difficult and lonely times and things will get better. You may think this is too much for a children’s book but it’s done subtly, and in a sweet understandable way.

Overall this is a beautiful book, one that has not only an original storyline but is beautifully produced. I think the ideas are good, I would have liked more of a moral woven in but it is a sweet story. Definitely worth a buy for a lovely bedtime story.

Linnnnnks

Amazon

Goodreads

Website

Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye

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Helllllllo readers, another review today from the recesses of my reading life because, me and reading have seriously fallen out. I just can’t get the reading buzz back but it doesn’t feel like a reading slump, more of a reading bust-up. I’m not sure even reading the Chocolate Run, my go to, will help this time.  I just need to clear the air with reading, get into a really, (really) good book  and clear this all up. However, it has allowed me to review a number of books I’ve read but never quite got round to typing up which is always nice. Today a delightful children’s book which was pretty darn lovely.

Hermux Tantamoq is an average mouse who works in his watch shop by day and spends his evenings at home with Terfle, his pet ladybug. But all that changes when Linka Perflinger, daredevil aviatrix, steps into his shop, drops off her watch for repair, and walks out with Hermux’s heart. When a shady-looking rat tries to claim Linka’s watch, Hermux knows that something must be terribly wrong, and embarks on a dramatic quest to find her . . .

As the blurb suggests the book follows Hermux Tatamoq who just happens to be a watchmaking mouse. In his day to day life, he has a little pet ladybird called Terfle, he wears flannel shirts and he has numerous printed images of different cheese from around the world. He has a crush however, on the darling Ms.Linka Perflinger who just so happens to visit his watch shop needing an emergency repair on her watch. From that moment, Hermux’s life will change forever. As Ms Perflinger seemingly disappears our worried friend will go on a hair raising mission to find his missing lady. The journey paved with killers, thieves, snakes, dramatic rescues and a casual Fountain of Youth will be a terrifying mission for the mouse but a brilliant tale to tell.

Now for the fun bit; there’s something just delightful about this tale, a story following a mouse with a pet ladybird; it’s pretty special. The writing is solid with just the right amount of description. Sometimes with fantasy books there’s too much and for children especially, this can bog the story down. Here it is flitted in to help aid the imagination of the child but not so much smother it, if that makes sense? The characters are well described with a lightness of touch and the author works hard to distinguish the villains and the characters we love (mainly Hermux and Ms Linka.) I really liked how Hermux’s humble nature was turned into an inquisitive detective and the mild nature of him made this story doubly sweet.

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I thought the story was clever and the introduction good vs evil makes for a strong plotline to develop the tale and the characters as a whole. I thought the journal from the Jungle of Teulabonari (what a great name) was a brilliant insertion allowing for the introduction of new characters like the army of lab rats and the cosmetics monarch. It sounds a little confusing but it comes together really well. The story twists and turns and I thought the odd names of the characters and places would really help to intrigue younger readers.

In terms of negatives there are some passages of description that are really long. For me a reader who likes description I loved it but for younger readers it could get tiresome and the long and fiddly names could also be a difficulty. This could also cause problems when reading aloud but it’s a small-ish point.

This book for a young reader has everything; suspence, excitement, good vs evil, and some really exciting and well developed characters. A fun book an exciting tale and one to get younger readers really into their reading. Spot on.

Linkkkkks

Amazon

Goodreads