Book Review: Double Take

Double Take! A New Look at Opposites (2017, Candlewick Studio, Picture Book)

double take

From the publisher:

Do you know opposites – yes or no? On. Off. Asleep. Awake. Opposites are a piece of cake…right? Not so fast! Time for a quick double take. Who knows what is BIG unless there is SMALL? Does SHORT mean a thing except next to TALL? What is ABOVE and what is BELOW? The answer depends on who wants to know!

opposite spread


Double Take! A New Look at Opposites, written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Jay Fleck, is a surprisingly fun book about opposites! The illustrations are darling and cleverly illustrate every opposite situation while also playing off subtle opposites that aren’t directly mentioned in the text. The text is charming and fun, which may come as a shock to parents or teachers who may be accustomed to the topic of opposites being a bit redundant. In this book, the standard opposite situations are introduced, but it introduces a new element of perspective, making the reader consider why things are opposite and what the words are really saying when labeling something TALL or SHORT, BIG or SMALL, etc.

I enjoyed reading this book and I think a lot of parents and teachers will enjoy it too, not to mention the young readers who will love the short sentences and delightfully illustrated characters.

Highly recommended as a read aloud to children ages 6 and under. This could also be enjoyed by early independent readers, and while older readers might enjoy flipping through this book, I think the topic of opposites might feel a bit too young for them.

5 stars shining bright against a dark sky

Thank you to Candlewick for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Goldenhand

Goldenhand (2016, Harper/HarperCollins Publisher, Young Adult Fantasy)


From the publisher:

Goldenhand takes place six months after the events of Abhorsen and follows the novella Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case, which is featured in Across the Wall.

Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic. On a dangerous journey, Lirael returns to her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier, where she was once a Second Assistant Librarian. There, a young woman from the distant North brings her a message from her long-dead mother, Arielle. It is a warning about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning? Lirael must use her new powers to save the Old Kingdom from this great danger—and it must be forestalled not only in the living world but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.


Goldenhand, written by Garth Nix, is a long-awaited continuation of the Old Kingdom series. Fans of the series will love this newest addition as they are drawn back into the world they fell in love with years ago. This book picks up close to where the last one left off and readers will enjoy meeting their favorite characters again. Full of the magic readers have come to expect from Garth Nix’s writing, this one will not disappoint. However, readers new to the series will definitely need to read the first three books to understand what is happening.

Told from dual point of views, Lirael is the main focus of this tale and a new character, Ferin, is introduced as the other point of view. The dual view points add to the suspense and make this a page-turner. And along with Ferin, comes a whole new part of the Old Kingdom as the North comes alive with people and places. Old favorites and new, come together as Lirael faces an ancient evil with the help of Sabriel.

Again, this is a book for anyone who has already read the other books in the Old Kingdom series. If you haven’t read the other books, I highly recommend them. For old fans, this new book is not without flaws, but it is still a wondrous journey back to a world we all love.

4 stars to shine from the darkest depths of death

The Bone Queen

Hello all!

I didn’t mean to take a two month hiatus but it seems that’s what happened.

I’m so sorry! So many book reviews you all have missed out on during my absence. Not to worry, I will get them posted soon 🙂

In June I went to the SCBWI Arkansas conference which was a lot of fun and I met great people and wonderful agents and editors. And Little Rock, Arkansas is the most adorable town!

And now I present a new review! (This review appeared last month in my newspaper column.)

The Bone Queen (2017, Candlewick Press, Young Adult High Fantasy)

the bone queen
From the publisher:

After being seduced into sorcery by an agent of the Dark, the promising Bard Cadvan of Lirigon recklessly unleashed the terrible Bone Queen, bringing destruction down upon Annar. Cast out of the Schools of Barding for his crime, Cadvan now lives in exile, burdened by memories of his dealings with the Dark. At his former home, Cadvan’s mentor, Nelac, and his rival, Dernhil, begin to suspect that the Bone Queen may yet lurk in Annar, and a young Bard named Selmana is plagued by an ominous presence and an unsettling new ability to step between worlds. With darkness gathering and Bards giving in to fear and paranoia, a guilt-ridden Cadvan must once again earn the Bards’ trust and Selmana must gain control of her newfound powers if they are to bring peace to the living and the dead. Fans of the Books of Pellinor will savor this glimpse into Cadvan’s past, and readers new to Alison Croggon’s intricately built world will relish The Bone Queen as a stand-alone epic of light, dark, magic, and redemption.

The Bone Queen, written by Alison Croggon, is the prequel to her highly successful Books of Pellinor series. Supposedly, the reader doesn’t need to be familiar with or have read the series in order to understand this book, but I do think it would help to have read them. While this book can stand alone, a reader familiar with the world will likely be more drawn in than a reader being introduced for the first time. The writing is beautiful and descriptive and very much traditional high fantasy which will not appeal to every reader. I had a hard time getting into this book as I was unfamiliar with the series, but once Selmana’s storyline took off, I became more engaged. The characters are interesting and well-developed and the storyline is complex, but again, this is high fantasy so the naming of people and places as well as the story-telling style will not connect with all readers.

Fans of the Books of Pellinor or fans of high fantasy will enjoy this book, while others might have a hard time getting through. A beautifully written, epic tale arriving just in time for summer.

3 stars

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.