Book Review – Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol 1 by Bill Willingham

Title:  Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol 1

Author:  Bill Willingham

Illustrator: James Jean and Alex Maleey

Published: 2003

 

To start this review I have to make it known that I am a huge fan of werewolves.  You tell me a book has werewolves in it and you have my attention at the very least.  So when I heard about fables it was Bigsby who drew me in.  Bigsby is the Big Bad wolf from the fairy tales turned human and working as sheriff of the fair tale community known as Fabletown, which is located in New York.  When I first heart about Bigsby and Fables was actually via the video game series the released.  I have only played a demo of it but I fell in love with the concept, the story and the character Bigsby as he is a no nonsense kind of guy.

 

Though the story in the game is different than the story in the books it was still interesting as we follow Bibsby as he tries to solve the mystery of the murder of Rose Red the sister of Snow White. The story serves as a great introduction to the situation that is found in Fabletown, how the residents of Fabletown known as Fables. The mystery and intrigue keeps pace as the reader learns of the world and how Fables hide their true nature and how they came to be in our world, as they were forced out by one known as the Adversary.

 

The end revelation is rather good and the character are vibrant and real and the relationships between them are most intriguing.  This is a world I can happily get lost in.   Though, I think my favorite part of the book was a small section in the back that was in all prose.  It told of the life of Bigsby before he came to our world and gives some interesting insight into what happened to certain characters before the created Fabletown and why Bisby does some of the things he does in the main story.  The story crafted in prose is compelling and heart warming in some ways.  I would love to read more and will look forward to when my pocket books can afford me the next installment, or I can bum it off a friend who bought it recently.  Till then I shall wait and leave this review stating that this comic is a solid 4 out of 5 pages, with nothing but promise for future installments.

Book Review – The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

Title: The One Minute Manager

Author: Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

Format:  Hardback

Written: 1981

Published:  2003

 

Along with QBQ!  My job gave me this book to read as well for my training seminar.  Though I reviewed QBQ first I’ll admit that I didn’t read it first but rather this book. I was anticipating a small instruction manual type of book but when I cracked open the spine I found myself surprised.  The book did not read like a text book or manual, this book read a bit like a story, which made for easy light reading.

 

Truth be told how this book presented its information was fantastic, I got through the 100-ish pages during my down time at work.  It took me less than half a day to read it between calls.  This little book presented a lot of great information in a quick and easy way to read.  It told the story of a young man who was looking for an effective manager and it showed his journey as he learned about the one minute manager.

 

I will admit the premise and story line of the book was a bit corny and I may not be fully sold on the concepts of the book but it was a nice refreshing breath to read versus some of the text books and manuals that I have had to slog my way through in the past.  So I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars for being so brief, concise and yet informative.  If one wants a quick read on management then this is a go to book as it does have some pretty good ideas.

Book Review – Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday by Garth Nix

Title: Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday

Author:  Garth Nix

Format: Paperback

Published/Written: 2003

As a reviewer I have jumped into several series mid stride and I concluded that I should start more series from the actual beginning and I thought the Keys to the Kingdom would be a good one to do this with, considering I only read the first two books and a portion of the third.  I remember liking what I read but the details were fuzzy for me.  They were certainly fuzzier that they were for other series that I hadn’t read in a long while.  This fact alone should be something for you to consider if you wish to pick up this series, that it is good but not overtly memorable.

As I began to read I found myself reminded of characters and plot lines but not remembering everything.  My biggest frustration as I read was spending most of the read trying to regal if event x happened in the book I was reading or in the next one.  In some ways this game put a damper on the read for me, and I found myself less enthused about this series now than I was when I first picked it up.  My hope is when I get into newer content things will pick up and my interest will be renewed.  Until that time I have two and a half books to get through before that happens.

So, I will continue to see how the reluctant hero Arthur Penhaligon deals with being chosen by a sentient piece of a Will as the heir to the Keys of the Kingdom.  It was a simple matter of being at the right place at the right time, or in Arthur’s opinion the wrong place at the wrong time that gets him in trouble with the Morrow Days who do not wish to give up their position of power.  If he could Arthur just might let them have their way but instead of just dealing with him they also mess with his family and friends and that is something he can’t allow to happen, because as much as our main character wishes to be a normal boy the other world known as the House in which the Morrow Days and the Will reside will not allow it.

Overall, I would give the book a solid three and say it is worth a read if you are looking for something in general to read that has a unique plot and a fantasy element.  Additionally this is a book that I think many young readers aged late elementary to early middle school would enjoy to read these books.

Book Review: Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

Title: Skippy jon Jones

Author/Illustrator: Judy Schachner

Format: Hardback

Written/Published: 2003

Having worked in education for a few years in college, I became very familiar with several children’s books and many of them walked into my heart and stole it away.  One of those books would be this one.  It is a rather fun and adorable book that is a blast to read aloud.  Of course to read it aloud you have to be comfortable with pronouncing various Spanish words such as frijoles and be comfortable with some slight tongue twisters like Alfredo Buzzito the bad Bumblebeeto who of course is a bandito.  There is a fair bit of rhyming and it can get a little wagging on the tongue when reading aloud but if you put a lot of personality and flair into it, it is a lot of fun and kids love it!

From a teaching perspective there are a lot of great places to pause and ask questions for the kids to help them learn but even if you aren’t going to teach with this book it is still fun to read aloud and I think is better to read aloud than quietly.  Really have fun with this book if you pick it up for yourself.  Read it out loud to yourself if you can and play with the songs they are really cute and are fun!  I can’t encourage you enough on how much fun this book is out loud, though I recommend not getting the audio book of this… I listened to it years ago and I wasn’t that wild about it.  The recording artist did a decent job but his Mama Junebug Jones voice was really awkward!  (That is another fun thing to toss in if you are comfortable with it while reading aloud… voices particularly Skippyjon’s Hispanic accent!)

Over all this is a book I treasure and it is a fun read as Skippy faces off against the great big Bumblebeeto to save the Chimichangos a band of Chihuahua’s that he meets in his closet.  To find out if Skippyjon succeeds in quest you will have to read the book… and I do implore you to have fun with it!  Over all I’ll give this book a 4 page rating as it a rather joyous book but I know it isn’t quite for everyone.

Book Review – The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley

Title: The Book of Bunny Suicides
Author & Illustrator: Andy Riley
Format: Hardcover
Written & Published: 2003

The Book of Bunny Suicides is a fairly accurate title, and happily it is filled with cartoons and not photography. Most suicides are portrayed on a single page with a single bunny, but some are stories over multiple pages and some are suicide pacts. Given the number of suicides, the bunnies have to get fairly creative.

If you’re someone with a sick and depraved sense of humour, this is the book for you. Some of the bunnies have suicided but others are still in the planning phase, so you are rewarded for thinking through everything in the picture. The more twisted your sense of humour, the quicker you will get the joke.

Most of the suicides draw on historical events and a variety of cultural icons. There are Hitler jokes, Star Trek references, and a complicated suicide involving an aircraft toilet. Two bunnies refuse to get on Noah’s ark, preferring instead to read a book, drink a cocktail, and do some sunbathing. Others have established a petting zoo at the local leper colony. All of them are clever in their own way.

Readers who do not appreciate jokes about death will not find this book funny, and anyone who connects this sort of humour with animal cruelty should walk away now. That said, it is a book that can be read repeatedly, your friends can’t give too many spoilers since you know the bunny will die, and it transcends language barriers. For these reasons, I am giving this book 4 out of 5 pages.

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