Aster and he Accidental Magic by Thom Pico

Aster and the Accidental Magic: Pico, Thom, Karensac ...


Aster is a city girl who is suddenly plopped in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to her Mom’s job, she and her family have moved to her Dad’s old village, where nature is everywhere and people are not. Aster has to find her own source of entertainment, which ends up including magic! 

This book gave me serious Hilda vibes, and I am HERE for it. Nature is magical and I’m so glad authors are realizing that more. Aster didn’t initially appreciate the beautiful landscape around her, and that was okay. She learned to love it and found friends along the way. 

There were so many lessons in this book, and they were beautifully taught. The book explored different themes, like parents lying to their children, the importance of team effort, that it’s okay to be angry, and so many more. It was just a joy to read. I didn’t want to come back to reality. I feel when an author makes it difficult to come back to the real world, they have done a spectacular job, and that’s how I feel about Aster and the Accidental Magic.

The Weirn Books by Svetlana Chmakova

The Weirn Books, Vol. 1: Be Wary of the Silent Woods by Svetlana ...


Ailis is a young girl who is also a Weirn, a witch born with an Astral, or a demon guardian. Her life isn’t all that different from other kids though, as she struggles through school, bullies, and crushes. Ailis’s life gets turned upside down when she notices a light on in an old abandoned house. 

    An absolutely wonderful book, this story has an original and unique plot that is complemented with beautiful illustrations that will keep any reader entertained! From the characters to the world building, nothing was forgotten in this graphic novel. 

I loved that the human world lived in harmony with the magical world, and that they shared buildings like the school. The magic was unique too, I’ve never seen anything like an astral before, and loved it. I literally want my own astral. The author created diverse characters that I sympathized with, even the bullies. It left me wanting to read more about everyone and everything, and I hope the author does write and illustrate more!

The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson The Daughters of Ys (9781626728783): M. T. Anderson ...


*Huge thank you to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review*

Rozenn and Dahut are the two daughters of a king and his powerful wife, Lady Malgven. After the sudden passing of Lady Malgven, the king and his two daughters are left to grieve. As each processes their loss separately, they grow apart and bitter towards each other. Rozenn grows to love nature, and solitude. She all but abandons her post as heir to the throne and lives a simple, almost naive lifestyle. Dahut takes on her mother’s magic, learning the mysteries behind the veil and seducing those who show interest. The king drowns himself in earthly pleasures, and is overall a hollowed version of himself. As the family is faced with sudden challenges, each handle them separately, which ultimately leads to profound loss and unhappiness between all of them.

Okay, so wow. I loved everything about this. The story was magical, dark, and mysterious. It left me wanting to know more about everything. The illustrations were so lush and breathtaking, I’ve read this probably three or four times just to enjoy them. I will give fair warning, this is not a happy go lucky type of book, so keep that in mind. But if you tend to enjoy traditional folklore and darker themes, then this is the book for you. I do have to say, I didn’t like the king one bit and that never changed throughout the book, and I wish it had a more satisfactory ending when it came to him. But overall, it was a spectacular book, one that I know I will pick up time and time again.

Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song Donut Feed the Squirrels (Norma and Belly ...


*Huge thank you to Random House Graphic for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Norma and Belly are just two squirrels trying to make it out in the world. When Norma accidentally burns their breakfast, the two set off to find some new food and end on a little adventure to obtain their treat! 

I loved this book, it was simple, sweet, and an enjoyable read. I could see reading this to my nephews, or storytime’s at the library. The illustrations were simple and colored beautifully, the story kept a nice pace and never got dull, and while there was conflict, it wasn’t anything dramatic or intense. There was a nice message that everyone could learn from. And now, I need to go find a donut!

This Is The Rope by Jacqueline Woodson

This Is the Rope: A Story From the Great Migration by Jacqueline ...


This book beautifully illustrates the story of the life of a rope that a young girl finds in South Carolina. The rope follows the girl through her life, her children’s life, and her grandchildren’s life, always helping in different ways. The story begins when the girl finds the rope near her home in South Carolina, and grows up to use that rope to move to New York. She uses the rope to hang flowers from her home, and uses the rope to dry laundry. As her children grow, they use the rope to play games and make friends, and eventually use that same rope to go to college. The story ends with the grandchild giving the same rope to her grandmother for a newer one so she can jump rope outside their lovely home in Brooklyn. 

I would recommend this book to any and all readers, not just children. There is so much about history that we aren’t taught, or briefly mentioned, and the Great Migration is one of them. Thinking back to my own education, I hardly remember anything about the Great Migration or the impact it had on history. This book introduces that part of history without being too serious or dark. It fights typical stereotypes of African-Americans by showing a family succeed and have a wonderful life, despite all the obstacles in their way. It is truly a wonderful role model for African-American children everywhere.

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

This Is Not My Hat: Klassen, Jon, Klassen, Jon: 9780763655990 ...


This book is about a little mean fish who stole a hat from a much larger fish. The little fish kept telling the reader how he would probably get away with his theft and gave various reasons, such as the big fish probably wouldn’t wake up, and probably wouldn’t notice his hat was missing, and probably wouldn’t know who took it and so on. The big fish seemed to know exactly who took his hat and where they were going. He ended up getting his hat back, but what happened to the small fish remained a mystery.

I would recommend this book, but I wish there was more. While I absolutely loved the illustrations, there wasn’t enough to the story. While in the end the big fish got his hat back, he didn’t explain why stealing was wrong, and/or the little fish didn’t even learn a lesson about stealing (or possibly live for that matter). It was a very beautiful book, but I would’ve loved more substance in it.

There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach

There Are No Bears in This Bakery: Sarcone-Roach, Julia ...


This book is not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be about a cat in denial that there was a bear in his bakery that was clearly there. Instead, it is a delightful story about a cat named Muffin who patrols the neighborhood at night, making sure everything was as it should be. One night, he hears a noise he’s never heard before, and decides to investigate it. He finds a huge mouse (a small bear) in his bakery! After realizing it is in fact a small bear and it is hungry, Muffin proceeds to help the small bear eat until he is content. Once the small bear is done, another, larger bear comes to see what’s going on! Muffin helps him eat as well, and once everything has been eaten, they all hug. As dawn approaches, the bears set out for home, and Muffin does as well. As he’s falling asleep in his bed, his owner goes down to the bakery to see a huge mess.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read as it is a short, funny, and adorable book about unlikely friendship. I appreciated that the cat was initially scared both times a bear came into the bakery, but that he realized they weren’t going to hurt him and helped them. I really feel this shows children that just because someone is different or in need, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of respect and kindness. I think this story also perfectly portrayed what it is like having a cat, and as someone with four cats, I love that. Overall a really cute book.

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy, #1) by Molly Ostertag


Aster and his family live in the woods, and for a good reason: they’re magical. The women learn witchery and the men learn to shapeshift. But Aster doesn’t feel like he’s a shapeshifter. He loves witchery and wants to learn it. However his family won’t let him. When a mysterious force starts taking all the boys from their family, Aster realizes he may be the only one who can save them. With the help of his new friend who believes in his magic, Charlie, Aster practices magic and learns spells in secret until he is ready to face the demon that is terrorizing his family. 

I would highly recommend this book for anyone, not just children. The illustrations are what originally drew me to this book, but the story is amazing as well. It has so many wonderful lessons about life, family, and relationships. I love the fact that the main takeaway from this story is to let people be as they are. Aster knew that he was a witch at heart, even if no one else believed him. When he finally accepted who he was, he was able to help the family. It’s a wonderful lesson to instill in children, that being yourself is what’s most important. 

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

The Tea Dragon Society (1): O'Neill, Katie: 9781620104415: Amazon ...


This story follows a blacksmith apprentice named Greta and a chance encounter she had. While shopping for dinner, she finds a creature who is injured. After saving it, her parents tell her who it belongs to so she can return it. When she goes to return the creature, she meets Hesekiel, the owner of an old tea shop. She figures out the creature is called a tea dragon, and after talking with Hesekiel, he offers to let her come and learn about the, whenever she wants. Outside the shop, she meets another young girl, Minette, who is very shy. Through the seasons Greta learns about tea dragons and befriends Hesekiel, Erik, and Minette. They all form a bond together and share their stories with each other. At the end of the story, Greta is presented with her own tea dragon to care for, and she, Minette, Erik, and Hesekiel form the tea dragon society.

I can’t recommend this book enough for anyone to read. There is so much to love in this book. The story itself is wonderful, magical, and LGBT+ friendly which is amazing. The illustrations are like nothing I’ve ever seen, so soft and beautiful and magical in their own way. I love that the world is fleshed out but not too much, leaving room for the imagination. I love that in the end Greta doesn’t have to choose between being a blacksmith and being a tea dragon owner, but decides she can be both. I love that the people aren’t stereotypically assigned. Greta’s mother is large and strong, while her father is dainty and slim. This is a great book for anyone to read and feel included in the world.

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Review of The Tea Dragon Festival (9781620106556) — Foreword Reviews


This book is the sequel to The Tea Dragon Society, but it’s more of a prequel. It follows a younger Hesekiel and Erik as they visit Erik’s home in the mountains to find a bounty they are looking for. Once in the village, Erik finds his family, including his cousin, Rinn. Rinn is a wonderful person who loves their village and wants to help out by gathering supplies in the forest. On one of Rinn’s gathering journey’s, they run into a dragon in human form sleeping. After waking him up, Rinn finds out his name is Aedhan and he’s been asleep for eighty years. Rinn brings Aedhan to the village where he begins helping out villagers as their guardian. Near the end of the story, a Festival begins, and the people mix magical tea dragon tea leaves into their food for Aedhan, so he can experience everything he has missed over the eighty years he’s been gone. 

I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read, not just children. This is another of Katie O’Neill’s finest work. She not only keeps the LGBT+ themes from the previous book, but introduces new elements as well. Though it’s not abundantly clear, Rinn uses they/them pronouns. There was also the element of American Sign Language. One of the villagers was deaf, so everyone in the village learned sign language to be able to talk to her. All of these elements introduce children to parts of world they may not have otherwise known. It lets them know that it’s okay to be different, and to also help those that are different. The story itself is magical and beautifully illustrated, so the other messages are just a bonus. It is truly one of my favorite books.