Book Reviews

Over the Garden Wall Vol. 3 by Jim Campbell, Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, Danielle Burgos, Art by Cara McGee

Over the Garden Wall Vol. 3 (Over the Garden Wall (Collection) #3) by Jim Campbell, Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, Danielle Burgos, Cara McGee (Illustrations)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

I enjoyed this volume much more than 1 & 2 because even though Greg is still stuck on his quest with the frog, we finally ARRIVE somewhere froggy rather than just passing through more silly meandering shenanigans in the forest. Wirt is still following his brother’s trail and his story is even more fun too because a companion joins him, adding more continuity between each chapter.

The last chapter is similar to the one at the end of volume two, featuring a vintage palette of limited colors, a squiggly squishy drawing style, and a story about the little schoolhouse with all the animals. The story centers on the kitty cat family and it’s really just cute, funny and precious. I loved it!

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Book Reviews

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, illustrated by Katie Harnett

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, also Freymann-Weyr (Goodreads Author), Katie Harnett (Goodreads Author) (Illustrations)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

This is… a sad little book.

But it isn’t so much sad as in depressing, but sad as in: life is hard and it doesn’t always go the way we’d expect it to, we can’t have everything we want, and there’s sacrifices we have to make, whether we like it or not.

However, this book is written in tender, warm and fuzzy language that’ll make you feel like a child again, and that’s what I loved the most about it. It just feels whole-hearted all the way around. (By the way, if this were an objective review I’d give this 3 stars instead of 4.)

It’s hard to say much about the plot without spoiling half the story, but just know that it includes: magic that is hidden in plain sight, enchanted cats (one of which is named TATIANA!!!), an evil sorcerer, dragons with eyes and scales that come in every color, a bourgeois little girl with the warm-heartedness of a thousand suns, and enough kind souls to restore your faith in humanity.

Every chapter is headed by a full page illustration in black and white ink. The illustrations have that loose handmade folksy style that is so trendy nowadays.

The ending is… Not what you’d expect. The ending is the kind of thing I would have been super upset about as a child, so therefore, it would have been a great book to read in a class setting with guiding questions. There’s a LOT to discuss here, and I can see children having very strong opinions about this book for days.

I would recommend this to: young pensive children, and to adults who want to feel cozy before bedtime but also question themselves about the magics they may ignore on the daily.

Book Reviews

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel

travelling cat

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I’m no stranger to books making me cry or briefly tear up but this thing just straight up kept me SOBBING for THIRTY PAGES (at the very end).

And that’s not to say that The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a sad book.

It is a BEAUTIFUL, wonderfully tender journey, full of contemplative stillness, colorful imagery and mindful moments to nourish the soul. It is so sweet and fulfilling. (Think: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and/or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is the story of Nana (the cat) and Satoru (his owner). Through Nana, we learn many curious details about Satoru’s past, we meet old friends, and visit scenic destinations.

Nana is quite insightful and it is pleasant and cozy to be inside her head, since she has a very good grasp of the world and of human emotion.

As for the crying part, don’t let that dissuade you from reading this. It was a good cry, the kind that makes you feel lighter afterwards. And the whole point of the book is to not feel sad about it.

I would recommend this to cat lovers, yes, but not exclusively, since the story isn’t so much about the cat, but his owner. I’d also recommend this as a beach read and a bedtime read, because it’s very relaxing and episodic and you can put it down at any moment with the comforting knowledge that you can take your time to come back to this one. There’s a handful of books I’ve described as “a warm hug”, and this one’s going on that list.

Also it’s going on my top 5 books of 2018, no take-backsies.

Comes out on October 23rd!