Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to the November and December 2016 issue of Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews. I have put together a wonderful collection of reviews for you for this issue, and I hope you enjoy reading the reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them.

As always, the books reviewed on TTLG are carefully chosen by the editor. We only review books that suit the scope of TTLG, and that we feel have something to offer readers. Therefore, all our reviews are positive ones. We hope this will help you to find excellent books for the young people in your lives. If you are looking for books for yourself, we hope you will find books that you will enjoy reading. Please consider buying books through this website. Your purchases help to support our work, and give us the means to improve this free online resource.

Once again I have put together the Annual Editor’s Choice Collection for you to look at. To create the 2016 list I looked through all the books that I have reviewed this year  (there are almost 450 of them) and picked out the titles that I think are the best. All of the books in this collection are stand-alone titles, or they are the first book in a new series and every single one of them would make wonderful holiday gifts.

To further my goal to help people find special books to give to their friends and family members for the holiday season, all the books reviewed in this issue are either stand alone titles or the first book in a series. This is not easy to do because it means setting aside books two, three, etc. in series that I am really itching to read and review. Yes, I really want people to buy books! There are many reasons for this, but I think one of my favorite reasons is that books give me so much joy and I love to spread this joy around as much as possible.

For this issue’s Special Feature I have chosen to focus on books about Dragons. I have always had a soft spot for dragons. Ever since I read Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon, I have been drawn to books that feature these splendid and often magical creatures. Some of the dragon books in this collection feature dragons that are fierce and dangerous, while others contain dragon characters who are friendly and lovable. The books in this feature will suit readers of all ages because there are board books, novelty books, picture books, beginner readers, and novels.

In November and December autumn shifts into winter. During these months, we get serious about bundling up in warm clothes, toasting ourselves in front of warm fires and wood stoves, and finding ways to spend really wet or cold days. I actually really enjoy this time of year as I enjoy sitting under a warm blanket reading a book. What could be better?

For this issues’ Editor’s Choice title, I selected Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I have never read a title like this one before; a book in which the authors use documents, messages, and recorded messages to tell a story rather than a straight narrative. The format is fresh and unique and the story that unfolds is gripping, sometimes terrifying, and completely fascinating.

Every issue I spotlight a series that I really enjoy or have enjoyed in the past. For this issue I chose the Ramona Quimby Books by Beverly Cleary. Yes, these books came out many years ago, but they still appeal to today’s readers. In fact, many adults really enjoy them too. There is something about Ramona, Beezus and their friends and family members that people of all ages find appealing and also comforting. To tie into this Series Spotlight, my Author Spotlight looks at the life and accomplishments of Romana’s creator, Beverly Cleary, who not long ago celebrated her hundredth birthday.

Don’t forget to look at the Bookish Calendar page for reviews about Claude Monet, Roald Amundsen,  the mystery of the Mary Celeste, and much more. This calendar is a great tool to use at home and in the classroom to help children incorporate books more fully into their lives.

There are several bookish events taking place in November that I would like to tell you about. They are:

  • November 1 is National Author’s Day (USA)
  • November 8th is National Young Readers Day (USA) – National Young Readers Day is “… a special day to recognize the joys and benefits of reading.” It was created by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in 1989.
  • November 7th to 11th – National Young Reader’s Week (USA) – National Young Readers Week is an annual event that was co-founded in 1989 by Pizza Hut® and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To make this week special, many schools recruit local “celebrities” to read aloud a favorite children’s book to classrooms.
  • November 20th is Universal Children’s Day

In September of 2012 I launched a project that I would like to tell you about. It is a story blog called Talon Diaries, and it is written by a colorful and very unusual character who is called Gryf. I hope you will come and read Gryf”s blog posts.

For those of you don’t know already, I also publish a blog about children’s books and the children’s book world. On the blog I post reviews, interviews with great authors and illustrators, I offer book giveaways, and I tell you about interesting contests and bookish events. Do visit the blog and sign up for the feed. In the coming year, I will be posting new picture book reviews on Mondays and poetry book reviews on Fridays. I will also be posting articles and award notices on the TTLG Facebook page throughout the year. Do come and Like the page.

Some of the titles I reviewed several years ago are now out of print. Though you cannot buy these books in every bookshop, many of them are still available for purchase on websites like Amazon.com.

I hope you enjoy this new issue, have a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,