Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to the November and December 2019 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 journal 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 that you will find books here that will enrich your lives in some way. 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 2019 list I looked through all the books that I have reviewed this year and picked out the titles that were particularly memorable. 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 a wonderful holiday gift.

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 – with one exception – 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.

For this issue I have chosen to focus on Art and Crafts Books and Kits. So many young people enjoy drawing or making things with their hands, and in this collection there are reviews of all kinds of books and kits that give children the opportunity to learn how to draw, make pop-up books, create animated stories, knit, paint, sew, and so much more. There are also coloring  and activity books in the collection. Nurturing a child’s creative spirit is such a worthwhile thing to do, and these books and kits make is easy to do just this.

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 love this time of year as I enjoy sitting under a warm blanket reading a book. What could be better?

For this month’s Editor’s Choice title, I have selected a young adult novel called Genesis, which was written by Bernard Beckett. This is a book that both young adults and adults will enjoy, and in it readers will find themselves in a future world where everything seems to be as it should be. However, beneath a carefully crafted veneer, lies a truth  that is very disturbing indeed.

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.

The award winning title is one that I pulled out of the archives. Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelman’s won the Caldecott Award in 1954, and on the pages of this timeless picture book readers will meet a little girl who is prone to getting into trouble and having adventures.

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 12th 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 11th to 15th – 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,