Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to the July and August 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 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 online resource.

For this month’s special feature I am looking at books that are about mermaids and sea monsters. Often when we think of mermaids we think of pretty girls with fish tails who sit on rocks and comb their hair. We forget that in mythological stories and fairy tales, mermaids are often beings who lure ships onto rocks so that they are wrecked. You will find both kinds of mermaids in the books in this feature. Some are sweet and lovable  and some are highly dangerous. Similarly, sea monsters can be terrifying creatures that are to be avoided at all costs, or they can be gentle creatures.

In July and August most schools are closed for the summer vacation, and children all over the world get ready to enjoy family holidays, days at camp, and many other summer activities. When I was growing up, we would escape the heat of town by going into the mountains for a few weeks, or we would camp at the seaside. These camping trips were wonderful, and I still remember the hours I spent snorkeling, looking for pretty stones on the beach, and watching the fishing boats chug past. You will find a large collection of books about going to the beach on the Days at the beach page.

For this month’s Editor’s Choice title, I have selected The Wind in the Willows. This classic and timeless tale has charmed children and adults alike for generations. The stories of Mole, Ratty, Toad, Badger and their friends take readers into a simpler world were the rhythms of nature are cherished and appreciated, and where friends come together to help one another in bad times, and to celebrate together when all is well with the world.

In every issue I spotlight a series that I am really enjoying, or have enjoyed in the past. For this issue I chose The Aurora County Books. I fell in love with the first book in this series, Love, Ruby Lavender when it first came out in 2001. Since then we have been blessed with three other books that are set in the same place. The latest of these books came out recently and I have reviewed it in this issue. The characters in these books are delightfully colorful and they are often rather peculiar as well; in the best possible way of course. With humor and sensitivity the author explores human relationships in creative ways, and we come to love the people (and the animals) who call Aurora County home.

Clearly I am a fan of the author of this series, Deborah Wiles, so it should come as no surprise that I chose to feature her on the Author Spotlight for this issue. So far Deborah has written six books for young readers and each one of them is a gem. I hope that you will get to know and love her work as I do.

When I choose the award-winning books that I want to feature on TTLG, I don’t only look at the recent winners. I also go back and review books that won in the past. In this issue I look at the book Matilda, which was written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. This funny and memorable story won the 2017 Sainsbury’s Classic Children Book Award.

Finally, take a look at the Bookish Calendar page for book reviews about Henry David Thoreau, volcanoes, the moon landing, Amelia Earhart, 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.

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.

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, and I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,