Favourite Children’s Books | Top 5 Wednesday

Todays discussion is a Top 5 Wednesday topic where I’ll be discussing my favourite children’s books (or middle grade books) this week! This list consists of books that were mostly read in my childhood, so I apologise in advance if I have very little to say about them.

Personally, I very rarely dabble in books that are children’s or middle grade books, as I typically don’t enjoy juvenile aspects. However I can appreciate the following books in this list for what they were!

5. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Volume 1: BFF by Amy Reeder

This is graphic novel was actually a very recent read. If the word ‘dinosaur’ is attached to a title, and a superhero novel at that, I am a very very likely to pick it up. The premise was incredibly inticing – a nine year old girl black girls, is who canonically the smartest protagonist in the Marvel Universe, teams up with a dinosaur? (Honestly, that sounds a little like a wet dream I had once.) Unfortunately whilst this book didn’t live up to my own expectations. I think it’s been wrongly genre’d as Young Adult, but I can definitely see this book appealing to those who fall under the Middle Grade audience.

4. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

I had a wonderful teacher in primary school who used to read this to my class. She had the most animated wonderful voice, that enamoured children who didn’t enjoy reading. This book has stuck with me ever since because of her. In fact, majority of the books I read pre-teens wasn’t self read but read via this teacher.

3. The WitchesMatilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is a treasure trove of children’s stories. The Witches, Matilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory are my specific favourites of his. He creates clever and innovative stories that every child should get to experience. Also Matilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory were some of my favourite movies as children. Even now I could watch those movies and still be enamoured by the stories!

2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I must admit I haven’t read the physical editions of the Narnia books. I did recently listen to the BBC audiobooks for the first two books, but they were shortened versions of the story and not really satisfying. I loved the movies when I was younger and would love to revisit these stories some day.

1.Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Similarly to my experience with The Enchanted Wood, this was read to me by the same teacher. I have faded memories of my class erupting in laughter because of this book and by extension the following instalments. I’d highly recommend this book for children.

❊ ❊ ❊ ❊ ❊ ❊

Thank you so much for reading my T5W list. Here is a link to the goodreads group with more information if you’d like to participate in future discussions! Carly

Justice League Dark, Volume Three: The Death of Magic

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Spoiler Free Review

Graphic Novels | DC Comics

Justice League Dark #3.0

My Rating: ★★★

From the three stars I’m sure you can gather I really enjoyed this graphic novel. And I can confirm I definitely did. I don’t think I liked it as much as Justice League Dark, Volume 2: The Books of Magic, as I did have some slight problems with it.

My first criticism is the very random and out of the blue romance between Deadman and Madame Xanadu. There was absolutely zero foreshadowing for this romance, in fact, I can barely remember a time they had a substantial conversation. In hindsight, I can see this is just a minor flaw but up until this point I was really enjoying the story-telling. Although had it been handled better, I can really see Deadman and Madame Xanadu becoming an item.

My second criticism is the biggest gripe I have with this graphic novel and it’s that Zatanna was barely in it. Was she in another graphic novel at this point in time and that’s why she wasn’t able to be in JLD? I’m not sure. However it would’ve been nice to have a more ‘human’ character on the team as well as another female character.

Apart from those slight gripes, I found the story really compelling. My favourite thing about Justice League Dark is that the basis of these stories are rooted and magic and I love it. Also, unlike a few graphic novels I’ve read this one felt really consistent with the story through-out and each issue intertwined with one another really well. The dialogue between the characters is typical very witty and I love the platonic chemistry they share. Although each character is great, Constantine provides the most comic relief and it’s fantastic.

There are also some guest appearances from the Flash and Swamp Thing! I’ve yet to read a graphic novel with Swamp Thing, and it’s always great to meet a new character in the DC Universe. I’m a huge fan of the Flash, courtesy of the CW’s show, as well as Geoff John’s Justice League, Volume 1: Origin series. Also I think guest appearances are really great as it livens up the story a little more and sometimes makes it a little more exciting when you add a new dynamic into the team.

I’m highly anticipating the next volume in this series (which will be whenever my library decides to get it!) and I have my fingers crossed for the return of Zatanna!

Birds of Prey, Volume One: Trouble in Mind

13532148I was really looking forward to Birds of Prey, Volume 1: Trouble in Mind. Perhaps I hyped myself up for it a little too much, because ultimately I’m feeling a tad disappointed.

As a relatively new comic reader, I was convinced that it would be great to get into these worlds through The New 52 titles. But I’m starting to notice a pattern with these titles and that is, they feel less like ‘new’ stories. I think it’s really misleading to attach ‘new’ to something, because I personally would anticipate reading about an origin story. Unfortunately Birds of Prey didn’t feel like an origin story, and I was more or less thrown into the deep end with this one.

This criticism doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story. I think it has a lot of potential. But unfortunately because there was very little set up to the story and the characters, consequently I didn’t feel hugely connected to either. Black Canary and Starling (whom I’ve never even heard of before this comic, so she must be new to the DC world) are essentially already in a team before the story starts. I would’ve liked to see their formation as a team, seeing as this graphic is about said team.

I also thought the story-telling was quite weak. It felt very plain and that came off as quite juvenile to me. (But I will say that as of late, I’ve been on a huge fantasy bender, and so I could just used to more intricate writing styles.) Also at times I felt that I was experiencing over exposition. The story would be told through inner-monologue, and it was like having the plot spelled out to me. Instead, why not have the characters engage in dialogue?

Something I really enjoyed was the character designs and their costumes, I really liked how they reflected the character and who they are. Poison Ivy in particular looked really cool and I hadn’t seen her stylised that way before. I’m still unsure if she was wearing a suit, but she had these really cool black tendrils that would change on her face. Although the art was mainly consistent through-out the volume, I did notice a character had gone from having tan skin to whiter skin. I literally thought he was a whole other person. I understand they employ different artists sometimes from issue to issue, but if some things could just remain to avoid confusion on this idiots behalf (I’m talking about me here btw) that’d be great.

Despite not liking the first installment, I will definitely give this series a chance. The writer was clever and left this volume on a good cliffhanger that makes me really want to pick up the next volume!

Justice League, Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns

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Spoiler Free Review

Graphic Novels | Superheroes | DC Comics

My Rating: ★★★★☆

I was pretty impressed upon finishing Justice League, Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis. I am definitely aware of the mixed reviews towards this graphic novel, but personally this volume really appealed to my reading tastes.

I’ll start my review of with a brief history of my reading experience with this series thus far:

Justice League, Volume 1: Origin – I gave ★★★☆☆. I wasn’t totally enthralled whilst reading, nor did this volume excite me about the series. However I thought it was a solid beginning and I therefore gave it a chance and decided to continue with the series.

Justice League, Volume 2: The Villain’s Journey – I gave ★★☆☆☆ and was honestly less than impressed with. I wasn’t a fan of the quarrel’s within the League, I really wanted (and expected) them to start working as a team more. The plot felt like it jumped around too much and there was also a noticeable discrepancy between the character’s ‘screen’ time, so to speak.

However I had a complete change of heart with Justice League, Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis because I pretty much loved it. (I don’t want to hype it up too much for anyone as this could be a real fluke.)

Within the first couple of pages of this volume I felt like I noticed a huge improvement with the quality of story-telling. It felt a lot cleaner and easier to follow. This may be because the characters actually started to get along more and it was apparent they shared a mutual goal.

I will criticise the plot slightly and say the first chapters or so really go against the grain of the title, as it has nothing to do with Atlantis. I think this was worth mentioning as it may mislead some people. But personally it did entertain me, as I have not yet read a comic with Cheetah and was excited to learn more about her relationship with Diana. Not to mention it really exhibited the growth of the team and their willingness and wantingness (whoops that’s not a word) to help each other out and work together.

As well as this, I loved the involvement of Atlantis in this series because aside from this comic series, I know very little about Aquaman and Atlantis. [This could be why I liked it so much.]

Secondly, I thought the characters were much more likeable – which was largely due to the fact that they wanted to work together more. Aside from the weird absence of The Flash, [whom is my favourite 😥 and I can’t recall if this absence was explained…] I felt like there was more of a balance between the characters ‘screen’ time.

I truly can’t wait to start the next volume in the series, it was left on a great cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see which characters [villainous and otherwise] that will be introduced!