Book Review: Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods

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Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Tania del Rio, Illustrations by Will Staehle

What begins as a “Sleeping Beauty” tale transforms into an enchanting fantasy. Warren the 13th is not your average twelve-year-old; he is a caring, responsible, and honest orphan. As the naive groundskeeper, bellhop, and manager of the family hotel, he guides the staff as they tend the guests in his cruising hotel, “where every stay is a go!” Indeed, these traveling hotel guests encounter fanciful settings ranging from the Malwoods captivating forest to raging rivers.

Slippery Sid operates a Sundry Shoppe with magical potions, special oils, notions, and assorted products. This old-fashioned haberdashery is complete as a men’s outfitters and tailor; the shopkeeper also serves as a dentist. Read how the elusive Sid becomes Warren’s imposter and calls himself Warrin.

Ordinary animals with magnificent alterations mesmerize readers in grades four through ten. Those who appreciate Tim Burton’s artistic interpretations and stories will enjoy this book. More than a comic book, the literary elements engage the reader with alliteration, simile, metaphor, and onomatopoeia with clever-sounding words and expressions. The descriptive scenes of formidable quicksand, sticky sap, venomous snakes, and supernatural forests leave the reader bewildered and astonished. Stylish fonts and imaginative shading enhance unique drawings.

Learn how Warren faces the obstacles Warrin creates. After continued failed attempts to repair the hotel and redirect the course, can Warren transform the walking hotel into a cruise ship and save the guests and employees? Will Mr. Friggs’ experiences in reading and tutoring aid the passengers? Will the evil tattooed witches plague the course? Will Petula, the perfumier in training, portend the future? Will Warren’s fondness for and knowledge of Jacques Rustybooks piratology properly guide him?

Although the sinister characters in this fable may startle a young reader, the persistence of Warren provide hope that good will prevail over evil. The book is dark without causing nightmares and comical without being preposterous. Read Warren the 13th, solve the riddles, and appreciate the decorative, gothic illustrations. The book is a sequel; nonetheless, books in this series do not need to be read chronologically.

Also check out the first book in the series: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye.

Guest review by Carmaine Ternes: Kansas Librarian, Researcher, Writer, and Presenter

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Magan’s Children’s Book Reviews

Magan’s August Children’s Book Reviews

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau

                Nothing exciting ever happens in the Hill of Dust, a small village in Mexico set in the 1950s. Eleven-year-old Teo has lost his sister and his mother is almost gone. One day, a group of gypsies arrive, bringing an extraordinary girl named Esma, who calls herself the Queen of Lighting. Esma’s grandmother, the Mistress of Destiny, tells them that they are to become lifelong friends. Teo and Esma work together to overcome the impossible and fulfill their fortune of becoming friends for life. The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau is a vibrant story that ignores racial backgrounds and encourages young readers to realize that nothing is impossible. This audiobook would be suitable for young middle-level readers.

Usagi Yojimbo: The Ronin by Stan Sakai

                The Civil War has barely ended and the Shogun has gotten a hold on power in 17th century Japan. There is one master less samurai named Miyamoto Usagi, a.k.a. Usagi Yojimbo who wanders the land. Usagi Yojimbo: The Ronin by cartoonist Stan Sakai is the first book in a series of graphic novels of a samurai’s many adventures during a time of political uneasiness.

I Went Walking by Sue Williams and Julie Vivas

                A young boy begins an exciting adventure, and discovers many different colorful animals. By the end, he finds he has a parade of animals trailing behind him! I Went Walking by Sue Williams is a charming poem for toddlers that teaches colors, animals, and simple vocabulary. The story also includes lovely watercolor pictures by Julie Vivas.

The Truth and Myths about Sea Monsters by L.A. Peacock

                Did you know that some prehistoric whales looked like crocodiles? And the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest ocean! These are some truths about sea monsters, and you’ll also discover some myths about sea monsters such as giant squids attacking submarines in the nonfiction book The Truth and Myths About Sea Monsters by L.A. Peacock.

Check them out!

  • The Lightning Queen

    By Laura Resau

    I Went Walking

    By Sue Williams and Julie Vivas

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    Magan’s April Children’s Book Reviews

    Magan’s April Children’s Book Reviews

    I Want a Monster! By Elsie Gravel

                    All of Winnie’s friends have pet monsters. So she convinces Papa to take here to the Monsterium to adopt baby a monster. They end up adopting a baby Oogly-Wump named Gus. Gus grows up ad matures. But he seems too calm and even a little bit boring. What’s the matter with Gus? I Want a Monster! By Elsie Gravel is an adorable book about a girl and her pet monster.

    Bloom by Doreen Cronin and David Small

                    Bloom is an unusual fairy. She is a mud fairy who lives in a glass kingdom. Her footsteps were heavy and she tracked mud everywhere. A king and a queen ruled over this kingdom. There was an ordinary girl named Genevieve who cared for the queens’ exquisite crustal sugar spoon. The townsfolk don’t’ like Bloom’s mud, so she leaves. Years later, the glass kingdom is falling apart, and there is only one fairy that can save it. Bloom by Doreen Cronin and David Small is a fairy-tale-like book about an adorable little mud fairy that all children are bound to love.

    Forest of Wonders by Linda Sue Park

                    Raffa Santana is a young gifted apothecary who lives near the Forest of Wonders. He comes upon an injured bat and makes a remedy from a rare crimson vine from deep in the forest. The remedy does much more that cure it; it turns into a very unique bat. Raffa does experiments that require him to travel to the forbidden city of Gilden. But he discovers many things that make him wonder whether groundbreaking botanical inventions are worth giving up protecting the Forest of Wonders. Forest of Wonders by Linda Sue Park is a very engaging book that is part of a promising trilogy.

    Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

                    Stella Montgomery lives in the Hotel Majestic in the small town of Withering-by-Sea. But one night Stella witnesses a crime and soon enough Professor Stark and his thugs are after her. With the help of a girl named Gert, Stella sets out to outwit Professor Stark and rescue his mistreated assistant. Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell is an exhilarating book full of adventure that older children are sure to clamor for.

    Check them out!

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