Caraval (#1)

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Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Long time, no see my lovely readers! I currently have some lag in my busy work schedule, so it’s time for some blogger catch up! First up is the over-anticipated Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I received this book in my February Owlcrate and the theme was Run Away with the Circus! I haven’t really mentioned Owlcrate before, but I LOVE my Owlcrate subscription! I’ve received it for over a year now, and this is the first book I’ve read out of any Owlcrate box (Busy schedule and all).

Here was this wonderful box

Capture

On my Goodreads account, you will see I gave Caraval 5 stars!

LOVED the book.

It was magical, intriguing, whimsical, and a constant mystery.

However, I was not very fond of the main character, Scarlett. Her determination to play and win the game stemmed from her sisterly-love, because she needed to find her missing sister, Tella, but she constantly complained that she needed to get back to their island to get married, or that she was getting married and had no idea who her husband was or what he was like. HELLO, you’ve been writing to Master Legend, the creator of Caraval, your entire life, and as soon as you get an invite you can’t just play the game without focusing all your energy on some person you don’t know – did I mention the prize for winning Caraval was a wish, which can literally be anything, like wishing you could marry whoever your heart desired, but okay. While she wasn’t my favorite character, she did make great progress over the course of the whole book and becomes her own person.

Scarlett and Tella’s father is a giant, jerky, douchebag – excuse my language – but he is! He lays his hands on them for “misbehaving”, threatens to kill them if they try to escape, and basically sold Scarlett to the highest bidder (and wouldn’t introduce them until the day of the wedding). He literally gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Let’s talk about Julian.

Julian is Scarlett’s “unintentional” love interest and knight-in-shining-armor.

All I can say is SWOON. I love Julian – go figure he is definitely book boyfriend worthy. I thought the Julian and Scarlett together worked. His and Scarlett’s actions towards each other spoke louder than words. It made me want to fall in love for the first time all over again in a non-cheesy way.

As for the world of Caraval, things are not as they seem! Once you get to Caraval, you can choose to watch the game or participate, but you don’t get to change your decision! Of course, Scarlett chose to participate since she’s been writing to Legend her entire life. The game itself will literally drive the players mad as they scour the island for clues and the hidden item.

SPOILER ALERT

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Tell as invited to join Scarlett in Caraval too, but she got separated from Scarlett once they got to the island. Turns out, Tella is the item they are looking for in the game.

The book was full of twists and turns, and I definitely could not put it down (unless I had to do something of more importance). I thought it was movie worthy, and guess what?! Supposedly, Fox optioned for the rights for the book – back in June 2015. Hello this book wasn’t even released until January 31, 2017! Like, woah

Here are some of my favorite quotes

Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.

Even if we don’t lie to others, we often, lie to ourselves.

A wish isn’t something someone can burn. 

I loved following Scarlett and Julian through the world of Caraval and I can’t wait to go back! Next up on the blogger catch up is This is Our Story by Ashley Elston.  Happy reading lovelies!

 

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Favorite Children’s Books of the Semester

The end of semester is finally here! Luckily for me, most of my classes have already completed finals before Thanksgiving break(Online classes tend to run 10-15 weeks instead of the entire semester). The only thing I have left is a paper due by December 16th!

I finally have the time to make a list of my favorite children’s books from this semester! My EDUC 495 focused solely on book selection for children and I absolutely adored it! So here are the books that made the cut!

Wiggins Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons Restaurant

by Leslie McGuirk

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Wiggens is a Chocolate Labrador puppy who just can’t seem to mind his manners. His parents don’t know what to do, until they discover a place that teaches puppies all about refinement and how to behave — the famous Four Seasons Restaurant! Wiggens is nervous at first, but with the help of a Saint Bernard, he and the other puppies soon learn ten important lessons (and sample delicious food as well). Leslie McGuirk’s playful art and language enliven tips from Four Seasons owner Alex von Bidder in a truly fetching tale about mastering your manners.

This book was adorable! The illustrations are perfect for the story. It’s a great concept book for teaching children about their manners in a restaurant. Plus, who doesn’t love a story about a puppy? Especially a Labrador puppy.

I Went Walking

by Sue Williams

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These catchy stanzas frolic through the Australian author Sue Williams’s simple, funny read-aloud picture book that tracks a crazy-haired boy’s stroll through the countryside. The boy sees a black cat, then a brown horse, then a red cow, and so on, and before he knows it, he’s being trailed by the entire menagerie! The Australian illustrator Julie Vivas brings the parade to life in lovely, lively watercolors—when the pink pig looks at the boy, for example, the boy sprays off his muddy body with a hose. Big type, repetition, friendly art, clean design—and the visual guessing game created by introducing each animal only partially at first—make this beloved tale a winner at story time.

If I’m correct, this is the story that Eric Carle used for his popular book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The stanzas are catchy of course. The little girl in the illustrations is a quirky adorable. I loved reading this one to my preschool class, because it was easy for them to follow along with the story.

The Adventures of Polo

by Regis Faller

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Equipped with a backpack full of supplies, Polo sets off on a little boat–and on a series of delightful adventures that take him across (and under) the ocean, to an island and a frozen iceberg, to space and home again, with a world of magical encounters along the way. Polo’s journey is packed with incident and expression; 80 pages of seamless, satisfying picture storytelling are perfectly targeted to the youngest reader.

This is a delightful wordless picture book. The illustrations are brightly colored and perfectly depict the adventure Polo is on. You can’t help but get attached to the adventure as it perfectly transitions from place to place. A great book for little ones who can’t read yet!

The Lion and the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney

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In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney’s wordless adaptation of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap.

By reading this wordless, picture book, it is clear why it is an award winner! The illustrations are natural in color and absolutely gorgeous! I didn’t even care that there were no words to the story. The illustrations perfectly depicted the story.

The Random House Book of Fairy Tales

by Amy Ehrlich

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I have had this book in my personal library since I was a kid and I absolutely love it. The book contains 19 fairy tales from popular authors The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christen Anderson, and a couple others. The illustrations are perfect for their stories too!

A Child’s Calendar

by John Updike

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This calendar features poems from noted author Updike for each month of the year, accompanied by full-color illustrations of a multiracial family living in the New Hampshire countryside.

I liked this one because the illustrations were perfect. The poems for each month were spot-on. This book brought up the nostalgia of childhood.

Sector 7

by David Wiesner

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Only the person who gave us Tuesday could have devised this fantastic Caldecott Honor-winning tale, which begins with a school trip to the Empire State Building. There a boy makes friends with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7 (the region that includes New York City). The clouds are bored with their everyday shapes, so the boy obligingly starts to sketch some new ones. . . . The wordless yet eloquent account of this unparalleled adventure is a funny, touching story about art, friendship, and the weather, as well as a visual tour de force.

I loved the illustrations in this book! Wiesner took us on an incredible cloud adventure with this story. This should have won the Caldecott Medal instead of just being honorable.  It definitely would have had my vote!

Welp, there you have it, my favorite children’s books I had the opportunity of reading this semester. It doesn’t stop there though! I get to read so much children’s literature between nannying and teaching preschool, so I’m going to start posting some of my favorites!

Happy reading lovelies!