Reviews in Chalk

Everton Miles is stranger than me

Everton Miles Is Stranger Than Me: The Night Flyer's Handbook - Philippa Dowding

sequel to The strange gift of Gwendolyn Golden

by Philippa Dowding

age range: 9 to 12 years old



Gwendolyn is a fourteen years old girl who also happens to be a Night Flyer, which means she has the ability to fly without mechanical assistance. As every Night Flyer she has a Mentor and a Watcher, and she also has all the problems a "normal" teenager has. Everything gets even more complicated when Everton Miles, another Night Flyer, moves to town. Everton is strange, it's true, but not as strange as the black feathered creature who follows Gwendolyn calling her when she flies at night. What it is happening here?


This middle grade novel was very enjoyable to read. The plot is absolutely engaging from the very first pages. Although it clearly has fantastic components, the story is set in a pretty normal small town. There are many funny moments, and some scary ones. Some of the issues of being a teenager are addressed along the way: gifts and responsibility, grief and expectations, dreams and reality. Friendship, in its different forms, is probably the main theme. I didn't read the first book in the series, but I will do it soon. And I really would love to see more books in this series. I think Gwendolyn, Everton, Martin and Jez has still much more to give us.


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



In the land of broken time

In The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey - Maria Evan, Max Evan, Maria Evan, Helen Hagon

by Max Evan

illustrations by Maria Evan

translation by Helen Hagon

age range: 8 to 12 years old



Everything stars when a circus arrives to town and Christopher decides to sneak away at night to see it. There he meets Sophie, they are chased by a guard, and decided to hide in the basket of a hot air balloon. Afraid of being caught they undo the knot, and the balloon flies free caught in the wind. That's when Duke, a talking golden retriever who was sleeping in the basket, appears. All of this is exciting enough. Now imagine when they land in a strange place where time is broken...


In the land of broken time is a short fantastic novel in seven chapters full of action, and adorable characters. The themes are time and friendship. Information about how to measure time and how it affect us is exposed as part of the plot, and the way the characters love and take care of each other is beautifully touching. The illustrations are lovely, colorful, and add to the dreamy feeling of the story. I think this book is an interesting option for kids who love fantastic plots, time travel, and action. It is also a quick read. 


I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Author's faves: Helen and Thomas Docherty

I asked Helen and Thomas Docherty, author and illustrator of The storybook Knight, about their favorite picture books. 

I'll hug you more

I'll Hug You More - Laura Duksta, Melissa Iwai

by Laura Duksta

illustrations by Melissa Iwai

age range: 2 to 5 years old

Sourcebooks / Jabberwocky


There are so many opportunities during the day for a good hug! When the days starts, when we read a book, to say hello and to say goodbye, to say thank you and good night. And tomorrow we can find ever more opportunities for more hugs.


Flip sided book full of beautiful illustrations you feel like touching, and calming rhymed text. Ideal for a bedtime story, right before a huge hug. 


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author's faves: Susan Hughes

I asked Susan Hughes, author of Maggie McGullicuddy's eye for trouble, about her favorite pictures books.

Dojo surprise

Dojo Surprise - Chris Tougas

text and illustrations by Chris Tougas

age range: 2 to 5 years old

Owlkids Books


How do you prepare a surprise birthday party for a Master Ninja? He is SO aware, using his ears and eyes! The little ninja girls and boys tiptoe, hide, scurry, until everything is ready. Nothing is missing: cake, candles, music and the gift. 


This is not a quite story, on the contrary, it is very interactive. Kids have along the book many opportunities to scream "Aaah!" when the Master Ninja gets scared. Funny, noisy, and with lovable characters. Be prepared to read it lots of times. 


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Maxwell the monkey barber

Maxwell the Monkey Barber - Cale Atkinson

by Cale Atkinson

age range: 3 to 6 years old

Owlkids Books


Maxwell the monkey barber is ready to give you a trim or a chop, or even to help you solve your baldness problem. And he is always gentle and says "your hair's the best I've seen today".


Rhymed text and colorful pictures tell the funny story of a bunch of lovable characters and their curls, manes and mustaches. Great option for a read aloud time


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The bear who wasn't there

The Bear Who Wasn't There: And the Fabulous Forest - Oren Lavie, Wolf Erlbruch

And the fabulous forest.

by Oren Lavie

illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch

age range: 5 to 10 years old

Black Sheep/ Akashic Books


What a fantastic read! It all starts with a medium size Itch that scratches itself against a tree, and the more it scratches the more it grows, and it is covered with fur until it looks like a bear. A bear who wasn't there, but now it is. The bear was all alone and wondered if he was the first or the last one, he wanted to know if he was he. And so starts the Bear's journey to discover if he is he, Some other characters will join the adventure, like Convenience Cow and Lazy Lizard, and of course Penultimate Penguin and Taxi Turtle.


The story is deep and philosophical in a disguised way. Bear looks to answer questions like who we are, how we recognize ourselves, and how happy we are with who we truly are. The dialogues, as funny as absurd reminded me of my beloved Alice in Wonderland. Erlbruch is a talented artist, and this is so far my favorite work by him. When I knew this ARC was coming my way, for some reason I thought it was an e-copy, hence my surprise when I received this beautiful high quality hard copy, full of amazing illustrations. 5 stars.


I received this book from the publisher via LibraryThing in exchange of an honest review.

New NetGalley shelf

I'm loving the new NetGalley shelf. Did you take a look?

The most influential female Sci-Fi authors

For all the Sci-Fi lovers in BL.

Author's faves: Lisa Bakos

I asked Lisa Bakos, author of "Too many moose!" about her 5 favorite picture books. 

Bathroom Science

Bathroom Science: 70 Fun and Wacky Science Experiments - Christine Taylor-Butler

70 Fun and Wacky Science Experiments

by Christine Taylor-Butler

age range: 8 years old and up

Portable Press


From the blurb: "Create exploding toilet volcanoes, oozing sink slime, and bubbling bathtub cauldrons…all in the name of science! Each step-by-step experiment uses household and other easy-to-find materials so the young scientist’s lab can be equipped quickly, inexpensively, and—for those who might worry—safely. Bathroom Science highlights the materials, the method, and the scientific “why” behind every experiment. It's spiral bound to stay open while young scientists-in-training measure and mix. And, best of all, Bathroom Science makes science as simple (and occasionally explosive) as going to the bathroom".


This book is amazing. What could be better than have a lab in the bathroom? The experiments are easy to follow, and the "why it happens" is explained in an uncomplicated manner. Many Physics and Chemistry concepts are covered in the activities, but always in an easy and entertaining way. The book is actually very funny and includes puns like "It's snot much trouble. Why would you want to make artificial snots? Who nose why?". The experiment have different level of difficulty, but you can easily see which ones need adult supervision, since those are in red in the table of contents. I guess that now all I have to do is take the plunge and try some experiments with my kids. 


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author's faves: Liza Stevens

I asked Liza Stevens, author of Not today, Celeste! about her 5 favorite picture books. 

Rafi's red racing car

Rafi's Red Racing Car: Explaining Suicide and Grief to Young Children - Louise Moir

Explaining suicide and grief to young children.

by Louise Moir

age range: up to 8 years old

Jessica Kingsley Publishers


It is impossible for Rafi to understand why his dad became so ill in his head, and his thoughts so sad that he decided to end his life. His dad used to be so happy, and loved to play racing cars with Rafi. The red car was always the winner. Red was daddy and Rafi's favorite color. Rafi is angry, and he wants to break his toys, and sometimes he is mean with his friends. He is also scared. Is mom also going to get ill? 

One day Rafi starts visiting Ellie in a special room at school. Ellie helps him feel better. She understands how Rafi feels, and explains to him that what happened is not his fault. Slowly Rafi starts to enjoy playing with his friends again, and also going to school. He loves his mom, and understands that although it is normal to be sad sometimes, everything is starting to feel right again. 


Wonderful book to help young kids to understand something it is so hard to understand, even for us adults. It is a sad story, but at the same time is hopeful and wishful. The illustrations tell the story as much as the text. Rafi feelings are so well shown in them!

As I have mentioned before, it is great to see more picture books concerned with mental health topics, such as Not Today, Celeste! and Everywhere and all around


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Abigail the whale

Abigail the Whale - Davide Cali, Sonja Bougaeva

by Davide Cali

illustrations by Sonja Bougaeva

age range: 4 to 8 years old

Owlkids Publishing


Abigail hates to swim. She always tries to be the last in the line, because she knows what is coming. When she dives in her body, which she sees large, big, and heavy, makes a huge wave, and everybody starts saying "Abigail is a whale!". Oh, how she hates to swim!

Things changes the day her swimming teacher tells her that "we are what we think", and that if she wants to swim light, she has to think light. Abigail decides to give it a try, and actually when she thinks water she feels liquid, and she is not scared anymore when she thinks giant. Next Wednesday is time to try it in the pool. Can Abigail do it?


The story has an interesting approach to the topic of bullying. We don't have to accept what others say about us as the truth. It is much more important the way we feel about ourselves. Abigail is adorable, and she looks beautiful in these amazing illustrations. My 3 years old son wanted to look a thousand times to the picture of Abigail swimming underwater, and I can perfectly see why. It just makes you feel like swimming! Abigail learns what a great swimmer she can be when she just think that this is possible, and this is a wonderful message. She can also be a whale if she feels like splashing some naughty kids. :)


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Armstrong. The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon

Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon - Torben Kuhlmann

by Torben Kuhlmann

age range: 7 to 10 years old

NorthSouth Books


Armstrong is a little mouse who wanted to show the rest of the mice that the moon wasn't a ball of cheese. He works untiringly to understand the concepts involved in space travel, and after that in creating a safe rocket ship. Despite the obstacles Armstrong never gives up, until his dream comes true. 


This is a picture book for older kids who are independent readers. It can also work for reading aloud to some younger kids interested in the topic since the text is not extremely challenging, but in this case I see its length as an issue. In any case the quality of the book is worth a try. The illustrations are incredibly beautiful. The story is full of them, detailed and expressive. I also includes many rocket sketches that I really loved. I read Moletown by Kuhlmann some time ago, and I am still impressed by his talent as an illustrator. At the end of the book "A Short History of Space Travel" is included. A book to own. 5 stars.


I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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