The Daughter of Auschwitz – Tova Friedman & Malcolm Brabant

Before the war, Jews comprised about 30 per cent of Tomaszów Mazowiecki’s population. But out of the 13,000 Jews resident in 1939, just 200 were still breathing at the end of the war in 1945. Only five were children.

Tova Friedman was one of those children.

Tova had never known freedom. Almost exactly a year older than the war, Tova survived three and a half years in the ghetto of Tomaszów Mazowiecki before being transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

To experience Auschwitz as an adult is something I can barely imagine. To experience it as a child is incomprehensible.

I’ve read a number of books written by Holocaust survivors. No matter how much I read, I will ever be able to fully understand the impossible choices they had to make and the unimaginable horrors they both witnessed and experienced firsthand.

Choosing to read about the capacity people have to commit atrocities is painful but necessary. We must never forget the Holocaust.

That anyone survived Auschwitz is extraordinary. To read about survivors who have gone on to lead meaningful lives astounds me. Having survived humanity at its worst, survivors like Tova demonstrate a level of fortitude and resilience that will never stop inspiring me.

Talking about it not only reminds people of the evil that took place, but can also help them to see the ability in each of us to overcome.

Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

‘I am a survivor. That comes with a survivor’s obligation to represent one and half million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. They cannot speak. So I must speak on their behalf.’

Tova Friedman was one of the youngest people to emerge from Auschwitz. After surviving the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Central Poland where she lived as a toddler, Tova was four when she and her parents were sent to a Nazi labour camp, and almost six when she and her mother were forced into a packed cattle truck and sent to Auschwitz II, also known as the Birkenau extermination camp, while her father was transported to Dachau.

During six months of incarceration in Birkenau, Tova witnessed atrocities that she could never forget, and experienced numerous escapes from death. She is one of a handful of Jews to have entered a gas chamber and lived to tell the tale.

As Nazi killing squads roamed Birkenau before abandoning the camp in January 1945, Tova and her mother hid among corpses. After being liberated by the Russians they made their way back to their hometown in Poland. Eventually Tova’s father tracked them down and the family was reunited.

In The Daughter of Auschwitz, Tova immortalises what she saw, to keep the story of the Holocaust alive, at a time when it is in danger of fading from memory. She has used those memories that have shaped her life to honour the victims. Written with award-winning former war reporter Malcolm Brabant, this is an extremely important book. Brabant’s meticulous research has helped Tova recall her experiences in searing detail. Together they have painstakingly recreated Tova’s extraordinary story about one of the worst ever crimes against humanity.

Which Way to Anywhere – Cressida Cowell

K2 is a seemingly unremarkable boy who does his best not to stand out. Izzabird, his twin, is smart, funny and chatty. Their family has a strange Magical history –

‘There’s nothing strange about US!’

but the twins are under strict instructions not to tell anyone.

The stepfather doesn’t suspect he married into such an interesting family. Neither does Theo, his intelligent and sporty son, or Mabel, his quiet and kind daughter.

The magical secrets are bound to get out, though, because the four older children are about to go on a rip-roaring adventure twenty gazillion miles away. Annipeck, their baby sister, has been kidnapped and they’re getting some family bonding time, whether they want it or not.

There’s nothing like an adventure to find out whether you are a Hero or not.

This book is chock full of illustrations that bring the human earflings and their out of this world adventure to life. There are some great chapter titles, like A Stranger Enters the Story and the Story Gets Stranger Still, that really drew me in.

The narrator addresses the reader but not often enough that it becomes annoying. I had some trouble deciphering a few of the words that accompanied the illustrations during the early chapters but didn’t have any problems with this once I got used to the handwriting.

There’s an environmental message and I witnessed some pretty impressive courageous acts. A number of characters were vying for the coveted title of Big Bad.

Amongst all of the arguments and chaos there was a surprise misty eyed moment that had me trying to figure out how to get myself grafted into the O’Hero-Smith family.

‘This is what being a family means.’

Thankfully this is the first in a new series. I absquo-lootely adore books where someone can say, ‘Something’s spooked the toothbrushes …’ and it makes perfect sense.

I have so many questions, including those raised by the story’s narrator. I’m looking forward to getting to know the Aunts better; they have the potential to be fabulously fun to follow around. I definitely need to borrow one of their vacuum cleaners.

The sky’s the limit here, with as many worlds to explore as the author can imagine. This book has given me a taste for what magic is possible but it’s clear we’ve only just scratched the surface.

Make sure to put your thinking cap on and spritz some Steri-gas on yourself before you step into this Otherworld.

Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

K2 O’Hero is a seemingly ordinary boy from a truly extraordinary family – he and his twin sister Izzabird have been sworn to keep their family’s history of magical explorers a secret. Not even their infuriating stepsiblings, Theo and Mable, know magic exists. They believe K2 to be the most hopeless person they have ever known.

But K2 has a secret gift.

He draws maps of worlds that are beyond the wildest of imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers, armoured robots and dark, twisty jungles alive with cannibal plants who hunt by the smell of fear. But what K2 doesn’t know, is that the maps he draws are real. They are worlds beyond the world we know, and the maps he draws make up an Alternative Atlas showing the exact spot where the worlds cross.

K2 and his warring siblings are going to have to use this gift to cross over into another world on a daring rescue mission to save the one thing they agree on: their baby sister Annipeck who they all adore. And with a terrible beast and a petrifying robot assassin in their way, they must work together and learn how to be brave – because the future of their family is at stake …

Crochet Magical Creatures – Drew Hill

You’ll find my crocheting skills about fifteen steps and many tears below beginner level. I can do a slip knot and my chain stitch actually looks like a chain stitch now. I think I did two rows of single crochet stitches one time.

Because my imagination is much more advanced than my ability to actually make yarn do what I want it to, I saw the cover of this book and decided that I was going to crochet a dragon.

I’m now just the teensiest bit obsessed with amigurumi.

This Japanese term combines the words for “crochet” and “stuffed toys”

Part 1 covers everything you need to know before you create your magical creature, including the supplies you’ll need, the stitches you’ll be using, how to read patterns and giving your creation life, AKA assembly.

Part 2 provides instructions that will allow you to create twenty magical creatures. My current favourites are:

🐉 Davina the dragon

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🐷 Basil the flying pig

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🐙 Konrad the kraken

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🦄 Moira the pegacorn.

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One day in the hopefully not too distant future I’m going to crochet a dragon and it’s going to be amazing!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Rockridge Press, an imprint of Callisto Media, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Make a little crochet magic, one stitch at a time.

Grab your hook and dive into a world of fantastic creatures with this whimsical crochet book. Learn about amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed toys, and use it to make a collection of cute, magical creatures. Easy patterns for critters like griffins and caticorns are simple enough for beginners while also offering plenty of fun for experienced enthusiasts.

  • Build your tool kit – Learn all about choosing different hook sizes, selecting the perfect yarn for your project, and stocking must-have amigurumi accessories like stuffing and stitch markers.
  • Stitch, please – Use clear step-by-step instructions to review essential crochet techniques, including the magic ring and single and double crochet, as well as fun stitches like the picot.
  • Jump into easy crochet patterns – Make dazzling dragons, marvellous mermaids and more, with 20 simple amigurumi patterns that will have you crocheting with confidence.

Add a little enchantment to your life as you discover the joy of crocheting fantastical creatures!

A Walk in the Dark – Jane Godwin

Otway Community School isn’t like other schools, with an approach that’s more collaborative than prescriptive. Head Teacher Johan has even managed to get the parents on board for the Year 9 students to participate in the Dutch tradition of dropping.

‘So, you know the arrangement. We drop you in the forest at four pm, and you must find your way back to school by midnight’

Teams of five will work together to negotiate the 27km (over 16.5 miles) of bushland between the drop location and school. They’re given some instructions, a map, first-aid kit, head torches, compass and a phone (for emergencies only) before they’re sent off into the woods.

We tag along with one of the teams:
🦉 Fred, who has a chip on his shoulder, is the new kid.
🦉 Ash always smiles and is friends with everyone.
🦉 Chrystal is an exchange student who carries a Snoopy stuffed toy everywhere she goes.
🦉 Elle’s an all-rounder who has needed to adapt each time her family have moved.
🦉 Laila, Elle’s friend, lives in a treehouse and is into yoga. Nothing really bothers her.

What the team initially thinks will be a walk in the park becomes anything but. This is a night that will change all of their lives.

I loved seeing Fred’s artistic side find its way to the surface each time he identified a colour by its corresponding Derwent pencil name. Chrystal’s idiosyncrasies made me want to get to know her better.

While the main storyline is resolved, I have some unanswered questions and wish I’d gotten to know some of the characters better. I’m most interested in finding out what changes take place in Fred’s life as a result of the dropping.

Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

‘It’s just a walk in the dark. What is there to worry about?’

That’s what the head teacher, Johan, says. And so the Year Nines from Otway Community School set out on an overnight hike, with no adults.

But doesn’t Johan know that a storm is coming?

When five teenagers head in to the forest that late afternoon, none of them is aware what the night will bring. Each will have to draw on their particular strengths to survive. Each will have to face the unknown, battling the elements, events beyond their control, and their own demons. It’s a night that will change everything.

Set in the rainforest of Victoria’s Otway Ranges, A Walk in the Dark is about friendship, trust, identity and family, consent and boundaries, wrapped in a compulsively readable, suspense-filled adventure.

Five head into the forest, but will all five make it out?

The Lighthouse – Alex Bell

Don’t go near the lighthouse.

There’s not much to do on Bird Rock. The island has no shops, locals or phone reception. What it does have are thousands of gannets, some stone bothies, a lighthouse and an abundance of guano.

Fifteen year old Jess Oliver is definitely not keen on spending two weeks of her summer vacation there. Rosie, her twelve year old sister, is more positive about the trip and hopes to take an award winning photo while she’s there.

Their father and his new wife, Kate, both ornithologists, are working on the island. The sisters will be meeting Charlie, their stepbrother, for the first time.

“The lighthouse is haunted. Cursed. It’s a dangerous place. Something will happen if you stay here. Something bad-”

Because this is an Alex Bell book, and a Red Eye one at that, it’s not long before strange things begin to happen. This was a compulsive read, with a centuries old mystery at its heart, some great creepy moments and a dose of sadness.

I enjoyed the gradual reveal of the history of the lighthouse and absolutely loved that I wasn’t able to figure out what was behind the mystery ahead of time.

Knowing what I now know, I want to return to Bird Rock and experience it all over again.

“I know you’re there.”

Content warnings include mention of death by suicide and mental health. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

On Bird Rock, gannets circle and thick mist surrounds the lighthouse at its centre, hiding the secrets of a tragic past within …

From the second they set foot on the island to join their dad and his new family, Jess and Rosie feel that something’s wrong. Nightmares haunt their dreams and there seems to be someone, or something, else with them in the lighthouse – their home for the summer.

Counting down the days until they can leave, Jess and Rosie decide to investigate. But when Rosie disappears, the countdown takes on a new meaning. Especially when no one but Jess remembers Rosie at all…

The Butterfly Assassin – Finn Longman

No mercy, no hesitation, no witnesses.

I finished reading this book two weeks ago and I’m still having trouble figuring out what to say about it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. I flew through it. It’s not that I didn’t love the characters. I did. So much! It’s that practically everything I want to say about this book wanders into spoiler territory and I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Isabel Ryan is trying her best to reinvent herself as Bella Nicholls. Isabel was trained as a contract killer by Comma, one of Espera’s two guilds. Bella is an ordinary high school student, a civilian.

She’s seventeen, she’s safe, and she got out.

One day maybe that will feel true.

Isabel is one of the best badass characters I’ve ever survived. She’s resilient, surprisingly vulnerable and all kinds of lethal when the situation calls for it.

‘It’s my trauma. You don’t get to tell me how to deal with it.’

Emma is one of the best friends you could ever hope to meet.

She smiles like it’s nothing. Show her how she can help, give her the knowledge to do it, and there it is: joy.

Grace is a librarian, which made her one of my favourite characters even before I knew anything else about her.

‘All I can offer is books and friendly advice, I’m afraid.’

This is a book about surviving against the odds. It’s about extricating yourself from the past when it’s holding on for dear life. It’s about control: being controlled, losing control and taking it back.

Isabel’s past is essentially layers of trauma and her present isn’t any easier. Not only is she trying to cope with the physical and emotional fallout from her life in the guild, she’s doing her best to create a new life for herself in hopes of having a future. Although not specifically identified as such, the portrayal of PTSD was authentic.

I loved that the chapter titles were in Esperanto as well as English. I loved the worldbuilding. I hated being constantly worried about the safety of my favourite characters but loved that, despite the darkness of this book, there was enough light to find them in the first place.

Favourite no context quote:

‘A candle can’t do much against a black hole.’

‘So light another candle.’

Content warnings include child abuse (emotional, medical, neglect, physical, verbal), foster care and mental health. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s UK for the opportunity to read this book. I need the sequel immediately!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Trained and traumatised by a secret assassin programme for minors, Isabel Ryans wants nothing more than to be a normal civilian. After running away from home, she has a new name, a new life and a new friend, Emma, and for the first time in Isabel’s life, things are looking up.

But old habits die hard, and it’s not long until she blows her cover, drawing the attention of the guilds – the two rival organisations who control the city of Espera. An unaffiliated killer like Isabel is either a potential asset … or a threat to be eliminated.

Will the blood on her hands cost her everything?

The Creeper – A.M. Shine

They were just meant to be stories.

Doctor Sparling’s email couldn’t have come at a better time. Stuck in a retail job since completing his masters in history, Ben is both bored and broke. Doctor Sparling wants to pay Ben and Chloe, an archaeologist, to visit a village where time has stood still. Of particular interest to Doctor Sparling is the legend of the creeper.

Confident in his interviewing abilities, Ben expects this job to be easy money but the locals aren’t exactly welcoming.

‘You shouldn’t have come here. There are some things that you shouldn’t know. Nobody should.’

The Watchers made me want to read more books by this author. The Creeper has confirmed that I need to read everything they ever write. Both books major in atmosphere, with a practically tangible dread and claustrophobic feel to them.

You see him three times.

This is a book that takes on superstition and the fear that accompanies it, but it’s not immediately clear if the threat is human or supernatural. The body horror in this book was cringeworthy in the best possible way.

As was my experience with The Watchers, I was conflicted as I read The Creeper, unsure if I was hoping everyone would die so I could witness the horror firsthand or if I wanted the characters to find a loophole that could possibly spare them.

Sometimes hope fades with the light.

Some beliefs are dangerous.

‘Don’t forget about the uh-oh,’ he said

‘Oh, the uh-oh is the best part.’

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Superstitions only survive if people believe in them…

Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen – until they arrive.

The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown.

It seems a nameless fear stalks the streets, but nobody will talk – nobody except one little girl. Her words strike dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer…

That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away…

Graveyard Girls #1: 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War – Lisi Harrison & Daniel Kraus

“Legend has it that every year, on the anniversary of his death, one girl sees a flash of lightning – just like Old Sparky – and hears the thonk-thonk of Hoke’s wooden leg getting closer. Then – poof! She’s never heard from again.”

Sixth graders Whisper, Frannie, Sophie and Gemma are the Grim Sleepers. For the past two years they have had monthly sleepovers where they take turns telling scary stories. In Misery Falls, Oregon, though, the scariest story of all is that of Silas Hoke, the town’s infamous murderer.

Each year, the town hosts Hoke Week, a series of events leading up to the anniversary of his execution. This year, it’s the 100th anniversary since Silas’ death and the “atmosfear” is decidedly spooky.

The first in a new five book series, this was a fun read. The four Grim Sleepers are:

💀 Whisper, the track star. Whisper lives with her father and Miles, her ten year old brother. Unfortunately, Tina, her father’s girlfriend has also moved in and she’s brought Paisley, her daughter, and Rayne, her son, with her. Paisley is one of the popular girls in Whisper’s class. Ugh!

💀 Frannie, the actress. Frannie has twin baby brothers, Sami and Balthazar. She doesn’t want to speak about her falling out with Miranda.

💀 Sophie, the straight A student. Sophie puts an immense amount of pressure on herself to be as good (or better) than Jade, her older sister.

💀 Gemma, the leader. Gemma is the Grim Sleeper who truly believes in the supernatural. Layla, her mother, and Harmony, her aunt, run a metaphysical supplies store called Spirit Sanctuary.

Although she’s not one of the four friends we meet in the beginning of the book, Zuzu quickly became my favourite character. She’s creative and she’s into horror movies. There’s a big part of herself that she keeps hidden and I can’t wait to see her character grow throughout the series.

Although it’s beyond a cliché at this point to have a friendship group consisting of the leader, the dramatic one, the jock, the smart one and the creative one, middle grade readers likely won’t have come across this too many times yet. Despite the cliché, I liked the girls. They each have their own struggles relating to school or family and being able to read chapters from all of their perspectives helped me to care about what happened to each of them.

I may have missed something but throughout the book Frannie keeps the details of the falling out between her and Miranda a secret from her friends. Later, though, we’re told that the whole school knows the story.

One of the characters plays Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, which I’d never heard played on the piano before. I’m exhausted and all I did was watch someone else play it.

I’m looking forward to continuing this series.

I know this town. Its corners. Its alleys. Its hiding spots. Most of all, its dead ends.

And Misery Falls is one giant dead end. Escape is impossible.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Union Square Kids, an imprint of Union Square & Co., for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Meet Whisper, Frannie, Sophie, Gemma, and Zuzu, five friends who tell eerie tales by night and navigate middle school drama by day.

Misery Falls, Oregon, is abuzz as the 100th anniversary of the electrocution of the town’s most infamous killer, Silas Hoke, approaches. When a mysterious text message leads the girls to the cemetery – where Silas Hoke is buried! – life can’t get any creepier. Except, yes, it can thanks to the surprise storyteller who meets them at the cemetery, inspires the first-ever meeting of the Graveyard Girls, and sets the stage for a terrifying tale from Whisper that they’ll never forget.

This slightly scary, extremely addictive story is the first in a five-book series by New York Times bestselling authors Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke And Other Misfortunes – Eric LaRocca

Julia Lloyd’s cover art might have been what brought me here in the first place but I was sucked in by each of the three stories included in this collection.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

Over the course of three months, Agnes and Zoe exchanged a series of emails and instant messages. This redacted communication give you unprecedented access to their relationship, which continually ups the ante in its toxicity. It’s compelling and cringey and unsettling, and I couldn’t look away. And to think, this all happened because of an apple peeler.

“What have you done today to deserve your eyes?”

The Enchantment

Parents grieving the loss of their son become winter caretakers on an island. A knock at the door changes everything.

“I’m here to share a message”

You’ll Find It’s Like That All Over

Mr. Fowler finds something in his backyard that shouldn’t be there. His discovery leads him to his neighbour’s home, where the stakes are raised.

“But I bet you’d fancy another bet.”

I flew through this book. While I wish there were more stories included, I enjoyed all three. There’s a common theme of connection and some very memorable scenes of body horror.

The son’s manner of death in The Enchantment didn’t seem physically possible but, because it fit with one of the themes of the story, I wasn’t overly concerned about the question marks that popped up over my head when I read about it.

The story that’s going to stay with me the longest is Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, especially the scene describing Agnes’ dinner. I definitely want to read more books by this author.

Content warnings include mention of child abuse, death by suicide, death of animals, homophobia, miscarriage, racism and suicidal ideation. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Titan Books for the opportunity to read this collection.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Three dark and disturbing horror stories from an astonishing new voice, including the viral-sensation tale of obsession, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. For fans of Kathe Koja, Clive Barker and Stephen Graham Jones.

A whirlpool of darkness churns at the heart of a macabre ballet between two lonely young women in an internet chat room in the early 2000s – a darkness that threatens to forever transform them once they finally succumb to their most horrific desires. 

A couple isolate themselves on a remote island in an attempt to recover from their teenage son’s death, when a mysterious young man knocks on their door during a storm…

And a man confronts his neighbour when he discovers a strange object in his back yard, only to be drawn into an ever-more dangerous game.

From Bram Stoker Award finalist Eric LaRocca, this is devastating, beautifully written horror from one of the genre’s most cutting-edge voices.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #4: Claudia and Mean Janine – Raina Telgemeier

Text – Ann M. Martin

After successfully avoiding reading about Mimi’s stroke for a year and a half, I’ve now read about it twice in one day; first in the original book and now the graphic novel. I’m more convinced after reading them back to back that this adventure in babysitting should have actually been called Claudia is Mean to Janine. Maybe it’s not as catchy but it is more accurate.

So, the graphic novel. When it was released I’d hoped that Raina would be adapting the entire series. The torch has now been passed to other artists and they’re all really talented as well, but I’ve got a soft spot for the Raina ones. They came first and they’re just wonderful.

I always have fun finding the main differences between the books and their graphic novel adaptations.

The main difference I picked up here isn’t between the book and graphic novel but between Raina’s graphic novels and the ones that followed. Here, Mallory isn’t a BSC member before her time and it’s such a relief. I never knew I was a BSC purist until I saw Malory at BSC meetings before she was supposed to be there.

So, the differences I picked up on between the book and graphic novel.

Book: Begins with Wednesday morning breakfast. It’s summer vacation and Claudia is going to art class, babysit Jamie Newton, shop with Stacey and attend a BSC meeting.
Graphic Novel: Begins with Janine tutoring Claudia in maths because she has an exam. It’s the last week of school. Claudia’s mother’s name is Rioko, which I don’t think I knew before.

Book: Boys don’t feature in the book.
Graphic Novel: We learn that Pete Black held Stacey’s hand on the way home from school. Stacey and Claudia are most excited about this development.

Book: Kristy appears to be over her jealousy of Dawn.
Graphic Novel: Kristy and the green eyed monster are still hanging out. Dawn invites Kristy over to her new-old house and smoothes things over with her. I’m pretty sure it’s the scene from Dawn and the Impossible Three, which hasn’t happened yet in graphic novel world.

Book: We learn that Charlie will drive Kristy the three miles to BSC meetings and back for half the price that Kristy offered him.
Graphic Novel: Charlie isn’t mentioned.

Book: It costs $3 a day per kid to attend the BSC play group.
Graphic Novel: It costs $5 a day per kid to attend the BSC play group.

Book: The play group will be held from 9am to 12:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Graphic Novel: The play group will be held from 9am to 12pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book: The BSC members drop off flyers for their play group to all of the usual suspects.
Graphic Novel: The BSC members drop off flyers for their play group to the usual suspects, but also mention the Davises’. Who are they and why hasn’t anyone introduced me to them yet?

Book: Jenny Prezzioso needs to wear a smock to cover her pristine clothes but no one figures that out until the dreaded grass stain on the first day of play group.
Graphic Novel: Dawn comes up with the idea for smocks before play group commences. The grass stain incident happens regardless.

Book: Janine easily wins the trivia game she plays with Claudia and Mimi.
Graphic Novel: The game doesn’t finish because Claudia quits.

Book: While she’s waiting for her parents to get home from the restaurant, Claudia packs a suitcase for Mimi. She runs out to meet her parents before they get into the driveway.
Graphic Novel: Claudia is freaking out too much to think of packing a suitcase. Her parents make it to where Claudia is sitting on the front step of their house before she realises they’ve gotten home.

Book: Dawn’s BSC notebook entry for the first day of the play group mentions how wild Buddy Barrett, Nicky Pike and David Michael Thomas are when they’re together.
Graphic Novel: Dawn’s BSC notebook entry for the first day of the play group mentions how wild David Michael Thomas, Nicky Pike and Marcus are when they’re together. Who’s Marcus? Is he from the Davis family? What happened to Buddy? Is it because the graphic novels were adapted in the wrong order and we haven’t met Buddy yet in this alternate BSC world?

Book: Claudia gets scared when she first visits Mimi. The next day she is able to talk to Mimi and show her the cards the kids at play group made for her.
Graphic Novel: Claudia gets scared when she first visits Mimi. After her parents and Janine visit Mimi, Claudia tries again the same day. She is able to talk to Mimi and show her the cards the kids at play group made for her.

Book: Claudia doesn’t make Mimi a get well present.
Graphic Novel: Claudia works on a get well present for Mimi.

Book: The Thomas-Brewer wedding happened last week. Karen and Andrew are officially a part of Kristy’s family.
Graphic Novel: Karen and Andrew are almost Kristy’s step siblings.

Book: Louie needs to attend play group because the Thomases are moving tomorrow.
Graphic Novel: Louie needs to attend play group because the carpets are getting cleaned.

Book: Mary Anne cares for Mimi one day because Claudia has a babysitting job.
Graphic Novel: Mary Anne cares for Mimi one day because Claudia needs to help prepare for Lucy Newton’s christening.

Book: Claudia and Janine have a talk and understand one another a bit better afterwards.
Graphic Novel: Claudia and Janine have a talk and understand one another a bit better afterwards. We learn Janine also has a secret stash of junk food in her room. That is awesome!

Book: Janine and Mimi go for a walk.
Graphic Novel: Janine and Mimi go for a walk. Claudia decides to join them. Aww!

Book: During the final BSC meeting of the book, the call comes in that will be sending Mary Anne and Stacey to Sea City with the Pikes.
Graphic Novel: During the final BSC meeting of the book, Claudia says she might need to cut back on her babysitting hours to focus more on school. This leads to talk about Mallory joining the club. Ugh! The current BSC members take a photo to memorialise the BSC’s first anniversary. Yay!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her art than her grades, feels she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, makes straight A’s, and even takes college-level courses. The girls are nothing alike, and they can’t agree on anything. While Janine devotes all her time to working on her website, The Baby-Sitters Club is busy with their new summer play group. But when something terrible happens to their grandmother, Mimi, the two sisters discover they’re more alike than they originally thought.