A Turtle’s Guide to Introversion – Ton Mak

It’s a well established fact that I’m an introvert. Besides my lived experience, I have also found multiple books that could have been written about me.

I found myself on almost every page of Debbie Tung’s Quiet Girl in a Noisy World. If my introversion was ever in doubt (it wasn’t), the perfect score I achieved on Jenn Granneman’s signs I might be an introvert in her book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, was a big ‘I told you so’ to any naysayers out there.

If you’re a kindred introvert, you’ll probably get some validation and a reminder that you’re fine just the way you are from this book. If you’ve already read books that talk about introversion on any detail, it’s unlikely you’ll find any new information in this book.

This gift book has cute illustrations. However, I found the colours jarring. I read this book on an iPad; maybe the colours would look better on a different screen. It’s also possible, because I’m mindful that I read an advanced copy, the colour scheme could change prior to publication.

Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A Turtle’s Guide to Introversion is a delightful illustrated gift book that celebrates the wonderful qualities of introverts through the everyday adventures of a turtle.

Being an introvert comes with numerous advantages and the occasional woe, and no animal knows that better than the humble turtle hiding in its shell. This book celebrates introverts and their many wonderful, often-underrated qualities. 

Perfect for introverts and extroverts who are secretly introverts. And for those who likes turtles.

My Little Occult Book Club – Steven Rhodes

Remember those Scholastic catalogues you used to drool over as a kid? This book is sort of like those, if they went over to the dark side. Retro style book covers are given a makeover by artist Steven Rhodes.

Although you can easily imagine the contents of the stories these covers depict, blurbs accompany a few of them. You’ll also find some activities scattered through the book, including a join the dot abomination and find a word (words I found include necromancy, grave and hex).

Make sure you pay attention to the names of the authors. You’ll find such gems as Lou Siffer, who wrote Pumpkin’s Revenge.

After centuries of being plucked, carved, and left to rot, the Pumpkin Demon has awoken, and this Halloween it will have its revenge!

A spine-tingling tale of vegetable justice!

This was a fun but very quick read. My favourite covers were Worship Coffee

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Image source: Threadless

and Timmy has a Visitor.

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Image source: Author’s Website

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the opportunity to read this book.

N.B. The quote is taken from the ARC, which may be subject to change.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Need an informative early reader on the subject of necromancy? How about a colourfully-illustrated guide to summoning demons? Whether you are a budding exorcist, or seeking reliable instruction for your first human sacrifice, My Little Occult Book Club is the go-to book for you! 

For anyone who loves their childhood nostalgia taken with a dark twist, My Little Occult Book Club is a laugh-out-loud collection of artist Steven Rhodes’ most popular parody book covers. Framed as a sendup of vintage subscription book catalogs (such as Scholastic book fair or Book-of-the-Month), this book features faux titles such as Necromancy for Beginners, Sell Your Soul! (Economics for Children), Let’s Call the Exorcist, and Let’s Summon Demons, all illustrated in the style of retro ‘70s and ‘80s children’s books. With short book descriptions every few pages, funny puzzles and activities, fake mail order offers for free gifts (“Cursed Videocassette!”), and even a free, fold-out poster included in the book, My Little Occult Book Club is the perfect gift for little devils of all ages.

The Truth About My Unbelievable School … – Davide Cali

Illustrations – Benjamin Chaud

Why have I only just discovered the genius that is the partnership between author Davide Cali and illustrator Benjamin Chaud? This book takes you on a tour of one of the coolest schools ever! I could easily see kids graduating from this school and then moving on to finish their high school years at Hogwarts. That is the level of cool we’re talking about here!

Henry’s teacher asks him to give the new girl a tour of the school. Henry, fully decked out in his pinstriped suit with coordinating socks and tie, proceeds to show the new girl around his “there really isn’t anything to see here” school.

Henry nonchalantly climbs the ladder to feed the class pet fish, a ginormous jellyfish. The pair wander past the school’s music room, art room and math corner before taking a peek at the secret science experiment that’s almost finished.

The shortcut to recess takes them through a twisty clear tube reminiscent of the one that ended Augustus Gloop’s tour of Mr Wonka’s factory. Henry’s fellow classmates are playing in a tree that includes a very ho-hum roller coaster.

Between recess and lunch they drop in on some more classes, and after lunch they check out the school library and wonder what the teachers get up to in the teacher’s lounge. After a few more stops the pair make it back to their classroom just in time to go home. Now that was good timing! There’s even a surprise at the end of the book that I certainly didn’t see coming and made me chuckle.

This kid’s book is so imaginative. There’s such a disconnect between the boredom of showing the new kid around school and the wild illustrations that show just why this school is so unbelievable. Unbelievably awesome, that is! The illustrations are detailed and funny.

While kids will love the illustrations and marvel at all of the incredible things they wish their school would have on offer, adults will probably even appreciate them ever more.

I was delighted to come across some fun allusions to Creature from the Black Lagoon, Smaug, Pippi Longstocking and The Phantom of the Opera. Once you’ve read the book I’d encourage you to carefully check each illustration as there are some scattered clues to the surprise ending for you to find.

I got to the end of this book and then immediately subscribed myself at the publisher’s website, went to order everything my library has from this duo and told Mum she’s going to love this book. I need to either recreate or move in to this school’s library!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Beware of … this school?! Henry is taking his new classmate on a whirlwind tour of their school. Mysterious inventions lurk, the cafeteria requires ninja skills, and some teachers may be monsters! Is this fantastical school to be believed? Or is there an even more outrageous surprise in store?

Celebrated international author-illustrator team Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud – the duo behind Junior Library Guild selections I Didn’t Do My Homework Because … and The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer … – are back with yet another rollicking tale about truth, lies, and … school!