Kids’ Books Mini Reviews: How to Catch a Mermaid, The Know-Nonsense Guide to Space, Dungeons & Dragons: Big Trouble (Endless Quest)

How to Catch a Mermaid

by Adam Wallace
Children’s Fiction
Amazon  Goodreads

Summary
How do you catch a mermaid?
You must be very clever.
With mirrors, crowns, and pearls galore, 
this quest can’t last forever!
Review – 4 stars
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. They’re so crisp and colorful, they make the book a joy to read.

The story is told in a ABCB rhyming pattern, with a “verse” on each two page spread. A problem a see a lot with books that try to tell a story in verse is with an awkward flow, but the rhythm of the verses in this story is wonderful and fun to read.

The story is fun, about two kids (and a dog) trying to catch a mermaid, but then they run into some trouble with some sharks and the mermaid ends up saving them. It’s a cute, fun read and just happens to be an excellent length for a bedtime story.

The Know-Nonsense Guide to Space

by Heidi Fiedler
Children’s Non-Fiction

Summary
You’ll learn something new about this huge universe of ours every time you turn the page in The Know-Nonsense Guide to Space

Start by learning about the different planets in our solar system, all the way from Mercury to Neptune (and even dwarf planet Pluto!). Then reach out further and discover about the Milky Way Galaxy and other neighboring galaxies (and what is in them).

On the journey through space, learn about different terms like asteroid belt, nebula, and supernova. Even learn about mysterious black holes!

The Know-Nonsense Guide to Space turns what can at times be dry topics into something approachable and fun. Full of quirky and hilarious illustrations, kids will love learning so much they might even laugh out loud.

Review – 5 stars
This is a very engaging introductory guide to space, including information about the sun, stars, and galaxies, as well as one page info sheets on each of the planets, as well as on space related things like astronauts, robots, satellites, telescopes. The pictures are fun and funky, drawings of the planets personified with smiling faces and sunglasses and the like, rather than actual photographs or realistic depictions of the topics being discussed. That’s part of what makes this book seem more accessible to a younger audience, because it’s fun and cool rather than cold and clinical. This is a great variety of information, and I (at age 32) definitely learned some new things. Definitely for older children, though I think my 4 year old might sit still and let me read maybe a page or 2 at a time to him (but he’d never sit still through the entire book). I can see someone aged 8-12 being really interested in this book.

Dungeons & Dragons: Big Trouble: An Endless Quest Book

by Matt Forbeck
Middle-grade Fiction/Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

Summary
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms Endless Quest books, where you don’t just read a fantastic tale. You become the hero — and choose your own fate.

When evil giants attack your home in Ardeep Forest, your parents think you’re dead and they go hunting for your missing little brother. You wake up and set out after them, helped by a giant wizard who lives in a flying tower. You don’t know where they’ve gone, but you know that if you don’t find them, you’re all in big trouble. Wield your magic wisely against the giants, wizard.

Review – 4 stars
This is a great choose-your-own-adventure style book. You’re chilling at home minding your own business when giants attack! There are lots of choices for you to make, and most o
f the paths lead to a pretty bad ending. Have fun trying to find the path that leads you to a victorious end!

I love how many options there are, and how sometimes when you think you’re choosing the “safe” option there’s a plot twist and it wasn’t so safe after all. I read through this about three times and then gave up trying to survive this encounter with the giants. I sure wasn’t able to find a path to a happy ending, though in flipping through and reading some of the endings there ARE a few… well, it not HAPPY endings, at least less horrible ones that don’t result in your death. 

Warning that there is a fair amount of death and dismemberment in this book (plus giants eating people and choking to death), so it’s not for a very young audience.

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