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Notes on New and Forthcoming Comics

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Another entry in a classic series brought to life in the panels of a comic book.  I found this book to be professionally done and artful, with a story that took me back to my first days of reading this character.


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Newspaper Comic Strips took me back to my 1980s and childhood.  This is an attractively illustrated, wonderfully written, and comprehensively compiled look back at what made The Masters of the Universe so special.

This is a piece of nostalgia I would enjoy over and over again and pass on to the next generation.


A Review of Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

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A Review of Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

I first encountered Donald Miller through his books on the Christian faith.  For readers of those books, this title is a new direction.

Ironically, Miller still manages to touch on a cornerstone of my belief system, which the power of narrative.  Story builds a successful brand, according to this book, and Miller clearly lays out what he means in step-by-step format, as well as through multiple examples from popular culture.

This was an interesting read from the vantage of business, and considering the power of story.  Building a Story Brand is currently available on Amazon.

A Review of The Not-So-Wise Owl by Robert James Parfett

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A Review of The Not-So-Wise Owl by Robert James Parfett
Illustrated by Sarah-Leigh Wills and Simon Hopkins

Being a lover of poetry, I appreciated the way author Robert James Parfett used word play and rhyme to construct a wonderful story in The Not-So-Wise Owl. 

I can see this book working well as a read-aloud for younger children, a choice read for slightly older children, or even a textual analysis for upper elementary/middle grades children.  It was, admittedly, entertaining to read for an adult who just enjoys verse, as well.

The story builds thoughtfully and includes many characters, as well as dialogue, which is important for children to learn and discover as they read and become young authors themselves.

My review copy did not contain all of the illustrations, but if they are anything close to the cover art, I am sure they would pair well with the book's direction and theme.



The Works of David Turri

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The Works of David Turri

Author David Turri was kind enough to provide copies of his books for my review.  I first encountered Turri's work in the novel, Escarpment.  My most recent update on this book, as well as an interview with Turri, can found here: http://dehartreadingandlitresources.blogspot.com/2017/12/an-interview-with-author-david-turri.html.


In Escarpment, Turri showed a talent for description and characterization.  Those talents are no less obvious in his other book, A Pig with Three Legs.  This book demonstrates Turri's ability to tell a story that includes crime, humor, and a balance of dark and light moments.  Again, this author gives us a character capable of carrying us through a full-length story.

In 29 Argyle Drive, Turri explores some new territory.  Suspense and thrill are set up in this book from the very beginning, and work nicely with Turri's attention to detail, characterization (this word appears many times in my words about this author's word…

A Review of In Another Country and Besides by Maxwell Jacobs

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A Review of In Another Country and Besides by Maxwell Jacobs
Author Maxwell Jacobs was kind enough to provide a hard copy of his book for this unbaised review.  The book is attractively packaged, first of all, and the expatriate story it contains reminded me of the Lost Generation.  Reading this title is like taking a journey.
There is an element of suspense and mystery that works well "In Another Country and Besides," in addition to this sense of the traveler that we get throughout the narrative.  I was detecting shades of Patricia Highsmith, another author I enjoy who has set her stories in different geographical regions and includes this "edge of the seat" element.  It is no small irony that Jacobs includes a quote from Christopher Marlowe at the beginning of the book, which helps set the tone for some of what the reader encounters.
Jacobs best succeeds in fleshing out his main character for us, and in appealing to our senses through the character's travels.…

A Review of Jesus the Lord according to Paul the Apostle by Gordon D. Fee

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A Review of Jesus the Lord according to Paul the Apostle by Gordon D. Fee

Writing in a way that is both academic and accessible, Gordon D. Fee is meticulous but in his treatment of Pauline theology.  Part of this is due to Fee's use of word study, but there is a global perspective about the themes found throughout the New Testament that informs this work, as well.

Doctrine is given full attention as Fee expounds in holy scripture, tracing the development of Christology through the time-honored words of Paul.

Fee provides a heartfelt introduction to the book that grounds it firmly in his work.  I found the book to be insightful and neatly arranged.

A Review of Peter & Lisa: A Mental Illness Children's Story by Charles Katz and Linda Baron Katz

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A Review of Peter & Lisa: A Mental Illness Children's Story by Charles Katz and Linda Baron Katz

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Peter & Lisa: A Mental Illness Children's Story by Charles Katz and Linda Baron Katz.

I appreciated the professionally-done imagery in this children's book, as well as the powerful and well-developed story in its pages.  What is more, I appreciated the way this book acted as a companion piece to other books for adults that I have recently encountered on this topic (Linda Katz's own book, Surviving Mental Illness).  This reminded me of the way the book Wonder has worked so well with a children's book adaptation.

Each story works well and remarkably on its own.

Literature for young children need not be pigeon-holed into a small number of story types, and this book is evidence of that fact.  Real-world issues can be dealt with directly and with grace in children's books, as well as any other book can manage.

The pages are…

A Review of The Comic Book Story of Video Games

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A Review of The Comic Book Story of Video Games

This book is a great use of the graphic novel medium to tell a very different kind of story.  This book traces the history of the video game back through time and touches on historical figures like Turing with attractive and engaging illustrations.

There is a lot of information communicated in these panels.  Even as a gamer, I had no idea that the history of video games was so complex and far-reaching.

This is the kind of book I would have loved to include as a classroom teacher so that students could enjoy the engaging visuals while learning new information, and all of the information is nicely organized and easy-to-read.  This is also the kind of book I would love to gift as a gift to the comic book readers and video game enthusiasts in my life.

A Note on The Hills of Mare Imbrium by Carleton Chinner

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A Note on The Hills of Mare Imbrium by Carleton Chinner

The Hills of Mare Imbrium provided a nice trip outside of my usual universe, and it was one I really need right now. 

Author Carleton Chinner writes with an attention to detail that creates an interesting world, imagining future life on the moon.  The main character was likeable enough, with an uncommon reason for being in space.  In this way, the book traveled outside the norm of would-be space adventurer or pirate type.  The interactions that took place between the characters in the book were also enjoyable to readw.

I appreciated the diversion this book offered me and would gladly read another adventure from this author, in space or on earth.

A Review of Josie the Great by Pam Saxelby, Illustrated by Anne Saxelby

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A Review of Josie the Great by Pam Saxelby, Illustrated by Anne Saxelby

Josie the Great is a fun and nicely illustrated book with a story that has heart.  This is a family story and there are not too many words on the pages, so that young children can read this book with a fair amount of ease.  There are also characters who are kind, memorable, and relatable.

The illustrations are warm, colorful, and inviting, and the story is understandable, clean, and accessible to a wide audience.  As someone who teaches reading courses for teachers, I can see this book being a valuable classroom resource for read alouds and for guided reading with young students.

For that matter, I can also see this book as an uplifting gift or addition to a personal bookshelf.