The Blue Hour | Review

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The cover and artwork of this children’s book is incredibly appealing. The illustrations initially drew my attention to read and review this book by, Isabelle Simler. I will say, I was unfortunately disappointed in the content and inconsistency of how it was written though. This book has the lovely opportunity through serene colors and tranquil graphics to tell a more in depth story than the reader actually receives.

The lives of the wildlife are described through minimal behavior and I believe Simler misses an opportunity to explain them further. Simler writes, “In that moment, a blue jay raises its crest and lets out a piercing cry.” I would have love to have seen an addition similar to, “in that moment, a blue jay raises its crest and lets out a piercing cry, signaling to all, the most beautiful hour has finally arrived.” As well, Simler writes, “a blue fox slips through the arctic cold.” Yet, how much more appealing to read to a child, “a blue fox slips through the arctic cold, looking forward to the warmth of its den.”

I am generally cut and dry and do not always add much emphasis when I speak to others. However, to draw the attention of a child and encourage them to see the beauty of nature and it’s stillness, I believe more description and depth could be a game changer for Simler and The Blue Hour.

The other inconsistency I noticed is the use of bold words. One page has a bold emphasis on, blue poison dart frogs, then it’s vulterine guineafowl and glass snails (no “blue” included), lastly “the blue hour settles in, and nature becomes still” does not have any type of bold emphasis as it does in the first page. The inconsistencies would not resonate with a child but stand out for me as I read it. I honestly believe the bold emphasis does not add tremendous value and the book would be just as pleasant without the emphasis.

I am grateful to have read the book and do not think it is unworthy by any means. I just see some great opportunities for it to be even better and impact more families! I would rate The Blue Hour:

rating: 2/5

Check out The Blue Hour coming 2/20/17!!!

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The Queen of the Frogs | Review

I cannot apologize for the simple fact of deciding to review children’s books because they always seem to capture my attention and expand my imagination! I actually feel that an occasional return to simplicity and child-like experiences allow us to enjoy the finer things in life and reduce the strain of severity with which we try to see the world.

Marco Somà illustrates The Queen of Frogs with elegance and humility. A balance of earth tones and sophistication describe this little community of frogs. The marriage of simplistic illustration with a vintage touch is enough to have us purchase the book, solely for the message brought to life through Marco’s craft. It is almost as if Somà illustrates The Queen of Frogs through a lens of historical morality. We’re reminded of the truth that light brings. After all, darkness disappears once light enters. We have seen truth brought to light throughout history and this story is no different. The reality this community lives in and the rule it lives under are brought to light in a surprising, romantic way.

Davide Cali is a talented and gifted children’s writer with a bright future ahead. The Queen of Frogs was a lovely read initially but with further thought there are some key elements that could be developed further or perhaps differently depending on Cali’s vision for this tale.

  • The first noticeable characteristic is that it is much like an Aesop fable, only without a clear ending moral. While Cali’s vision may not have been to make such a distinction or include a strong lesson, I personally believe this brings hope and guidance to his decided audience. Children are looking for direction, beliefs, and are often confused when not given clarity to that which they seek.
  • As well, the scene of mud balls being thrown at the queen is very disheartening to read and not one I would like to share with a young child. I believe fully in the idea and truth of reconciliation/rehabilitation and do not support a bullying nature. Especially when it is prominent for so many.

With those things said, Cali does teach a valuable lesson to us; a title does not equal influence. Influence is built through developing relationships, positively. We seen that the chosen frog, who becomes queen, did nothing to deserve her title and instead treated others poorly and with contempt. We learn that if we are to have loyal friendships, working relationships, we must cultivate those through trust, communication, and appreciation.

Finally, through the wit of the community the queen’s influence is usurped and balance is restored. The last, beautiful lesson Cali teaches us is this; what we believe may be our reality could be caused by an accidental circumstance and therefore should be handled with gratitude and thankfulness, never knowing when our situation can completely change. Cali ends this story with a beautiful plot twist that I will be sure not to spoil for you but absolutely encourage you to read at its’ upcoming release!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Davide Cali for letting me provide an honest review and to Marco Somà for creating beautifully, elegant illustrations!

rating: 4/5 stars

Check out, The Queen of the Frogs MARCH 20, 2017!