Thursday, December 1, 2011

George O'Connor, Ashley Koff, Laurent de Brunhoff, Mercer Mayer and Christina Tosi

I've been reading quite a bit lately, and totally forgot to write this post after I finished watching my new show tonight, Whitechapel, a cop show on BBC America. So I popped back on to post these reviews before bed. 

Babar's Mystery by Laurent de Brunhoff
This book was a cute story about Babar and his family going to the sea, the Old Lady wanting to write a novel and a mystery about a stolen piano, Babar's car and statue. I got it for Liam, but will save it for him when he gets a bit older. Recommended for ages 5+, 3 stars. 

Just Me and My Mom by Mercer Mayer
I loved Mercer Mayer books when I was a kid and I love being able to share them with my son. This book was a cute story about Little Critter going to town with his mom and having some crazy adventures, but ultimately having a great time together. Recommended for kids ages 0-5, 4 stars. 

Children and Young Adult
Athena: Grey Eyed Goddess (Olympians #2) by George O'Connor
Once again, another brilliant graphic novel by author/illustrator George O'Connor. This second volume in the series focuses on Athena, goddess of Wisdom, War, Strategy, Crafts and Cities. She was always my favorite Greek diety, and I even named a stuffed owl I got Buboe after her owl in the movie "Clash of the Titans". 

I'm glad he included a genealogy in the front of the book as it gets very confusing at times to remember which child is from which mother. I knew how Athena had been born (sprung out the head of Zeus fully formed and grown up), but I never knew that Zeus had eaten her mother Metis to avoid a prophecy, and she had been born/grew up inside his head. I found the story of how she got the name Pallas interesting as well as how she got the Aegis and added to it. As with his "Hades" graphic novel, the "Greek Notes" in the back of the book are so fascinating and give more depth to the story (ex. how Hephaestus came to be born). Recommended for ages 10+, 5 stars. 

Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory (Olympians #3) by George O'Connor
I really enjoyed this version of Hera's story as it showed her not like she is traditionally portrayed, as the jealous and vengeful woman, but as a loving wife who knows what she wants and goes and gets it. I liked how the author described her as "the one person that Zeus well and truly fears (pg 68)." I didn't know until I read the previous volume on Athena that Hera was Zeus's second wife, but I find it interesting that knowing Zeus's wondering eye, she demanded he properly marry her and make her his wife and equal. Yes, she caught her husband cheating many times and punished his mistresses and their offspring, the best example being Heracles, whose name coincidentally means "The Glory of Hera". The story of the creation of the Milky Way was probably one of the most interesting ones in the graphic novel, as was the women's tale of Hera's renewal ceremony at the end of the book. Recommended for ages 10+, 5 stars. 

Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged by Ashley Koff R.D. and Kathy Kaehler
This was an advanced copy I got from Netgalley. 
Overall, I enjoyed this book, especially the Reorganizing and Rehabilitation sections. The purpose of this book is to give busy moms more energy with a three-step strategy: Reorganizing your priorities and eating habits, Rehabilitating your body by taking better care of your digestive system, detoxing and supplementing it with vitamins, and Recharge your body by exercising, getting enough sleep and remembering to fit in some playtime. It discusses how energy is related to metabolism, lack of a balanced diet/sleep, hormones, and health conditions. There is a quiz to judge your current energy levels (3 groups of scores) and one to tell you what is stealing your energy and how to tailor your energy makeover (5 profiles). The back of the book features exercises you can do at home. 3 stars. 

Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi
This was an ARC from Netgalley. 
I loved the Momofuku (which means "lucky peach") cookbook and the story of how chef David Chang created and developed the Momofuku Restaurant Group, which included the Noodle and Ssam Bars, Ko, and Ma Peche. I even loved the website ( where two fans created recipes out of the cookbook and blogged about it. I've never been to these restaurants but I know I would love the Noodle & Milk Bars. So I was very excited to see this cookbook. I like the way they make the cookbook personal by telling the chef's story at the beginning before they start in on the recipes, then like all good cookbooks, they follow with ingredient, equipment and techniques lists. Each recipe had serving suggestions, i.e. other recipes in the book that either used the recipe in it or with it. Most the of the recipes I wasn't a particular fan of because of their long format and multiple-parts, like restaurant cookbooks tend to have. I was fascinated with some of the recipes for their crazy combinations, like the Candy Bar Pie (I mean who wouldn't like a pie with pretzels, salted caramel, peanut butter nougat, and chocolate), the Cinnamon Roll with the liquid Cheesecake instead of Cream Cheese frosting and the Thai Tea Parfait with Lemon Marscapone and Thai Tea Crunch. 3 1/2 stars. 

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