Thursday Reviews at Inklings

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse”

Review by Emma Welch, $22.99

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” a mouthful of a title for a delightfully simple book. 

When you sit down to read any story you might have a set of expectations, or preconceived ideas about what you are going to experience. This sweet little book however, will break and exceed all those expectations. I know it sure did for me. 

The first surprise was that it is in fact not a story in the traditional sense, it is more of a collection of sayings, scenes, and heart-warming moments. This makes it the epitome of a light, happy read. All these small dialogues ultimately do make a story, it is just up to the reader to figure out precisely what that story is. 

The second surprise is how despite the fact that it's all these small glimpses, you fall head over heels in love with each of the characters. There’s the boy with all his questions and concerns about life, the mole who loves cake and always has something interesting to say, the fox who seems to have been hurt before but finally now feels accepted and really doesn’t talk much, and finally the sweet gentle giant of a horse, who is wise and makes everyone feel at ease. Following these characters as they get to know each other and the forest around them is a real joy. 

The third surprising thing about the book is its format. You might be expecting a regular book, with straight lines of text and maybe a neat little illustration here and there, but that is not the case. Without ruining the enjoyment of discovering for yourself what lies inside, I will say it is stunning and inspiring, and, as an artist myself, I was encouraged by the unusual but breathtaking design of the book. 

This collection is not just for children, but for anyone at any stage of life. There are takeaways in its wisdom about life, friendship, self-worth, and of course, cake. It has the gentle lovability of Winnie the Pooh paired with the introspection and character dynamics of Calvin and Hobbes. This heart warming book is a real treasure for your bookshelf. 

This Week's Review at Inklings

The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack

Review by Rachel Fowler

Wolves have always been majestic creatures and The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack by Rick Mcintyre beautifully illustrates this. Mcintyre is also the author of The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog which chronicles the lives of the first wolves that were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. His newest book continues the story and looks at the pack life of Wolf 21, Wolf 8’s adopted son. 

I loved reading this book, I was completely enthralled by the chronicles of these animals. The book tells the tale of Wolf 21, alpha male of the Druid Peak Pack. The book also looks at his mate, Wolf 42, the alpha female of the pack, but it wasn't always that way. These two wolves overcame many obstacles and trials to achieve their positions and Mcintyre does a good job highlighting the impact they had on the successes of their pack. The author focuses on Wolf 21 who built on the patient leadership he learned from Wolf 8. Wolf 21 was a fearless defender of his family while simultaneously showing much unusual kindness by not killing his rivals. Wolf 42 was exceptional in her behavior because she used cooperation instead of violence in her interactions with other wolves when achieving goals. The book also looks at many other wolves and nearby packs that interacted with the Druid Peak Pack.

The author has spent over 40 years observing wolves and does a good job of humanizing the lives of these amazing animals. Mcintyre balances the drama of these animals' existence well with the science of their behavior. While wolves can be a controversial topic at times, I feel whatever your stance is, you will be thoroughly immersed in the saga of these incredible creatures. 

I can't recommend this book enough! Reading the love story of how devoted wolf 21 & 42 were to each other and how they cared for their family was very inspiring. I think this book is great for nature lovers or people interested in learning more about wolves and wolf behavior. 

PNW Young Adult Bestsellers week of Jan 3rd 2021

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

The 99% Invisible City — Raphael GeroniThe 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt [signed copies available]

Reviewed by Rachel Fowler

Cities at first glance can be fun and interesting places in and of themselves, but what about the stories just under the surface? What about things that are essentially hidden but still remain an integral part of the functioning of a city? Unearthing these unsung tales are what The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design aims to do. The authors, Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, open the lid on many secrets and little known interesting facts about the design of the everyday world we inhabit.  

Roman Mars is the creator and host of the podcast 99% Invisible that the book is based on. The popular podcast focuses on design and architecture and gives insight to unique stories behind the places and things we think we know. The book is unique from the podcast in that it has drawings to help illustrate the things you see everyday, but might not have a full understanding of. As the author explains:

“So much of the conversation about design centers on beauty, but the more fascinating stories of the built world are about problem-solving, historical constraints, and human drama.”  - Roman Mars 

PNW Children's Illustrated Bestseller

Pacific Northwest Independent Children's Illustrated  Bestseller List - December 27, 2020

1. Cozy 
Jan Brett, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99

2. The Shortest Day
Susan Cooper, Carson Ellis (Illus.), Candlewick, $17.99

3. The Snowy Day
Ezra Jack Keats, Viking Books for Young Readers, $19.99

4. The Night Before Christmas
Clement C. Moore, Loren Long (Illus.), Harper, $18.99

5. What We'll Build: Plans For Our Together Future 
Oliver Jeffers, Philomel Books, $19.99

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss, Random House Books for Young Readers, $16.99

7. Antiracist Baby
Ibram X. Kendi, Ashley Lukashevsky (Illus.), Kokila, $8.99

8. Cocoa's Cranky Christmas: Can You Cheer Him Up?
Beth Hughes, Thomas Nelson, $9.99

9. Every Night Is Pizza Night
J.Kenji López-Alt, Gianna Ruggiero, Norton Young Readers, $17.95

10. The Polar Express
Chris Van Allsburg, HMH Books for Young Readers, $19.99

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Reviewed by Emily Ring

For so many of us, 2020 has been a year of tension, uncertainty and claustrophobia. Sometimes, I read to escape those realities, but every so often, it’s nice to read a book that reminds you that things could be worse.

Unassuming at first, but building to a terrifying crescendo, “Leave the World Behind” by Rumaan Alam is just that book.

“Leave the World Behind” begins, innocently enough, with a family leaving New York City to spend a vacation at a rented house near the beach. Through narration that cycles through each family member’s thoughts, we are introduced to a typical, middle-class family, with mundane lives and concerns. Their vacation at the remote house in the woods is a much-needed luxury.

After several dreamy days of swimming and sunning, their idyll is interrupted by a knock at the door, late at night. They open it to find an older Black couple, the owners of the house, who have fled a massive power failure in the city. They plan to stay at the house, too, escaping the uncertainty in the city to a place that feels safe.

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

 

The Arctic Fury by Greer McCallister

Review by Luanne Clark

Fact: In 1848 British explorer John Franklin and his expedition company of 129 men vanished into the frozen Arctic.

Fact: In the years following his disappearance his widow, Lady Jane Franklin devoted her life to searching for clues to his fate.

From these facts, Greer McCallister has created a tale of suspenseful adventure. McCallister says that she knew she wanted to write an empowering historical novel from a female point of view. She found Lady Jane’s obsession with finding her husband to be the kernel of truth she would use for her latest novel The Arctic Fury.  From this little seed of fact McCallister created a fresh, original tale that is suspenseful and captivating.

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue will, without a shadow of doubt, leave a last impression. 

It is the unique story of a young French girl in 1714 who wants more than her time period allows. More independence, more freedom, more choices in life. She spends years praying to the gods for freedom, but her requests go unanswered. In a moment of despair, right before she is supposed to marry the man her family chose for her, she prays after dark, and a god she knows better than to trust, better than to listen, answers. 

A deal is made. She wins her freedom and immortality. She can have it until the day she is ready to give the god of the dark her soul. 

She is free from a loveless marriage, but she is also free from everyone she loves, free from everyone that ever has or will cross her path. Because you see, the price for freedom is to be forgotten. She will meet someone now, and as soon as they walk way, they will forget meeting her. It is as if they've never met. She lives her life like nothing more than a shadow, something that is there one minute but not there the next. And the dark, who she calls Luke, he is there every year on the anniversary of her deal asking her to wield, demanding she give up. 

After nearly 300 years defying Luke, with one chance encounter, everything changes. Addie finally meets someone that doesn't immediately forgets her. I wish I could tell you more about him, but I can't, not without giving away very important parts of this heartbreaking story. 

Addie's life will crush you. How is a girl, hundreds of years ago, to find clothes, food, and shelter when no one remembers her for more than a moment? The things she has to do and endure will break your heart. This is a fantasy novel, but it also teaches valuable lessons about the things we can and cannot live without. About commodities we take for granted. About friends and family we love to complain about but would be destroyed if taken from us. About the true meaning of freedom and happiness.

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

Fall Bestsellers

It is hard to believe it is already December. At the same time, I am so very glad it is already December... I am sure I am not alone in that! And as such, it is time to look back at our fall bestseller list. I was really happy while putting this list together to see that 3 of our bestselling books this fall are from local authors. Here are the Inklings Bestsellers from September to date:

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