Book Review: Lita Ford “Living Like A Runaway”

“Living Like a Runaway”

Author: Lita Ford
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Hardcover: 272 pages
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Living Like a Runaway” provides a never before glimpse into the life of musician Lita Ford. The child of immigrants, she had a near idyllic southern California upbringing until she was thrust onto the hedonistic rock and roll scene at the age of just 16. With nearly unmatched skills, Lita along with Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and under the guidance of Kim Fowley brought the band the Runaway’s to a meteoric rise during the mid to late 1970’s. After the groups break up Lita go on to see tremendous success as a solo artist in the 1980’s. Fearless, revealing and, compulsively readable the long awaited memoir from a true rock pioneer is finally here.

“Living Like a Runaway” is a quick read that keeps the reader’s attention over the course of its 272 pages. Ford speaks candidly about her upbringing and how she was thrust at an early age in to the male dominated hard rock music scene. The book covers the early days of the Runaway a group who had to practically fight for everything they had before ultimately imploding after only 3 albums. From there Ford recounts her career as a solo artist from not knowing where to start to her chart topping duet with Ozzy Osbourne. It is all here. The part of the book that really struck me as odd as over the books 15 chapters Ford has no problem speaking of past sexual encounters with various hard rock legends however when it comes to explaining more of her issues related to former band members and the divorce which left her alienated from her two sons Ford quickly skirts around the issue either saying she doesn’t understand or in the case of the later includes a statement flat out saying she is refusing to talk about it. In the age of the internet where nothing is private what is the sense of putting out a “tell all” type memoir if that’s not exactly what you are going to do? At least you are able to tell your side.

Despite whatever the reasons were for omitting certain details the book is still a decent read for fans of Lita and her works. With not a lot of behind the scenes info on the Runaway’s especially there time in Japan, Lita Ford’s “Living Like a Runaway” does an ok job filling that void.

Book Review: “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”

“Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”
Author: Bob Mehr
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Hardcover: 520 pages w/ 32 pages of black and white photographs

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Trouble Boys” is the first definitive biography of one of the last great rock ‘n’ rolls bands of the twentieth century: The Replacements. With the participation of the group’s key members including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson- Author Bob Mehr is able to tell the real story. Additionally based on interviews conducted with family, friends, managers and musical colleagues, Mehr paints a deeply intimate portrait of the band. Far more than a conventional band bio, “Trouble Boys” is heartbreakingly tragic, frequently comic and ultimately a triumphant tale.

Right away I was interested in picking up this book and learning more about a band I was fairly late to discover in my music listening exploits. The Replacements were always a band I saw cited as an influence of some of my favorite artists however I had limited knowledge of the actual group aside from guitarist Paul Westerberg. As a cautionary mention before I go too far do yourself a favor and brush up on your Replacements knowledge prior to diving into this book’s immense 520 pages. Time and time again the author sites numerous names, events and locations both big and small all throughout the book and with limited knowledge of the bands career the reader can easily become lost. At several points during my reading I found myself having to go back over sections to find where the book was at as the story of just the band and its members is easily lost amidst miniscule details that were explained in far more detail than they probably needed to be leaving me to seriously question the books editing.

What “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements” lacks in being clear and concise makes up for the shortcoming in content as I stated before the book is very detailed. The addition of 32 pages of photos was also a very cool addition. Hardcore Replacements fans will already have this book on their radar but more casual listeners may also want to take notice as this book will be a welcome addition to any music fans reading library.

 

 

Book Review “Star Wars: The Force Inside”

“Star Wars: The Force Inside”
Author: Put Me In The Story
Hardcover: 40 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In a galaxy far, far away, everyone must decide where their true allegiance lies. Are you Jedi or Sith? All the most powerful heroes and villains in the Star Wars universe are here to reveal “Star Wars: The Force Inside” First Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia ask questions to guide you and help you become a Jedi Master. Then the dark side of the Force will try to sway you as you flip the book over and meet General Grievous, Darth Vader and a long list of other characters from the dark side.

Just in time for the holidays is the latest offering from Put Me In The Story. “Star Wars: The Force Inside” is a hardcover bound 40 page adventure book that puts the reader directly in the story. Through www.Putmeinthestory.com readers can put theirs or their loved ones name and photo directly in the story making for a truly unique gift giving experience. “The Force Inside” offers two different reading experiences which allows you to follow either the path of the Jedi or that of the Sith with corresponding characters guiding you on your journey. Though some of the name placement points seemed a bit generic the quality of the product more than made up for it as the books hardcover and brightly detailed glossy pages made for an experience that was very appealing to the eye. Each story is about 20 pages and introduces the reader to a number of characters from the “Star Wars” universe which for me was really fun as you didn’t know who or what to expect from page to page.

Though the book is probably best suited for early readers and up the variety of pictures offer an enjoyable experience for “Star Wars” fans of all ages. With a price tag of $39.99 your getting a quality made item sure to provide hours of fun making this a great addition to the list of any would be Jedi/Sith Lord.

Book Review “Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived ‘Forever’: The Legend of a WWE Hero”

Author: Jon Robinson
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: September 8, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I like to think that I drew up in the heyday of the wrestling. I remember the wrestling greats of that time including Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramone, The Undertaker and my personal all time favorite the Ultimate Warrior. This guy was a absolute nut case when it ran out to the ring! I remember seeing him live at an event probably in 1991 or 1992 and going insane when he came out. His energy was like nothing I had ever seen and probably still unmatched today. He went up against legends like Hulk Hogan in matches like the epic battle of Wrestlemania VI. I vividly remember watching this pay-per-view event in my living room with all my friends at the time as a kid. Times like this are unforgettable. Unfortunately, the legend is no longer with us…but thanks to the WWE, his legend will live in forever. “Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived ‘Forever’: The Legend of a WWE Hero” is an amazing tribute to one of the best wrestlers in the business. Triple H kicks off the book with a great introduction. Even with all the feuds in the business, I enjoyed getting reading this opening. Dana Warrior also gives a heartfelt foreword to the this book giving us an inside look at the Warrior outside of the ring. This book is a must own for any wrestling fan!

Official Premise: With signature moves like the Warrior Splash, epic battles against Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Macho Man Randy Savage, and The Undertaker, and impassioned speeches that struck fear into his opponents and inspired warriors across the nation, the late Ultimate Warrior became one of the most revered figures in WWE history. Here, for the first time, the complete legend of The Ultimate Warrior is told in full, from his humble beginnings as a self-proclaimed “small, insecure kid who wasn’t into any sports” to his rise to WWE fame as the most powerful force in the universe. Through both action and candid photographs, personal ephemera, including original Warrior art and detailed journal entries, insider stories and exclusive interviews with WWE legends, and intimate accounts from the Warrior family, this unique biography brings the legacy of The Ultimate Warrior to life like never before. Relive the Warrior’s most intense matches and rivalries, and get to know the man behind the face paint in this one-of-a-kind volume. Filled with intense action and little-known details, Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever is a celebration of the Superstar who left an inimitable mark on WWE and redefined sports entertainment for generations.

Insight Editions always delivers the most informative and books on the market. They are also innovate with their releases. If you were a fan of the Ultimate Warrior you will recall his ribbons from his wrists. Well this book has ribbons included as a clever way to hold your page (see image). This book is jam packed with information about the former wrestler, his career and his life. I really enjoyed this book since it wasn’t just a flashy biography. It was also has a very intimate feel to it as well. The images in the book are absolutely gorgeous and easily transport me back to my favorite days of wrestling. In fact it makes me want to go back and re-watch old Wrestlemania events! This is a book that I can look through for years to come. There is so much included in this that you would need to go slowly through with a fine comb to absorb everything. Even though the Warrior is no longer with us, it is books like this that are going to carry on his name and keep him in the spotlight that he deserves. I will proudly be displaying this book prominently on my coffee tables for months to come.

Photo provided by Insight Editions. © 2015 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Book Review “Let There Be GWAR”

“Let There Be GWAR”
Compiled by: Bob Gorman and Roger Gastman
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: Gingko Press Inc

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Let There Be GWAR” gives fans around the world the most comprehensive guide to the greatest band ever created. From their early start in the bowels of a dilapidated Dairy factory in Richmond, Virginia to their spread across the land like a disease through the 1990’s and 2000’s. “Let There be Gwar” is a record and testament to all that is GWAR as it takes you through their kingdom via photos, band posters and interviews along with chronicling their albums, comics and video all in one nicely blood stained hardbound book.

Scumdogs around the universe can now rejoice as for the first time ever the history of all things GWAR can be found in one place. Over 350 pages of rare photos, interviews and art make up this hard cover book which I found do be just an amazing piece. “Let There be Gwar” acts almost like a time machine in that it gives you that fly on the wall perspective during some of the band earliest moments and then as it progresses you are given a front row seat during the bands rise to total domination. Photos of characters like Sleazy P. Martini, Sexecutioner and Slymenstra Hymen along with the master himself Oderus Urungus and his other cohorts both current and from years past adorn the glossy pages amidst interview clippings and a random spew stain here and there.

If you’re a GWAR fan this book obviously is for you as everything from the bands early years referred to by members as the “Dim time” to the more recent incarnation of the band and the inception of the yearly slaughter fest known as the “Gwarbbq” you get it all! Though the books $50 price tag might discourage lesser fans from picking this book up I assure you that those willing to part with their cash will not be disappointed with this really great looking book.
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Book Review “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”

“Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone”
Author: Marky Ramone w/ Rich Herschlag
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Touchstone

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When punk rock reared its spiky head in the early seventies, Marc Bell had the best seat in the house. From his early days with one of America’s first metal bands Dust to CBGB’s staples Wayne County and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Marc was there. In 1978 Marc Bell joined The Ramones becoming Marky Ramone and that’s where the real story begins. “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone” is an honest look inside the world of a punk icon.

Over the course of the books 400 plus pages Marc/Marky takes us on a journey like no other. From his early years growing up on the mean streets of New York City to his countless adventures around the globe with The Ramones it’s all here. Sure there have been several other books from Ramones members recounting their times with the band but for me those stories took more of a back seat as Marky’s tales of getting his first record deal to performing with the transsexual Wayne County during the early seventies when even the mention of transsexual behavior was something that was just not done, were the ones that grabbed my attention and made this book really stand out. T hough I questioned some of the books editing its 15 pages of color photos and the books straight forward approach makes this a must have for not just Ramones fans but for fans of music in general.

Book Review: “McElligot’s Pool” by Dr. Seuss

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
Series: Classic Seuss
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12, 1947

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have read many Dr. Seuss books over the years. The usual suspects are titles like “The Lorax”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”. Well between you and me (and all of our readers), I personally have never read “McElligot’s Pool” or at least I don’t remember reading it. My folks might have read it to me when I was a kid. I did learn that this was a very important book, released in 1947, from Dr. Seuss since it was the first Seuss title to feature full-color art on every other page.

Official Premise: This adventurous picture book tells of Marco-who first imagined an extraordinary parade in And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street-as he daydreams of all the possibilities that await him while he fishes in McElligot’s Pool. Optimistic and exciting, this tale is the perfect bait, and readers young and old will be hooked on this fish-tastic favorite.

Having a three year old daughter, she already loves Dr. Seuss, thanks to PBS’ “The Cat in the Hat Knows A lot About That”.  So when we received this book, we immediately had to sit down and read it. It was a very exciting moment because it wasn’t just the first time for her, like I said, it was also a first for myself. The book, like all Seuss stories, is such a fun read. Nearly 70 years and this book has not lost any charm, it still engaged both of us through every word.

If you are wondering why are we reviewing a near 70 year old book, it is because we were asked to join the Dr. Seuss Classic Celebratory Tour!, which includes reviews from all different blogs covering the first 44 books from Dr. Seuss in preparation for the release of the lost book, “What Pet Should I Get?”. Check out below for a complete list of the tour and also enter here for a chance to win the newest Dr. Seuss book.

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
  1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young Folks.com
  2. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
  3. The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
  4. The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
  5. Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
  6. McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
  7. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
  10. Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
  11. Horton Hears a Who! 1954 – Bookiemoji
  12. On Beyond Zebra! 1955 – Jessabella Reads
  13. If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
  14. The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
  16. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
  17. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
  18. Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
  19. Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
  21. The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 – The Mod Podge Bookshelf
  22. Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
  23. Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
  24. Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
  25. Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
  26. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
  27. The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
  28. The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
  29. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
  30. I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
  31. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
  32. The Lorax, 1971 – Elizziebooks
  33. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
  34. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
  35. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
  36. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
  37. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
  38. The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
  39. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
  40. Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
  41. Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
  42. The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
  43. You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
  44. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990  – Jesse the Reader
ABOUT DR. SEUSS
Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

 

Dark Days: A Memoir Hardcover by D. Randall Blythe

“Dark Days: A Memoir”
Author: D. Randall Blythe
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Lamb of God vocalist D. Randall Blythe finally tells the world his story around the arrest, incarceration, trial and acquittal for the charge of manslaughter in the Czech Republic over the tragic and accidental death of a concertgoer. Riveting, bold and brutally honest “Dark Days: A Memoir” isn’t your everyday rock and roll memoir.

Having followed the story from when it first broke that Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic on charges of suspected manslaughter related to a death following the bands concert 2 years prior, this book was a no brainer for me to check out. This is not your typical tell all memoir filled with debotcherous tales from the road. Instead you get the inside story from the man who lived these terrifying events. Blythe recounts his experiences in such a way that you almost feel the emotion coming from the words on the pages.

From the days leading up to his unexpected arrest to the accounts of dealing with the arduous process of understand the Czech legal system all the while trying to recount the events of what was thought to be just another day on tour from 2 years ago. Spliced in between chapters related to the events in Czech Republic Blythe talks about his struggles with alcoholism and his recent rehabilitation and how his rough past growing up as an outcast teen in Richmond, VA shaped who he is today and how he handled himself throughout this horrific ordeal.

“Dark Days” is not just for fans of Lamb of God or heavy metal. The book is a must for anyone interested in a unique story of injustice and the long arduous journey one man took to clear his name by returning to a foreign country to stand trial against the charges set forth by a country that clearly wanted to make an example of this individual.

Book Review “You’re Making Me Hate You” by Corey Taylor

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left”
Author: Corey Taylor
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left” or “You’re Making Me Hate You” for short is the third book from Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor. The book is a no punches pulled critique of the strange world in which we find ourselves as documented by the one and only Mr. Taylor himself.

Never one to shy away from his opinions or thoughts Corey Taylor delivers and honest and in your face account of daily occurrences that well as the title suggests makes him hate you. The first few chapters are fun and fairly enjoyable to read however as the book progresses I quickly lost interest as the chapters became predictable and somewhat repetitive. At times Taylor seems to ramble off on side topics which may or may not directly relate to the chapters unique title and no matter how much was or wasn’t related to the initial topic the stories lost my interest.

Fan’s of Taylor’s will surely want to check out the book if not just to have but to also take a little peek into the writers interesting thoughts however if you are looking for some sort of tell all behind the scenes like Taylor’s previous works then you may want to skip this one

Book Review “The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road”

Author: Abbie Bernstein
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is easily one of the best films to date for 2015. When you watch this film it is like watching a video game live action. You can also see in the film that there is very little visual effects in this film and a lot of practical effects were used. I couldn’t wait to dive into the making of book for this film. Kicked off with an amazing foreword by creator/director George Miller. This guy is extremely passionate about “Mad Max” and this intro really gets you in the mood for this.  “The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road” is another winner from Titan Books.

Official Film Premise: Max Rockatansky returns. Haunted by his turbulent past, the wandering Road Warrior becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. Seeking escape from the tyranny of Immortan Joe, what follows is a high-octane Road War – and a chance for redemption.

“The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road” is jam packed with super high res production stills, some really cool behind-the-scenes photos and my favorite concept art. You can tell that a lot of planning and details went into making this film and it is well represented here in this book. They deliver another winner. Author, Abbie Bernstein knows here making of books having worked on “Fantastic 4: The Making of the Movie”, “The Guild: The Official Companion” and “The Cabin in the woods: Official Visual Companion”. She really sums up what any reader is looking for after soaking in this crazy film. A must read for any “Mad Max” fan!

Book Review “The Art of Inside Out”

Series: The Art of
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Personally Disney•Pixar really hasn’t WOWed me recently with their sequel/prequels from “Cars 2” to “Monsters University”, it is really excited to see them going back to an original movie like “Inside Out”, especially with Academy Award-winning director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”) taking lead. This film looks to be one of the best projects to come out the doors of the studio recently. This film really looks to examines the depths of the mind and the powers of emotion and imagination. In terms of “Art of” books, this one is a one of the better to come from the Disney series.

Official Premise: Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

“The Art of Inside Out” gives the reader an exclusive inside look into the hard work that went into the making of this vibrant film. It features tons of eye-catching and very colorful concept art including sketches, collages, color scripts. There is also a great foreword by actress Amy Poehler and also an introduction by the film’s writer and director Pete Docter. Actually speaking of text, there is not much text here at all, which is a big of a minus but the tons of great photos really make up for that shortage. Now the only problem after reading this book is that I want to see this movie 100% times more now! Can’t wait!

Book Reviews “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse/Sofia the First: Board Book Box Sets”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse / Sofia the First
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Dates: June 16, 2015

Our Scores: 4 out of 5 stars

Personally, I am big fan of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, as is my three year old daughter. “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Meeska Mooska-tales” is the latest collection of board books in a nice box set. This contains four board books within the slipcase that showcases all your favorite characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Includes are “Goofy Takes a Vacation”; “On the Go!”; “Perfect Pets”; “Snap Goes the Camera”. If you love “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, these are a must. My daughter got extremely excited when opening this box set and screamed “FOUR BOOKS!, REALLY?” when going through it and since then these have become a must read (during potty time, more on that below).

Next up is another one of my daughters favorite “Sofia the First” in her latest board book collection called “Sofia’s Princess Adventures”. Within this slipcase, there are also four board books that feature Sofia and friends in brand-new stories fit only for your little princess. The stories include “Best Friends”; “Good Sports”; “Magic Class” and “Sofia’s Amulet”. Both of these sets have easily earned themselves as the “go-to” books for potty time. One set is in the upstairs bathroom and the other is in the downstairs bathroom and during every visit these are taken out and read. So they are getting plenty of use from our family! So, I highly recommend.

Book Review “Disney’s Storybook Collection: 2015 Edition”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: May 5, 2015

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I think about “Disney’s Storybook Collection”, I travel all the way back to 1999 and I think of the book that I received from my wife (then girlfriend) as a birthday gift. I would really love to praise this latest edition and say that its the bees knees but it really didn’t WOW me. In fact, instead of containing new original stories, it features a bunch of simple retelling of existing Disney stories. So it is great for my daughter, since she doesn’t care about new stories and just loves seeing pictures of her favorite characters and hearing fun stories but not really super exciting for daddy, who is looking for something new and original.

So the only thing that is actually new in this book is that there are some new artwork included and edited text. But otherwise, this includes a lot of older stories taken from previous books. Here is a list of the stories includes in this latest edition “The Lion King”; “Wreck-It Ralph”; “The Princess and the Frog”; “Cinderella”; “Frozen”; “Robin Hood”; “101 Dalmatians”; “Peter Pan”; “Mulan”; “Aladdin”; “Beauty and the a Beast”; “Lady and the Tramp”; “Pinocchio”; “Lilo & Stitch”; “Sleeping Beauty”; “Tangled”; “The Little Mermaid”; “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. If you are looking for a really good and new Disney Storybook Collection, they released a new Christmas last Fall and that one was great featuring new, original stories. Skip this get that!

Book Review “Sofia the First: S Is for Sofia”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Board book: 26 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Sofia the First: S Is for Sofia” is a book that couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for my family. My daughter is three and is at the early stage of learning her ABC’s…she also absolutely loves “Sofia the First”. This book not only teaches the alphabet to her it also includes letters to trace to encourage the learning process and also includes over 100 flaps to engage her as well. This is winner for all kids preschool to Kindergarten for sure!

Official Premise: Get ready for some royal alphabet fun with this Sofia the First board book! On each page, Sofia and her friends introduce a new letter of the alphabet with a sturdy die-cut letter to trace and colorful flaps to explore! Beneath each flap is a new word that connects characters to the featured letter. With over 100 flaps, this beautiful board book is sure to delight any young reader and Sofia the First fan!

Book Reviews “Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out” Series

Disney Press has been really pushing their latest movie very hard this summer. There are numerous books on the shelves already for “Inside Out” and they are actually all amazing!! I am really waiting for this new movie and these books only make myself, my wife and most importantly our three year old much more excited to see it. The first book I will be discussing is “Sadly Ever After?”, which is actually an original story placed in the the world of “Inside Out”. I love the two characters of Joy and Sadness and this story really captures the sweetness of both of them. Plus this book, also comes with a Disney eBook called “Lava”…bonus!

Next up, is a simple one yet has become a must have (at all time) for my daughter), “Inside Out Read-Along Storybook and CD”. Here is the official premise: Jump inside Riley’s mind and get to know the Emotions who know her best: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Relive all of the adventure from the Disney*Pixar film, Inside Out, with this storybook-and-CD-set. What I like most about the CD includes with the book is that it has word-for-word narration, thrilling sound effects, and original character voices from the movie! So this is a must own.

by Emotions”. This one is definitely set for an older reader ages 8-12 and hits the 240 page mark. I am impressed that Disney Press released this one One of the most impressive releases, I must add is “Inside Out Driven for the older Disney/Pixar fans as well and not just another novelization. This one consists of a chapter book that reveals unseen stories from “Inside Out”. Each chapter offers a different retelling of the film from one of Riley’s Emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. I highly recommend this one of even for those “big kids” as well.

Lastly, “Inside Out: Box of Mixed Emotions” was the latest of the book my daughter broke into and let me tell you THIS is the set to get to introduce your kids to these characters. It is funny and very cute. My daughter already has picked out her favorite character which is surprisingly Disgust. But this collection includes five storybooks, each devoted to a different Emotion, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust, includes within a very snazzy die-cut slipcase. This is my favorite of the books released for this series just because it is also got my daughter the most excited for the film and also has her already asking for more including the Disgust plush doll we saw at Downtown Disney this week, so congrats Disney Press. You have done well with these books. Now, bring on the movie! Can’t wait!