Fall Mixed Up

Here’s one for the kids!

I got this via NetGalley because I was feeling pretty tired of most of the stories we have in the house. We are well overdue some more kids books and I thought, why not?

Release date: September 1st, 2011
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Author: Bob Raczka. Illustrated by Chad Cameron

“Every Septober,
Every Octember, 
Fall fills my senses 
with scenes to remember.”

“Bears gather nuts. 
Geese hibernate. 
Squirrels fly south 
in big figure eights.”

Fall is all mixed up in this silly book from Bob Raczka! Can you find his mistakes in the words and pictures?

From the moment I opened it up, all the way to the end of this book, my kids were smiling. My eldest is 6, and the middle one 2.5, and they both enjoyed it, though it’s definitely geared towards the elder of them. She loves puzzling over things and trying to figure out what’s not quite right.

Despite this being tailored very much for the American market, over here in NZ we are exposed to enough of the culture that my 6 year old could understand about Halloween and Thanksgiving. I did have to explain a few things to her, but after the first read through she had it sorted and loved pointing out all the things that were wrong with the pictures.

The illustrations were delightful, they flowed really well and in particular we liked the bears gathering nuts and the flying squirrels. My six year old laughs a lot whenever we read it, and it has quickly become a favourite in our house. Since getting the ARC for this a few weeks ago, barely a day has gone by when there hasn’t been a request to have this story read, they simply adore it.

I’d recommend  it to anyone with school aged kids, particularly those in the US. It’s a quick, fun read with great illustrations that get’s the kids thinking.

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The Art of Alice: Madness Returns

Legendary game designer American McGee created one of the most visually arresting games of all time in Alice. Eleven years later, McGee returns with a sequel just as groundbreaking as his critically acclaimed classic – Alice: Madness Returns!

Just in time for Madness Returns, Dark Horse and Spicy Horse studio invite Alice fans to take a journey through the wonderland of American McGee’s imagination for a look at this magnificent and disturbing world. With text by Madness Returns lead writer and executive producer R. J. Berg, and featuring an introduction by McGee, The Art of Alice offers an intimate look into the artwork behind this blockbuster interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s enduring masterpiece.

While I didn’t play the first game, mostly due to not having a computer to call my own at time, I wanted to. I loved the images I had seen of it, loved the idea. Now a second game is coming out, and this book has been released with the developmental artwork.

Oh. My. Goodness. I know that this is a pretty niche market – not everyone loves art/game books as much as I do, and certainly the full impact of one cannot be delivered via computer screen. I’m sure that Adobe Digital Editions, as awesome as it is, isn’t quite up to showing just how fantastic this book is.

The reader/viewer is taken through a full range of things that might be found in the game. The many variations that were tried for the characters, and Alice in particular are just amazing – down to dress designs and hair styles. I loved seeing the evolution of ideas and characters, different artists takes on things. The book is filled with gorgeous art work and makes the reader really appreciate just how much work and thought goes into the making of a game.

I’d recommend this to anyone who is into dark art, or game art, who has loved Alice, or is excited about the release of Alice: Madness Returns. As I said before, it’s very much a niche market, but for those of us who adore these kinds of books, this one is rich with stunning images. Delicious.

Review copy via NetGalley