Thursday, June 3, 2021

What I've Been Reading with My Monsters [1]

What I've Been Reading with My Monsters is a new feature I'm starting to showcase which books I've been reading with my kiddos (in case the title wasn't super obvious, haha). I'm really bad about reviewing children's books (unless they're ARCs or for a blog tour), so hopefully this helps me stay on top of all the other books we read together throughout the week.

Solid, Liquid, Gassy (a Fairy Science Story) by Ashley Spires

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Esther the fairy is back, to investigate the water cycle! From the award-winning author of The Most Magnificent Thing, for fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Hidden Figures.

Esther the fairy doesn't believe in magic. But fairies are all about magic, despite Esther's best efforts to reveal the science of their world. This time around, though, she's got her fairy pals Clover and Fig, along with trusty sidekick Albert the bird, to help create a more science-oriented entry for their school's Magic Fair -- Pixieville's magical answer to a science fair, which has never gone well for Esther before. When the local pond disappears, Esther realizes this might be the perfect opportunity for a real experiment! It's up to Esther and her fairymates to ask questions, make hypotheses, do research and show their conclusions -- this time, all about the water cycle. But when everyone Esther knows believes that Jack Frost is responsible for ice and that moon sneezes cause evaporation, she'll have to learn that sometimes discovery is its own reward.

Solid, Liquid, Gassy (A Fairy Science Story) is the second book in Ashley Spires' hilarious picture book series about a charming, determined heroine who celebrates the joys of curiosity and wonder.

I love books that mix magic and science! I also really enjoyed the author's previous book, The Most Magnificent Thing, which addresses frustration and how being angry only makes a problem worse. Spires makes learning - whether it's about science or dealing with emotions - fun and informative. The kids really loved the illustrations in this book, and they also liked making their own guesses about the character's experiments. They had some prior knowledge going into this one (they love Story Bots and Bill Nye the Science Guy), but were still somewhat surprised by the outcome. I was also really glad that everything didn't work out perfectly for Esther and her friends, because life rarely happens exactly the way we want it to. It was realistic despite being fictional. 

In a perfect world, Esther would have been able to convince the other fairies that their problem was solved by science. Unfortunately, her fellow fairies want to believe that magic is the solution to everything, even when shown otherwise. It was a good lesson in letting things go and moving on despite not noticing an immediate change in the people around you. People's perceptions and ways of thinking aren't going to change overnight, but it's no reason to give up or stop trying to make a difference. "...she'll have to learn that sometimes discovery is its own reward." (★★★★☆)


Hilda and the Mad Scientist by Addie Adam, Lisa Thiesing (Illustrations)

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Chillingly silly describes this monster of a picture book about a Dr. Frankenstein wannabe who meets his match in the form of an unstopable . . . housekeeper. With its comic text and lively pictures in cartoonlike style, this Frankenstein spoof about a mad, magical mix-up is sure to give readers a spell of the giggles. Watercolor and ink illustrations.

I didn't love Hilda and the Mad Scientist, but it wasn't terrible. The kids didn't really have any feelings about it either, so it's not one we'll be reading again.

"Chillingly silly" isn't a great description though, since there's nothing scary about this book. The "Dr. Frankenstein wannabe" spends most of his time trying to rid himself of a housekeeper he didn't want in the first place. Hilda shows up unannounced and uninvited, then proceeds to do whatever she wants in someone else's home. I think she said something about going where she's needed, but no one ever asked for her help. She also seems to make a mess of things instead of actually helping. It's not something that's addressed in the text, but the illustrations show Hilda being clumsy and destructive.

Maybe this would work better for younger children? The silly aspects may potentially be better suited for those that fall into the 0-3 age group. The Dr. creating his "worst nightmare" at the end also fell a little flat and was something that had to be explained to my kiddos. They didn't understand why he'd be so upset by the development, which also showed me they hadn't really understood the character flaw that made Hilda so unappealing as a "helper." (★★★☆☆)

Churchill's Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu

Synopsis (via Goodreads): When Churchill the pig loses his precious tail, his friends help him hunt for a new one. But trying new tails is so much fun that soon Churchill has forgotten his friends completely. Can Churchill learn to put friendship first, and solve the mystery of his missing tail?

Churchill's Tale of Tails is a book we've read many times! The girls really love it and think having a tail as an accessory is something to aspire to (#kidgoals). 

I really enjoyed seeing the various tails Churchill tried on, and thought the author came up with creative ways to show what made each tail so special. As Churchill gets more and more obsessed with  obtaining new tails, he stops hanging out with his friends. Thankfully, his tail isn't lost forever. He thought his tail was perfect, and while he liked trying on the others, he still missed his own. Very cute story with wonderful illustrations! (★★★★☆)


  1. Solid, Liquid, Gassy sounds really great - I like when kids books are fun but also have some deeper message.

  2. Fantastic selection of night time (anytime) reads! Glad the kidlets are enjoying. ;)

    1. I think they're just happy going to the library again! We have a lot of books at home, but there's something different about picking out a new book from the library.

  3. The Fairy Science looks so good! I wish I'd had that one when I was a kid! XD

    1. Apparently there are more? Definitely going to look into that!

  4. The Fairy Science book sounds really fun! I just love children's books.


    1. Me too! I don't want my kiddos to outgrow them.

  5. They all sound fun. I will have to check these out for my stepson. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm going to try and do most posts like this! They just take a little longer because we read A LOT of books. <3

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you! I stumbled across it and thought it was perfect for this post. :)


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless