The Kids of Cattywampus Street | A Review

Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing The Kids of Cattywampus Street, written by Lisa Jahn-Clough, and illustrated by Natalie Andrewson. I picked this one up because I had been looking for a whimsical book to read. So when I found this one, I just knew I had to pick it up. Not to mention that Lemony Snicket himself liked the novel! Anways, let’s get into it!

The Kids of Cattywampus Street by Lisa Jahn-Clough: 9780593127568 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

In this delightful chapter book filled with black-and-white pictures, you’ll meet Jamal, Lindalee, Hans, Matteo, and others–the kids who live on Cattywampus Street, not far from the Waddlebee Toy Store. Each of the eleven chapters in this magical, mysterious, silly, scary, happy, and sometimes sad chapter book tells an utterly unforgettable tale about one of the kids. Whether it’s about Jamal and his magic ball, which knows how to find him after its been stolen away; or Charlotta, who shrinks so small that she can fit inside her dollhouse; or Rodney, whose pet rock becomes the envy of all the kids on Cattywampus Street, here are stories sure to charm, captivate, and engage all readers of chapter books, even the most reluctant.

First let’s talk about the plot. The Kids of Cattywampus Street promises wacky tales about children that live on Cattywampus Street, or somewhere near it. The stories are also said to have some sort of connection to a toy store called The WaddleBee’s Toy Store. While the tales present in the book are bizarre, they don’t necessarily tie into each other. I was hoping for the stories to be connected in some way, but that wasn’t the case. Furthermore, the stories felt unoriginal, and already-done-before.

In addition, the characters had beautiful designs, but not all of them were likeable. There also wasn’t much character development, nor were there any learning opportunities present for children. 

The dialogue felt bland and tried too hard to be funny. For example, there was a typical mean kid and their ‘sidekicks.’ When a character was crying, the words ‘Boo Hoo’ were used to enunciate her sobbing. (I hope that makes sense!)

Moreover, I really struggled with the writing. It would always reveal the events that occurred before it happened. This left no space for the readers to predict or imagine what would happen next. 

Fortunately, the illustrations were stunning! They were whimsical and vibrant, which I’m sure young readers will love.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with The Kids of Cattywampus Street. (Pun intended.) While I disliked the writing style, I adored how bizarre and vibrant the book was. This novel is perfect for kids transitioning from picture books, to chapter books!

Age Rating: 9 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children

Final Rating: 6/10 or 3 stars

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What is your favorite short story collection? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have an amazing day!

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A Place Called Perfect | A Review

Hi all! Today I’ll be reviewing A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan. I hope you enjoy!

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Violet never wanted to move to Perfect. Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time? But Violet quickly discovers there’s something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared. When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away…and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!

A Place Called Perfect delivers a creepy and whimsical tale on friendship, and fighting for what you believe in.

The synopsis was said to be a book fans of Roald Dahl would like. I’m happy to report that this pitch is quite accurate! However, it did miss the mark for me in some places.

One aspect of the book I didn’t like were the characters. The main character Violet can’t do much on her own. She always needs the help of a boy whose name is…Boy. This annoyed me as young children, specifically young girls, will read this and see a girl their age constantly being saved by a boy. Here is a quote from page 237 in which I feel has some sexist undertones. For context, the main character Violet says this line. “I think I prefer the gate.” To which Boy responds. “Don’t be such a girl.” Boy laughed. It’s almost as though Boy is using the word ‘girl’ as an insult. The line was unnecessary, and adds nothing to the story. There was another line similar to this one. I can’t remember the page, but for context, Violet is cold. To which Boy responds, “Boys don’t get cold.” I just don’t think these comments are needed, especially in a children’s book. Overall, the main characters Violet and Boy were written very poorly. It’s such a shame because A Place Called Perfect had so much potential for witty banter.

Luckily, the side characters, specifically the Archer brothers, add a lot of creepiness to the story. The background characters also have this bizarre monotone expression to everything. It’ll only make you want to read on!

The dialogue, as mentioned earlier, contained a few sexist remarks. This unfortunately was a big turn off for me.

On a better note, the writing was deliciously eerie and gripping. It definitely reads like a thriller-mystery. The book is also quite easy to read, which is a plus since the target audience is under thirteen. My only complaint is that the pacing felt off at times. It went from 0 to 100 far too many times, and the transitions weren’t very smooth. Nevertheless, Helena Duggan still delivers a great story!

The overall enjoyment level of this book is fairly high. It was engaging, but could easily become boring for those who don’t love thrillers. All in all, if you’re looking for a creepy story to read on a rainy day, I highly recommend A Place Called Perfect!

Age Rating: 10 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, mind control, some violence

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

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What’s your favorite mystery novel? Have a great day!

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Scritch Scratch | A Review

Hey everyone! I hope you are well. Today I’ll be reviewing Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. I must say, this one scared me quite a bit. Yes, yes, I’m a scaredy cat. We’ve established that by now. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Scritch Scratch: Currie, Lindsay: 0760789294242: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.
Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late. 

Deliciously eerie and mysterious, Lindsay Currie brings us a story all thriller fans will adore! The plot hooked me right from the beginning, and kept my attention till the end! Scritch Scratch is fast-paced and gripping, so it’s definitely the perfect read to get out of a slump.

Furthermore, the characters were not that interesting. Although I respect the author’s ability to create semi-realistic kids without throwing in a gazillion references, I did not feel any connection to the characters. None of them were annoying per se, they were just lacking in development. Fortunately, the main character’s parents were very well developed. They each had their own unique personalities. The MC’s dad is a ghost story author, and runs his own spooky tour bus company. While their mom runs a baking business. How cool is that?!

“Love Ms. Mancini. She’s the only teacher I have who wouldn’t shame a student for falling asleep in class. I think she remembers what it was like to be in seventh grade and that’s what makes her so good at her job.”
― Lindsay Currie, Scritch Scratch

In addition, the dialogue fell short on personality. Most of it was trope-y, and uneventful. However, it’s the writing that really grabbed me.

Man oh man does Lindsay Currie know how to write a chilling story! I was very frightened, yet so intrigued throughout the book. What I found interesting, was that the writing was not very descriptive. This fascinated me as typically thrillers are quite descriptive. Luckily, this didn’t have a negative affect.

The overall enjoyment level of Scritch Scratch is very high. If you’re looking for a thrilling story with a wonderful message about friendship, and never forgetting those who came before us, then this is definitely the novel for you!

Age Rating: 10 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, lots of talk of a drowning accident, talk of abandonment

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

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What’s your favorite thriller? I’d love to know. Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!

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