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Billy’s Wide Crack

What happens when you wake up and look in the mirror while getting ready for school only to realize something is really not right. Unfortunately, that is what happened to Billy. He discovers something alarming that morning, and his solution is to hide in his bed and pretend it doesn’t exist. Then, one by one, his family members come in and observe what he has seen, and all of them are unsure of what to make of the situation.

Billy’s Wide Crack, written by JD Von Lafsalot and illustrator by Pietro Peres, is a humorous picture book with children and adults laughing with each page. The entertaining images and expressions on the characters’ faces will have children guessing right from the start as to what crack Billy has found. I loved that on each page, there was a little bee that seemed to add to the drama of the situation, like sitting on the dad’s tie.

At the end of the book are some quick questions teachers can use to review the story with their class. This helps children recall and identify the context of stories. Some questions require them to have keen observation skills and will allow them to go back and pick out details they may have missed at first.

Billy’s Wide Crack: A Fun Rhyming Story of Assumptions and False Thinking is a light-hearted picture book that will have readers of all ages laughing. With children’s active imaginations, the story will surely bring about many fun, exciting class discussions and laughs.

Pages: 35 | ASIN : B0BFDTGNH7

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Euphoric Wonderland

Music is an incredible force, with the power to unite people of all backgrounds over universal themes and make every kind of situation seem valid and surmountable. It also can inspire, as it does here for Ryan Becker in his poetry collection Euphoric Wonderland. Sprinkled with great references to many bands and a plethora of iconic songs, Becker creates a roadmap through his imagination, using the music he loves as the most important landmarks.  

The book’s prologue is an open letter to the music and the artists that sparked the journey for Becker, giving a brief idea of what clicked for him as he listened. It focuses heavily on The Beatles, who have been well-known inspirations to countless writers, artists, and other musicians since their time. These open letters, which contain their own distinct rhythm and read as times like confessions, continue to pop up periodically throughout the book, simultaneously praising and paying homage to the music Becker has discovered. 

The poetry itself is expressive and captivating. I feel that the rhyming pattern was distracting, and I would’ve liked the poems to be more free-flowing. One of the appeals for writers and readers alike is the freedom to construct a thought outside the traditional writing restrictions, especially when it comes to poetry. Becker does a fantastic job conveying emotions in his poems, making them a powerful read. One key thing the author does well is references the music that has presumably inspired his writing. There is a great deal of music history hidden here, called out either in names, song titles, and personal stories of the artists. He is masterful in discreetly incorporating things that may not be obvious in his writing. This is a nice treat because there is something new to find in Becker’s poetry, especially when read more than once.

I immensely enjoyed finding all the musical references throughout though I am sure I may have missed some. Poetry is hugely subjective and personal when it comes to the level of enjoyment, for any music lover these entertaining poems will inspire you.  

Euphoric Wonderland is a humorous and engaging collection of poetry. The musical reference will bring on feelings of nostalgia for older generations, and serve as a rich and diverse introduction to younger generations that may not be as familiar with the music that inspired the works here.

Pages: 96 | ASIN : B09WHG11FP

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