For What It's Worth

Monday, October 16, 2017

monday minis: The Great Hibernation & Pashmina


IMG_20170801_102820_391The most important tradition in tiny St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord is the annual Tasting of the Sacred Bear Liver. Each citizen over twelve must eat one bite of liver to prevent the recurrence of the Great Hibernation, when the town founder's fell asleep for months.

This year is Jean Huddy's first time to taste the liver. It doesn't go well. A few hours later, all the adults fall asleep. And no one can wake them.
The kids are left to run things, and they're having a blast. That is, until the town bullies take over the mayor's office and the police force.


Jean suspects that this "hibernation" was actually engineered by someone in town. She starts to investigate, and inspires other kids to join her in a secret plan to save St. Polonius. ~
Goodreads (Mid-Grade)

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: I adore Dairman’s mid-grade All Four Stars trilogy about a pint sized chef becoming an undercover food critic so I was excited to dive in her latest mid-grade, stand alone novel.

Combining folklore, tradition, science, and of course…food, Dairman has crafted an exciting mystery after all the adults fall into a coma like sleep after the annual Tasting of the Sacred Bear Liver festival.

The children are left to keep the town running, assuming their parents positions in society. Some let the power go to their head, others want to make their parents proud and a few want to forge a new path and break free of expectations.

This got a little darker than I was expecting at times. A little Lord of the Flies-ish – albeit at a mid-grade level so nothing too dark and there are also references to killing and eating endangered species. All can be used as a starting point for important conversations, but something to keep in mind for sensitive readers.

One thing I love about Dairman’s writing is that she never talks down to children and she seemlessly weaves new vocabulary, cultures and ideas throughout.



IMG_20170825_115445_468Pashmina tells the story of an Indian-American girl who struggles to fit in at high school, then discovers more about her family's history with the help of her mother's magical pashmina. ~ Goodreads (YA)

My thoughts: This was my first graphic novel and what a sweet little story. An Indian American girl named Priyanka lives in the US with her mother, who left India at Priyanka’s age and is reluctant to tell Pri about her Indian heritage or her father. Pri’s imagination of a vibrant India vs her mother’s not so happy memories lead them to clash quite often.

Pri discovers a pashmina in her mom's belongings that allows her to magically travel to India and experience it as Pri imagines it to be.

The illustrations are  beautiful and switch from color panels for Pri in the real world to monotone – grays for the fantasy world, although there are whimsical animals that act as her guide. This seems like an odd choice, since Priyanka’s idea of India is bursting with color and life but it works, especially after she realizes her dream of visiting India in real life.

When Pri finally does make it to India and finds out the truth about the country and her mom's difficult past, the story takes a wonderful turn that explores culture, feminism and familial bonds.

If I have any negatives they would be that there were abrupt turns in the story at times without adequate transitions. Maybe this is a common thing with graphic novels and I need to learn the how they flow a bit more or a genuine issue – I haven’t read enough graphic novels to make that call and the story read a little young, almost mid-grade, at times but that's a very minor issue.

19 comments:

  1. I'm distracted by the giant, fuzzy mittens you have behind The Great Hibernation... they look so warm and comfortable, lol.

    I haven't read a graphic novel yet, but Pashmina sounds lovely!

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    1. Those are actually made with sheltie fur! Not my guys - they were given to me lol

      Really? I thought you did read graphic novels. Just comics then?

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  2. Pashmina sounds good! I really love graphic novels. I suppose transitions can be a bit abrupt, but I don't think it's true for all graphic novels - I hope you check out some more.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Yes, I think I need to read a few more so that can review them a little better. Not that my opinion isn't valid but I'm not sure what's to be expected and what is actually an issue if you know what I mean.

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  3. Two very different books. I keep meaning to get around to reading my first Graphic novel but so far it hasn't happened. That said, the Great Hibernation sounds like a read I'd really, really enjoy. Ah! So many books out there ...

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    1. It's something that still feels awkward to me but I'm getting the hang of it! lol

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  4. These sound absolutely lovely Karen, especially Pashmina. I love stories of discovery of identity. I don't read graphic novels typically but I love the storyline and diversity. I'm so glad you enjoyed these Karen and wonderful reviews! <3

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  5. Oh I think I'd like Pashmina better. That one sounds like a delight! The eating of endangered species would have ticked me off as a kid in the Great Hibernation, but I know kids it wouldn't bother. Still the plot does sound interesting for a MG. Maybe I could handle that now? Probably not. LOL

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    1. Well, it's something the kids uncover and stop so it's meant as a bad thing to be fixed so it wasn't portrayed as something good but I would have been traumatized as a kid lol

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  6. I had heard of Pashmina, but didn't realize what it was about. It sounds fantastic, Karen.

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  7. Both look pretty good. I can kinda see where the Great Hibernation maybe gets a little darkish, I wouldn't have expected that either, but it does sound like she doesn't talk down to younger readers and that's nice.

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    1. It totally makes sense! I guess I just wasn't expecting it to go that dark lol

      But it was all done very well and there's push back from kids trying to do better.

      I love how all her books can be used to spur discussion.

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  8. Any book titled The Great Hibernation is going to appeal to me as I would love to do that during winter, but less with the sleeping and more the chance to sit and read and drink hot chocolate all winter. It sounds interesting for a MG read and it does sound like a fun one, and it's great there's no talking down going on and it gets a little darker without being dark and keeping the MG tone right.

    Pashmina sounds brilliant, that's the kind of book you want coming out and the fact it's a good story and good illustrations is great. It may have had it's abrupt moments but I still want to read.

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  9. Ahh yes, the Sacred Bear Liver Festival. LOL... can't say I've heard of it :) Though the book sounds at times dark, I love when traditions (especially holiday traditions) are incorporated into books (especially this time of year!).

    Thanks so much for sharing your reads <3

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