All Aboard the ARC: Blossom and Bud by Frank J. Sileo (Author) and Brittany E. Lakin (Illustrator)

Blossom and Bud by Frank J. Sileo (Author) and Brittany E. Lakin (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Magination Press, the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions Blossom and Bud, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review

Mr. Baxter’s flower shop is full of gorgeous flowers of every imaginable shape, length, and hue, giving Blossom and Bud plenty of opportunities for negative self-comparison.

Blossom and Bud begins in Mr. Baxter’s flower shop. Blossom is a long-stemmed sunflower ashamed of her height and Bud is just that—a bud—who hasn’t blossomed yet and feels self-conscious about it. Mr. Baxter’s flower shop is full of gorgeous flowers of every imaginable shape, length, and hue, giving Blossom and Bud plenty of opportunities for negative self-comparison. The other flowers, which remind one of the Technicolor hecklers in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, tease the two about their insecurities relentlessly.

What Blossom and Bud learn is that everyone, no matter their size or composition, has a place and a purpose unique to them and them alone.

At the end of the long day, Mr. Baxter goes home to rest up for what will be a big project starting the next morning. What our heroes don’t realize is that they will be central to this project. Mr. Baxter arrives in a joyful mood of rapturous anticipation, for a wedding is afoot! He pulls out a list of different flowers he needs, and there are two in particular that are especially important. He needs a long-stemmed flower to be the center of the bride’s bouquet and a bud (our Bud) to be the groom’s boutonnière. What Blossom and Bud learn is that everyone, no matter their size or composition, has a place and a purpose unique to them and them alone.

Dr. Sileo’s lovely tale, beautifully illustrated by Brittany E. Lakin, is sure to delight and inspire children of all ages to accept themselves for who and what they are, and to celebrate their differences with pride.

Blossom and Bud was released by Magination Press, the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association, on April 13th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Dr. Frank J. Sileo, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Psychological Enhancement, LLC in Ridgewood, New Jersey. In addition to Blossom and Bud, Dr. Sileo is the author of twelve other books, eleven of which are children’s picture books exploring topics related to children’s growth and development. You can read more about him and his work on his website.

Brittany E. Lakin is an award-winning children’s illustrator based in the United Kingdom. She is represented by Plum Pudding Illustration and has done work for Firefly Press, Magination Press, and Worthy Kids, among others. You can read more about her and her work on her website.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 15th, 2022

Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith

You start to think of contempt as a virus. Infecting individuals first, but spreading rapidly through families, communities, peoples, power structures, nations. Less flashy than hate. More deadly.

Zadie Smith, Intimations: Six Essays

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: January 14th, 2022

i found a lover and we left the city by Patrycja Humienik

temporarily. crackle of the fire said as much.

temple into the sprawl of limbs, which came later. first



the alchemists: oysters we ate quietly as we could,

laughing, not saying a word, eyes full of language.



and it wasn’t that no one had ever touched me before,

but it had never been like this. tunnel-less. not a search



for a prize, zippered pearl to coax out of grieving.

not the scarcity of hardship or the dismissal of it, but we did look



up: airglow: sky a cicatrix: purpling, paler. damage,

and the need to undo it—not to fix, but to unribbon



the past. my mama grew up in a rural place, rolling jade

hills, my name betrayed her wish to leave that lack.



szlachetnie urodzona: desire for wealth and its associated ease.

i don’t blame her for using a name like a tool for weeding.



i, too, prune and tug at my story, but she wanted me to live

up to my name, and for that i might blame her, i learn other names,



plants that please me: forsythia, hyacinth, pyracantha; my lover

gives me a dried bouquet. i prefer weeping



willow, even seaweed, something of water. i want

not to say this but to be understood with my eyes, the way



i was, for a moment, by the fire. but some lovers are not for

lasting, though that part comes later, if i, must i, tell the truth.

© 2014-2020, BOAAT Press. All rights reserved.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 14th, 2022

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Author) and Lisa Sterle (Illustrator)

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Author) and Lisa Sterle (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions Squad, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Short Blurb: Maggie Tokuda-Hall takes everything you think you know about werewolves and their lore and gives it a feminist (and sapphic) bent. The result is a graphic novel that’s just a lot of fun to read (and talk about with your squad—no incels allowed, unless of course they’re on the menu).

Review

Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Squad is a perfect blend of horror, suspense, and believe it or not, romance. It’s sort of like if Mean Girls had a baby with Teen Wolf that grew up to be super freaking gay and not a little sarcastic. Combine that with Lisa Sterle’s vibrant art style reminiscent of the best of the Archie Comics and what you have is a delightful romp just ripe for adaptation. Does anyone have Netflix’s number?

It’s [Squad] sort of like if Mean Girls had a baby with Teen Wolf that grew up to be super freaking gay and not a little sarcastic.

It all starts when Becca moves with her mom from LA to Piedmont in her junior year of high school. Becca has always wanted to fit in, so when a clique of popular girls takes her in, she feels like she has a place for the first time in her life. It turns out though that Becca’s new squad is less of a clique and more of a pack. Of werewolves, that is, with bites far worse than their barks. These werewolves don’t hunt the innocent, though. Their prey are the predators. Sleazy boys oozing generational wealth and privilege who take advantage of girls at parties. Boys who know history and the law is on their side telling them they’ll get away with it because most of the time they do.

Their prey are the predators.

Becca discovers her friends’ secret at a party outside underneath a full moon. A skinny incel named Bart O’Kavanaugh (Tokuda-Hall’s character naming is very tongue in cheek) gets Becca away from the larger group and tries to assault her. Their exchange really is rape culture in a nutshell:

Bart: You’re hella pretty.

Becca: Okay.

Bart moves in to kiss her and Becca squirms away from him.

Bart: Don’t make it weird.

Becca: Don’t make it rapey.

Bart: Why’d you even come with me then?

Becca: Boredom? I don’t know why I even believed you when you said you were gonna show me something cool.

Bart: Yeah, my dick!

Becca tries to turn away from him.

Becca: Let’s go back to the party.

Bart puts his hand on Becca’s shoulder.

Bart: I can tell you want it.

Becca turns again, trying to dislodge his hand off her shoulder, and Bart violently grabs her by the arm while she tries to free herself. She smacks him in the face, tearing up.

Becca: Let me go, dude!

Bart grabs Becca once again and tears are streaming down her face.

Bart: Jesus, don’t be such a bitch!

There’s a rustling nearby. Suddenly Arianna, Marley, and Mandy step into view.

Marley: You know, you gotta be careful around bitches.

The three girls start transforming into wolves, growing fangs, claws, and fur, tongues lolling in anticipation.

Marley: We roll in packs.

You know, you gotta be careful around bitches. We roll in packs.

If that scene isn’t the most patriarchy-toppling in any piece of media ever, I don’t know what is. There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing boys with names like O’Kavanaugh and Weinstein get eaten by girls-turned-werewolves. After they rescue her from Bart, Becca joins the girls’ pack and has to learn to cope with this new aspect of her identity and all it encompasses. Along with being a newly-turned werewolf, Becca also has another secret to keep that’s gurgling just beneath the surface. When you’re young, or any age, really, having to hide part of yourself to stay safe does damage that takes a long time to heal. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s true for gay people, women, and werewolves.

When you’re young, or any age, really, having to hide part of yourself to stay safe does damage that takes a long time to heal. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s true for gay people, women, and werewolves.

Fear not, though, dear readers—Squad doesn’t disappoint and isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination. In this hybrid horror-romance story, the girls get mad, the boys get eaten, and love triumphs over all. And if only for a moment, everyone who’s ever had to say #MeToo feels just a little bit better.

Squad was released by Greenwillow Books on October 5th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 13th, 2022

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 12th, 2022

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.

Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 11th, 2022

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

I’ve seen enough to know that you can be a human with a mountain of resources and you can be a human with nothing, and you can be a monster either way.

Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 10th, 2022

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

When you start to love yourself for the first time, when you start to truly embrace who you are—flaws and all—your scars start to look a lot more like beauty marks.

Jacob Tobia, Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: January 9th, 2022

An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones

Home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch. You can’t pick your home any more than you can choose your family.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage: A Novel

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.