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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just Bento - Makiko Itoh

Just Bento by Makiko Itoh is a great cookbook to get you started on making Japanese style lunches.

There are many reasons people want to start eating Japanese style lunch, which can range from wanting to cut calories to just wanting to do something different.

Itoh presents tons of simple single serve dishes that use fresh and flavorful ingredients. Since she lives in America herself, Itoh understands the difficulty in getting a hold of traditional Japanese flavors. While for some of these she lists substitutes, such as for teriyaki sauce, she mostly simply uses regularly available ingredients in the states.

I like the fact that the recipes are organized as meals, meaning that an entree will be listed with side dishes that have complementary flavors. Itoh makes it even easier by providing an approximate timeline for preparing each of these delicious meals. I can attest to the fact that, as the author says, these dishes are delicious both warm or cold.

It's not just Japanese flavors available in this book, though. There is a section containing recipes for foods like meatballs, sandwiches, and salads.

If you want to start doing bento and can't find one of the Japanese style lunch boxes, you have other options. Although it's fun to use the cute or stylized containers, you can always use regular plastic containers (like Tupperware) to store your meals. And you can even customize these by adding stickers or decorating them with permanent marker.

The author's websites:

Recommended Reading:
Small Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos
Cooking for One or Two by Heidi Reuter Lloyd
Healthy Cooking for Two (or just you) by Frances Price

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thor: Wolves of the North

Thor: Wolves of the North contains 3 action packed comics of Thor written by Michael Carey, Alan Davis, and Peter Milligan.

In "Wolves of the North", Hela's armies descend upon a Norse village and kill the chieftain. His daughter, who is left in charge, refuses to give in to Hela's demands for subjugation and decides to fight. Thor comes to her aid and after making a pact, he joins the battle to bring victory over Hela.

A archaeologist stumbles upon strange hieroglyphs and decides to reveal "The Truth of History" where Thor and the Warriors Three bumble through ancient Egypt. After saving the locals from their oppressors, a feast is thrown in their honor. Unfortunately, the local gods don't seem to keen on the new freedom Thor and company have given the people.

In "The Hand of Grog" Thor has been banished to Midgard for killing another god in a previous issue. Now tied to Blake, a human in the 20th century, Thor must defend himself and the people around him from supernatural enemies who attack him when he's the most vulnerable.

All of the pieces have excellent illustrations and colors. By far my favorite story in this collection was "Wolves of the North" by Michael Carey. The others were imaginative, but I liked the raw feeling of the first story the most.

Recommended Thor Anthologies:
Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron
Thor by J. Michael Straczynski

Recommended Viewing:
Thor: Tales of Asgard

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A History Ancient Sparta - Professor Timothy B. Shutt

A History of Ancient Sparta lectured by Professor Timothy B. Shutt is an excellent set of lectures about the history and culture of ancient Sparta.

Sparta is perhaps best known, especially in recent years due to a hit movie, for the 300 soldiers who took a stand at Thermopylae against the Persian army. This is appropriate, since Sparta itself was a military state.

Citizens of Sparta, both males and females, were inspected at birth for any physical deformities. If they were not healthy, they would be left to die. Once boys reached the age of seven they would leave the house to train in the agoge to become soldiers. While girls did not participate in the formal agoge like the boys, they did participate in a kind of training themselves with the daily exercise. Upon becoming adults, both men and women were expected to participate in the daily public exercise.

Spartan citizens, there were several castes of them, did not do any labor. All of their time was devoted to training. They instead owned land and slaves, who would tend the animals and crops, and give a certain percentage over to their overlords.

This was a grim culture, yet it did have a sensitive side. The boys and men would sing and dance during feast days. In fact, during festivals they were known to forego battles in fear that they would displease the Gods.

The place of women in Sparta was unusual compared to the rest of the world at the time; in fact, the only women who had it better were those who lived in Germanic and Norse tribes. Women were allowed to own property in Sparta. It was this loophole that allowed a woman from Sparta to win the Olympics. Women were not allowed to participate in the Olympics, but as a land holder, she had the right to participate. Syniska is the only woman to have ever won in the Greek Olympics.

There is a lot more to Spartan culture to be learned from this series of lectures, and I recommend it to anybody who desires to do so. There is also an accompanying book to the lectures, which contains the information from the lectures, as well as citation and suggested books by the professor.

Recommended Lectures:
The Vikings by Professor Kenneth W. Harl
Celts and Germans by Professor Timothy B. Shutt

Recommended Viewing:
Last Stand of the 300: The Legendary Battle at Thermopylae - History Channel
300 2007

Friday, January 25, 2013

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a fascinating view of what could be if society would set aside its obsession with religion and emotions.

As an employee at the Hatchery and Conditioning Center, Bernard Marx has the privilege of knowing the secrets of exactly how children are created. Children are hatched, not born, and then separated into one of five castes. And from then on they are given the appropriate nutrition and conditioning to ensure their compliance.

Unlike others around him, Bernard is extremely discontent with life. Unlike others of the Alpha caste, he is short, which leads to jokes about alcohol accidentally being fed to him during incubation. While others around him simply take Soma, the government-granted drug, to ease their troubles, he feels an aversion for the substance. Bernard takes a special liking to a woman named Lenina Crowne. Like most people in their society, Lenina is free with her physical affections; however, Bernard, unlike the rest of society, finds this a reason to be jealous.

When Bernard and Lenina take their vacation in New Mexico they aren't prepared for what they encounter. They find to their horror that people still live in family units, that they still practice religion, and they don't indulge in Soma to keep themselves under control. They meet a native named John, who they take back with them to England.

Upon learning about this society, John finds himself just as horrified as Bernard and Lenina. His arrival starts a mess of events in the utopia that lead him straight to the local World Controller, Mustapha Mond. John argues with Mustapha Mond about how the conditions in which people live in the utopia are unacceptable. He makes objections that many readers have probably had in their own minds while reading the novel, yet the World Controller has an equal response for every one.

The novel ends in tragedy for many of the characters and left me with feelings of confusion and awe.

Huxley's novel has been challenged many times for language and pornographic imagery. It has also been called anti-family and anti-religion. Unlike objections to other books, I found these objections easily understandable when reading. Still, it is an excellent novel that challenges the reader to see things from a different perspective.

Recommended Reads:
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weird Arizona - Welsey Treat

Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman first began exploring their home state of New Jersey to find all that was weird and wonderful. They made pamphlets for friends. They soon expanded to a magazine and then published a book. Not long after they started receiving letters from all over the United States about more strange things. Weird Arizona by Wesley Treat is another book in this line of adventures.

No matter what your interest, you're bound to find something in this volume that will strike your fancy. If you like hauntings, you can try your luck at finding La Llorona along the banks of Gila or San Pedro river. Or maybe stop near Tombstone to take a photo of the lively ghosts in the Bird Cage Theatre, who are said to be quite photogenic. If you're not too fond of aliens, then you might want to steer clear of Sedona. If you enjoy exploring natural places, you can visit Petrified Forest National Park. Just be careful not to pilfer any souvenirs from the area, as they are said to be cursed. Did you ever want to be a member of a Yacht Club? Join the Quartzsite Yacht Club, located off of Route 10 at exit 17.

There are many more fun things to find in this book, but you'll have to read it to find out. Each article contains the name of the attraction with a brief description and a few photos to give you an idea of what to look for. The only issue I found was that not all of the destinations have approximate locations to get you there. For many of these you'll have to check online to get more details, which you'd probably want to do anyway to see if it's changed hours or possibly been blocked from the public.

If you're looking for something different while you're traveling through Arizona, this may be the guidebook for you.

Recommended Reads:
Weird U.S. by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman
Weird Las Vegas and Nevada by Joe Oesterle and Tim Cridland
Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations Brad Olsen

Recommended Viewing:
Weird U.S - History Channel

Monday, January 21, 2013

Supernatural:Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind - Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock weaves fascinating theories with facts in Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind.

The author shares with the reader his exploration of caves and other sacred places around the world. He then describes his personal experience with several different drugs that he used to experience the 'other world'. In many cases he attended ceremonies with natives of various tribes and religions. He saw strange geometric shapes, caves, animals, and the many unfamiliar things. Only later, he says, did he research to find that his experience match that of many others.

Hancock discovers that there are many similarities between what people experience when taking various drugs, dancing, and other forms of ecstasy all around the world. Despite the cultural differences many people seem to see the same things he did.

What do aliens, other world spirits, and fairies have in common? All three of these are often described as beings of light or being a combination of various animals. Abductees experiences getting pierced by needles, while those in a more tribal setting experience being pierced by spears. Abductees of both aliens and fairies often describe being forced into taking care of strange babies. There are many more similarities between them.

What do these symbols mean? People experience these things with different symbolism, but the overarching experience is the same. Some scientists speculate that perhaps the spirals people see during their journey represent DNA. Perhaps all of the information is there if we could just access it.

Those who have studied religion and spirituality already know that there are common factors between most systems. Even Christianity, when it first started out, had a shamanic tone to it with the healings and miracles that Jesus performed. These stories can be found all around the world. Are all of these things just coincidence or do they mean something more?

While Hancock's writing overall suggests that the similarities between all of these things must point to one thing, he still points out differences between the many experiences. For me, the book didn't present much new material, I read a lot of this type of book, but it did present new theories to ponder. The curious will find this an captivating read.

Recommended Reads:
Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer by John C. Lilly
The Myth of Eternal Return - Mircea Eliade
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Recommended Viewing:
Ancient Aliens - History Channel
Taboo - National Geographic

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Anthem - Ayn Rand

Anthem by Ayn Rand follows the plight of a man in a totalitarian society where everything is decide for every person.

He uses the pronoun "we" whenever he speaks and he has been assigned a number, rather than a name. He has been assigned to the permanent assignment of "street sweeper", where he sweeps the same street every day. At first he enjoys this call to purpose, but he soon tires of it.

He starts thinking illegal things. He starts doing illegal things. He starts writing about illegal things. He's guilty of so many things that he is filled with anxiety.

Then, eventually, he finds illegal books, where he learns a new word: "I". That is when he awakens. He looks around and finds what is wrong with his society. His ego awakens.

While this novel is more about rebellion and individuality, the theme of selfishness still shines through. Ayn Rand is an advocate of "the virtue of selfishness", and it is reflected in nearly all of her novels. She contends that selfishness is necessary in the world for the survival and continuation of man. Her writing continues to influence today.

Recommended Reading:
1984 by George Orwell
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Recommended Viewing:
Logan's Run
Soylent Green
Hunger Games

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gotham City Sirens: Songs of the Sirens - Paul Dini

Gotham City Sirens: Songs of the Sirens is the combined work of talented writers Paul Dini, Tony Bedard, Guillem March.

Catwoman #83 "Night and the City" - While out on the job, Catwoman comes face to face with a former nemesis that should be dead. When Black Mask threatens Selina's Sister, Maggie, she has no choice but to go after him. With the help of her roommates Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, she manages to get a handle on Black Mask; however, her sister is now lost in the dangerous Gotham City.

While Ivy's been trying to live the straight life, somebody's been busy producing a series of killings that point to her as a perpetrator. With an uneasy with Commissioner Gordon, she sets out to discover the real killer. After Poison Ivy doesn't return home, Harleen and Selina start to worry. With a little help from Edward Nigma, the Riddler, they set out to rescue their friend.

When the trio discovers that they are being stalked, they enlist Edward Nigma to assist in putting together the "Pieces of the Puzzle". When he gets caught in the trap set for them, they have to jump in to save them.

Ivy manages to find herself a regular employer. The first day "On the Job", she decides to establish her place by firing a few employees. Unfortunately, it appears that one of the ex-employees has figured out her former identity and uses the tools in the plant-based research facility to get the upper hand.

Maggie, Selina's sister, went missing after a second encounter with Black Mask. Convinced that Catwoman is actually a demon that's taken possession of Selina, Maggie seeks out the assistance from one of the Sisters in her former convent. When she let's loose a strange substance in the Nun's possession, Maggie transforms into "Sister Zero". Determined to rid Selina of her demon, her sister attacks Catwoman with her new found powers. Somehow Selina has to find a way to free her sister from possession and return her to the real world.

Harley's and Ivy's relationship is well-established in the Batman series. Throwing in Catwoman makes for a change in dynamic. The interactions between characters feel natural and I could hear the characters speaking in my head. All of the stories in this collection were interesting to me, and I look forward to reading the next two volumes.

Books in this series:
Strange Fruit

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ragnorok: The End of the Gods - A.S. Byatt

Ragnorok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt is a skillful and fantastic rewrite of the Norse Eddas through the eyes of a child at wartime.

She carries a gas mask on her bag as she walks through the fields to and from school. Her father is gone to war, and though her mother speaks of 'when he returns', she knows he will not. She does not worry because she doesn't truly understand the danger.

Her asthma makes playing difficult, so she spends time inside reading books. The Pilgrim's Progress is one of her favorites, but Asgard and the Gods calls her back time and again. Having read from her encyclopedias, the little girl imagines vivid pictures and scenes, like the world tree and the many creatures that live beneath the ocean. The detail of the more violent myths, such as the death of Ymir at the creation of the world, may disturb some readers.

Her comprehension of the myths, both Christian and Norse, reminded me much of how I myself understood them as a child. Her confusion over how the gods act is familiar, as is her pondering of what the myths themselves might mean.

Scattered sporadically throughout the novel are traditional ink drawings of scenes, such as Wodan's Wild Hunt, the World Tree, and Ragnorok. These are nice visuals, but they pale in comparison to the detailed prose of Byatt's writing.

A knowledge of either of the books is not necessary, as the author does a fine job of explaining the pieces she uses during the novel; however, reading the pieces beforehand can enhance the enjoyment of the detailed account that the author provides that are not present in the originals.

A passing familiarity with the names of Gods and places may be necessary, though. The spellings of Gods and places from Norse mythology change from region to region. While most authors will choose one spelling throughout their book, Byatt decides to use multiple spellings throughout the novel. This may confuse some readers who are not familiar with the names.

I read this last year in February, and I found myself continually thinking back on it throughout the year. I could hardly wait to read it again this year!

Source Material:
Asgard and the Gods by W. Wagner
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Recommended Reads:
Song of the Dwarves by Thorarinn Gunnarsson
Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Dark Mirror - Juliet Marillier

The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier is a fascinating historical fantasy loosely based on King Bridei I of the Picts in the sixth century (author's notes can be found on her website).

Bridei was plucked from his mother at the tender age of four to be trained by Broichan at Pitnochie. Broichan, the Druid and adviser to the king, trains Bridei in history and self-control, while others in the household teach him self-defense, archery, and other useful skills.

One night while Broichan is away, Bridei comes across a strange basket with a bright child. Knowing this to be a gift from The Shining One, Bridei takes in the child and works a hearth magic charm to convince the rest of the household to keep her. By the time the Druid returns the charm has taken hold and it is too late for him to abandon Tuala.

Over the years, Bridei and Tuala grow close; however, their paths soon lead them on separate paths. While Bridei is off to war to prove himself as a man, Tuala is sent away from Pitnochie to become devoted to the Goddess.  The longer Bridei is away from Tuala, the more he realizes he needs her for her wit and companionship.  As the pressures of court close in, Bridei becomes more desperate.  Somehow Bridei and Tuala must both escape their fates to make their dream become reality.

Like the other novels I've read by Marillier, her prose make reading quick.  Marillier researches the history to create a realistic environment with additional fantastic elements.  The interactions and relationships between characters are realistic and she conveys emotions effectively without becoming overly detailed.  This is another brilliant work from the author.

Books in the series:
Blade of Fortriu
Well of Shades

Recommended Reads by this author:
Daughter of the Forest

Friday, January 11, 2013

Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne

Winnie the Pooh is one of the most recognizable childhood icons. A.A. Milne's writing is simple, yet it gives the reader a sense of wonder. His writing also has great humor.

In this series of short stories, Milne tells the story of Christopher Robin, Pooh Bear, Piglet, and many other beloved characters. The first story tells the reader about how Pooh attempts to trick bees into thinking he's a cloud so he can steal their honey. In yet another quest for honey, Pooh manages to get stuck in Rabbit's front door. His loyalty is seen when he saves Piglet from a flood.

Piglet, an anxious fellow, joins up with Pooh to hunt down a Woozle and later to trap a Heffalump. But even brave Piglet can get caught up in the misadventures of his friends. He ends up getting caught up in Rabbit's scheme to trick Kanga and ends up having to take a bath.

Poor depressed Eeyore thinks nobody cares about him, but Pooh and friends prove him wrong. When Eeyore loses his tail, Pooh goes out in search of it. And when everybody forgets about his birthday, Pooh and Piglet go out to find him the best gifts they can.

With lovable characters and fun stories, many will continue enjoying Winnie the Pooh for years to come.

Books in the series:
The House at Pooh Corner
When We Were Very Young
Now We are Six

Recommended Viewing:
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - features "The Honey Tree," "The Blustery Day," and "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - Matthew Dicks

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks follows the adventures of imaginary friend Budo as he helps Max, his boy, through daily life.

As a child with autism, Max faces many challenges when it comes to social situations. Because of his unusual behavior he doesn't have any friends at school. After doing the right thing, he even managed to get tangled up with a bully. But Max enjoys going to school because Mrs. Gosk, his teacher, makes school fun.

Max's only friend is Budo, his imaginary friend. Budo likes Max and helps him as much as possible. When Max ends up in a dangerous situation, their friendship is pushed to the limits. Unable to communicate with other humans, Budo enlists the help of other imaginary friends to save Max.

Max's parents are loving parents, and their struggle with figuring out how to best care for their unusual child makes their relationship difficult. While Max may not understand the arguing, Budo understands and illustrates the pain many children feel when family members cannot get along. The natural friendship between Max and Budo sucked me in and kept me engaged throughout the entire novel.

Recommended Reading:
The Wild Things - Dave Eggers

Recommended Viewing:
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alternative Alices - editor: Carolyn Sigler

The popularity of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland caught the attention of critics immediately. It also served as inspiration for over 200 pieces that include imitations, revisions, and parodies. Carolyn Sigler collects selections from 20 stories in Alternative Alices.

If you are interested in how Carroll influenced literature, this is an excellent collection. The introduction explains why the Alice books had appeal to such a large audience and why she continues to influence media today. Before each selection is a brief biography of each author, followed by selections that best display Carroll's influence on the author.

If you're the type that enjoys selections, this is a great book; however, if you're like me you may prefer to read the stories in their entirety. All of these works are out-of-copyright, and the majority are available for either free download or free reading online. Below is the list of books contained in this collection. Some of these books are contained in anthologies online, so if the title does not match the page that is why.

Subverting Wonderland
Mopsa the Fairy - Jean Ingelow
Amelia and the Dwarfs - Juliana Horatia Ewing
Speaking Likenesses - Christina Rossetti
Behind the White Brick - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Wanted--A King; or, How Merle Set the Nursery Rhmes to Right - Maggie Browne
A New Alice in the Old Wonderland - Anna M. Richards
Justnowland - E. Nesbit

The Didactic Looking Glass
Ernest - Edward Knatchubull-Hugessen
From Nowhere to the North Pole: A Noah's Ark-├Žological Narrative - Tom Hood
Down the Snow Stairs; or, From Good-Night to Good-Morning - Alice Corkran

Sentimental recreations
Davy and the Goblin, or What Followed Reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" - Charles E. Carryl
The Wallypug of Why - G.E. Farrow
Uncle Wiggily in Wonderland - Howard R. Garis
David Blaze and the Blue Door - E. F. Benson

Political Parodies
The Westminster Alice - Saki
Clara in Blunderland - Caroline Lewis
Alice in Blunderland - John Kendrick Bangs
Alice and the Stork: A Fairy Tale for Workingmen's Children - Henry T. Schnittkind
Alice in the Delighted States - Edward Hope

Source Material:
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Deadpool: Space Oddity - Daniel Way

Deadpool: Space Oddity by Daniel Way includes some stellar storytelling with stupendous illustrations by Bong Dazo, Sheldon Vella, and Carlo Barberi.

Our favorite Merc has been hired to evict a stubborn ex-tenant from a building. Taken in by the deceivingly easy job, Deadpool takes the opportunity. Unfortunately, this tenant happens to be the overpowered "The Wrecker". After the first tumble, Deadpool demands more for this job. And since "The Price is Right", he'll go in one more time.

Deadpool's been a naughty boy. Macho Gomez, however that is, want to repo the stuff Deadpool rightfully stole. Apparently, Gomez has some kind of intergalactic reputation, but is he badass enough to take on the Earth's infamous Deadpool?

Determined to show the universe that he's the best, instead of that Gomez guy, Deadpool steals a spaceship to go out and prove it. "Space oddity" puts Deadpool in the middle of intergalactic fun. He joins a repo company, gets hired to kill a planet, manages to save a civilization, and even gets space married!

Books in the series:
Secret Invasion
Dark Reign
X Marks the Spot

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Free-Range Kids - Lenore Skenazy

Back in 2007, I stumbled across an article published on The Daily Mail: How children lost the right to roam in four generations. This small article told how a great grandfather was able to wander out 6 miles to go fishing, while his great grandson isn't allowed to leave the yard. What happened?

Skenazy, the author of Free Range Kids, originally wrote in her newspaper column about how she let her 9 year old son ride the subway home by himself. With a subway map, a roll of quarters to call home, and a $20 bill in pocket, Izzy made it home fine within the hour. It took no time for her to earn the label "America's Worst Mom".

People continue to repeat the litany of "it's different/dangerous now". It's easy to fall into line when the news media is constantly giving us things to be scared of. If it's not child abduction, it's toxic chemicals in cleaners, or even dangerous toys. Even worse, there are tons of television shows, like the popular Law & Order or CSI, that keep it in the forefront of our mind. Sometimes it's difficult to separate the reality from what's imagined.

Did you know there have been no cases, none, of poisoned, laced, or otherwise tampered candy during Halloween? Most crimes against children are committed by acquaintances, and even more often family members! Turns out "stranger danger" isn't what parents should be worried about. What other myths are we repeating that cause harm to our children without even realizing it?

In places like Japan and Germany, children as young as 3 are allowed to walk unattended to the corner bakery or to the park, where they can play with other children. In many European countries, it's considered healthy to leave a baby unattended outside a store to get fresh air, while the parents go in to get lunch or do some shopping.

Skenazy doesn't suggest children should be allowed to run rampant through the streets. She's asking for some consideration. If the bus stop or school isn't far away, perhaps children could be allowed to walk there themselves. Or maybe they should be permitted to walk down the street to pick up a loaf of bread for the family.

The way the media frames it, you wouldn't believe it, but crimes against children are lower than they were in 1976. It's, in fact, safer now than it was. Maybe, just maybe, parents should consider affording their children the same opportunity for exploration that they were as kids.

Lenore Skenazy's website:

Recommended Reads:
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Harmful to Minors: The Perils Of Protecting Children From Sex by Judith Levine and Joycelyn M. Elders
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum in Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is a fantastic delve into a fantasy realm that will entertain people of all ages.

Bored at home, Milo is surprised to find a package addressed just to him. After opening and assembling the object, he finds a car and a tollbooth with specific instructions.

When he loses his concentration, Milo finds himself in the Doldrums. Once he gets back on track, he travels to many other fascinating places, like the Valley of Sound, the Forest of Sight, and the Foothills of Confusion. Along the way he meets many curious characters and even teams up with two residents of the strange land: Tock and Humbug.

By employing turn of phrase and taking word literally, the author creates an incredible world that will fascinate many readers. The author also uses synesthetic descriptions, the cross-over of senses, for amazing imagery that makes music colorful and letters flavorful.

This trek into unknown lands was a pure delight for me. I know many readers have enjoyed it before me, and I hope many will continue to do so.

Recommended Reads:
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis