What’s a review carnival?

EBYR Reviewers are always hard at work churning out thoughtful critiques of our latest titles. The EBYR Review carnival features their work and lets you take a closer look at what people are saying about our books.

We invite you to read the condensed reviews below and if any catch your interest, we’ve provided links to their full review on Amazon or the reviewer’s personal blog.

And yes, we know, we know, nothing puts a dampener on your high-floating fun-filled day at the fair like rain. But we’ve got you covered with some ideas that are sure to soak up your soggy day and make it a big splash.

With that in mind, let’s see what our reviewers have to say about Felix.

What the EBYR Reviewers are saying . . . 

Tarnetar Mela Umbrella
Tarnetar Mela is a tribal fair held every year in the village of Tarnetar India. Known locally as a swayamvars, men come to the fair carrying elaborately decorated umbrellas—unlike any other in the world. Women come to the festival to choose their husband, basing their decision on the beauty of his umbrella.

JarmVeee kicks things off with an invitation to adventure! She writes—“If your child loves cats, he or she will delight in joining Felix as he travels the globe. Not only is the reader introduced to foreign cultures, but also to the broad family of cats—big and small. If you’ve ever wondered where your cat is hiding on any given day, this story playfully reveals the reason why!”

So just who is this Felix and what’s he all about?

SandraD explains“Felix is a house cat who lives in the city. He decides to visit his relatives around the world and learns something of their cultures in the process. Felix is warmly welcomed by his many cousins. . . I love the book’s message of friendship and connection.

Cheryl Ryan gives a similar take, “Felix, a city cat, is living a very comfortable life with “lots of friends—a balcony, some cushions, a window (and in that window, the night and the moon). It is that window and the pull and tug of what lays beyond it that leads Felix out of this quiet life and into the world.

Felix is a book that illustrates the quiet independence of cats, regardless of human interactions. . . we have a lush, impressionistic sojourn of one curious cat . . .  a lovely bedtime read which will have cat lovers purring.”
He’s traveling the world visiting his cat relatives, but how?

Red Leaf Festival China
The Red Leaf Festival, held annually in autumn at Fragrant Hills Park in Bejing, celebrates the natural beauty of China’s most scenic season.

Eric and Jaimie shine a little light on Felix’s travels noting, “The illustrations are beautiful, and entertained my six-year-old daughter greatly. She was continually wanting to turn the page to see what new cousin Felix was visiting next! . . . one issue that bugged me was how Felix was getting to all these places. The authors answer this question with a clever statement: he slips through a door in the shadows, like all cats do.

And just where does Felix go?

Karen gives a tour“[Felix] . . . visits the Tigers of India, to the Lynx of Russia to the Lions of Africa. . .  taking a souvenir home from each of his visits. . . . a great story and a fun way to introduce members of the Cat family.”

How does Felix teach kids about cats?

The Quirky Librarian points out what kids can learn: “Each area Felix goes to offers small facts about the felines he meets and their environment, which would help in science and geography studies for students as they engage in this story about the setting and the characteristics of the other felines . . . This book can be used as a read aloud in art classes, social studies, and English language arts to help students with retelling a narrative, studying other continents, and the elements of design in the composition of the images used in the book. It is a whimsical, engaging story that is sure to please feline lovers of all ages.”

Scarlet Sails Russia
The White Nights Festival occurs every July in St. Petersburg, Russia. It celebrates Russia’s long history with the arts, most especially ballet, opera, and classical music. The culminating event is known as The Scarlet Sails Celebration and routinely draws more than one million spectators. Originally an orchestrated piece of soft  propaganda for the Societ government, it retains its popularity today because of its association with the end of the school year or “freedom from school.”

Is it all about cats? Or, do they also learn about real-world cultures?

Heather Brewer explains the cultural appeal . . . “Colorful and imaginative illustrations show Felix the house cat on a dreamy journey around the world to visit his cousins. . . a window into the homes, the food people eat, clothes people wear, etc. in each of the different regions.”

Shruti Kulkami expands the cultural themes:Felix presents the young reader with a little window through which to see the world. At these places, Felix learns a little about the local environment and culture, shares a meal with his hosts, and takes back a small souveneir. The colorful images which accompany the text illustrate well the story of Felix’s adventures. The book incorporates aspects of feline lore–such as the idea that cats have nine lives–into the story. The story closes with an assurance to the young reader that, if his/her cat is missing, the cat-like Felix–may simply be traveling, and that we must patiently await the cat’s return. This charming tale should be a delightful read for young cat lovers.”

Brazil parade
The Carnival of Brazil is celebrated throughout the entire South American nation. The carnival is both raucous and massive. It lasts for five days and includes a variety of fine arts including, music, dancing, parade floats, and more.

How do kids react to it?

Clcooktx says,  “My 9-year-old daughter enjoyed reading about Felix the napping city cat. This was a creative way to teach young readers about various species of the cat family. Readers also learn about different countries and their cultures as Felix dreams his way through his travels. The illustrations are beautiful and have a lot of detail to keep even younger readers interested. It’s a longer picture book, so it was still age appropriate for my daughter.”

Carinval of Brazil crowd
People celebrating at the Carnival of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

A. Moore talks about details your kids will love:The best part of this book is the design…it is a “tall” book, one that will probably make librarians cringe because it won’t fit on the shelves, but I think that is what makes it so unique. I also really love the illustrations. They are colorful without being overpowering, yet almost dreamlike. [It is] more like a transitional chapter book than a picture book. As a school librarian, I would probably only focus on the illustrations, as it is too long to read during a class period. All that being said, it is worth a read!”

And Hannah M. runs down the whole project“Giovanna Zoboli’s Felix . . . allows us to follow a cat’s desire for family and connection into colorful homes around the globe. One of Zoboli’s strengths is a beautiful prose style (translated by Laura Watkinson) which takes the time to notice small and interesting details. Zoboli often uses these details as a way to build feline lore. The idea that cats receive “the gifts of charm and grace” on the first day of their lives, for example, or that they have “a little door in the darkness” through which they often go traveling was intriguing and made me want to learn more about this world.

Sahara Festival
Now in its 118th year, The International Festival of the Sahara draws more than 50,000 attendees from all across Africa and is held in Douz, Tunisia. It celebrates local culture, art, community, and features local food, music, and a host of competitive events employing camels, horses, dogs, and rabbitts.

I think it could make for an enjoyable bedtime read, especially since the book may invite children into their own dream world. After all, as one of the story’s more poetic passages remarks, dreams may mingle and mix in the night, so that “when you wake up, you realize that you’ve become a little more like your brothers and sisters, your aunts and uncles, your grandmothers, grandfathers, and even more like your ancestors.”

In the end, is this book a call to explore and an invitation to explore?

Lea Porter affirms,This delightful book is purrfect for children who are always on the hunt. . . Detailed illustrations vividly portray what life is like for Felix’s anthropomorphized relatives, and the endpapers appear to have been taken directly from the illustrator’s sketchbook. Share Felix with a child and open up a world of exploration and wonder.”

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