Jane Austen’s Emma by Jack and Holman Wang

emmaGenre: Children’s Books
Publisher: Simply Read Books
Publication Date: December 2013

I love Jane Austen! She is, undoubtedly, my favorite author so when I saw Jack and Holman Wang were bringing to life another Austen classic with their enthralling needle-felted characters, I was ecstatic. Regardless of whether the reader is within the intended age range of this series (0-3 year old), or more than a bit past it, like me, the colorful and creative images offer an enchanting experience.

Years ago, as I delved into the tale for the first time, I groaned as Emma’s meddling created some painful situations, and I fell in love with Mr. Knightley’s firm, yet loving manner. Thanks to this Cozy Classic, I experienced all those emotions again. Needle-felted or not, Emma is just as interfering, and Mr. Knightley is just as charming. Readers will cheer as they finally come together in the end.

While it’s lots of fun knowing the original tale to fill in the story, it is by no means a requirement for the enjoyment of this board book. The 12 toddler-friendly words and delightful pictures that make up this book are more than enough to capture the reader and offer plenty of space for the imagination to roam.

Once again, I strongly recommend this Cozy Classic. I, for one, would love to see all of Austen’s novels formatted in this entertaining and unique style, and would definitely be first in line to get my hands on them. Congratulations, Wang Brothers, on this incredible series!

Review copy provided by Turnaround. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Fiction Addict.

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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre by Jack and Holman Wang

janeeyreGenre: Children’s Books
Publisher: Simply Read Books
Publication Date: November 2013

I have read Jane Eyre and watched every movie version of it that I could get my hands on. So I couldn’t wait to experience the story in a whole new way. Jack and Holman Wang beautifully bring to life the gripping tale of the little girl who grew up unloved and rejected but went on to become a strong and independent woman.

At first, I couldn’t imagine how the authors could condense such a full and incredible story into 12 simple words. And yet they did! Through the exquisitely crafted needle-felted characters, I was once again transported into Jane’s world. I relived her terror as she was locked in the “Red Room,” and her humiliation when punished in front of her school mates. I felt her joy at finally finding love and then the searing pain of loss.

As with all the Cozy Classics, it’s always fun to know the backstory to the charming pictures, but it is not necessary for the enjoyment of the book. Its simplicity allows the young readers to grow with the story and let their imagination run free. Not only are these board books great for hours of entertainment and story-telling, they are also a great teaching tool for teachers looking to enhance their students’ vocabulary.

As long as the Wang brothers continue creating such delightful tales, they will have a fan in me for life. I’m looking forward to reading many more Cozy Classics!

Review copy provided by Turnaround. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Fiction Addict.

Mystery of the Fallen Treasure (Boxcar Children Series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner

mysteryofthefallentreasureGenre: Children, Mystery
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: September 2013

On a trip to Oregon, the Alden children meet some SAR (search and rescue) teams. They are thrilled to discover that Watch has the skills required to become a rescue dog. They enthusiastically jump at the chance to train him and are thrilled when during an outing in the woods, Watch discovers a backpack filled with valuable jewelry. Suspecting the bag fell out of a plane, the young detectives set out to find its rightful owner.

It doesn’t take Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny long to uncover the whereabouts of the owner and crafter of the beautiful pieces. However, they soon realize that something is terribly wrong. The pilot in charge of transporting the expensive jewelry has disappeared. A necklace, the most treasured item in the bunch, is also missing. Once again, the Alden siblings put their deductive skills to work to solve yet another mystery.

The Fallen Treasure Mystery is filled with all the great things the Boxcar Children fans have come to expect from this wonderful series. I love how these books are written to teach children without them even realizing it. While they work to solve the mystery alongside the main characters, readers learn about the work SAR teams accomplish, as well as important life lessons such as honesty, hard work, and respect.

It was fun seeing Watch, who is always present in the Alden children’s lives, take on an even bigger role in this installment as they trained him in various search and rescue skills, which he then put to use by finding the backpack.

The Fallen Treasure Mystery is a story the whole family can enjoy, regardless of age.

Review copy provided by Openroad media. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Fiction Addict

The Fallen Treasure Mystery (Boxcar Children Series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner

mysteryofthefallentreasureGenre: Children’s Book
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: September 2013

The Boxcar Children have returned and they are ready to capture the imagination of their young (and not so young!) fans all over again. This time, the Alden siblings are headed to Oregon where they will meet some SAR (search and rescue) teams. Much to their excitement they discover that their beloved Watch, has the skills necessary to become a rescue dog. The children eagerly begin his training, and it isn’t long before Watch puts his newly acquired knowledge into action by discovering a backpack filled with valuable jewelry.

As Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny work to find the jewelry’s rightful owner, they’ll discover that not everything (or everyone) is what it appears. A missing necklace, an angry jewelry crafter, and a missing pilot are only a few of the things they’ll encounter along the way.

In The Fallen Treasure Mystery, readers learn about the important, and often lifesaving, work SAR teams accomplish. Those with dogs at home will probably want to head right out and try training their own pets. I know I was tempted.

Many years have passed since the day I cracked open the spine to that first Boxcar Children mystery, but the anticipation and excitement still remains. Although I may view the stories through different eyes now, my appreciation for them has only grown. With young readers constantly bombarded with questionable books, I love a series that holds fast to good morals and valuable life lessons.

I definitely recommend this book not only to fans of the series, but also any young readers who enjoy piecing together clues and uncovering a mystery. Parents can comfortably leave their children in the hands of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny.

Review copy provided by Openroad media. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.

Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace by Jack and Holman Wang

war-and-peace-cozy-classicGenre: Children’s Book
Publisher: Simply Read Books
Publication Date: June 2013

I’ve been a huge fan of the classics since a really young age. Leo Tolstoy’s tale of friendship, betrayal, and love captured my heart and secured a high position among my all-time favorites. I have wanted to re-read it for a while, however, finding the time to read one of history’s longest novels presents a challenge. Thanks to Jack and Holman Wang, I finally succeeded to relive the timeless tale of two friends who fall in love with the same woman.

Using charming needle-felted characters and 12 toddler-friendly words, the Wang brothers have put War and Peace in the hands of the next generation of classic fans. This adorable board book will grow with the reader, enhancing his/her vocabulary and story-telling skills while offering countless hours of pleasure. Now, more than ever, I want to return to the book that enchanted me all those years ago.

I strongly recommend the Cozy Classic series to young and old alike. Teachers of younger students will especially welcome this addition to their resource library. With the help of one’s imagination, this set of books presents endless possibilities. Prepare yourself to experience the classics in a whole new dimension.

Review copy provided by Turnaround. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Fiction Addict.