The Magic Misfits is a delightful children’s novel that is truly a joy to read. The story centers on a young boy named Carter who has been raised by his shifty Uncle Sly since the death of his parents. Sly is a conman who uses sleight of hand to steal from those enjoying his magic tricks. Carter refuses to steal, and runs away to avoid doing anything unsavory. Where he ends up is a place full of real magic – not the kind you are thinking of, but real magic nonetheless. This book is about the magic that is the connections we can make with people and the way we can choose to live our lives. Carter meets a group of magicians who show him more kindness than he ever received from his uncle. Together, this band of magic misfits use every trick up their sleeve to solve and prevent a crime. It is a very heart-warming story that all ages can enjoy.
Not only is this a beautiful story, it is also a very funny one. There are many humourous moments in the story, but some of my favourite moments occurred outside the story. These author is not afraid to break the fourth wall. Occasionally the writer speaks directly to the reader, commenting on the story or telling the reader about the book itself. It made for a very unique experience, along with the other quirks this book has. Throughout the story there are how-to guides for performing magic tricks that are easy to perform for friends and family. There are also secret codes and messages in the text that you can decipher as you read, or at the end of the book. The entire experience of reading this book was so fun, and it seems like the author had a lot of fun writing it, too. All these additions to the novel made it feel that much more magical.
Written by acclaimed actor and magician Neil Patrick Harris, this charming book will let readers of all ages find the magic that exists all around us everyday.
I don’t normally read or watch much in the way of romance but the survival aspect drew me in when I saw The Mountain Between Us on a list of book-to-movie adaptions in 2017. The story is about two strangers who develop an emotional connection while attempting to survive in the remote wilderness after their chartered plane crashes.
The book is well written and is from the male protagonist Ben’s perspective. The book switches back a forth between what is currently happening and Ben’s tape recordings to his wife, which gives us insight into his past and their relationship. I enjoyed the character development this provided and I thought the story itself was excellent but predictable in many ways. Even with the certainty of where the story was heading I felt drawn in and attached to the characters and their survival.
Now the movie stripped away the book’s story to the bare essentials, focusing primarily on the romance and even chose to change the name of most of the characters. Character names are not very important to this story but all of the character development and story elements that were removed were what made the story great for me. One thing that was good about the movie however, was the increased diversity, with Idris Elba as the lead and more strength given to the female character.
Overall I would skip the movie and stick to the book for the best experience.
Click here to borrow the The Mountain Between Us novel, and click here to borrow the film.
- Kim, Information Services
What We're Watching
directed by Alexander Payne
When scientists invent technology that allows humans to be shrunk to a height of about 5 inches tall, with the goal of lessening human impact on the environment, the appeal to the public is immediate for another reason: If I’m small, my money can buy me more.
Downsizing is the story of Paul (played by Matt Damon) as he takes the giant leap to become small, thinking he can take his average income and live like a king in the picturesque habitat set up for all the humans who have taken this step before him. But Paul finds that even when the humans have shrunk, the problems remain: greed, relationship issues, and inequality. Downsizing follows Paul as he stumbles through discovering how he is meant to make a big difference, despite his new size.
As a concept, the underlying premise of shrinking humans seems like a nifty one, and reminded me of The Borrowers and The Littles – books of my childhood that featured tiny people living in a full-size world. In practice, Downsizing perhaps bit off more than it could chew, asking big questions but leaving the viewer hanging. The film had a couple profound moments where it touched on huge issues facing humankind, but didn’t treat them with all seriousness. Even the central character’s quest for meaning and a sense of accomplishment seemed disingenuous. Perhaps others will disagree, but in my view, even when the characters shrunk, the plot holes in Downsizing stayed full-size.
Is winter making you feel house-bound and stir-crazy? Well, bundle up and head out to Waterloo’s own winter carnival, Winterloo! From February 23-25 enjoy a weekend of jam-packed, family fun and festivities across several locations. The themes for this year’s Winterloo are Winter Sports, Winter Survival, Winter Cultures and Stay Warm by the Fire.
Event highlights include horse-drawn carriage rides, snow sculptures of the Easter Island statues, ice sculpting, sing-along puppet shows and free public skating at Waterloo Square. In addition to all that you can try winter cycling and ride a Fatbike with the Waterloo Active Transportation Committee, or get a cool henna tattoo from the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW. Rather stay inside and keep warm? Drop by Princess Cinemas for free showings of Ferdinand (Saturday 2PM) and Happy Feet (Sunday 2PM). Whatever you do, don’t miss the best part of Winterloo, the Ice Dogs. Moonsnoe Kennel’s dogs will be available for dog sled rides for children on Saturday.
There’s something for everybody at Winterloo (even if you hate winter)! Click here for more event information.
- Julie, Information Services
The Library Made Me Do It
Power Bowls: 100 Perfectly Balanced Meals in a Bowl
by Christal Sczebel
I never trust a cookbook that doesn’t come equipped with photos of each recipe. Luckily, Power Bowls is full of beautiful photos, easy recipes, and option for many dietary restrictions. Each recipe also includes full nutritional information – including vitamin C. So if you’re like me and you’re pretty depleted in vitamins C during the winter, you can find recipes to help boost your intake.
The book includes dietary information like Ingredient Profiles (p.14), and Special Diets (p.53), and the recipes are divided into ‘Wake Up Bowls’, ‘Workout Bowls’, ‘Small Bowls’, ‘Big Bowls’, and ‘Treat Bowls’. So whether you’re looking for lunch, a workout prep, or something a little more indulgent, there’s a recipe for you, and reasons why those foods will benefit your health.
I love the built in modifications for each recipe. Like the idea of the Chicken & Quinoa Waldorf Salad (p.126) but in the mood for something a little heartier? Try the modified Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Salad instead. There’s also a handy resources page at the back of the book that helps you find organic food suppliers.
I tried the Mediterranean Chickpea Salad as a lunch. The ingredients didn’t require measurement – you can eyeball the photo and figure out what’s needed. I rarely make a recipe exactly as described. In this case, I didn’t have artichokes on hand, but I had a bunch of quinoa and avocado. I didn’t have any fresh parsley, so I threw a little dried parsley into the dressing.
Overall, the easy to follow recipes make this a great option for lunches and meals that don’t require a lot of prep.
For more ‘one bowl’ and one-dish meals, click here.
- Laura P., Information Services
Kitchener Public Library 85 Queen St. North Kitchener, Ontario N2H2H1 519-743-0271 http://www.kpl.org/