A Quartet of Awesomosity: The Best Books I’ve Ever Read….


Good evening friends, followers and hangers-on.  Tonight I present to you a post smeared with the brush strokes of excellence, in the unfading, weather-resistant shade of sparkly brilliance.  Tonight, I will reveal to you a quartet of tomes that have changed the way I look at children’s literature.  Tonight, I present, THE BEST BOOKS I’VE EVER READ…..on a variety of obscure topics….since the beginning of the year.

Oh, sorry, did you think I meant the best books I’ve ever read? Like, ever? Well I’d love to tell you about those but that would take an extreme amount of thinking on my part and the cobbling together of some form objective criteria on which to base my decision and that would take far too much of my valuable time.  So you’ll just have to settle for the four best books I’ve read on topics that you probably wouldn’t have considered perusing.  Set your eyeballs to stun – you have been warned.

First up, we have….

The Best Book I’ve Ever Read about the Pitfalls of Befriending a Coyote Pup

okay andyThe Book:  Okay, Andy by Maxwell Eaton III

Acquired: From the publisher via Edelweiss – thanks!

Synopsis: Andy the (long-suffering, one would suspect) alligator enjoys endures a close, personal acquaintance with coyote pup Preston, to the mutual benefit of both.

Why you should read it:

This is a fantastic little graphic novel with super-appealing illustrations.  While it’s only a very short read, as most graphic novels tend to be, the three adventures involving the pair (and a cast of other characters including an escape-artist rabbit, a daredevil turtle and a scaredy-bear) contain lots of humour.  One can feel the frustration of poor old Andy, as he spends quality time with enthusiastic young Preston.

Recommended for: at only 96 pages, this little tome would be perfect as a read-together for those aged 5 and above, or as an independent read for the 8+ set.  The small amount of text coupled with the fun illustrations should also make this a great choice for the reluctant reader or big kids who just want a quick giggle.

Next we have…

Ooh Odd ZooThe Book:  Ooh Odd Zoo: 25 Unusual Animals and 1 Ordinary Larva by JefF Williams, John Rios, Sonny Han and Geoff Elliott

Acquired: Purchased while attempting to find out when the sequel to Scar and the Wolf (by the same authors) was due out. Found this instead.

Synopsis: A collection of short verses introducing the budding zoo-oddigest to some interesting animals that are generally not household names.  Highlights include the Zyzzyva, the Hax and the Passenger Pigeon (who “used to exist”, but “now they’re just missed”)

Why you should read it:

Once again, the illustrations – simple black and white line drawings – are just superb.  On top of that, this book contains hands-down the funniest poem about a maggot that I have ever read.  And if those two factors don’t convince you to get onto this book now, then I don’t know what will.  I just wish I’d bought it in paperback instead of e.

Recommended for: poetry lovers, connoisseurs of fine humour and fanciers of obscure animal life.

Third to the party is…

The Best Book I’ve Ever Read about Hermit Crab Psychology and Behaviour

never underestimate a hermit crabThe Book: Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab by Daniel Sean Kaye

Acquired: from the publisher via NetGalley – thanks!

Synopsis: An in-depth and totally serious examination of hermit crabs and their habits. Non fiction.

Why you should read it:

Firstly, I suspect someone was having a laugh when they filed this under the “children’s non-fiction” category in the Netgalley catalogue.  This little book takes a hilarious look at all the less well-known talents and hobbies in which hermit crabs like to indulge.  My favourites are karate, comic book criticism and DIY.  Once again, the illustrations absolutely make the book.  The range of facial expressions possible on a crustacean that essentially lacks a face really shows up the talent of the illustrator. Kudos.

Recommended for: Hermit crab owners and owners-to-be, and all those who like their non-fiction to contain a good dose of fictional content.

And finally…

The Best Book I’ve Ever Read about Militant Socks

lost socksThe Book: Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency by Dan O’Brien and Steve Ferchaud (illustrator)

Acquired: from the author in exchange for review – thanks!

Synopsis: Unsuspecting bloke Robert is press-ganged into assisting a Leprachaun representative of the Loose Change Collection Agency to vanquish the “Scourge” and his army of sock gremlins.  Clearly, Robert didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Why you should read it:

This is an odd little book.  It’s only 41 pages long and illustrated, but within those pages a well-developed story unfolds quickly and without any flabby plot lines or dialogue to get in the way.  As with the other books here, the illustrations are top notch – unfortunately I can’t get the cover for you, but I’ve included one of the interior illustrations here for your viewing pleasure.  The illustrations add immensely to the story and really give it a bit of extra zazz.  The story itself though is well worth a look, if only for the pike-wielding sock soldiers.  I always wondered where those missing left ones had got to.

Recommended for: anyone who likes a rollicking adventure that can be read during a tea-break.  Admittedly, it would probably have to be a two-cup tea break, but still.  The author has recommended this for ages 8 plus, and while this will appeal to kids who like a fun fantasy story, this also has a lot to interest older readers who like something a bit off-beat to break the monotony.  I’ve also just picked up another of O’Brien’s works – for adults this time – a short story about a psychologist for monsters that I can’t wait to get into as it sounds right up my alley.

So there you have it.  Four of the best books I’ve ever read.  Perhaps you’d like to try them too! Allow me to point out that a number of these books would fit perfectly into categories for the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge: Okay, Andy would fit category four (someone’s name), Ooh Odd Zoo would fit category one (safari), Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab would fit category seven (something unsightly – oh come on now, they aren’t the cutest animal getting around…), and Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army would fit category five (something that comes in pairs).  All the more reason to get your hands on these books really, isn’t it? If you don’t know what the Small Fry Safari challenge is, simply click on the attractive button below and be whisked away to a portal of useful information.

small fry

So until next time…do you have any best books ever on an obscure topic?  I’d love to hear about them!


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