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7 Works 259 Members 9 Reviews

Works by Mylisa Larsen

If I Were a Kangaroo: A Bedtime Tale (2017) 191 copies, 2 reviews
How to Put Your Parents to Bed (2016) 39 copies, 4 reviews
Playing Through the Turnaround (2022) 17 copies, 2 reviews
Ho Ho Homework (2019) 6 copies
All of Those Babies (2024) 4 copies, 1 review


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Have your kleenexes ready; this novel is a bit of a tear-jerker. It's realistic fiction, showing how the greatest skill involves listening.

Told from different points of view, the reader follows the members of a jazz lab club and one, supposed, juvenile delinquent. Cassie, Lily, Jake, Mac, and Nick find the best part of the day with Mr. Lewis learning to play jazz. The point of jazz is to listen to one another and add to the conversation between the instruments. It's a give and take form of music that resembles a conversation. One day they learn that Mr. Lewis has quit. Jake begins to suspect there's a link between Mr. Lewis quitting and the signs saying the school district needs to be more fiscally responsible. Jake's aunt is running for the school board, so he hears more than most. Perhaps the small groups and clubs are being dissolved in order to save money. The Jazz Lab students decide to protest.

spoiler alert--don't read on if you don't want to know.

The book discusses how they being their protest and what they learn. Shockingly, they learn that no one listens. There is no give and take, no conversation. It'll take something more noticeable than a petition. Quag also helps them even though he isn't a member of the musicians. He's just a guy who doesn't pretend. He doesn't have the patience for playing by the rules. He's not a rebel; he just sees to the heart of the matter and simplifies. Each character experiences problems at home that also affects their lives and adds to their desire to have some control and to be heard. Don't think everything will be tied up with a bow at the end. Life isn't that way. We don't know what happens, but we do know they tried. Life marches on, as stories don't always have a pretty ending or even an explanation. As they go forth from this experience, they are different people. This Jazz Lab ends. Their lives don't end, but we don't know what happens with each because you can't plan life. Life throws curve balls and control is often a lie. The best we can do is show up and listen with the intention of responding as humans.
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acargile | 1 other review | Apr 14, 2024 |
Cute, sweet, and adorable with something to learn and even a bit of humor, too.

These pages are all about animals, ones well-known and lesse- known, too. Each page introduces a few, parents (mother, father or both) with their babies. The playful and rhyming text highlights each species and uses the term used for the animal's babies—puffins have puffling, wombats joeys, and many more. Every few pages, a repeated phrase about growing takes over. At the end, the book shifts the focus to include young, human children and ends in a warming, satisfying way.

The illustrations bring across each animal in an adorable way, give them personality, bring across a very positive atmosphere, and make each one recognizable, too. It's a smorgasborg for animal fans, and will draw more than a few awwws with the cute babies. The text is kept very short but still introduces the animals and the names of their babies, making it great even for impatient listeners. A catch phrase enables readers/listeners to join in every few pages, which adds an extra dab of fun. Young listeners aren't the only ones who will learn something, since adult readers will, most likely, not know all of the terms, either.

Not only is this a cute read, but it offers a sense of security and belonging. The animals are shown in loving scenes, and when this switches to human babies, it draws a smile. It's a wholesome read and even works well as a bedtime tale, since it is calming and radiates care and love. I do see this one as gaining an 'again' and becoming a snuggle-time favorite. I received an ARC and it put a smile on my family members' faces.
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tdrecker | Feb 4, 2024 |
Mac, Jake, Nick, Cassie and Lily are members of Jazz Lab at their middle school, taught by the beloved Mr. Lewis whom they admire for all that he's taught them. When they learn Mr. Lewis is quitting, they believe it's due to budget cuts and that Jazz Lab and other extra-curricular activities are on the chopping block. With the help of Quag, a loner who skates under the radar at school, they mobilize the other students to protest the cuts. It culminates in a dramatic Jazz Lab performance of activism. Quick-paced with short chapters, readers see how each member of the band responds to the situation and grows as a member of their close-knit group. I felt the personalities of the band members weren't as distinctly drawn as Quag's but it's a strong story in terms of portraying youth agency.… (more)
Salsabrarian | 1 other review | Jul 15, 2023 |
Bedtime stories
Picture books for children
Stories in rhyme
Animal babies
Animal parent and child
kmgerbig | 1 other review | Apr 28, 2023 |

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