Monday, April 19, 2021

MMGM- Freaky Monday

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 

Sorosiak, Carlie. Leonard: My Life as a Cat
April 13th 2021 by Walker Books US 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Leonard is not really a cat-- he is just really a noncorporeal, 300-year-old space alien who is given a chance to experience life on Earth. After much research and reflection, he has decided to use his month in human form to be a park ranger in Yellowstone, but things go badly awry. Instead, he materializes in South Carolina during a flood, and is saved by Olive. Olive is spending the summer with her grandmother, Norma, because her mother has taken up with a new boyfriend who isn't that nice to Olive, and chances are good that Olive will have to move to California at the end of the summer. Olive takes good care of Leonard, but there is a big problem. Since Leonard only has a month on Earth, and he's quite a distance from where he is supposed to be picked up by the other members of his race, he's not sure how is going to get there in time. Of course, while he's on Earth, there are things he wants to do, and once Olive realizes who he truly is, the two start working through Leonard's bucket list. They manage to get into a movie theater and play board games, and the two spend plenty of time at a local aquarium in the company of Q, Norma's friend who works there. Being a cat, and being Olive's cat, has its advantages, but as the time approaches to leave, Leonard knows that they are going to need a lot more help to get to Yellowstone. Q realizes that something is different about Leonard's cat self, and is willing to help. An epic road trip is planned, Norma is brought in unaware, and the group sets off. It's a tight schedule, but will they make it to Yellowstone in time to make contact?
Strengths: This author's I, Cosmo was a fantastic title that has done very well in my library, and it's interesting to see a title with a cat as the main character. Look at middle grade lit-- plenty of dog books, few cat books other than Hunter's Warriors series. There are plenty of details about how Leonard deals with details about being a cat, and there's a great description of him grooming his fur that made me think about this process in ways that I never have. The experiences of a space alien on Earth are really well done, and there's just enough about the alien background to make this believable. The North Carolina setting is charming, and bringing in the aquarium and sea turtle conservation adds an extra layer of interest. Sorosiak is a strong writer, and one to watch. 
Weaknesses: I don't want to ruin the ending, but I'm not a big fan on love driving decisions. Always seems like such a bad plan to me, but I am definitely in the minority on this one. 
What I really think: This was a well-written very intriguing title that I enjoyed reading, but it's also rather quirky. I'm purchasing a copy because I think that readers who are cat people will like this. My reservations about this book center mainly on the fact that I believe that cats are evil and want to kill us all. If Leonard was a dog, I'd have no reservations at all! 

Debbink, Andrea. The Wild World Handbook: How Adventurers, Artists, Scientists-- and You--Can Protect Earth's Habitats
April 20th 2021 by Quirk
ARC provided by the publisher

This is a fun, paperback book of information and activities that is great for an environmentally inclined reader who want to get out and experience the world. My own children would have had a lot of fun with this one! Despite the colorful cover, the interior is all black and white, but this makes the book more environmentally friendly as well as lighter to carry on treks.

From the publisher:
Packed with real-life tales of adventure, breathtaking illustrations, and practical tools, this handbook is an inspiring guide for the next generation of climate activists, conservationists, and nature lovers.

The wonder of the natural world surrounds us—from the Amazon rainforest to the snowy peaks of Mount Everest to the green spaces in big cities. And as the threat of climate change grows, it’s more important than ever to show appreciation for our planet by taking action.

The first book in a middle grade series for young environmental activists and nature lovers, The Wild World Handbook offers a roadmap for change and an invitation to explore the outdoors, alongside surprising facts and hands-on activities. Featuring nine habitats from around the globe, each section includes diverse biographies of outdoor adventurers, scientists, and artists who used their passion and skills to become bold allies for Earth’s natural diversity and resiliency.

It’s up to us to protect this beautiful, awe-inspiring planet we call home!


  1. I just finished reviewing Leonard and loved it. But, I must say it took me a while to make myself read the book -- perhaps because I'm not a cat lover and had some scary moments with some as a child. But, once I got into the story I liked the idea of a misplaced alien and a girl devoted to making Leonard's month worthwhile and helping him return. Sorosiak is an excellent writer.

  2. I'm not a big cat fan either. I'm sure it goes back to when I was eight and woke up with a litter of kittens on my chest. I'm in the minority but will keep this in mind for cat loving kids looking for a unique story. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  3. Leonard sounds intriguing. My niece is really into the Warriors series and cats! I think she'd love this. The Wild World Handbook sounds interesting. The cover is so beautiful. It's too bad that art isn't throughout.

  4. I am not a cat person, but I LOVED Leonard (My Life as a Cat). What a terrific book! The Wild World Handbook looks like one that could do a lot of good. I hope kids pick it up. Thanks for the reviews.

  5. The Wild World Handbook sounds so cool! My kids would definitely love that. Thanks for all the thoughtful reviews!

  6. What a great set of books! Leonard (My Life as a Cat) sounds like a really fun story—and judging by how many reviews I've seen of it lately, it must be pretty well-written too! The Wild World Handbook is perfect for Earth Day as well. Thanks so much for the great reviews!