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Wo ist Bär? by Jonathan Bentley

 

Storyline

Theo is really unhappy. He must go to bed but he couldn’t find his bear. Being really tired he’s looking for him. Everywhere. Did he leave him in the bathroom? Or has he fallen under the table? Where is bear? Can you help him find it?


© CARLSEN
© CARLSEN

Bibliographic Description

Title: Wo ist Bär?
Author: Jonathan Bentley
Illustrator: Jonathan Bentley
Translator: Constanze Steindamm
Publisher: CARLSEN, Hamburg
Publishing Date: 01.09.2016
Pages: 32 pages
Price: € 12.99 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9783551518781
Language: German
Recommendation: for readers of the age of 3 and up / language level A1
Ranking: 5.0 von 5.0

The original edition called Where Is Bear? first published in English in 2016 by Little Hare Books.


My Opinion

Wo ist Bär? not a long story, and neither it is particularly grabbing. But it doesn’t have to be! It’s lovely anyway. It’s about a situation from everyday life, which probably everyone has experienced as a child at least once: You must go to bed, but you couldn’t find your beloved cuddly toy.

Jonathan Bentley has successfully implemented this situation in a cute picture-book. Not only in words, but in pictures as well.

I love the colours he chose for his illustrations because they create a very cosy atmosphere. I also like the fact that there are some “main colours” (blue, brown and green) which you find on every page throughout the book.

I also fell in love with the way he drew Theo, the little boy and main character of Wo ist Bär? Isn’t he cute? I like his drawing style in general though.


Conclusion

I think there aren’t many picture-books with less text, which are exciting to read for adults. In my opinion, this one is a wonderful exception; especially because of its witty plot. And there is not one single point I could complain about, so five of five points it is 😀


 

Dear Enthusiasts of The German Language

Wo ist Bär? is a great way for beginners to improve your German skills. Are you struggling with learning prepositions? Then try this book. On almost every page you’ll find another preposition used in a short sentence (five words and less), which are accompanied by clear illustrations.


Dear Enthusiasts of The English Language

The English edition would be also a quite nice way to learn prepositions I guess. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available in bookshops any more. Shame! But if you’re interested in it, you might be able to borrow it in your local library (or the next bigger one). Alternatively, you might be able to order it second hand. (Hopefully to a reasonable price.)

 

Kleiner Panda Pai – Auf leisen Tatzen by Saskia Hula and Kerstin Schoene

Storyline

Oh dear, the 10th rabbit child is missing…. How could that even have happened?! While little red panda Pai, who thought Wildpark life wouldn’t hold ready anything new for him at all, is still wondering about that mysterious missing person case, his friend Wanda has already sensed a new adventure. But even her detective agency suffers from a shortage of staff faced with the high amount of witnesses. Without hesitation, the racoon girl is with the pink bow tie in her fur pushed Pai right into the investigations and declared Pai to be detective assistant. How exciting! But will Pai be able to perform his new task? Or will he suffer the same fate as Anderson? (Yep. I AM referring to the Sherlock series in a picture book review… #iamsorry #butijustcouldnothelpit 😅)


Bibliographic Description

© Loewe Verlag

Title: Kleiner Panda Pai – Auf leisen Tatzen
Author: Saskia Hula
Illustrator: Kerstin Schoene
Publisher: Loewe Verlag, Bindlach
Publishing Date: 16.01.2017
Pages: 32 pages
Price: € 12.95 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-3-7855-8472-9
Language: German
Recommendation: for readers of the age of 3 years and up / language level A2/B1
Ranking: 3.75 of 5.0

 


My Opinion

When I discovered Panda Pai for the first time, I’ve instantly fallen in love with the illustrations. I love the way the characters (and especially their facial expressions) look like. Merlin’s beard, aren’t they cute? 😀

The style of painting seemed to be familiar to me, but a proper reason didn’t come to my mind. So I visited Kerstin Schoene’s website and finally realised why. “Die Geschichte vom kleinen Siebenschläfer, der nicht einschlafen konnte” and “Ein Haufen Freunde” are amongst the books she has illustrated so far, and I really enjoyed them.

I also enjoyed her illustrations for „Panda Pai“, because they are so colourful and cheerful. And I mean, the main character is a red panda. I know, liking red cat-bears is kinda trendy these days, but let’s face it: You can’t resist them, can you? 😀 They are SO adorable. It’s also quite difficult to resist Kerstin Schoene’s depiction of racoons, rabbits and meerkats as well😉

About the story, I like Saskia Hula’s choice of words best. I think her sentences sound quite melodic and there is something special about them, but some of the words she used I find unnecessarily difficult to understand for children at the age of three (like geraunt or dubios, for instance.) I also missed an arch of suspense. As it is a detective story, I expected it to be way more thrilling. But if you pay only a little attention to the illustrations, the story is quite predictable. Too bad! 😕


Conclusion

Though I liked the gorgeous illustrations and the author’s style of writing pretty much, I’ve got to deduct 1.25 points; 0.75 points for the lack of suspense and 0.5 more points for the difficult language choice.

In my humble opinion the story of “Kleiner Panda Pai – Auf leisen Tatzen” really is a cute one and worth a read, but unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to convince me entirely.


Dear Enthusiasts of the German Language

It wasn’t easy to recommend a language level. recommend this book, but I go with A2/B1. “Kleiner Panda Pai – Auf leisen Tatzen” wouldn’t be my first choice, if you would ask me for a recommendation to improve your reading skills in German. In the texts are words used, which I would never use in a normal everyday life conversation; geraunt, verdrossen or dubios, for instance.


 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Storyline

Autumn Semester, 2011. Cath and Wren Avery’s first year at university starts and with it, a new exciting part of their lives begins as well. The twins couldn’t deal with it more different though. While extrovert Wren is throwing herself in this new adventure enthusiastically, Cath, who is a big fan of the “Simon Snow” novels, would rather flee. When Wren finally decided that she won’t share a room with her sister any longer, Cath is being shocked. Suddenly, she is just on her own. She has to face situations she thinks she won’t be able to manage all on her own. How should she ever manage to find her way in her new scary college life, whose rules she doesn’t know yet? How much easier would it be if she could live in the world of Simon and Baz; in a world, which she cares about and which she understands. So well that she’s even able to form it after her own imagination…


© Carl Hanser Verlag
© Carl Hanser Verlag

Bibliographic Description

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Translator: Brigitte Jakobeit
Publishing house: Carl Hanser Verlag, München
Publishing date: 24.07.2017
Pages: 480 pages
Price: € 18.00 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-3-446-25700-9
Language: German
Recommendation: for readers from the age of 13 and up / language level B2/C1
Ranking: 4.75 of 5.0
The original edition has been published in English on 09.10.2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin (St. Martin’s Press).


My Opinion

Fangirl filled me with enthusiasm! I binge-read it within three days. I always read quite slowly, so this statement is definitely a sign of quality 😉

The book is divided into two parts. The first part contains autumn semester 2011, the second one contains spring semester 2012. So the story involves the whole freshman year.

Cath is the main character and guides through the story. I think, she’s a wonderful figure and I took her into my heart from the first few pages. She’s a loveable person, and I’m sure that a lot of boys and girls, who have some difficulties with being social and who are also at a turning point in their lives, will identify themselves with her. Or 24 years old book addicts, who weren’t able yet to figure out what adulthood actually means 😉 (And probably never will. #adulthoodisamyth) I also like every other character, because they are all so likeable and authentic. (Alright, the mother isn’t really likeable, though, also authentic.)

Additionally, I love the way how harmoniously Cath’s love to the “Simon Snow” universe has been connected to the actual story. For a better understanding of all these references, there has been background information put together before the first chapter. Great idea to make it look like a Wikipedia entry. (Accordingly to it, “Simon Snow” is a book series for children, written by Gemma T. Leslie, which became a bestseller all over the world. At the beginning of “Fangirl”, seven books have been published so far.) There are a lot of references relating to the fandom throughout the story, in form of mentions, excerpts and, at the end of every single chapter, quotes. Well done! I’ve been able to get a bit lost in the Simon Snow stories as well. But I’m still trying to figure out how the quotes have been arranged. It’s definitely not a chronological order, but what is it instead? Does a system exist at all? Or am I just too stupid to figure it out? (Well, not unlikely, I admit :D) Anyway, there was something really cool about a particular quote, which definitely proofs how well Rainbow Rowell managed to connect both the actual story and the Simon Snow universe. The first sentence in Cath’s story is: “Ein Junge war in ihrem Zimmer.” (“There was a boy in her room.” / page 9.) That’s a reference to the first sentence in “Simon Snow und der Erbe des Magiers” (Simon Snow and the heir of the mage): “In Simons Zimmer war ein Junge.” (“In Simon’s room was a boy.” / page 18.) Even I noticed 😉 Really cool!

The pace was quite steady throughout the story. Until the few last chapters. Suddenly, the pace changed and everything started to happen quite fast. Even too fast, for my liking. And that’s the reason why I’ve got to deduct 0.25 points in the ranking. I wish I’d have had more time to say goodbye to the characters…

I’m currently reading the English edition, by the way. (Yes, straight afterwards. Yes, I’m kinda crazy.) And I need to say, that Brigitte Jakobeit really convinced as a translator. I don’t think that anything has been lost in translation. I think she was rather able to strike Rainbow Rowell’s writing style and the tone of the story quite well and to transfer it into the German language. Well done! That definitely has to be mentioned 🙂


Conclusion

After reading the blurb, I couldn’t resist the temptation to start reading the story. (The cover looks beautiful, as well. Lovely designed.) And I haven’t been disappointed. It’s a magical and honest book. And with much more draught than I expected. Must read! And in case you’re not ready to leave the Simon Snow universe after reading “Fangirl” I’ve got some comforting news for you: There has been published a spin-off called “Carry on” (or in German “Aufstieg und Fall des außerordentlichen Simon Snow“), which you can start reading directly afterwards 😉 Anyhow, I will! And I’m really looking forward to it 😀


Dear Enthusiasts of The German Language

As soon as you reach an intermediate niveau, it gets quite difficult to recommend a language level you might need to read a book. How much you’ll understand depends a lot on your vocabulary. Two people, both being intermediate learners, don’t have precisely the same vocabulary. But I’d like to recommend Fangirl to readers, who already read books written by John Greenbecause for me it was as challenging as these. I think you’ll enjoy this book with fewer difficulties if you reached language level B2/C1.


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