"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Blog Tour (Review): A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN! by Kit Fox and M. Shelley Coats (MG)

By Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coats 
Illustrated by Rachel Sanson
Release date: April 17th, 2018
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Middle Grade 
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: Hardcover


Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal - watch out, it might just start chewing you back!

New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they'll get used to life in their new town - it's just the way things are on the coast! But after his first day at Topsea School, Davy finds himself wondering: Why is his locker all the way at the bottom of the school swimming pool? Why can't anyone remember his name? (It's Davy!) And why does everyone act like all of this is normal?!

Through newspaper articles, stories, notifications, and more, follow Davy and the rest of Ms. Grimalkin's fifth-grade class through the weird world of Topsea. 

(Whatever you do, don't make eye contact with the rubber ducks.)


It has been too long since I have read an interesting quirky middle-grade book just for fun! Full of interesting diverse characters, a magical world that kept getting better and better... and, a very smart and endearing watch-hog! (Have you ever heard of a watch-hog? Me either! And now I'm sure you'll want to find out what one is...)

Davy and his mom have moved to Topsea to start fresh, and Davy is doing his absolute best to adjust and fit in. However, Topsea is not like any place he's ever been to or heard of - according to everyone who lives here - Mermaids are extinct, dogs are myths, seaweed may be the main ingredient in ALL of your foods and your school locker may be found at the bottom of the swimming pool! 

Davy soon begins to realize that what is not normal to him is actually normal here. And once you start to accept what is happening, no matter how odd and out of place it may seem, it's actually not. This makes Davy feel better, as he used to be the odd one back at home and now he's the most normal person at Topsea. While Davy starts to accept his new normal, he also begins to mourn and accept the loss of his father. 

The writing and flow of the story are so wonderfully unique! Our main character is Davy and we see Topsea mostly from his perspective. But, we also get to see Topsea through his new friends too, the local kids who have lived here their entire lives and don't see Topsea as weird. Included are the school's newspaper and local alerts letting us know what is happening in school and in the town - weather and other local news. The authors also include some "history" of Topsea through excerpts of what I believe may be a book called "Everything You Need to Know About Topsea" which helps the reader gain knowledge to understand why Topsea is the way it is before Davy does. 

The illustrations fit the story so well! Amusing and quite charming, each sketch and image brought the book to life!

Another fun little tidbit about this book - adults will absolutely love all of the jokes and  symbolism that the authors threw in; as most kids in this age group may not know who Davy Jones or Jo King were... this is the perfect book to "buddy read" with your child or class and then discuss!

This book is for the overly imaginative dreamer! Topsea is the place to go to when you want to let go of everything you believe in and just "go with the flow"... it's meant to be light-hearted and whimsical quick fun read.

*A hardcover copy was sent to me by the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for an honest review.
All thoughts here are my very own. Any problems, concerns, questions, etc. please contact me via email - 
Thank you!


Kir Fox/Kirsten Hubbard
M. Shelley Coats/
Michelle Schusterman
Kir Fox (Kirsten Hubbard) and M. Shelley Coats (Michelle Schusterman) are great friends, longtime critique partners, and ardent consumers of the strange and unusual. 

Kirsten is the author of the middle-grade novels WATCH THE SKY and RACE THE NIGHT (Disney-Hyperion), and the young adult novels LIKE MANDARIN and WANDERLOVE (Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books). 

She lives in Los Angeles.

Michelle is the author of the middle-grade series I HEART BAND and THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES (Grosset/Penguin), and the middle-grade novel OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST and the forthcoming SPELL AND SPINDLE (Random House Children's Books). She's also the coauthor of the YA novel THE PROS OF CONS (Scholastic). 

She lives in New York City.

Kir Fox/Kirsten Hubbard LINKS

M. Shelley Coats/Michelle Schusterman LINKS



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