Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti Bourque

Posted Thursday, 5 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Alycat series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been showcasing Children’s Lit alongside my adult literature choices since I first started blogging. I appreciate finding new voices in Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult selections as an Auntie and secondly as a future mother. Today’s Children’s Lit market is vastly different than when I was growing up as there is happily more diversity and more choices in stories. Whenever I get a chance to become introduced to one of today’s Children’s Lit series or stand-alone stories, I feel blessed for the chance to see what is newly emerging onto the scene for young readers! I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Alysson Foti Bourque in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Ahead of sharing my thoughts today about this delightfully colourful Picture Book, I have a Guest Post to share from the author. I wanted to tap into her inspiration behind creating ‘Alycat’ and how she made the choice to feature a spunky cat who has a lot of personality and life lessons to impart on the readers who find her stories.

How did the Alycat series percolate inside your imagination and develop into a cleverly illustrated series for young readers? Especially as cats have such cheeky personalities, it leads to a lot of life lessons which can be told through a character’s journey. What is your favourite aspect of Alycat’s personality?

I have always loved to write and read. It gives me peace and an outlet for my thoughts and imagination. Every night, my husband and I read a story to our children before bedtime as part of their routine. One night, after reading every single book in the bookshelf, the kids said it was time to buy more books. That is when I had my “ah-ha” moment. I simply told them that I would write a story for the next night and they believed in me.

I wrote and wrote that evening into the following day as the first Alycat story unfolded. Unfinished and unedited, I read it to the kids before bedtime. They loved it! They had ideas for the ending and gave me outrageous outcomes to choose from. The laughs and squeals made my heart full. It was then that I knew that this was a journey I needed to take in my life.

Why cats? Well, cats are very interesting animals. They have bold and mischievous personalities, coupled with a loving and nurturing nature. My favorite aspect of Alycat’s personality is her ability to solve her own problems with imagination and creativity. She is like most children where she has good days and bad days. She has such enthusiasm for what her heart wants and she is eager to work hard to obtain her hopes and dreams. It was important for me to develop her character to be self-motivated, hopeful, and fearless. I want readers to be inspired by Alycat to reach their goals, get themselves out of a slump, and demonstrate kindness even in tough situations.

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Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti BourqueAlycat and the Monday Blues
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Alycat wakes up with the dreaded Monday Blues and is certain that nothing will go right. But when a mishap sends her astray, she discovers that helping a friend will help her discover her own hidden talent—curing her Monday Blues.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1684012459

on 12th September, 2017

Pages: 38

Published By: Mascot Books (@MascotBooks)

Converse via: #KidsLit, #PictureBook

About Alysson Foti Bourque

Alysson Foti Bourque

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the Rhyme or Reason Travel series, and the multi-award winning Alycat series. Alysson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. She believes that there is an Alycat in all of us, encouraging our imaginations to guide us through new opportunities and adventures. ​

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My Review of alycat and the monday blues:

I personally love Picture Books which are hardback – sturdy bound and which use a vibrancy of colours such as what I have found with the Alycat release which I received for this blog tour! The book itself beckons you to open it and see what is inside – I can imagine how excited a child would be to peer into the pages – as the hues selected catch your attention and entice you inward!

I also love metaphors and positive affirmations for children and young adults – the fact this story is set around the principles behind how ‘life can be lived as sweet as music and all who hear the music are writing beautiful songs of their own’ is quite incredible! I’m paraphrasing from what is described in the book (of course) but the mainstay is how life, music, art and the tangible joy of creating ‘new contributions’ through the songs spun out of our ‘life experiences’ is a ready topic which I feel is a good foundation lesson for all children.

By the time you reach the first page, where Alycat is present – sulking with her rolled shoulders as she walks down the stairs to speak to her mother – your instantly drawn into her life and living environment. I like how homespun the illustrations are to give you an inside impression of Alycat’s home life but also how Alycat herself has been given such an impressive expressive face! I love when illustrations emote emotions out of a character’s presence and you can ‘feel’ what Alycat is feeling whilst noting how her mother is reacting – not just by their body language nor the words complimenting the actions but through how their facial expressions are being depicted. Since some children have trouble expressing their emotions, I thought this was well placed in a Picture Book talking about ‘the moody Blues’ – herein how Mondays are not always perceived as a ‘special day’ but rather one of drudgery! I think we all can remember what it was like when a ‘week’ first started whilst in school – aching for the weekend and wondering how many hours we had left to suffer through the schoolwork! If it was Summer break, it sometimes felt like time stood still – completely stopped and vacant of progression – so either way, it’s easy to see how one particular day of the week might become the larthetic one of indifference!

I love Alycat’s school-mates – they are each so well conceived – with individual personalities and you can tell they go to a Prep type of school or one which has a uniform policy (either public or private, depending). Despite these restrictions, they have a lightness about them, where they let their personalities shine through and you can tell how individually expressive they are simply by how they carry themselves.

There are certain words which are amplified and written in bolder font to give more credence of a pause on their purpose – not only in the sentences but of how they are being used throughout the story. It helps break down the structure of the story but also, I would believe to help engage a child who is learning about organisation and placement of word structure, paragraph continuity and expressive gestures through word usage. It’s also a clever ‘trick’ for guardians, grand-parents and parents who want to read aloud to their children – instead of worrying about ‘missing’ a particular word or sequence of narrative which needs to be ‘honed in on’ for expressing differently by voice, these bold words give you a bit of a map towards understanding how to set the story to be vocalised!

Each full page layout throughout the book is a lively portraiture of Alycat’s daily life – from school to home – she has a fully illustrated guide to help children (or readers of ESL) fuse the dialogue and narrative with what is going on in Alycat’s world. Sometimes the pictures are not entirely what is being described – where they jump forward a bit – such as when her brother and her arrive off the bus but the words depict them on the bus – they are seen walking happily up the sidewalk already disembarked which could help with ‘forward placement and positioning’ to help curate a sense of how stories evolve forward even after something is described as stories are constantly ‘moving’.

The use of pastels and bright colours help lighten up the pace of the story, too. The colours help you draw attention to both the sequences of what Alycat, her family and schoolyard friends are doing but also, it helps draw your attention to the words – everything is easily accessible in other words – the bold use of font makes it easy for everyone to ‘see’ the printed text, too.

You can easily spot the threaded ‘vocabulary’ prompts throughout the story-line – I was thinking if this was not addressed in the Appendix/End of the Book – you could easily write down the key words being featured and use them as a takeaway exercise of how to use the words in new ways and create new sentences or short stories – either written or verbal for the readers who want something ‘more’ than a mere story to read. Learning easily extends from reading and there are ways in ordinary life where you can expound on a learning lesson even with inspiration from daily tasks or reading adventures.

At the end of the book is the full song sung by Alycat and Spotty! It makes it handy for referencing the lyrics and for singing the song long after the story is read. I only found a few wrinkles of where I felt continuity might have waxed a bit for me – where some of the transitions were not knitted together as I would have liked them to be – as the story shifted from one scene to another without a thread of connection (early-on when Alycat is at school) and there was a part in the song itself where I thought the lyric should have said “the Monday Blues” rather than “the Monday Morning” which for me didn’t song as catchy as the title eluded to “the Monday Blues”.

Extras which were happily found included with the book was a full colour brochure about how Alycat can make appearances in your child’s life (think of the real-life Hello Kitty you’ve seen at Sanrio stores? it’s a similar outfit), along with a blue banded bracelet and a small plastic card with the cover art featuring a redeemable code for ‘DropCards’ which I haven’t had the chance to check-out yet.

This is the second book in the Alycat series – the first book was called: Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day.

Despite the cross-comparisons I had in my own mind about Alycat and Hello Kitty – the two are completely separate in personality, execution and style. They are definitely well conceived in each of their own rights and they give children joy from two different spins on how ‘cats’ can be classically ‘cool’.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: iRead Book Tours

Click through via the badge to find out what else awaits you!

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Reader Interactive Question:

I look forward to hearing your reactions if you’ve read this Picture Book

and/or if your curiosity had become piqued to read it after reading my own ruminations!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Alycat and the Monday Blues”, book synopsis, author photograph of Alysson Foti Bourque, author biography, and the tour badge were all provided by iRead Book Tours and used with permission. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna  and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 5 October, 2017 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Cats and Kittens, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Picture Book, School Life & Situations, Siblings

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2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti Bourque

    • Hallo Hallo, Melissa Ann!

      :) It is such a sweet cover isn’t it? :) I happen to love Picture Books myself – each year, my local library orders a gaggle of them! I wish I could read & devour all of them as soon as they’ve been added to our card catalogue but at last, I cannot! Whenever I’m in a book shoppe I simply swoon over them! I love how they’re all so uniquely writ and illustrated! A lot of them these days focus on #EqualityInLit story-lines which I love seeing, too! Honestly, I don’t think you can ever truly outgrow Children’s Lit!! It’s been such a lovely re-discovery journey I’ve taken these past years!! I hope you enjoy this if you get a chance to pick up a copy!

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