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Viewing Blog: lucie's thoughts, Most Recent at Top
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1. Book 543


A Weed is a Flower, by Aliki, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1988.

This beautifully illustration book is an excellent introduction to George Washington Carver for young readers.  The text is fairly simple, but the ideas conveyed are not.



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2. Book 542


The Girl in a Swing, by Richard Adams, Alfred Knopf, 1980.

I found this book at a second-hand story.  I remember reading Watership Down -- at least thirty years ago -- and liking it, so, for a dollar, I picked up this book.

This book is not really very much like Watership Down.  But the writing is still gently beautiful, as the plot becomes increasingly intense.  By the end of the book, I, like the protagonist, did not want to believe what I know.

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3. Book 541


Sock Monkey -- Into the Deep Woods, by Matt Danner, illustrated by Tony Millionaire, Fantagraphics Books, 2014.

I bought this book because I was able to get a copy signed by the illustrator.  So it was definitely worth the purchase price for that.

The illustrations for this very short novel were quite wonderful, but the writing felt a little flat -- almost as if it were being viewed through a screen from a distance.

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4. Book 540


The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan, Disney Hyperion, 2014.

I really enjoyed this series.  And I liked this book.  But this book didn't quite seem to be the ending we were promised.  Don't get me wrong:  I'm glad that so many of the other demigods emerged as heroes, but Percy and Jason didn't have to turn milquetoast for that to happen, did they?


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5. Book 539


The Crown of Ptolemy, by Rick Riordan, Disney-Hyperion, 2015.

This book came with another book.  I doubt if I would have bought this one for its own merit.

It is great to revisit the Percy Jackson character, but this isn't one of his stronger stories or adventures.  And, for a Rick Riordan book, it wrapped up in a surprisingly tidy little bow.

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6. Book 538


The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan, Disney-Hyperion, 2013

Sometimes I can't count on the library having a book that I really want to read, especially when a series is involved.  In those cases, I just have to buy the book.

This was a pretty exciting, pretty great read.  There was SO much going on -- so many characters, so many story lines, so many heartbreaks.  I was, however, vastly amused by the character and repeated mention of Hyperion.

I really hope that Bob can say hello to the stars in the next book.

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7. Book 537


Little Bear's Friend, written by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Harper Collins, 1960.

I love Little Bear.  And Emily.  And Lucy.  So it is probably no wonder that I named two characters in my first book 'Emily' and 'Lucie' -- even though I hadn't read a Little Bear book for about thirty years back then. 

The illustrations are delightfully and perfectly vintage Sendak.


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8. Book 536


Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield, Atria Book, 2013.

This is a beautifully written book.  And that may be the problem.  The lovely, poetic prose just doesn't quite match up with a stark tale of madness and death.  Maybe if the writing had been rawer, more emotional, less contained, we could have seen more of Bellman and understood better his descent.  But instead, this book just seemed to drift like an iridescent feather from a rook until it is caught up in a sudden wind and disappears entirely.

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9. Book 535

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, Random Books, 2011.

Are thorough editors a thing of the past?

The story for this book was great.  The pacing was mostly pretty good.  The character development was good.  But, because close editing obviously did not happen, there are some pretty big plot holes and other annoyances. 

For example, early in the book Wade says he can't miss anymore school days or he will be expelled from the OASIS school and have to return to a bricks-and-mortar school.  So what happens?  His misses a day of school to go on his quest.  Then he pretty much blows off the last two weeks, including final week, of his senior year.  Is he expelled?  Nope.  He still receives his diploma by email. 

There are other oversights, but they are more integral to the plot, so I won't go into them.


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10. Book 534

Book 534: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, Penguin (originally published in 1900).

L. Frank Baum was the J.K. Rowling of his day; or, she is the L. Frank Baum of modern times.

They both weave amazing and intriguing tales that span several books, but each book is self-contained.  And yet, neither excels especially at the craft of writing.  Even so, the content SO outweighs the delivery that both writers are brilliant.

For those who have seen the film, the book is close, and also completely different.  The land of Oz is FAR more intriguing in the books than it is in the movie.

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11. Book 533


Beachy and Me, by Bob Staake, Random House, 2016.

My seven-year-old son LOVES Bob Staake's work, so whenever Mr. Staake has a new book out, I will, of course, buy it.

I also let my son review this book, so here it goes:

"I liked Beachy and Me because it was a good story.  It was a story about being friends, even though you might be different like the little girl and the whale.  The illustrations are beautiful because Bob Staake is an illustrator who makes beautiful illustrations."





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12. Book 532


The Story of Diva and Flea, written by Mo Willems, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi, Disney-Hyperion, 2015.

I bought this book for my seven-year-old son, and took it with us on vacation, and every night I read a chapter or so to him.  The next morning, he would re-read the same passages himself.  He LOVED this book, so I'm letting him write the review:

"I liked this book because Flea is a beautiful black and white cat like our Buster.  And Diva is a white dog that looks like Piper, but is white like Ellie.  She was more like Piper than Ellie, though.  My favorite part was when Flea and Diva became friends.  And I really liked the cloud-cutter because Paris is my favorite city.  And I liked the friendly feet at the end of the book.  The drawings were SO good."

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13. Book 531


The Trojan Horse:  How the Greeks Won the War, Emily Little, Random House, 1988.


This book simply, but thoroughly, tells the story of the Greek and Trojan War.  Since I didn't learn about the Greek and Trojan War until I was twelve and was studying Latin, this book is MUCH easier for kids to read than what I read.

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14. Book 530


Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig, Simon & Schuster, 1969.

This book is so very nearly perfect.  A little traumatizing for kids who can empathize, but, still, very nearly perfect.

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15. Book 529


Tut's Mummy, Lost... and Found, by Judy Donnelly, Random House, 1988.

We used this book in my son's first grade History class -- obviously when we were studying Ancient Egyptians.  This book, however, brings ancient history into modern history, which makes it very interesting for (sometimes morbid) seven-year-old boys.

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16. Book 528


Come Look With Me, World of Play, by Gladys Blizzard, Charlesbridge, 1993.

This book is great for getting young children to look, really look, at famous works of art.  The text is straightforward and comprehensible, and the art pieces were well chosen.

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17. Book 527


Bedtime for Frances, written by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Garth Williams, HarperCollins, 1960.

This is one of the books my son would have had to read for his first grade class if we had started schooling at home at the beginning of the year instead of after the first quarter.  I'm rather glad he didn't read this book for a class. 

Honestly, the book didn't bother me too much until the father threatened Frances, but then I had to look at the parents' past behavior to see the problem.  The parents indulged her over and over and over again, and, when they had enough, the father threatens her.  Not exactly great parenting. 

So, even though we own this book right now, I will have no problem returning it to the online school.

(Great illustrations, though.)

0 Comments on Book 527 as of 7/8/2016 8:14:00 AM
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18. Book 526


Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel, HarperCollins, 1970.

It it hard to imagine a better book for emergent readers than a Frog and Toad book.  The stories are short.  And funny.  And quirky.  And easy to read.  And easy to understand.  And all the stories fit together to form a larger story.  And Frog and Toad both have such well-formed personalities. And the illustrations are perfection.  And who wouldn't want to sleep until half past May?

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19. Book 519


The Only Child, by Goujing, Schwartz Wade, 2015.

This book is heart-stoppingly gorgeously illustrated.  The wordless story is poignant and conveys the sense of loneliness felt by a child growing up under China's one-child policy.  But my son, who is an only child, did not understand the child's deep loneliness and longing.  I kind of wish that the US title had been changed to "The Lonely Child", because, 1) not all only children are always lonely; and 2) children with multiple siblings can feel this depth of loneliness.



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20. Book 523


A Picture for Harold's Room, by Crockett Johnson, originally published in 1960 by HarperCollins.

Harold is magical.  There is no other way to describe him.  Sure, he is creative, imaginative, and talented, (and adorable), but it really all comes down to him being magical. 

My son is very much like Harold -- he is magical.


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21. Book 522

Will You Carry Me?, by Helen van Rossum, illustrated by Peter van Harmelen, Kane/Miller Publishing, 2005.

I bought this book about ten years ago -- before I became a mommy, or even knew that I was becoming a mommy -- because I saw the artwork featured in an exhibition of children's book illustrations.  I wasn't disappointed in the story then; in fact, I donated the book to the library where I was working as a children's librarian.  Fast-forward ten years, and my own son picked this book out (on his own) from another library.  And it is still good.

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22. Book 521


Who Will Be My Friends, by Syd Hoff, HarperCollins, 1960.

It is very difficult for a shy child, an extreme introvert, to move to a new town and have to start making friends all over again.  I should know -- I was one.  Even so, I don't quite relate to the boy in this book.  You can't stay on the sidelines and expect to make friends, some effort is needed.  My son, who has moved to a new town, but who is not especially introverted, cannot relate to the boy in the book even less than I could.

The illustrations, however, are absolutely faultless, and the story -- such as it is -- is cute.


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23. Book 520


The Sandman and the War of Dreams, William Joyce, Atheneum Books, 2013.

This series has me enthralled.  It started off great, and grows more complex and stronger with each new book.  But two questions do arise:  When will the next book be released? and, Where was Jack Frost?!

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24. Book 525


Harry and the Lady Next Door, written by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, HarperCollins, 1960.

I think this Harry book is even more fun and funny than the original Harry, The Dirty Dog.  Harry has a problem -- the lady next door fancies herself an opera singer.  She has all of the volume, but she is short on talent.  Harry tries to solve his problems, with rather hilarious results, but, in the end, everything works out.  There are actually four very short stories in this book, that all fit together to form a larger story.

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25. Book 524


Mummies, by Joyce Milton, Penguin Young Readers, 1996.

My first grade son read this book for a part of his History lesson.  He finds mummies to be a bit icky/scary and a bit intriguing/funny.  And that is exactly how he found this book to be.


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