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26. Peace is an Offering by Anette LeBox




This book is basically an illustrated poem about ways to celebrate or express peace and walk away from a fight. The rhyming is relatively simple yet touching and the illustrations are adorably sweet.

                  "Peace is a joining not a pulling apart.
                   It's the courage to bear a wounded heart.....
                   Sing a quiet song.
                   Catch a falling star.
                   May peace walk beside you
                   Wherever you are."

Peace is an Offering has a classic, timeless quality which will help children see ways to be a friend and enjoy the quiet strength of peace.

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27. You’re Invited to the Global Family Reunion

Screenshot 2015-05-22 13.26.43

On June 6, I’ll be speaking at the Global Family Reunion about my family, my interest in genealogy, ancestry, genetics, and the things we know and stories we tell ourselves about inheritance, and how my fascination with all of this became the book I’m writing. My talk will be at 3:30 p.m.

The reunion, brainchild of AJ Jacobs, also features Jacobs, Henry Louis Gates, CeCe Moore, George Church, Daniel Radcliffe, Lisa Loeb, and many others, and is a full day of events held on the old World’s Fair grounds in Queens. Everyone’s invited.

Tickets are available at EventBrite. Proceeds benefit the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Free admission for kids.

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28. What Influences You?

A friend of mine asked me to blog on the topic: influence.  I thought to myself that this can be done in so many ways, but yet accepted the challenge.  Sometimes, we can be influenced by other people.  We may come across positive influences as well as negative.  I used to have a friend in junior high.  Unfortunately, she was a bad influence on me.  I did get into trouble at that time whenever I hung out with her.  However, I believe that bad influences come and go out of our lives for a reason.  This causes us to identify with our inner self on a deeper plateau.   Our environment definitely has a strong affect upon us.  If we are residing in an urbanized environment, our goals and expectations are much different from someone living in a rural environment.  There are many other influences that impress upon our lives such as music.  If we love to listen to a certain type of music, we may take that lifestyle that coincides with that music and thus  become one.  Teachers may have an influence upon our lives.  Henry Adams once said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."  Sometimes, we look up to celebrities as well as the world around us. We analyze the latest trends that are in the world and get influenced to want to be part of that.  As human beings, we are like sponges.  We soak up so much information that the world has to offer us.  We becomes easily influenced to follow and submerse our self into what the norm has decided for us.  It is very difficult for most people to be a leader and not a follower.  I think one of the most difficult challenges in life is to try to influence others and not become influenced.  "True leaders don't create followers. They create more leaders."

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29. 16 words from the 1960s

As the television show Mad Men recently reached its conclusion, we thought it might be fun to reflect on the contributions to language during the turbulent decade of the 1960s. This legacy is not surprising, given the huge shifts in culture that took place during this point in time, including the Civil Rights movement, the apex of the space race, the environmental movement, the sexual revolution, and—obviously—the rise of advertising and media. With this in mind, we picked 16 words from the 1960s that illuminate this historical moment.

The post 16 words from the 1960s appeared first on OUPblog.

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30. Writing Tip - Beware of Repetitive Redundancies.

This was originally printed in the SCBWI Bulletin a few years ago, but in critiquing several manuscripts for an upcoming conference, I thought it might be helpful to repost it on my blog for those who insist on writing repetitive redundancies. Repetitive Redundancies By Gayle C. Krause What kind of title is that? It means the same thing. Exactly my point! Many new writers are absolutely

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31. Carta aberta aos que promovem linchamentos via redes

Eu sinceramente torço para que quem espalha boataria e acusações a populares na rede pense sobre as consequências – para toda a sociedade, inclusive vocês e suas famílias – do que estão fazendo aqui. Facebook não é tribunal, vocês não são juízes e muito menos assassinos executores. 
Não esqueçam de assumir depois a responsabilidade por tudo de ruim que advir. Inclusive inocentes que ocasionalmente possam a vir ser confundidos com a pessoa "denunciada" no post (que nem ao menos tem como comprovar se é de fato criminosa, ou o grau de envolvimento com o crime, e mesmo que fosse, não se resolve uma violência com outra).
A maioria cede ao medo e se blinda com ódio e ataques. Todos que ameaçam, agridem, esbravejam, o fazem porque estão com muito medo. Medo de morrer. Esse medo os está cegando para as soluções reais.
Parem, pensem, e procurem aprender mais.
A PAZ tem de começar dentro de si.
PAZ para TODOS. Sigam em segurança.


Na imagem, uma família que também foi vítima do ódio, da cegueira, do medo – imagem do bem, podem compartilhar à vontade. A autoria é minha, permto a reprodução acompanhada de meu texto sem edições. Arte inspirada na Madonna de Boticelli.



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32. Week in Review: May 17-23

War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation. Cindy Hval. 2015. Casemate. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales. Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth. Translated by Maria Tatar. 2015. Penguin. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Wild Boy. Rob Lloyd-Jones. 2013. Candlewick Press. 295 pages. [Source: Review copy]
My Side of the Mountain. Jean Craighead George. 1959. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]
Snow Treasure. Marie McSwigan. Illustrated by Mary Reardon. 1942. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]
Shadow Scale. Rachel Hartman. 2015. Random House. 608 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Board Book: Peek-a-Boo Zoo. Joyce Wan. 2015. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Sleep Book. Dr. Seuss. 1962. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
The Sky is Falling. Mark Teague. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Christy. Catherine Marshall. 1967. 512 pages. [Source: Bought]
God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied. Richard D. Phillips, editor. 2015. P&R. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Timothy Keller. 2014. Penguin. 336 pages. [Source: Library]

This week's recommendation(s):

I loved, loved, loved Snow Treasure. I loved War Bonds. I loved Christy. (I loved, loved, loved Dr. MacNeil.)

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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33. #BookADay | THE YETI FILES: MEET THE BIGFEET by Kevin Sherry (Scholastic)

Yetis! In Canada! What's not to love?

More info about Kevin Sherry.

More info about the book.

---------------------
More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

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34. O CORDEL DA BATATA






















Luiz Salgado no PARTIO, adquira seu novo álbum!




















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35. Graduate Student Reflections After Year One

Part of why I enjoy blogging for YALSA is that I can have my voice, as a librarian-in-training, be heard among other professionals. And so, I wanted to post a reflection after my first year in graduate school.

Year one was great. Choosing University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was the right choice for me. I feel challenged and surrounded by peers who are just as passionate about libraries as I am. These peers are also my friends, and together we explore Urbana-Champaign. The faculty have supported me in my endeavors and have shown me more resources than I can go through (thank goodness for websites like Diigo to keep track of all of them). My master plan has been changed but this professional has the ability to be flexible. I’ve embraced my revised path and feel even more confident than I did a year ago. Even sitting in graduation, hearing our dean speak, reminded me of why I joined this profession and all the things I have to look forward to. I think it’s truly an exciting time to be in library land.

In addition to academics, I have had plenty of professional experiences as well. From blogging for YALSA, to attending Midwinter, to even my job in the Urbana-Champaign community working with elementary students and teens. All of these experiences allow me to practice librarianship, to articulate my thoughts and opinions, and to share with other professionals my passion and my desire to continue to become a better librarian. I feel that I am always learning, continually rethinking what I thought was to be true. I have this near-perfect blend of in and out of classroom time. This past semester, I felt that every minute in the classroom helped to expand how I worked in the field. While it was sometimes overwhelming to have everything so inter-connected, these inter-connections told me I was taking advantage of this opportunity.

As I go into year two, I feel I still have so much to learn. I want to continue to soak in what I’m learning. The theory, the resources, the potential programming ideas. I will have a whole career to practice librarianship, but only one year left of living in the world of academia. This summer I want to continue to read and learn about what is going on in the field right now. What are libraries across the nation doing for our teens? And how can I continue to join the conversation?

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36. Scene from the exhibition

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37. Seeking Certification

We got our new jackets on Friday – don’t they look snazzy?! I’m SO BLESSED to work with such incredible people!!

Work is going well. I continue to work my ass off but I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with what I’m doing. There are moments when I feel like I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants and thank goodness I think quick on my feet and can ooze fake confidence when I need to, but for the most part, I’m settling into the medical assistant position.

I’ve been a medical assistant for a little over one year now. That sort of blows my mind when I stop to think about it. I honestly feel like I still just stumbled into this gig and I’m BSing my way through every clinic. I’m confident on the phones and handling the scheduling part of the job, of course, but the actual medical part of this job still sort of scares me a little bit.

I guess I’m going to stick this out. I had thought, at one time, I might just hang it up and move on to something else, but this past year, though terribly challenging, and continues to challenge me every day, has been one of the most rewarding years in my life. There’s something deeply satisfying helping people and it’s such an HONOR to work with some of the top 1% of the doctors in the country!

I’m pretty sure this is my last job. I will likely retire from the medical field. Which is so crazy for me. I never, once, in my whole life, aspired to be in the medical field. I wanted to be a writer, a paralegal, or a medical transcriptionist, which true, is in the medical field, but more on the outskirts of the medical field, not in the trenches actually interacting with patients.

And yet, here I am.

I have spent hundreds of dollars on scrubs. When I started as a scheduler, we wore a different color each day of the week. So I spent $200 just on that my first week of work. Now that I’m a medical assistant, our colors have changed again – navy, black and gray. And I have added on to my scrub collection as I’ve gone along because I get bored with one brand, I find something just a little cute/different and/or the fit is unflattering that I can’t force myself to wear them anymore.

Scrubs are NOT cheap. I just recently bought another scrub “outfit” for just under $70.

One scrub top. One scrub bottom.

So. There’s that investment.

And now I’m getting ready to spend another $150 in order to become certified. And another $50 bucks to purchase the study guide and an online test so that I can prepare for this certification process. BUT. If/when I do this, I will automatically receive a $1 raise which means I will have paid for my investment in three weeks and ultimately make more money.

Not to mention, being certified carries more responsibility and more opportunities.

And I’m motivated to do this because the government has implemented yet more strangling meaningful use policies and I’m no longer able to do a few tasks like I used to be able to do. However, I can do these tasks if I’m certified. So OF COURSE, I have to become certified because nothing frustrates me more than NOT being to do something or do my job to my maximum ability.

I will learn everything there is to know about being a medical assistant. I honestly have no intention of going any further than this, at this point. But if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I have an uncanny knack for sort of falling into things so who knows where I’ll be five years from now.

I never imagined I would be where I am now five years ago.

As far as the people … my nurse still drives me nuts – in fact, there are days I would gladly punch her in the face. But she’s sweet and funny and we’re all getting used to her, I suppose. Her personality is just so ABRASIVE! AARGH! And everything about her rubs me like sandpaper, her tone of voice, the way she treats patients, the way she has to include herself in EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION THAT GOES ON AROUND HER, whether she’s included or not, her obsession with food, her butt crack. Yes, her butt crack. She was a size smaller when she came to us from the hospital but she refuses to allow herself to buy bigger pants, so she wears these tight t-shirts and low-waisted scrub pants and when she bends over – HELLO MOON. Our nurse manager actually came by her one day, yanked down her t-shirt and whispered in her ear loud enough for me to hear, “your butt crack is showing again.” AAARGH She’s just so immature and self absorbed … drives me nuts.

However. I don’t see her going anywhere any time soon so I guess I just need to suck it up. I’ve worked with my doctor for over a year now and I’m the “veteran” on the team since his nurse started with him in October and his PA started with him this past January. Even though I’ve worked with him over a year now, I still feel pretty shy around him. We’re both loosening up around each other now and I am starting to see a lot more of his personality. I’m VERY FORTUNATE to work with a laid back, easy-going doctor. He rarely loses his temper (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper), but you can tell when he’s annoyed. I just try and make his clinics run as smooth as possible, even if that means I make other people in the clinic mad at me because I INSIST they do their jobs.

Go figure.

We’re supposed to be moving into our new home in July. The hospital is adding onto the main building and neurosurgery will be taking over the 7th floor. My doctor was on the planning board for this move so he views it as his baby. I’m really looking forward to moving to our new digs. Not only will it be “new”, it will be next to the hospital and Kevin and I are already planning on meeting in the hospital cafeteria for lunch. (They actually have pretty good food for cheap). Parking will be a challenge as it’s already a challenge at the hospital as it is now, let alone when our clinic starts going over there every day, but we’ll find our new normal, we’ll just have to endure the speed bumps along the way.

The building we’re in now is embarrassing. It’s so old and ever since the announcement was made that we would be moving to the hospital, there has been very little motivation to fix or maintain our building and it’s starting to show a lot of wear and tear.

Oh. That reminds me of a story.

Our air conditioner went out – again. Our air conditioner goes out about every other month, it’s so annoying. So our HVAC guys showed up to take a look at it and found that the wires had been yanked out. Apparently, some homeless guy was living in the area, (the area is enclosed by a privacy fence) and he had cut out all of the copper wiring presumably to sell it. This is what happens when you have a crappy economy and more and more people are out of work – desperate times call for desperate measures.

There is now a lock on the fenced-in area. (There probably should have been a lock on it to begin with but you don’t think about things like this until they happen).

There are always weird situations that crop up in this business, but the latest weirdness happened a few weeks ago. A nine-year old boy came into the clinic for scoliosis. Though I’m not sure how the referring doctor came up with this diagnosis considering there were no films on file to show he had scoliosis. The boy’s guardian was his grandmother, who couldn’t read. So the boy’s mother came with them, but could barely read herself. So getting someone to fill out paperwork was a challenge.

When I approached the front desk to get the boy’s chart and show him back to a room, one of the girls pulled me aside and told me that the boy had gone into the mens’ bathroom and pooped on the floor. Why he didn’t poop in the toilet, I don’t know. (I found out later that the nine-year old boy still wore pull-ups. Not because he couldn’t control his bladder/bowels, but because his guardians were tired of dealing with his rebellious I will poop and pee whenever and wherever I please attitude). When I called the boy back, the mother started to stand and told the grandmother she was to stay in the waiting room. I nixed that suggestion in the bud.

“Is she the boy’s guardian?” I asked.

When the mother quietly nodded, (I can be quite intimidating when I need to be), I shook my head and said, “she will have to come back with him since she’s the guardian.” (It’s a legal issue).

In addition to the boy, the boy’s little sister came back, too. They were both the wildest children I’ve ever been around. They talked a mile a minute and they would not sit still. I had to get the pediatric cuff in order to take his blood pressure and I had to get firm with him because he wouldn’t sit still. When my doctor’s PA went in there next, (she interviews new patients first before the doctor goes in), I heard her raise her voice a few times telling the boy to sit down and be quiet. And when my doctor finally went in there, he was in there for two minutes, (because there was nothing he could do for the boy since we didn’t have any films on him – he’s a doctor, not an xray machine), the little boy followed him out and looked at my doctor like he was a god or something. I’m sure the boy didn’t have a male role model in his life judging from the way he was following my doctor around like a little lost puppy.

In addition to being sad, the whole situation was pretty disgusting, too. They were Medicaid and though I’m trying very hard not to judge people who have Medicaid, more often than not, they are people who were referred to our clinic without a proper workup and it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money simply because the boy’s primary care physician didn’t fully do his/her job. I’m assuming the boy’s PCP simply referred him to our office to get the boy out of his hair.

It’s a terrible abuse of our Medicaid system.

I could go on and on with examples, I don’t want to sound too preachy or judgy, but just know, there’s a REASON why Medicaid patients are cast into a stereotypical mold, because many act exactly the way we expect them to. It’s very sad, to be honest.

Our nurse manager is moving on to another position. We’re all pretty shaken by this news. She’s AWESOME and she will be SORELY missed but we can’t fault her for wanting to further her career. In the meantime, management has formed two committees, (sounds like something management would do, lol) in order to help interview her replacement. I didn’t volunteer for the position, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself in that situation, but when they came to me and asked me to participate I couldn’t really say no. This is going to be doubly challenging considering we’re getting ready to move and we won’t really have a “captain” to guide us.

I have a feeling this summer is going to be crazy busy for us.


Filed under: Work Stuff

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38. Bloom: Evolve

Hi folks, welcome to the blog. I'm writing a continuing series called BLOOM this month. It's all about how to make your work bloom. Not always an easy task. This week I'm going to chat about how blooming is really evolutionary process. Writing a book definitely starts a  with a spark of an idea and slowly over time a complex book appears.


Be confident in this process, my creative friends. Keep working and the work will get better. This is the most honest truth that I can tell you.  You are a unique creature on this planet. Your major adaptation is that you thrive in change. Don't allow yourself to stagnate in any way.  It's when you apply the pressure of change to yourself that you will find your work blooming. 

One way you can stagnate is by sitting on one project too long.  If you have been working on that first chapter for 10 years, it is time to put the project away and move to the next one.  I'm not saying you can never go back, but this particular project has drawn you away from your need to change. You must push yourself into dynamic work. It's messy. It's painful. It's exhilarating. It's unsure. Yes, you will bloom in the midst of chaos. Have you ever thought about about how that winter ends and spring bursts forth with life? Let the winter of your work end and allow everything to change. Today. 

Another place that will keep you from evolving as a creative person is to be stuck in a rut. You may have ended up writing romances but you always wanted to write gritty thrillers. You keep churning out those romances. The work has lost the gloss of the early times.  It is not blooming at all. It is not evolving into something better.  This state of affairs has you down.  Clear off the desk and take a new path.  Oh, now you are terrified. Good. You will evolve. You will bloom. 

Here is a third way to stir up the creative pot. You want to bloom.  Are you hiding in the shadows? Keeping yourself safe from critique, safe from rejection, safe from failure? That works for a while. When the work is young, it needs to be kept safe, but when your work is ready to bloom it needs conditions that force it to bloom.  The nutrients of critique, the water of experience, and sunlight. Exposure. Are you lurking in the shadows? Seeking that connection with others is important. You must be brave now,

I hope this helps you on your journey!  Come back next week for one more in this series,  Also remember that my book PLUMB CRAZY is out.  Please consider adding it to your shelves or the shelves of your local library. Here is a link.

Here is a doodle. Oregon Plains

Finally a quote for your pocket.

It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.
Nikola Tesla

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39. Like The Strangers That You've Met

 Drawings By Paul Ashley Brown


PAB
21 x 21.5 cms
20pp
black and white
£4.00
available from  Paul Ashley Brown, c/o 15 Wedmore Vale Road, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 5HQ


Having just sold one heck of a lot of books at the Alternative Press event in London, Mr. Brown is one of those creators I keep telling people that they need to invest in.   His books have sold in Europe and he has been to Finland and Japan which adds to his already existing following in the UK.

Mr. Brown is currently working on other projects but tends to not over expose his work.  So this makes that work much sought after!

Rather than use the familiar format of the Browner Knowle series, Mr. Brown has opted for a more squarish format and, sadly, my scanner does not show the nice yellow shade of the cover -but that's scanners for you!



The scanner does not do justice to the pencil artwork which is a great pity as these centre pages I really like.  And it is an even bigger annoyance because with today's printing technology you can reproduce pencil art superbly -it's when it gets into the hands of kack-handed scanner-reviewers that it goes wrong!

For investment, and if you can get a hold of copies because these are low print run books, I would say buy this book or Browner Knowles or any of his books -the mini Yo Yo books sell like hot-cakes on a cold Winters day so if you can buy any of those do!

And if you have bought a copy of  number 6 of The Comix Reader -check online to buy at http://www.thecomixreader.com/ - you will see some of Mr. Brown's colour work.


Again, if you get a folded newspaper size comic it will get creases -and the actual colours on this piece are quite subtle.











































No Tobias Tak in this edition which means that Mr. Brown's work is the stand-out piece in the comic.  Again, I don't think The Comic Reader has a massive print-run so worth getting and there is the added bonus that newspaper format comics in the UK are VERY rare.

But you can order the latest Paul Ashley Brown book directly from him so why not ask him to sign your copy?

Really is a nice book and I have to add it to my collection which includes Judge Dredd and Blue Saviour illustrations by said Bristol's own King of Zines!

Highly recommended.

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40. Happy Terry Day!


Paul Ashley Brown had absolutely no idea why I was so excited to get these.  The poor boy needs an education ("boy" -HAH!).



The 1949 Slick Fun Album and the 1954 album.  £7.00 each which is about right for very good quality. There were a couple other Swan albums but prices were from £22 -65.00 for really poor condition, basically because con artists/crooks think they can screw people over for huge amounts because comics are "in".

Tonight I shall be losing myself in pure nostalgic joy as my Swan albums collection grows -and so does my Golden Age UK comics collection.

Just lovely.

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41. Kishaz Reading Corner: The Sheikh's Proposal by Barbara McMahon

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.


About the Book

Marriage by royal command!

Sara Kinsale is stunned to be thrown together with a prince of the desert, and even more so to find herself unbelievably attracted to the elusive Sheikh Kahrun bak Samin... Especially as she's indebted to the sheikh and it's only a matter of time before he demands to be repaid!

Kahrun soon names his price -- marriage! He needs a trophy wife, and Sara is already living under his roof. But will she be the sheikh's bride in name only -- or will her marriage duties be a little more intimate....?

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Sara is a woman trying to prove herself and Kahrun is a king with a problem. When two very determined individuals have a run-in, an explosion of feelings was inevitable.

Kahrun really was a man in command while Sara was still trying to figure herself out and suffers from some major insecurity issues when it comes to herself and her family.

Watching the two of them learn about the other and about love was a sweet and sometimes funny journey.

Would I recommend this book? Yes.

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42. Drawing of a cat reading


I feel like doing pen and ink again. I've been doing colored pencils for everything for so long now, its almost like I have to give myself permission to do something else. I drew this little piece while sitting on the porch with the kitties, just hanging out. It was fun. And I didn't think about it very much.

I had some printer paper and a cheap ball point pen, and had intended to make serious lists of things I need to do/draw/figure out, etc., but instead I started drawing this couch.

I added the granny square afghan, then the pillows, then the upholstery.




Next came the lamp. I had no idea where I was going with this. I drew it hanging over the couch, then decided it needed one going the other way. Next was the table, and the stuff on it.




Then the kid,




who needed something to look at, so next came the cat.
I did the chair first, and then added the cat.



Nothing profound. Just fun. 





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43. The Sky is Falling (2015)

The Sky is Falling. Mark Teague. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One day an acorn hit Chicken Little on the head. She popped up, screeching, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" "I don't think so," said Squirrel. Squirrel knew a thing or two about acorns. "See, it fell from a tree."

Premise/Plot: Chicken Little is convinced that the sky is falling when an acorn hits her on the head. Soon other chickens join her in that belief. (Not every animal on the farm is convinced. Not all get carried away). So what does a chicken getting carried away look like?! Well, in this book, it looks like DANCING. The book embraces the chicken-dancing concept. It keeps building and building. "They did the moonwalk, the mambo, and the twist." While Squirrel and his 'reasonable' friends (like Cat and Rabbit) know that the sky isn't falling, they are soon inspired to join in the dance because dancing is fun.

It was NO ACCIDENT that an acorn hit Chicken Little on the head. Though I admit I didn't catch this the first time I read it. There is a certain recurring character on each page. He's to be SEEN long before attention is called to him in the text. The FOX thought the chickens would react very differently if the sky were thought to be falling. And he was ready for his plan. But the dancing reaction, well, it leaves the Fox puzzled and a bit threatened. (He hates it when it is suggested that HE CAN'T DANCE.) Will the Fox have his way and enjoy chicken for lunch or dinner?!

My thoughts: I liked this one more than I thought I would. It improved upon second reading. I've now read it twice, and browsed it a third time. It's a clever book in a way. I'm not saying I love, love, love it. But I definitely enjoyed it!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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44. Another gorgeous Violet Mackerel story from Anna Branford


Violet Mackerel’s Formal Occasion by Anna Branford, illus. Sarah Davis, Walker Books Australia
This is another one to add to my collection of Violet Mackerel stories – which is being kept for a couple of years until my granddaughter is old enough to enjoy the books. They are delightful little stories that tick all the right boxes – short, easy to read, focusing on situations involving family and friends, illustrated with lively pen and ink pictures, and sporting bright, eye-catching covers. Because they’re hardback they look extra-special and would make excellent presents. This particular story looks at a topic close to the hearts of most little girls – getting dressed up and going out somewhere special. I think this is the eighth book in the series, and I heartily recommend them for newly-competent readers of about six to eight.

ISBN 978 1 925081 09 1 $24.99 Hb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman
 
 

 

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45. Exhibit Review: Benjamin-Constant in Montreal

"Marvels and Mirages" is more than an exhibition about Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902), and it's more than a show about Orientalism. It's a loving embrace of the broader themes of exoticism and storytelling and an ambitious revival of a lost world of picture-making.


Benjamin-Constant Self Portrait, gouache
The exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Art, curated by museum director Nathalie Bondil, is the first major retrospective of Benjamin-Constant in recent times. It borrows from over 60 private and public lenders, including many regional museums in France. Several paintings were restored and reframed for the show. 

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, The Pink Flamingo, 1876
The exhibit designers made an effort to evoke the mystery of the Near East. As you ascend the stairs into the show, Moroccan music plays softly and light filters down, influenced by shadows cast by latticework-patterned gobos.

Several glass cases show drawings, engravings, and prints. The show is divided into various themes: The Studio, the Salon, the Alhambra, Tangier, and Colonial Diplomacy. It takes some time to absorb all the captions, because there's so much exposition: political events, timelines, historical contexts, and biographical details. Woven throughout the writing are some great lines, such as "between a mirage of seduction and the veiled realities of a colonial republic." 

Unfortunately—and this has nothing to do with the curation of the exhibit—there are reasons why Benjamin-Constant is not an "artist's artist." He doesn't have the psychological penetration of Repin; nor the sensitivity to color of Gerome; nor the archaeological conviction of Alma Tadema; nor the brush fluency of Sargent; nor the exquisite surfaces of Vibert or Meissonier. Some of Benjamin-Constant's paintings are frankly out of perspective, a fault that is usually hard to find among academic painters. He'll often spend a great deal of effort with background patterns without really working out the faces or the human story. Some of the paintings are huge, which magnifies their problems even more.

Unlike many other academic and Juste-Milieu painters of his time, Benjamin-Constant failed to embrace the innovations of plein-air painting. He called Impressionists "daubers" and their work "the oculist's art." That's too bad, because he would have benefited by incorporating the lessons learned from thoughtful plein-air study. For example, in the painting above, Benjamin-Constant uses a blackish dark for the farthest arch, when it really should be lifted up in value because of the intervening illuminated atmosphere. 

Fortunately the show includes some of Benjamin-Constant's contemporaries. One of the standouts is the watercolor portrait by Josep Tapiro y Baro, whom I have spotlighted in a previous post. 

There's also a rare chance to see some history paintings by Jean Paul Laurens. In "The Late Empire: Honorius," he shows the young emperor outmatched by his position. It's a magnificent example of subtle storytelling.

There were also several Henry Regnaults, including this watercolor (detail), which is a riot of cool reds and blue-greens over solid figure drawing. The show includes some fine examples by Gerome, Fortuny, Jose Villegas y Cordero. 

But I wish the curator had included some other notable Orientalists, such as Rudolph Ernst, Frederick Bridgman, Gustave Bauernfeind, Vasily Vereshchagin, Hermann Corrodi, Leopold Carl Muller, William Logsdail, Frederick Leighton, Edwin Lord Weeks, and Ludwig Deutsch. Even though they weren't French Orientalists, their work would have raised the overall quality level of the artwork in the show.

In all, though, the museum is to be commended for rediscovering an artist who has been largely overlooked, and putting his work in context. I hope they will give a similar treatment to other neglected French artists, especially Jules Bastien-Lepage. Like the Waterhouse exhibit from a few years ago, this one provides quite a stimulus for artists. If you want to see it, it's only up until the end of the month.


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46. #698 – Jack and the Wild Life by Lisa Doan & Ivica Stevanovic

cover_Jack_and_the_Wildlife-330

#02 Jack and the Wild Life

Series: The Berenson Schemes
Written by Lisa Doan
Illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic
Darby Creek         9/01/2014
     144 pages    Age 9—12

“After a wild plan by his parents left Jack stranded in the Caribbean, the Berenson family decided to lay out some rules. Jack’s mom and dad agreed they wouldn’t take so many risks. Jack agreed he’d try to live life without worrying quite so much. Then Jack’s parents thought up another get-rich-quick scheme. Now the family’s driving around Kenya. An animal attack is about to send Jack up a tree—alone, with limited supplies. As Jack attempts to outsmart a ferocious honey badger and keep away from an angry elephant, he’ll have plenty of time to wonder if the Berenson Family Decision-Making Rules did enough to keep him out of trouble.” [book jacket]

Review
The Berenson family adults are constantly trying to find an easy way to make a fortune, conjuring up one odd scheme after another. Jack is the one that pays the price for these awful plans, while his parents wander through life unaware of most everything around them, including their missing son. This makes for many comical situations and gives the series its heart. This time, the Berensons fly to Africa, Jack in tow, because, as Dad tells Jack,

“Your mum and I have invented a brand-new kind of tourism . . . a surefire moneymaking opportunity.”

going to kenyaThey plan to build a tourist camp where people can live like a real Maasai tribe. Using mud, sticks, grass, and more mud, Jack’s parents plan to build the Maasai mud-huts tourists will gladly rent to experience tribal life (and a fence to keep out the lions). The best part of their plans, the two adults believe, is they need no money to build their attraction—Mother Nature supplies the materials. Jack is not thrilled. He finally had a “normal” life, a home, parents who held down real 9-to-5 jobs, and a new friend—Diana. Once summer began to fade into fall, Jack’s parents could no longer do that “grind.” But this time things will be different: Jack’s parents will plan ahead, not take any risks, and not lose Jack. Changing their ways proves more difficult than the parents thought, as things do not go as planned, risks are taken, and, well, Jack . . . he ends up in a tree.

Poor Jack, now he is in Africa, stuck up a tree, while his parents—yet to realize Jack flew out of the rented Jeep—are trying to find the guide for their new camp. Jack must protect himself from animals on the ground and the ones that can get past the fence he built around the tree. He sleeps in the tree, eats in the tree, and fears for his life—and the life of Mack, Diana’s stuffed monkey—in the tree. The last time his parents had a get-rich-quick scheme, Jack feared for his life on a deserted island. (#1 – Jack the Castaway reviewed here).

jack pageThe Berenson Schemes is a wonderful series, especially for kids that wish they could take control. With roles reversed, Jack acts more the parent, setting rules and following through. Meanwhile, Jack’s parents act more like spoiled, unruly children, who care about themselves first and Jack second. They do love their son, but cannot get it together as adults. In book #2, Jack and the Wild Life, the family has new decision-making rules in the hopes that Jack’s parents will be parents that are more responsible. As Jack makes a tree-bed out of duct tape and reads his Kenya guide, he thinks maybe the rules are not working as he had hoped they would.

I love the black and white illustrations. Stevanovic does a great a job of enhancing the story, giving readers a view into Jack’s situation and his emotions. I wish I had more images to show readers. The full-page illustrations are fantastic and have been in both books. By the end of the story, Jack’s parents may see the errors of their ways and promise Jack they will try harder to change . . . until the next edition, when they tire of being adults, devise a new scheme, and hook Jack into their plans. The Berenson Schemes #2: Jack and the Wild Life is great fun and I look forward to each new scheme and Jack’s consequences for merely being his parents’ child. Kids will love the mayhem Doan creates and the magic in Stevanovic’s illustrations. Book #3: Jack at the Helm, released this past March, 2015.

JACK AND THE WILD LIFE (THE BERENSON SCHEMES #2). Text copyright © 2014 by Lisa Doan. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Darby Creek, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase Jack and the Wild Life at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesDarby Creek.

Learn more about Jack and the Wild Life HERE.
CCSS Guide for Teachers HERE.
Meet the author, Lisa Doan, at her website:  http://www.lisadoan.org/
Meet the illustrator, Ivica Stevanovic, at his website:  http://ivicastevanovicart.blogspot.com/
Find more middle grade books at the Darby Creek website:  http://bit.ly/DarbyCreek

Darby Creek is a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

The Berenson Schemes

#1 – Jack the Castaway

#1 – Jack the Castaway

#2 – Jack and the Wild Life

#2 – Jack and the Wild Life

JACK AT THE HELM 3

#3 – Jack at the Helm

 

 

 

#01 – Jack and the Castaway 2015 IPPY Gold Medalist for Juvenile fiction

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 518

jack and the wild life 2


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Africa, Darby Creek, family, get-rich-schemes, Inc., Ivica Stevanovic, Jack and the Wild Life, Jack at the Helm, Jack the Castaway, Kenya, Lerner Publishing Group, Lisa Doan

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47. Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear



"Julia, Child" is subtly deceptive. Though it has Julia Child's name in the title, it isn't a picture book biography of Julia as a child. The preface states that the book was inspired by, but not about Julia's childhood. However, the main character does love to cook. Julia and her friend Simca shop, take classes and whip up meals. They begin to notice that adults are too busy to savor food and life. So they decide to make some meals for them. The first foray turns out badly, since most adults "don't have the proper ingredients" and start fighting over the food. Julia and Simca's next effort fixes that: they make "smaller portions....just enough to feed the sensible children from whom these senseless grown-ups grew." This dinner party does the trick; the adults have a wonderful time and are more generous. In a nod to the other Julia, the girls write a book, "Mastering the Art of Childhood" for grownups. Overall, the book has sweet vintage illustrations and the message is a positive one, though more understandable for older kids.

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48. Seuss on Saturday #21

Sleep Book. Dr. Seuss. 1962. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence:
The news 
Just came in
From the County of Keck
That a very small bug
By the name of Van Vleck
Is yawning so wide
You can look down his neck.
This may not seem 
Very important, I know.
But it is. So I'm bothering 
Telling you so.

Premise/plot: A book to read at bedtime. It's addressed directly to readers, to you. Readers meet plenty of Seuss creations that are either already asleep or nearly so.

My thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book. I can't read it--even silently--without yawning. I love so many things about it including...
  • the time for night-brushing of teeth is at hand.
  • the number of sleepers is steadily growing. Bed is where more and more people are going.
  • the Audio-Telly-o-Tally-o Count, a machine that lets us know who is down and who's up
  • They're even asleep in the Zwieback Motel! And people don't usually sleep there too well.
  • moose dreaming of moose juice, goose dreaming of goose juice...
  • Ziffer-Zoof seeds, which nobody wants because nobody needs.
The Sleep Book is one of my favorite books by Dr. Seuss. I love the story, the rhythm and rhyme, the silliness.

Have you read The Sleep Book? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you think of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Dr. Seuss' ABC.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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49. Peek-a-Boo Zoo

Board Book: Peek-a-Boo Zoo. Joyce Wan. 2015. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

With brown fuzzy fur,
I grumble and growl.
I live in the woods
where I like to prowl.
Guess who?
Peek-a-boo!
Bear

Premise/plot: Zoo animals play peek-a-boo with young readers in Joyce Wan's Peek-a-Boo Zoo published by Scholastic.

My thoughts: I really loved, loved, loved Joyce Wan's You Are My Cupcake. I've been interested in Wan's books ever since. What did I like best about Peek-a-Boo Zoo? Well, I really liked the illustrations. The text is simple. It rhymes. Young readers can guess the animal and then lower the flap to see if they're right.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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50. Extra Facts in Picture Books

Remember, in picture books, you can always show those fascinating facts in the illustrations or mention them in the back matter.

http://picturebookbuilders.com/2015/03/those-fascinating-facts-keep-or-cut/

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