What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'library book')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: library book, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 769
1. Mio, My Son

Mio, My Son. Astrid Lindgren. 1954/2015. NYR Children's Collection. 184 pages. [Source: Library]

Here's how Mio, My Son begins: "Did you listen to the radio on October 15th last year? Did you hear the news about a boy who disappeared? This is what it said: 'Police in Stockholm are searching for a nine-year-old boy missing from his home, at 13 North Street, since 6.P.M. two days ago. Karl Anders Nilsson has light hair and blue eyes. At the time of his disappearance he was wearing brown shorts, a gray sweater, and a small red cap. Anyone with more information on his whereabouts should contact the police.'"

I don't even know why, but, something about that opening paragraph grabbed me. I wanted to read more. I knew nothing about the book, but I knew I wanted to make time to read it. (When was the last time you got hooked into a book?! I'd love to hear about it!)

So, you might think based on the opening paragraph that Mio, My Son was realistic fiction. That it was perhaps a bit on the dark side, and, that it would perhaps involve a kidnapping. Unless you've read reviews of it, you might not be expecting to find a FAIRY-TALE like fantasy novel set not in the 'real world' but in Farawayland. I know I was surprised--quite pleasantly--to find that Mio, My Son IS a fantasy novel.

The hero of this one is a boy sometimes called 'Andy' but usually called MIO. He is the 'missing boy.' He is narrating his own story, and doing it in his own way. The narrative voice is quite strong, in my opinion.

Now, I will warn readers that sometimes Mio repeats himself. For example, "I must go there to fight Sir Kato, though I was so scared, so scared." Some readers might find this an unforgivable sin. I don't. Not in this case at least. I didn't find it as annoying as a written stutter, for example. Perhaps because it mainly occurs when Mio is thinking about or talking about Sir Kato. It doesn't occur on every page.

So essentially, the book is Mio's adventures in Farawayland. The first half of the book is mostly light and joyous. Nothing heavy or dark. The second half of the book, however, is much more dramatic and dark. THINK Lord of the Rings only for a much younger audience. Mio has a mission to accomplish, something that only HE, as a royal son, can do. And it is seemingly impossible and very daunting. Mio must make up his mind to be brave and determined and risk everything for his mission.

Mio is not alone. He has a best friend, Pompoo, and a horse, Miramis. And, there is, of course, his father THE KING, who I personally LOVED.

So did I like this one? Did I love it? Did I love, love, LOVE it? I think I definitely loved it. I loved it for the narrative, for the descriptive language, for the imagery. I really loved the imagery of the Bread That Satisfies Hunger and the Well That Quenches Thirst. Also I really liked the Well That Whispers at Night. The first two images reminded me of Scripture. (John 4:13-14; John 6:35) The sacrificial nature of the mission also reminded me of Scripture. I'm not convinced it can only, always be read as an "allegory" (think The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe). But as a Christian reader, I saw how it could be interpreted that way.

I think anyone can appreciate the imagery of the Well That Whispers At Night:

A whisper began deep, deep down in the well. It was such a strange voice, unlike any other voice. It whispered fairy tales. They weren't like any other fairy tales, and they were the most beautiful stories in the whole world. There was almost nothing that I loved more than listening to fairy tales, so I lay down flat on my stomach, leaning over the edge of the well to hear more and more of the voice that whispered. Sometimes it sang too, the strangest and most beautiful songs.
"What strange kind of well is this?" I said to Totty.
"A well full of fairy tales and songs. That's all I know," said Totty. "A well full of old stories and songs that have existed in the world for a long time, but that people forgot a long time ago. It is only the Well That Whispers at Night that remembers them all."
Here's another favorite passage:
I understood then for the first time that I never needed to be afraid of my father the King, that whatever I did he would always look at me kindly, like he was doing now as he stood there with his hand on the Master Rose Gardener's shoulder and with all the white birds flying around him. And when I understood him, I was happier than I'd ever been before in my life. I was so glad that I laughed quite hard.



© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Mio, My Son as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. Roller Girl

Roller Girl. Victoria Jamieson. 2015. 240 pages. [Source: Library]

Do I typically read graphic novels? Not really. I want to admit that from the very beginning of this review! I might average about two or three a year. And I usually just read the ones that are getting Newbery buzz or actually do get a Newbery or Newbery Honor. Roller Girl IS a graphic novel. It IS a Newbery Honor book for 2016.

Roller Girl is a coming-of-age graphic novel set mainly in the summer as the heroine, Astrid, goes to Roller Derby summer camp. Astrid is a bit angsty that her friend, Nicole, is no longer her best-best friend who wants to do every little thing with her. For example, Nicole does NOT want to go to roller derby camp, she wants to go to dance camp. She also wants to start hanging out with and dating boys. Astrid? Not really her thing--at least not yet. There is some jealousy mixed in with frustration. It isn't just that Nicole is interested in different hobbies. It is that Nicole is spending time--a lot of time--with other people. And one of those people she's now spending a LOT of time with is her nemesis, Rachel. Rachel and Astrid have some ancient history--way back in second grade, I believe?!

Astrid is confused and frustrated and moody and angry and DETERMINED. Roller derby is, by far, the hardest thing she's ever done--ever attempted. And it does not come easy. She is not a natural on skates--not by any stretch of the imagination. And it is physically, emotionally, mentally challenging to her. She WANTS it so bad that she pushes, pushes, pushes to improve. It is because she struggles that I believe she is so relatable.

I also liked how Astrid begins to make other friends outside of Nicole, and, that she is given the opportunity to find her own thing, to become her own person. True, part of that journey involves dyeing her hair BLUE. But having blue hair isn't the "worst" of her crimes--in the eyes of her mom. It is the fact that Astrid is less than honest. Still, I think the two are depicted as having a mostly-positive relationship. Which is nice to see in fiction. That Moms and daughters can get along and talk through their differences.

Astrid also finds a mentor--of sorts--in Rainbow Bite. Readers do learn a good bit about the sport of Roller Derby.

So overall, I enjoyed the characterization. I enjoyed the coming-of-age aspect of it. And despite the fact that it is a graphic novel, and, despite the fact that it is sports-focused, I did enjoy it. I read it quickly, in one setting.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Roller Girl as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. The Face of a Stranger

The Face of a Stranger. (William Monk #1) Anne Perry. 1990. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

The Face of a Stranger is a great little mystery, and a fine start to a series, a series that I now want to read more of!

The hero of The Face of a Stranger is William Monk. Readers are just as clueless as to who he is as he is himself. Monk wakes up from an accident with amnesia. He doesn't remember his name, his face, what he does, where he lives. He's clueless. He finds out from others that his name is William Monk and that he's a police detective. Within a few weeks of his release, he's back at work and back to detecting. Just as important to him as getting back to working on cases is solving the mystery of who he is, what kind of man he is. The clues are leading him to suspect that he hasn't been a very nice or kind man. That he's treated others--including his own sister--poorly. He's woken up with a conscience or a change of heart, you might say. His morals have been reset, if you will! He realizes that not many people--if any--actually like him. And that's hard to take, but, he does it well, for the most part. He is not willing to tell everyone that he's clueless, that he has no clue as to his own past. One thing is clear: he's good at noticing details, of finding clues, of putting together theories based on those clues. So along with his own private agenda of finding out WHO he is, he's on an official case with a partner (Evans, I believe). Somebody murdered Major Joscelin Grey. The murder coincidentally enough happened around the same time as his own accident that landed him in the hospital.

Can he solve the murder case? Will he allow pressure from others to influence him into making a quick arrest?

I enjoyed this one oh-so-much!!!!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on The Face of a Stranger as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
4. Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc. Mark Twain. 1895/1896. 452 pages. [Source: Library]

Did I enjoy reading Mark Twain's Joan of Arc? Yes, very much. Though perhaps not quite as much as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. But that isn't exactly fair to try to compare the two really; they are very different from one another.

Joan of Arc is narrated by Sieur Louis de Conte in his old age, 82 in the year 1492. He is attempting to tell the behind-the-scenes story of Joan of Arc. This telling begins in their childhood. He grew up with her, and, remained close to her and witnessed (almost) all the "big" events. He was even witness to her trials and served as a secretary or note-taker, I believe.

Is the book a comedy? Far from it. (Though there is that one scene about if a stomach can help in the committing of a crime that is funny. And also some great Paladin scenes. He's one of the companions--soldiers--and he's a STORYTELLER if ever there was.) Though a few asides from "the translator" (aka Mark Twain) do pack a little something. The book is properly a tragic history.

Some of my favorite quotes:
It was not my opinion; I think there is no sense in forming an opinion when there is no evidence to form it on. If you build a person without any bones in him he may look fair enough to the eye, but he will be limber and cannot stand up; and I consider that evidence is the bones of an opinion. 
And it is my thought that if one keep to the things he knows, and not trouble about the things which he cannot be sure about, he will have the steadier mind for it--and there is profit in that.
Discretion hasn't anything to do with brains; brains are an obstruction to it, for it does not reason, it feels. Perfect discretion means absence of brains. Discretion is a quality of the heart--solely a quality of the heart; it acts upon us through feeling.
Well, well a good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring. 
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Joan of Arc as of 1/17/2016 9:12:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. The Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) Rick Riordan. 2015. Disney Hyperion. 528 pages. [Source: Library]

I haven't read any Rick Riordan in a year or two, so I was quite happy to pick up The Sword of Summer, the first book in his new series. I was hoping that it would be just what I needed: an exciting blend of action, drama, and humor. And it was. For the most part.

Magnus Chase, the hero, or almost-hero, is surrounded by a wild, diverse cast of sidekicks. Slowly but surely this team comes together in an almost-ultimate showdown between good and evil. There are plenty of tests put into place throughout the book to get the team to be a TEAM, ready to work together for the good of mankind.

Magnus Chase has just turned sixteen when the action begins. He's homeless, but, he's not friendless, and he's been warned that trouble is heading his way. Always thinking to stay a couple of steps ahead of trouble, he decides to investigate. Surely he can get close enough to trouble to see what's going on, and stay far enough away that he can slip away, right?! Wrong. But it's just what readers expect. After all, when the narrator tells you on page one that he dies, it's a sign that he actually dies...

Most of the book features Magnus in the after-life. And the focus of this fantasy series is on Norse mythology--Asgard. So there are fire giants, frost giants, wolves, and so much more...

Can Magnus and his friends prevent Doomsday from coming?

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on The Sword of Summer as of 1/21/2016 8:37:00 PM
Add a Comment
6. Supertruck

Supertruck. Stephen Savage. 2015. Roaring Brook Press. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The city is full of brave trucks.

Premise/plot: The garbage truck is the star of this book about "brave trucks" in the city. True, you won't find him among the three brave trucks shown on the first page. The three "brave" trucks are the fire truck, the bucket truck, and the tow truck. But Garbage Truck is brave all the same even if the other trucks are unaware of his secret identity. Essentially, the book shows what happens in the city when a BIG, BIG snow storm comes through. All the super-brave trucks are STUCK, STUCK, STUCK. But one truck is a SUPERTRUCK and "saves" the city. The other trucks are clueless who this HERO is...but readers know the truth.

My thoughts: I liked it. I definitely liked it. Yes, it is very, very simple. The illustrations are simple. The text is simple. The plot is simple. But it works, it all comes together and just WORKS.

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

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Supertruck as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7. Seuss on Saturday #49

Oh, the Places You'll Go. Dr. Seuss. 1990. Random House. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!

Premise/plot: I'd describe Oh, The Places You'll Go as a motivational picture book for older readers. Not that young children don't need motivation, but, the advice, in my opinion, makes more sense for older readers--grown ups even. You are the you of the title. The whole book is written in second person.

My thoughts: I like this one. Do I love, love, LOVE it. I wouldn't get that carried away. But I do genuinely like it. I like how it's motivational and uplifting all the while being true-to-life and realistic.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don't. Because, sometimes you won't. I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
Have you read Oh, The Places You'll Go! Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought 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 Daisy-Head Mayzie and My Many Colored Days. I'll be doubling up for the rest of the year each Saturday.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Seuss on Saturday #49 as of 12/5/2015 5:47:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. Seuss on Saturday #50

Daisy-Head Mayzie. Dr. Seuss. 1994. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:  It's hard to believe such a thing could be true, And I hope such a thing never happens to you. But it happened, they say, to poor Mayzie McGrew. And it happened like this...

Premise/plot: Mayzie McGrew shocks everyone--first everyone at her school, and, then later the nation--when a daisy suddenly appears growing out the top of her head. So many unanswered questions?! What's to be done?!

My thoughts: I had never read this one before. Was I missing out? Not really. The story is a bit out of control and all over the place. Which may sound like a typical Seuss story, and, in many ways--at least in theory--it was. It just lacked a certain something. 

Have you read Daisy-Head Mayzie? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

My Many Colored Days. Dr. Seuss. Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. 1996. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Some days are yellow. Some are blue. On different days I'm different too.

Premise/plot: There's a color for each mood in My Many Colored Days.

My thoughts: I like the idea of this one, the premise of it. I like the exploration of moods and emotions and feelings. Of feeling many different ways, and, yet still being "me." I also appreciate the simplicity of the text. Some Seuss books are so very, very text-heavy.

Have you read My Many Colored Days? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought 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 Hooray for Diffendoofer Day and The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. I'll be doubling up for the rest of the year each Saturday.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Seuss on Saturday #50 as of 12/13/2015 4:01:00 PM
Add a Comment
9. Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa. Steve Metzger. Illustrated by Alison Edgson. 2015. Tiger Tales. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Bear woke early with a tingle in his tummy. "Wake up, everybody!" he called. "Tomorrow's Christmas! We've got to get ready for Santa Claus!"

Premise/plot: Who is waiting for Santa? A lot of animals are waiting for Santa. Perhaps the most enthusiastic being, of course, the cute, adorable bear. One animal, however, is not a believer. Badger. Badger tries to tell Bear, Mouse, Mole, and Hedgehog that they are wasting their time waiting for Santa, preparing for Santa, decorating for Santa. But Bear keeps everyone believing. Will he be rewarded for his faith?

My thoughts: Honestly, I love, love, love the illustrations by Alison Edgson. I do. The Hedgehog, Bear, and Badger are just oh-so-adorable and really all the characters are nicely done. The story itself, however, didn't wow me. It was okay. It was nice enough.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Waiting for Santa as of 12/13/2015 4:01:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. Santa's Sleigh Is On Its Way To Texas

Santa's Sleigh Is On Its Way to Texas. Eric James. Illustrated by Robert Dunn. 2015. Sourcebooks. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The moon over Sixth Street gives off a cool glow. The stars twinkle like there's a secret they know! The evening sky is especially bright. "Hey Santa! Hey Santa! Please visit tonight."

Premise/plot: A Christmas book that celebrates place-names in Texas. The framework of the story is that there is one little Texan who won't go to bed, so, Santa keeps postponing his visit to his house and makes all his other deliveries in Texas first. But essentially, just a book with a lot of Texas locations mentioned.
In Dallas the yawns become stronger and stronger. The children of Plano can't stay up much longer. From Fort Worth to Lubbock, and San Antone too, They're soon sleeping soundly, all children but you!
My thoughts: I find this an awkward read. I'm not sure if it's the fact that most of it is written in second person. Or if its because the rhythm or rhyme is just off for me. There were things I liked about it. The first five pages aren't written in second person and addressed directly to the reader. And the illustrations for one spread in particular show that Texas is diverse.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 5

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Santa's Sleigh Is On Its Way To Texas as of 12/16/2015 11:11:00 AM
Add a Comment
11. When Santa Was a Baby

When Santa Was A Baby. Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout. 2014/2015. Tundra Books. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: When Santa was a baby, he was soft and round and cuddly, and his parents thought he was wonderful.

Premise/plot: Ever wondered what Santa was like as a baby or a child? This picture book aims to tell just that. There are clues throughout the text that Santa has always been very Santa-like even as a baby. For example, as a baby his mom notes, "And his dear little nose, like a cherry!" And instead of cooing or making other gentle, baby noises, Santa booms loudly and strongly: Ho, Ho, Ho!

My thoughts: I don't know honestly what I think of this one! Just when I think, yes, I like this one, I'll keep reading and change my mind again. I think I changed my mind two or three times as I was reading and rereading. There are definitely some cute instances in this book, if nothing else.

For example,
What a lovely time Santa had opening his presents! He had an even lovelier time wrapping them up again and putting them in a sack. "What's he doing?" asked his mom. "Beats me," said his dad. They watched in amazement as Santa rode down the street, giving away his presents to all the boys and girls.
The illustrations are unusual. Delightful at times, and, just a bit strange at other times. There were things I definitely liked, and things I definitely didn't like about the illustrations. Just so you know, there are at least two naked baby bottoms, and quite a few diaper bottoms.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on When Santa Was a Baby as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. Click Clack Ho Ho Ho

Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. 2015. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.

First sentence: Snow is falling. Lights twinkle. A few creatures are stirring. It is Christmas Eve. There is a jingle in the air. Farmer Brown stops to listen. Santa is on his way.

Premise/plot: Farmer Brown is settling in to enjoy a nice Christmas. He's blissfully unaware of what some of the "creatures" on his farm are plotting or planning. Readers should pay careful attention to all the illustrations. They can track Santa's journey as well. But my guess is that the repetitive refrain: Ho, Ho, Uh-oh, might just be their favorite part.

My thoughts: I think it must be really difficult to write a really, actually, GOOD Christmas-themed picture book. You can read a dozen or so Christmas books, and, only find one or two that stand out as being entertaining, or, FUNNY. (Funny as opposed to being sentimental, or, a book that is supposed-to-make-you-cry.) You also encounter plenty of books with awkward, forced rhymes. Or books where you're left asking, "And the point of this was....?!"

But Doreen Cronin's Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! was good, really, really good. I liked the beginning, the middle, and the end. It was predictable in all the right ways. I love how the text and illustrations work together to build a suspenseful story. The readers definitely are more aware than poor Farmer Brown!!!

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Click Clack Ho Ho Ho as of 12/18/2015 10:39:00 AM
Add a Comment
13. Seuss on Saturday #51

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky. Illustrated by Lane Smith. 1998. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I've always lived in Dinkerville,
My friends all live here too.
We go to Diffendoofer School--
We're happy that we do.
Premise/plot: Diffendoofer School is different from other schools. The teachers teach their students to think. And the teachers are all unique and have their own way of teaching and celebrating knowledge. But one day, the school is threatened by a TEST. If their students don't do well on the test, then, the students will have to go to other schools. Will the students do well on the test? Even if they haven't spent time especially preparing for it?

My thoughts: I liked it. I wish I knew how much of the text was by Dr. Seuss and how much was by Jack Prelutsky. The art is certainly different and unique and complements the text quite nicely.

Have you read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it! 

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. Dr. Seuss. 2011. Random House. 72 pages. [Source: Library]

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories contains seven "lost" stories by Dr. Seuss. They include: "The Bippolo Seed," "The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga," "Gustav, The Goldfish," "Tadd and Todd," "Steak for Supper," "The Strange Shirt Spot," and "The Great Henry McBride." All stories were originally published in magazines in the 1950s.

The Bippolo Seed
First sentence:
One bright sunny day, a young duck named McKluck
Had a wonderful, wonderful piece of good luck.
He was walking along when he spied on the ground
A marvelous thing that is quite seldom found.
Premise/plot: A duck finds a magical bippolo seed, but, unfortunately is led astray by a cat. The bippolo seed grants wishes when planted, but, the cat is strongly encouraging the duck to wish for more and more and more. Nothing good ever comes from such greediness, and such is the case here...

My thoughts: I liked it. I did. It didn't wow me with this is the best story ever. But it was good.

The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga
First sentence:
Once of upon of a time, way down south,
Lived a very big bear with a very big mouth
And very big teeth in his very big jaws
And very big claws in his very big paws.
Premise/plot: Can a rabbit outsmart a bear?

My thoughts: It didn't make the best first impression on me. But once the story really got started, once the rabbit started talking--quick-talking--it improved. I still can't say I loved, loved, loved it. But it was a nice enough story.

Gustav, The Goldfish
First sentence:
The man who sold Gustav the Goldfish to us
Had warned us, "Take care! When you feed this small cuss
Just feed him a spot. If you feed him a lot,
Then something might happen! It's hard to say what."
Premise/plot: What do you think might happen if you feed a fish too much?!

My thoughts: I really love A Fish Out of Water. Seuss's story came first, of course. Seuss's story rhymes. I don't know which is the "better" of the two. Because one is super-familiar to me, and the other is not.

Tadd and Todd
First sentence:
One twin was named Tadd
And one twin was named Todd.
And they were alike
As two peas in a pod.
Premise/plot: Do both twins like being "as two peas in a pod"? Maybe. Maybe not.

My thoughts: It was okay. I didn't especially dislike it. I just wasn't especially impressed either.

Steak for Supper
First sentence:
When I'm all by myself and there isn't a crowd,
I guess that I sometimes get thinking-out-loud.
Premise/plot: Do you know the consequences of bragging? Read Steak for Supper and find out!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I did. It was very silly and fun. When a boy happens to "think out loud" that his family always has steaks for supper every Saturday night, someone--an Ikka--starts following him. The Ikka is soon joined by others--all with fanciful names, of course. They are all super-excited by the thought of eating STEAK. What will his parents think when they all arrive home?!

The Strange Shirt Spot
First sentence:
My mother had warned me:
"Stay out of the dirt."
But there, there I was
With a spot on my shirt!"

Premise/plot: A boy finds it nearly impossible to remove a stubborn spot from his shirt.

My thoughts: This idea was used again, and, perhaps used better in The Cat and the Hat Comes Back. I love, love, love that book. This one was fun, but, mainly because you could see where the idea came from.

The Great Henry McBride
First sentence:
"It's hard to decide,"
Said young Henry McBride.
"It's terribly, terribly hard to decide.
When a fellow grows up and turns into a man,
A fellow should pick the best job that he can."

Premise/plot: Henry McBride can't pick just one job he wants to have when he's all grown up...so he imagines having lots of jobs.

My thoughts: It was okay. I liked it fine.

Have you read The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought 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 Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories and What Pet Should I Get. I'll be doubling up for the rest of the year each Saturday.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Seuss on Saturday #51 as of 12/19/2015 5:35:00 PM
Add a Comment
14. Seuss on Saturday #52

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories. Dr. Seuss. 2014. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories contains "Horton and the Kwuggerbug," "Marco Comes Late," "How Officer Pat Saved The Whole Town," and "The Hoobub and the Grinch." These stories were published, I believe, in magazines throughout the 1950s.

Horton and the Kwuggerbug
First sentence:
It happened last May, on a very nice day
While the Elephant Horton was walking they say,
Just minding his business...just going his way...
When a Kwuggerbug dropped from a tree with a plunk
And landed on Horton the Elephant's trunk!
Premise/plot: Horton makes a deal with the Kwuggerbug, but, it's a deal that he comes to regret making because the Kwuggerbug isn't exactly honest and fair. The deal is this: The Kwuggerbug will give Horton half the nuts off the Beezelenut tree, if Horton will carry him to the tree on his trunk. But a deal is a deal, right? Will justice be done?

My thoughts: This is the "second" Horton story. It was published in 1951 in Redbook several years before Horton Hears a Who. Horton is just as LOVABLE as always. I love, love, love Horton as a character. And this one is just as great as Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who! Definitely not as well known perhaps. But if it had been published as a book in the 1950s, no doubt in my mind that it would be just as beloved.

Marco Comes Late
First sentence:
 "Young man!" said Miss Block. "It's eleven o'clock! This school begins promptly at eight-forty-five. Why this is a terrible time to arrive!"
Premise/plot: Marco Comes Late is the sequel to And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. "Something" is happening on Mulberry Street once again, and this time it's on his way TO school.

My thoughts: This is a much shorter adventure for Marco. But I liked it. I don't think it would have been "enough" for a book of its own perhaps. But it isn't a disappointment either. It was originally published in 1950.

How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town
First sentence:
The job of an Officer of the Police
Is watching for trouble and keeping the peace.
He has to be sharp and he has to be smart
And try to stop trouble before it can start.
Premise/plot: This little story is all about TROUBLE and how it can start out small but grows and grows. That's what the "moral" of it is, I suppose. But it is GREAT fun in the telling. And it's set on Mulberry Street.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town. This story also appeared in Redbook in 1950. Seuss signed a contract to have Officer Pat published as a book, but it was later replaced in the contract with the publisher with Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. Here's one little bit from the story:
The trouble with trouble is...trouble will spread. The yowl of that cat will wake Tom, Tim, and Ted, Those terrible triplets of Mrs. McGown. Then they'll yowl a yowl that'll wake this whole town. When trouble gets started, it always starts more! Those kids with their racket and ruckus and roar will frighten the bird, and the birds will come flapping down Mulberry Street with a yipping and yapping!
The Hoobub and the Grinch
First sentence:
The Hoobub was lying outdoors in the sun,
The wonderful, wonderful warm summer sun.
"There's nothing," he said, "quite as good as the sun!"
Then up walked a Grinch with a piece of green string.
"How much," asked the Grinch, "will you pay for this thing?"
Premise/plot: The Grinch is trying to sell the Hoobub a piece of string....will the Hoobub be deceived by the Grinch's clever use of words?

My thoughts: It may be short--just TWO PAGES. But don't underestimate it's cleverness. Not that I love, love, love it. But it worked for me!

Have you read Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

What Pet Should I Get? Dr. Seuss. 2015. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
We want a pet.
We want a pet.
What kind of pet
should we get?
Premise/plot: Siblings--a boy and a girl--have trouble deciding which pet to get. Their parents said, "yes" to one pet, but, not to two, or, three, or four. The problem? The kids have only to see an animal in the pet store, and, then they WANT it. This book is all about having to make up your mind...

My thoughts: I liked it. I didn't love, love, love it. But I liked it. It ends with the reader not knowing what pet they finally picked. I'm not sure I like the mystery ending. Is it wrong that I almost preferred the notes from the publisher to the actual text?! I found the notes from the publisher to be fascinating. In particular,
Dr. Seuss's first "pet" was a brown stuffed toy dog given to him by his mother. Ted--whose real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel--named it Theophrastus. Ted would keep Theophrastus for the rest of his life. The dog was often perched near his drawing board. In 1991, just days before his death at the age of eighty-seven, Ted gave Theophrastus to his stepdaughter Lea Grey. "You will take care of the dog, won't you?" he asked her.
Have you read What Pet Should I Get? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

I'll be posting a list of my TOP TEN books by Dr. Seuss later this week.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Seuss on Saturday #52 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
15. Harold at the North Pole

Harold at the North Pole. Crockett Johnson. 1958. HarperCollins. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was Christmas Eve, and Harold had to have a Christmas tree before Santa Claus arrived.

Premise/plot: It's Christmas Eve and Harold needs a Christmas tree. With his purple crayon in hand, Harold's adventure begins. He's in search of a tree, so he must draw stars and woods and SNOW. Because he was a little TOO enthusiastic about the snow, Harold finds himself at the North Pole, and, Santa is snowed in. Can Harold draw Santa out of trouble?

My thoughts: This one is so cute and charming. I loved the text. I loved the illustrations. I loved the scene where Harold draws the reindeer and harnesses them up to Santa's sleigh. Have you read this one? What did you think?

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Harold at the North Pole as of 11/26/2015 5:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
16. Tallulah's Solo

Tallulah's Solo. Marilyn Singer. Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Tallulah knew she was an excellent ballet dancer. So she was certain that this year she would be doing a solo in the winter recital.

Premise/plot: Tallulah's Solo is the second book in this picture book series. In this one, Tallulah's oh-so-adorable little brother, Beckett, begins to take ballet. The two are even in the same class. Will Beckett be as eager-to-learn and as well-behaved as Tallulah? Tallulah isn't all that concerned about her brother taking ballet. Her mind is on one thing only: getting a solo for the winter recital. Will this be the year?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this second book. I am enjoying the characters very much. I love Tallulah and Beckett. I wouldn't mind spending time with them in real life. I like Tallulah's big, big dreams. And I like that sometimes not getting what you want gets you what you need. I love how Tallulah learns a few important life-lessons in this one.

My favorite scene? When Tallulah helps her brother practice at home.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Tallulah's Solo as of 11/27/2015 9:51:00 AM
Add a Comment
17. The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker. Retold by Stephanie Spinner. Illustrated by Peter Malone. 2008. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was Christmas Eve, Marie's favorite night of the year. She was so excited that she did a pirouette on her way to the drawing room, where she joined her brother, Fritz, at the big double doors.

My thoughts: I love, love, love the music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I do. I listen to it frequently--all throughout the year. Why limit the music itself to just one time of year?! That being said, I like the ballet. I've only seen it performed once or perhaps twice. Though there are plenty of movie adaptations of it as well. Perhaps I should try to watch some of these. (Do you have a favorite? a least favorite?)

Stephanie Spinner's picture book retells the story of the ballet for young readers. It is not a retelling of the original Nutcracker story. Which I think is probably for the best! Since most people, I imagine, are more familiar with the ballet than with the original work by E.T.A. Hoffmann. (Hoffmann's work reads more like Alice in Wonderland.)

The illustrations. There were a few spreads that I just loved, loved, loved. But for the most part, I tended to "like" more than "love" the illustrations.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on The Nutcracker as of 11/27/2015 12:09:00 PM
Add a Comment
18. Seuss on Saturday #48

I Am Not Going To Get Up Today. Dr. Seuss. Illustrated by James Stevenson. 1987. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Please let me be. Please go away. I am NOT going to get up today! The alarm can ring. The birds can peep. My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep.

Premise/plot: This little boy is GOING to sleep. Don't bother trying to make him get up and out of bed.

My thoughts: I like it. I don't love, love, love it. But who can really argue with, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep"?

Have you read I Am Not Going To Get Up Today! Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought 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 Oh, The Places You'll Go 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Seuss on Saturday #48 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
19. Tallulah's Nutcracker

Tallulah's Nutcracker. Marilyn Singer. Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages.

First sentence: There was only one Christmas present that Tallulah really wanted. When the phone rang, she was sure her wish had come true--and she was right. 

Premise/plot: Tallulah is super-excited that she will be a mouse in a production of the Nutcracker. She finds out how much work it takes to be involved in the Nutcracker. Will opening night be as wonderful and as thrilling as she hopes?

My thoughts: I love the Nutcracker. And I love Tallulah. So I had high hopes for this one! I definitely enjoyed it. If I liked it a little less than the previous books in the series it might be because there isn't as much of Beckett in it. But still, overall, I would recommend it to anyone who loves happy ballet stories for children.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Tallulah's Nutcracker as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. Tallulah's Toe Shoes

Tallulah's Toe Shoes. Marilyn Singer. Alexandra Boiger. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:  Tallulah could stand like a ballerina. Tallulah could move like a ballerina, too. But Tallulah knew she'd never be a ballerina until she got a pair of pink satin toe shoes.

Premise/plot: Little Tallulah is wanting to grow up a little too fast in this one. She really, really wants to be a 'grown up' ballerina now. She wants toe shoes of her own. Is she ready for toe shoes? Not really. This is a lesson she learns best on her own. And she'll get that chance when she finds a pair of discarded toe shoes in the trash!

My thoughts: Still enjoying the series very much.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Tallulah's Toe Shoes as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
21. Tallulah's Tap Shoes

Tallulah's Tap Shoes. Mairlyn Singer. Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Tallulah was excited about going to dance camp. She would get to take ballet every day. There was just one problem--she would also have to take tap and she was NOT looking forward to THAT.

Premise/plot: Tallulah is a little too used to being 'the best' at ballet to feel comfortable trying a new type of dance. She wants to either be the best at tap right away, or, not take it at all. To her way of thinking, if she can't be the best and be recognized as being 'the best' then it's not worth her time or effort. But is being the best what summer dance camp is all about?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I liked seeing Tallulah make a new friend. It was a very pleasing story. Even if Beckett was only in the last few pages.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Tallulah's Tap Shoes as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
22. The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows. Kenneth Grahame. Illustrated by David Roberts. 1907/1983. Simon & Schuster. 244 pages. [Source: Library]
I loved, loved, loved rereading The Wind in the Willows. I wasn't exactly planning on rereading it this year. I wasn't. But. I was looking for a good audio book to check out from the library. I saw Wind in the Willows on the shelf; I checked it out. I listened to it. That could have been the end of it. But, of course, it wasn't. I had to read it too. I just had to. I could no more resist rereading the book than Toad could resist driving an automobile.

What do I love about the book? Well, many things. I love the characters. I love, love, love the relationships between the characters. And the adventures!!! Plenty happens in this one! Does Toad deserve all that he gets? Maybe, maybe not. But Toad is, without a doubt, unforgettable!!!

The edition I read had illustrations from Ernest H. Shepard. The illustrations were great: some were in color, others were in black and white. They made a great book seem even greater.

Would I be hosting the Edwardian Reading Challenge if it wasn't for me "having" to read The Wind in the Willows right NOW? I'm not sure. But I'm so glad I followed my heart!!!

My favorite quote:
"What are we to do with him?" asked the Mole of the Water Rat.
"Nothing at all," replied the Rat firmly. "Because there is really nothing to be done. You see, I know him from old. He is now possessed. He has got a new craze, and it always takes him that way, in its first stage. He'll continue like that for days now, like an animal walking in a happy dream, quite useless for all practical purposes. Never mind him."

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on The Wind in the Willows as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Complete Tales

Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter. 1986/2006. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

Would I recommend reading The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter? Yes, for the most part. Even if I didn't love, love, love each and every story within the collection, I would definitely say that the book is worth having--whether you buy it or borrow it from the library. I love it's completeness. I love that it isn't just a selection of her best-known or best-loved stories. I loved that the book presents her stories in the order of publication. I also love that each story is introduced to readers. Not that this background information would be something you'd need to share with children, but, for adults it's fascinating to learn more about the writing process and the author's personal life.

The book includes:
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
  • The Tailor of Gloucester
  • The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
  • The Tale of Two Bad Mice
  • The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
  • The Tale of The Pie and The Patty Pan
  • The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
  • The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit
  • The Story of Miss Moppet
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
  • The Tale of Samuel Whiskers
  • The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies
  • The Tale of Ginger and Pickles
  • The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
  • The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes
  • The Tale of Mr. Tod
  • The Tale of Pigling Bland
  • Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes
  • The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
  • Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes
  • The Tale of Little Pig Robinson

The book also features her "other works." These are "Three Little Mice," "The Sly Old Cat," "The Fox and the Stork," and "The Rabbit's Christmas Party." Some of these are works-in-progress. She'd done the illustrations, or drafts of illustrations, but never completed the text.

The book, I think, definitely celebrates her life as a writer, it celebrates the writing and publishing process--the journey. It was great to have such a thorough collection. I did "discover" new-to-me Potter stories that I'd not read before.

My top ten

1) The Tailor of Gloucester
2) The Tale of Peter Rabbit
3) The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
4) The Tale of Two Bad Mice
5) The Story of Miss Moppet
6) The Tale of Little Pig Robinson
7) The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
8) The Tale of Tom Kitten
9) The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
10) The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse

Do you have a favorite story by Beatrix Potter?! I'd love to know what it is!
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Complete Tales as of 12/2/2015 12:01:00 PM
Add a Comment
24. There's No Such Thing As Little

There's No Such Thing As Little. LeUyen Pham. 2015. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Everyone says I'm little. I really don't agree. If only they could see what I see when I look at me. There's no such thing as LITTLE.

Premise/plot: A "little" boy and a "little" girl show that there's no such thing as little. The text is simple. The text abounds in questions and surprising answers. For example, "A little snowflake?" "No, a unique snowflake." Or my favorite, "A little idea?" "No, a fantastic idea." The questions all appear on pages with a lot of white space or blank space. And the answers all appear on pages that are bright, bold, beautiful, and FULL. To me these pages speak of joy and life showing indeed that there is no such thing as little.

My thoughts: I like this one. I don't love, love, love it perhaps. But I do like it. I think visually it works well. I love the illustrations, I do. And I love the premise. It's a unique book, and an interesting one. I'm very glad I read it.

I could definitely see this one being a great choice for anyone wanting to try the "whole book approach" to reading picture books WITH children. (Megan Dowd Lambert writes of the whole book approach).

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on There's No Such Thing As Little as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
25. Can't You Make Them Behave, King George

Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? Jean Fritz. Illustrated by Tomie dePaola. 1977/1996. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

I am so glad I read Jean Fritz's Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? I found this one to be a delight. And not just because I happen to love Horrible Histories' Born 2 Rule. (I should probably make that love, love, love, LOVE. I love Horrible Histories, the show in general, and the songs very, very much.) I've almost always enjoyed studying British literature and British history more than American. Though in the case of this book, you get a bit of both!

Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? is about the reign of George III. How he came to the throne, what kind of king he was, what he was remembered for, etc. A lot of the focus is on the conflict, the war, with the American colonies. But it isn't just about the American Revolution either. Plenty of attention is placed on the royal family which I loved.

This biography is definitely for mid-to-upper elementary students. A good read aloud for first grade it isn't! There is a lot of text per page, but, there are also plenty of illustrations. And the illustrations are by Tomie dePaola. Some are in color, others are in black and white. But the important thing is that there are illustrations. I've mentioned it before, but, it's worth repeating. When I had to choose a nonfiction book for report, required reading, I decided which book based on the length and the number of illustrations. This one would have been well received by me!

I read a reprint edition that came out circa 2009. It was originally published in 1977.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Can't You Make Them Behave, King George as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts