Monday, March 2, 2015

Life happens


holespoles:

林明子(Akiko Hayashi)



We had no water for 11 days.  Heat?  Check!  Power?  Good!  Water?  No, sorry.  We spent a lot of time filling up jugs and dragging them home, visiting relatives just to use their showers and washing machines, and melting snow.  Yes, I even resorted to melting snow for flushing toilets.

Since we are doing a lot of babysitting at the same time, I am not reading much - except for awesome picture books like Aki and the Fox by Akiko Hayashi.  Kon the Fox gets into a lot of trouble on the train ride to visit Grandma .  I have always wanted a sequel to this book.  I found the second illustration on klappersacks.tumblr.com

AND 10 Minutes to Bedtime by Peggy Rathman.  The little hamster kicking his soccer ball makes my favorite listener giggle every time.

10 minutes till bedtime

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Treehouse series

This is NOT Mary Pope Osborne's Treehouse.  You will see what I mean when you visit this site.
This series is so BOY that I - not being a BOY - had trouble reading the first book.  Andy and Terry started with a 13-story treehouse.  Then they added 13 more stories in the second book, The 26-Story Treehouse.  Can you guess the title of the forthcoming book?*

This treehouse does not have magic time-traveling powers.  It DOES have the scariest roller coaster in the world and a baby dinosaur petting zoo, 2 or more swimming pools, and an anti-gravity chamber.  Among other things.

Check them out.  Click here.

* Here's a hint:

Friday, February 13, 2015

BoB Battle Plan










It distresses me that the books I have read already in this year's SLJ's Battle of the Kids' Books are toward the end of the battle.  No fair!  I DID read Brown Girl Dreaming.  But not another title until The Madman of Piney Woods in Round 5.  And then, I skip to Round 8, where I read both titles, We Were Liars  and  West of the Moon. I had better start reading aggressively.  There are trips to my local libraries and bookstores in my future.BattlePlans2015_SLJcom

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mister Max!


 The Book of Secrets (Mister Max Series #2)

I told my mother - age, 80 plus - about all the books I read while away and she asked, "Have you read any more books about that boy who starts a detective business?"  Um?  I honestly could not remember the series she was referring to.  It had to be a book I lent to her but...

Then she added, "His parents were in the theater.  And he called himself something like a solver."

Bing!  YES!  Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt.  And, no, I had not read the second book in the series.  But, now I have!!!  I am so lucky my mother has a good memory.

Mister Max : The Book of Secrets  continues the story of Max Starling, or Mister Max, Solutioneer.  The problems Max must solve range from a schoolboy's concerns about the boy's father, to the mayor's problems with arson in the Old City.  There is a possible romance, a coded letter from Max's missing parents, and some spatting with his self-proclaimed assistant, Pia Bendiff. 

Max's grandmother has some secrets of her own that Max has to unravel as well. 

Voigt travels into dangerous territory here, as in, Max finds himself in peril, tied up and blindfolded.  And, the coded letter makes his parents' plight all too real.  Max and his grandmother have to do something to bring Max's parents home.

Max is an astonishingly perspicacious 12-year-old.  He is able to phrase questions and offer solutions in the most convincing and subtle ways.  When it comes to his personal life and the people closest to him, he does not see things that clearly.  Whew!  I was afraid he was going to be a super-teen.  I enjoy his stubborn streak and I want to shake him all at the same time. His insistence on being independent, even though he found the money his father hid in their house, is a little maddening. He's lucky his grandmother is so understanding!

 I think I will pre-order Mister Max : The Book of Kings so my mother doesn't have to remind me of the books I want to read.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

I loved Rundell's book, Rooftoppers. Cartwheeling has a much different setting.   Rooftoppers began and ended with the scent of magic realism.  Cartwheeling, on the other hand, hints at an all too concrete tragedy even while the heroine is enjoying her wonderful life.

The villainess in this book is smarmy and manipulative. (Do those two words mean the same thing?)  So, I skipped a few pages and got into the meat of the story.  Wilhelmina Silver has been a wild girl on the farm her father manages in Zimbabwe.  She rides, runs and fights as well as the boys, if not better.  Her life is one long adventure.  And everyone loves her - her father, Captain Browne who owns the farm, all the workers and their families and especially her best friend, Simon.

Then disaster strikes in the form of a new, pretty wife for Captain Browne.  In a trice, Will is orphaned - (these are the pages I skipped so I can only guess that Mrs. Browne did not do her best to nurse Will's father back to health) - and shipped off to Boarding School in England.

Much catty bullying and impotent glaring and despair follow and then Will runs off into a brand new wilderness, London. 



One of the best things about this book is the balance in the characters.  The bullies end up having good points - well, ok, reluctant remorse.  The teachers are not all bad.  And the boy who befriends Will has his limitations.  People are people - spotty and real.

Yep.  The ending is quite satisfying.  Rundell's writing does not disappoint.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Storytelling

Skip over to the Storytelling Page for news of our Winter events!!!

BoB

I went away.  Internet was expensive and spotty.   I am back.

So, it seems, is Battle of the Kids Books.   Here are this year's contenders.  I have only read FOUR of them.  Oh MY!  I must get some eye drops and those clips that keep your eyes open and hire a house minder so that I can read, read, read.

What I Read While I Was Away:

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson - best book of the batch!
Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones - so good, sigh!
The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud - can NOT wait for the next book in this outstandingly fun and creepy series

Three adult mysteries - one set in Singapore (Aunty Lee's Delights), another featuring crossword puzzles (The Crossworder's Delight) and a short story starring Hercule Poirot.  All a lot of fun.

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel - surprisingly good and suspenseful

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp - galloping adventure

I started The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett.  Not quite done with it yet.  Considering that the first version was written - and published - when Sir Terry was 17, it's pretty darn good.  I am, I confess, a Pratchett fan.

Still in pjs - retirement is awesome! - now I must get moving or the day will be done before I know it.