Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book 495: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly!  by Lucille Colandro, illustrated by Jared Lee, Cartwheel Books, 2014.

This book is probably my favorite version of that ridiculous children's song that everyone knows and loves.  Why?  The illustrations are hilarious, and everyone lives!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Book 494: No Roses For Harry

No Roses For Harry, written by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, HarpersCollins, 1976.

I remember reading this book to my younger sister and being amused by it, although I was far too cool to show my amusement.  Now I can laugh openly because I'm a mom.

Harry is an adorable white dog with black spots.  Grandma made him a green sweater with pink roses on it for his birthday.  Silly Grandma.  Kudos, though, to Grandma for not getting upset when she saw what Harry did with his sweater, and even more Kudos to Grandma for giving Harry exactly the right present for Christmas.

Book 493: Dracula

Dracula, by Bram Stoker (with illustrations by Edward Gorey), text originally published in 1897, illustrations in 1979.

My edition of Dracula is decorated with illustrations by Edward Gorey, which is exactly why I bought that particular edition.  The illustrations came from Dracula's Toy Theatre.

I remember not being able to finish this book the first time I tried to read it -- I was that caught up in it and terrified.  Finally, I read it completely some time in my 20s, before the painful Gary Oldham movie version was released.  And now, about twenty years later, I've re-read it. Bram Stoker wasn't a brilliant wordsmith, but he knew how to tell an incredibly dramatic, suspenseful, and rather ghastly tale.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book 492: I Can Fly

I Can Fly, written by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Mary Blair, Golden Book 1951.

An entire college course, if not curriculum, could be taught using Mary Blair's illustrative style. Her artwork is sheer perfection.

I had this book when I was very young -- maybe four or five -- and I didn't remember the text entirely, but I never forgot the illustrations.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book 491: Harry, the Dirty Dog

Harry, the Dirty Dog, written by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, originally published in 1956.

This book was every bit as charming tonight when I read it to my son as it was when I first read it myself about forty years ago -- the very definition of a timeless classic.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book 490: Born in the Wild

Born in the Wild, by Lita Judge, Roaring Brook Press, 2014.

This picture book is pretty darn near perfect.  It was on my son's teacher's wish list, so I bought it, and I am so glad that I did.  It's a pretty simple book:  mother animals love their baby animals, and a few facts about the mammals in question.

The illustrations, however, ARE perfect.  The cover is eye-catching, and the internal illustrations are just as good.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book 489: The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett, 1930.

The Maltese Falcon is a very good movie.  It is beautifully directed, and the cast is perfect.  But there are subtleties in Hammett's writing that are missing in that movie.  Those subtleties, of course, are what makes the book so much better than the movie.

Hammett has an ear for characters -- all of his gangster-types sound very different, but in a way that is consistent with what we are told about them.  That ear generally marks an excellent writer.