Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book 536: Bellman & Black

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

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

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Book 535: Ready Player One

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

Are thorough editors a thing of the past?

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

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

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


Monday, July 4, 2016

Book 534: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book 533: Beachy and Me

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

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

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

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





Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book 532: The Story of Diva and Flea

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

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

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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Book 531: The Trojan Horse, How the Greeks Won the War

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


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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book 530: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

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

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