Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book 313: Richard Scarry's Best Little Word Book Ever!

Best Little Word Book Ever!, by Richard Scarry, Little Golden Books, 1992.

Richard Scarry plus Little Golden Books equals about as good as it gets.  I don't know if Richard Scarry invented cross-section, cut-away illustrations, but he certainly perfected them.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book 312: Cavalier, A Tale of Chilvalry, Passion and Great Houses

Cavalier:  A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses, by Lucy Worsley, Bloomsbury, 2007.

It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book -- fifteen pages of the journey of a chamber pot didn't help -- but once I did get into the book, it was an interesting read.

Cavalier tells the story of the William Cavendish during an incredibly unsettling time of English history.  His life spanned Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, King Charles I, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, and King Charles II; in other words, from Reformation to Civil War to Restoration.  Cavalier picks out eight separate days in the life of William Cavendish and tells what happens with the the Cavendish household and the country and world at large during those eight days.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book 311: My First Book of the Planets

My First Book of the Planets, by Elizabeth Winthrop and illustrated by John Nez, Little Golden Books, 1985.

There is something so optimistic about a space book written in the mid-1980s.  Back then, the space shuttle was just beginning to fly, the space station was in the planning stages, and Pluto was still a planet.  We couldn't foresee a time when we wouldn't have a manned vehicle that could travel into space.  My husband had just started working with the space program and a few years later would move to the Space Coast of Florida.

Fast-forward 29 years, and not only am I out of high school, but everything about the space program has changed.  The last launch of the space shuttle was three years ago, and, no matter what Space-X tries to tell you, there is no vehicle in the works that can replace the shuttle.

The text and illustrations of this Little Golden Book capture the optimism of the mid-1980s perfectly.  The nostalgia makes me smile.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book 310: Home for a Bunny

Home for a Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams, Little Golden Book, 1956.

Such a sweet, beautiful book about Spring.  It is impossible to go wrong with a LIttle Golden Book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams.

The writing, as much of Margaret Wise Brown's writing, is poetic without being sing-song rhyme-y.  The story is very sweet; Bunny finds more than just a home.

The illustrations are Garth Williams-perfect, which since I grew up with his illustrations in the "Little House" books, is wonderfully familiar to me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book 310: The Bunny Book

The Bunny Book, written by Patricia Scarry, illustrated by Richard Scarry, Little Golden Books.

My five-year-old son spotted this book in a World Market last month.  I bought it, and I've hidden it away until Easter.

The text in this book does little more than explain the illustrations, but that's just fine.  This book is all about the adorable, wonderful illustrations.  Except for that clown rabbit.  I could easily live without a clown rabbit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book 309: The Big Storm

The Big Storm, by Nancy Tafuri, Simon & Schuster, 2009.

My five-year-old son has checked this book out from our local library at least three times, and would have checked it out more often if I would let him.  Instead, I bought him his own copy for Easter.

If I were still a children's librarian, I would create a flannel board from this book, and use it at least once a year.

My son had fun counting up to ten.  He laughed at the 2 that followed the 10, and got into the spirit of the countdown.

The illustrations, as Tafuri's illustrations always are, were perfect.  Her animals are accurate enough to be easily recognized and distinguished, and sweet enough that you want to run your hands over the exquisitely-rendered fur.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book 308: Beethoven in Paradise

Beethoven in Paradise, by Barbara O'Connor, Frances Foster Books, 1997.

I didn't actually buy this book.  Instead, I bartered with the author for a signed copy.  I think that still counts as a book I would "buy".

I've been following Barbara O'Connor's writing since Fame And Glory in Freedom, Georgia.  I think I've read everything that she's written since Fame And Glory, but I haven't read everything she's written before it.  Beethoven in Paradise is her first novel.

One of the things I've always liked about O'Connor's writing is her quirky, well-developed characters.  I've wondered if her characters were always quirky or if she developed that as her writing style.  This book answered that question:  Her characters were quirky right from the start.  As in the other books she's written, the setting is as much of a character and an influence as the people.

Again, as in other books, I love how she resisted the urge to tie up the story in a tidy, happy bow.  The story ends on a positive note, but not all the problems have been solved.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book 307: The Happy Man and His Dump Truck

The Happy Man and His Dump Truck, Miryam, illustrated by Tibor Gergely, Little Golden Book, 1950.

I'm an adult but not a grown-up:  The title makes me giggle.

Aside from that, this book is a cute little non-story.  I didn't buy this book for the text, and I doubt if anyone else does.  I bought this book for Tibor Gergely's fabulous illustrations.

The illustrations completely make this book.  They are filled with wit and humor, and are downright wonderful.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book 306: Not That Kind of Girl

Not That Kind of Girl, by Catherine Alliott, Headline Book Publishing, 2005.

I found this book in a thrift store recently and I thought it would be a fun read. And it was. And that's about all. 

I didn't really "click" with any of the characters, except maybe Benji, the protagonist's gay brother, and Francis, his lover. They were stereotypically sweet and fussy, but at least they were engaging. The rest of the cast felt enough over the top to be more like caricatures instead of characters. 

Also, her math kept driving me crazy. The protagonist kept referring to a fifteen year gap between being jilted and the present. But she waited a year before marrying, and had been married fifteen years. Also the son, who is fifteen, was born a year after the marriage. So the gap should have been sixteen to seventeen years. For the most part this disparity was just annoying, but there is a crucial part of the stories that refers to fourteen years as being shortly after the "jilting". 

It's cracks like that that make this a fun, but not altogether satisfying, read. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book 305: Richard Scarry's Good Night, Little Bear

Good Night, Little Bear, by Patricia Scarry and Richard Scarry, Little Golden Books, originally published in 1961.  Toddlers and Preschoolers.

My five-year-old son spotted this Little Golden Book in a rack during a recent trip to World Market.  He loves the Sendak Little Bear and Little Golden Books.  This book seemed like a good choice for him.

The story is cute, but it is the artwork by Richard Scarry that carries this book.  The setting is reminiscent of Sendak's illustrations in the Little Bear book, and the Sendak-based drawings for the LIttle Bear series.

All in all, it is a great bedtime story for kids who still have bedtime stories read to them.