Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book 342: That Woman -- The Life of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor

That Woman:  The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, by Anne Sebba, St. Martin's Press, 2011.

I bought this book at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago.  It's going back.

Usually, I finish a book in a night or two, even biographies. This book took me five nights. I'm not questioning my reading skills. 

The information about her pre-marriage years was new to me, the rest of the story I pretty much knew. The long lens of history is perhaps more sympathetic than the earlier accounts that were written at the time, or soon after, the events in question occurred. Even with the more sympathetic view, I'm pretty sure I would not have liked Wallis, but I might have admired her a bit. In retrospect, I think, by now, most Britons agree that Edward would have made a weak king. Wallis may have ruined the man, but the man as king would have ruined the nation. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book 341: Madeline

Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans, 1939.

Recently, I read Madeline's Rescue to my five-year-old son.  The story was fine, and the artwork was great, but it did make me nostalgic for the original Madeline.

Madeline takes place in another place and another time:  Paris in the early twentieth century, when you were allowed a few weeks in the hospital to recover from an appendectomy.  It may feel slightly foreign and dated to today's young readers, but, somehow, that just adds to its appeal.  And the artwork, of course, is great.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book 340: The Boat in the Tree

The Boat in the Tree, by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrated by John Shelley, Front Street Books, 2007.

I found this book in a thrift store the other day, and it looked intriguing, so I picked it up.

The story is surprisingly sweet, and told rather well.  An only child becomes an older brother pretty much overnight when another child is adopted into the family.  There is an adjustment period.

But it was the illustrations that made me buy this book, and it is the because of the illustrations that I love this book.  The illustrations are so deftly-drawn and so imaginative, that it is like having a daydream brought to life.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book 339: Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Two and Twenty Dark Tales, anthology of various writers, Month9Books, 2012.

I originally bought this book because two of my Facebook friends were contributors. I liked both of their stories. 

Some of the stories are stronger and better edited than others, but other stories were dark, certainly, but also heartbreakingly beautiful. Overall, the collection was very well done.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book 338: Sidewalk Circus

Sidewalk Circus, written by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Steven Hawkes, Candlewick, 2004.

My five-year-old son checked this book out from the library back in March or April. He hid it away so that I couldn't return it until the final week. I'd say he liked it. A lot.  So much, in fact, that he wouldn't stop talking about it.  So, now, in July, I bought him his own copy. 

I'm not a big fan of circuses or wordless picture books, but I am a big fan of shadow play and imagination. The shadow play and imagination won me over. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book 337: Abe Lincoln -- The Boy Who Loved Books

Abe Lincoln:  The Boy Who Loved Books, written by Kay Winters, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, Simon and Schuster, 2003.

I didn't actually buy this book; my five-year-old son picked this book out upon his completion of the Summer Reading Program at our local library.  I couldn't be prouder of my son for completing the reading challenger, or for his choice of a book.

I have adored Abraham Lincoln since I first studied Law.  This book only reinforces my love.

This book provides an excellent introduction to Lincoln for the younger set -- the elementary set.  Lincoln's biographical story is deftly told in verse.  The verse is accompanied by lovely, poignant illustrations.  The two-page spread of winter scene and the cross nearly broke my heart.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book 336: Little Critter, Where's My Sneaker?

Little Critter, Where's My Sneaker? by Mercer Mayer, Sterling Children's Books, 2010.

There is so much "win" about this book.

I bought this book from the Kohl's Cares campaign, so I got a fabulous hardbound book by Mercer Mayer for $5, and I was buying for a good cause, and my five-year-old son not only loses things, like his shoes, but also loves Mercer Mayer.

At the time I bought this book, I didn't realize it was a lift-the-flap book -- that means more Mercer Mayer art and more "win".

The story itself, of course, is adorable and completely relatable to preschoolers and early elementary school students.  The illustrations, of course, are even more adorable and relatable and I love, love, love the frog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book 335: My Pet Book

My Pet Book, by Bob Staake, Random House, 2014.

I have a little boy who loves books.  He takes books with him everywhere we go:  In the car; to church; out to dinner; to my parents' house, etc.  There are stacks of his books in every room of our house.    He loves books almost as much as he loves his cat, Molly Kitten.  And books, unlike Molly Kitten, have never destroyed a single doorframe.

It is easy to see how a child who loves books would love THIS book which is a silly and sweet love-letter to books.  But beyond that, I think this delightful red book could be the perfect hook for preschoolers and early elementary students who have not yet discovered the magic that books can contain.

The text is silly.  And catchy.  And so much fun to read out loud.  But it is the phenomenal artwork that makes this book so enchanting.  On one two-page spread, there is a dog drinking out of a toilet bowl; on the next, there is a dragon and a rocket and a purple octopus.  What more could any kid want?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book 334: Bubble Bath Pirates

Bubble Bath Pirates, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Viking, 2003.

I had forgotten about this book until I bought a copy for my five-year-old. NOW I remember it. We used this book at least once a year for story times at the library, and I remember the moms (not so much the dads) glaring at me when the kids had ice cream after their baths.

The reason we used it so often is because the book was fun to read out loud to a group of twenty or thirty preschoolers. It still is fun to read out loud to much-loved audience of one. And, now I'm the mom, so I get to tell my son that he needs to eat ice cream BEFORE his bath. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book 333: Wodehouse on Crime

Wodehouse on Crime, by P.G. Wodehouse, Dorset Press, 1981.

This is a delightfully fun read.  If you are a fan of Wodehouse, you will love this collection.  If you are new to Wodehouse's writing, this is a jolly good introduction.

Like many Wodehouse fans, I adore Wooster and Jeeves stories, so there weren't nearly enough in there for me.  I'll just have to track down my other Wodehouse books now.