Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book 488: The Story of Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson, Viking, 1936.

Some books are truly timeless -- this is one of them.  I loved Ferdinand when I was a child (and still as an adult), and my son loved Ferdinand tonight when we read it together.  Maybe because we would love to sit under a favorite tree and smell the flowers.

The artwork is anything but simple, even though the drawing are only black and white.  The illustrations are complex, and rich, and animated, and, in short, as perfect and timeless as the text.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book 487: Pout Pout Fish Goes to School

Pout Pout Fish Goes to School, by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.

This book is definitely nowhere as good as the first Pout Pout fish, but it still has some good qualities.  The message of perseverance and not giving up is always appropriate, especially for children who are struggling in school at times.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book 486: Six by Seuss

Six by Seuss, Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1991.

One Dr. Seuss story in a book is good; Six (eight if you count the separate fables) in one book are even better.  The only way to top a Dr. Seuss story is with another Dr. Seuss story (or five).


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book 485: Octopuppy

Octopuppy, by Martin McKenna, Scholastic, 2015.

If this book hadn't have been on my son's teacher's wish list, I would not have picked it up. I was afraid it would be too gimicky. But it was on my son's teacher's wish list, and I did pick it up. And read it. And fell in love with story. And fell even more in love with the illustrations. So I bought it. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book 484: Pierrot's ABC Garden

Pierrot's ABC Garden, Anita Lobel, Little Golden Books, 1992.

I bought this book because it was a "vintage" Little Golden Book.  It was, however, from the LGB dark ages, and, therefore not one of the better offerings.

I was really liking this book until I reached the letter "U".  I usually forgive lame entries for the letter "X", but it really isn't that hard to find fruits or vegetables (or plants) for the letters U, V, W, Y -- OK, maybe Z is hard, too.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Book 483: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1957.

I can't believe I haven't written about this book before -- I even have Grinch Chucks!  And when I finally do, it would be in September, but there you go.  Maybe it's because I want to start wearing my Grinch Chucks in September.

I'm pretty sure there is nothing I can say about this book that hasn't already been said many times, so I will just tell you my favorite part:  Max the dog.  Even when the Grinch was at his Grinchiest, there was Max, faithful and true.  If the Grinch had just been paying the slightest bit of attention, he would have learned early on what love looked like.  Eventually the Grinch did learn, and there was Max, still faithful and true.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book 482: The Big Brag

The Big Brag, by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1998.

I did love this little Dr. Seuss fable.  The moral is clear, the story is funny, and the illustrations are perfection.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book 481: The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan, Hyperion, 2012.

I didn't expect too much from this book because the second book in the series had a story told in fits and starts, but this book was exciting from cover to cover.  It was a brilliant set up for the fourth book.