Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Pink Is for Blobfish: Discovering the World's Perfectly Pink Animals

Pink Is for Blobfish: Discovering the World's Perfectly Pink Animals Pink Is for Blobfish: Discovering the World's Perfectly Pink Animals by Jess Keating
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very enjoyable light science book. The pictures of all of the pink animals are very engaging. It is a bit discouraging that so many of the animals are struggling with environmental challenges, but I am glad it is pointed out and not glossed over.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I were still teaching, I would add this to my collection of picture books for older students. It is a good introduction to the scientific method, as well as a very interesting introduction to how science was done years ago. An enjoyable and interesting read.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Julia Eccleshare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This isn't a book you actually read cover to cover; it is a reference book. That said, I have enjoyed looking through it and I am pleased that I have actually read a good portion of the books listed. Yes, there are some books that I would have love to have had included that aren't and some books I wouldn't have listed that are, but it is a good resource. I especially enjoy reading the books for the older children, so now I have an even longer To Be Read list.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: Restart

Restart Restart by Gordon Korman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I wasn't completely convinced about the MC's amnesia, the book is still interesting and worth reading. The thing that I most question is whether someone's personality could change like that, but if you accept that premise, the rest of the book makes good reading.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Review: Train I Ride

Train I Ride Train I Ride by Paul Mosier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some reason, the tone and the arc of this book remind me a lot of Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. It is a touching, sometimes painful, sometimes resigned book. You sort of know what has happened and is going to happen, but the journey is worthwhile, anyway.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: The Cat Ate My Gymsuit

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is actually a.re-read, too. I read it many, many years ago. It belongs to a group of books that I think of as realistic fiction / learning to deal with the world.

One of the things that was of particular interest to me in this re-read is the attitude toward the issues of the day. I took a college class that was big on talking about and doing the types of things the students did in "Smedley". This seems to be very out-of-date now. The issue about saying the pledge has been resolved in many cases (though certainly not all). It is interesting to see the focus on dress.

Two things are of particular interest. The attitude of the father - a sort of don't rock the boat - and his way of treating his wife and children seemed very negative to me. I wonder if books like this would even appear in the current culture. The father is a bully. And his wife and children suffer from it. Though there is a hint that the father will back off a bit towards the end of the book, it is an uneasy resolution - perhaps a foreshadowing of the rise (again) of feminism.

The other thing that is of particular interest to me is the attitude of everyone about the MC weight problem. I have a weight problem, so this particularly needles me. In this book, the mother does some of the same things that annoy me so in people who try to "help" me lose weight. Offering to buy new clothes. Smiling or extending approval when you pass up a dessert. Telling you that people don't care about your weight. These, and other things, were not helpful for me. It made me feel like others felt they owned my problem. That they felt that weight was something I needed help with. They felt that it was their right to give suggestions about how to deal with it. Weight, before shyness, before reaction to being bullied, before normal problems of growing up (dating). Weight tied into everything.

Positives: I liked seeing the kids deal with their situations. I liked the obvious emotional volatility of that age of children.

All in all: a bit dated, but still interesting.

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Review: Surviving the Applewhites

Surviving the Applewhites Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have just re-read this book. I was looking for another story to base a musical on, and this is not it, but I did find that I enjoyed the book again. It is a bit wacky and over the top, but it is good hearted and speaks to my interest in stories where kids find their way through some adolescent confusion to discover more about themselves.

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