29 April 2010
Nasreen's Secret School
children's nonfiction ages 3-6
Nasreen's parents are taken from her home as political prisoners, or maybe they are killed. Nasreen and her grandmother do not know. School has also been banned for girls in her town in Afghanistan. Nasreen falls silent and has nothing to do. One day her grandmother learns about a clandestine school and enrolls Nasreen. Nasreen, through fellowship with other girls, the teacher's caring, and through learning to read, slowly starts to recover from her shocking experience. There is still hope that she might have a bright future.
The story ends like that. Then end was satisfying enough for me as an adult, but my child listeners wanted to know what happened to the parents and what did Nasreen do when she grew up and many other unanswered questions. I had to tell my audience that I didn't know. Maybe some day the real Nasreen will be able to tell her own story freely and openly.
26 April 2010
Doggies: A Counting and Barking Book
Read this to your little one if you are prepared to act silly and get a big grin from the youngster.
What is the sound of one dog? Now how about 10!
This is simple and goofy and a good review of the numbers 1-10 with Sandra Boynton doing what she does best - fitting simple text to her comic book style animals.
Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire
Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser
children's fiction, ages 3-8 (mostly for girls)
I have read a number of Fancy Nancy books so far, and this was my least favorite. Nancy is headed outdoors with her friend to study nature. Nancy is known for doing everything the elaborate, dressy way. The author attempts to show that girls can be girly (sugar and spice) and gardeners. Somehow this book doesn't work for me, however. The author threw in too much trivia and was too pedantic. I think that Nancy having girly adventures shouldn't be bog down with "here is how to identify leaves" and "spiders aren't icky", etc.
I guess she wrote this book because the author likes gardening and nature study, but I just don't buy that Nancy would do some of the things described in this book.
Let Them Eat Cake
Adult Christian Fiction
Alexandra (Lexi) is out of college and still trying to find her way in life. She is a Christian, but doesn't know what to do with God. Is he still out there? Is he directing her life? A little direction would help, God!
She tries a few jobs, but none seem like the right thing for her. She dates some, but doesn't want to give her heart to the wrong man. She is looking for an apartment, but that isn't working out so well, either.
Like many people of her age (mid twenties) she is drifting. Things start to look up when she takes a low paying job in a French bakery. As a French culture studies major she has always wanted to go to France, but the closest she got was French Canada. Could this bakery job be the break for which she has been waiting? Her boss is a very cute French guy, too. Might he be the one?
I found that I could completely relate to Lexi's situation - been there, done that!
The note on the back of the book says that she is know for writing teen fiction. It looks like her characters have grown up with her readers.
This is a light, pleasant read and better than many others on the Christian Fiction shelf next to it. Even if the reader has left her twenties behind her, it is still good to be reminded that we don't all know where we are going - we just need to keep on relying on God. I won't tell you the ending, but I was proud of the author for not going for the standard, predictable ending.
This book can be read by men, but it is intended for a female audience.
Now that I look at the cover, I see that this is by WaterBrook Press - one of my three favorite publishers (Tor and Daw are the others).
23 April 2010
What Joe Saw
Anna Grossnickle Hines
Joe keeps lagging behind on his class field trip to the park. The others tease him for being a slow poke, but because Joe is observant and quiet he sees more plants and animals than the others. I can identify with Joe because as a child I used to be the same way. To quote a line from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood - "I like to take my time".
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
I Like To Take My Time
© 1971 Fred Rogers
I like to take my time
I mean that when I want to do a thing
I like to take my time to do it right!
I mean I might just make mistakes
If I should have to hurry up and
So I like to take my time
To tie my shoes, to eat, to get dressed,
To go to sleep at night to sing a song for you
And every thing I do.
I like to take my time
I mean that when I want to do a thing
I like to take my time to do it right.
I mean I might just make mistakes if
I should have to hurry up and
So I like to take my time.
Fancy Nancy Bonjour Butterfly
Nancy wants to go to her friend's birthday party, but her grandparents' wedding anniversary is the same day. Nancy helps Bree prepare for the party, but is sad about missing it. Nancy ends up enjoying the anniversary party and gets to see a butterfly garden, too. Ooh, la, la!
This is another colorful adventure for Nancy, the little girl who loves to dress up and use big (preferably French) words.
Promise to Believe In
Adult Christian Fiction
The Gallatin girls (young women) are on their own in frontier Montana. Their mother died in childbirth when they were little. Their father, although not a participant, has been accidentally shot during the town's wild night of partying. A stranger rides into town one day causing trouble for the ladies - as if they don't have enough trouble trying to run a stagecoach stop/bed and breakfast without a man's protection. That is to say nothing of the saloon owner who has now brought prostitutes to the town!
Since the series is called "Brides of Gallatin County" we can guess that at least one of the three ladies will have a love interest and get married in the end. Since it is Christian fiction at least one character will come to Christ or come back to Christ. Yes. This is what happens.
The story is somewhat predictable but pleasant and clean. The author does not tie up all the loose ends - leaving room for two more books in the series (and two more weddings) - but the end is satisfactory.
I am not sure why the series is "Gallatin County". I suppose eventually the county will be named for the family, but it is not addressed in this book.
I would recommend this for gentle readers looking for a quick read.
15 April 2010
Postmistress: A Novel
adult historical fiction
I was a bit reluctant to pick up yet another romance/chick lit book set during WWII or the Civil War. I think these stories are overdone and I would rather explore a different time period. How about the Korean War? Crimean War? Spanish Civil War? War of 1812? Texas Independence? Give me something original!
That being said, this was a perfectly fine novel that follows three ladies - a gung ho American reporter that goes to London to cover the news, a doctor's wife who is left wondering about her husband working in London, and the postmistress at home in Massachusetts. They are all looking for order and sense in this seemingly senseless war. The reporter is trying to figure out what the Nazis plans for the Jews are.
I recommend this for the wide audience of 18-100 year old lady readers, but I wish she had chosen a less-explored time period. Maybe her next book will be more original.
Kudos to the author for letting her postmistress be a postmistress instead of dumbing down our language to make all females exactly the same as males. I think postmistress and aviatrix and executrix and actress are perfectly fine words that do not need to be abandoned.
- A word from the Library MISTRESS
06 April 2010
Chicken soup for the cat & dog lover's soul: celebrating pets as family with stories about cats, dogs, and other critters
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, Carol Kline
audiobook on CD
I am not sure how they decided whether cats or dogs got first billing on this marquee, but this is a heartwarming collection of stories about human's best friends in the animal kingdom. Warning to drivers: If listening to this audiobook while driving, proceed with caution. Tears may come to your eyes when you hear about the actions of selfless animals.
I don't see all the narrators listed on the cover. There are at least 2 male and 2 female narrators. I think at least one story is told by the DJ from Northern Exposure.
I rate this disc to be family friendly and recommend it for car trips.
05 April 2010
by Eve Bunting and Ted Rand
This book was recommended by the local Metroparks people.
A boy and his urban neighbors know that if you look around, even in the most smoggy, dirty city there is wildlife. They find ducks, possum, and more. They keep the wildlife a secret, however, so that people do not disturb the animals. I could not help but think of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Children, flowers, and animals can all grow and even thrive in great adversity.
Big Yellow Trucks and Diggers Colors: Caterpillar
series design by Paul Kepple
book design by Kristine Brogno
Caterpillar equipment is on the job! This series features photographs of genuine Caterpillar movers and shakers doing what they do best - work! This book in the series focuses on the colors of the construction site - green hat, yellow Caterpillar, gray gravel, and more. It is shameless advertising for the company, but so is the M & M counting book, Cheerios counting book, etc.
Since I know one Caterpillar engineer and there is going to be a distribution center in my neighborhood, I am okay with this.
N. D. Wilson
children's fantasy fiction
narrated by Russell Horton
an unabridged CD production
This audiobook was exceedingly dull for the first 4 out of 5 discs. The narrator described in great detail the wood grain, color, etc. of cupboards in an attic bedroom. I hated this in Tolkien and Steinbeck's works and it was boring in this book. Sure, the cupboards were magic and gateways to other worlds/dimensions, but MORE ACTION AND LESS DESCRIPTION, please. The plot itself is good - go to other worlds through cupboards, but this begs to be ABRIDGED!
Henry comes to visit his aunt, uncle, and cousins in Kansas and discovers these gateway cupboards that were created by his mathematician grandfather. He is not an adventurous type, though, and hesitates to try them out. Fortunately Henrietta, his cousin, has more gumption. There is an evil witch from Endor and some good stuff. This would probably even make for a good movie, once the tedious parts are removed.
As a bonus, the author throws in some good baseball scenes demonstrating the magic of baseball in the good ole' USA.
The ending leaves room for plenty of sequels. I'll wait for the movies, though.