30 December 2010
Witch of Blackbird Pond
Elizabeth George Speare
Newbery Award winner
Kit is new to a New England town in the late 1600's, having been raised in Barbados. Her relatives and the townsfolk are shocked at her dress and behavior. Kit sees that New England is drab and dreary and the people do not have fun. It is work, work, work, then church, church, church. Can this tropical bird find a home in Connecticut? Is joy and laughter really prohibited by the Bible? It is dangerous times, politically, in the not-yet United States. It is also dangerous to depart from the normal. If a woman does stand out, she may be accused of practicing witchcraft. This is not Salem, Massachusetts, but it might as well be.
I have read this book numerous times and when I found out that I was going to be visiting Barbados this year, I had to read it again.
I highly recommend this book to 9-16 year old girl readers. I don't think most boys would get into the fashion, etc. very much.
16 December 2010
I watched "Date Night", the movie with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, this week. There is a humorous treatment of book discussions. I was wondering what book they were reading in this movie. With the help of a coworker who recommended that I search for screenplays on the internet, I determined the name of the book - "And in the Morning We Walk with the Birds of Change". As far as I know this is not a real book. It does not show up on Amazon or in WorldCat. Some have suggested that it is similar to "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini or "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant.
The husband and wife both read the book and we see that a cab driver is also reading it on his Kindle.
03 December 2010
Unmade Bed: Sensual Writing on Married Love
anthology of poems and short stories
This has some famous authors like William Carlos Williams, John Updike, and Gary Soto. The poems and tales are very uneven. Some poems don't make sense and some stories are downright boring. Maybe there are some good reads in this book, but I gave up on it. If you have not purchased this for your library - don't.
Angel Cat Sugar A New Friend
Yuko Shimizu and Ellie O'Ryan
I did not know until I saw this book at a Scholastic Book Fair that the creator of Hello Kitty had two other characters - Angel Cat Sugar (cat) and Rebecca Bonbon (bulldog).
In this book, Angel Cat Sugar has three fairy friends - Thyme, Basil, and Parsley! They find a homeless snail and attempt to help it get a new home! The snail is dubbed "Cinnamon" and is now their friend! Expect cutesy pictures and many exclamation points!
It is cute. It is fuzzy and warm. I am not so sure that it is biologically sound practice what Angel Cat Sugar does and I don't think a real snail would much appreciate these efforts, but as I said - it is cute.
Here is one line - "He needs a warm, dry house of his own". Since when do snails need warm, dry houses of their own? They live under cold, damp rocks in in moss as far as I recall. They need slime.
I don't recommend this particular Angel Cat Sugar book because of these problems, but I see the appeal of the character. Best wishes Cat Sugar Angel, Sugar Cat Angel, or whatever your name is.
audio CD with a full cast
unabridged 6 1/2 hours
This novel takes the many-times-told tale of Noah's Ark and adds wit, grit, and perspective to the telling. Noah, his wife, his sons, and their daughters all speak. Maine postulates how Ham, Shem, and Japheth found wives and how the animals might have made their way to the ark with the help of Noah's daughters-in-law. He describes the offal stench of the ark. Seasoned actors, and my favorite young audiobook reader, Jenna Lamia, relate what Noah's family might have been thinking (and smelling) on the ark. He wonders with Noah's family at the sign of the rainbow. He guesses how the families were scattered to multiply the earth after the flood.
I very much enjoyed this presentation and recommend it to adult listeners. Listeners do not have to be Jewish, Christian, or Muslim to hear this story. God (Yahweh) and religion are discussed, but not in an evangelic or offensive way. God just is. I do not recommend this novel for children. Sex (rutting), drinking and other adult themes are discussed in a matter of fact, earthy way that some parents may object to, but that I found to be appropriate as Noah and his family escape from the evil of the pre-flood world. Life back then was more basic and in touch with nature, so the coarse, folksy telling of this tale makes perfect sense.
I recommend this book and audio presentation for all public libraries in the U. S.