30 April 2011

Chicken Soup with Rice

Chicken Soup with Rice
Maurice Sendak
paperback plus book set to music by folk singer Carole King

I knew that Maurice Sendak wrote this book, but I had no idea that Carole King set the book to music! Apparently a kindergarten teacher I know already knew this because she has her students perform the song in class to learn the months of the year. She has a huge copy of this book - it is something like 2 foot tall by 18 inches wide. I used to have a tiny version of this book that was about 3 inches tall by 3 inches wide.
I don't think this is Sendak's greatest book, but I suppose it does work to teach the months. It is pretty much a poem about silly things that can happen during different months of the year.

06 April 2011


The Shack
by William P. Young
read by Roger Mueller
audiobook 7 cd set

This book has a place in every public library, college library, and seminary library as well as in many church libraries (depending on their specific beliefs). This book has been out for a few years now, and it is still in fairly high demand so libraries may consider purchasing it in multiple formats or multiple copies. It is also the kind of book that friends pass around. It has been translated into at least 30 languages and many churches, seminaries, and other groups are reading it for discussions. It is rare that a book of such power and impact as this one comes out. Many critics have compared it to Pilgrim's Progress and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
I read the book a few years ago, but at the recommendation of a patron I listened to the audiobook and Roger Mueller did a great job! It had been some time since I had read the book and his take on it really brought it to life again. At the end of the CD is an author's note stating that he hopes that it will become a movie some day so more people can experience "The Shack". He even states that he wrote the book in mind of having it be a screenplay and that some screen writers helped him in the editing.
I see that Amazon.com has a number of companion books, some supporting this book and others in opposition to the Gospel it preaches. If a librarian is trying to build a balanced collection these books may also be worth purchasing.
Here is the basic plot: A minister and his family are devastated when 6 year old Melissa is kidnapped and probably murdered while she is camping with her family. The father tries to come to some kind of understanding of why God would let this happen. The author refers to the depression that the father feels as "The Great Sadness". Years pass and the sadness does not go away. Little does Mack know that he is about to have an intense encounter with God in all three of God's manifestations - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His assumptions about God are blown away with surprising and shocking revelations about who God is and how little we perceive about His greatness.
This book is very modern and thought provoking. Beware! Some readers may object to the portrayal of God (which makes for an interesting book discussion). I have participated in public library book discussions for about 15 years. Last year, while discussing "The Shack" was the first time that I have had a patron state her objection to a book then walk out of the room.