This children’s series of books is an old-fashioned read for little girls who like and/or collect dolls. I found the first book of the series, “Tatiana Comes to America: An Ellis Island Story”, at Half-Price Books, and at $1.99 scooped it up for my Little Free Library. At the time of publication (2002, by Scholastic), book two and three of the series had also been published, and books four, five, and six were “promised.”
The story is simple. Mom and Dad, both humanitarian doctors, are off to Africa to help sick people there. Rose, the elder daughter wonders why they “…can’t just help sick people in America instead.” She and Lila, the younger daughter are about to be “parked” at their Nana’s for a year. What the girls discover at Nana’s is that the turret of Nana’s Victorian house is set up as a doll hospital where broken dolls are mended ,”refreshed” and restored to former glory by Nana’s nimble fingers. Eerily enough, as Nana mends Tatiana, a doll- “patient”, with the girls listening and learning to help, Nana channels the doll and speaks for Titania, telling her “life’s story.”
There are many humorous moments (What! no TV! and Nana, herself who first appears to the girls as an aged hippie complete with love beads and lava lamp along with the resident four cats named after the Beatles), and they are complimented by the delightful, typical Scholastic illustrations. My $1.99 was well spent and make this little paperback the best book investment for my LFL I’ve made in a while.
ARF is the latest in the impossibly “cute” (in the good sense of the word) Bowser and Birdie novels, which I predict will be a vey successful series for Quinn. As one blurb on the back of the book says, “Imagine Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird setting out to solve a mystery with the aid of a charming, slobbery dog. ” The “kicker” is the story is told from Bowser’s point of view, which tends to skew the clues, plot, and general denouement.
Here’s a random example of the dog, Bowser speaking after hearing someone say a minor character doesn’t like dogs,”Not fond of dogs? I tried hard to figure out what that meant, couldn’t quite get there.” Birdie’s voice interrupts, “So…what we need is for the sheriff to…to find out on his own!” She credits Bowser with the thought that comes to her mind and calls Bowser a genius. Bowser again: “What was this? I was a genius? Sounded good. I hoped to find out what it meant one day.” Bowser is never anthropomorphic; he is just plain “dog,” distracted from duty by the smell of bacon and spells of losing focus when he smells a big, bad snake under the garage (which has a BIG role in “getting” the bad guy).
This is a delightful read, a bit predictable in places ,but with twists and turns that stop the reader dead in his tracks. Plenty of pompous, clueless adults and kids- with- issues make up the cast of characters in this page-turning read.
This book sent me into giggling like someone Birdie’s age ,and at the same time left me with an Aaaaawwwww feeling.
At the Little Free Library in my yard, ever since last weekend I have been placing free school supplies (animal-themed folders, notebooks, mechanical pencils, pens, markers, erasers etc.) a few at a time in the LFL to entice kids to open the door and see the books inside. Usually I have a few bright first- readers-books bought from Half Price Books or provided by the across-the-street- elementary school’s book drives; a few really good chapter books for fourth and fifth graders; some YA novels and at least a Debbie McComber or Nicholas Sparks (or good, page-turning mystery) for Moms to read in the car-riders pick up line. I have as many cars stop (We are on the main drag leading into the subdivision.) as I do curious students walking the sidewalks, probably more, for the kids are always looking down at their phones.
Even with the stormy, humid weather, the attempt was a success. Today marked the end of the first week of school, and there are about six books of various and sundry descriptions left. All the “prizes” have disappeared. Even better, three cozy mysteries and a “young person’s” romance have magically appeared. Thank you neighbors!
I plan to clean down to the bare bones inside and out (It will take clorox) and make a trip to Half Price Books with books contributed from a friend who is downsizing and just wants to get several boxes of older books “out of here.” Then we should be back in business by Monday or Tuesday.
The next big event is Halloween with Trick or Treating in the side yard where the library is located and Halloween decorations and items like fake spiders from the Dollar Store in the LFL for the taking. I have about twenty-five Goosebumps books, Halloween mysteries, Werewolf and other Monsters books which will be free for the taking.
Last year we had a storm, including a tornado which passed over us on the way to the next town down the highway. Halloween activities around town were cancelled. Pray for good weather.
This book is downright bizarro-funny! It takes place in the future, but it is not the stately, lit-quality of THE HANDMAIDEN’S TALE, a classic in Freshman College Anthologies. Think Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas, sexbots, and The Green Men Group, an ecologically-correct parody of The Blue Men Group. Put all these in a nursing home, a casino, and in the middle of a rescue-kindapping, and you have a furiously fast-paced, laugh-out-loud (even if you shouldn’t!) read.
Charmaine and Stan, her husband are living out of their car when they hear of the too-good-to-be-true offer from the gigantic Positron conglomerate/company to give people a better life. What the offer involves is living in a wonderful, idyllic, retro-fifties home and lifestyle for six months of the year, then living in prison for the next six. A couple is not to have any contact with the “other couple” who occupies their home the six months they are in prison…and there’s where the fun begins.
This is Margaret Atwood having fun, yet making points about conformity, corruption of money and/or power on individuals, and the evils of mega-corporations who strive to take over the world.
It was a quick read and made me want to go back and see if Atwood had any short stories in my (paper) back issues of The New Yorker, tucked into my book closet with magic marker notations on the cover, “Have read all but the Fiction section.”
The Big Green Book literally is a Big. Green. Book. When I picked it up at the Alvin (TX) library, after being intrigued by some drawings from it used in illustrations in the BRAIN PICKINGS column, I hugged it to me, enjoying the look and the “feel” of the book.
Although published in 1962, the text and the illustrations, particularly, have not lost their charm. It is the wonderful story of a young boy who lives with an indifferent aunt and uncle (Move over, Harry Potter.) who finds a big green book hidden under a sack in the attic. To his amazement, instead of stories, the book is full of magic spells. The book is humorous and reflects spells and magic in a kinder, gentler way, perfect for sensitive children who might be frightened by Harry Potter’s power or who may not be old enough to appreciate him.
The book, both text and illustrations, is “sweet”.
If you liked The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Sherlock Holmes, you’ll love the adventures of Truman Capote (author of In Cold Blood) and Nelle (Ellen spelled backward) Harper Lee (author of To Kill A Mockingbird). As young friends in the tiny town of Monroeville, Alabama, during the Great Depression, Tru and Nelle become acquainted. The novel opens with even less than usual going on in the slow-moving, small town.
This book is written as fiction based on fact, and the author “recasts their time together” in a narrative that is engaging and probably very close to accurate.
Many cases open up to Sherlock Holmes (Truman Capote) and Watson (Harper Lee) who are joined by “Big Boy” as Inspector Lestrade (who never had a clue, according to Nelle), aka Jennings Falk, a real resident and childhood friend of the pair. Jennings adds a section at the end of the fictionalized account as “Tall tales told by Tru and Nelle,” which he recounted.
Foreshadowings of To Kill a Mockingbird in the real persons and events from the kids’ childhood emerge, such as Sonny, a neighbor boy (who is the basis for Boo Radley, and a scene in which the Klu Klux Klan show up at Truman’s going away( costume-dress) Halloween party. The result is hilarious, entertaining reading and just plain fun.
The author’s notes at the end of the narrative deal with the eventual ending of the Capote-Lee friendship. I felt it was an accurate surmise at what actually caused the dissolution of the friendship and maybe one reason for Harper Lee’s reclusive lifestyle.
The story itself is worth the read, but the whole volume is a good investment of one’s reading time for anyone who follows literary events and is interested in where authors get their “ideas.”
I highly recommend this 2016 publication.
This may be an unpopular post because the subtitle of this book is,”Sharing an Exclusive Jesus in an Inclusive World,” and our world today, more than ever in history is just that, “inclusive.”
The author makes a strong case that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and then deals masterfully with the questions and “what abouts” that result from that statement.
For the Christian who is a thinking Christian and deals daily with some of the questions dealt with, this book is a Godsend. Starting with the shocking statistic that 60 % of American evangelical churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life, the author negates such a belief. There is ample scriptural evidence from the Old Testament, the New Testament, words straight from the mouth of Christ, and from New Testament writers, specifically Paul, the well educated, thinking, reasoning apostle.
The author deals with the knotty questions that we all have been asked when we offer Christ as the exclusive way to heaven, and warns about shoving our belief, unlovingly, down the throats of others who disagree with us. He uses reason and intelligent research to point out his message, wanting us to love others like Jesus did, but to remain steadfast in believing in Christ as the one and only way to heaven. After all, we call ourselves “Christ-ians”, don’t we?
A family secret is always a good basis for a novel, and when an outsider who has married into the family begins to investigate what happened, it almost always makes for “good reading.”
Beautifully researched, the novel deals with the great Vel’ d’ Hir’ roundup of Parisian Jews that took place on July 16, 1942. The atrocities that took place, interestingly enough, were not instigated by the Germans, but by the Paris police. Those Parisians who did not participate, turned their faces away.
Ten year old Sarah, in a moment of horror and terror, has made a promise to her younger brother and pockets the key it will take to fulfill that promise. What follows is a “heart thumping story…a book that will stay in your mind long after it’s back on the shelf.”
Sarah’s Key alternates in time between 1972 and present day Paris (2007), but is easy to follow, unlike many novels that attempt the same technique. The suspense is heightened by this technique as we follow Julie, a modern day journalist as she attempts to uncover the story of Sarah’s Key .
In the tiny village of Ballygorm, Ireland, a successful, young, family man, Lewis Tighe, is found hanging in a local farmer’s barn, a suicide. Only Father Regan, the village priest a fan of TV “Detective- Bourbon-repeats”, notices clues and has hunches that lead him to question the local police and medical doctor’s conclusion. As he takes on his own “undercover investigation,” asking questions and interviewing town characters who are in his congregation, or at least under his “flock,” he detects undercurrents of a conspiracy, the likes of which no one ever expected in the tiny village of Ballygorm.
Until the ending which elicits in the reader the feeling of, “Oh no, is he going to make it?”, this page turner is action-filled and has a cliff hanger at the end of almost every chapter. The character of Father Regan, the down-to-earth priest, is drawn excellently,and since he makes mistakes as he goes, the reader cares about him even more because he (the reader) would have done exactly the same thing!
This novel/mystery is about the stories of people in a small village who never dreamed the village had a big time story of its own.
I ,for one, want a sequel. Father Ryan is a good sleuth and human enough for the reader to want to follow him again as he solves yet another mystery.
As mentioned in a previous post, a friend posted a “Definitive List of Children’s Books Set in France.” One which I ordered from our local library turned out to be a “chapter book” instead of a picture book and provided a lovely summer afternoon’s read.
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, a Newberry Honor Book, can be described as gentle, and by a word I try to avoid, “sweet.” Although it was published in the late fifties, in our society where many homeless people live “under the bridge,” it has a timely message and relevance in our attitudes to those we consider less fortunate than ourselves. It basically is the story of an old curmudgeon who is turned into a generous grandpa by three “lovely” redheaded Parisian children. How all this comes to be is flavored throughout by the setting–the incomparable city of Paris.
A further happy surprise was that the illustrator, Garth Williams, is the same illustrator as chosen for E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. What a delightful book, probably more for adults than today’s children. But, hopefully, out there somewhere there are still some sensitive little souls who will read and love The Family Under the Bridge.