I was in 5th grade. Twee and silly, even if you are a kid. Like so many animal stories, I think this one is ruined if you actually have any experienceI was in 5th grade. Twee and silly, even if you are a kid. Like so many animal stories, I think this one is ruined if you actually have any experience with the animals in question. In real life, rabbits are annoying pests that taste good fried or stuffed with orange sausage dressing. If you don't cull the population, they'll breed and eat themselves to starvation. Their ecological role is to be eaten. It's essentially their purpose in life to provide a big strong link in the food chain. Something is supposed to eat them if you don't - generally speaking foxes, bobcats, various raptors, and the occasional weasel. Any time you read about someone praising how wonderful it would be for rabbits to eat your garden, you know they live in the city somewhere and never see an animal.
Regarding the author's intended commentary on sharing with the poor, it didn't really come off to a 5th grader - who read this as being commentary on ecology by someone with no understanding of it and wouldn't have connected this to the Marshall Plan even in context - and looking back as an adult, find his characterization of the needy to be condescending patronizing crap. My understanding is that modern printings are edited to be more politically correct because condescending and patronizing was apparently his thing.
This is a lightweight homage peice to Rudyard Kipling with a dose of H.P. Lovecraft's 'The Outsider' thrown into it. It has most of what you'd expectThis is a lightweight homage peice to Rudyard Kipling with a dose of H.P. Lovecraft's 'The Outsider' thrown into it. It has most of what you'd expect from a Gaiman work, including the deep research and extraordinary attention to detail. I enjoyed it, but it owed just a little too much to it's literary forebearers to be one of my favorites and I found myself more wanting to go back and read Kipling again than eager to get to the end of book. Other than being derivative, I suspect that part of the problem is that however Goth you are or pose as, it is very hard to love a Graveyard as passionately and deeply as Kipling loved India....more
My wife and I have been reading these books from my wife's childhood to our daughters. They don't have a nostalgia factor for me, so I find them fairlMy wife and I have been reading these books from my wife's childhood to our daughters. They don't have a nostalgia factor for me, so I find them fairly annoying. This is the best of the bunch I've read so far because it departs the most from the annoying pattern of the rest of the books.
The plot of almost all the Dorrie books I've read thus far is in brief, "Some obviously villainous character begins doing mischief in Witchville or to the Witchville witches right in front of Dorrie. Dorrie repeatedly tries to get the grownups to pay attention to her, but they are too busy with their own petty problems to pay attention to what is really important, so Dorrie is left to her own resources to save the day by herself - which she manages mainly because the villain is even more stupid than the average groupup." Really, 'The Big Witch' has to be one of the worst models of parenthood in children's literature. I realize that she's supposed to be a witch, but I don't think that description was meant quite as nastily as it comes off in the stories.
'Dorrie and the Witch Doctor' mercifully departs from this really well worn formula. It begins with Dorrie promising herself to be extra good today, but Dorrie's best intentions are soon put to the test by the arrival of a truly nasty family pest that makes 'The Big Witch' seem a true model of patience, gentleness, and sensitivity. Dorrie heroicly tries to keep to her promise, but the physical trial proves too much for her, and its left to a befuddled but wise old Witch Doctor - the single best character in any of the stories - to try to put things right for the whole family. The story has a touch of humor lacking in the rest of the stories, a character with an actual name, and more importantly characters we actually can care about, including, quite surprisingly, Dorrie herself....more
There are any number of books about manners aimed at young children. At one time, that was about all children were encouraged to read. Some of them arThere are any number of books about manners aimed at young children. At one time, that was about all children were encouraged to read. Some of them are pretty good - for example Richard Scarry's famous work. Many times though they are as wretched as only something didactic and condescending can be.
But how many teach you what to say when you've crashed your plane through the roof of the duchess’s house, or been bitten by a dinosaur, or bumped into a crocodile?
Just one - this marvelous little manual by Sesyle Joslin and illustrated by the incomparable Maurice Sendak. Charming and whimsical, this book of manners is sure to delight with its mixture of propriety with untamable imagination.
My girls, I'm proud to say were able to recite or correctly guess nearly everything you should say in such situations on the first try, except I'd forgotten to tell them the proper thing to say to an orchestra of bears when it tries to eat you. But, now that that's been covered, I think we are ready for anything.
I'm not usually sensitive to this sort of thing, but I'm dropping a star because for all its whimsy it ends up with games that are a little too conventional in their gender roles for me. Since I'm not generally sensitive to this sort of thing (and often sensitive to its opposite), I suspect people who are will be too much distracted by questions like, "Why doesn't the girl slay the dragon?" However, I can avow that my wife absolutely loved the book, perhaps more than I did, so don't let this slight misgiving keep you or your children away from this joyful little book. ...more
I read scores of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books and similar 'text based adventure' series during the craze in elementary school and junior high.
ThiI read scores of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books and similar 'text based adventure' series during the craze in elementary school and junior high.
This one, which casts you as a resistance fighter conducting an alpine raid against the Nazis, was always one of my favorites.
IMO, A good 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book has the following qualities - lots of oppurtunities to make choices, a large number of possible endings, a few surprising twists that add readability, and some sort of internal logic that lets you correctly guess at least most of the time which path leads to the most satisfying rewards. 'Sabotage' succeeds on all counts....more
The illustrations in this book are just wonderful and it's worth it just for that.
The story itself is so very simple that it practically tells itself.The illustrations in this book are just wonderful and it's worth it just for that.
The story itself is so very simple that it practically tells itself. It concerns an imaginative boy barely missing meetings with a disappointed young prince and his increasingly large entourage. In fact, the story is so simple and predictable, that I could probably recite it from memory even though its been more than a year since I read it. But there is a certain power in that, especially for children of a simple age who will love the repitition precisely for its predictablity.
As I said, the illustrations are incredible, and the incongruity of the gayly dressed royal entourage looking like a pack of living playing cards, ascending and descending the stairs of the dark, drab and confined tenement apartment I think will charm and amuse readers of all ages. Apparantly the New Times choose this as a notable children's book of the year at one point, but its sadly obscure now....more
I wasn't going to bother reviewing this book, but I discover that I'm about the only one that has read it, and so I think it would be a disservice toI wasn't going to bother reviewing this book, but I discover that I'm about the only one that has read it, and so I think it would be a disservice to the author not to say something.
Our two girls have, in a bit over a year, have apparantly consumed most of the children's literature appropriate to their intellectual level - once again proving Sturgeon's Law. It's getting harder and harder to find something fresh at the library to read to them. Most of what is good, is also famous, and most of what is famous and good, we have read to the girls.
I found this book by recourse to an old fashioned linear search of the shelfs, examining each title a book cover at a time and looking for likely suspects. I picked the book up the day before the first good snow of the season, and we have read it to the girls a couple of times since then. I can't say that they were entralled, but it's a pretty good book with charming illustrations and it's probably is worth adding Phillis Gershator to the list of children's authors to explore.
The structure of the story is extremely simple and is based like so many children's books for toddlers on simple rhyme, refrain, and repetition. A large variaty of animals are questioned how they respond to a snow, and each responds in a way that forms a antiphony. It's a proven formula though as an adult you may find it tiring and some of the verses are a bit of a stretch in order to fit the pattern. ...more
Rosemary Wells is not among my favorite children's authors, and Yoko is for reasons outlined elsewhere my least favorite of her characters.
'Yoko's PapRosemary Wells is not among my favorite children's authors, and Yoko is for reasons outlined elsewhere my least favorite of her characters.
'Yoko's Paper Cranes' is not nearly offensive to me as 'Yoko' was, but it was however boring. My girls like it moderately well though, so we've read it a couple times. I don't think they'll like it well enough to call for it again once it goes back to the library, so there it will probably stay.
As a side note, the picture of the ship crossing the ocean done in a Japanese style reminded me strongly of Imperial Japanese naval propaganda, but given my particular historical interests that's probably just me....more
The book has several flaws, the chief of which is that it is difficult to read to someone since the author provides no non-visual queues for who is saThe book has several flaws, the chief of which is that it is difficult to read to someone since the author provides no non-visual queues for who is saying what. This forces me to ad lib so that the girls can follow along with the story. The other is that the story is paper thin and the dialogue almost nonexistant.
All of that though pales in comparison to this books chief virtue, which is that it makes my little undersized former premie with the physical development problems want to jump!...more