What an incredible book! I give it five stars without hesitation.
Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard grieves the recent loss of her mother. Sad, with li...moreWhat an incredible book! I give it five stars without hesitation.
Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard grieves the recent loss of her mother. Sad, with little courage, the magical trip she is about to take, will change and empower her with self confidence as she hears her mother's voice guiding her to bravery.
When her father is given the task of pulling together a huge display of swords for a local museum, she and her sister Alice spend days inside touring the many floors and many exhibits.
Wandering to the room containing a foreign city where it always snowed, on the third floor in room 303, Ophelia peeks inside a key hole to find a small boy dressed in costume of years gone by.
Listening, she learns his tales regarding magical kingdoms, of trees that protect and wizards who guide. He and his lost magical sword are a dangerous threat. Held hostage for many years, locked away by the curator who in truth is the wicked snow queen, he convinces Ophelia that she is the one to save him and the world.
As Ophelia rescues him by finding keys locked away in museum halls, she has many adventures, including watching in horror as stone lions softly jump from their pedestals to circle and terrorize. When she finds a room containing the evil misery bird who has a wing span as large as the room, she must hurry before he awakens and devours her.
The statues of armored men come alive, and beneath a large plastic cover, there is a white horse carrying a soldier, with marble eyes that come to life as the plastic rustles and wind rushes and pushes so hard that Ophelia is knocked down.
This book is magical, delightful and engaging.
I think I especially liked it because I vividly remember that during my third-grade school trip to the Natural History Museum in New York City, I sat mesmerized and fearful believing that at night the elephants, lions and all taxidermical animals behind thick glass would come to life when the guests left.
Continuing my quest to read all Newbery medal and honor books, I pulled this one off my book shelf. A 1964 Newbery Medal winner that frankly leaves me...moreContinuing my quest to read all Newbery medal and honor books, I pulled this one off my book shelf. A 1964 Newbery Medal winner that frankly leaves me mystified at the process of how and who selects the winners.
This is a story of David who lives in New York City and adopts a cat. On the surface it appears to be a story of an animal that changed the lives of those with whom it contacted. Below the surface, there appears to be many randomly sprinkled subplots of characters and events. It is indeed as fluffy as the cat!
Ugh, I just cannot connect with this book at all. Not recommended.(less)
This is not one of the authors strong works, and it can't even compare with the others which are thoughtful and well written.
This is a story of a litt...moreThis is not one of the authors strong works, and it can't even compare with the others which are thoughtful and well written.
This is a story of a little girl whose parents went away to a conference, leaving her and her brother in the very capable hands of their Aunt and Uncle.
The Aunt and Uncle are non traditional and furthermore, don't dote on every word and action that the little girl does. She seems to be a brat who gets her way, until the relatives put boundaries on her.
A children's book that transcends all ages. When 600 pound Zachary Beaver arrived in sleepy little Antler Texas via a tiny, teeny trailer, the town fo...moreA children's book that transcends all ages. When 600 pound Zachary Beaver arrived in sleepy little Antler Texas via a tiny, teeny trailer, the town folk paid $2 each to see the "freak. "
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town and was abandoned by his agent the town folk who previously gawked at him now leave food, wash his clothes and find help.
Set in the 70's and the Viet Nam era, This National Book Award winner is a coming of age story containing many wonderful lessons learned by a trio of three young boys.
Dealing with difficult issues of abandonment, loss and grief, this is a powerfully written story.(less)
I'm struggling how to write this review. Highly recommended by my Library Thing friends Joe and Mark, I trust their judgment and felt drawn to read th...more I'm struggling how to write this review. Highly recommended by my Library Thing friends Joe and Mark, I trust their judgment and felt drawn to read this story. Like other stellar young adult books I've recently read, this one was also chosen as a possible Newbery award recipient.
It's a shame that [[Rainbow Rowell]] did not receive the well deserved accolades of a Newbery, but, since writing the original review, I learned that this book rec'd. a Printz honor. My thoughts regarding this incredibly talented author -- usually the first book written is somewhat autobiographical. Because [[Eleanor & Park] deals with some very sad, heart breaking situations, and the depth of which these poignant things are written, leads me to believe she may have experienced very hard knocks in her life. If so, all the more reason, I am in awe of this strong woman!
The book is exquisitely written from the perspective of Eleanor and that of Park. Two star crossed misfit 16 year olds who, like many teenagers, struggle to find their niche. Eleanor, the stronger of the two is very clear in her perceptions of others. She knows her mother placed her and her siblings in a dangerous situation, poverty filled, abusive, and one slippery step away from sexual abuse by her near do well drunken step father.
Park and Eleanor meet on the school bus. His initial opinion is one of distaste for the heavy set, bright red--haired girl who wears mismatched unfeminine clothing. Reluctantly he allows her to sit next to him, which then sets in motion a path toward acceptance, love and trust.
While Park's father struggles to understand him, there is love and security for Park. While initially non accepting of Eleanor, his mother shines through.
All the characters are well developed. This is a difficult book to read, and yet, somehow the author does not leave the reader in angst.
As I rooted for Eleanor to find a safe place to land, I could not in any way feel sympathy for her mother who chose her alcoholic mate over the welfare of her children.
Highly recommended. For those who may doubt the merit of the YA genre, please take time to read this one. Five Stars. (less)
I read this earlier in the week, and because it is such a wonderful story, I wanted to take time to sift through the emotional impact and pull my thou...moreI read this earlier in the week, and because it is such a wonderful story, I wanted to take time to sift through the emotional impact and pull my thoughts together.
What a mix of characters! What an incredible writing style! What a superb story line!
In comparision with the Newbery award winning The Year of Billy Miller which lacked depth, I'm surprised Counting by 7s was not a Newbery recipient.
Willow Chase is off the charts genius level. Perceptive, magical and wise beyond her years, she is loved by her adoptive parents. When a freak car accident involving both parents occurs, she becomes an orphan. With no family members to contact, she finds assistance from Dell Duke, a misguided, insecure guidance counselor and Mai, a Vietnamese classmate.
Grief stricken and stunned, she rolls along with the tide of those in her path who try their best to assist. A relatively new acquaintance, Mai, takes Willow home to her mother Patti and brother Quang-ha. Living in a warehouse, with few means of comfort, Patti remembers those displaced in Vietnam, and opens her home and heart.
The book is stellar for many reasons, mainly because of character development. Patti runs a nail salon, and Willow, emotionally unable to return to school, spends the days with her, observing Patti's fortitude and ability to love.
Mai is bossy and confident and accepts Willow unconditionally. Brother Quang-ha is reserved and belligerent. Guidance counselor Dell Duke is caught up in the whirlwind of bossy Patti and Mai who insist on moving into his apartment in order to provide the perception of stability to the authorities who seek to place Willow in the foster care system.
Moving down the hall, Dell visits the members of his apartment. Soon, he relates to Quang-ha and the family and gradually finds confidence.
When Willow meets a cab driver name Jairo Hernandez, his life is magically changed as well as Dell, Quang-ha, Mai and Patti.
An expert gardener, Willow metaphorically gradually plants roots via sunflower seeds in an area at the apartment complex. Soon, all members are involved in planting, growing and changing.
Touching, poignant, a tad sappy, at times tear producing, this is a book that haunts long after the last page is read.(less)
Reading this book completes the goal of reading all 2014 Newbery Medal and Honor books.
There are many things I liked, and some that I didn't.
This is a...moreReading this book completes the goal of reading all 2014 Newbery Medal and Honor books.
There are many things I liked, and some that I didn't.
This is a story of a young boy who defines himself by his disability. The inability to speak without stuttering is all-consuming in every part of his life, in his interactions at school, and all relationships with children and adults.
I liked some of the relationships:
Vince has a wonderful friend whose name is Art, allowing Vince to call him Rat because it is easier to say, Art/Rat understands and emotionally supports him.
Mam is an adult person of color hired to help with housework and Vince. It is through this wonderful relationship that Vince finds courage and strength.
Mr. Shapiro, a kind elderly man who speaks in a fascinating way and loves books, enables Vince to define himself in other ways than his impediment.
------------------------------- I liked the setting of 1959 which allowed the reader to go back in time to small-town life, and through interactions we see racial tensions in the way in which Mam is treated.
------------------------ When Art/Rat goes on vacation, Vince takes over his paper route. This provides ample situations for Vince to interact with adults which takes him out of his comfort zone.
Vince meets Mr. Shapiro, a positive role model, and conversely, he experiences an abusive situation of a neighbor woman who is an alcoholic, and learns that not all is well behind closed doors.
When his pocket knife is stolen by a near-do well character, Mam comes to his rescue and pays a high price for her defensiveness.
I didn't like paths taken that did not led to an ending and were not followed through:
Vince learns his father is not his biological father. This is thrown out and then not developed.
We learn that Vince's parents are building a new home, and there are hints that Mam's future with the family may end, yet, once again, there is no follow through.
Overall, this is a strong beginning for a first-time author. (less)
This is the first book by the author, and she's started out flying fast when the gates were opened with a Newbery Honor award at the end of the race.
W...moreThis is the first book by the author, and she's started out flying fast when the gates were opened with a Newbery Honor award at the end of the race.
With the backdrop of the 1871 wild pigeon migration in Southern Wisconsin, the story of young Georgie Burkhardt unfolds. When Georgie's older sister Agatha runs off with a group of pigeoners, the sheriff goes to find her. Sadly, he returns with a body wearing the beautiful dress her mother sewed. The face, unrecognizable from decay, gives hope to Georgie that this is not the body of Agatha.
Tenaciously stubborn, without her mother or grandfather's blessing, she buys a mule from Billy McCabe, the man who loved Agatha. Feeling guilty because when she saw Billy kiss her sister, she went straight on to Mr. Olmstead, a prominent man in town who was slated to marry Agatha. It was this betrayal that set in motion Agatha's desire to leave Placid Wisconsin.
To find forgiveness and to follow her intuition, Georgie daringly, bravely sets out on a journey of discovery. With Billy McCabe in tow, they travel together in a quest to find answers.
The quick banter between the two, the struggles of traveling in dangerous territory, the soul searching that occurs along the journey, renders this a tale of part mystery, part self discovery all wrapped together in a wonderful package.
The writing is top notch. Told from the perspective of Georgie who is humorous, sharp shooting, vulnerably stubborn and defensive, the reader laughs at the quick to the draw sling-shot comments and roots for the good guy/girl in this marvelous poignant story.
No stranger to the production of award-winning books, Henkes received a 2004 Newbery honor award for Olive's Ocean, a Caldecott medal in 2004 for Kitt...moreNo stranger to the production of award-winning books, Henkes received a 2004 Newbery honor award for Olive's Ocean, a Caldecott medal in 2004 for Kitten's First Full Moon and a Caldecott honor for Owen.
He is notably recognized by the American Library Association.
The Year of Billy Miller is the tale of Billy who is nervous about second grade. The summer before returning to school, while on vacation, he fell from a great height and sustained a concussion. Fearful he won't remember things, he is reluctant.
He has a cute sister and two loving parents.
This is a slow read with very little action. The parents are too good to be true.
I don't particularly care for this book, and I am wondering why it received a Newbery award. It is a trip down sugar coated Pleasantville.
I read it a few days ago and waited before writing the review to see if maybe the book would haunt me in some way, or I would find a revelation. Since this hasn't happened, I'm sticking to my initial impression.
One star because Billy and his sister are likable.(less)
This Newbery Medal awarding winning author for Walk Two Moons in 1995, once again wrote a book of love and loss.
The Boy on the Porch is the story of...moreThis Newbery Medal awarding winning author for Walk Two Moons in 1995, once again wrote a book of love and loss.
The Boy on the Porch is the story of a young childless couple who find a small boy asleep on their porch. When the speechless boy reached into his dirty pants pocket, he produced a note that said "Plees taik kar of Jacob." "He is a good boy." "Will be bak wen we can."
As days and months went by John and Marta loved the child unconditionally. Magically at the same time, a cow was found tethered to their fence, and, in addition a beagle dog was found on their property.
The dog followed the boy, the boy rode the cow throughout the pastures. While silent, the child communicated in ways that allowed the couple to understand his needs. A penchant for art and for music, the child flourished with his surrogate parents.
Though fearful they would lose Jacob, tentative steps were taken to discover the biological parents. Observing one of Jacobs paintings provided a clue regarding where he came from before the abandonment on the porch.
During one particular drive, discovering a small run down trailer and a dirty shoe, Jacob was able to communicate that this was indeed what he remembered. Now the boy wore clean, new shoes that fit, he recalled that previously he wore the ragged shoes with holes.
Weeks later, when a rough man suddenly appeared at their doorstep, Jacob ran to Marta for the security of protection. Producing a photo of young Jacob, the local Sheriff allowed Jacob to be taken away.
The heartbreak of losing Jacob felt overwhelmingly sad. Throughout the years, after losing Jacob, John and Marta became foster parents to many children. Learning to love and eventually lose was never an easy task. Yet, repeatedly they welcomed other children into their lives.
As the years go by, the cow is sickly and the dog is weak. Looking down the lane, over the pastures, John and Marta long for Jacob's return before time expires for his beloved animal friends.
Highly recommended. While Creech writes eloquently of human emotions of a tear and a smile, she never pulls the heartstrings too tightly. She plays a fine tune that touches the soul. (less)