This book has been on my to-read list ever since it came out. The fourth in the series just came out this year, so I decided I better get in gear andThis book has been on my to-read list ever since it came out. The fourth in the series just came out this year, so I decided I better get in gear and read the first one. I can't believe I waited so long. This family of sisters is so full of brilliant characters and heartfelt family loyalty, that the series belongs in the ranks with other great sibling characters like the Melendys (The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright), the Walkers (Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome), or the family in Edward Eager's Half Magic. Like the children in the aforementioned book, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty enjoy a summer of delightful adventures--including a run-in with a bull, thanks what I like to call "benevelolent neglect." In other words, their loving parents are mostly out of the picture--mother died shortly after the youngest was born and their father is sort of an absent minded professor. Each of the girls is precocious in their own way. Eleven-year-old Rosalind has taken on much of the child-raising burdens, and in this first story is embarking on her first crush. Ten-year-old Skye struggles to control her temper, excels at math and science, and loves soccer. Nine-year-old Jane is a writer and a natural talent at soccer, and four-year-old Batty is a shy animal lover with hidden talents of her own. This group of smart, loving, and determined girls will win your heart. A perfect summertime family read aloud....more
In this collection of three succinct stories of camaraderie, the team of DiCamillo, McGhee, and Fucile have created one of the most amusing twosomes sIn this collection of three succinct stories of camaraderie, the team of DiCamillo, McGhee, and Fucile have created one of the most amusing twosomes since Frog and Toad romped through the year. Bink and Gollie are two girls of indeterminate ages who are both neighbors and best friends—or “marvelous companions,” in the words of Bink. Character development is challenging in the limited text of a beginning reader, but these two girls are full-fledged and credible, thanks to a clever display of dialogue, narrative, and illustrations. Bink is a short, wild-haired, fireball to Gollie’s air of grace and droll sophistication. In the first story, “Don’t You Need a New Pair of Socks?” the pair set off on a roller skating adventure that leads to conflict over Bink’s purchase of –in Gollie’s mind anyway—a pair of painfully outrageous socks, and ends with a “compromise bonanza.” Indeed, the idea that the best friendships include both respect for each other’s individuality and a willingness to compromise is a recurring theme in the stories. Fucile’s digital cartoon-like illustrations highlight their differences with an explosive energy and expressiveness that perfectly complements the witty, sometimes quirky text. These timeless stories will be popular with both storytime groups and independent readers for many years to come....more
Hillenbrand has found another subject as fascinating and inspiring as Seabiscuit. In May of 1943, when his bomber crashed into the Pacific, Louis ZampHillenbrand has found another subject as fascinating and inspiring as Seabiscuit. In May of 1943, when his bomber crashed into the Pacific, Louis Zamperini and two other men floated in a tiny raft for days on the open sea, battling thirst, starvation, and the ever present sharks--only to be rescued by Japanese soldiers and sent to a POW camp. That would be an amazing story in itself, but Zamperini's story is much larger. Hillenbrand's thorough research uncovers an amazing character whose determination and resilience is truly an inspiration....more
**spoiler alert** This was one of my favorite books as a child. It was interesting to re-read it with my own children, and see how it held up. In some**spoiler alert** This was one of my favorite books as a child. It was interesting to re-read it with my own children, and see how it held up. In some ways, the book--like the beloved Little House books--is strongly rooted in both the time it was written and when it took place. Particularly, there are some attitudes towards the Wisconsin Indians (the book never tells us the specific tribe), that should make a modern reader squirm. On the other hand, there are characters like Caddie's father and Caddie herself, who value the Indians' culture and recognize the prejudice around them for what it is.
Throughout the book there is a conflict between civilization and wilderness--Wisconsin vs. Boston, America vs. England, the escapades of Caddie and her brothers against the domestic pursuits of her mother and older sister Clara. I'm sure many would suggest that this is symbolic of the male vs. female sphere, but I love how Caddie's father sort of trumps this at the end. After a pretty rotten (but funny!) trick played on their Boston cousin Annabelle, Caddie is severely punished and her free days as a tomboy come to a screeching halt. Her father acknowledges the different roles of men and women, but points out that while different, they are equal in importance. He says "I don't want you to be the silly affected person with fine clothes and manners, whom folks sometimes call a lady...I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind." I was touched by this exchange, though I'm sure many will call it old fashioned. I also loved that the boys followed Caddie in this new world, and think that both Caddie and the boys would be better for their cross-training, so to speak. ...more
This hilarious memoir gives insight into the mind that brought us such classics as "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" and "The Frog Prince ContThis hilarious memoir gives insight into the mind that brought us such classics as "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" and "The Frog Prince Continued." Laugh-out-loud moments abound in this story of growing up in a family of boys. Scieszka was second out of six boys, and the short chapters focus on different memories from creative Halloween costumes to memorable car trips. Boys and girls alike will get a kick out of his descriptions of the brothers' escapades. Anyone who has ever had an older or younger sibling will appreciate the chore negotiations, squabbles, and shared memories so humorously and lovingly portrayed....more