Everyone should read these stories. Doesn't matter if you grew up with them or not. I can't imagine not loving these.
That latest article at The New YoEveryone should read these stories. Doesn't matter if you grew up with them or not. I can't imagine not loving these.
That latest article at The New Yorker about Arnold Lobel hit me with such strong nostalgia (aka: tears in my eyes) that I went and got this collection. Slowly treasuring them and reading them all over again. Frog and Toad have the most wonderful relationship and all the best, silliest, warmest of adventures! The illustrations are adorable and honestly I still find myself giggling out loud at so many of these lines. I think I'm a mix of both a Frog and a Toad myself. :)...more
I haven't read this yet but I just saw this post on Brain Pickings a few minutes ago and am now in tears. I am so buying this book to keep for my own,I haven't read this yet but I just saw this post on Brain Pickings a few minutes ago and am now in tears. I am so buying this book to keep for my own, to read, and to see the illustrations for myself. What an extraordinary book.
I'm also sold anytime Quentin Blake illustrates anything. My childhood with Roald Dahl has just conditioned me to linger longer when I see those familiar drawings.
edit: Finally read this in its entirety and I can confirm that it is heart-wrenchingly sad but poignant. The illustrations are sublime and convey everything that the words can't, though the writing is brilliant as well. It's so honest about grief and the various ways that one can feel it or deal with it. I don't know how effective of a book this would be for kids, I'm not sure of the age group, with it being about the loss of Michael Rosen's son and all, but I think it hits home for adult me. Had a good weep over this one....more
I couldn't help but pick this up after spotting the cover. And that title.
There are three stories: all quite vividly drawn, colourful and contain a goI couldn't help but pick this up after spotting the cover. And that title.
There are three stories: all quite vividly drawn, colourful and contain a good dose of humour that would appeal to the younger reader. That said, it doesn't shy away from uncomfortable subjects. Jin Wang is the new kid in school and all he wants to do is fit in. He's bullied and inevitably becomes the outsider, even thought he tries to distance himself from the other Asians in the class, as an attempt to belong to the other kids. To no one's surprise, it doesn't work. He also develops a crush on a girl and has no confidence that it is ever going to work out. Danny, on the other hand, is a popular guy and makes the basketball squad. He's got it all going for him on the social ladder until his cousin Chin-Kee visits and threatens to ruin everything for him. The caricatures are ugly and will make you squirm, which I believe is the point. And finally, the story of the Monkey King was also included in this which was a huge part of my childhood growing up. Oh, I loved his stories, so it was awesome to see it drawn here and I must've chuckled at nearly all the panels. I think it can be enjoyable even if you aren't familiar with the tales. It's a tad more special if you are though.
I applaud Gene Luen Yang for what he's communicating here and how accessible it is for kids. It deals a lot with self-identity issues and racism, no matter how casual it may seem to outsiders because these kids are so good at brushing it off and pretending it's all okay because it's the only way they can deal with it. I didn't go through as much but I've been through some of this, and sometimes it almost feels normal if you don't look too deep into it. The hurt adds up though. I appreciated how the desire to belong and the pain was the underlying theme that tied the stories together, but the way they were morphed didn't work that well for me so I'd have to give it 3 stars. A solid read....more
I can't even handle Anne/Gil. They get impossibly sweeter in this book and I'm just...do I sound ridiculous feeling so happy for these fictional charaI can't even handle Anne/Gil. They get impossibly sweeter in this book and I'm just...do I sound ridiculous feeling so happy for these fictional characters? Because I am. There's this source of warmth radiating from these two that I just never tire of. They're beautiful. I keep thinking the flame is going to dim a bit with each subsequent book but it never happens. They mature and face new obstacles together and become even more in love in their own special way. I'm gushing and I can't stop. OTP.<3
Every book I think: "Surely they're not at another new place with new characters that I may not end up caring about at all." And yet. Every book I'm proved wrong. Anne and Gil have their own little house of dreams now and make new friends, because of course they do. Kindred spirits all around. I always miss Green Gables like Anne misses Green Gables but she always manages to make every place her home. The new characters are fantastic! I wished for some miracle of happiness for poor Leslie Moore, his tale to finally get published for Captain Jim, and a neverending list of grievances about men for Miss Cornelia Bryant (this one probably didn't even need any of my wishing to come true).
This series is such a comfort to read. I honestly believe L.M. Montgomery could be describing garbage dumps and they'd seem like lovely places to visit. I can't get tired of her prose. I wouldn't say I ever hear nature calling for me but she makes every place sounds absolutely magical. ...more
I adored this book. The last page was finished with a happy sigh.
It's only fitting that the first new Anne book I've read in years - the previous oneI adored this book. The last page was finished with a happy sigh.
It's only fitting that the first new Anne book I've read in years - the previous ones are re-reads during my marathon - has a different format. In this one, the story is told through Anne's many, many letters to who else? Her dearest Gilbert. Excuse me while I do a fist pump in the air because it's about time. I mean, three books is a bit of a wait, you know.
I also know that it's about Anne but I really wanted to hear about Gil's studies in Kingsport! Not that they'd be as magical as Anne's time living at Windy Poplars but I really missed him in this book. The long distance was starting to wear thin but then every once in a while Anne would say the sweetest things. I'm also cursing dear Mrs. Montgomery a bit because I really wanted to read some of those omitted pages. Now that's just mean to tease us like that.
So the narrative of this still follows Anne but she's telling the events to Gil, which adds an extra something to the tale. Sometimes I found myself losing track of whether someone spoke a line out loud or if it was Anne writing to Gil, but I ended up truly enjoying the new spin on things. Anne is as much of a sweetheart as ever and I love her perspective on everything. Honestly, everything. She hasn't lost her imaginative spirit and manages to charm practically everyone she meets. Eventually. The letters ring clear with Anne's voice when she speaks of her friends and new acquaintances and her job, but the sweetest surprise was to see how romantic these letters could get even with Mrs. Montgomery holding back on the best parts by 'omitting' them. Okay, maybe I need to get over it by now but it's hard. I wish there was a way for me to read Gil's replies to some of these letters.
There were plenty of new characters for this one that I wasn't sure if I'd end up caring for a lot of them, but I did! I loved the relationship that Anne developed with Katherine - the scenes where they finally bonded and got to talk were some of my favourites in the entire book. Little Elizabeth is an absolute darling. The entire affair between Dovie and Jarvis was a hoot, though I was worried that it wasn't going to work out in the end after all. Little Fellow/Teddy Armstrong was sweetly memorable. I'll remember Rebecca Dew, the widows Aunt Chatty and Aunt Kate, and especially Dusty Miller. I didn't expect to get teary-eyed over this book, nearly as much as the first one, but I did.
As much as I loved Windy Poplars, I'm already looking forward to the next one because Anne and Gil are finally reunited and they have a life ahead of them with a dream house. Joy. :)...more
Seth, I love your drawings so much. Anytime there's an illustrated cover that catches my eye these days, it's his work. Amazing. Love those bold linesSeth, I love your drawings so much. Anytime there's an illustrated cover that catches my eye these days, it's his work. Amazing. Love those bold lines. And if it wasn't for Seth, I wouldn't even have known about this sequel to this series by Lemony Snicket! You can't help but pick this up for the cover.
I was initially worried about having forgotten a lot of the details from the 1st book, but it all came back pretty easily once I started reading. So, Snicket is still working as an apprentice at Stain'd-by-the-Sea, and this time, he finds himself investigating the case of a missing girl. Plenty of questions abound!
It's what you'd expect from this author, and it works. Don't question it. The story winds and zigzags all over the place but it's never boring or too confusing. There's always another hint to chase, a surprise, another part of the mystery that keeps Snicket guessing. The humour can be too clever at times and leaves you chuckling. I don't know if labelling this as children lit is being fair because older kids and adults like myself can still enjoy this. I doubt I would've gotten a lot of the witty banter at a younger age (like when I read the Unfortunate Events series), so this basically means that you can't ever be too old for Lemony Snicket, yes?
Seriously, the drawings. What icing on top of an already awesome cake....more
One of those books I saw everywhere as a kid and despite adoring a lot of child protagonists at that age, I never picked it up. Harriet the Spy only gOne of those books I saw everywhere as a kid and despite adoring a lot of child protagonists at that age, I never picked it up. Harriet the Spy only got on my radar because everyone looking back on it seems to really adore it as a classic. I don't worry much about not enjoying children books if I discover classics at an an adult, because I find that I'm able to love them even more with added context.
This was absolutely one of those cases. Harriet is one sharp-shooting child, no doubt about it. I'm actually not sure that I would've liked her if I read this at the targeted age, to be honest, because I had a hard time handling truth bombs back then. Shyness and insecurity wasn't a pretty mix. A lot of her observations are quite hilarious but the others were quite mean-spirited, which surprised me because I expected more harmless, dry humour. As a kid, I would've focused more on those and the consequences Harriet had to face once her notebook got passed around; it brings back a lot of elementary school memories. Instead, now as an adult, I gravitated towards her notes about complete strangers. I loved how diligent she was about keeping tabs on all these people and even though most of the time she had absolutely no idea what was really going on in their lives, she has such poignant thoughts about life and happiness. Those were beautiful. For this I'm glad I'm reading it as an adult because I can see myself personally missing a lot of what Harriet was witnessing.
An apt comparison for me would be like Rear Window where I'm not as interested in the main plotline and would much rather spy on the strangers in the other building through their windows. I loved all the potential in their stories even if we do only get bits and pieces from Cary Grant's spying. It adds depth to the surroundings. In Harriet's case, I had a greater sense of that time period in Manhattan and of the people that she would interact with everyday.
Aside from the spying on strangers, my favourite part of this book were of the relationship between Harriet and Ole Golly, and to a lesser extent, with her parents. I had my own assumptions about the relationships that were shot down, which was just awesome. On the other hand, I didn't find the resolution with the notebook incident that satisfying, or have strong feelings about Harriet's friendships.
I can see why this is a classic! That said, I'm not curious enough to read the next book so Harriet's adventures will stop for me here. ...more
I really, really didn't enjoy this one. Giving it 1 star would've been a bit harsh though, so it gets a weak 2. I think in all honesty I'd givOh dear.
I really, really didn't enjoy this one. Giving it 1 star would've been a bit harsh though, so it gets a weak 2. I think in all honesty I'd give Through the Looking-Glass 1 star but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland started off rather nicely and I have a lot of childhood nostalgia left over so that deserves about a 2.5.
Maybe I would've enjoyed it more as a child. I don't think I'd be annoyed at it, at least. It was just tiring to see Alice grow and shrink and grow and shrink and eat and run with all this nervous energy being lost in a rather terrifying place where everyone and everything spoke in circles and you would never know what exactly they're getting at and why am I even frustrated with this when really the point of it was just to go along with the ride but yet I can't. Can't do it. Nope.
I actually thought I somehow got the wrong version on my e-reader when I started Through the Looking-Glass but as I read I figured no one would even bother writing this as a fake. I mean, really. So I kept going and it just got worse and worse. Alice shows remarkable patience because I would've snapped, ages ago. Then again, I likely wouldn't even find myself in this place anyway.
I like to think I haven't lost my love for whimsy and fun in my reading. This is probably just the exception, because I've generally enjoyed books in this genre. Everything about this rubbed me the wrong way and I feel like a grouch for this review....more
In the kingdom of Bamarre, not since the days of the legend of Drault have the folks been brave. Attacks from ogres andA lovely tale of two sisters.
In the kingdom of Bamarre, not since the days of the legend of Drault have the folks been brave. Attacks from ogres and dragons and other creatures are common. Worst of all, the Gray Death strikes and is an incurable disease until a prophecy is fulfilled. It's a magical land where elves and sorcerers are involved in human affairs, fairies are not seen but exist, and terror rule the smallfolk.
Meryl and Addie are the two princesses of this kingdom, as different as two sisters could be. Meryl is hungry for adventure and hopes to goes on quests to defeat the monsters like the great hero of the songs, Drault. She's the protector for her younger sister, Addie, who is frightened of a lot of things including her sister going off into the wild and losing her forever. But when the Gray Death chooses Meryl, Addie decides she must try to find the cure, no matter how terrified she may be of what lies beyond the castle.
The relationship between the sisters is wonderful. The crucial point in this entire story is how the love for Meryl provides Addie with enough courage to go onto this hopeless quest when all her life she expects Meryl to be the one going on an adventure. She also expected her sister to leave her one day but not like this, and the fear is also the source of her strength. It's inspirational. There's a bit of romance in this but flows well with the story, and I found Rhys quite adorable as the young sorcerer who rather adores clouds!
There's quite a bit of magic in here with plenty of adventure, a fantasy tale with great messages. I wish I had read it much sooner when I was a kid, but surely you can never be too old to read Gail Carson Levine. :)...more
What a wonderful collection of poems! I've always been a fan so I was expecting to enjoy this one, and boy, did I ever LOVE it. There really is a bitWhat a wonderful collection of poems! I've always been a fan so I was expecting to enjoy this one, and boy, did I ever LOVE it. There really is a bit of everything in this one. Kids will love the funny and silly poems, but for the grown ups, there are quite a few that will touch your heart. I laughed the loudest for Garlic Breath (p. 57), so much so that my grandpa asked what I was chuckling over.
I have so many favourites: Masks (p. 20), Yesees And Noees (p. 65), Growing Down (p. 77), The Clock Man (p. 95), Losing Pieces (p. 111), Underface (p. 132), amongst many others!...more
This goes on my 'children-lit' shelf but I don't know if I'd ever read this to my future kids. It's a hilarious poem on its own, but to matcI cackled.
This goes on my 'children-lit' shelf but I don't know if I'd ever read this to my future kids. It's a hilarious poem on its own, but to match it with the calming pictures is just perfection. Looks just like any other bedtime story if you flip through it and skip the words. I couldn't believe the title was real when I first heard about this book.
Recommend to everyone even if you don't plan on having kids! Maybe this book is one of the reasons why you don't plan on having kids....more
In the very beginning of the book, the reader is instructed to take the presentation as you would a film, imaginiAn innovative method to tell a story!
In the very beginning of the book, the reader is instructed to take the presentation as you would a film, imagining dark surroundings and letting yourself be engulfed by the story. I had a feeling I'd love it, and the many beautiful drawings speak for themselves.
Hugo Cabret is a young boy who lives and works in the train station, unseen by others as he keeps the clocks running on time. He holds a dear secret to his heart, hoping to figure out a possible message his father's left him, trapped in a broken automaton. We're left with many questions to answer at the very beginning, and Brian Selznick paces it all very well with his drawings.
I'd recommend this book on the choice of storytelling alone. :)...more
...and I want you all to remember - that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, mus...and I want you all to remember - that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of - something he can work and fight for.
- Kim Malthe-Brunn, Danish Resistance fighter, in a letter to his mother written the night before his death.
What other words could I say about this book itself? Lois Lowry has always been one of my favourite authors growing up, and she managed to use very little words to convey the courage of the Danish people to bring their fellow Jewish neighbours over to Sweden during the occupation.
A powerful story of friendship, loyalty, and the fierce determination to do good no matter what the circumstances are. As Uncle Henrik tells Annemarie: "That's all that brave means - not thinking about the dangers. Just thinking about what you must do. Of course you were frightened. I was too, today."...more