This touching novel in verse is told from the perspective of a conjoined twin. Grace and Tippi (named for Hitchcock actresses) have been sheltered andThis touching novel in verse is told from the perspective of a conjoined twin. Grace and Tippi (named for Hitchcock actresses) have been sheltered and home-schooled their whole life, but a change in the family's fortune means that they have to attend school for the first time. They're understandably nervous about how the other kids will treat them, and are relieved to find two good friends. But just when they finally get settled into their new routine, things take a turn for the worse. This novel is a quick and emotional read and I loved getting to know Grace and Tippi. I wish the novel had a broader focus though. At the beginning it's revealed that their father is an alcoholic, their sister is anorexic, and Grace develops a crush on a boy at school. I thought the book would explore these sub-plots more but instead the second half focuses almost exclusively on medical issues around being conjoined. Especially considering how much Grace laments in the text of the novel how people see them as nothing more than conjoined twins I was disappointed at how much of the novel focused exclusively on this aspect of their lives. I wish the fact that they were conjoined was just one of many aspects about who they are that was explored in the novel instead of the main focus. All the other subplots I previously mentioned just get dropped once the medical issues arise and are never really resolved. I'd be interested to read a sequel that fleshes out the characters further. Still it is a moving novel with memorable characters and a very quick read if you'd like to try it....more
The kingdoms of Spiff and Spud couldn't be more different. One values fashion above all else while the other prides itself in its more humble and mismThe kingdoms of Spiff and Spud couldn't be more different. One values fashion above all else while the other prides itself in its more humble and mismatched tastes. But not everyone in Spiff rejoices in uncomfortable fashions. The princess would much rather read in her pajamas than go to some stuffy ball. When Prince Puggly of Spud and the Princess of Spiff meet up they hatch a plan to teach the Spiffians a lesson in blindly following trends. This book is pure, entertaining froth. The light and humorous rhymes pair up with the creative typography and the fanciful situations and characters (such as King Dandy von Fop) to create an amusing tale that would be fun to read aloud. The theme of individuality as expressed by fashion is well-worn, but the way the story is told with its jaunty rhymes and playful layout is perfectly charming.
As much as I liked the first poem in this collection, it was the second that made me decide to buy a copy for myself. "The Straightener" describes howAs much as I liked the first poem in this collection, it was the second that made me decide to buy a copy for myself. "The Straightener" describes how he was organized even as a child and would keep a lantern, a spyglass, and a tomahawk on his table and always in that order because "You could never tell when you would need them, / but that was the order you would need them in." Like all great humour there's moments of profundity and stanzas to turn over in your mind and ponder, but the humour provides a gentle reminder to the reader not to take the poem or yourself too seriously, providing a graceful exit from any labyrinths of thought the poems create.
This is the text of the poem that Sarah Kay presented in her fabulous TED talk. This version is sparsely illustrated and would make a wonderful gift,This is the text of the poem that Sarah Kay presented in her fabulous TED talk. This version is sparsely illustrated and would make a wonderful gift, or something nice to keep on your shelf for when you need a little inspiration yourself. From her declaration that she is "going to paint the solar systems on the back of her [daughter's] hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, 'Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.'" to he reassurance that "rain will wash away everything, if you let it." This is a poem for mothers and daughters to read and enjoy together.
November is apparently the month I read about failed romance. Perhaps there's something about watching leaves slowly change color, fall off branches,November is apparently the month I read about failed romance. Perhaps there's something about watching leaves slowly change color, fall off branches, and wither up that reminds me of love fading away. Whatever the reason, this collection fit my mood well as Olds told the story of her marriage floundering, her divorce, and the years that followed. In painfully honest poems she describes moments when she remembers the good times and moments when she tries to forget them. Moments when being alone is terrifying and moments when it's freeing. Every poem is very personal but they're also so honest that anyone who has ever loved and lost will be able to find themselves somewhere in one of them.
Who are you? Are you who they say you are? Or are you someone else? Or perhaps a combination of the two: the public and the private you? Addie has beeWho are you? Are you who they say you are? Or are you someone else? Or perhaps a combination of the two: the public and the private you? Addie has been called many things by many people: to her fellow misfits she's a friend, to her classmates she's a know-it-all, to her boyfriend she's beautiful but infuriating, to her boyfriend's friends she's a loser social-climber, to her ex-best friend Becca she's badly in need of a makeover, to her grandmother she's a reminder of how times have changed, and to herself she's...a girl who is trying to figure out who she is.
Rocks my socks: I love the intimacy the format of a novel in verse provided. I felt like I was reading the journal of a precocious middle-school girl and I got a good look into her psyche It reminded me of how glad I am not to be in middle-school anymore. At the same time it gave me some hope by reminding me of how idealistic and passionate youth can be. Addie worries about her boyfriend and her social status, but she also worries about stories she reads in the newspaper about women who are beaten and written off by society or fellow teens who are bullied and end up committing suicide. The poems range from haikus about her cats to long, loosely structured ones about her grandmother and each format fit the subject and told me more about it. A lot of them begged to be read aloud, which I did as I read them, even though I live alone. I'm sure my cat appreciated the entertainment.
I felt like the ending wrapped things up a bit too quickly and easily. Addie goes through a lot and seems to get through it with relative ease. Perhaps that's just due to the novel in verse structure making it less clear how much time has passed, though.
Don't let the novel in verse format foll you--this is a quick and easy read and even though it is economical with its words the descriptions of the plot, character, and setting shine through just as strong as in a more conventional novel. Technically it's the third book in a series but I haven't read the other two and was able to enjoy this one just fine. I'd give it to fans of poetry, but I'd also give it to anyone looking for an outsider school story grades 5 and up. I read it as part of a faculty and staff book club and even those who said that they were originally turned off by the poetry format said that they came around to like it. We all agreed that as adults working at a K-8 school it was a great reminder of what it can be like to be that age.
Book talk: Ha's mother says that it's luckier for a boy to be the first one to walk around the house on New Year's day so that honor always goes to onBook talk: Ha's mother says that it's luckier for a boy to be the first one to walk around the house on New Year's day so that honor always goes to one of her brothers, but she can't resist secretly waking up just after midnight to touch one toe to the ground. Perhaps she shouldn't have, because this year everything seems to have gone wrong. The war is spreading and Ha's family is fleeing to America for safety. Ha was happy with her family in Vietnam but now everything seems inside-out. She wonders if things will ever go back to the way they were again or if her family will be cursed forever.
Rocks in my socks: The entire novel is written in verse that is sparse and beautiful, and yet conveys so much. The plot moves along and the reader gets to know Ha and everyone around her through her poems. Many of her experiences will be new to readers who do not know much about Vietnam, but at the same time there are plenty of familiar situations for readers to relate to, like the way her brothers twist her name around to tease her or some of her birthday wishes: "Wish I could lose my chubby cheeks./Wish I could stay calm/ no matter what/ my brothers say./ Wish Mother would stop/ chiding me to stay calm,/ which makes it worse." Each poem has a clear subject and could stand on its own, but together they form a bigger picture. For example, she writes a poem about her mother making shoulder bags to describe their decision to leave Vietnam. I also loved her takes on learning English, described in a series of poems where she talks about adding 's's to make plurals and concludes that "Whoever invented/ English/ must have loved/ snakes." A bit further into her English education she echoes a thought I'm sure anyone who has ever had to learn English can sympathize with: "Whoever invented English/ should be bitten/ by a snake." I love the perspective that this book brings to Americans. At one point she learns that a friend of hers had a son who died in Vietnam. She writes "I never thought/ the name of my country/ could sound so sad." The novel is semi-autobiographical so naturally it felt very authentic, not just in the details, but in the emotions that were captured so perfectly by the poems. Above all I loved the spunky protagonist and the fact that she couldn't resist touching that toe to the ground first thing on New Year's day.
Rocks in my socks: Nothing comes to mind.
Every book its reader: Fans of poetry will enjoy this book, but those aren't the only ones. The book reads very similarly to a regular novel so anyone interested in learning about other cultures, and Vietnam in particular will be able to enjoy this book. Anyone who has ever felt like a fish out of water or who has had to deal with older brothers will be able to relate to Ha. The war isn't discussed in detail and the story itself is so sweet and touching I'd say it's fine for third and up.
If you're stuck in your room or you're stuck in a rut, If your life needs adventure no if, and, or but, If you love magical creatures and mysteries too,If you're stuck in your room or you're stuck in a rut, If your life needs adventure no if, and, or but, If you love magical creatures and mysteries too, I've got just the right thing: read Zorgamazoo!
If you want to read rhymes much better than mine: Pick up Zorgamazoo, don't waste any time! Okay, I'm done. I promise. Sorry about that. Zorgamazoo is a delightful rhyming romp that reminded me strongly of Dr. Seuss, except in long form. It's apparently Weston's first novel and I'm eager for the next. In addition to rhyming the novel does a lot of fun things with typography and has illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and all I could think of while I was reading it was how much fun it would be to read aloud. I even imagined how I'd vary my voice to match each character and different typographic effects. Another strong heroine in this one, although I think this book could easily be enjoyed by both sexes. The book is fairly bursting with an exuberant spirit that is infectious and while not terribly deep it's certainly clever and I support its message whole-heartedly.