THE HALLO-WIENER is my all-time-favorite children’s book of any genre. I’ve bought this book for a number of friends with small children, and will soo...moreTHE HALLO-WIENER is my all-time-favorite children’s book of any genre. I’ve bought this book for a number of friends with small children, and will soon need to replace my own bedraggled copy. Oscar is a wiener dog who is “half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half dogs long.” All the other dogs tease him, and the teasing gets even worse when his mom makes him a hotdog costume for Halloween. He tags along behind his friends on Halloween night, embarrassed by his costume. The other dogs are spooked by a monster—but Oscar realizes that the monster is just a couple of cats and saves the day. The illustrations have hidden treasures for adults (at obedience school one dog is writing on the blackboard, I will not sniff my neighbor).(less)
This early reader is divided into four chapters following Dragon (a cheerful, blue, horned beast) as he makes preparations for the holiday. In “The Pe...moreThis early reader is divided into four chapters following Dragon (a cheerful, blue, horned beast) as he makes preparations for the holiday. In “The Perfect Christmas Tree,” Dragon searches for the perfect tree, but once he finds it he can’t bear to cut it down, so decorates it where it stands. In “Merry Christmas, Dragon,” he buys himself some presents but gives them away to creatures in need: food for hungry raccoons, a coat for an elderly rhino, and a birdhouse for a pair of lovebirds. This sweet story teaches the importance of giving.(less)
Creel is a teenage orphan. Her aunt hatches a plan to sacrifice her to the local dragon, thereby enabling her to be rescued by a wealthy knight. Creel...moreCreel is a teenage orphan. Her aunt hatches a plan to sacrifice her to the local dragon, thereby enabling her to be rescued by a wealthy knight. Creel isn’t happy about the plan, and neither is the dragon. She negotiates with the dragon: she will leave him alone if he gives her an item from his treasure hoard.
But it turns out that dragons don’t hoard gold as the legends say. This particular dragon hoards shoes, rather like my sister-in-law. Creel chooses a pair of blue slippers from his hoard and sets off to the big city. Along the way, she encounters another dragon, Shardas, with whom I fell in love. Creel reaches the city, finds employment, catches the eye of a prince, and becomes entangled in palace politics.
Great story, with adventure and lovable characters—human, dragon and canine. I’m looking forward to the next books in the series! (less)
I read THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie for the Salt Lake County Library’s Banned Books Challenge. It has been challe...moreI read THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie for the Salt Lake County Library’s Banned Books Challenge. It has been challenged or banned multiple times.
The “part-time” Indian is Junior, the first-person narrator, a 14-year-old boy with a neurologic disorder. He lives in poverty on the rez with his parents. His best friend is Rowdy, a temperamental kid who is frequently beaten by his alcoholic father. Junior knows he’s going to end up like everyone else on the rez—depressed and impoverished and drunk—if he doesn’t escape, so he transfers to a white high school. The Indians beat him for being a “traitor,” while the white kids beat him for being an Indian.
This novel is YA (young adult), meant for kids in the roughly 13-18 range. High school students have a right to read books like this. You want an eighteen-year-old to ship off to Afghanistan but you don’t want him to read about an Indian kid getting beat up? You trust a sixteen-year-old to drive but don’t trust her to know the difference between fact and fiction? Sure, I wouldn’t want to see this book in the elementary school library, but I would have no problem with it in the high school or public libraries.
Native Americans have been persecuted and marginalized in this country for three hundred years. Hiding our heads in the sand won’t help our society move past this deplorable history. PART-TIME INDIAN is hopeful because in the end, the story is about perseverance; surviving discrimination, betrayal and loss; redemption; and love. (less)