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)
Not as good as 1-4. Perrin is AWOL the entire book, and there's too much "sniffing" between Nynaeve and Elayne. However, I do like Birgitte and Aviend...moreNot as good as 1-4. Perrin is AWOL the entire book, and there's too much "sniffing" between Nynaeve and Elayne. However, I do like Birgitte and Aviendha.(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)
I saw Max Brooks, the author of WORLD WAR Z, on a History Channel show called “Zombies: A Living History.” I was annoyed: he’s confident and affable,...moreI saw Max Brooks, the author of WORLD WAR Z, on a History Channel show called “Zombies: A Living History.” I was annoyed: he’s confident and affable, the published author of a bestselling novel, and I’m pretty sure he’s younger than me. I was jealous. But I looked up the novel, read some online reviews and bought it. Now I don’t begrudge Brooks his success, because the book is bloody brilliant.
In the aftermath of a global zombie apocalypse, the anonymous narrator travels the world, collecting stories from human survivors: soldiers and doctors, housewives and mercenaries, politicians and survivalists. Each chapter is the recollections of a different person, assembled into chronological order.
As I read the book the night before Halloween, my husband asked, “Is it scary?” I answered, “Not scary in the traditional sense of horror, but scary in the sense that you can totally see everything happening, the way governments respond—everything is completely plausible.”
Disregard for now the zombies. Just think of any virulent, lethal, previously unknown infectious disease. The virus spreads rapidly around the globe, transferred not only by international commerce and travel, but also by the rampant black-market trade in human organs. Some governments cover up outbreaks. Other governments mobilize their armies—targeting civilians as well as the infected. Society breaks down. A few intelligence officers figure out what’s happening and hand-deliver an “Eyes Only” report to the White House, which is ignored and relegated to a bottom desk drawer in a remote field office. A sensationalized, televised battle between humans and zombies fails spectacularly when the army shows up with fabulously expensive, high-tech weaponry that has no effect against the enemy. Millions die after evacuating their homes—not from the infection but from violence or starvation or exposure. Desperation. Panic. Religious fervor. Nukes.
So, yes, it’s scary.
Max Brooks has clearly done his homework, and the novel is well-written. The voice of each survivor comes through clearly and their terror is evident, both in what they say and in what is left unsaid, as in these passages:
From a soldier who was witness to one of the first outbreaks: Beyond them, in the first chamber, we saw our first evidence of a one-sided firefight, one-sided because only one wall of the cavern was pockmarked by small arms. Opposite that wall were the shooters. They’d been torn apart. Their limbs, their bones, shredded and gnawed…some still clutching their weapons, one of those severed hands with an old Makarov still in the grip. The hand was missing a finger. I found it across the room, along with the body of another unarmed man who’d been hit over a hundred times. Several rounds had taken the top of his head off. The finger was still stuck between his teeth.
From a girl who evacuated with her family to the woods of northern Canada: I was a pretty heavy kid. I never played sports, I lived on fast food and snacks. I was only a little bit thinner when we arrived in August. By November, I was like a skeleton. […] One time, around Thanksgiving…I couldn’t get out of my sleeping bag. My belly was swollen and I had these sores on my mouth and nose. There was this smell coming from the neighbor’s RV. They were cooking something, meat, it smelled really good. Mom and Dad were outside arguing. Mom said “it” was the only way. I didn’t know what “it” was. She said “it” wasn’t “that bad” because the neighbors, not us, had been the ones to actually “do it.”
Recommended for anyone who has wondered, “What if?” (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)