The stories contained within are all odd and bizarre, and the reader is thrown into the action from the start. I believe this is the first time I have...moreThe stories contained within are all odd and bizarre, and the reader is thrown into the action from the start. I believe this is the first time I have read a story from the point of view of an elephant (Horton doesn't count), though I do wish I understand some of the stories better.
GENRE: Fiction: Short stories: historical fiction, fantasy.
SUMMARY: Black Juice is a collection of short stories that delve deep into the psyche of both human and animal. One story follows a herd of elephants as they search for their handler who has been taken from them. In another the reader witnesses a tribe’s harsh punishment for murder: the guilty party must stand upon a tar pit, while they sink slowly and their family sits nearby, until they are completely covered. In another a young, financially broke woman drives to a small town to attend her grandmother’s funeral, remembering what she’s learned from her relative along the way.
EVALUATION: This collection contains some of the strangest stories I have ever read. The premise in many of them is bizarre, the situations are often foreign, and the language and speech patterns of a number of the characters are very unusual. Yet the odd and weird hold a strong appeal for me and this book did not disappoint. This is a slower read than most, for there is much to process in the stories, both directly and from what is merely alluded to. While it took me longer to get into this book, it was well worth it, for Lanagan has crafted ten wonderful stories. For the record, I think my favorite was the elephant herd story (“Sweet Pippit”), and that was the first time, aside from perhaps Horton, that I read a story from the perspective of an elephant.
WHY I WOULD INCLUDE IT: This title is perfect for the teen reader that has an open mind, and wishes to be challenged a bit with their reading. After the reader has read through all of the stories once, they could read through it again and uncover new things, and perhaps find new ties and connections between the stories. This is certainly the mark of a well-written book. (less)
GENRE: Fiction, romance. Serving Young Teens and 'Tweens (2007) sorted this fictional book under "Books Exploring Sexuality and Relationships."
SUMMARY...moreGENRE: Fiction, romance. Serving Young Teens and 'Tweens (2007) sorted this fictional book under "Books Exploring Sexuality and Relationships."
SUMMARY: Crush consists of ten stories about a number of girls from Cutter's Forge High, the boys they like, and the boys that like them. The narrators of the stories vary, though the characters are all connected. So, while Amy Porter has her own tale to tell, she also plays a small role in one or two other stories. The main concern for most of the girls is the upcoming Valentine's Day dance, the Sweetheart Stomp. In one section, a number of girls send (mostly) anonymous Valentine's Day cards to a shy, clumsy boy named Robert, in an effort to give him a boost of self-confidence. The idea backfires, for Robert turns into a swaggering, arrogant jerk who assumes that every girl around now likes him. The book culminates at the night of the dance, where new romances have begun, and old ones have grown stronger.
EVALUATION: Though fluffy, it touches upon issues that many teenaged girls contend with, in the same language that they would use.
WHY I WOULD INCLUDE IT: Deals with romance in a tempered, light-hearted manner. Tween girls especially should enjoy it.
READER'S ANNOTATION: The Sweetheart Stomp dance is coming up at Cutter's Forge High, and many girls are wondering who will ask them, or dreaming about their big night with their boyfriend.
ITEMS WITH SIMILAR APPEAL: • My Heartbeart by Garret Freymann-Weyr. (less)
Lost and Found presents three thought-provoking stories, from which readers can take away different feelings. I liked this more than my 10 & 12 ye...moreLost and Found presents three thought-provoking stories, from which readers can take away different feelings. I liked this more than my 10 & 12 year old, and I strongly appreciated the author's notes that explain the stories and their origins and such in more detail, while my sons were really done with the book by then. The artwork is well done, with a dark, gritty sort of feel. These stories aren't exactly feel-good, but are all well worth reading (multiple times even).(less)
I am a Gaiman fan, including his voice-acting talents, so I was surprised that I didn't like this more. I suspect if I had read it instead of listened...moreI am a Gaiman fan, including his voice-acting talents, so I was surprised that I didn't like this more. I suspect if I had read it instead of listened to it, I would've enjoyed this collection of short stories better. As it was, the shortness of most of the stories made it difficult for me to become immersed in them. I listened to this while at work, and I often must pause. This lack of flow also hindered my experience.
Still, my favorites were: "October in the Chair" and "How Do You Think It Feels?" Also, Gaiman does a knee-shaking Scottish accent!(less)
4.5 stars! Like the wonderful Flight Explorer Volume 1, this title features seven separate stories, each by a different artist, yet all with an interc...more4.5 stars! Like the wonderful Flight Explorer Volume 1, this title features seven separate stories, each by a different artist, yet all with an interconnecting theme. This theme centers on a box, and what each box holds. Other than that, the stories vary from fantasy-themed, to sci-fi, to magic. Some are funny, some are more intense. I'd say my favorite is The Butter Thief, but truly, they are all excellent, in both art and story.(less)
4.5 stars! Oh, how I wish this was out when my two boys were young, instead of the more dully rendered editions I read to them. *sigh* Still, I am ple...more4.5 stars! Oh, how I wish this was out when my two boys were young, instead of the more dully rendered editions I read to them. *sigh* Still, I am pleased for all of the parents out there now that can share this with their kids. Every single nursery rhyme is illustrated by a different artist, and there is a beautiful, dizzying array of them. There is so much to see and do, it will be quite a long time before a curious youngster is tired of looking through all the pictures.
Still, it can also provide pleasure to older kids and adults as well. My 11 year old gave it 3.5 stars, only because he didn't understand some of the stories. Well, it has been a LONG time since I've shared any nursery rhymes with him, heh.
This is the best collection of them I've seen. My only gripe is no "Jack Sprat"!(less)
3.5 stars. This is a collection of many odd, slightly twisted stories. The endings are well done, unless you hate it when things are implied more than...more3.5 stars. This is a collection of many odd, slightly twisted stories. The endings are well done, unless you hate it when things are implied more than stated, or when things are left up to your imagination. I liked that part. I also liked the quirkiness of the stories. Still, I wasn't particularly moved by any of the characters or stories, and I failed to feel any connection with them too. That may be somewhat due to the short story nature, since there isn't time to really make a connection...or maybe I just couldn't relate. A decent, quick read.(less)
I picked this up from our local library for a few reasons: 1) I was waiting for another book to arrive to read to my sons (13 and 11), and needed some...moreI picked this up from our local library for a few reasons: 1) I was waiting for another book to arrive to read to my sons (13 and 11), and needed something short just to tide us over til then. 2) I read some of Paulsen's previous work, and knew him to be a strong author. 3) This was not only short, it was separated into three stories. I figured it would be perfect.
I like the book, but I did not realize the content of the stories beforehand. So that all of you know that may want to read it to your kids, or get it for your kids to read, understand these stories collectively deal with murder, drug and alcohol abuse, physical abuse, homelessness, hunger and other heavy subjects. Oh, and all of that is with regards to *children*. Also, we didn't read the stories in order, and didn't read the author's note until we got to the first story, which we read last. Learn from our mistakes, read the note first, then the stories in the order they are presented.
There is goodness and hope present within the stories. Dogs, friends, caring siblings, helpful adults, art and writing all play a part in making life just a bit more bearable for these troubled kids. I was surprised that my boys wanted to keep on reading after the initial shock of the subject matter. After all, they are extremely privileged compared to the characters. In the end, I believe it helped give them some perspective, and maybe a little empathy, as well as gratitude for their current life.
Beyond any kind of message this book may send, Paulsen continues to be a stellar writer. Give it a try, especially if it's different from what you (or your kids) normally read.(less)
I almost did 3.5 stars, but I so love Malcolm Gladwell that I am happy to round up. Note that out of Blink, Outliers, and this title, this was my leas...moreI almost did 3.5 stars, but I so love Malcolm Gladwell that I am happy to round up. Note that out of Blink, Outliers, and this title, this was my least favorite, and I highly enjoyed the other two. Gladwell is still a joy to hear. By the end of this title, I've also detected a pattern, and I'm pleased to say that I am fascinated by Gladwell's people descriptions. He mentions how a person looks, how they move, and what they are like in a way unlike any author I can think of. And when he speaks these descriptions in the audio CD, they sound positive, complimentary, true to form. *swoon*
I'm trying to piece together why I didn't like this one *as much* as the others. What the Dog Saw consists of many stories that were originally published in The New Yorker. Gladwell does a fine job of tying some of these stories together, but in the end, I guess I simply prefer his more cohesive work. If I read/listened to each of these stories when they were originally published, my overall feeling may be more positive. There were plenty that I liked, especially the ones about Ron Popeil, mustard, and the generalizing of pit bulls. Oh, and the one about The Dog Whisperer was great! However, the story about postwar America and the science of mammography felt a tad too dry.
I wish I could be more specific about my issue. It also took me a long time to listen to this, and it's not just because there were more CDs. I wasn't pulled into the overall picture enough to seek out my CD more often.
Still, I can recommend this to you, with the above caveats. I'll also add that if you find yourself in the middle of a story that doesn't captivate you, do what I did not, and just skip to the next one. You're likely to find something that gives you pause, makes you think, nudges you to consider things just a bit differently than you did before you heard it. And that is why I love Malcolm Gladwell's books.(less)