I wasn't sure at first, but too many of the stories were familiar to me that I must have read this before. That isn' a negative, necessarily, as shortI wasn't sure at first, but too many of the stories were familiar to me that I must have read this before. That isn' a negative, necessarily, as short stories are very re-readable, especially after a while.
This collection is quite eclectic. There are old people, young people, immortals, magic, disabled, lonely, unaware, self-reliant, needy, scared, angry, bemused, and all sorts of people. The stories range often into the sad or creepy, with even the ones you could possibly interpret as happy endings having a good taste of the bittersweet about them.
Harris is a strong writer, and has a dark but humourous way of viewing things. This evocative collection presents so much more of the writer than the Chocolat series....more
2013: My book club chose to read this, most of us for at least a second time. It was nice to revisit it, and as luck would have it our local cinema wa2013: My book club chose to read this, most of us for at least a second time. It was nice to revisit it, and as luck would have it our local cinema was showing the film, so we all went to see it after discussing the book. Despite having read it fairly recently and knowing the characters very well, I didn't remember the details of what happened in the trial and it was very enjoyable to re-read. The movie centres much more on the trial, using that as a frame for the narrative, and I can see why it has been listed as 'courtroom drama' in terms of the movie, though the book gives such a wonderful glimpse into a different time and way-of-life within a beautiful coming of age story of a character realising more about the society, social class, and small town that she belongs to.
2010: I've never watched the movie or read the book before now, and I'm fully annoyed at everyone who ever called this a 'courtroom drama', because they certainly did no justice to exactly what this book conveys or the characters it brings to life. I think I've avoided it because of my assumption it would be a dry old classic. Instead I was treated to a wonderful coming of age story where we get a sense of much more changing than just our main character. The innocence of childhood reflects a bitter world so much more effectively than any documentary ever could. The strength of the people in Scout's life and the life-altering events going on around her are so perfectly rendered in her narrator's voice. I can finally understand how this became classic literature and is considered so many people's favourite book....more
**spoiler alert** I thought this was very funny the first couple of times I read it, but when I read it with a 4-year-old, he informed me that this wa**spoiler alert** I thought this was very funny the first couple of times I read it, but when I read it with a 4-year-old, he informed me that this was a very scary book. And thinking about it, there's a lot of incidents that could really hit some anxiety buttons for young readers (turning green, family alienating Peter, friends making fun of Peter, running away from home, being abducted, missing the family, getting poked and prodded by aliens, being thrown out of a UFO, and then turning orange). So I would suggest being a bit more aware of the audience and perhaps being cautious. Remember, what's funny for some is scary for others!...more
This is a fun book that encourages imagination and not letting the big kids get you down. I like that the main character is a girl, and that her toy aThis is a fun book that encourages imagination and not letting the big kids get you down. I like that the main character is a girl, and that her toy animals all have distinct personalities. It is about being yourself and using the items you have around you to have a good time. ...more
I remember loving this book (it survived many culls of books over the years), and looking at it now, the illustrations are beautiful and textured, theI remember loving this book (it survived many culls of books over the years), and looking at it now, the illustrations are beautiful and textured, the imaginative glimpses of what fish imagines the world to be like fun and whimsical. But the underlying story is disappointing. The moral seems very much that you should stick to your pond and to what you know - that the wider world is not for fish, only frogs. The fish's desperate struggle for breath and his realisation that he is not allowed to partake in the exotic imagery his friend can hop freely to admire is not something I would want children to end a book on. I want children to believe they can achieve and do and visit whatever they want. I want to impart a sense of openness and freedom that this book essentially takes away. Yes, we are all what we are and have the talents we have, but we can also visit and understand so much more than our own little pond....more
This is a bizarre little story, with a trite ending about being kind, but truly the characters are greedy, sycophantic, and cowardly and do not make mThis is a bizarre little story, with a trite ending about being kind, but truly the characters are greedy, sycophantic, and cowardly and do not make much sense in the scheme of things. Why does the camel agree to go with the lion? Why do the fox, vulture and leopard work together rather than turning on each other as they do the camel? Why don't they turn on the lion when he is weak? These are the questions that linger....more
While dinosaurs are always a great idea for a book, this one is confusing and odd.
The illustrations combine drawings with holograms, for no apparentWhile dinosaurs are always a great idea for a book, this one is confusing and odd.
The illustrations combine drawings with holograms, for no apparent reason. The holograms do not add to the pictures, and seem unnecessary.
The text is even worse. The premise of the story is to go back in a time travelling device to check the data on file. However, all but the most careful reader would generally skip over the boring introduction and skip right to the dinosaurs. Once on the dinosaur pages, the text is inaccurate.
Unless you are trying to raise a young editor (worthy but unlikely!), a reader would take the 'Dinofile' information at face value. Personally I hated writing in my books when I was younger, and I would never have wanted to take a red pen to my book to correct it.
As a professional editor now, I feel the book is too confusing for a younger reader, making the book feel like it is trying to be too many things and not succeeding at any of them....more