I checked this book out from the library because the character's name was like my nickname, Dorie. A glance at the fly showed that this would be cuteI checked this book out from the library because the character's name was like my nickname, Dorie. A glance at the fly showed that this would be cute and imaginative, but even though I took this home with reasonably good expectations, I was still surprised by how endearing and excellent it was. There are cute, evocative illustrations on almost every page, and the chapter book structure and writing are perfect for the target age while never coming across as formulaic. The little girl in the story is very imaginative, and even though I have lots of distinct memories from when I was little, this book has brought some of them back even more vividly. This is such a realistic, excellent book that truly understands the thoughts and imaginations of clever, abnormal little children. I would highly recommend this both to kids at that reading level and older people who would like to reminisce about how fascinating and imaginative everyday life can be when you're small....more
Picture book biographies are great, because you get a glimpse into a person's life without a full commitment to a lengthy book, and get to gaze at beaPicture book biographies are great, because you get a glimpse into a person's life without a full commitment to a lengthy book, and get to gaze at beautiful, evocative illustrations. This is my new favorite. I was already impressed with Melissa Sweet's biography illustrations, and she surpassed herself here. The collage-style artwork is beautiful, absorbing, and well-suited to the story, which is quite fascinating on its own terms.
I never knew anything about Roget. I did not know what country he lived in, what his childhood was like, what he did for a career, when he published his thesaurus, or even how to properly pronounce his last name. This book answers all of those questions, giving interesting insight to a unique story that you will not likely learn anywhere else in life. The book is delightful, capturing the spirit of his love for words and presenting his story in a artistic way that children and grown-ups can enjoy.
I have loved words all my life, and in eighth grade, I even coped with irritating people in my Sunday school class by coming up with a list of words that I thought described them: revolting, deplorable, abhorrent, despicable, intolerable, repugnant, etc. Thesauruses have long been one of my favorite writing tools, and I received the compliment of my life when a friend was writing a story involving me and said she had to use one in order to make my dialogue authentic. Because of all this, I have a biased view of this book, but even apart from my interest in the topic, this book is great on its own terms and deserves to become a classic....more
Percy's Jackson's ever-witty narrative voice introduces us to the major Greek gods, with an amusingly titled chapter devoted to each one. My first impPercy's Jackson's ever-witty narrative voice introduces us to the major Greek gods, with an amusingly titled chapter devoted to each one. My first impression of this book was that it was another release to make money from the hype, but I found that it was an excellent, satisfactory project in and of itself. Although someone will not fully enjoy this or get all the in-jokes without having first read the Percy Jackson series, this is compulsively readable regardless of your feelings about those books, and offers some side-splitting mythological education in Twenty-First Century lingo.
It was that which provided most of the humor. Because this book was not just Percy narrating his own story like a modern kid, but Percy making the Greek gods talk like today's middle school students, I found this book even funnier than the Percy Jackson novels. I could rarely get through a single page without giggling.
I learned a lot about mythology. Since it is not a topic that interests me, I probably would never know anything but the most basic cultural knowledge if not for this series. Some have complained that this book overemphasizes myths and characters related to the series, while downplaying other crucial stories. I'm sure it does, but since I otherwise would know nothing on the subject, I'll take what I can get.
One word of warning: because of the gods sexual licentiousness, this book is not recommended for children. Percy deals with it as best as anyone could, trying to stay cryptic and lighthearted, but even though the book is never graphic or even very specific, I would not call this book family friendly. The Percy Jackson series works as a juvenile or young adult series; this is young adult.
To end on a lighter note, here is one of the lines that made me laugh the hardest: "His big claim to fame was that the Golden Fleece—that magical sheepskin rug I'm related to—ended up in his kingdom, which made the place immune to disease, invasion, stock market crashes, visits from Justin Bieber, and pretty much any other natural disaster."...more
This book tells the unforgettable, searing story of a young Polish woman who defied the Nazis at immense personal cost, determined to stand against thThis book tells the unforgettable, searing story of a young Polish woman who defied the Nazis at immense personal cost, determined to stand against the evil she encountered and to save the lives of the people she eventually undertook to hide. The story is so action-packed and fascinating that it seems like an adventure novel, and yet it is so extreme and so full of narrow escapes that it would push the suspension of disbelief if it had not actually happened.
I will not attempt to sum up the story, since anything I could write would be a gross oversimplification, but I highly recommend the book. It is fascinating and informative, the writing so vivid and detailed that it feels entirely real. I have read biographies which seem more like vague summations of a person's life and adventures; this reads like a novel. The small details and specific memories bring it to life, making it one of the most unforgettable books I have ever read. I cannot get the story out of my head, and am amazed by the heroism and sacrifice of this amazing woman. The book is categorized as young adult, and because of some mature subject matter, I do not recommend this book for children. However, it defies age categorization beyond that issue, and I hope that no adults will be turned away from reading this just because it is marketed to teenagers. The book is well-written, moving, and deeply meaningful, and I believe that everyone should read it at least once in their life....more
This is the most beautifully illustrated picture book I have ever read. The detailed, radiant illustrations were awe-inspiring, and the fanciful storyThis is the most beautifully illustrated picture book I have ever read. The detailed, radiant illustrations were awe-inspiring, and the fanciful story was sweet. This is one of those rare things were instead of rushing through the pictures to read the story, I sat with the book open in my lap and gazed admiringly at every detail. I highly recommend this....more
Because this book is brand new and has an awesome cover, it caught my eye at the library. Truth be told, I looked at this book because I thought it waBecause this book is brand new and has an awesome cover, it caught my eye at the library. Truth be told, I looked at this book because I thought it was another goofy YA romance, and wanted to be amused by a peek at its absurdities. I read the plot premise, and saw that this was not another bizarre paranormal fantasy, but was historical fiction about a girl growing up in Hitler's shadow in 1930s Munich. Even though I knew nothing about it, the time period and story appealed to me enough that I went out on a limb and checked it out. (Yes, I'm a librarian in the making... My wild side appears when I play Scrabble, and I live on the edge when I check out books without reading reviews first.)
I enjoyed this novel more than I have enjoyed fiction in a long time. It was surprisingly well-written, especially for a debut novel, and had great vocabulary words all throughout, which was one thing that won me over in my cursory glance through the book at the library. The characters are well-drawn and endearing, and instead of idly sitting back to watch the story unfold, I grew truly afraid for them. I read lots of good books, but only occasionally find those which grip me and don't let me go. Several times, I even forgot to breathe, because the danger and risk in this story were so tangible and real.
The imaginative elements in the story were well-done, fitting right into the reality of history. It was exciting to see how much of the story was true, and to learn even more about history through a memorable novel. The author's note in the back gave great information about what was true and what she made up, and she gave book recommendations for further reading, which I will definitely check out. I learned a lot from this book, but never found it dry or boring. This was not a historical treatise, but a grand story pulling in so many true elements that I kept gaining more information about one of my chief interests.
One thing I greatly appreciated was how none of the scenes were superfluous. Especially in YA romance, there tend to be whole sections of the book that seem to have nothing to do with anything, just to fit in more hormonal contemplation, angst, and drama. Here, it was not so. If anything, the romance took a backseat to the plot, slowly developing in a more natural way. Although there are some slightly implausible aspects, overall it was good, and the story unfolded page by page, with no unnecessary parts. Every scene added something to the plot or characters, and there were no dull, irrelevant portions where I started wondering if I should check Facebook. Even when the moment was not riveting, it was all part of the unfolding story, and I was impressed by the good pacing.
The character development was also natural and well-paced, and I was pleased to see that this book avoided two of my main pet peeves: anachronistic thinking and immediate fundamental change.
We've all read those civil war stories where the main character is not only against slavery, but has twenty-first century views on race relations. Authors often put modern sensibilities into the heads of characters immersed in completely different cultures, and despite the fact that no one thought that way until the historical event was hindsight, authors present these characters as the sane ones in a messed-up society. The extremely anachronistic perceptions in such stories cheapen the historical value of a novel, and make the character's idealistic speeches seem quite laughable.
In any genre, you can find characters whose views radically change without sufficient time or provocation. This always grates on me, because no one ever reorients their worldview in a day. Such changes happen over time, and although some significant trauma or major event could cause a sudden turn-around, it is absurd for characters to just change at the whim of an author. Something has to drive the change, and the reader must see it incrementally happening.
This book avoided both pitfalls, presenting the perfect Aryan girl dazzled by Hitler and convinced that he knows what’s best. She was not the person standing up to defend Jews, but just like everyone else, found them repulsive and believed the lies. It was realistic, and her thoughts made sense in the historical context. Then, as she got to know the Jewish reporter who becomes a love interest, her views began to change, but there was no emotional moment of truth. It was a slow process. The plot of the story drove the change forward, each unfolding element bringing her closer to the truth, until her eyes were opened. It was all rational and realistic, and I really enjoyed it.
My one substantial complain about this book, quite simply, is that since I discovered this book a few months after publication, I will have to wait for the rest of the trilogy! ...more
Biographical only as necessary, this unique book takes Anne Frank's diary seriously as a literary work, telling about her life, her creative process aBiographical only as necessary, this unique book takes Anne Frank's diary seriously as a literary work, telling about her life, her creative process and masterpiece, and the subsequent play, film, and use in schools. After all my reading about Anne Frank, I already was aware of much of the information in the first and third sections, but it was interesting to read from a new perspective, and the book was glorious well-written and expressive.
As a diarist myself, the second section was enthralling, and although I cannot imagine most casual readers of the diary being fully interested in the details of Anne as a writer, this book provides an excellent resource for those like me, who are fascinated by not only her work, but also her potential creative process, and imagine how that would have gone.
Many people do not realize that Anne edited her diary, or even that the solitary diary was not her only writing paper. I knew all along that the contents of the book could not fit in one diary, so it made sense to me to learn in other books about how she used various other exercise books and loose papers to continue her writing. Other books also sufficiently explained about Anne's revising process, but since this book was focused on the literary work, it offered significantly more detailed information.
In the midst of hiding, she went back and rewrote the first part, excising portions she disliked, summing up detail more concisely, and fleshing out the dramatic portions with more specific detail and dialogue. People criticize her father for making some edits prior to publication, but Anne already desired to use her diary to aid in writing a book someday, and had carefully revised it with an audience in mind.
Overall, this book was a fascinating read, and had lots of new information. I would not necessarily recommend it to every Anne Frank fan, but to anyone interested in her as a writer, this is an excellent resource....more