Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld is newly translated into English by Jeffrey M. Green. And, if you're like me, and seek to read as many World WarAdam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld is newly translated into English by Jeffrey M. Green. And, if you're like me, and seek to read as many World War II books as possible in any given year, it's worth seeking out.
The book opens with Adam and his mother in the forest. She's leaving him, leaving him with a promise that she'll return when it's safe, but ultimately leaving him on his own. He doesn't stay on his own, however, for later that same day he finds another boy his own age whose mother had also brought him to the forest. His name is Thomas. The two boys are quite different from one another. But they're both Jewish, both seeking to escape the ghetto before it is liquidated, both unsure of the future. Though Adam is a positive thinker if ever there was one.
Can the two boys survive the horrors of both war and nature in the forest? Will they find enough food to eat in the forest? What about in winter? How will they stay warm? Dare they try to light a fire?
"Enjoyed" is such a wrong word given the context and content of this one. But I found it a quick, overall hopeful read. I liked Thomas and his dreams. I liked Adam and his resourcefulness and hope. I liked how these two made a point of helping others who fled into the forest to try to escape the Nazis.
I also liked Miro and Mina. Mina is another Jewish girl hiding out in the country. Miro is Adam's oh-so-loyal dog that tracks him down after several weeks or months and joins the boys in the forest. ...more
I enjoyed reading Escape from Baxters' Barn. Burdock, the 'hero' of the book, happens to hear an argument in the house. He reports the shocking truthI enjoyed reading Escape from Baxters' Barn. Burdock, the 'hero' of the book, happens to hear an argument in the house. He reports the shocking truth of what he heard to the other barn animals later that day. While a few animals hold out hope for a day or two that maybe just maybe the situation isn't all that bad, it soon becomes clear that it IS that bad. The animals will have to seriously brainstorm and work together if they want to survive.
There is a certain intensity to Escape from Baxters' Barn. While readers may think it unlikely for the book to end in a disaster, the book is plotted so intensely that one gets caught up in worrying. I'll clarify. That was my personal experience. I was getting nervous, and I felt the need to check and double-check the ending to make sure that I wasn't going to regret picking it up!!! If I didn't have the ability to CHEAT when reading animal books, I'm not sure I'd ever pick one up and read it.
I liked the characters. I liked all the animals. And I liked how it all came together.
I don't always think of books to pair with another book, but in this case, it just came naturally. I would recommend Arthur, For the Very First Time by Patricia MacLachlan and Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. ...more
Did I enjoy reading Susan Wittig Albert's The Tale of Hill Top Farm? Yes. It is one of the reasons I decided to host the Edwardian Reading Challenge.Did I enjoy reading Susan Wittig Albert's The Tale of Hill Top Farm? Yes. It is one of the reasons I decided to host the Edwardian Reading Challenge. (Not the only reason, mind you, but one reason.) What did I love about it? There were quite a few things that I actually really loved about it.
First, it's a cozy mystery. Second, it's a cozy mystery set in England, at the turn of the century. It opens circa 1905. Third, it stars Beatrix Potter, and, is very loosely based on her time in the country. (Not that I would ever mistake it for nonfiction. It is clearly fiction!)I like the rural village setting. I like the community focus. Plenty of quirky characters. Fourth, it's a happy-cozy blend of human and animal narration. Readers meet animals of all sorts--big and small. Cats. Dogs. Sheep. Badgers. Guinea pigs. Mice. Rabbits. The fifth reason? Do I really need a fifth reason to convince you to give it a try? Perhaps not, but I've got one anyway! I like multiple mysteries per book. Not every "mystery" is a murder mystery.
I would definitely recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading on in the series....more
Would I recommend reading The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter? Yes, for the most part. Even if I didn't love, love, love each and every story withinWould I recommend reading The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter? Yes, for the most part. Even if I didn't love, love, love each and every story within the collection, I would definitely say that the book is worth having--whether you buy it or borrow it from the library. I love it's completeness. I love that it isn't just a selection of her best-known or best-loved stories. I loved that the book presents her stories in the order of publication. I also love that each story is introduced to readers. Not that this background information would be something you'd need to share with children, but, for adults it's fascinating to learn more about the writing process and the author's personal life.
The book includes: The Tale of Peter Rabbit The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin The Tailor of Gloucester The Tale of Benjamin Bunny The Tale of Two Bad Mice The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle The Tale of The Pie and The Patty Pan The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit The Story of Miss Moppet The Tale of Tom Kitten The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck The Tale of Samuel Whiskers The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies The Tale of Ginger and Pickles The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes The Tale of Mr. Tod The Tale of Pigling Bland Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes The Tale of Little Pig Robinson
The book also features her "other works." These are "Three Little Mice," "The Sly Old Cat," "The Fox and the Stork," and "The Rabbit's Christmas Party." Some of these are works-in-progress. She'd done the illustrations, or drafts of illustrations, but never completed the text.
The book, I think, definitely celebrates her life as a writer, it celebrates the writing and publishing process--the journey. It was great to have such a thorough collection. I did "discover" new-to-me Potter stories that I'd not read before.
My top ten
1) The Tailor of Gloucester 2) The Tale of Peter Rabbit 3) The Tale of Benjamin Bunny 4) The Tale of Two Bad Mice 5) The Story of Miss Moppet 6) The Tale of Little Pig Robinson 7) The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin 8) The Tale of Tom Kitten 9) The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck 10) The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
Do you have a favorite story by Beatrix Potter?! I'd love to know what it is! ...more
First sentence: It was Christmas Eve, and Harold had to have a Christmas tree before Santa Claus arrived.
Premise/plot: It's Christmas Eve and HaroldFirst sentence: It was Christmas Eve, and Harold had to have a Christmas tree before Santa Claus arrived.
Premise/plot: It's Christmas Eve and Harold needs a Christmas tree. With his purple crayon in hand, Harold's adventure begins. He's in search of a tree, so he must draw stars and woods and SNOW. Because he was a little TOO enthusiastic about the snow, Harold finds himself at the North Pole, and, Santa is snowed in. Can Harold draw Santa out of trouble?
My thoughts: This one is so cute and charming. I loved the text. I loved the illustrations. I loved the scene where Harold draws the reindeer and harnesses them up to Santa's sleigh. Have you read this one? What did you think?
Text: 4.5 out of 5 Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5 Total: 9 out of 10
First sentence: One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. There wasn't any moon, and HaroldFirst sentence: One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. There wasn't any moon, and Harold needed a moon for a walk in the moonlight. And he needed something to walk on.
Premise: Readers meet Harold, a young boy with a purple crayon. Harold is always finding himself in the middle of adventures. He can draw his way in and out of those adventures. For example, his shaking hand causes the purple crayon to make waves and he finds himself drowning in the ocean. No cause for fear though, just draw a boat and get inside.
My thoughts: I really love Harold and his purple crayon. I found the book playful and fun and simple and wonderful. Have you read Harold and the Purple Crayon? What was your favorite scene? I love Harold's picnic with the nine kinds of pie!!! I like how he draws animals to finish the pies. The picture of the porcupine is so cute and adorable!
Text: 5 out of 5 Illustrations: 5 out of 5 Total: 10 out of 10...more
Clarence was with me as concerned the revolution, but in a modified way. His idea was a republic, without privileged ordersOne of my favorite scenes:
Clarence was with me as concerned the revolution, but in a modified way. His idea was a republic, without privileged orders, but with a hereditary royal family at the head of it instead of an elective chief magistrate. He believed that no nation that had ever known the joy of worshiping a royal family could ever be robbed of it and not fade away and die of melancholy. I urged that kings were dangerous. He said, then have cats. He was sure that a royal family of cats would answer every purpose. They would be as useful as any other royal family, they would know as much, they would have the same virtues and the same treacheries, the same disposition to get up shindies with other royal cats, they would be laughably vain and absurd and never know it, they would be wholly inexpensive; finally, they would have as sound a divine right as any other royal house, and "Tom VII, or Tom XI, or Tom XIV by the grace of God King," would sound as well as it would when applied to the ordinary royal tomcat with tights on. "And as a rule," said he, in his neat modern English, "the character of these cats would be considerably above the character of the average king, and this would be an immense moral advantage to the nation, for the reason that a nation always models its morals after its monarch's. The worship of royalty being founded in unreason, these graceful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other royalties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper love and reverence than the customary human king, and would certainly get it. The eyes of the whole harried world would soon be fixed upon this humane and gentle system, and royal butchers would presently begin to disappear; their subjects would fill the vacancies with catlings from our own royal house; we should become a factory; we should supply the thrones of the world; within forty years all Europe would be governed by cats, and we should furnish the cats. The reign of universal peace would begin then, to end no more forever.... Me-e-e-yow-ow-ow-ow—fzt!—wow!"
Hang him, I supposed he was in earnest, and was beginning to be persuaded by him, until he exploded that cat-howl and startled me almost out of my clothes. But he never could be in earnest. He didn't know what it was. He had pictured a distinct and perfectly rational and feasible improvement upon constitutional monarchy, but he was too feather-headed to know it, or care anything about it, either....more