I found SON to be an amazing read!!!! I just loved, loved, loved it! Definitely a book I read in one sitting. In fact, I read The Messenger and Son thI found SON to be an amazing read!!!! I just loved, loved, loved it! Definitely a book I read in one sitting. In fact, I read The Messenger and Son the same evening. The book focuses on two characters: Claire and Gabe.
When Claire was twelve, she was assigned to be a birthmother. Barely two years later, she gives birth to her first (and only) child. Birthmothers never raise their own children, never care for their own young, not even that first year before it is placed into an adopting family. Because #36's arrival was complicated, Claire is dismissed from her (original) assignment and reassigned to the fish hatchery. Perhaps she should have stopped thinking about the baby she gave birth to, the baby she never even caught a glimpse of. But she happens to have an acquaintance assigned to the Nurturers, and she happens to learn the number of her child. And she learns he was a boy. She takes risks, perhaps, and decides to volunteer. Over the course of a year or so, she has the chance to bond with her son. She doesn't know his name, not really. And it's not as if there is a way for her to get her happily ever after, but, she has to make those few precious stolen moments count.
What I loved about Claire's story is that it offers readers an opportunity to revisit The Giver, to see it from another point of view. Readers get a chance to meet Jonas's father, to get to know him, in a way, over a series of encounters throughout the year. Readers also get a chance to explore different sides of the community. Claire is a fascinating heroine, in my opinion. I'm not sure that she's more fascinating than Jonas in The Giver, but, she's an observant, emotional heroine. And I connected with her from the start.
The novel covers many years, and only the first section is set in the same community as The Giver...
The other narrator of Son is Gabriel. Readers get a chance to revisit the community first introduced in Messenger. It gets VERY exciting and dramatic...
Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. Simon & Schuster.
This picture book is incredible. I love the photographs byHughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. Simon & Schuster.
This picture book is incredible. I love the photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. I do. They're so beautiful, so expressive. They really evoke the mood and tone found in Langston Hughes' classic poem "My People." I really don't see how they could complement each other any better than they already do. You can read the poem in its entirety here. I love what Smith says in his note, "at just thirty-three words total, the poem is a study in simplicity, which is what attracted me to it in the first place." I love simple. And this poem, this book, is further proof that simple can be good, really good. A short and simple poem about beauty paired with masterful photographs....more
The Humming of Numbers was one of my favorite 2008 reads, so I was ecstatic to get a chance to read her newest book Zeke's tree wouldn't speak to him.
The Humming of Numbers was one of my favorite 2008 reads, so I was ecstatic to get a chance to read her newest book The Farwalker's Quest. The book stars two kids--twelve year olds: Zeke and Ariel. They're approaching an important date: Namingfest. Soon they'll take tests to determine what paths their futures will take. Zeke hopes to become a Tree-Singer. Ariel hopes to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a Healtouch. Each person in the community has a gift; a gift that contributes to society as a whole. Of course, for those that fail to pass the test, there is the shame of wearing the name 'Fool' til the next year's festivities. (Though there are a few unfortunate souls that wear that name for life.)
Three days before Namingfest, the two find something in a tree. Something ancient. Something fascinating. Something dangerous. (Though it takes a full day for that to be realized.) Something that will bring strangers into their town. Something that will change both of their lives forever. That something is a magical artifact, a "telling dart" that is capable of flying hundreds of miles and revealing its message only to the intended recipient. That this 'dart' found the girl, Ariel, speaks volumes. It will be the best and worst thing that ever happened to her in her short life.
It brings adventures and dangers and new friends...and enemies...her strength and will be tested every step of the way.
I loved this one. Loved the world Sensel created. Loved that it's set so far into the future that society has collapsed upon itself, entered a dark ages of sorts, and is only just beginning to revive again. Loved the characters. How these relationships are built and developed through the novel. How easy it was to care about them all. Loved that so many of the characters were developed. There is a richness to the characters, to the world. (That's not always the case.) Loved the adventures. Loved the pacing. The intensity of it. Each chapter kept me hooked and wanting more.
I'd say this is perfect for fans of The Giver, City of Ember, and Ursula K. Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore series (Gifts, Voices, Powers).
I know it's not saying much being as how it's only the first full week of January, but this is my best read so far!
Ramona and Her Mother is the fifth book in the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. Ramona and Her Father ends with Christmas, Ramona and Her Mother opensRamona and Her Mother is the fifth book in the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. Ramona and Her Father ends with Christmas, Ramona and Her Mother opens with New Year. It's nice, for a change, to get the opportunity to spend a full year with Ramona and the rest of the Quimby family.
"A Present for Willa Jean" The Quimby family hosts a New Year's Day brunch for the neighborhood. While Beezus gets to help serve and host, Ramona's "job" is to entertain Willa Jean. Is Ramona happy about this? Not really! In case you don't remember, Willa Jean is far from Ramona's favorite person. Don't even dream of bringing up any similarities between Ramona and Willa Jean! In this chapter, Ramona gives Willa Jean a box of Kleenex for a present.
"Slacks for Ella Funt" What's the Quimby household like on a Saturday? Well, on this particular Saturday, it's an interesting one. Ramona wants to have a sewing project like Beezus and her mom. She decides that she will make her elephant a pair of pants. Does it go well? Not really. Could she have successfully made a skirt for her elephant? Most likely without any trouble. But stubborn Ramona wanted PANTS. When it doesn't end well, she gets upset, which leads to her doing something very naughty with a tube of toothpaste!
Nobody had to tell Ramona that life was full of disappointments. She already knew. She was disappointed almost every evening because she had to go to bed at eight-thirty and never got to see the end of the eight o'clock movie on television. She had seen many beginnings but no endings. And even though she had outgrown her tricycle, she was still disappointed because she never could find a tricycle license plate with her name printed on it. (40)
As Ramona sat on the hard edge of the tub, feeling sorry for herself and trying to sort out her thoughts, she noticed a brand-new red-white-and-blue tube of toothpaste lying beside the washbasin. How smooth and shiny it looked with only one little dent where someone had squeezed it once. That tube was as good as new, and it was the large economy size. Ramona was suddenly filled with longing. All her life she had wanted to squeeze toothpaste, really squeeze it, not just a little squirt on her toothbrush but a whole tube, a large economy size tube, all at one time just as she had longed to pull out a whole box of Kleenex. I'll give it one little squeeze, thought Ramona. Just one teeny squeeze to make me feel better. She seized the tube. (43)
"Nobody Likes Ramona" Ramona has a bad day at school, and a very bad day at the Kemps after school. Willa Jean won't let Howie and Ramona play checkers. And when Howie and Ramona try to play something else--a big accident happens.
"The Quarrel" The bad day continues for every single member of the Quimby family. It's a HORRIBLE night at home. Ramona and Beezus witness their parents fighting, and, it upsets both of them.
"The Great Hair Argument" Beezus is the star, of sorts, of this chapter. Beezus is getting to be "that age" and a bit difficult for her parents. In this chapter, Beezus is growing out her hair and refusing to let her mom cut it anymore. She wants a REAL hair cut in a real salon by a real stylist. She says all the girls in her class get real hair cuts. Reluctantly, Mrs. Quimby agrees, but, it will be a student stylist. Will Beezus like her new haircut?! Ramona also gets a new haircut in this one.
"Ramona's New Pajamas" Ramona loves, loves, loves her new pajamas. But is it a good idea to wear pajamas under your clothes and go to school?!
"The Telephone Call" Ramona has a fit--though she refrains from yelling guts, guts, guts--and decides to run away from home. Her mom "helps" her pack. Will Ramona really run away?! ...more
After Sophie's father dies, her step-mother sends away two of her sisters. Sophie she keeps on as an apprentice in the family's hat business. Sophie tAfter Sophie's father dies, her step-mother sends away two of her sisters. Sophie she keeps on as an apprentice in the family's hat business. Sophie trims hats. While she's trimming hats and arranging them, she finds herself very often talking to the hats, supposing what kind of person will buy the hat, etc. The shop begins to do well--really well. One person--one witch--notices and decides to act. Poor Sophie finds herself under the witch's spell! Sophie leaves her old life behind, without a word, and goes on an adventure of sorts. Life certainly becomes more challenging for Sophie! But she soon finds a new place to belong, a strange place, an odd place, but a place that begins to feel oddly enough like home. Sophie makes friends in unexpected places.
I loved rereading Howl's Moving Castle. From start to finish, this fantasy novel proves delightfully charming. I loved the characters. I especially loved Sophie and Wizard Howl. I loved the world-building. I love the storytelling. I loved Jones' descriptions. It's just a fun, fun adventure story with heart.
Here's how it begins: "In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes. Sophie Hatter was the eldest of three sisters. She was not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success!" It hooks readers from the very beginning. It certainly hooked me!
I would definitely recommend this one! I just love it! ...more
More jungle noir, please! More, more, more! So yes, it's safe to assume that I loved "watching" Jake G. Panda in The Case of the Cursed Dodo. The bookMore jungle noir, please! More, more, more! So yes, it's safe to assume that I loved "watching" Jake G. Panda in The Case of the Cursed Dodo. The book is written in movie/script format. Which could just have easily failed as succeeded, but, in this case worked quite well.
What did I love about The Case of the Cursed Dodo? Well, I loved, loved, loved the writing. More specifically the descriptions.
Ernie's the hotel driver. A thick-skinned pachyderm with a chip on his shoulder. He lost his tusks in a hunting accident. And he's not the kinda guy to quickly forget. But I had a soft spot for the big fella. He had a lead foot and worked for peanuts. (21)
So the premise if you haven't guessed it is that the hero is a detective. Jake G. Panda is "in the protection racket. I'm the Last Resort's house dick. The hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's my job to keep the guests safe and outta harm's way" (9). The first case involves a missing hare (Professor Harry), a mysterious long-buried suitcase, and a 'cursed dodo.' Plenty of action and humor. Just a treat to read. ...more
I absolutely loved this book. But I tend to always like Carolyn Meyer's historical fiction. And I have great interest in Queen Victoria. If you enjoyeI absolutely loved this book. But I tend to always like Carolyn Meyer's historical fiction. And I have great interest in Queen Victoria. If you enjoyed watching Young Victoria, there's a good chance you'll enjoy reading this book. Half of the novel focuses on Victoria's childhood and her strict upbringing, the second half focuses on the first six or seven years of her reign. Only the last few chapters focus on Victoria as wife...and mother.
Relationships matter in this book. We see this at the very beginning as Victoria struggles to have genuine relationships with the people in her life. Victoria is disappointed again and again as the people she loves and trusts most leave her life. (Her sister, her favorite uncle, various cousins, etc.) She does NOT have a good relationship with her mother...at all. The tension between the two is seen throughout the novel. Other important relationships, of course, are between Victoria and Daisy (Louise Lehzen), Victoria and Albert (her husband-and-cousin), Victoria and Lord Melbourne (prime minister).
It is about politics, but, it isn't only about politics. It offers plenty of drama: ROYAL DRAMA. For example, Victoria's mother does NOT get along with the king...they HATE each other.
I really enjoyed this one. It is told completely from Victoria's point of view. And I think it's well told. ...more
It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea. InIt was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea. In happier times, London would never have bothered with such feeble prey. The great Traction City had once spent its days hunting far bigger towns than this, ranging north as far as the edge of the Ice Wastes and south to the shores of the Mediterranean. But lately prey of any kind had started to grow scarce, and some of the larger cities had begun to look hungrily at London. For ten years now it had been hiding from them, skulking in a damp, mountainous western district that the Guild of Historians said had once been the island of Britain. For ten years it had eaten nothing but tiny farming towns and static settlements in those wet hills. Now, at last, the Lord Mayor had decided that the time was right to take his city back over the land bridge into the Great Hunting Ground.
I don't know about you, but this one had me hooked from the beginning. In this fun science fiction series, it's a town-eat-town world ruled by municipal Darwinism. London is a city on the go, on the move. And for better or worse, Tom is along for the ride.
Tom Natsworthy is an apprentice. True, he's just a third apprentice...and an orphan at that. But he's as content as a boy can be under the circumstances. But when Tom witnesses something he shouldn't--no matter that he'd just saved Mr. Valentine's life--his new life of danger and adventure is off to a brutal start. Tom's new companion--the young girl who got him into this mess of an adventure is Hester Shaw, a flawed and scarred character if ever there was one. But this encounter leaves an unintended impression on another teenager as well...a Miss Katherine Valentine.
All three teens will in one way or another impact the world, save it even. I won't go into all the ins and outs of the plots--the different factions the world is broken into, the danger that Medusa poses to the world, the need for a hero or two to risk it all.
The world Reeve has created is an interesting one. One that you may enjoy reading about--I know I did--but that you'd never want to live in yourself. It's a fast-paced, sci-fi adventure with danger and mystery and the slightest smidgen of romance.
Why is it that reading These Happy Golden Years makes me giddy? Could it be my actual favorite of the series after all? Perhaps. It has been such a trWhy is it that reading These Happy Golden Years makes me giddy? Could it be my actual favorite of the series after all? Perhaps. It has been such a treat for me to reread these Little House books this past month. I've enjoyed visiting with Laura and her family. I've enjoyed watching 'the romance' unfold with Almanzo in Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years.
In These Happy Golden Years Laura has accepted--for better or worse--that she is all grown up. In this book, she teaches several different schools. Each teaching term is short--a few months here, a few months there. Her first teaching position lasts eight weeks, and, it is mostly a nightmare for her. She's rooming with Mr. and Mrs. Brewster. And Mrs. Brewster must be suffering from some mental illness. I feel sorry for Mr. Brewster and their baby, Johnny. There's a helplessness in the situation. Laura realizes how blessed she's been for a happy home life. The opening chapters dwell on her homesickness and gratitude. And she owes much to Almanzo Wilder. For HE comes to "rescue" her from the Brewsters every single weekend no matter how cold the weather. And it all comes as such a surprise to her that she'll get to spend her weekends at home.
When she's not teaching school, she's attending it. Every few months, it seems, she receives an opportunity to teach and earn money, and she'll take a teacher's exam, and get another certificate. But teaching isn't the only way she's able to earn money. She really, truly wants to earn money, not for herself, but to help keep Mary in college.
Most of the book focuses on the courtship of Laura and Almanzo. How he comes to take her sledding or for buggy rides. Laura does love his horses.
Sister Wife has multiple narrators--a teen girl, Celeste, on the verge of her fifteenth birthday which means that the Prophet will soon reveal which mSister Wife has multiple narrators--a teen girl, Celeste, on the verge of her fifteenth birthday which means that the Prophet will soon reveal which man is destined to become her husband; Taviana, a young teen who was rescued by one of the men in the community, she is now living with Celeste's family; Nanette, Celeste's younger sister, is dreaming of the day when she'll be assigned to marry one of the men. In fact, she's dreaming of one man in particular, Jacob, the man who first rescued Taviana, no matter that she'd just be wife number six or seven. Each narrator presents an insider's look at a polygamous community.
Celeste is dreading the idea of becoming a plural wife...for that matter...she is dreading the idea of marriage in general. Marriage means several things within the community: wives are assigned to men, the men are always older--significantly older than the teen brides, there are always plural wives within each household, marriage is for breeding--breed your way into heaven--a baby a year for all your childbearing years. Marriage brings with it work--the housekeeping, the cooking, the cleaning, the tending children. No wonder Celeste is a bit intimidated by the prospect. Celeste is dreaming of love. She is attracted by the idea of falling in love with a boy of her own choosing. Falling in love with a boy--not a man--someone her own age.
Taviana doesn't know whether she'll ever be marriage material or not. She was not born into this faith, into this community. And she wasn't trained up properly. She's seen and done it all. Having even worked as a prostitute on the street. Will the Prophet ever think she'd make a man a fit wife? No, Taviana feels that she won't be with this community forever. She'll one day be out in the world again. She doesn't miss her former life--though sometimes she wishes she could go on the internet or watch television or read a book--too many bad memories. But she knows this reprieve is temporary in all likelihood.
Nanette. Out of all the narrators perhaps I pity Nanette the most. Here is a girl--around the age of twelve or thirteen--who is idealizing marriage. Maybe that isn't the strange part. But it's who she's choosing to idealize that is a bit icky. Jacob, as far as they come, is a good man. He's a believer. He appears to treat his wives and his children kindly. That's not to say there is no discipline or structure, but he's not as tyrannical as he could be. Jacob seems to have picked Nanette out of the crowd. Though she is several years away from marriage, he seems to have taken a liking to her. He speaks with her at every opportunity. He hints in a veiled-not-so-veiled way that he wishes she could be his wife now.
Sister Wife is an excellent book, a fascinating book, a look at an oppressed culture. Oppressed in that the children are given no choices. To be in the faith means certain things--for girls it means being obedient and diligent. Girls are to obey their father, work hard and respect their mother(s), tend to the house, tend to the younger children, etc. When they reach a certain age--fourteen or fifteen--they are assigned husbands. Again no choice. No choice who to marry--or when to marry. But the community is oppressive to boys as well. The boys aren't allowed to develop relationships with girls. Aren't allowed to marry when they're young. The teen girls are for the older men, not the younger. Is it any wonder that there are a lot of boys running away from the community, choosing to be shunned and to become a part of the world at large. We see a glimpse of this in Sister Wife as we follow Jon to the city and to the refuge he finds there with a woman--a former sister wife herself--who seeks to help those leaving the community adjust to the modern world, to society.
The book is packed with ethical implications. It's a thoughtful and thought-provoking novel. It's not that the book seeks to demonize this fictional community, all the characters are human--flawed, imperfect.
Audrey has "outgrown" her house, or, so she thinks at the opening of this delightful picture book by Jenny Hughes. Audrey and her Dad go outside lookiAudrey has "outgrown" her house, or, so she thinks at the opening of this delightful picture book by Jenny Hughes. Audrey and her Dad go outside looking for a house--a new house--that is just right for the bigger-than-yesterday Audrey. They decide to build a treehouse. Side by side, they spend the day. But when evening approaches, well, Audrey realizes just where she belongs, where she'll always belong.
Loved, loved, loved it!!! Cute premise, cute illustrations, lovely text. This one just works really well for me!!! My favorite illustration is of Audrey in her Dad's sweater with the cat following along behind her. ...more