This collection is okay, mildly interesting, but not all that great. I'd say the first part is a solid 2 stars, while The Christmas Carol parody is aThis collection is okay, mildly interesting, but not all that great. I'd say the first part is a solid 2 stars, while The Christmas Carol parody is a probably a 3. That part was easily the best, even if the collection as a whole is a bit of a disappointment. It just seems like most of the stories here are one-trick ponies, without much substance, although their extreme brevity may account for that s well. The idea of being satirical isn't the foundation; it's the whole product. Scrooge's transformation in the last story was much more interesting than the characters in the other stories, perhaps because it was a longer tale with a more complete plot. I'm not sorry I read it, but I could probably take it or leave it....more
This celebration of a people and a culture was a great read for Black History Month. This collection spans from ancient Greece's Aesop to modern AmeriThis celebration of a people and a culture was a great read for Black History Month. This collection spans from ancient Greece's Aesop to modern America's Bugs Bunny, and it includes jump rope rhymes, folk songs, ballads, legends, lore, proverbs, Biblical passages, poems, hand claps, historical information, hymns, and spirituals. African-American contributions to music, to literature, and to society are shared here. More than that, they are celebrated, as products of and testaments to the artists who created them. This book was a joy....more
This rhyming version of Cinderella is unlike any other version I have read. It is based on the Perrault version, but it takes more than a few libertieThis rhyming version of Cinderella is unlike any other version I have read. It is based on the Perrault version, but it takes more than a few liberties filling in details about the characters. I'm a little disappointed that this Cinderella is more passive that Perrault's—no teasing the stepsisters here—but on the whole, the changes are interesting improvements. I like that in this version, the prince has a very emotional scene where he's looking for Cinderella in a panic. I like that this Cinderella gets angry on behalf of someone else's unfair treatment. I like the fairy godmother has a bit of fiery personality, complaining to Cinderella about all the things she wants to do to the stepsisters. There are also a few genuinely cute moments, such as the prince waiting for Cinderella and jumping up every time someone comes in, hoping to see her. There are also several comedic moments, mostly with the stepsisters, and this humor comes out in the illustrations as well. The narrator even refers to finding a husband for the stepsister as finding a "victim." Perhaps my favorite change is (view spoiler)[the realistic ending. There is no supernatural retribution maiming the stepsisters, but neither is there the sappy sweet ending where the stepsisters instantly become good and Cinderella instantly forgives them and helps them marry up. Here, it seems that Cinderella and her stepsisters avoid each other. The stepsisters are still their same rotten selves, and they are free to marry—or not—as they can. (hide spoiler)]...more
This charming poem will not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're looking for a short read, a sweet fantasia on the Christmas nativity story, then yThis charming poem will not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're looking for a short read, a sweet fantasia on the Christmas nativity story, then you may enjoy this. The poetry is not the greatest, and Wibberley takes more than a few liberties with the traditional Bethlehem story, but it is precisely these deviations from tradition that make this volume delightful. This is a new take on an old chronicle, the shepherds of Bethlehem as you've never seen them before. And, of course, Wibberley retains the warmth and love that always accompany this story....more
I didn't care for this one as much as the first. Instead of being a pleasant mix of sweet, silly, and naughty, the cats in this collection come off moI didn't care for this one as much as the first. Instead of being a pleasant mix of sweet, silly, and naughty, the cats in this collection come off mostly as cynical, even resentful of the humans who care for them. Many of the poems felt the same to me, repeating a single theme in a few different ways. The first one had smart cats, even slightly sarcastic cats, but it also had a few adorable kitties, as well as a genuinely sad moment that bordered on bittersweet. This volume is certainly more bitter.
It would be somewhere in the range of 3 to 3.5 stars, but the charming photographs put it firmly in the 4 to 4.5 range....more
I learned of this book in a course I'm taking on the history of books. This book tells the story of a boy playing with a gun that he doesn't know is lI learned of this book in a course I'm taking on the history of books. This book tells the story of a boy playing with a gun that he doesn't know is loaded, and when it goes off, it leaves a hole clean through the book. The holes in the pages are incorporated into the artwork and help tell the story. It's a very cute idea, and even though I read a digitized version online (and there are no bullet-holes in my computer screen, thank goodness) I still "got" the humor of the interactive novelty pages. (view spoiler)[I was a bit caught off guard by the manner in which it depicted a racial minority, which sadly marks this book as a product of its time, even as the format itself was so revolutionary. Also, cat-lovers beware! This is a comedy about a bullet that wreaks havoc in humorous, nonfatal ways, and halfway through, a cat gets shot. (hide spoiler)]...more
Maya Angelou's inspirational poem of strength and triumph is here coupled with Diego Rivera's stunning artwork. What else is there to say? This book iMaya Angelou's inspirational poem of strength and triumph is here coupled with Diego Rivera's stunning artwork. What else is there to say? This book is moving and powerful, a testament to courage, perseverance, and hope. This slender volume is a very fast read, but it is utterly unforgettable....more
This charming collection of poems about the Indiana Dunes was written by Gary resident Charles P. Isley. Individual poems highlight particular featureThis charming collection of poems about the Indiana Dunes was written by Gary resident Charles P. Isley. Individual poems highlight particular features of the dunes; there is a poem about seagulls, for example, and one about kinglets, and several other about specific plants, animals, and times of day. The book is also laid out in a rough chronological format, taking the readers through a year of Dunes experiences. The first few poems introduce the landscape, and then these are followed by poems describing the dunes in springtime. The summer poems are grouped next, followed by fall, and finally ending with winter. Local legend Diana of the Dunes also makes an appearance or two. The poetry itself is not as high-quality as, say, Tennyson, and a few of the poems work a little too hard for the rhyme, but other poems flow more smoothly. Isley incorporates a few different styles, including blank verse, so the poems always feel fresh. Throughout this small volume, the lush descriptions of the natural landscape are sure to delight readers. All in all, a lovely book....more
It feels almost like sacrilege to give the great Emily Dickinson anything less than five stars. She is definitely a 5-star poet, but unfortunately, thIt feels almost like sacrilege to give the great Emily Dickinson anything less than five stars. She is definitely a 5-star poet, but unfortunately, this particular collection doesn't do her justice. I want to know how the poems were selected, first of all. It seems like most of these were fairly obscure as Dickinson poems go; that is, they are not the really really popular ones, not the ones typically featured in "Best of" collections. Why were they picked? Why these? Why only these?
Secondly, while the poems were read very nicely by four different actresses, there was not a lot of time in between poems. The CD went from one to the next rather quickly, and given how short some of these poems are to begin with, it became difficult to absorb them. I wound up pausing a lot in between, or backing up the disc to re-hear certain portions. Possibly this is simply a side effect of the audio format. I'll probably stick to printed poetry from here on in. I also had a hard time understanding all the words, although adjusting the settings on the CD player helped some. With four different readers alternating, each with distinctly different timbres, ranges, and styles, things became difficult. There was no ideal setting on the player to accommodate them all. Finally, I know I'm getting picky now, but I would have liked to know which reader was reading which poem.
The good things: 1) the poems, of course; 2) the readers; 3) the background music, which was wonderful, and which lent a touch of elegance and angst....more
This books is amazing. It's about fairy tales (kinda), but mostly it's about the modern teenage girl and the everyday pitfalls of everyday life. It'sThis books is amazing. It's about fairy tales (kinda), but mostly it's about the modern teenage girl and the everyday pitfalls of everyday life. It's dark and morbid and edgy, but most of all it's very well-written. Twisting the too-happy, too-cute fairy tale ideas to line them up with the darker side of human nature--this collection of poems is jarring and disturbing, and it addresses everything from acne to anorexia, from high school to guy trouble, starring heroines from all walks of life.
Hobbit poems. It's Middle Earth like you've never seen it before. And once you've read it, you'll know why. Yikes.
I enjoyed this book very much. TolkiHobbit poems. It's Middle Earth like you've never seen it before. And once you've read it, you'll know why. Yikes.
I enjoyed this book very much. Tolkien is probably better at prose than poems, but in this small book, he's expanded a great deal on Middle Earth mythology. He has poems by Bilbo and by Sam. He has goofy Hobbit folk poems. He's got Hobbits being silly and serious, sometimes trying to imitate Men and Elves with varying degrees of success. It's got Elvish gibberish, words that Hobbits have made up to sound Elvish but which don't mean anything. If this sounds funny, it is. I know that real languages and their histories inspired Tolkien to invent his own languages, and I also know that his own languages were the inspiration for Middle Earth. Reading these poems, I kind of felt like I was getting closer to some of the joy of invention; I could really understand why so many people have loved Middle Earth. Tolkien even makes some fun of his own poetry skills. Most of his poems keep a rigid rhyme scheme, but Tolkien also complains about all the rhyming, saying, "in their simplicity Hobbits evidently regarded such things as virtues." He also describes an annoying-on-purpose kind of poem by saying that it "may be recited until the hearers revolt." It really is cute.
However, this book is not perfect. It has a very uneven tone, and I'm not sure that I like either extreme.
This is a children's book, yet parts of it don't seem all that children-y to me. For one thing, it assumes that the reader has read The Lord of the Rings, and for another, it gets pretty dark (really, really creepy-dark) in some places. One of the poems, for example, tells of Frodo: "Like a dark mole groping I went, to the ground falling . . . beetles were tapping in the rotten trees, spiders were weaving . . . I saw my hair hanging grey . . . I have lost myself". This poem touches on old age and insanity and solitude; while I'm certainly not denying that children's literature can be dark, this just doesn't seem to be trying to appeal to children. Frodo isn't even described in the book--you'd have to read The Lord of the Rings for that.
On the other hand, this book has some lighthearted moments, to put it mildly, and those are certainly geared for children. If I could just quote one stanza:
"He battled with the Dumbledors, the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees, and won the Golden Honeycomb; and running home on sunny seas in ship of leaves and gossamer with blossom for a canopy, he sat and sang, and furbished up and burnished up his panoply"
This book offers Scripture quotes on love, and although it is a very short read, it nevertheless serves as a good reminder of what is perhaps the mostThis book offers Scripture quotes on love, and although it is a very short read, it nevertheless serves as a good reminder of what is perhaps the most central tenant of Christian faith. In his foreward, Leestma writes, "God loves us. We love Him--We love others. Putting all this together [. . .] makes life worth living."
I like the verses that he selected, which show what love is, what God's love means for us, and how our love for one another can enrich and comfort. I was surprised that he used the Living Translation. That is, while I understand why he would have avoided the older style of the 1611 KJV, I am surprised that he didn't pick the American Standard or something similar. Maybe the Living Translation was popular in 1971, but I seldom see it now.
I enjoyed this book, and while it certainly didn't delve deeply into theological subtleties, it is still a good reminder and a calming influence. Too bad that it's so short; it's really nicely done....more