I thought Orange Is the New Black was interesting in that it gave me a fresh perspective – that of a female prisoner. Most of my prison knowledge come...moreI thought Orange Is the New Black was interesting in that it gave me a fresh perspective – that of a female prisoner. Most of my prison knowledge comes from TV shows or movies, most of which feature men’s prisons.
In a situation where much of their power is taken from them, I thought it was fascinating how the inmates formed a social hierarchy of their own, creating a sense of structure and control separate from that dictated by guards and wardens. In the free world, some of these women may have been leading lives of chaos, but in prison, they had a clear place among their fellow inmates.
Kerman was admittedly lucky in that she came from a financially stable background, had the support of a loving family and fiancé, and had a job waiting for her when she left prison. Many of her fellows, however, had nothing waiting for them when they got out, and according to Kerman, the powers-that-be at Danbury did little to assist inmates in preparing for their freedom. Though the story is Kerman’s, it was the other women I wondered about. What has happened and will happen to them if and when they return to the outside?
Overall, I thought Orange Is the New Black was an intriguing introduction into a world I’ve never thought much about. Kerman keeps her story light and engaging, but she touches upon serious subjects that I think are worthy of consideration. I wasn’t blown away by the book, but I liked it, and I’d liked to watch the show, to give me a visual of what I just read. (less)
When a big, important dump truck with big, important things to do gets stuck in the mud, Little Blue and friends help to get him out in this sweet, rh...moreWhen a big, important dump truck with big, important things to do gets stuck in the mud, Little Blue and friends help to get him out in this sweet, rhyming story about teamwork and how even little guys can make a big difference.
With its sweet illustrations, easy rhyme, pictures of animals, and noises, Little Blue Truck is a great book for little ones ready to transition from basic board books to longer stories.
I think Little Blue Truck would be a nice choice for readers of the Otis series (also about a little vehicle making a big difference), That's What Friends are For (also about the benefits of teamwork), and The Happy Man and His Dump Truck (a longer, non-rhyming picture book with lots of animal illustrations and animal noises, and one of my favorite vehicle books).
When Duck unmoors Goat's boat from the dock, he, Sheep, and Frog embark on an adventure that is fun for Duck, scary for his companions, and worrying f...moreWhen Duck unmoors Goat's boat from the dock, he, Sheep, and Frog embark on an adventure that is fun for Duck, scary for his companions, and worrying for Goat, who gets left behind.
On its surface, Captain Duck is a fun, rhyming picture book story, but at its core, it is a warning against looking before you leap. Spontaneous Duck acts without thinking, which puts himself and others in an unfortunate situation. Everything ends well in this story, but in real life, setting sail in a boat without knowing what you're doing could easily go another way.
Anyway, because my daughter's just one and a half, we stick to reading Captain Duck at the basic level - for the colorful illustrations, familiar animals, and quick rhyme. She loves it. Rhyming picture books have been a great transition between simple board books and longer stories. She can actually sit through the whole story, and there's a lot to talk about and point to in the illustrations -- the boat, trees, the animals, etc.
In THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, debut author M.L. Stedman tells the story of three people searching for their moral compass in the face of a seemingly im...moreIn THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, debut author M.L. Stedman tells the story of three people searching for their moral compass in the face of a seemingly impossible situation.
For those who know the premise, this story offers plenty of material for discussion, and I think THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS would be a great book club pick.
If you liked THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, you might enjoy Eowyn Ivey’s THE SNOW CHILD, which also examines the bond between mother and child, and between couples.
You might also enjoy Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT, which similarly illustrates how a single decision can reverberate across lives and lifetimes. (less)
In ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, author Chris Grabenstein uses the story of a group of middle school students participating in a lock-in at th...moreIn ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, author Chris Grabenstein uses the story of a group of middle school students participating in a lock-in at their local library to illustrate the benefits of teamwork and fair play. In order to “escape” the building, the kids find that working together to solve a series of puzzles and challenges using library materials is much more rewarding than competing against one another.
I thought ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY was OK, and I would recommend it to readers ages 8+. The mix of male and female characters make it equally accessible to boys and girls, and since diversity is a hot topic in children’s literature lately, the balance of students from various ethnic and social backgrounds should be pleasing to some.
I think ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY might appeal to fans of CHARLIE AND CHOCOLATE FACTORY, a book which Grabenstein references multiple times. It might also appeal to those who enjoyed THE CANDYMAKERS, THE CALDER GAME, and FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER (also referenced by Grabenstein).
I enjoyed this mystery, despite the fact that I started it with low expectations. I thought it would be plain silly, with too many references to the t...moreI enjoyed this mystery, despite the fact that I started it with low expectations. I thought it would be plain silly, with too many references to the television show, but it stood well on its own, and I thought it was well-written. This is the second Richard Castle book I have listened to on audio, and I would be interested in reading future installments, as well as going back to read - or more likely listen to - the ones I've missed in between.
I would recommend Deadly Heat to fans of the ABC television show Castle, and perhaps to readers who enjoy James Patterson or Michael Connelly (both authors appeared on the show). It might also appeal to readers of Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro novels, which also have a lead pair who are romantically involved. (less)
Holly Black's middle grade novel, Doll Bones, is a story of letting go, growing up, and moving on. Three children embark upon a quest to lay a little...moreHolly Black's middle grade novel, Doll Bones, is a story of letting go, growing up, and moving on. Three children embark upon a quest to lay a little girl's spirit -- in the form of a china doll -- to rest, and, like the ghost longing to transition from this world to the next, the children are trying to bridge the difficult gap between childhood and young adulthood.
I thought Doll Bones was a solid tale. It reminded me a bit of the movie The Orphanage -- equal parts creepy ghost story and tender emotional realization. Black's writing was vivid, the adventure moved quickly, and I was interested from beginning to end. My favorite part, probably, was the description of the doll as being made of the bones and hair of the dead girl, and being stuffed with her ashes and bone.
Overall, I thought Doll Bones was a good book, and I would recommend it to ages 10 (maybe 9?) plus.(less)
This book is currently a bit long for my 1-yo daughter's attention, but she often chooses it from her book stack and will sit for about 1/2 of the sto...moreThis book is currently a bit long for my 1-yo daughter's attention, but she often chooses it from her book stack and will sit for about 1/2 of the story before wandering off. I really like how friendly and easygoing the happy man is, so I am hoping this book is one that my daughter will continue to enjoy as she gets older. (less)