As I sat, elbows on desk, thinking about how to compose my review of this literary marvel, I suddenly realized I'd been absentmindedly hugging Echo toAs I sat, elbows on desk, thinking about how to compose my review of this literary marvel, I suddenly realized I'd been absentmindedly hugging Echo to my chest - which kind of says it all. I formed an emotional attachment to this book as I was reading it, just as I did to its characters. With a deft hand, Pam Munoz Ryan has crafted a beautiful and richly rewarding story that reads with a seamless ease. A lyrical ode to music, hope, love, siblings, and family, I found it engrossing, deeply satisfying, and wholly accessible. This is a book I want to press into the hand of every kid I meet and encourage every family to read together. It's also classroom teaching gold: peopled with engaging characters, rife with topics for discussion, and filled with rich fodder for history lessons. Not just a best book of 2015 - a best book, period....more
A rich, wonderful novel - both heartbreaking and heartwarming - about two London siblings who find love, acceptance and a world of new discoveries wheA rich, wonderful novel - both heartbreaking and heartwarming - about two London siblings who find love, acceptance and a world of new discoveries when they're taken in by a single woman in a country town at the beginning of World War II. This is one of the most honest and accessible books I've read about the long-term impacts of neglect and abuse, and one of the most empowering stories I've read about life with a disability. As if that's not enough, it also shows how exposure to new vocabulary and new experiences can help close the 30 Million Word Gap and vastly improve the education of kids in need, and it demonstrates the impact and benefits of fostering and/or adopting. On top of all that? It's an engrossing, enjoyable novel about life in war-time, about finding family, about allowing yourself to feel and show love - to yourself, and to others....more
Every bit as enjoyable and engrossing as the first book of Calpurnia's adventures. Once again Jacqueline Kelly's writing is studded with rich vocabulaEvery bit as enjoyable and engrossing as the first book of Calpurnia's adventures. Once again Jacqueline Kelly's writing is studded with rich vocabulary but flows with so much ease that you can sink right into it and float there for days. Each time I put this book down I hankered to pick it up again. Calpurnia's spunk and determination make her a joy to watch and a great source for empowerment. Pet lovers will find an especially keen entry point into this story, and history lovers will rejoice! Adults, to open a supremely engrossing window on this same chapter of history, read Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson. It's not for kids but there might be some pieces you could share with them - and you'll come away with a whole new understanding for the events we loosely encounter in The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate....more
The Washington Post called Dodger "compulsively readable," with which I'd wholeheartedly agree. This is no Nation (my favorite of the Pratchett booksThe Washington Post called Dodger "compulsively readable," with which I'd wholeheartedly agree. This is no Nation (my favorite of the Pratchett books I've read) but it is a delightful and delightfully rich romp as only Terry Pratchett could deliver.
Even when little was happening in the plot or during its (many) lengthy asides, the treat of just being in Dodger's company kept me thoroughly entertained and happily turning the pages.
I love the language (terrific slang!), the setting, and of course the energy that comes in waves off the Puck-ish Dodger, whose irrepressible spirit, plunk, gumption, charm, and guile are tempered by a truly good heart.
I enjoyed the fact that so many of the secondary characters are/were REAL people and hope readers will take the time to look them up and learn more about the work they accomplished or the roles they played in Britain's history.
The plot contained few surprises, and the only characters that truly came to life for me are Dodger and Solomon (who I loved). As a result I was never fully invested in Simplicity's story or Dodger's role in her rescue(s). (I cared only about her because she mattered to HIM.) And the same applies to almost all of the other characters. For me, the plot is not the thing that makes this book worth reading -- it's the protagonist. But that's fine with me! Dodger be the star of a story about paint drying, and I'd happily tune in.
Harper, PLEASE can we get better covers for Pratchett's books (in particular for this one + Nation)?? I'm so utterly bored by these flat, emotion-less depictions of characters in uninteresting landscapes. The U.K. cover of Dodger features a creepy-looking Dodger (who looks 35, not 17) which I dislike, but at least it nails the tone and setting - something the U.S. cover fails at completely. If you want to bring a new host of readers under Pratchett's spell, you have to give them some peek at the whimsy, imagination, and intrigue that come to life on the pages. These flat designs fail at the completely....more