Seriously I could not have expected a less realistic representation of the metamorphosis of a teenage foster child. I wanted to shake the author and aSeriously I could not have expected a less realistic representation of the metamorphosis of a teenage foster child. I wanted to shake the author and ask her why a teenage boy abandoned by both parents as well as booted out by his grandfather had no REAL issues with trust, attachment, or authority. Seriously even the best of the best kids are going to have a MUCH harder time than represented here. The thought process of Jake when thinking about his life and choices just seemed way too simplistic.
I also didn't like at all how selfish every Applewhite character was -- it seems like the philosophy of every family member was, "it's all about ME, ME, ME!" It was impressive when they came together at the end to pull the play off; but even then most of them seemed a little self-serving . . .
sigh . . .
p.s. if this sounds like the jaded ramblings of a former foster parent of a teenager coming of age, it is. ...more
Ellie's cousins came to stay with us during the summer, and they love Wizards of Waverly Place. They bought wands, maREREAD ALOUD WITH ELLIE JULY 2013
Ellie's cousins came to stay with us during the summer, and they love Wizards of Waverly Place. They bought wands, made potions, and wrote down home-grown spells. When they left our summer was quiet - too quiet. And it had been a while since Ellie and I jumped into read alouds with both feet. So I gave her a choice: Ella Enchanted or Harry Potter. Ella won. And last night when the plot started getting interesting as she turned into a scullery maid, after every chapter Ellie asked for just one more. Until I looked down at the clock and realized it was past 10 and we'd been reading for 3 hours!!!! We woke up this morning and finished off the happily ever after. This time around I'd give it 4 stars because it did drag a bit and the dialog was a bit 'eh' when we had to hear her thoughts plan how to make Char laugh. Trying too hard, Ella? We are both happy with the book - I love the characters, humor, magic, and most of all Ella. Even though Ellie is a bit young and I had to re-explain some pages that went over her head - it gives Ellie some things to think about. What would life be like if you couldn't choose and must obey? Did Lucinda choose well when she decided to quit doing big magic? Etc. Excellent fairy tale twist.
Ok, first I'll say I've been avoiding reading this book because I saw the movie first -- and I thought the book would be just like the movie. I had watched it with my three nieces and though, oh, that's a cute movie. When I heard it was from a book I couldn't imagine reading such a "tween" book. I was glad I was wrong. It is written to be serious and a little more complex than the silly movie was, much to my enjoyment....more
I read this poolside during our SoCal vacation -- and I was pleasantly surprised.
Moose's family moves to Alcatraz where his dad has taken a job as anI read this poolside during our SoCal vacation -- and I was pleasantly surprised.
Moose's family moves to Alcatraz where his dad has taken a job as an electrician. He has a "younger" sister who has autism and the family is trying to get her into a special school.
If you think about it there are so many parts of the story that are heart-wrenching . . . the author does an amazing job of making emotional connections with each character. You can see the grief cycle in each member: anger, denial, bargaining, etc. I also loved how she showed Natalie, the sister, as a real person -- one of the few books I've read with a disabled character that really shows you the person inside.
I really felt like I was on the island with them, as well. Having it set on Alcatraz is really cool and you learn a lot about the island in the 1930s -- and of course, it's funny!
After I read the book I just told Darik, "Wow. I love that children's literature can be this good and be entertaining and yet handle "adult issues" (autism, growing up, family relationships, etc.) better than adult literature can a lot of times."...more
eh. ok, i'm not sure how to review this -- because it is either very for-religion or anti-religion. If you are a non-believer I can see how you can taeh. ok, i'm not sure how to review this -- because it is either very for-religion or anti-religion. If you are a non-believer I can see how you can take this story and see how all the believers are mindless fools. But if you are a believer there is the element that you can say, "even with facts that indicate otherwise, you can never 100% prove there is no God. And life is rich and happy and purpose-driven with it."
I'm still thinking about it, though. And it's a very quick read, from start to finish in an afternoon....more
This book is the coming-of-age story about a young boy that lives in the Alps. Some parts of this book were really really good -- and most of it was jThis book is the coming-of-age story about a young boy that lives in the Alps. Some parts of this book were really really good -- and most of it was just good or ok. If you like mountain climbing and/or adventure stories you'll like it alot (hatchet, etc.).
The author was among the first American crew to climb Mt Everest, so I'm taking all of the mountain climbing descriptions at face value. It gets pretty intense at times and the twist at the end how he resolves the plot line is great.
I don't think many people will LOVE this book, but I think it's enjoyable enough to recommend to people to read once....more
I thought this was a good book, took a few chapters for me to get into it . . . it's about a girl who sails across the ocean with 3 uncles and 2 cousiI thought this was a good book, took a few chapters for me to get into it . . . it's about a girl who sails across the ocean with 3 uncles and 2 cousins. It's interesting how they have one of the cousins provide another point of view. The one thing that kept bugging me was I was trying to figure out the ages of all of the kids - it seemed like she thought and acted like a 9-10 year old but the cousin who is "checked out by girls" is definitely a teenager. It kindof bugged me that it wasn't clear. My favorite character was Bompie -- I loved at the end how it revealed his and Sophie's relationship. It was really touching. I liked how each character had "relationship issues" they were dealing with and how things were resolved by the sail across the ocean. It actually turned pretty compelling there in the middle. I sure wish I could give half stars, cuz the more I think about it the more I want to give it a 4 . . .
ok i'm going back over and thinking about how this covers so much more than relationships -- about what people choose to do and questioning the world around you and being curious and of course I loved that she was a little feminist :-) I may come back and up my stars after all . . ...more
so . . . it was good. I liked the first half much better than the last. I felt that when the earthquake hit the plot line kinda tanked and the endingso . . . it was good. I liked the first half much better than the last. I felt that when the earthquake hit the plot line kinda tanked and the ending I just had to scan I was so bored with it . . .
Anyways, it is about a Chinese immigrant living in SF in about the year 1900 give or take. The historical fiction part of it is pretty interesting. The story is told through the eyes of the immigrant's son, who he brought over when he was 8. I like the perspective the boy brings to America and of China. Beyond that it was an interesting take on cultural assimilation and discrimination they faced. But like I said, it just kinda fizzled at the end for me....more
**spoiler alert** again, another book that felt kind of . . . haunting. I really liked the book, and wish I could give it a 3.5 -- what holds me back**spoiler alert** again, another book that felt kind of . . . haunting. I really liked the book, and wish I could give it a 3.5 -- what holds me back from ranking it higher is that I could NOT buy into grandmother's SUDDEN change of heart at the end. The spent the WHOLE book hitting you over the head with her selfishness and vengefulness and then, just out of the blue -- she sees two kitties and a dog and decides to be good???...more
this is a book about 3 young black girls from ages 11-13. it is set in Queens at the time during the 90s of the East/West gangsta ra2009 Newbery Honor
this is a book about 3 young black girls from ages 11-13. it is set in Queens at the time during the 90s of the East/West gangsta rap wars, etc. So they use Tupac's life as a background for some of the plot. I still remember sitting in seminary as one of the kids said the prayer and prayed that Tupac would live and to find out later he'd died. Anyways I would recommend this book to almost any teen that could identify with the setting/urban living, etc. Although I couldn't necessarily identify with it, it was well written and is a great book for the right kids....more
I remember reading this as a kid and loving it. So this weekend during the car trip this was one of the three books that I just knocked out asap. I waI remember reading this as a kid and loving it. So this weekend during the car trip this was one of the three books that I just knocked out asap. I was pleasantly surprised. If you haven't read it in a few years it's worth another go round. ...more
This book is about a Long Island 7th grade boy growing up in the Vietnam War.
This book started off slowly for me, and a little too Shakespeare-centriThis book is about a Long Island 7th grade boy growing up in the Vietnam War.
This book started off slowly for me, and a little too Shakespeare-centric (I haven't touched Shakespeare since high school R&J and JC) I couldn't imaging a 7th grader getting that into Shakespeare.
The second half of the book was fantastic and the story really built perfectly to the resolution. This book was funny and sad - kind of like Shakespeare. The voice for a junior high student was spot-on perfect = very self aware and self-centered, in an innocent sort of way. It also made me want to read more Shakespeare by the end of the book, which is probably a miracle. Also had a perfect ending for a coming-of-age story.
**spoiler alert** eh, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I'll have to write a review about it later. I wish I could give it a 2.5 but don'**spoiler alert** eh, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I'll have to write a review about it later. I wish I could give it a 2.5 but don't think it earns the 3rd star on me feeling like it had so much potential unfulfilled.
Calpurnia Tate is a 10-year-old girl in 1900s Texas who was born between three older brothers and three younger brothers. Their family is rather well off in the community, owning a cotton farm and her parents (i.e. mother) are looking forward to her becoming a debutante. The problem is at this point all Callie likes to do is be outside, observing nature, and swimming in the river. Then she develops a friendship with her naturalist grandfather. Like the book's blurb indicates, she learns what it's like to be a girl back then.
DIDN'T LIKE: The pace, it was VERY hard to get into. I had to force myself to read it. It was also a bit too long - there were parts I just skimmed. I didn't feel like there was a clear conflict/resolution - while there were certainly interesting snippets about her life not everything was connected into a cohesive plot. Sometimes the tone and voice didn't match with what I assumed a 10-year-old tomboy would have.
LIKED: The setting, the glimpses into life in rural Texas at turn of the century. The family setting with all those brothers - it felt familiar. The science snippets, I thought the whole Darwinism thing would bug me more than it really did. I liked the idea of her observation notebook, very cute and awesome.
LOVED: The meat of the book was the internal struggle of her wanting to become a scientist like her beloved grandfather and feeling as if she's being PUSHED into the role of a housewife by her mother. Now, I think this CAN be a very good topic in a children's book for young girls. Get young girls to think, 'what do I love to do?', 'what would I like to do/be when I grow up?', 'what will all of that include?', and 'can I find a way to make it work?'. For instance my daughter right now wants to dance but she also wants to be a mommy with 2 girls and 1 boy. Is there a way she can reconcile these two wants?
Another reason I loved this topic is because I often feel this internal struggle. Growing up I was a HUGE tomboy - I cried for weeks after my parents made me wear a bra, cursing the day God every made me be a girl. I definitely wasn't like the other girls and I could tell. But I also wanted to be barefoot and pregnant and have 6 kids. While life didn't hand me that deck of cards I graduated in accounting and worked full time, I found that I enjoyed working - it provided an avenue for me to rediscover myself after those days when 3 children had taken their turns peeing, pooing, and barfing on me . . . this led to discontent when I was at-home full time and when I was working full time. Since then I've fought to find a balance that meets everyone's needs. I think this is one of the keys to life as a woman is the journey and struggle to find the right balance. Whether a mom picks up a part-time job or she volunteers at the library or runs for the school board, etc. I thought THIS topic is, in fact, invaluable to girls of all ages.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:how she handled the topic. I think I would have preferred if the protaganist had wanted to be a scientist AND have a family someday and how she had to try to reconcile that in her own mind. I didn't like the author's treatment and attitudes towards the adult females in the story who were homemakers and housekeepers. Her mother is constantly drinking "tonic" just to take the edge off. The cook is only in that position because she doesn't know any better. Nothing is acknowledged about how some people LIKE knitting, cooking, crocheting, and taking care of babies. (I've yet to find a mom who admits to loving cleaning toilets . . . but that's besides the point.)
Another thing I didn't like is that Callie's hero, her standoffish grandfather, seems to find what he really loves to do and gives meaning to his life -- scientific experiments and explorations. Yet in the book he doesn't have a relationship with any of his family members, including not even knowing the names of his 6 grandsons. It was appalling to me. I love it when books that have big families usually end up making a point in there together that even if they lose everything else, the most important things in the end is the people you love and those who love you back.
DIDN'T LIKE:so in the end I think I could have REALLY LIKED this book with just a little bit of tweaking . . . but her approach and attitude just left a little bad taste in my mouth. Eh. I guess I can see why some people love it (although it seems more like a book that adults want kids to read instead of a book a kid would love to read) . . . but to earn a 4-5 star from me it needed to end how I would like it to end :-) ...more
This was a really good book. I really really liked it. After I read the book the author's note at the end said it was based on a true story!!! Made thThis was a really good book. I really really liked it. After I read the book the author's note at the end said it was based on a true story!!! Made the ending even sadder!
This is the story of a minister's family who moves from Boston to small-town Maine at the turn of the century. There is some conflict between the town and the residents of a nearby island . . . but this book is so much more than that.
The only thing that kept it from a 5 star is that I think in most situations of conflict there is never one side that is saintly and perfect and the other side totally heartless and cruel (I suppose there are a few). There are good and bad people that go to church. There are good and bad people who fill in the blank. I feel like this was too much of a black/white picture painted and not enough gray. I love when gray is explored.
It seems to be, as another reviewer mentioned, "another well-written story in which the bad guys are those close-minded, hypocritical Christians and the good guys are those who question the status quo." That being said do NOT let that stop you from reading this book. It's a slight undercurrent, not the theme!
And in most cases there is some good and bad in each one of us. I really liked how there were a few examples of this in the book. There were a few characters who experienced periods of doubt and self-reflection, etc. You know, more of that gray stuff. Love it.
p.s. This book was pretty funny and has quite a bit of profound. Make you think (like trent said). Really good. A highly recommended N.Honor....more
i loved this book. i almost don't think it could win a newbery because most of its wisdom i see goin-engaging -simple -magical -powerful -artistic -perfect
i loved this book. i almost don't think it could win a newbery because most of its wisdom i see going over children's heads - like they're missing the best part. they should rename this book 'how to be happy'.
(this has been chosen as an award or honor winner in several "Mock" 2010 Newbery polls. I'm trying to get a jump on them and see if I can read them before the awards are announced this month.) ...more