The best children's books do not need words, because the dreamlike illustrations are enough. This first volume of the Mouse books by Monique Felix doeThe best children's books do not need words, because the dreamlike illustrations are enough. This first volume of the Mouse books by Monique Felix does not need any words because the little rodent is so well drawn. Finding itself stuck within the book, the mouse must try to find a way out, braving new worlds. The ending solution is unique, and I enjoyed the artwork and the overall concept.
Wordless books can sometimes be difficult for young children, as they must use their own narrative to describe the action. This book is an excellent example of problem-solving, for both kids and their adults.
There's special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it wi There's special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.
If readiness be all, then this volume is a staple on any bookshelf. Ready to be opened for quick quote checks, ready to be heaved at home intruders (it's really heavy), it is useful in so many ways. It stays open on the window shelf, so the afternoon breeze can choose its special pages. Additionally, there are several sections dealing with Shakespeare's life, the Plague, Elizabethan art, and the people of the Great Poet's time.
The extras are worthwhile. For instance, Tudor London was a genuinely filthy place, but as editor G.B. Harrison makes clear, it was still beautiful in its own way. There was no smog to grime the buildings, half-timbered homes stood on narrow lanes, and the Thames was still clear. The old City was all but wiped out in the Great Fire of 1666. Maybe that's why I love having this huge volume on hand, so I can imagine olden times filled with silver tongues.
Confession: I also use this to come up with the many passwords I need for all of my online apps. That's because the bottom of each page has highlighted words and their meanings. It helps.
I really enjoyed this read. Imaginative and oh so winterish, it came at the perfect time, on a rare gloomy California day. As the sky darkened, this tI really enjoyed this read. Imaginative and oh so winterish, it came at the perfect time, on a rare gloomy California day. As the sky darkened, this tale grabbed me and I forgot about everything else (including the ManU vs. Liverpool game). I'd say that's a pretty good way to countdown to Christmas.
Unlike most folks, I believe in fairyland. When the earth shakes here, and it shakes so often we don't always feel it, I know the Trolls are stomping around in their living quarters below. It's a given. If humans had more respect for the Trolls, we wouldn't have so many quakes. Well, that's what they say.
My only unhappiness with this read is that it ended far too quickly for my liking. Magic endures.
Christmas came early this year! A whole set of uncut Robert Louis Stevenson books. RLS! This is better than coffee ice cream, meat pies, and pecan rolChristmas came early this year! A whole set of uncut Robert Louis Stevenson books. RLS! This is better than coffee ice cream, meat pies, and pecan rolls. Shazam!
I have already reviewed the story itself here, so I will use this review for the actual physical book. As we increasingly turn to e-books in the current century, it is always a pleasure to hold a book which was made when printing presses were considered to be state-of-the-art and most folks couldn't even afford a book, let alone a set.
Those Scribner sons did a mighty fine job with this volume. Red cloth with gold lettering and the type of paper one doesn't see anymore. This is a well-brought-up book, the kind you can introduce to others with pride. Gorgeous. The previous owner(s) took good care of this baby, and I hope to continue the tradition.
Book Season = Winter (it's a winter's tale)...more
Winter, 1941. Winston Churchill was on his way to meet the President of the United States.
He was going to spend Christmas at the White House. He wouldWinter, 1941. Winston Churchill was on his way to meet the President of the United States.
He was going to spend Christmas at the White House. He would not be stopped by a mere storm. He would not be stopped by a hurricane.
So begins the story of the Christmas meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt, where the two leaders of the free world partnered to establish the greatest military alliance in history. History and Christmas in one package, beautifully illustrated by the great Barry Moser.
I enjoyed the text and the illustrations, as Wood and Moser make almost as good a team as FDR and Winston. Adults should enjoy reading this to children at holiday time, and the little ones will love Moser's transparent watercolours.
Trust me to the bitter end.
Book Season = Winter (blood, toil, tears, and reindeer)...more
If there is anyone who should have no right reading this book, it is moi. Given to me as a gift to learn how to deal with home repairs, I first put itIf there is anyone who should have no right reading this book, it is moi. Given to me as a gift to learn how to deal with home repairs, I first put it to the side as I established a list of needed handymen. While my philosophy remains the same (let the experts handle repairs), I did actually read through this to understand what I am missing when it comes to do-it-yourself home improvements.
Clear soot yourself from any easily reached narrow space. Use a weighted round brush on a long pole to scrape the flue, or lower a bag of rough burlap filled with gravel into the flue.
For the above instruction, an accompanying illustration shows the bag of burlap rubbing against the flue, thus reducing the soot. I would never have thought of that. There is no fireplace in my life and local regulations mean no wood-burning, but still, it looks rather neat.
The worst part about reading a book such as this is the sudden awareness that one should be installing something that wasn't there previously. You wake up in the morning and everything is a-okay. You then open this book and go, whoa, why don't I have a dormer in my attic? Where is my attic anyway? Bam, your day has changed with the idea of suddenly wanting something that wasn't wanted or missed previously.
For do-it-yourselfers, I would definitely recommend this book. There are pictures and descriptions of nails, porches, foundations, garage conversions, and even a geodesic dome kit. Cool.
"When I'm no longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlour and call myself Scoop Dogg."
I don't trust folkEntertainer Snoop (Doggy) Dogg said:
"When I'm no longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlour and call myself Scoop Dogg."
I don't trust folks who say they don't like Ice Cream. I even interview potential employees by asking them the all-important Ice Cream question. I judge grocery stores by the type of Ice Cream they carry. I once drove nine miles back to another town because I remembered they had an Ice Cream parlour.
I like Ice Cream. And Ice Cream likes me.
For others of the same persuasion, this Cooksmart publication works perfectly for Ice Cream eaters who want to become Ice Cream makers. Instead of a book, the recipes are attached via a slide attachment, so you can choose your flavour and then have it front and center as you create your masterpiece. One side has the picture and ingredients, while the other side has the 'how-to' instructions. Sorbets, granitas, and ices also get a fair share of attention here. But, let's be honest, only Ice Cream should be capitalized.
As I write this, my bowl is filled with McConnell's Turkish Coffee Ice Cream, which means I won't sleep for another two days. But that's okay.
Because I like Ice Cream. And Ice Cream likes me.
Book Season = Year Round (it's always that kind of weather)
Poetry is written to be enjoyed. But to be enjoyed it must first be understood, and to understand and enjoy poetry we should know something of its priPoetry is written to be enjoyed. But to be enjoyed it must first be understood, and to understand and enjoy poetry we should know something of its principles.
This collection of American poems was published in 1923 as a basic textbook for high school students. A simpler time. And this simple book accomplishes exactly what it states it will do: Teach the principles of poetry while letting the reader enjoy verses from Whittier, Poe, Emerson, Longfellow, Whitman, Lowell, and so many more.
Blessings on thee, little man, Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
This book is my walking path buddy. We stroll together down city trails, where dogs bark and squirrels forage. I memorize as I exercise, speaking of the black wasp's cunning way, as the headset crowd run past. My audience is usually a family of ducks who float along beside the canal. Perhaps the simpler times never really go away.
(In 1932, a Denver student with a first name of Angus marked this book with his name and signature. And so the generations connect through time.)
Still as my horizon grew, Larger grew my riches too;
Book Season = Year Round (the future reckons)...more
Control Room:"Dean, your wife just called. She says when you get through here to get your tail down to the Biltmore Hotel." Dean Martin:"Tell her that'Control Room:"Dean, your wife just called. She says when you get through here to get your tail down to the Biltmore Hotel." Dean Martin:"Tell her that's where I always get it."
When the Dean Martin Show first appeared in the 1960s, it was a breath of fresh air for the declining tv variety show. At that time, the musical variety show was grounded in well-rehearsed and static formatting. The host would sing some songs, there would be sketches, and everyone knew what was going to happen. Then Dino came along. Instead of rehearsals, he played golf all week or worked on a movie or on an album. Then he would saunter onto the stage for the production and wing it. Since the audience never knew what he would do or say (or sing), it created a must-watch viewing that changed how variety shows were produced.
Dean Martin never wanted to do a weekly show, but when NBC asked him, he decided to call their bluff and ask for millions...plus some of their stock. They accepted. Overnight, Martin became one of the richest men in Hollywood, but he still refused to curtail his golf games. No wonder he was the King of Cool.
Guest Star:"Where's Dean?" Producer:"He's sleeping." Guest Star:"Sleeping? My God, he goes on the air in an hour." Producer:"I know-he's resting up for it."
Author Lee Hale was the show's musical director and he writes about the Deanster, his guests, their antics, and successes/problems with creating a weekly blockbuster. Each chapter is devoted to a specific season, listing each show and some of the pain-in-the-butt guests. From the still-youthful and happy Dino to the sombre Dino who stopped caring after his parents and only sibling all died within months of each other, there are adventures galore.
(Dean) never thought of another performer as a threat - just someone to play with.
I enjoyed the premise of the book, as it provided a different type of bio without being a bio. Thankfully, YouTube has many of the show's episodes and highlights, so all generations can enjoy. Good read, ready for my hot brandy milk.
This title caught my eye because my mother spent time in a WWII prison camp and had to find her way home when the war ended. Because she had spent herThis title caught my eye because my mother spent time in a WWII prison camp and had to find her way home when the war ended. Because she had spent her childhood and teenage years walking and bicycling through Europe, she knew how to get back home, but she had to do so without food and with the fear of the rampaging Russians behind her. But really, what do you do? Where do you start? How do you manage without food or money or help? Who should be trusted? The relief at not being killed in camp gives way to the terror of lawless lands and the loss of a defined daily structure brings a whole new fear.
Before the war, Henriette Roosenburg was a middle-class Dutch girl with a passion for books and literature. After the Nazis took over the Netherlands, she joined the Dutch Resistance. The Germans caught her and sentenced her to death and she was sent to prison to await the final act. As she explains, there were four classes of prisoners in German jails:
1. The top class of prisoners were the nutbuckets (rapists and thieves). This group received extra privileges and good food and the opportunity to help run the camps.
2. The next class was composed of black marketeers, who also had enough to eat and could receive mail.
3. The third class was the political prisoner. This group was treated badly, but they at least had the right to get medical help.
4. The fourth and lowest class received no medical treatment and food was so scarce, most of these prisoners weighed less than 100 pounds. They lived in solitary confinement while awaiting execution. Roosenburg belonged to this group, also known as the Night and Fog People.
For the author, the walls came down in May of 1945, when she and her fellow cellmates discovered the Germans gone and the Russians unlocking cell doors. In the first tinge of excitement, each prisoner sang their national anthem, thrilled at the prospect of going home. Then they got the bad news: the Poles and Czechs could go home because they lived in the East. But the Russians refused to allow any liberated prisoners to make the trek to the West. Hope vanished for Roosenburg.
From the very first page to the very last page, I was completely absorbed in this book. Nothing goes as planned, even though there really isn't a set plan. Just get home. She doesn't really discuss her work as part of the resistance, so ego is left at the door. After reading this, my admiration for my mother went even higher.
These are NOT the Christmas Books of Ebenezer Scrooge and other volumes which put the winter holiday on the map. These are the annual holiday-themed sThese are NOT the Christmas Books of Ebenezer Scrooge and other volumes which put the winter holiday on the map. These are the annual holiday-themed stories Dickens published in his Household Words journal. These stories made Mr. Dickens the prophet of home life. He brought imagination into the winter homes and told his readers that comfort, a cozy fire under the hearth, spiced wine, and a good story made home-staying worthwhile.
...there are strings in the human heart which must never be sounded by another, and drinks that I make myself are those strings in mine.
In this collection of his Christmas tales, Dickens combined goodwill with tales of shipwrecks and orphans and traditions. There aren't any ghosts of Christmas past nor the haunted recollections of doomed men. Instead, the reader gets a poverty-stricken man relating his "castle in the air" or a narrator describing the various country inns of Yorkshire, "haunted by the ghost of a tremendous pie".
The stories I liked best were the maritime tales of The Wreck Of The Golden Mary and The Perils Of Certain English Prisoners. Reading of adventures on the high seas when the weather outside your own home is cold is always worthwhile.
...a right little island, a tight little island, a bright little island, a show-fight little island...
Not every story whammed me and I probably do love his actual books of Christmas season more (mostly because of the haunted tales), but these were a worthwhile read. Family, friends, rituals.
Book Season = Winter (a glass of Smoking Bishop) ...more
If you haven't been invited, you better have a damn good reason for ringing this bell.
Okay, Frankie. In this late 1960s biography of the Sultan Of SwoIf you haven't been invited, you better have a damn good reason for ringing this bell.
Okay, Frankie. In this late 1960s biography of the Sultan Of Swoon, we get to see some behind-the-gossip-pages snickyroos that were the beginning of the new bio styles. Prior to this Arnold Shaw volume, most celebrities could ensure they had rosy outcomes from writers and journalists, but this one got under Sinatra's skin. Use your mentality, wake up to reality, right Frankie?
The guy has to live under pressure. If there isn't any, then he invents some.
Unlike some of Sinatra's later bio scribes, Shaw is more of a fan, so his revelations are more eloquent. I liked his backstage information on the famous albums and recording sessions. Basic cool.
Book Season = Autumn (benches in Central Park)...more
Most memoirs and biographies are usually perfect for the summer. You can sit by a beach and dip into the self ramblings without having to interrupt yoMost memoirs and biographies are usually perfect for the summer. You can sit by a beach and dip into the self ramblings without having to interrupt your sand count. But this is a book of a different grade, mainly because it's the autobiography of Ken Russell, so the cold days of winter will suffice. Ken Russell's ramblings require a fireplace and the safety of four walls.
The Bronx reminds me of the Gaza Stip.
There are memories of his childhood and his unusual take on men who like to dance. But mostly, there are his tales of movie sets and travel and dealing with high-octane actors. Russell was the least conventional of the British directors and his words reflect that picture. He is also hounded by fans who actually believe his films are for real to the point of obsession.
The men who have invited me to wrestle nude in front of a log fire are legion.
I thoroughly enjoyed Russell's musings. Life for him was an adventure, one which he could stylize and put to the music of the great composers. Take shelter.