Based on the title, I was expecting a far different book than what ended up being presented. I was expecting a fun search through the alphabet, findin...moreBased on the title, I was expecting a far different book than what ended up being presented. I was expecting a fun search through the alphabet, finding letters in places the child wouldn't expect them. Instead, what I was given was a pretty standard, run of the mill alphabet book.
Each page showed a single, large letter with a picture of whichever word the author was using to show off that letter of the alphabet. In smaller letters below the letter and picture it would tell what the letter stood for (For example, on the page for V, there is the letter V in the center, a vacuum to the left partially obscuring the letter and in parenthesis and small type below it, it says, "V IS FOR VACUUM").
While the author didn't do traditional words for each letter (on Q using quetzal and on U using underwear), several are ones that I'd come to expect through the many, many, many alphabet books that I've read to my boys over the years. There are so many other A's out there beyond Apple and Ant. I enjoy finding different ones.
The artwork wasn't bad. Each page is a golden background with a large, lighter shade sunburst in the middle. The letters are in Times New Roman font and colored a brick red. Each item that is chosen as an example of the letter has eyes and a mouth (including the underwear, which is slightly disturbing). The only change beyond the example is where on the page it's placed. Sometimes it's the the side of the letter, sometimes above, sometimes behind. But for the most part, the elements are the same. In some ways, this is good - it provides continuity for younger children just learning their ABCs. But it also borders on the boring. The whimsical examples really are the only thing that saves it from being so.
All in all, it wasn't a bad ABC book, but it was far, far from what I'd expected. I was hoping for fun with the alphabet and instead got the same old, same old.(less)
We, as a family, have been continuing to listen to the 39 Clues series. And, as with the previous books, we've really enjoyed the third outing in the...moreWe, as a family, have been continuing to listen to the 39 Clues series. And, as with the previous books, we've really enjoyed the third outing in the series.
With The Sword Thief, Amy and Dan Cahill have made their way to Japan and have made an uneasy alliance with Alastair Oh, the man who had left them inside the burning mansion in the first book, A Maze of Bones. But they seem to need Uncle Alastair's help... just as he needs theirs. As with the other books, they combine history with a fast paced story that has the Cahill children running from one danger to the next.
Of all the books, though, this is the one that's stuck with me the least. I can't seem to remember specifics of it and it was more of an "ok" book than a great one. Still, it was good for getting the reader from One False Note to Beyond the Grave (book 4 in the series). If you're reading the series, you won't want to miss this one. But I wouldn't suggest picking it up as a stand alone.(less)
Two shoes, Finn and Maya, live inside a dark box at a shoe store. Their whole world is that box until one day, a little girl comes and opens the lid....moreTwo shoes, Finn and Maya, live inside a dark box at a shoe store. Their whole world is that box until one day, a little girl comes and opens the lid. Then they find a whole new world outside, with different sensations and different experiences. Oh, how their lives will change.
Little Shoes was another book that I picked up for free on Kindle. As much as my Kindle is mineallmine, I do want to share some books with my boys on it. So I went looking for freebies. And this was the first one I came across.
It wasn't the best children's book I've read to my boys, nor was it the worst. But it's one that I don't think my boys are going to be asking for more regularly. It doesn't seem to flow as well as many of the other books do, and some of the images that it brought to my mind, at least, were disturbing (the feeling of someone's foot sliding into Finn... shudder). I was also slightly annoyed at the author for having it be natural for Maya to recognize a mirror and then preen in it, all because she was a little girl.
Still, it did have a few redeeming qualities. It was a good look at change in your environment and trying to figure out the answers (though I'm still not sure how the shoes came up with some of the answers they did). I did enjoy the last line as well - "And Finn added, "Yes, and it's our new home." - because it feels... comfortable, I guess. The thought of a new home for anyone is just a warm-fuzzy.
The artwork was cute, with very big eyes and round faces. The colors are bright and vibrant. In eBook format, though, it doesn't seem to mesh too well. There will be a page or two of text, then a single page of a picture. It wasn't bad, but sometimes it threw off the rhythm of the story. Still, they were enjoyable to look at.
As I said above, it's not a bad book, but it's not phenomenal either. At free, I'd suggest checking it out yourself and see what you think.(less)
Rich had picked this book up from the library several weeks ago and told me that I had to read it as soon as he closed the back cover. I'd been puttin...moreRich had picked this book up from the library several weeks ago and told me that I had to read it as soon as he closed the back cover. I'd been putting it off for awhile, having several other books that were higher on my priority list (requests that needed to go back to the library). Yesterday, I decided that it was the time for me to settle in and read it.
Charlotte Doyle is a 13 year old girl, just out of finishing school in England, and on her way back to her family home in Providence, RI. Her father has arranged passage for her on a ship belonging to the company he works for, arranging for two other families to travel at the same time. But when Charlotte arrives at the boat, she finds that the other families are unable to travel and she will be the loan female on a boat full of men. What follows is a tale that moves from fear to adventure and takes this well-brought-up girl from her high society beginnings into a world she could have never imagined.
Overall a good story, the beginning seemed a bit slow to me. It took me awhile to warm up to Charlotte and her story. It wasn't until the mutiny were ready to begin that I really became enraptured and knew I would want to finish it that night.
The writing was very evocative, making it easy to mentally put yourself on a sailing ship in the 19th century. I could feel the cramped quarters, the sparseness of the cabin that Charlotte is first settled into. The main characters are very well written, each with their own quirks. The minor characters in the story aren't quite as fleshed out (many of the sailors seem indistinguishable from one another), but it doesn't detract from the overall story.
The book is a fairly quick read, one that I finished within about 3 hours. It's good for a rainy afternoon when you want to lose yourself somewhere that is far removed from your cozy chair. (less)
When First Kids Cammie and Tessa receive a diamond dog collar for the First Dog, Holligan, they know the huge diamonds can't be real? Can they? When o...moreWhen First Kids Cammie and Tessa receive a diamond dog collar for the First Dog, Holligan, they know the huge diamonds can't be real? Can they? When one diamond, then the whole collar disappears, the girls think something may be up. Especially when it comes on the heals of the disappearance of a large diamond from the nation that the collar was originally sent from. That's when they put on their detecting hats and search the White House grounds to find out the truth behind Holligan's new collar.
The Case of the Diamond Dog Collar was actually the first book I won through Goodreads' First Reads giveaway program. Since I love books of all shapes and sizes, I was excited to receive it. Originally, I planned on reading it to the boys, but as the holidays got more hectic and Teddy wanted me to start reading The 39 Clues, I decided that it was time to read it on my own.
I wish I hadn't let so much time pass, because I was doing myself a disservice. Being a relatively short chapter book, it was a quick read for me. But it was a read full of humor and surprise. I found the enthusiasm of impulsive fashionista Tessa infectious. I loved the more sensible approach that Cammie had toward the whole thing. Seeing the girls' reaction to their grandmother's budding love affair made me smile. And I loved the fact that it isn't their dad that's the president, but their mom. Seeing the father as the stay-at-home parent (or kind of close to it) was a nice change of pace for most of the kids books that I read.
The characters weren't quite as fleshed out as you would have seen in a more adult book, but it didn't bother me too much. Even without the depth that I expect from the longer novels I read, these characters definitely had some depth, character and personality. There are some of the adults that get short-shrift (the girls' parents, their Aunt Jen) but since the story centers around the girls, their dog and their cousin, Nick, they were the ones that should have had more weight to them.
The character that stole the book, though, was Hooligan. I love reading about animals that are big, fun, play-piles. And that's what Hooligan is. He's got a bunch of enthusiasm and love and is the kind of dog I'd love to see running around the White House lawns.
I also enjoyed the inside look at the Private White House. I don't know for certain if that is how life is in the White House, but it's something that I could easily imagine it being. The map that Ms Freeman included at the back of the book, detailing the White House grounds, and the afterword that she included talking about the White House, was a nice bit of educational inclusion that I love to find in books to share with my kids.
All in all, the flaws I found in this book were minor and it's a book that I look forward to sharing with my boys as they get older.(less)