Wandering Girl was one of those books that I just kept being intrigued by every time I’d spot it on the library shelf. I’d never read anything by a feWandering Girl was one of those books that I just kept being intrigued by every time I’d spot it on the library shelf. I’d never read anything by a female Australian aboriginal author, and so I decided that maybe I should. Glenyse Ward’s Wandering Girl is a spare and straightforward read. Ward was raised in a Catholic mission and then turned over as a domestic laborer to a wealthy, but cruel, white Australian household. This is the story of her struggles to be hopeful and to find a little bit of happiness and friendship amidst this undignified and inhumane situation.
I found the book to be informative, and I’m glad I read it. It certainly is a story of determination and hope. However, I was a touch bothered by the feeling that the author was holding something back. The author hints several times that a greater degree of violence was present in her life than is ever depicted in the book, and a certain suspense is developed in the book that is just dropped. Ward doesn’t seem to want to go there, and I wonder if the book wouldn’t have been stronger if it had been more frank. ...more
I’ve always been interested to read the original stories of Jungle Book, as the film has long been a favorite, and I’ve really enjoyed a few Kipling sI’ve always been interested to read the original stories of Jungle Book, as the film has long been a favorite, and I’ve really enjoyed a few Kipling stories in my life (Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Captains Courageous leap to mind). On the whole, I’m glad I read this book, but I found it to be an uneven collection.
It’s obvious, reading through this, why the Mowgli stories have been turned into several successful movies. Their simple, with some humor, and some fun characters (particularly Baloo and Bagheera). Moreover, in casting Mowgli as a human raised by the jungle, the story seems to access something about humans, our animal nature, that is unique and violent and gripping. These are three very good stories and a good reason to read the book. I would add that "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is excellent. It’s a well-known story that is fast-paced and possesses a little humor and suspense.
That said, beyond those four stories, there’s not a lot of interest. The other three stories--”White Seal,” “Toomai of the Elephants,” and “Servants of the Queen”--dragged, however, and were even at times confusing. It’s not surprising that these three stories are the least well-known from the collection.
I recommend the book interested in those who’d like to read the original, grittier versions of of the Mowgli stories, along with “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.” If you’ve already encountered these four stories elsewhere, though, I’m not sure the full book is worth the time....more
I read “Crush” in search of poetry for a poetry interpretation competition. I was looking particularly at Kwame Anderson’s work because I’ve admired iI read “Crush” in search of poetry for a poetry interpretation competition. I was looking particularly at Kwame Anderson’s work because I’ve admired it elsewhere. His recent Newbery Winner, The Crossover, is almost definitely the current favorite among my freshmen students. I was a little disappointed in Crush, however. Mainly, having read a couple of Alexander’s other books of poetry, I was disappointed to find that much of that material is repeated here. It’s not all bad, but this books seems like such a mish-mash after having read these poems in their original settings. It’s also very short and tacks some poems by other authors onto the end. It just felt like a rushed, thrown-together book of poetry. I would look at Alexander’s other work for collections that work together in a more orchestrated whole. ...more
It seems like every year, I end up having to read one of these young adult free-verse novels in a desperate search for an oral interp pieces for my stIt seems like every year, I end up having to read one of these young adult free-verse novels in a desperate search for an oral interp pieces for my students. This is not my favorite part of my job, especially since all but one of these novels I've read (Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer) have been just godawful messes, full of overdramatic situations, maudlin emotion, and very bad verse (i.e. prose with extra line breaks). Anyway, Far from You was this year's lucky selection. It has all of the previously cited traits of those other ya novels-in-verse that I've read, but I will say that it wasn't quite as bad as most of the rest. Schroeder's characters were not quite as stereotyped as I've read elsewhere, and her verse was more direct and so better. There may even be a usable interp piece in there! So, this is still not my sort of thing to read. At all. But I appreciate that this was less painful than usual....more