I will not review, nor rate this book until C. M. has read it too.
Now that C.M. has read Hokey Pokey and has fallen in love with it, I'll try...moreI will not review, nor rate this book until C. M. has read it too.
Now that C.M. has read Hokey Pokey and has fallen in love with it, I'll try to write a worthy review.
I love this book! Love it! Once I got beyond the initial strangeness, and I was moving right along with the story and Jack and Jubilee and the wild herds, absolute emotion, of all kinds, overcame me.
I read this book because I've seen it on potential Newbery lists, and I wanted to know if it could win the medal. Honestly, I think it should (and sadly, I don't think it will). As I prepare for the Mock Newbery Discussion I attend each year (hosted by the brilliant keepers of this blog - http://abouttomock.blogspot.com/), I take lots of notes. Here are some of the things I had to say about Hokey Pokey:
*This is a simple coming of age story masked by a well-developed, yet very strange, fantasy world.
*Jack is especially well delineated because he is captured in a strange spot – between child and kid – fighting and surrendering all at the same time.
* Another powerful element of the setting is the nostalgia it generates. Bicycles, baseball, hair ribbons, and pinecone grenades are sparks of a bygone era. Is Mr. Spinelli telling us that just as growing up is inevitable, so is a change in the way the childhood years are lived?
Overall, this is my favorite children's book for 2013.(less)
Overall, I liked this book, but did not fall in love with it. There was a fair amount of spooky imagery, but I felt that it was somewhat lost in the c...moreOverall, I liked this book, but did not fall in love with it. There was a fair amount of spooky imagery, but I felt that it was somewhat lost in the constant fighting between the three characters. I felt that the ghost story was a distant side bar to the coming of age story, and that the two themes never combined to give the story the power I anticipated.
There were other aspects I did not care for - the strange librarian, the sailing adventure, and the let's leave in the middle of the night aspect.
On the other hand, there were pieces I loved, especially the night in the library. I also liked that some minor characters refered to the blonde girl in the group - but there was never any attempt to explain why they saw her.
In the end, I felt that there were some loose ends which prevented full satisfaction for me.(less)
Overall, House of Secrets is a worthwile read. I has a fun cast of characters, lots of fantastic action, and a great villian.
The premise is a ton of f...moreOverall, House of Secrets is a worthwile read. I has a fun cast of characters, lots of fantastic action, and a great villian.
The premise is a ton of fun - three siblings are dropped, along with their extraordinary house in the literary world created by the house's original builder. There, they meet a WWI fighter pilot, a giant that resembles Mick Jagger, and several groups of savage fighters, all while searching for their parents.
House of Secrets is a page turner that emphasizes the importance of family and loyalty without being sappy or annoying, which makes it a valuable book in its own right.
My only issue with the book...it should have been shorter.(less)
Katerina's Wish by Jeannie Mobley is an excellent book that captures the setting and emotions of the characters with pristine clarity.
While the book t...moreKaterina's Wish by Jeannie Mobley is an excellent book that captures the setting and emotions of the characters with pristine clarity.
While the book takes its time with the set-up, once the plot begins moving, it moves. It is a sweet story in the beginning about a family trying to adjust to life after immigrating to America from Bohemia. All of the pertinent characters are introduced early and prove to be likable.
There is a lot to like about this book, and at this point in time, I can't think of any outright flaws in the writing or the story.
Here is what I liked best about Katerina's Wish:
1. The Setting: It's a coal mining town, or "camp," in the midwest, and it is 1901.
2. The Characters: They are American Immigrants from Bohemia, which is new to me. I loved the fact that they were portrayed as struggling and poor, and that the opportunity was granted to experience such lives through a work of children's fiction. There was no sugar coating the American Dream...it existed but was unreasonably difficult to achieve.
3. The Coal Mine Accident Scene: I cried. I needed to ask my daughter to get me a box of tissues. Need I say more?
4. The Ending: It was happy, but it had a thread of sadness, which held true to the themes the author was displaying. Be true to yourself, be strong, believe, and good things can happen. I'll hold out hope that the one piece of Trinna's life that didn't work out will in her future.
5. The Themes: This book has deep themes, and is very thought provoking. What is happiness? What does it mean to be true to oneself? How do we stay strong and carry on when things around us seem to falter and fail?
Katerina's Wish is an excellent example of children's literature. I hope it withstands the test of time. And, I'll take a jump onto my soap box for a moment...sorry this book didn't get some Newbery recognition, it's better than Splendors and Glooms.(less)