There is no such thing as a perfect book. But I believe pretty strongly that there IS such a thing as the right book at the right time for the right pe...moreThere is no such thing as a perfect book. But I believe pretty strongly that there IS such a thing as the right book at the right time for the right person. Counting by 7s was the right book at the right time for me. And for that reason I will probably love it forever. But it certainly isn't a perfect book. In fact, there were some issues that, at many times, would have been deal breakers for me. Like the author's apparent aversion to paragraphs. What's wrong with writing in paragraphs? Why the need to write in one- or two-sentence paragraphs? That got old pretty quickly.
Also (and I feel I've made my point with the single-line paragraphs, so I'm going to write normally now... you're welcome) Willow was way, way too adult at times. And the ending came together a bit too perfectly.
But, to be honest, I could care less about all that. Because the cast of the characters here, and the story of how they came together, was perfect. Yes, there were times when the author's voice came through too loudly in Willow's narrative, but all in all she was a MAGNIFICENT protagonist. Memorable, vulnerable, brilliant, funny, and - in a pretty major accomplishment - MOSTLY believable. Dell Duke was just about perfect, and the relationship between these two characters is brilliantly done. The Nguyens are all fabulous, too.
This is not the best book of the year. But it is definitely near the top, and it is certainly my personal favorite.(less)
I'm a big fan of Bob Graham, so I had high hopes for this book. And his illustrations are indeed lovely. The rhyming text is better than average (only...moreI'm a big fan of Bob Graham, so I had high hopes for this book. And his illustrations are indeed lovely. The rhyming text is better than average (only slightly forced in places). So why the low rating? Well, I hate to be picky, but I was sorely disappointed in the decision not to put a bike helmet on Monsieur Albert. Because he is the hero of the story, and because this story is aimed at young children, that is a big deal. I know of people who have very nearly died after getting into bike accidents, so it is a real issue. So, despite the fact that the story is cute and Bon Graham's illustrations are always a favorite, I can't recommend this particular title.(less)
Loved the content, but some of the design choices left me scratching my head. As usual, Montgomery sets a scene better than pretty much anyone, and sh...moreLoved the content, but some of the design choices left me scratching my head. As usual, Montgomery sets a scene better than pretty much anyone, and she makes the reader feel like part of the team. The scientists are shown as real human beings - brilliant, relentlessly working to figure things out, but often frustrated by things outside their control. Bishop's photos are, as always, stunning. But the biography sections and sidebars are poorly thought out - the speckled background makes the extra light (and downright weird font style) print very hard to read. Great in many ways, but could have been much, much better.(less)
I think it is officially safe to say the Origami Yoda series has become the best of the current popular fiction for middle readers. Angleberger's writ...moreI think it is officially safe to say the Origami Yoda series has become the best of the current popular fiction for middle readers. Angleberger's writing continues to delight - there are so many funny moments, and the kids almost always feel real. Speaking of the kids, in the first book I felt that the characters were the weakest link... the voices sounded pretty samey except for Dwight and (maybe) Harvey. Now that we've reached Book 4, there are 6-8 distinct, realistic, likable young characters (yes, even Harvey!). By the end of JABBA, the anti-test rhetoric was getting a bit tiring (even for this test-hater) and some bits of dialogue were starting to get pretty didactic. But the overall feel is so fun that these things can easily be overlooked. Can't wait for the next!(less)
This is one of the greatest picture books ever made, but don't go into it expecting the humor of Knuffle Bunny or the inventive storytelling of Where...moreThis is one of the greatest picture books ever made, but don't go into it expecting the humor of Knuffle Bunny or the inventive storytelling of Where the Wild Things Are. It's almost like a family photo album of a childhood in Harlem, right at a time when a lot if exciting changes were very near. Kadir Nelson's paintings are amazing. I highly recommend the audiobook, which features the author reading the poem with Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo playing in the background.(less)