I read this book for the first time when I was nine, and unlike many books I loved back then I believe I read it only once or twice. I just reread it,I read this book for the first time when I was nine, and unlike many books I loved back then I believe I read it only once or twice. I just reread it, finishing on 2/25/11, for a March 2011 discussion for the Children's Books group’s Fiction Books Club, one of the months chosen to read a classic vs. contemporary book. I’d remembered enough to give it 5 stars but not enough to review it, though I recalled the gist of the story well enough. I’m so glad I reread it now, nearly a half century after my first reading!
I have no idea which library edition(s) I read as a child. I own a nondescript paperback edition. I bought the Norton critical edition but didn’t have time to read it for the group discussion. This Tasha Tudor illustrated edition was the book I was able to borrow from the library so this is the edition I read for my reread, the first in decades. And I did enjoy the illustrations.
I should probably have thought more carefully and waited at least a short time before I wrote a review, given that I’ve already waited nearly a half century, but I felt like writing a bit down when the reading experience was fresh in my mind.
I’m in danger of waxing rhapsodic. It’s not my favorite book/children’s book, but it’s a comfort read for me and I enjoyed it enough for it to make my favorites shelf.
Despite some anachronisms, a last chapter that doesn’t impress me as much as I would have hoped, this remains an almost perfect book for me, and therefore I’m ill equipped to write a decent review.
It’s a very well written story.
I feel great fondness for Mary, for Colin, for Dickon, for Susan Sowerby (Dickon’s mother), Martha, Ben Weatherstaff, and even Dr. Craven. I don’t think I appreciated any of them as a child as much as I do now.
I particularly loved the robin, and I did also when young. I was used to seeing them from my bedroom window and around the neighborhood and liked them at least as much as I did the hummingbirds.
I’d forgotten how there is not just flora therapy but fauna therapy too, and I was smitten with all the animals. Vivid memories from childhood came to mind as I was reading; I think most children who have access to it (I did) are often attuned to the natural world.
While it’s not unique to tell a story of healing (emotional and physical) through nature or through tending to and caring for others/plants/animals, this story does so in such a lovely way, with such immediacy I sometimes felt as though I was right there, within its pages.
What’s not to love, at least for me?! Secrets, gardens, nature, animals, friendship, hope, self-determination, nurturing, and some intangible qualities, so much that seems to leap off the pages of this book.
It’s funny but during this reading I noticed some of what could be considered current new age thinking and beliefs, and those usually drive me up the wall, but here, it’s believable and soothing and exhilarating and magical. I love how Colin uses the word “Magic” and how it’s understood and accepted by those around him. I appreciate how this book shows that the most simple things and joys are extraordinarily ordinary, and necessary for humans to flourish.
I think I appreciated the whole book even more now that I am an adult. It touched me enough that I put it on my favorites shelf. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that this classic has survived and thrived....more
This is one of those books that so impressed me I’m struggling to write about it in a coherent manner.
Right away: wonderful WONDERFUL!!! from the authThis is one of those books that so impressed me I’m struggling to write about it in a coherent manner.
Right away: wonderful WONDERFUL!!! from the author’s note about writing what she/authors know, or not, before the start of the book, to the very engaging narrator. Oh, if I’d had this book to read when I was 12 or 13, it would have been one of those lifesaving books, true even when I was a decade older perhaps.
In my opinion, it’s stunningly marvelous. I appreciated how a lot is left open to interpretation, including even the book’s genre.
It’s about survival and living and death and grief and books (especially books!) and connection and so much more, what the dead are and aren’t to the living, about doing right and being oneself, and growing up and growing strong, and it’s about coping. And. And. And.
I love having a narrator who’s smart, thoughtful, and a superb writer. In this case the entire story is told via Mori’s diary entries. She’s such a good writer and knows so much about speculative fiction literature, I had to look up a few words, and I enjoyed learning what I learned.
I enjoyed it when I recognized my read books that were mentioned and I regretted not having read all the books, wondering what in the conversation I was missing.
This is an almost perfect book for me. As I read, and I thought about writing a review for this book, I kept planning to say this is an almost perfect book until/through, expecting my feelings would change, but they did not.
I am confused about one or two things and so I’m glad I read it for a Goodreads’ online book club. It’s a June selection, and I can’t wait to chat about it. If only we had a real world book club that could meet in a library such as the book club featured in this story....more
This was a wonderful book choice to transition me from 2011 to 2012.
Flavia is so much fun! She’s a hoot. But, with each book, I also find her more &amThis was a wonderful book choice to transition me from 2011 to 2012.
Flavia is so much fun! She’s a hoot. But, with each book, I also find her more & more endearing. And she really makes me appreciate chemistry.
For the first time I’m enjoying Gladys as her own character, not just as an accoutrement of Flavia’s.
I would have preferred Roma to Gypsy, though this is historical fiction and I’m sure the term is more correctly used for this time and place. But then right away the word for horse was given in the Romany language so I was satisfied.
So, I read this almost immediately after reading book 2 and my thought was I’d go on almost immediately to book 4, but it turns out that for all the griping I do about waiting for each next book in a series to be available, I think there is something to be said for enjoying series books more if there is some time in-between them. I think I’ll wait at least several months to continue with this series; I have too many books at the top of my queue to do anything else anyway.
I love how Flavia says: “…because I was only eleven years old, I was wrapped in the best cloak of invisibility in the world.”
This series is one of my favorite cozy mystery series.
I love how the scary parts are short and not too scary. In this book, I nearly cried with emotion at the last line and nearly laughed when I turned the page to read the short author’s note.
And, I didn’t guess the mystery in full, not at all, and I enjoy having good clues yet being kept basically in the dark. I read so many mysteries I often do guess them, which can be fun but I prefer being surprised.
4 ½ stars
I just upped the other books in this series from 4 to 5 stars. Its protagonist is just too unique for me to feel otherwise....more
I laughed out loud more than I have with a book in ages!
Comic genius! Very clever! It’s a gimmick and I absolutely love it and admire the result, bookI laughed out loud more than I have with a book in ages!
Comic genius! Very clever! It’s a gimmick and I absolutely love it and admire the result, book title included.
Hilarious! Absolutely the funniest collaboration imaginable, funny ha ha, not funny peculiar, although it’s delightfully peculiar too.
I thought I’d miss the Spellmans but I need not have worried; Lacey & Paul, and especially Lisa & David/Dave are equally entertaining in their own ways.
I wasn’t sure these two collaborating authors would pull off a mystery story that made any sense, but I need not have worried about that either; they did. Lisa writes the odd numbered chapters and David writes the even numbered chapters, and we find out why and who gets to write the last chapter. I was always eager to get to the end of each chapter, just so I could read the notes the authors exchange. I loved the story but the between chapter notes and footnotes were at least as enjoyable as the mystery story.
Chapter 14 was hilarious; it took me a fraction of several seconds to figure out why the font was so much bigger and that it wasn’t a printing error.
I was going to warn lovers of cat mysteries and cat lovers that they might want to skip this one, but I need not have worried about this either. I love and appreciate how everything turned out.
Why, when I read these authors names do I keep thinking of Jordi/Lisa & David (the Lisa and David part), a favorite book and movie of mine, and definitely not in the mystery or humor genre?!
This is a terrific book for anyone thinking of penning a mystery novel too. Because of the tag team writing and communication between authors, the reader is privy to some of the techniques used. I could never be a writer: If I were to create a story, I’d want to know where it was going from the very beginning.
3 3/4 stars for the mystery story (impressive!) and a full 5 stars for everything else = 5 stars
All these words in some way describe the book, and they all appear in spell check (except for Yin and Yang; What’s up with that?!): Ambitious. Brilliant. Clever. Deft. Excellent. Funny. Good. Hilarious. Inspired. Jocose. Killer. LOL. Mystery. Notable. One-liners. Phenomenal. Quirky. Repartee. Sidesplitting. Tongue-in-cheek. Uproarious. Visionary. Witty. Yin and Yang. Zingers. And, because I left out X, some extra words: Humorous. Comic. Amusing. Droll. Footnotes. Hoot. Bantering. Fun! And there are many more. I had the most fun reading than I’ve had in a while, and this is not the only humorous book I’ve read recently.
I adore the Spellmans books but it does help to have my warped sense of humor. Though everyone I know loves the Spellmans, I think this book will have even wider appeal because even more people will be able to identify with this story and these relationships.
I’m already eagerly awaiting Lisa Lutz's next book and I’ll happily also pick up any further books by David Hayward....more
I recently read this author’s “Cinderella” books from Egypt and Korea, and I read them because they’re illustrated by Ruth Heller. But I read (I thinkI recently read this author’s “Cinderella” books from Egypt and Korea, and I read them because they’re illustrated by Ruth Heller. But I read (I think thanks to Goodreads’ friend Chandra) that the illustrations in this version are even better so I decided to give this book a try. Even though I haven’t been in a fairy tale mood I did enjoy the other two books, and enjoyed the variations on the Cinderella story and the notes in the back that show its presence in various cultures.
The illustrations in this book are wonderful! They’re luminous and colorful and fit the period and story well, something the artist took care to do. There is a great artist’s note at the end where the author’s note is.
I also really like this particular version of the Cinderella story. I love that the girl’s name means star, for the birthmark she has that’s that shape: Settareh, a name which remains common today in the region.
The author’s note at the end, which I was looking forward to reading, having read them in the other two books, was informative and fascinating. This version was taken from a retelling of one of the tales from The Arabian Nights/1001 Arabian Nights/Naomi Lewis's Stories from Arabian Nights, ], in particular a story titled “The Anklet.” It uses elements that are unique to Persian mythology or that have origins in the region. The art is based on authentic ancient Persia. I do appreciate this author’s respect for the various cultures from which she finds and adapts these stories. And it’s so interesting to read stories from the many different cultures that have the “Cinderella” story in some form. ...more
I read this one immediately after reading The Egyptian Cinderella and I’m glad of the order I chose, because I liked this one much better. I’m not reaI read this one immediately after reading The Egyptian Cinderella and I’m glad of the order I chose, because I liked this one much better. I’m not really a huge fan of fairy tales, or the Cinderella story, but I read these versions because I saw that they had illustrations by Ruth Heller.
I liked the illustrations much better in this book, although they’re still not my favorite by her. However, I’m impressed by how much they fit the story, and appreciated them even more when I read the illustrator’s note in the back of the book and realized how much education and on site research had gone into them.
I found the story more interesting than the other (although the other had a fabulous author’s note!) The author’s note in this book was useful too, and I do wish both notes had been in the front vs. the back of the book. This version of the story apparently comes from three variations of a tale told to Korean children for centuries. It is interesting to realize how certain tales have commonality among so many different cultures.
Here there is a step-mother and one step sister to Pear Blossom (Cinderella). I have to say I do feel irritated by the ineffectual father that is a character in this story. I did enjoy the magical talking animals that make appearances in this version and their background is explained in the author’s note....more
Well, I have 4 more picture books to read in 2010, two illustrated by Ruth Heller and two both written & illustrated by her. I’m glad that I’m reaWell, I have 4 more picture books to read in 2010, two illustrated by Ruth Heller and two both written & illustrated by her. I’m glad that I’m reading this book and The Korean Cinderella in succession; it will be interesting to compare them. Both are written by Shirley Climo.
I enjoy Heller’s work, and I’ve read many of her books (and I own quite a few) but I recently noticed that I’ve been unaware of some books by her or at least illustrated by her.
While I read this book because of the illustrator, I wasn’t wild about the illustrations. I liked them but not enough to have sought them out.
I wish the author’s note had been at the beginning of the story and not at the end. Only at the end, after I’d read the book, did I find out that this is one of the oldest Cinderella stories, first recorded in the first century B.C. by the Roman historian Strabo. The background about the story was as interesting to me as the actual story. The information is fascinating.
In this story, the slave master is portrayed as basically good and it’s Rhodopis’s (Cinderella’s) three fellow female slaves who have the roles normally played by the three step-sisters....more
This is a wonderful and amazing book. It really is the second half of a book. On the same day, I went from finishing Blackout and started reading thisThis is a wonderful and amazing book. It really is the second half of a book. On the same day, I went from finishing Blackout and started reading this book, and it was like going from one chapter to another, not like going from one book to another.
Thank you to Goodreads friend and fellow group member Sarah Pi who didn’t let me see answers to my questions and therefore helped me avoid unwanted spoilers.
I am very proud that less than 1/3 the way through this book, I figured something out, probably because of all of the mysteries I’ve read, and I’m often able to prematurely guess their outcomes too. Even though I figured out that important plot point, the book managed to stay suspenseful for me all the way until the last page. The farther I got into the book, the harder it became to take any breaks from reading it; I was enthralled.
I love Blackout and this book so much didn’t even mind that they’re books 4 and 5 in the Oxford time travel series; normally, I’d want to read the books in exact order, but once I started these books I couldn’t put them aside to read the earlier books first.
This is a brilliant historical fiction and time travel/speculative fiction book, with a very complex time travel story. It’s ingenious and a great deal of fun. It’s funny, tragic, romantic, heartwarming, and completely engrossing. I cared a great deal about many characters. I got in lots of chuckles and smiles, and tears also.
I adored how Agatha Christie makes appearances. (I’ve loved her mystery books for decades.) Very cool! Also appropriate were all the mentions of Ernest Shackleton and his expedition to the South Pole.
This is a beautifully crafted book. I enjoyed how the dialogue between characters was in quotes and characters’ internal dialogue/thoughts were in italics. The quotes that are at the beginning of each chapter are fabulous; both their literary and historical origins and how they relate to what is going on in the book’s story are perfect.
I knew a fair amount about the Blitz, have read about it and listened to people who were there talk about it, I think that I learned more from this book/books than any other source to date. I think I fully appreciated for the first time what people in that time and place experienced.
I can recommend this book to any reader who likes reading historical fiction and/or time travel books and/or any type of speculative fiction. It’s imperative to read Blackout and then this book, preferably one right after the other as I was fortunate to do.
The very best thing about this book, and why I think it has appeal for all readers whatever their favorite genres are, is how it shows the importance in life of loving and caring about and caring for others. I was practically bawling by the end, but this theme runs throughout the entire story....more
A warning: This book has no proper ending. It was meant to be the first half of a book but the publisher divided it into two books and Blackout is theA warning: This book has no proper ending. It was meant to be the first half of a book but the publisher divided it into two books and Blackout is the first half. All Clear is the second book/second half of the book. Definitely have All Clear on hand to read immediately after this book. I finished this book and started the next the same day and that’s the way to do it. I deliberately read this slowly so there wouldn’t be a gap before I could read the next book.
I was completely enthralled! This book is so much fun to read.
I can’t believe that this is my first Connie Willis time travel book, and it’s very rare that I don’t read series, even loose series, in order. This is book four in the Oxford time travel books, although it is the first of two of the All Clear books. I could tell that at least two characters had made prior appearances in other books, and normally that would bother me, but I was so engaged with this book that I truly didn’t care. I felt perfectly content to go back and, after I read All Clear, I’ll in the near future read Doomsday Book and the other two books. I don’t mind going backward to read them, quite appropriate for time travel books, which I do love. I am a bit embarrassed that I haven’t read this author’s books given that her books are exactly my cup of tea.
I was in heaven: historical fiction where I really learned so much about what it was like to be a civilian in London and evacuation areas and other parts of England during WWII, speculative fiction which is one of my favorite genres, and time travel for which I have a particular penchant, and even a favorite-time-travel-books shelf here at Goodreads.
I like that it’s a character named Ira Feldman, a Jewish man, who invented time travel, and that his parents seem to have lived during WWII. That fact is mentioned just in passing, but I definitely noted it.
I enjoyed all the main characters: Polly, Merope/Eileen, Mike, and also many others in 2060 and 1940. They’re characters that I cared about and they all seemed completely authentic. I was starting to list a few memorable characters but there were too many so I’ll just say that and leave readers to meet and get to know them when they read this book. There was a bunch of repetition during the book, particularly the long last part, but it worked for me because it’s the kind of obsessive and repetitive thinking and worrying I would do in those circumstances, and having the characters in the book do it gave the events such a feeling of immediacy. Most of the action takes place in 1940 and thereabouts but the world of Oxford in 2060 was also fascinating. I love the way the time traveler historians from 2060 have to learn the ways of 1940, such as how to drive a gasoline powered car of the time.
Willis was already a well known and published author so I was somewhat surprised by the many spelling, grammatical, etc. errors, especially in the beginning of the book, but I also caught a couple of mistakes at the end of the book as well.
However, the story and characters are so riveting, and the premise is so creative, that while not perfect, this was a wonderful 5 star book for me. It was a rollicking ride and a perfect comfort read. I will shelve it at the Comfort Reads group, if another member hasn’t already done that. It was just a blast for me to read. I’m about to happily dive into All Clear....more
Splendid. Marvelous. Lovely. Wondrous. I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the illustrations. I just love this book. A big thank you to GoodreadsSplendid. Marvelous. Lovely. Wondrous. I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the illustrations. I just love this book. A big thank you to Goodreads friend Kathryn who alerted me to it.
Small’s illustrations are pitch perfect and gorgeous, and I could easily view them multiple times. I always enjoy his art.
This story is about a young city girl whose mother dies and then has to move with her father and her canary to the Midwest prairie, and how she eventually not only adjusts, but also learns to appreciate her new surroundings. I love Elsie, her father, the grandparents, the canary, the dog, the city and the prairie too. It’s a terrific account of grief, joy, love, the ability to adapt, and the concept of home....more
Wow, what a trip, as we used to say back in ’68. Did this ever bring me back to the summer of 1968! I was not an African-American eleven year old girlWow, what a trip, as we used to say back in ’68. Did this ever bring me back to the summer of 1968! I was not an African-American eleven year old girl visiting Oakland, but I was a fourteen year old white Jewish girl across the bay living in San Francisco. There was a chapter that takes place in San Francisco.
So, the author got one thing wrong about Oakland (no, there are no hills at all in that part of town) and maybe one thing about San Francisco wrong: I don’t think there were palm trees in that location, but I could have just forgotten, I suppose. Otherwise, much of the locale and time period seemed authentic.
This story definitely fits on my orphaned-and-quasi-orphaned kids shelf.
I really liked Delphine the narrator, at 11 going on 12 and the oldest of 3 sisters who live in Brooklyn, New York with their father and paternal grandmother, and who go to visit their birth mother in Oakland, a woman who abandoned them when they were very young.
I thought most of the story rang true. It was a bit on the edge of seeming realistic at times, yet so was my life at a certain point in time, so I bought it. The ending seemed not quite right but I can think of many other endings that would have worked even less well. I am glad that Delphine got some answers, very glad, and knowing what Delphine learns does give more credence and depth to what happened with this family, and why Cecile did what she did and why she was the person she became.
I love the sisters’ relationships with one another, especially how the oldest is most irritated by her middle sister but feels as though she knows her well, compared to how she loves her little sister even though she’s a bit of a mystery to her, and then how the two youngest fight with one another ; it all seemed very genuine.
The narrator really got across what it felt like to be a minority. She “counts” other African-American (then going by black or colored) people in various locations; I’ve been a “minority” only a few times, including two school experiences, but during those I definitely noted who else was “like me” and was highly aware of my minority status.
This is a fine book for kids who enjoy historical fiction novels with a bit of adventure and novels with a believable child narrator. The story is sad in many ways, but it isn’t depressing.
I read this now because I think the Children's Books group is going to read this book as one of their January selections. It’s got quite a long hold list at the library so I read it as soon as I was able to get a copy.
Edited to add: Oh, and this book is very funny!...more
It’s a phenomenal book, truly astounding. It’s one of those books that touched me so deeply, I felt like burying myself inI am in love with this book.
It’s a phenomenal book, truly astounding. It’s one of those books that touched me so deeply, I felt like burying myself in it and not coming up for air.
I adore Mr. C’mere (also known as Mr. C) and Zoë and Henry, and so many more characters, including a couple that ended up surprising me, which was just lovely. The characters are incredibly memorable.
This is yet another book I’d give anything to have written; it’s another one of “my” books.
It reminds me a bit of The Green Glass Sea, another book I loved, and Zoë reminds me quite a bit of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, and I don’t have much higher praise than that. This story says profound things about trust and love and, yes, as befitting the book’s title, wild things.
The story, told by Zoë, with passages from the viewpoint of Mr. C’mere, is simultaneously hilariously funny and devastatingly sad.
This book is so deserving of my top-100 shelf, a shelf I’ve kept at significantly fewer than 100 books, because I don’t want to have to choose which books to remove when I find yet another gem such as this book. I want to thank the Children's Books group for alerting me to this book. It was one of the nominees for the Fiction Book Club for December, and I started reading it without knowing or caring if it would be the book selected for group discussion.
On the acknowledgments page at the end of the book, the author-illustrator (yes, there are some illustrations in this book, all of them of a cat) thanks a cat who was an important companion in her life, and a photo of the cat is included, which is a nice touch.
There is so much more to this story, so many layers, so much else I could say, but no matter how much material I included, I couldn’t do the book justice, so I won’t try. I’m delighted that Clay Carmichael is a Goodreads author member because otherwise I’d be making a huge effort to get her to join. I’m that much of a fan....more