This is a gem of a book. I dived into this story and snuggled in. It was a real comfort read for me. Thank you to Goodreads friend Kathryn; I doubt I’...moreThis is a gem of a book. I dived into this story and snuggled in. It was a real comfort read for me. Thank you to Goodreads friend Kathryn; I doubt I’d have found this book without her!
There is so much to love here. both the child and adult characters are fully developed. I love that each character is given their due and that both children and adults are shown with each of their strengths and challenges and commonalities, and believable feelings and personalities. The same goes for the dogs and to some extent the other animals. I got attached to most of the characters and cared about them.
Even though I am an ethical vegan, all the food made me hungry. I love when stories have foods that are so evocative. I enjoyed how the kids fully participated in the needed chores. I loved the pretend and other play. I loved the exploring and imagining that was done. I really felt as though I were there, from the train ride to the big house and to the other homes and buildings and countryside.
I appreciated how people changed and evolved, and communicated. The way the people are depicted is very psychologically sophisticated. I really like that the adult characters are shown learning and changing and having “their issues” the same way as the kids are. Developing adult and not only just child characters is unfortunately not universally done in books for young people. In this way, this book was ahead of its time!
The illustrations are outstanding. They’re fun and beautiful and charming, and detailed, and they really add to the story. I love the illustration and the story line around the very top rounded room at the top of the great house.
Everything about this book is winsome.
4 ½ stars, down ½ star because there are some slightly sexist, possibly slightly racist, and classist, other not modern sensibility pc things. These are all things that were routinely written when this book was published and also when I was the targeted reading age for this kind of book. Because of anachronisms such as this, I often prefer modern children’s literature for today’s children. While I’d be fine with children reading this book, if they weren’t already worldly wise I’d want them to read or be read to along with some discussions. Maybe it’s why the book hasn’t stayed in print but there are so many other books of its era that are in print and widely read that are no more pc and in some cases are not as good books as this one is.
If I’d had it read to me at ages 6-8 or read it on my own at ages 8-10 or 11+ it would have been a favorite. I loved it today too. My heart ached at times, at times I laughed, but the entire experience was a “cozy” one. I know the people and dogs will stay with me. I’ll have to look up this author-illustrator and see if they have other books available to read.
Wow! I’d have loved this when I was 8,9, or 10 (it was published when I was 7 or 8) but I’m virtually certain this is the first time I’ve read it. I f...moreWow! I’d have loved this when I was 8,9, or 10 (it was published when I was 7 or 8) but I’m virtually certain this is the first time I’ve read it. I found it thanks to GR friend Kathryn. Either my school and public library didn’t have it back then or I skipped it because of the boy character(s) and that would have been a shame because the two boys and a girl have equally good roles, and they’re all wonderful. It’s a good “boy” AND a “girl” book.
The story is charming and fun, suspenseful, heartwarming, full of adventure and family and friendship. It’s well written and it’s a riveting and well-crafted story. The characters are well developed too, and I had strong feelings about most of them. The mystery is very good, and I was actually surprised by the end, pleasantly surprised. The chapter titles are useful and a tad bit red herring like at times, but I enjoyed that. The illustrations are top notch a lovely to view, and they really enhance the story. The whole book is so evocative and there is some interesting historical information in it as well. There was room open for a sequel and I wish there had been one.
I’d have torn through this book, then and now, if I could have taken the time. It could easily be read in one day.
I admit all the lobstering talk was a bit much for me and I’d recommend it to vegan/vegetarian (and kosher keeping?) children only along with some explanations. But why it almost got only 4 stars from me is I had a hard time understanding the decisions and motivations of a few characters a few times. I think I might be the one wanting here though, so I’ll ask the only other person I know who’s read it to tell me her take.
It wasn’t until I read the author bio at the end of the book that I realized the author was a woman and not a man. it hardly matters but I found that interesting.
There is only one copy of this book in the entire LINK+ system my library uses (many public, university, and private libraries in California and Nevada) and this copy belongs to San Jose State University. Given what a gem it is it really should be more available, and I fervently hope this copy stays in circulation. I feel lucky that I was able to borrow it.(less)
I do wish that there were page numbers so it would be easy to single out some of my favorite cartoons. One I really like is where a non-vegan asks a v...moreI do wish that there were page numbers so it would be easy to single out some of my favorite cartoons. One I really like is where a non-vegan asks a vegan what do you eat and a reply of a full page of tons of foods and dishes and non-vegan says they don’t like any of that – but almost all of them are funny and brilliant – my only quibbles are that there is a lot of repetitiveness and I’d have liked many more cartoons.
The last 30 pages is advice to vegans on how to best deal with questions of and confrontations by non-vegans. I bought the book to support the author/artist and for the cartoons, but this Q & A section is very good. I can’t really find fault with any of it, and many answers provided are very similar to ones I’d give and have given.
This is a good, supportive, and amusing book for vegans, those who have important people in their lives who are vegan, and those interested in what it means to be vegan/veganism.(less)
Except for Thanksgiving weekend, Labor Day weekend is the most difficult holiday weekend for me, so this wasn’t a good time for me to be reading this...moreExcept for Thanksgiving weekend, Labor Day weekend is the most difficult holiday weekend for me, so this wasn’t a good time for me to be reading this book, but I guess it was good timing to finally finish it. I found it utterly devastating, though it’s such an important book, and thankfully it does offer hope and excellent suggestions in the final sections. Thank goodness viable alternatives to what is the norm are provided. Otherwise, the book would be nothing but tortuous.
My feelings about human nature are getting more and more negative as I read certain books and see certain films. I think I need a comical book next.
This book gets 5 stars because I want absolutely everyone to read it, particularly adults and adolescents somehow affected, including judges, prison and school officials, treatment program workers, teachers, foster parents, graduate students in all related fields, but everyone. Even if a reader feels nothing in this book applies to their life and they are powerless to do anything, that’s not so. If you are a voter, a citizen, a parent, an adolescent, this is a must read book, in my opinion.
I’ve read a lot and experienced a lot (thankfully never incarceration) but not since I read As We Are Now by May Sarton am I so certain death is preferable to being helpless and solely in the hands of other human beings. I could really identify with these kids. I have worked with similar kids and now I wish I could have done that even better than I did. I could have been one of these kids, as the author points out, that’s true of most people. For me, from ages 11-13 I could have ended up incarcerated and I am lucky that I did not. While I didn’t have the positive essentials for young people the authors posits, such as a supportive adult when I was at the ages of the kids whose stories are told in this book, I know that if I’d ended up at 90% of the covered places, I’d have been so much worse off, as I know I couldn’t have withstood the physical and/or sexual abuse, and the even worse isolation than I had.
I like her ideas of what our society should do, and it’s why I want everyone to read the book. Without a swell of demand, it’s not likely to happen on a wide scale.
One thing that came up for me again, is I’ve never understood why those under age 18 (maybe 24-25 since that’s when brain development is considered complete) are tried and punished as adults. I don’t care what kinds do; they’re not adults. They’re just not. In fact, when I hear of 12-17 year olds in the new who’s committed horrible crimes, if anything they tend to be immature for their ages. They’re kids, and society should have hope for the 99% of them who aren’t hard core psychopaths.
The inequities shown here are appalling but not surprising.
Anyway, I’m glad I read it, and I’m glad it was written. The author did not let down the kids she got to know, the kids she befriended. Their trust in her was earned and justified. I hope it does a tremendous amount of good.(less)
Wow! This book was simultaneously devastating and fascinating for me. Overall, I found it to be a downer, a huge one.
I had hoped I’d see Laura’s life...moreWow! This book was simultaneously devastating and fascinating for me. Overall, I found it to be a downer, a huge one.
I had hoped I’d see Laura’s life as one well worth living and uplifting, and that I’d find strength and inspiration there, despite her extreme sensory deprivation (she’d lost 4 senses, all but touch) but I didn’t, not as much as I’d have liked anyway. I found the book and Laura’s life very depressing, but I also found myself laughing a lot. Thank goodness for humor.
It didn’t help that I didn’t like these people. I did love Asa (though I might not have in real life) and at least some of these people were abolitionists which helped me dislike them a lot less, that and the simple fact of life’s difficulties helped me feel empathy for them, especially Laura, but most of them. What a world they were all trapped in. I guess I had the most problems with Doctor and Laura’s father, but really while I could sort of understand everyone, it was hard for me to like them. Given that, it’s amazing how much I enjoyed the book.
I found it interesting to see miscommunications magnified even more than usual, due to Laura’s limitations and isolation, severe even in the best of times, which was sometimes funny and often tragic.
At first I was disappointed when I found that every chapter wouldn’t be in Laura’s voice, and I’d assumed I’d be most interested in the young Laura, but it turned out I was able to get engaged with everyone’s voices and with Laura throughout her lifetime.
I enjoyed the Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller short portions. I’d been interested in Laura perhaps because of my longstanding interest in Helen and Annie.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I kept reading this as non-fiction, but it’s a novel. I think I might have to read a biography of her, with a lot of “in her own words.” I’m really grateful that at the end of the book the author cleared up some things about what was fictionalized and what actually happened.
I came away really enjoying the book but feeling horrified and sad about Laura’s life, and others’ lives too. It wasn’t only Laura’s sensory deprivation, though that was most of it, but the heartbreaking ways in which she was treated, educated, and how clear communication was gravely impacted, and how helpless in the world she so often was, how dependent she was, by necessity. I could 100% forgive and understand Laura’s religiosity. The whole story was difficult to read, but hard to forget, and very enjoyable in its own way.
I actually won this at GR First Reads but it came about a month after publication, which would have been fine if it was the hardcover edition I was expecting, but it was a very unattractive uncorrected proof edition, which would have been fine only if it had truly been an advance copy. So, I read a borrowed library edition, and didn’t touch the received uncorrected proof. I felt a bit blackmailed into reading the book. I wanted to read it, but with all the books on my to-read shelf, I’m not sure I’d have gotten to it, and doubt would have gotten to it as quickly as I did. I’m glad I did though so I can’t be that irked about how I came to read it now.(less)
Fog is my favorite weather. On the page opposite the title page, there are simply 16 paint marks with the caption "sample of sf skies" and 1 is blue,...moreFog is my favorite weather. On the page opposite the title page, there are simply 16 paint marks with the caption "sample of sf skies" and 1 is blue, 1 is pink, 1 is black, and 13 are varying shades of gray. Ha! It’s my favorite page in the book, but much of it is good. I really like the art in this art heavy book, and the segments and people of San Francisco covered are interesting. Great idea!(less)
This is a book I’d love to own; it’s one I’d probably reread, and I’d love to be able to review all the wonderful literary and other quotes. It’s not...moreThis is a book I’d love to own; it’s one I’d probably reread, and I’d love to be able to review all the wonderful literary and other quotes. It’s not that it’s a beautifully written book, but it’s well written and very quotable. There are many good quotes, most of them related to reading.
From reading the book’s descriptions (that I saw) and the cover, it wasn’t what I was expecting, and that’s good as I’m glad I came to it without too much information – the book’s cover does a good job of not giving too much away but I’ve since read descriptions that have given away more of the story than I’d have wanted to know.
One thing came toward the beginning that I didn’t expect and I’m glad I didn’t know and one thing came toward the end which I kind of suspected, but I didn’t guess the specifics; that came as the last line at the bottom of a page and I immediately knew what that meant, but not everybody might until they turn the page and keep reading. So, two sort of plot twists. Well, one sudden turn of events and one thing a reader could surmise as coming but the details aren’t revealed until toward the end. Oh, actually there’s a third major reveal that came into the mix, and I wish that more had been done with it.
There is lots of foreshadowing throughout, especially in the book titles and mini reviews and notes by the title character that appear at the start of every chapter. I really enjoyed those. I thought it was very clever.
The story is amusing and sweet. There was one chapter I sobbed my way through and a couple others that were very sad. Otherwise, I mostly laughed my way through the book, or at least smiled. I do appreciate how all the humor is tinged with sadness and even the sad parts (except for maybe that one chapter) had some humor.
I particularly enjoyed all the book and literary references. The book is a loving homage to readers and while I suppose its execution is gimmicky and somewhat sentimental, I didn’t care because I loved it and enjoyed it.
I think the way people were depicted was smart. I loved the main character’s attitudes toward certain books and genres and I loved how he changed over time. I got attached to many characters, and cared about them, and I think I’ll remember them.
I got a feel for what small bookstore selling is all about. Some of the early on events in particular could be right out of those humor books about things you hear people say in bookstores.
One medium quibble I have is that the ending, and even some of the middle, seemed too rushed, and I wish more had been revealed about certain characters’ futures, one character in particular, though I think readers are supposed to be able to surmise probable scenarios. Another quibble is that a few important things were kind of glossed over and I wanted more depth and wanted to know what would happen. In that way the book is more lightweight than I wanted. What is there though I found delightful and memorable.
The book is a bit more chick lit than most of the books I read. I’ve enjoyed quite a few books in the genre but I don’t consider it to be one of “my” genres. Maybe in part because of the books and reading theme, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Luckily the romance never ended up being a huge part of the book; books and reading and family love and community was always central. It’s a very optimistic story, especially regarding people’s ability to change and to love.
4 ½ stars
recommended for those who enjoy reading, books, writing, bookstores, book discussions, quirky communities, atypical family stories, coming of age stories(less)
Thanks to Goodreads friend Jim for recommending the book Larry Loves San Francisco!. My library didn't have that book, a board book, but I was able to...moreThanks to Goodreads friend Jim for recommending the book Larry Loves San Francisco!. My library didn't have that book, a board book, but I was able to borrow this one.
The book's cover says 3 & up, but I'd recommend it most for slightly older kids. Kids who are beginning independent readers might get the most out of it.
There is a fairly good tour of San Francisco landmarks so it's a good book for children who live in San Francisco or who have visited/will visit San Francisco, and it's especially good for boys named Pete or Larry.
Even though I wasn't concerned about how things would end up, I had a hard time thoroughly enjoying this story about a lost dog on his own. When I had my dog, one of my big fears was she'd get off her leash and go running and be missing. But, that's me. Kids might be able to simply enjoy the adventure and the sights.(less)
This is a very short story, even for a short story. Thanks to Mark I found out about it and thanks to Miriam I read it almost immediately. Even for th...moreThis is a very short story, even for a short story. Thanks to Mark I found out about it and thanks to Miriam I read it almost immediately. Even for this slow reader, it really did take just a few minutes to read.
I normally don’t like Selkie stories, but I really liked this one. This story is incredibly skillfully told. It’s such a short story, yet it has a very satisfying story arc, and it packs quite a wallop, but also has humor, and it’s very smart.
I didn’t think I liked Selkie stories, and I usually like novels better than I like short stories, but it turned out that this is my kind of story. I just added a novel by this author to my shelves. (less)
Apologies to those who have been waiting for my review of this book. I’m not up for writing a thorough review, but I hope my impressions are useful to...moreApologies to those who have been waiting for my review of this book. I’m not up for writing a thorough review, but I hope my impressions are useful to you, especially regarding deciding whether or not this book is for you.
I found the account gripping and suspenseful, even though the reader knows from the very start pretty much what is going to happen.
From previous reading, I knew most of what was going on during the period and yet the details told still managed to shock me at times – great examples including excerpts from the NY Times, State Dept. memos, and the memories of those involved with this rescue.
I get more and more angry at the U.S. the more I learn. I get so exasperated with human beings. Luckily, this story is mostly about the bravery, heroism, and empathy expressed by some very good people.
I was particularly grateful for the details given of what happened with everyone, and surprised that there were so many children that couldn’t be currently tracked re what happened to them. I hope they or their significant others see the plea at the end of the book, and come forward with information. I had to smile because so many of the personalities/behaviors of certain children left me not at all surprised by the adults they became. I was very touched to read about some of their post rescue lives and accomplishments.
There is an exceptionally fine and informative Afterword by Paul A. Shapiro of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
There is no gorgeous language but it is a well written straightforward account.
The photos of the children, others involved, documents, the times & places of the era were so important to me, especially the family portraits of the children and their families.
The last year I’ve had a reading dry spell, but this book was easy for me to read, and very enjoyable.
(view spoiler)[ I was very surprised that so many of the parents and siblings got out and how so many of them also got out before the worst of the Holocaust, in 1939 and 1940. The relatively few exceptions were so heartbreaking, more so because of how many were able to escape the worst of the Holocaust. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I haven’t been reading many picture books in recent months, but I’m really glad I read this one.
The pictures are wonderful. They sophisticated and fun...moreI haven’t been reading many picture books in recent months, but I’m really glad I read this one.
The pictures are wonderful. They sophisticated and fun, and I think they’re beautiful. I love the colors, the details, and the art style, which is reminiscent of the Impressionists.
The story is maybe a little too simplistic, but it does illustrate a fine point, and I did smile at the end, and I enjoyed the story. It’s definitely one I’d recommend for enjoyment and for lessons about how we’re all interdependent and that everything we do can have a greater influence on others, and ourselves too. (It’s a sort of version of the Butterfly Effect.) I also appreciated how there are scenes from around the world.
For me, it worked on every level. I found it very entertaining and emotionally touching.
I wish this book had been out when a friend had her daughter Amelia over 22 years ago. It would have made a great gift. I think Amelia Bedelia were the only Amelia books we could find at the time.
As I was reading this, most of the way through, no matter how much I was enjoying it, and I was, particularly my 10 year old self, I was thinking how...moreAs I was reading this, most of the way through, no matter how much I was enjoying it, and I was, particularly my 10 year old self, I was thinking how I couldn’t give the book 5 stars. Unlike some middle grade books, it felt very middle grade, so I had to suspend disbelief quite a few times, and there were just too many unbelievable coincidences, but the story and characters are great, the writing is very good, the reader is likely to learn a lot about the Holocaust and art history and art, and it’s such a unique NYC story, taking place in NYC but with some highly unusual lifestyle details for that location. Also, everything came together so nicely by the end, which was very satisfying for my 9-12 year old self. So, I’m deducting only ½ star for its flaws. 4 ½ stars
Theo is a delightful character, and most of the characters are very interesting. I really enjoyed the historical parts of the story, and the non-fiction information about art, and I found it interesting how some of the events covered have been the subject of recent (for adults and teens, not kids) movies.
This would have probably been a favorite of mine if I’d read it between the ages of 9 and 12. I highly recommend this book to girls ages 9 or 10 through 12, especially those interested in art, art history, history, the Holocaust, WWII, and NYC. It’s great fun, poignant, and suspenseful. (less)