YEARS after fanflailing from my friend Miriam -- years in which I recommended Nanny Piggins far and wide despite having never read it -- I finally rea...moreYEARS after fanflailing from my friend Miriam -- years in which I recommended Nanny Piggins far and wide despite having never read it -- I finally read this story of Mary Poppins-style-nanny-finding gone horribly, horribly wrong.
I'm a little concerned about the enthusiasm with which I have pressed it on families. It *is* hilarious. And unexpected. And it makes sense that a pig in charge of children would lead to shenanigans that responsible adults would never consider. And goodness knows, the Cat in the Hat and Pippi Longstocking get away with it.
I'll keep telling myself that if a parent ever comes in to complain that it was, in fact, shocking. (less)
The writing was clunky, but this was a solid read for third grade. Strong enough plot, enough action, and clearly drawn kid relationships. I'm glad Ms...moreThe writing was clunky, but this was a solid read for third grade. Strong enough plot, enough action, and clearly drawn kid relationships. I'm glad Ms. Robinson has started writing -- my kids all enjoy these books. (less)
I loved it! Also, I learned lots of interesting facts about guinea pigs.
Along with the (fascinating) nonfiction comics, there were lots of opportuniti...moreI loved it! Also, I learned lots of interesting facts about guinea pigs.
Along with the (fascinating) nonfiction comics, there were lots of opportunities to suspend my disbelief. The pet shop owner had a driveable trailer just waiting to be cleaned and turned into a rescue van? Check! She's totally into the idea of three second-graders (?) using it as a mobile adoption center? Check! She then wants to take them on a road trip to her guinea-pig rescue center friend in Virginia? Check! Hijinks ensue? You bet!
Honestly, this was a silly, fun, and goodhearted read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can't wait to get more Stink in my library. (less)
What a great adventure for younger readers! The way Elmer Elevator packed every single thing that he needed to make it through Wild Island to rescue t...moreWhat a great adventure for younger readers! The way Elmer Elevator packed every single thing that he needed to make it through Wild Island to rescue the baby dragon -- indicating either great foresight (the alley cat) and predictability (the wild animals) or marvelous coincidence -- is immensely satisfying.
It's rare that books of this age (published 1948) at this accessible reading level hold up so well: books for more accomplished readers often do, but there are few transitional reads from that era that continue to be delightful. A wonderful gift, great for the classroom, and a must-have for any library.
I'm feeling so happy from having just finished this book, I want to share it with everyone. I'll be sending a copy to my little nephew for his birthday immediately. (less)
Nikki and Deja gets an extra star from me because it's like a breath of fresh air to read an early chapter book with regular African-American girl cha...moreNikki and Deja gets an extra star from me because it's like a breath of fresh air to read an early chapter book with regular African-American girl characters in everyday situations: trying to do each others' hair, having friendship drama, and hoping the loud kids in line don't get the whole class in trouble. Like many early chapter books, it's a story of friendship between two girls, with chapters of discrete small moments scaffolded within an ongoing storyline. There's drama -- they're BFFs but their friendship is threatened by the new girl -- and of course a happy ending. I thought it was hilarious that one of the major dramatic incidents of the story is that Deja decides to start a drill team in order to have the most exclusive, desirable club in school... but Nikki has no rhythm. It's probably the book's most original moment, and it rings so true! I was SO THERE with Nikki in agonized embarrassment as she faces her total lack of dancing skills. Luckily the adult librarian piece of me could take a step back and laugh at the fact that the world wasn't really ending.
The text is mostly accessible despite some vocabulary speed bumps. The illustrations are cute, but a little babyish for the struggling third and fourth grade readers who might enjoy the story. (less)
An entertaining early chapter book for 2nd/3rd grade. Piper is spunky and sure to please Ramona fans. Unlike Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, there isn'...moreAn entertaining early chapter book for 2nd/3rd grade. Piper is spunky and sure to please Ramona fans. Unlike Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, there isn't much of substance here.
The book is "timeless," in that it wasn't until nearly that last page that I was able to identify whether or not it took place in the 1970s, 1980s, or now. The father sends an email when he arrives safely on his ship. Otherwise, there's no way to tell: no technology or current events, mostly white characters, and Piper frequently exclaims, "Jeepers!" In its own way, it feels as retro as "The Penderwicks".
Current events aren't something that I would normally look for in a chapter book, but I think it's interesting that although Piper's life is defined by the Navy, there's absolutely no mention of the fact that the U.S. could be at war or that her dad might be in any danger whatsoever. She's sad about her dad being deployed for 6 months, but there's not a hint that anything bad could happen. Piper herself can't wait to join the military, at least in the form of the Blue Angels.
I'm not suggesting that this should be a heavy rumination on the dangers of military life... I know that it's a fond recollection of the author's own life growing up in a military family, and that the lighthearted tone is an essential element of the book. But I do think it's a little odd that in this decade -- and large portions of the last 30 years -- when talk of war is everywhere, that it's so completely absent from this book.
Would kids from military families, or their friends, identify with Piper? Does it paint an accurate enough picture to be representative for kids who don't have any understanding of that life? I'd love to know. This isn't one that I'll be getting for my collection, but probably, somewhere, it's just the right book for somebody. (less)