The little foxes have a good life. For starters, their dad is the tops. The king of the underground. Dinner is, and always has been, fresh meat from tThe little foxes have a good life. For starters, their dad is the tops. The king of the underground. Dinner is, and always has been, fresh meat from the three bumbling farmers who live above them. He's outsmarted them and learned his way around and feasted, daily, on their hard labor.
Now those three farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean have had enough, and when they go on the offence and force Mr. Fox to stay underground and starve... well what do you think will happen? Fantastic Mr. Fox will just have to figure out another way.
This is a short story, entertaining for my little squirts, and we finished it in three nights. I thought it was clever enough, Ben hated how abruptly it ended. :) ...more
When is the last time you took a moment to think about the insides of your brain? All those things that go on to enable you to function and improve. SWhen is the last time you took a moment to think about the insides of your brain? All those things that go on to enable you to function and improve. Specifically, your basal ganglia. When is the last time you thought about that little basal ganglia? Yeah, me neither. NEVER.
Here is a book that will get you thinking about it, specifically it's role in creating habits. Things that we might think of as skills or daily choices are at their core, the author suggests, the results of a simple cycle: cue --> action --> reward. My own personal example. Do I get up and exercise every morning because I make that choice every day? Or... have I been doing it so long now, my basal ganglia is making me do it? :)
I did enjoy this read, certainly there are insights and tools that can help many change bad habits into good ones. He argues we never truly get rid of a habit - we change to a different one. Starbucks, if you didn't know, is hugely successful at engraining habits, making their employees exactly what they need them to be. Target, Smiths, and many other companies, if you didn't know, are so interested in our shopping habits, that they watch them with intense scrutiny. They try to know what you need before you need it, they get a lot of our dollars this way.
So yes, a super interesting read, though I never felt like I was 100% buying into his theories. I'm still puzzling over how I can apply this to change one of my most annoying habits: putting things down not where they go. What is my cue? (Something in my hand) My current habit? (Setting it down at the first convenient spot - often NOT where it goes) What is my reward for that behavior? (No idea, the feeling of it not being in my hand anymore?) How can I use my cue to signal me to behave differently and still get the same reward? (See? I'm stumped!) It would be pretty sweet to get on top of this - then I can teach my family how they can too! :) ...more
First of all, it sure has been a long time since I've read a textbook. It was all good though, I was quite up to it.
I have tried to decide what to inFirst of all, it sure has been a long time since I've read a textbook. It was all good though, I was quite up to it.
I have tried to decide what to include in a review, this book was insightful to me on some surprisingly personal levels, and perhaps I should just leave it at that. Even skimming the book could be beneficial for many, because of what it teaches about hidden rules and priorities of the three main economic classes: poverty, middle, and wealthy. An in-depth read offers explanation of the culture of poverty, both situational and generational. At the core, the book is a resource for social workers and educators, anyone really on the face-to-face frontlines of poverty. Which, when you think about it, that should probably be all of us. :)
Major lessons learned for me include:
*As much as financial resources carry ramifications for poverty, it is the emotional resources that are paramount. The author highlights how essential these types of skills are - a healthy relationship with oneself and others - for successfully rising above poverty. Largely, a person in poverty needs role-modeling of these skills.
*A favorite FAVORITE quote.. "No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship." - Dr. James Comer
*In generational poverty, discipline is about penance and forgiveness, mainly found in the matriarchal figure. Discipline is not about change. In poverty, the most important possessions are actually people. Relationships. Teachers can find greater success if they try, from the beginning, to establish relationships with students.
*In situational poverty, the focus should be on the future, making plans and grasping something to hope and work for.
*I was intrigued by the section on language. She talks about three voices: child, parent, and adult. And oh my stars, I need to find and use an adult voice more often. It is the language of negotiation and the phrases bridge differences without being inflammatory.
I have some other notes written down but I can't remember what they refer to. :) Bottom line, lots to reflect upon. I think this is a worthwhile read, for anyone really. ...more
Are you ready for an earful? I have way too much to say about this book.
Picture a sandbox - the world we live in. Now draw a huge fat line down the miAre you ready for an earful? I have way too much to say about this book.
Picture a sandbox - the world we live in. Now draw a huge fat line down the middle. On one side of the line are the champions of strong families. Those who believe that the family is THE most important institution in the world, those that believe families are worth putting up a fight for. And who are these believers in the family fighting against? Those standing on the other side of the line. People who may or may not know the dangerous ramifications of society's trends. The champions of the individual, whose mindset gravitates toward the best successes being the independent ones. On the other side of the line are institutions that mimic what the family should already provide. Those buying into the belief system that teaches that commitments and sacrifices demanded by marriage and parenthood may bring some happiness - but these types of successes are more of an option, certainly a "lesser prize," compared to what you could have.
This is the feeling I get from this book, that the Eyres have drawn this unmistakably clear line in the sand. And in so many words they ask: which side are you going to play on?
I can't remember reading a book that holds a call-to-action like this one does. It felt revolutionary at tines, at others a little pi-in-the-sky. I kept thinking -- and I had time to give this a lot of thought as I read -- who will take this on with them? What are they expecting this book to do? Is it going to start a movement? Do they really believe that things could get better?
And with those questions I was left pondering about things I believe. Two big tenets of my belief system pitted against each other. Part of that belief being that I DO need to stand up for what I feel strongly about. The other part being that I think the state of affairs in the world are going to get worse before they get better. I felt like a bad person for not sharing their optimism and hope.
I think the book does a good job of laying out several false paradigms that we are confronted with almost continually.... things like materialism, instant gratification, work becoming our most important identity, the minority parading as the majority (ever thought about that?) The fact that I'm not as strongly optimistic as they are about the possibility of changing the status quo? That made me wonder if I have come to believe, in an subconscious way, some of these falsehoods.
So somehow, this was a tough read for me. Tough because I agree in my core with so much they present, but a little freaked out about being pro-active about it. Tough because I struggle to believe what they say, that there is indeed enough of a majority, currently too silent, that could help by speaking up and cheering for marriage, responsible parenthood, and happy family life. Tough because I don't see that majority - or maybe it just doesn't seem like there is one.
Let it be clear that this book isn't a blatant rejection of marriages that are not traditional, but I can think of one reference where they made it clear that one of the most important purposes of marriage is pro-creation. There is this basic truth: man and woman should have children. Anyone paying attention knows that truth is being threatened.
If you still aren't believing that the world's most alarming problems are directly related to the falling apart of families, this book lays out for data that may surprise you, not just in my country -- serious problems on a worldwide scale. The state of things is nothing short of shocking.
I know my ideas are rambling all over the place, which is an accurate reflection of my head and heart while reading this. A few last thoughts...
If it is true, what the Eyres suggest, that the information in media and advertising presents the ideas of a minority making us think that their ideas are mainstream, then I do agree that people need to wake up and smell the reality. People need to be smart about the ideas they consume, they need to choose to believe what is really happening and mattering in the world, not just what the screens and news feeds are telling us is happening. For me, this seeing-things-as-they-really-are means viewing my marriage, my parenting, as the most significant and rewarding thing I will ever be a part of. The authors propose ways to turn the tables, in many ways calling on those of power, influence, and means, to press for changes. I admire them for being such activists for a good cause. Though many elements seem unrealistic to me, who am I to criticize them for thinking outside the box?
As you can see, this read gave me MUCH to think about and reflect upon. I think it would give anyone MUCH to think about. I appreciate the ideas I've walked away with, an new filter to look through upon the various institutions that surround my family. Ideas for making a difference in my own sphere. What I create and teach in the home seems to matter more than it ever has before. ...more
Another perfect book to read to your little ones when they're snuggled into bed. The words are wonderful that way. The other half of the magic? The ilAnother perfect book to read to your little ones when they're snuggled into bed. The words are wonderful that way. The other half of the magic? The illustrations! Browsing them is the perfect way to pass a summer afternoon on the couch.
This is the genre that Richard Peck was meant to write. A good book to take on vacation or read outloud to someone you love. I laughed a lot, yes, butThis is the genre that Richard Peck was meant to write. A good book to take on vacation or read outloud to someone you love. I laughed a lot, yes, but the book also has a lot of heart....more
I just found out last night that Louis Zamperini passed away. I finished this book a few weeks ago but now have to write my thoughts today.
This one riI just found out last night that Louis Zamperini passed away. I finished this book a few weeks ago but now have to write my thoughts today.
This one rides that line between being completely heartbreaking and making you feel that anything - ANYTHING - can be overcome.
In the prologue you find yourself on a raft with a man. His name is Louis Zamperini. He is dying, so are the two other men with him. Sharks are rubbing their backs on the bottom of the raft, waiting for their meal. These air men survived their plane crash. They have been on the raft for over three weeks. Suddenly, they hear the sound of hope. A plane is circling. American? They rally their strength to wave and shout. It is Japanese. Bullets in the air. Sharks in the water.
End of prologue. Wha?!?
That is all you are given before you are then thrown into the early childhood of Zamperini, a trouble-making boy from California who refuses to let anyone else be his boss. A teen saved by the discovery of his gifts as an athlete. A young adult who is about to break sprint racing records in the Olympics.
Which is all really intriguing. But for me, I was caught - hook, line, and sinker - in the prologue and simply HAD to know the rest of the story. I had to know about this man who lived to tell his unbelievable WWII experience. As the author unfolded Zamperini's story, I stayed acutely aware as well of how many fellow soldiers whose path he crossed, whose stories may never have been told, but which are nonetheless relevant and honorable. His time as a POW in various Japanese camps became difficult to read, such that I had to take a two week break. Again, he had lived, somehow he lived through it, and somehow he summoned the presence of mind to talk about it. I wanted to finish the book and know how he did it.
This was a book club pick. Maybe I would have never picked it up otherwise. Sometimes I need to read a book like this - a reminder of the real lives, the real individual humans behind our history and our freedoms. I'll be the first to admit that I live in a bubble, like so many others. We live in bubbles of comfort, peace, convenience and prosperity. This book was a chance to get out of it. After getting a glimpse of some of the darker days in our world history, I see the good around me with greater gratitude. After finding out how a person can go through such things and still make a good life for himself, I see the strength within myself with better clarity....more
Now this was really wordy, but in a beautiful way. With lots and LOTS of descriptive passages, I'm surprised that my children were able to follow theNow this was really wordy, but in a beautiful way. With lots and LOTS of descriptive passages, I'm surprised that my children were able to follow the story line. It was enjoyed by my 8-yr-old but I'm pretty sure my kindergartener was asleep for most of it. :)
I actually really liked it, the first time I read it being now, out loud to my children. It is one of my 10-year-old son's favorite books that he has read on his own many times. A classic that ought to be read by all at some point. It carries strong lessons of character traits worthy of emulation ... mainly self-control and loyalty....more
Clever premise that got me thinking ... I am a common reader. If I pick up a book and lose myself for days, no one feels rattled by the event, at leasClever premise that got me thinking ... I am a common reader. If I pick up a book and lose myself for days, no one feels rattled by the event, at least not beyond my little family that needs to eat and be clothed and have math homework checked.
What about the queen of an empire? What if she suddenly gets lost in books? This is the very short story of how that upsetting situation might go down at the palace. :)
I asked myself these questions, especially in the final pages... if the queen loves what you've written, does that change the value or significance of your writing? If the queen decides to "find her voice" and write, not her story, not what the public would expect, but whatever in the world she wants to say, is there more value in her words than anyone else's?
I like a book that puts me to thinking after it is closed, so my rating did go up a star in those final pages. Honestly though, for much of the book I didn't feel especially vested in it....more
I myself am a little surprised at my five stars on this one, but the truth is that I loved it so much more than the other little house books so far. II myself am a little surprised at my five stars on this one, but the truth is that I loved it so much more than the other little house books so far. I immediately loved Almamzo, and could tell from the start that my boys felt instantly connected to him, in all his boyish desire and energy. Truly, I think that is what set the book apart for me, in #1 and #2 of little house, we get the girl stuff, the dangers of the woods and the prairie, the feeling of protection they feel from their family, their little house, and especially their dad. In Farmer Boy, we get all of the most prized virtues that boys especially need to learn. I loved reading this outloud at night, feeling that I was tucking my sons in with some valuable lessons through Almamzo's story. I kept asking them if they were loving it so much more like I was and all I got were shrugs. :) For my part, I thought it was spot on. I will read it again to them in two years if they will listen....more
Mostly I looked forward to the historical details of life during, and shortly after, Chairman Mao's reign. The story was nothing that was particularly Mostly I looked forward to the historical details of life during, and shortly after, Chairman Mao's reign. The story was nothing that was particularly interesting or relatable for me....more
Oh boy, I finished this a long time ago. Let me see what I can remember. I lost my paper with the notes I took. Boo!
I think the major lesson for me heOh boy, I finished this a long time ago. Let me see what I can remember. I lost my paper with the notes I took. Boo!
I think the major lesson for me here was that there will come days, some of them at my doorstep, where my sons might/will be mean to me. Not because I am me, not because of anything I do or don't do, but because they have a journey to take as they grow into men. If they don't take this step, this separation in their life from their mother, according to Meg Meeker, they become a little messed up. :) So in reading this, it was a good warning for me, to get tough, thicken my skin just a little so I am prepared to not take it so much to heart. I felt like that part of the book was the most helpful to me personally.
It will also be my job, and privilege to always love them unconditionally, because no matter how old they get, there will be that irreplaceable person in their life. And that will be me, their mother. I treasure this job I have. There are things in this book that I felt will help me figure out how to do it well.
An excellent resource for mothers of sons, but having just read her Boys Should Be Boys, this one felt like I would have rather just had the condensed version. It was a little wordy, only because I read them close together and it became overload....more
Some very helpful and hopeful stuff here! When I read it again, and I WILL read it again, I will skim over the doomy gloomy media and pornography warnSome very helpful and hopeful stuff here! When I read it again, and I WILL read it again, I will skim over the doomy gloomy media and pornography warnings. I get it, I fear it, it may be the most alarming and dangerous plague of our day. Maybe I will read that again as a reminder of how there is no such thing as being overly vigilent in that department.
It feels like the book didn't go through an edit. There were that many grammatical errors, which became a bit annoying. Sometimes two or three to a page.
What I loved most about this book? All of the rest! Especially the ten tip summary at the end. The whole thing gave concise and feeling insights into what makes the men folk tick. What I can do as a parent to nurture the best that is already within them. I love raising boys and this book helped me love it even more.
This book comes as a slap in the face to some of the mainstream media that would have us believe that our boys are less than they once were. Contrary to what many now accept, boys are amazing, different from girls for a reason, capable of achieving success, of providing and rising to be great men.
One important message here is that boys actually don't need fancy new and latest stuff so much as parents to teach them the way. Their brains are still in such formative stages and I've plenty of work to do. I will do it best by turning off the video games, turning off my internet more often, and by creating opportunities to have them be with us, working and playing side by side. It is the more difficult route and that is why less people are taking it. In my heart though? I know I must.
This book reminded me of the kind of mother of boys I really want to be....more
Quirky and sweet, it should have been the type of book that I just adored. Strangely though, I didn't.
In my opinion, this book is not even close to DiQuirky and sweet, it should have been the type of book that I just adored. Strangely though, I didn't.
In my opinion, this book is not even close to DiCamillo's best work. But also in my opinion, here is what this book IS...
It is unexpected. With a typing superhero squirrel and comic-strip-like surprises, how could it not be? It is sad. A young girl is cynical, there is no love in her broken family. It is random. The cast of characters is too wide and varied to be believable, but I know that probably wasn't the objective. It is hopeful. Maybe the family can be put back together again... by a superhero squirrel, a girl who starts to believe in something, key characters who keep popping up briefly and way too late in the story, and a series of odd events.
I don't know what else to say. I kept waiting for it to get better, I hardly cared if I finished it, I was dissatisfied with the conclusion. I guess it just wasn't for me....more
This is a quick little delight. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves - I read it outloud to the boys - but decided we'd enjoy the second half on theThis is a quick little delight. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves - I read it outloud to the boys - but decided we'd enjoy the second half on the following evening. For some reason, in that second half, the charm was gone for me and there were less giggles from my little ones as well. It must have been the time-travel elements, they really picked up in that second half -- just not my thing.
Clever story, super-fun illustrations throughout, and well-worth the time. ...more