Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Pretty, Pretty Bunny by Dave Horowitz

Pretty, Pretty BunnyPretty, Pretty Bunny by Dave Horowitz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this book is very funny; some coworkers don't think so because it doesn't teach a lesson, but I just find it humorous!

The story is about a bunny named Narcissa who thinks she's the prettiest thing around. Not only is she in love with herself, she makes fun of whomever she encounters. For example, when she sees a beaver, she says "Boy, am I glad I don't look like *that* guy...Just look at those silly teeth--and what a goofy tail."

She goes on to make fun of a turtle and a moose before she settles down in front of a pond to gaze at her reflection. When a magic frog shows up and grants her a wish, she doesn't even hear what he says because she is too busy laughing at him. This makes him mad, so he places a spell on her that makes her look ridiculous--with a beaver tail and teeth, moose antlers, and a turtle shell.

Of course, she's devastated, and says to her reflection "How I *wish* I could do it all over again" and poof! the wish the frog granted to her comes true and she's back to normal, gazing at her reflection.

And that's it!

I just think it's funny, but I can see how others might not like this story. I think it would be a great flannel board story, so maybe I'll work on that this summer.

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The Greedy Sparrow retold by Lucine Kasbarian

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian TaleThe Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale by Lucine Kasbarian

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because the drawings and colors reminded me of Medieval pictures. It ended up being an Armenian tale, so it wasn't Medieval in any way, but I still enjoyed it.

The story is about a sparrow who has a thorn in his foot and asks a woman who is baking bread to remove it for him...she does, and then she tosses it into the oven. When the sparrow wants it back, she obviously can't give it back to him, so he demands some bread as compensation. He next asks a shepherd to watch his bread for him while he does something else...however, he's gone so long that the shepherd gets hungry and then eats the bread. When the sparrow returns, the shepherd obviously can't give it back, so the sparrow demands a sheep as compensation...and so the story goes. It ends up coming full circle, as he gets another thorn in his foot at the end.

An author's note explains part of the first line to the story 'Once there was and was not', meaning that "fantastical tales may be real or imagined" (copyright page). It's nice that this bit was included because I questioned that very line.

I liked this story about the greedy sparrow and am glad I picked it up. It's nice to read alone or in pairs, but is too long for a storytime.

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Take Care of Me from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert

Take Care of Me from A to ZTake Care of Me from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was drawn to this book because the 2 stuffed animals on the front (a yellow bear and an orange beaver)--they're so cute! The rest of the book is made up of various brightly-colored stuffed animals using each letter of the alphabet as a suggestion of something to do with 'me'; for example, the letter R is "Read to Me" with a bear holding a book and the letter S is "Sniff me" with a rabbit holding a bottle of perfume.

It's cute but not particularly clever, so I don't know that I'd buy this for someone with a young child. It's nice to look at once though.

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Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

DrizzleDrizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

11-year-old Polly lives on an unusual rhubarb farm where it rains every Monday at 1:00pm. Because Polly doesn’t have any friends (other kids think that she’s weird), her best friend is a chocolate rhubarb plant named Harry who communicates with her by moving its leaves.

The weekly rain is important to the farm because they live in a part of the country that is normally very dry. When the rain suddenly stops coming, everything begins to dry up and die. Polly’s aunt Edith isn’t upset by this because she wants to sell the farm and move away to a big city, but the rest of the family is devastated. Aunt Edith gives her a book of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self Reliance and encourages her to think about leaving the farm when she gets older, but how can she—especially after she learns about some of the family secrets hidden in the old tower of their house?

This is an imaginative story that readers will be sure to enjoy. Polly is a likable character who only wants to do what’s best for her beloved family and farm. Those who enjoyed this book might also enjoy Savvy and Scumble, both by Ingrid Law.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt

Young FredleYoung Fredle by Cynthia Voigt

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fredle lives between the walls of the Davis’ kitchen until he is cast out and left to fend for himself. Luckily, when Mister and Missus find him on the kitchen floor, she places him outdoors rather than using a mousetrap. Never having been outside the house in his life, Fredle is both terrified and fascinated.

Fredle has never seen such things as the sky, dirt, or other types of animals (besides cats and dogs). In fact, he has never even heard many of these words until a mischievous field mouse teaches him. Fredle builds a nest under the porch, near where Missus set him down. He learns about the compost pile (he gets delicious food from there!), he meets raccoons (who, luckily, don’t eat him), and much more! When he finally returns home after traveling through the cellar—and meeting the cellar mice—he’s quite a changed mouse, and he can’t wait to tell everyone about his adventures in the place they call “outside.”

The companion book to Angus and Sadie (Voigt), this is a good book full of adventure. Readers will enjoy trying to figure out what Fredle sees for the first time using his descriptions (of a peppermint patty, flowers, grass, etc.). Those who enjoyed this book might also enjoy The Tale of Despereaux (DiCamillo) and The Borrowers books (Norton).

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Middleworld by Jon Voelkel

Middleworld (Jaguar Stones, #1)Middleworld by Pamela Voelkel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fourteen-year-old Max likes tv, video games, and playing the drums, so he can’t understand how his parents can care so much about Mayan history that they often leave him home with the housekeeper to travel all over the world doing archeological digs. Their newest dig is in Central America, in the [fictional] country of San Xavier.

A few days after they leave for the dig, the housekeeper tells him that he has an electronic plane ticket waiting for him that will take him to meet up with his parents, and that his uncle (who lives in San Xavier) will pick him up. A little confused with the circumstances, Max obligingly travels to San Xavier…but when he gets there, he finds that his parents have mysteriously disappeared. Not sure if his uncle is trustworthy, Max takes to the jungle where he meets a girl named Lola, a native Mayan girl who knows how to survive in the rough conditions. Together they try to solve the mystery of his parents’ disappearance by making contact with the Ancient Maya.

This is book 1 of The Jaguar Stones Trilogy. The story is full of action, suspense, and Mayan gods and goddesses. Those who enjoyed this book might also enjoy Discordia: the Eleventh Dimension (Salmon) or the Peter and the Starcatcher series (Barry).

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Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules For Girls, #1)Moving Day by Meg Cabot

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In order to create some sense in her life, 9-year-old Allie Finkle decides to create a list of rules to live by, including such rules as: ‘Don’t stick a spatula down your best friend’s throat’, ‘Never eat anything red’, and ‘You can’t take your rocks with you.’

This list is even more helpful to Allie when she finds out that her family is moving to a huge, old house across town. She doesn’t want to move!...even though a Dairy Queen is right around the corner, she’ll be allowed to get a new pet kitten, the girl next door is her own age and awesome (unlike her current best friend that she doesn’t like very much and who is known to cry over everything), and her new teacher is very nice. Allie thinks this new house is haunted and has no desire to move in there, despite all of the cool things that promise to be a part of that new life. She’s going to do everything in her power to sabotage the sale of her current house using her new book of rules!

This is a great book and I liked Allie right away. She’s funny, honest, and has a good heart. Moving Day is the first book in this series; read more about Allie in The New Girl . Those who enjoyed this book might also enjoy the Just Grace series (Harper) or the Clarice Bean novels (Child).

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