Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book 561


How To Read a Story, written by Kate Messner, illustrated by Mark Siegel, 2015.

This delightfully illustrated book is absolutely charming.  My eight-year-old son's favorite chapter was the chapter about using different voices for different characters.  He took that advice straight to heart.



Book 560


The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, M.D., Touchstone Books, 1978.

I found this book in a thrift store, so I paid my 65 cents and took it home.

This book starts out well enough.  In fact, if the author had stopped after the first half of this book, I would recommend it to just about anyone.  The first half does not really contain any profound truths, but summing up listening as love is not a bad place to start.

But the second half is problematic to the point of being dangerous.  It is contradictory and murky, and unsettlingly theocratic.

Book 559


Let's Go Rock Collecting, by Roma Gana, illustrated by Holly Keller, HarperCollins, 1997.

My son used this book for his Second Grade Science class.  The text contains some solid information, and it is accessible to a second-grader; however, this book did not prove to be nearly as helpful as I hoped.  I think the problem is with the illustrations.  The illustrations, even of the rocks, are a bit cartoonish, which made it difficult for my son to match up his rock sample to the correct rock.

Book 558


Cam Jansen, The Mystery of the Stolen Diamond, by David Adler, Puffin Books, 1980.

My second grade son read this book for his Literature class, and learn to make inferences and deductions using this book.

This book was my son's first introduction to a mystery story.  It wasn't difficult for him to figure out, and he enjoyed it.  But I can't be the only mom who nearly had a heart attack when the baby was brought into the 'den of thieves'. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Book 557


Bad Kitty, Drawn to Trouble, by Nick Bruel, Roaring Brook Press, 2014.

From the very beginning, my eight-year-old son has been a big Bad Kitty fan -- possibly because he calls our Molly Kitten 'Bad Kitty'.

He received this book for Christmas, and he started reading it in January, which was, coincidently, when he was learning the difference between the plot and the theme of a story.  I could NOT have explained the difference better than Uncle Murray. 

And, my son has tried his hand at drawing Bad Kitty, and not just like the example.  If Nick Bruel is ever looking for an assistant... ;)



Book 556


The Josefina Story Quilt, by Eleanor Coerr, illustrated by Bruce Degen, HarperCollins, 1957.

My son read this book for his Literature class in Second Grade.  He was learning about the way of life for pioneers, with an emphasis on story quilts.  This little book fit right in. 

The language was simple enough he could read this book on his own and understand it.  The story was rather charming.  Although the book was about pioneers traveling to California, the more timeless theme was about the bond between a child and his or her pet.



Book 554


1066 and All That, by W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman, illustrated by John Reynolds, E.P. Dutton, 1931.

In England, I was dreadful at History.  English History started with the Early Stone Age, and went on from there, so the American Revolution (or Rebellion) was a mere tiff, a trifle.  As an American, it was hard to recast my mind. 

Also, this from the book, helps explain my confusion:  "The Scots (originally Irish, but by now the Scotch) were at this time inhabiting Ireland, having driven the Irish (Picts) out of Scotland; with the Picts (originally Scots) were now Irish..."  While this is humorously written, it is also true.

I can't say this book helps me keep my British History straight, but it does make me feel better about being so dreadful at it.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book 553

Galileo's Daughter, by Dava Sobel, HarperCollins, 1999.

This book is NOT about Galileo's daughter.  This book is about Galileo, his writings, his beliefs, his trial, and it includes letters written by his daughter to him.  I usually finish a book in a day or two, and this one took me WEEKS to wade through.  In fact, I even set it aside during the holidays because it was a bit heavy for that time of the year.  I am glad I read it; I feel now I can separate more of the myth from the man when hearing or reading about Galileo, but it definitely is not light reading by any definition.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Book 552


Goodbye Mog, by Judith Kerr, HarperCollins, 2003.

Every time my son saw Santa this year, he asked for a Mog Cat.  I may not be the quickest person in the world, but I knew what he was getting for Christmas.  Since he was getting the cat, I wanted him to have some of the books, too. 

Our little hamster, Fred, started showing signs of slowing down shortly after Thanksgiving.  By this time he was around three years old, which is remarkably old for a hamster.  I wanted to prepare my son for the inevitable, so I made sure that Goodbye Mog was among the Mog books.

The inevitable happen late on New Year's Eve.  By this time, my son had already read Goodbye Mog a few times.  As we were digging the hole to bury Fred, my son told me Fred was tired and he wanted to go to sleep forever.  So he did.  And that Fred's body was dead on Earth but his spirit alive in heaven.  There were a few tears -- OK, mostly from me -- but my son accepted that Fred had had a good long life and now he was at peace.  So, thank you, Goodbye Mog, for bringing my little boy some comfort.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Book 551


Mog, the Forgetful Cat, by Judith Kerr, Harper Books, 1970.

I seriously loved this book.  Although I'm wondering why I never heard of it until now.  I lived in England from the late 70s to the early 80s, and, although I was a little old for picture books by then, I did read to my younger sister.  She would have loved the heck out of this book. 

Well, at least I discovered the book in time to give it to my son.  He read it last night to his Mog Cat, and I was allowed to listen.  Occasionally, he even showed me some of the delightful illustrations.  Now I quite agree with him:  We need more Mog Books!

Book 550


Dawn of the Century, 1900 - 1900, Time/Life Books, 2000.

I have NO idea why my in-laws gave this book to my son for his eighth birthday -- except that he likes photography, and history, and geography.  OK, maybe I do know. 

The black and white photographs in the book are phenomenal.  And my little boy loved seeing how people lived a hundred years before he was born.