Archive for April, 2013

Review of One Two That’s My Shoe! by Alison Murray

Friday, April 12th, 2013

One Two That’s My Shoe!

by Alison Murray

Disney Hyperion Books, New York, 2012. First published in Great Britain in 2011. 28 pages.

Simplicity. This book has it, in a beautiful form.

I recently had the joy of being promoted to Youth Services Manager at my library branch, so I get to do children’s programs again! Tomorrow, I’m doing a Mother Goose Time for babies from birth to eighteen months. In Mother Goose Time, we mainly do rhymes and songs in the parent’s lap. But I like to work in three books that are short and simple and that the parents can read along with me.

One Two That’s My Shoe! is perfect. The text is reminiscent of the old rhyme “One Two Buckle My Shoe,” going from one to ten with a rhyme after every second number. However, this book puts a story to the rhymes. With One Two, a dog has taken a little girl’s shoe, and is running away with it.

With each number, the pictures show that many objects that the dog is running past — toys, butterflies, flowers, trees, chicks and hens. The ten hens add a little inside joke. You’d expect Nine, Ten to rhyme with “Big Fat Hen” as in “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe,” but instead the girl shoos them away, recovers her shoe, and hugs the dog with the words “Friends again!”

This book is simple. The illustrations are done with printmaking, and look old-fashioned and classic. With at most three words on a page, you can read it quickly for the little one with a short attention span, but there’s plenty to talk about. Will the dog get away with the shoe? What will stop him?

As a counting book, it’s also excellent. All the objects passed are easily counted, with none tricky to find, but covering a wide scope of objects, and variety within the objects. The objects are not identical, but it’s easy to see that they belong together. Each number is both written out in the text and represented by a numeral in a corner. Next to the numeral, there are silhouettes of the object counted in the picture, so it’s nice and clear.

This is simply a lovely first counting book, and one that parents and children won’t get tired of any time soon. I’m happy to show it off at Mother Goose Time tomorrow.

disneyhyperionbooks.com
12thatsmyshoe.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/12_thats_my_shoe.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I write the posts for my website and blogs entirely on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

A Week in Winter

by Maeve Binchy

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013. 326 pages.
Starred Review

Maeve Binchy died in July 2012, shortly after finishing this book. I’m so glad to read it, but so sorry to know it’s the last. Like all her books, A Week in Winter is a warm and cozy read that looks right into people’s hearts and lets us see intertwined lives touching one another.

A Week in Winter doesn’t have the punch of some of Maeve Binchy’s books, but it’s a warm and friendly way to say farewell. The book starts with Chicky who grew up in Stoneybridge, on the Irish coast, and ran off to America with a boy who came for the summer.

Chicky’s family thinks she’s a wicked fool to run away with him. So Chicky doesn’t tell them what’s really happening:

She wrote home week after week and believed in the fairy tale more and more. She started to fill a spiral notebook with details of the life she was meant to be living. She didn’t want to slip up on anything.

To console herself, she wrote to them about the wedding. She and Walter had been married in a quiet civil ceremony, she explained. They had a blessing from a Franciscan priest. It had been a wonderful occasion for them, and they knew that both families were delighted that they had made this commitment. Chicky said that Walter’s parents had been abroad at the time and not able to attend the ceremony but that everyone was happy about it.

In many ways, she managed to believe this was true. It was easier than believing that Walter was becoming restless and was going to move on.

Chicky does quite well, even after Walter leaves her. When her nieces talk about coming to visit, the kind husband of her letters suffers a tragic accident. And then, after some time, she goes back to Stoneybridge and purchases the Stone House on the water, using a “legacy” that is really her own hard-earned savings. She works with the last remaining Miss Sheedy (of the three sisters who had owned the house) to make it into a hotel.

Next, we take a look at Rigger, the son of one of Chicky’s friends. He gets into trouble, and needs to leave Dublin for awhile. He comes to work for Chicky, and meets a girl and starts settling down.

Then there’s Orla, Chicky’s niece, wanting some change after her best friend in Dublin gets married. She comes to work for Chicky, only for a year.

And then we start looking at the guests who come for opening week at Stone House. Winnie thinks she’ll book a vacation with the man she loves — and ends up taking it with the mother who has him under her thumb. There are people from all over the world — a Hollywood movie star, a Swede who’s meant to take over his father’s business but is interested in music, a husband and wife who are both doctors, and more. With each person who comes to visit, we get to look at their life leading up to this momentous week, as well as at how the week changes them.

The story is gentle and cozy. No big earth-shaking moments, but lots of rejuvenating ones and life-changing ones for the guests involved. One guest does manage to shake off the charm of the place, but most will leave the better for their vacation.

And the reader is the better for the vacation, too.

I’m so sad this is Maeve Binchy’s last book. She knew how to show her readers what’s really important.

maevebinchy.com
aaknopf.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/week_in_winter.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Stolen Magic, by Stephanie Burgis

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Stolen Magic

by Stephanie Burgis

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 2013. 383 pages.
Starred Review

Hooray! A third book about the Kat, Incorrigible! These books are a delightful combination of Regency England, with its proper manners and society dos and don’ts, combined with Magic! I recommended it just this week to someone whose daughter loved Sorcery and Cecilia, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. The main difference is that Kat is younger, though her siblings get into romantic adventures in each book, so there is still a touch of romance, but Kat keeps it light-hearted.

Kat is the youngest of four siblings. Her mother died when she was ten days old, but left a legacy of two kinds of magic, in conflict. It turns out that her mother was one of the ever-so-proper Guardians of England, with strong magic for protecting the country. But her mother was kicked out of the Guardians for practicing witchcraft. Kat has inherited her abilities in both, but needs to keep from practicing witchcraft if she wants to be initiated into the Guardians.

In this third book, Kat is getting ready for her initiation. But the whole family is also getting ready for her sister Angeline’s wedding. They are staying at Angeline’s husband-to-be’s home, and his family is not at all welcoming. They are high in society and very wealthy and don’t approve of Angeline, and even less of Kat. And if Angeline lets slip that she is a witch? Well, that could very well be the last straw.

Meanwhile, it seems that someone is stalking Kat and trying to hurt the people she loves. And all the “extra” portals have been stolen, so Kat may not be able to join the Guardians after all.

All this takes place in a proper setting seen through the eyes of Kat — who isn’t exactly known for following conventions.

Here’s how the book begins:

Despite what either of my sisters may say, I actually possess a great deal of common sense. That was why I waited until nearly midnight on the last night of our journey into Devon before I climbed out of my bedroom window.

Luckily, my family was staying on the first floor of the inn, so the rope I’d brought along in case of emergencies was more than long enough. Luckier yet, I knew a useful secret: it’s much easier to sneak out in the middle of the night when you can make yourself invisible.

Though you could enjoy this book on its own, I really think you’ll appreciate it more if you read Kat, Incorrigible and Renegade Magic first. And I was very happy to see that this book ends with hints of trouble to come: England is at war with Napoleon, and French magic-users are proving to be very powerful. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion, but I was happy that there is clearly more to come, and I will be waiting eagerly.

This series just makes me smile! Think light-hearted Jane Austen for kids — with magic!

stephanieburgis.com
KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/stolen_magic.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a copy sent to me by the publisher.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Midwinterblood

by Marcus Sedgwick

Roaring Brook Press, New York, 2013. 262 pages.
Starred Review

Wow. This is one of those books that after reading, I just sit there in amazement at the level of craft that went into it (well, actually lie there — I read in bed). It’s one you want to read over again to fully appreciate all the details. Though next time, just for the fun of it, I might read it backwards.

How to describe it without giving too much away? The book is a series of interconnected stories. The first story takes place in 2073. The next section takes place in 2011. And the sections go progressively further back in time, all the way to prehistoric times, with a section going back to 2073 at the very end, tying everything together. So well done.

I won’t give away exactly what the connection is. You’ll get the idea quickly. Certain common elements occur in all the stories, and finally at the end, you understand why.

All of the book is set on an island in the far north, an island called Blessed. The island is home to a rare “Dragon” orchid. And strange things happen there.

Every story is creepy, disturbing in some way or other, atmospheric. But I don’t usually like creepy stories, and I loved this. He manages never to cross the line into awful. There’s a lot of variety in the stories, including a vampire story and a ghost story, but even though I usually don’t like vampire stories or ghost stories, every one of these stories was exceptionally good. There’s a lot of untimely death in the stories, but they never sink into despair.

Another thing that perplexed me was that recently, I made some comments in School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books regarding Jepp, Who Defied the Stars as to how strongly prejudiced I am against books that are written in present tense. But this book was written in present tense (all the different time periods), and it didn’t bother me in the slightest. So I am going to have to modify my analysis. Clearly present tense isn’t the problem. It must be something about the way it is often used. Maybe it bothers me when there’s too much telling in present tense and not enough showing? I’m not sure how he did it, but Marcus Sedgwick made the present tense storytelling seem absolutely right. Maybe it just takes a truly outstanding writer. Now I’m going to look harder at which present tense books I hate, which I can tolerate, and which blow me away with their craft. (So far, this is the only one I can think of in that category.)

Anyway, since I don’t want to give away what’s going on in this book, I’ll finish my review with the beginning of the book, set in June 2073, and so full of promise:

The sun does not go down.

This is the first thing that Eric Seven notices about Blessed Island. There will be many other strange things that he will notice, before the forgetting takes hold of him, but that will come later.

For now, he checks his watch as he stands at the top of the island’s solitary hill, gazing to where the sun should set. It is midnight, but the sun still shines, barely dipping its heavy rim into the sea on the far horizon.

The island is so far north.

He shakes his head.

He’s thinking about Merle. How something seems to wait in her eyes. How he felt calm, just standing next to her.

“Well, so it is,” he says, smiling with wonder.

There! Just writing that out, I noticed the significance of one little detail that I hadn’t noticed before. I must read this book again to appreciate the craft even further!

This book is amazing. It’s got sinister undertones, but the even those who don’t like creepy books (like me) may be won over by the sheer brilliance, as the author uses the unsettling elements in a way that adds to the story’s power. This is one that will stick with you.

macteenbooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/midwinterblood.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Helen’s Big World, by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Helen’s Big World

The Life of Helen Keller

written by Doreen Rappaport
illustrated by Matt Tavares

Disney Hyperion Books, New York, 2012. 44 pages.
Starred Review

I expected to skim through this book and then turn it back in to the library. I already reviewed an excellent children’s biography of Helen Keller back when I was first starting Sonderbooks. But as soon as I opened the book, I knew this was something special.

Helen’s Big World is for a younger audience than Helen Keller: A Determined Life. It’s a picture book biography, and the pictures are oversize and magnificent.

The format is large and almost square, and each double-page spread features a painting. There is text on each page, but not a daunting amount, and with reasonably large print. Each page features a quotation from Helen Keller herself, talking about her life.

The story is familiar to adults. How Helen was struck blind at a young age, and Annie Sullivan came into her life and taught her and brought metaphorical light into her world. It goes on to show Helen, with Annie, learning about many different things.

I like the page with Annie at the bow of a boat with a wave breaking over it. The text on that page reads:

Annie took Helen
walking in the forest,
jumping in the salty ocean,
tobogganing down snowy hills,
bicycling in tandem,
and sailing in a boat.
And she spelled out each new experience.

The book goes on to tell about Helen’s work as an adult, writing and speaking across the country. The text stays simple, and the pictures show some of the different settings where she spoke and traveled. The book also includes a Manual Language Chart on the back cover.

A lovely first biography.

doreenrappaport.com
matttavares.com
disneyhyperionbooks.com

I’m posting this review today in honor of Nonfiction Monday, hosted today at A Wrung Sponge. Thanks, Andromeda!

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/helens_big_world.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Sonderling Sunday – Through the Door

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. This week, we’re back to the book where we’re guaranteed to find some delightfully bizarre word choices, no matter where we look, James Kennedy‘s The Order of Odd-fish, otherwise known as Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge. (Happy Belated Birthday, James!)

Last time, we left off on page 156, Seite 196 auf Deutsch. Jo is about to see a picture of her birth in the Tapestry. Without giving away spoilers, I’m sure we can find some fun phrases to translate.

I mean, how does he make these up? Of course I discover that I’ve always wanted to know how to translate “a blizzard of demolishing gray fire.” Turns out, that’s ein Sturm aus verheerendem grauem Feuer.

And there’s more!
“swirling ashes” = wirbelnden Aschesäulen (According to Google, that’s “swirling ash-columns.”)

Here’s a phrase a little easier to use:
“she couldn’t help it” = sie konnte nichts dagegen tun (“She could do nothing against it.”)

“gaunt” = hagerer

“a mass of tangled hair” = einer wilden, zerzausten Haarmähne (“a wild, disheveled hair-mane”) (Haven’t we had other characters described similarly in this book? I seem to remember zerzausten.)

“her face twisted in agony” = mit qualvoll verzerrtem Gesicht (“with excruciating distorted face”)

“scab-covered slug” = Schorf bedeckte Schnecke

“murderous fire” = mörderischen Feuers

Ooh! Here’s a good one:
“cold jelly” = kalter Glibber

“brick wall” = Ziegelwand

“groaned” = ächzte

“veils” = Schleiern

“guilty silence” = schuldbewusstem Schweigen

“doorknob” = Türknauf

“weird angles of the beams” = die merkwürdigen Winkel der Dachbalken

“to get through” = hindurchzuzwängen

“shakily” = zittrig

“a last spasm of curiosity” = ein letztes Aufflackern der Neugier

“a great hairy pudding” = ein gro?er, bebender Pudding (“a big trembling pudding”)

“limbs” = Gliedma?en

Here’s a good long word:
“cleaning” = Säuberungsaktionen

“evil yellow grin” = boshafte, zähnefletschende Grinsen (“evil, teeth-baring grin”)

And finally:
“The Belgian Prankster may have something terrible planned.”
= Der Belgische Scherzkeks hat möglicherweise etwas Schreckliches geplant.

So, as I said, there are interesting bits to translate in every possible section of Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge. Now I can go through my week knowing how to describe ein gro?er, bebender Pudding and kalter Glibber.

In only two weeks, I’ll be moving into the first home I’ve ever purchased. This will require lots of Säuberungsaktionen, so I’m not sure if I’ll get to take a Pause and indulge ein letztes Aufflackern der Neugier for more Sonderling Sundays for awhile. Until then, stay away from Schorf bedeckten Schnecken!

Review of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
by Lish McBride

Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2010. 343 pages.
2011 Morris Honor Book

I finally read this book as part of my Award Challenge — reading award winners and honor books — and because I have an Advance Reader Copy of its sequel, Necromancing the Stone.

This isn’t necessarily a book I would have read otherwise, since it is quite dark, with a grisly death and necromancers and a werewolf clan. However, once I got through the rather gruesome beginning, I found myself liking the characters and the light-hearted, humorous approach to this darkness.

Sam is a college drop-out working in a fast food joint, without a lot of prospects. He’s definitely surprised when he gets the attention of a seriously mean and scary man whose tail light he happened to break when playing potato hockey. When someone frighteningly strong beats him up after work and his friend’s head is sent to him in a box, well, he figures he can’t exactly ignore the problem.

He’s told he’s a necromancer, able to communicate with the dead. But why didn’t he know about it until now? And what does it have to do with the herbs his mother gave him to wear around his neck — the herbs that keep away nightmares?

It turns out that the necromancer who spotted him has plans for Sam that won’t be good for him. He’s also hiding a beautiful teenage werewolf in his basement. Sam needs to get enough information about who this necromancer is to be able to do something to stop him from killing Sam and stealing his power.

This is a surprisingly fun book about a good — but perhaps a bit irresponsible — kid thrown into some dark situations. Sam deals with them with humor and flair.

Here’s an early part where the author manages to put some humor into an awful situation:

I opened the box, then quickly dropped it and scrambled up onto the counter, making very dignified shrieking noises. Ramon stared. Frank came into the kitchen just in time to see the box bounce onto its side and its contents roll lazily out. Ramon tried to back up, but he was already against the wall. Frank managed a quick hop back as Brooke’s head rolled to a stop in the middle of the floor. It had already been severed cleanly at the neck, making her ponytail appear longer as it trailed behind like the tail on a grotesque comet. I couldn’t see any blood. In fact, the wound looked cauterized, which didn’t make it any more pleasant.

Nobody said a word.

Nobody except Brooke.

“Ow, cut it out, you guys!” Her blue eyes popped open and swung around until they found me. “Ugh, so not cool. Really, Sam. You don’t just drop somebody’s head. Especially a friend’s. Like being stuffed into a box and bounced around for an hour wasn’t bad enough.”

I screamed and grabbed a butter knife off the counter. I’m not sure what I planned to do with it, but in the meantime I held it in front of me just in case Brooke suddenly grew her body back and attacked. I mean, if she could talk, what was stopping her from leaping up and gnawing piranha-style on my ankels? Once a severed head talks, life’s possibilities seem endless.

Frank ran and hid in, I think, the bathroom. I heard some crashing noises that sounded like stuff being knocked around in my shower, anyway. Ramon slid behind the easy chair and hugged it, keeping his eyes on the head at all times. I think he’d stopped breathing. I crouched there, unmoving except for the shaking of my brandished butter knife, and stared at the head of a cute girl resting in the middle of the dirty linoleum of my kitchen floor. For some reason, I had the irrational thought of asking Mrs. Winalski whether or not this counted as having a girl in my apartment.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/hold_me_closer_necromancer.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Exclamation Mark, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenfeld

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Exclamation Mark

!

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

Scholastic Press, New York, 2013. 52 pages.
Starred Review

It’s impossible for me not to love this book. It’s not even for my main audience — the preschool story time crowd. It is for kids in early elementary school who are learning about punctuation. And it’s simply perfect. Those kids are not the only ones who will love this book.

The expression of this story is completely visual. It plays out on the background of school writing paper. We’ve got a row of periods with little faces — and one exclamation mark.

He stood out from the very beginning.

It’s easy for the reader to see that the exclamation mark doesn’t fit in. He is different. He tries to be like his friends. But he becomes confused, flummoxed, and deflated, with appropriate illustrations of his top part in a twist.

Then one day, he meets a question mark.

The question mark asks one question after another. (Hilarious questions, I might add.)

When the exclamation mark shouts for him to stop, it is indeed an exclamation.

He didn’t know he had it in him.

He then explores his newly discovered power. I love the way the question mark eggs him on, always with questions (“How’d you do that? Can you do it again?”)

His exclamations get more and more excited, colorful, and all over the page. “It was like he broke free from a life sentence.”

Question mark: “Isn’t he something?”
Periods: “There was never any question in our minds.”

Okay, as I write this, it occurs to me that maybe I love this book so much because I love puns. In a sense, this whole book is a pun, done perfectly. And it’s a happy story about being an individual and making your mark. And it teaches about punctuation in a way no kid will ever forget. Hmm. Is that why they call it pun-ctuation? (Sorry.)

Way too much fun!

whoisamy.com
tomlichtenheld.com
scholastic.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/exclamation_mark.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Charlotte’s Web

by E. B. White
read by the Author

Listening Library, 2002. Written in 1952. Recorded in 1970. 3 compact discs.
Starred Review
1953 Newbery Honor Book
1970 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Charlotte’s Web has twice been voted the #1 Children’s Chapter Book of all time by librarians and parents voting in Betsy Bird‘s School Library Journal Top 100 Chapter Books Poll. In fact, it was reading Betsy’s post that I learned that there is an audio with E. B. White reading the book. I immediately checked if our library had that version and happily took it home.

It’s been many years since I’ve read this practically perfect book. My third grade teacher read it to me the first time. Later, I read it to my sons. And my older son watched the Hanna-Barbara animated version over and over again. As I listened to the audiobook, I realized that the many lines I had memorized were the ones that were used in the film. And they did keep many, many of the great lines. (Like the starting and ending lines. Like Charlotte’s salutation.) But I’d forgotten a lot of the side scenes that didn’t make it to the film.

There are so many scenes simply of life in the barn. Swinging on the rope swing. Wilbur escaping his pen right at the beginning. How it felt to have slops poured on top of Wilbur or to roll in the warm manure. The book is truly a paean to life in the barn.

Now at the beginning, I didn’t feel E. B. White measured up to the actors and especially actresses I remembered reciting the lines in my head. But his voice grew on me, and it’s a good, down-to-earth voice for this story. You can hear in his voice his love for the quiet life of the barn. It’s truly a treasure to still be able to listen to him telling his masterpiece of a story.

Now, there’s no need to critique this classic. I was surprised to find little quibbles. What happens to Fern when the whole spider plot happens. Isn’t she in on it? But it’s Charlotte’s Web! The book is genius, and it works. And you can listen to it read by E. B. White himself.

listeninglibrary.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/charlottes_web.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Barnum’s Bones, by Tracey Fern and Boris Kulikov

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Barnum’s Bones

How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World

by Tracey Fern
Pictures by Boris Kulikov

Margaret Ferguson Books (Farrar Straus Giroux), New York, 2012. 36 pages.

Here’s a picture book biography that can’t fail to catch the reader’s interest.

The most difficult thing about this book will be getting the kids to find it. In our system, it’s cataloged as a Biography, where it is shelved by the name of the person it’s about, under “Brown.” But who would ever think of doing a report on Barnum Brown? This isn’t a biography for reports, but a book to fascinate young readers about a man with the awesomely cool job of discovering dinosaur bones. My plan is to put it on display as often as possible, since the big T-Rex skull on the cover won’t fail to find the book its proper audience.

Yes, Barnum Brown is the man who found the first Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. In fact, according to the Author’s Note at the back, when he began working for the American Museum of Natural History in 1897, “it did not have a single dinosaur specimen. When he died in 1963, the museum had the largest collection of dinosaur bones in the world. Barnum had unearthed most of these himself.”

The book tells about Barnum Brown’s life. Even as a child, he had a knack for finding fossils. It goes on to show his general career of fossil-hunting with exuberant pictures, with special attention and detail devoted to the T. rex skeleton, which he tracked down over a period of years. Barnum’s mentor named it and Barnum called it his favorite child.

This is the sort of book that will inspire young dinosaur lovers. It’s about a scientist who followed his passion and discovered a giant.

Just as his family had wanted, Barnum did something important and unusual: he discovered a sleeping dinosaur and brought it back to life. Sixty-six million years after extinction, T. rex lives on in Barnum’s bones.

I’m posting this review today in honor of Nonfiction Monday, hosted today at Wendie’s Wanderings

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

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