Archive for November, 2013

Review of Frogged, by Vivian Vande Velde

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Frogged

by Vivian Vande Velde

Harcourt Children’s Books, Boston, 2013. 198 pages.

This is one of Vivian Vande Velde’s more light-hearted works, for younger readers. When Princess Imogene meets a talking frog, he claims to be a prince who will gain his true form if she kisses him. Imogene wants to do what a good princess should do, so she kisses the frog. The frog does turn back into a boy (though not a prince), but the spell transfers to Imogene, and she becomes a frog. What’s more, she’s stuck as a frog until she can find someone to kiss her and take the spell. But what kind of princess would do such a thing to someone else?

Imogene figures she can find someone who will take her back to her parents, and they can figure out a solution. But instead, she falls into the hands of some traveling performers who plan to make money with a talking frog. In the misadventures that follow, Imogene wonders if she will ever get home again, and if she will ever be a princess again.

This book is simply fun, with a heroine who started out feeling burdened by expectations to be a good princess, but who ends up just being thankful to be herself.

vivianvandevelde.com
hmhbooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/frogged.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 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 What the Heart Knows, by Joyce Sidman, illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski

Friday, November 29th, 2013

What the Heart Knows

Chants, Charms & Blessings

by Joyce Sidman
illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2013. 65 pages.
Starred Review

What the Heart Knows is a book of poems by an illustrious poet, who has already won Newbery Honor, and with illustrations by a distinguished artist, who has already won Caldecott Honor.

My library has this book categorized as for young adults, but the poems can be enjoyed by old adults as well. Indeed, what makes it most a book of poetry for children is that a children’s book writer and a children’s book illustrator created it. Most of the poems are universal, and the dreamy, surreal pictures can be appreciated by anyone.

The four sections of the book are “Chants & Charms – to bolster courage and guard against evil,” “Spells & Invocations – to cause something to happen,” “Laments & Remembrances – to remember, regret, or grieve,” and “Praise Songs & Blessings – to celebrate, thank, or express love.” A “Note to the Reader” at the front of the book explains why this theme was chosen:

We speak to send messages to the world. We chant for what we want, bless what we like, lament what we’ve lost. When angry, we curse; when in love, we sing.

We have always done this. Since earliest human history, we have used language to try to influence the world around us….

We may no longer believe that words can make crops grow, prevent illness, or keep rivers from flooding. But we still believe in the power of the words themselves. Why else would we pray, sing, or write? Finding phrases to match the emotion inside us still brings an explosive, soaring joy.

I wrote these poems for comfort, for understanding, for hope: to remind myself of things I keep learning and forgetting and learning again. They’re about repairing friendship, slowing down time, understanding happiness, facing the worst kind of loss. They are words to speak in the face of loneliness, fear, delight, or confusion.

I hope they work for you. I hope you’re inspired to write some of your own – and chant them, in your own voice.

This book is full of images for abstract things. “Come Happiness” sees happiness as a raindrop or a heartbeat or a breeze. “Time Spells” suggests that time you want to slow down “stretch like a sleepy dog, slow and languid and warm with flickering light.”

I like “Chant Against the Dark,” though I wouldn’t want to suggest it to a very young child. This stanza, for example, might give them ideas, making things worse:

Don’t come close, dark.
Don’t breathe on me.
When the lamp clicks off,
don’t creak and shift
like some wild-eyed horse
waiting for its rider.

But for an older reader? Beautiful!

Some others I love are “Chant to Repair a Friendship”:

Come, friend, forgive the past;
I was wrong and I am grieving.

,

“Sleep Charm”:

One by one, those cares will drop
from you like stones
into deep water.
Slip from your dayskin
and swim, shimmering,
into the dream beyond the dream.

,

“How to Find a Poem”:

Wake with a dream-filled head

,

“Invitation to Lost Things”:

Come out, come out
from your hidden places,
hair clips, homework, phones.

,

“Blessing on the Smell of Dog”:

May his scent seep through
perfumed shampoos
like the rich tang of mud in spring.”

,

“Teacher”:

I loved how I hated numbers, had always
hated them, would continue to hate them
until I saw them sprout from your hands.

,

“Silly Love Song”

If you are the Maserati,
then I am the oil change.

,

and “I Find Peace”:

I find peace in the lazy doze of Saturdays
and in the beat of a pounding run.

The ones most perfect for teens are “Lament for Teddy”:

Where is the one
whose mute love followed me
all the days of my life?
The one I boxed up and packed away?
The one I thought I didn’t need?
The one I felt / I had outgrown?

,

“Where Is My Body?”:

Where is my body?
The one I’m used to,
slim and ordinary as a twig?…

Where is the body
that housed an
Olympic gymnast,
sumo wrestler,
pirate,
dancer;
all waiting, poised
in endless possibility?

When did I grow
awkward, lumpish,
a stranger in my own skin —
each day revealing
some fresh freakishness?

,

and “Lament for My Old Life”

I hated to leave that house,
fought it tooth and nail.

.

Here is poetry that will make you think and will help you look at the world differently. Perhaps it will motivate you to put your wishes into words.

joycesidman.com
sacredbee.com
hmhbooks.com

Buy from Amazon.com

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

Pascal’s Triangle Shawl to Row 10

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Hooray! I’ve knitted my Pascal’s Triangle Shawl all the way to the 10th row!

Now, it’s not finished — I’m going up to 15 — but I can’t resist explaining it already. I think it is SO COOL! And even more patterns are going to pop out as I continue.

My mathematical knitting began with my Prime Factorization Sweater, done in intarsia, with Tahki’s Cotton Classic yarn. It shows the prime factorization of all the numbers from 2 to 100, using a different color for each prime, with 1, the background color, in white.

Later when the internet discovered my sweater, I made a Café Press Prime Factorization T-shirt so anyone can have the color-coded prime factorization of the numbers from 2 to 100.

Now, the trouble with intarsia, is you have to carry all the colors you use in any given row along the back of the sweater. And there are about a million ends to sew in at the end. But a couple years ago, I got a hankering to do something like this again, and it occurred to me that if I used stripes, I could deal with one color at a time. I made a reversible Prime Factorization Scarf, where the thickness of the stripes tells you how many times a factor occurs. It also uses a different color for each prime. This time 1 is black, and there is a black stripe between each successive number. Within each number, there is a two-row stripe for each factor. This is done in Plymouth Encore yarn.

Then my brother, even more mathematically minded than me (if you can believe that!) was going to become a father. His daughter needed a prime factorization blanket! And it occurred to me that it would be far easier to knit the design in Intrelac, using rows of diamonds. I went back to the nice soft Cotton Classic yarn, and white as 1, to be bright for the baby. I used garter rows to show how many factors of each color.

The Prime Factorization Blanket turned out fantastic! But the horrible part was giving it away.

I got to thinking. Intrelac naturally falls into a triangle shape. I instantly thought of something mathematical in the shape of a triangle — Pascal’s Triangle! And I have a special fondness for Pascal’s Triangle, having won a Chalk Talk competition on the Binomial Theorem at a Math Field Day when I was a junior in high school. The numbers in Pascal’s Triangle are the Binomial Coefficients from the Binomial Theorem.

And — here’s where I started getting excited — I knew that there are some fascinating patterns in Pascal’s Triangle. Why not show the prime factorization of each number in the triangle? That would show some of the patterns.

So I began my Pascal’s Triangle Shawl. The first thing I noticed when sketching it out is very cool. Even though the numbers in the middle of the triangle get hugely big quite quickly, they never have any prime factors bigger than the number on the end of the row. So if I take the shawl to row 15, I will only need colors for 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13. To show the prime factorization this way (the same as the blanket), I’ll use 12 x 12 squares, using garter stitch rows to show the factors, with smooth stockinette stitch between factors.

The numbers in Pascal’s Triangle can be calculated two ways. The first way, each number is just the sum of the two numbers above it. Starting with 1.

So the 0th row is 1.

The 1st row is 1 1.

The 2nd row is 1 2 1. We get the 2 by adding the 1 and 1 above it.

The 3rd row is 1 3 3 1.

The 4th row is 1 4 6 4 1.

The 5th row is 1 5 10 10 5 1

The 6th row is 1 6 15 20 15 6 1.

And so on. In the blanket, you can figure out what number each color represents by looking on the edges.

Here it is again:

You can see that I’ve used white for 1. 2 is blue. 3 is yellow. 5 is red. 7 is purple.

You can’t see the garter stitch rows too clearly in that picture, so here’s a close-up of a section:

If you look at the numbers on the bottom edge, 5 is the solid red diamond. Then 6 is next to it, 3 x 2, yellow and blue. Then comes 7, purple. Then 8, which is 2 x 2 x 2, so it’s three sections of blue. Then going out of the picture will be 9 = 3 x 3, so two sections of yellow.

In the center of the shawl, the cool thing is that every diamond represents the sum of the two diamonds that touch its lower edges. See the red and yellow diamond? That would be 5 x 3 = 15. It is the sum of the two diamonds touching its lower edges, which are 10 = 5 x 2 (red and blue) and 5 (red).

Here’s another detailed view, but this time I’ve written in the numbers:

In that picture, see how each number is the sum of the two diamonds below it?

And see how the factorization works? 70, for example, is 7 x 5 x 2, so the colors are purple, red, and blue. 126 = 7 x 3 x 3 x 2, so the colors are purple, two sets of yellow, and blue.

Okay, there are two very cool patterns that I’ve already noticed from looking at the shawl.

First, whenever you’re on a prime row (with a prime on both ends), ALL of the numbers in that row will have the prime as a factor. See how every number in the 3rd row has some yellow? And every number in the 5th row has some red? And every number in the 7th row has some purple?

The reason for that involves the second way you can build Pascal’s Triangle. The rth number in the nth row is the Combination nCr, the number of ways of forming subsets of size r from a set of size n.

Okay, if I’ve just lost everyone, I’ll use examples. The 3rd number in the 5th row can be calculated as 5x4x3/3x2x1 (= 60/6 = 10). The 2nd number in the 7th row is 7×6/2×1 = 42/2 = 21. The 4th number in the 10th row is 10x9x8x7/4x3x2x1 = 10x3x7 = 210. (You always have r factors in the denominator, starting from r and going down 1 each. We call that r! or r factorial. On top, you also have r factors, but they start with n.)

If n is a prime number, all the numbers in that row of Pascal’s Triangle will have n as a factor, and there’s no way it will cancel out with anything in the denominator (except on the very ends when you have 1).

But all that you will notice in the shawl is the color popping up, and you don’t even have to know why. In fact, I planned the shawl by figuring out the sums, and I’d forgotten about the combinations. So I was delighted when I saw that prime factors consistently show up in all prime rows. And then I remembered why.

The second beautiful pattern is related to the sums. The shawl nicely shows the distributive law. If two diamonds next to each other have a factor the same, the diamond above them which they both touch will have the same factor. That’s because ca + cb = c(a + b).

For example, 21 + 35 = 56
and 7×3 + 7×5 = 7(3 + 5) = 7×8

When you combine those two patterns, we’ve got some inverse triangles. Look at the big picture again:

Now focus on the diamonds with red in them. (Red is 5.)

On the row with 5 on the ends, 1 5 10 10 5 1, every number (except the 1s) has red in it. Well, by the distributive law, every number in the next row that touches two of these will have red in it. Those are the three middle numbers on the next row, 15 20 15. The next row will have red wherever it touches two of those, 35 and 35. And finally, we’ll have red in the diamond that touches those two, 70.

The same inverse triangle is going to happen with 7 and purple.

And today I started knitting the 11th row, using pink for 11. So fun! 🙂

Now, I must admit, I’m not particularly pleased with the overall look. The colors looked better in the blanket with rows of white between them. In the shawl, they’re all mashed together and it’s a little bit much with such bright colors. So when I finish this one, I’m planning to make a new one with more subtle differences. I found a wool yarn, Northampton from yarn.com, that has enough slightly different shades of purple. So I’ll be using these colors.

(I still have one more color on order, because the first one I ordered didn’t really go with these.)

The second shawl won’t be quite as good for explaining Pascal’s Triangle, but I think it will be much prettier! I will have to discipline myself to finish the first one before I start it. (I can solve that, I suppose, by using the same needles.)

So there you have it! Pascal’s Triangle knitted into a shawl! I will definitely post again when I finish it!

My posts on Mathematical Knitting and related topics are now gathered at Sonderknitting.

Review of Living and Loving After Betrayal, by Steven Stosny

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Living and Loving After Betrayal

How to Heal from Emotional Abuse, Deceit, Infidelity, and Chronic Resentment

by Steven Stosny, PhD

New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA, 2013. 235 pages.
Starred Review

Steven Stosny’s books helped me tremendously after my husband left me, particularly You Don’t Have to Take It Any More, which was retitled Love Without Hurt. I also went to his Compassion Power Boot Camp after I moved to Virginia, and it helped tremendously in my healing.

However, those materials were designed to help someone when in the middle of an abusive relationship. Now that my divorce is final, I have no more contact with my ex-husband.

So I was delighted when I heard about Steven Stosny’s latest book, Living and Loving After Betrayal. It uses his powerful approach of self-compassion to help you heal after betrayal and be ready to love again — whether getting back together with your spouse or someone else.

Now, I’ve come a long way since my husband left me. But these are wonderful reminders of how to stay healthy. Just this morning, I woke up from a dream about my ex-husband that made me feel rejected all over again. I turned to Steven Stosny’s methods, reminding myself of my core value, and didn’t get sunk in feeling bad all day.

What’s more, if I ever dare to get in a new relationship, I am glad to have this wise advice about avoiding a potential betrayer, and learning to trust again. And reading this also makes me less afraid to start a new relationship.

As with his other books, the crux of Steven Stosny’s healing techniques is self-compassion, and focusing on your own core value.

He doesn’t focus on what happened, but more on how to heal. However, he does understand that betrayal is hard to overcome.

Whether it crashes upon you in revelation or seeps into consciousness via delayed realization, intimate betrayal snatches the floor of personal security from under you. Most of my clients describe the initial aftermath of revelation and realization as a kind of free fall, with no bottom in sight. Shock and disbelief are punctuated by waves of cruel self-doubt:

Was I attractive enough, smart enough, successful enough, interesting enough, present, attentive, caring, patient, or sacrificing enough?

He shows you how to use your emotional pain to help yourself to heal, improve, repair and grow.

Self-compassion is a sympathetic response to your hurt, distress, or vulnerability, with a motivation to heal, repair, and improve. It brings a sense of empowerment — a feeling that you can do something to make your life better, even if you are not sure what that might be at the moment. It tends to keep you focused on solutions in the present and future.

Self-criticism is blaming yourself for your hurt, distress, or vulnerability, usually with a measure of punishment or contempt. It’s based on the mistaken idea that if you punish yourself enough you won’t make similar mistakes in the future, when just the opposite is true — self-punishment leads to more mistakes. (Who is more likely to make more mistakes, the valued self or the devalued self?) Self-pity is focus on your pain or damage with no motivation to heal, repair, or improve. It has an element of contempt for your perceived incompetence or inadequacy because it assumes that you can’t do anything to make your life better. Needless to say, self-criticism and self-pity turn pain into suffering.

One of the problems after betrayal involves post-traumatic stress and obsessive thoughts. This book shows you how to recondition your brain with restorative images whenever painful thoughts surface. I was able to use those techniques this morning after waking up from a dream about my ex-husband. They work!

Steven Stosny explains that the key to healing and growth is your core value.

Core value grows out of the uniquely human drive to create value — to make people, things, and ideas important enough to appreciate, nurture, and protect. Consistently acting on the drive to create value provides a sense of meaning and purpose in life. This chapter and the next will help develop your core value as a general means of healing and growth. Although a highly developed core value won’t make you forget your betrayal, it will definitely make all that you have suffered less important in your life as a whole. The past can no longer control us, once it is overshadowed by the deeply human drive to create value and give our lives meaning.

He finishes the book with tips about getting into a relationship again, whether with your betrayer or someone new. Here’s hoping I will have a reason to look at those tips again! Reading this book made that idea seem much less impossible. Here’s to healing!

Steven Stosny’s blog, Anger in the Age of Entitlement
compassionpower.com
newharbinger.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/living_and_loving_after_betrayal.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 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 Maude, The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton, by Lauren Child and Trisha Krauss

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Maude

The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton

by Lauren Child
illustrated by Trisha Krauss

Candlewick Press, 2013. First published in the United Kingdom in 2012. 32 pages.
Starred Review

Maude Shrimpton is part of a family who loves to be noticed. Each member of the Shrimpton family is “so talented, so eccentric, so larger than life . . . you just couldn’t miss them even if you wanted to.”

Well, each member — except Maude.

In all the pictures, Maude’s clothes blend in with whatever she’s standing in front of. (These are positively brilliant!) “When Maude crossed the street, she had to dodge cars.” We see her dress striped exactly like the crosswalk. “She moved so inconspicuously that when she performed in her school play, people thought she was part of the scenery.”

When Maude’s birthday approaches, all she wants, all she asks for, is a goldfish.

Her family, however, seizes on the “gold” part of that word — and gets her a tiger. They love strolling along the boulevard with a giant cat, making everyone stare.

However, when they run out of tiger food, well, it becomes apparent that “Sometimes, just sometimes, not being noticeable is the very best talent of all.”

Let’s just say that I will be posting this book on my “Someone Gets Eaten” Pinterest Board. (Why are picture books where someone gets eaten just so much fun?) I’m trying to decide if it’s too brutal for storytime, but I think I can get away with it at the family storytime. Any violence is off-page, and, after all, there’s that great message that sometimes it’s a good thing to be inconspicuous!

And it’s all magnificently carried out and just plain fun.

candlewick.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/maude.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 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 Pursuing the Good Life, by Christopher Peterson

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Pursuing the Good Life

100 Reflections on Positive Psychology

by Christopher Peterson

Oxford University Press, 2013. 341 pages.
Starred Review

I’m rather fascinated by Positive Psychology. I’ve read books like How We Choose to Be Happy, You Can Be Happy No Matter What, and What Happy Women Know: How New Findings in Positive Psychology Can Change Women’s Lives for the Better, and enjoyed all of them.

Christopher Peterson was one of the founders of the field of Positive Psychology. This book is a set of 100 short pieces taken from his Psychology Today blog called “The Good Life“. I approached the book by reading one piece per day for the last few months. (I had to turn the book back in a few times, too!) The pieces were fascinating, or at least amusing, and often helpful.

Here’s a paragraph from Dr. Peterson’s first chapter:

My goals for the reflections that follow are several. First, I will discuss research findings about the psychological good life. Second, I will explore the most promising practical applications based on these findings. And third, I will use positive psychology as a vantage to make sense of the world in which we live. I hope you find what I say interesting.

Indeed, you might not expect to find a book written by an academic to be entertaining and practical at the same time, but this one is both of those things.

oup.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/pursuing_the_good_life.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 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 Giving Thanks, edited by Katherine Paterson

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Giving Thanks

Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving

Edited and with reflections by Katherine Paterson
Illustrations by Pamela Dalton

Handprint Books (Chronicle), San Francisco, 2013. 53 pages.

This beautiful book is appropriate for children and adults, and is perfect as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving. I went through it slowly, reading a page a day as part of my devotional time. If I had kids living with me now, it would have been nice to read a page aloud at the dinner table.

What’s included are prayers and poems from all over the world, going back hundreds of years, all with a theme of giving thanks.

The section headings are “Gather Around the Table” (Thanks for food), “A Celebration of Life” (Thanks for nature), “The Spirit Within” (Thanks for personal blessings), and “Circle of Community” (Thanks for loved ones).

The book is decorated with exquisite and intricate cut-paper illustrations. Even though they are pictures of the cut-paper illustrations, I found myself wanting to handle the pages delicately. I can’t imagine having the patience and care to create such fine work! The reader feels privileged to get to enjoy it.

This isn’t a long book, and the format is that of a picture book, which is probably why it is marketed as a children’s book. But what a nice reminder and method for giving thanks.

terabithia.com
pameladaltonpapercutting.com
chroniclekids.com

I’m reviewing this book today in honor of Thanksgiving and Nonfiction Monday, hosted today at Jean Little Library.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/giving_thanks.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 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 – Confronting the Wormbeards

Sunday, November 24th, 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. Okay, really it’s way past time. I got called in to work this afternoon, so I didn’t have a chance to start this until late. So how about a really short one, just looking at a little bit of my stand-by, The Order of Odd-Fish, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James Kennedy.

Last time, we left off on page 193, which is Seite 244 auf Deutsch. We ended with a fairly dramatic sentence, so this week let’s begin with the next one, also dramatic:

“Jo didn’t even have time to scream before another tentacle pushed into her mouth.”
= Jo kam nicht einmal dazu, zu schreien, weil ein weiterer Tentakel sich über ihren Mund legte.

This one’s not as catchy:
“She turned, kicked, and struggled”
= Sie drehte sich um, trat zu und wehrte sich

“something soft and gooey” = etwas Weichem, Klebrigem

“bag of jelly” = Beutel mit Wackelpudding

“burst with a liquid noise” = mit einem flüssigen Knall platzte

“went limp” = wurden schlaff

“Her skin was pocked with little welts from the suckers.”
= Auf ihrer Haut hatten sich kleine Blasen von den Saugnäpfen gebildet.

“injuries” = Verletzungen

“reins” = Zügeln

This is so good it has to be repeated from last time.
“Apology Gun” = Entschuldigungspistole
(I’m happy. I was able to spell that out without referring back to the book.)

“cruel” = Grausamkeit (“cruelty”; “grayness”)

“flipped” = kippte

“squealing lizard-dogs” = jaulenden Echsenhunde

“limping” = humpelnden

“bristly” = struppig

“to throw away” = vergeuden

“Her lips wavered on the edge of a sneer”
= Sie verzog höhnisch die Lippen
(“She made scornful the lips”)

Also not as catchy:
“You don’t have the guts.”
= Für so etwas hast du nicht genug Mumm.

“anticipation” = erwartungsvoll (“waiting-full”)

“Fiona sensed the weakness” = Fiona spürte ihre Schwäche

“an almost inaudible bip.” = einem fast unhörbaren Ploppen

“angry bellow” = wütenden Brüllen

“surrounded by the purple-cloaked, yellow-scarf-wearing, steel-goggled squires”
= von violet gekleideten, mit gelben Schals geschmückten und stählernen Brillen geschützten Knappen umgeben

That’s all I have time for tonight! If I stay up any later, I’ll feel like a Beutel mit Wackelpudding!

Review of The Bitter Kingdom, by Rae Carson

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom

by Rae Carson

Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins), 2013. 433 pages.

The Bitter Kingdom is the conclusion to the fantasy trilogy begun with The Girl of Fire and Thorns. In it, Queen Elisa, bearer of the Godstone, really comes into her power.

Now, my biggest peeve against this series is that the first-person present-tense narration makes it feel rather breathless and overwrought. But despite my prejudice, I read and enjoyed the series. The main character, Elisa, learns and grows realistically throughout the series.

You won’t want to read the final volume unless you’ve read and enjoyed the first two. The conclusion is the best of the bunch. It packs a lot of adventure into one volume, beginning when Elisa must rescue the man she loves, continuing with the need to confront the Invierno kingdom, stop an attack on her own country, and stop a civil war.

Meanwhile, Elisa is learning how to harness the power of a living Godstone, and manage friendships and alliances – and make new ones. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say it was about time for Elisa to be happy in romance.

This is an ambitious and imaginative trilogy. I can happily say that the conclusion, The Bitter Kingdom, is satisfying and action-packed.

fireandthorns.com
raecarson.com
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Review of Heaven Is Paved with Oreos, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Heaven Is Paved With Oreos

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 201 pages.
Starred Review

Heaven Is Paved with Oreos is a follow-up to Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s wonderful Dairy Queen trilogy about D.J. Schwenk. You don’t have to have read the earlier trilogy, but those who have will enjoy D.J.’s presence in this book. As a matter of fact, I thought there was a bit more of D.J. than felt quite realistic, but it was fun to feel still in touch with her.

This book is about Sarah Zorn, the girlfriend of D.J.’s little brother, Curtis. Or is she his girlfriend? Turns out, Sarah came up with a Brilliant Outflanking Strategy, which turned out not to be so brilliant.

But it seemed brilliant at the time. Sarah and Curtis were doing lots of things together, and people kept teasing them and asking them if they were going out. Finally, out of frustration, Sarah said Yes. Suddenly the person who asked didn’t even care any more.

Curtis frowned. “Why would she keep asking us that question if she doesn’t care?”

“She did care,” I said, thinking hard. “Until we said yes. Then she stopped thinking about it.” That was when I had my eureka moment. Eureka is what you say when you have a massive scientific discovery. “That’s it! Curtis, no one cares if we’re really going out. They just like thinking we are. They don’t like it when we say they’re wrong. So let’s let them think it!”

But that backfires after awhile. During the summer before high school, Sarah’s grandmother, Z, is taking her to Rome. Just before she leaves, Curtis says he doesn’t like the lying to people. So they break up even though they were never really going out. So Sarah can’t even send postcards to her best friend.

The bulk of the book is about Sarah’s time in Rome with Z, since it’s in the form of her journal for the summer. She writes about what she’d say in a postcard to Curtis – if she were writing to him.

But Z has her own drama on the trip when she turns 64, and Sarah has to step up and be responsible in a foreign country.

Catherine Gilbert Murdock knows how to write about kids that feel very real in situations that are exceptional but feel normal. I hope more books about Sarah will follow this one.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/heaven_is_paved_with_oreos.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 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!