Archive for August, 2015

Review of Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead

Monday, August 10th, 2015

goodbye_stranger_largeGoodbye Stranger

by Rebecca Stead

Random House Children’s Books, August 2015. 286 pages.
Starred Review

I got an Advance Reader Copy of this book at ALA Midwinter Meeting, and got it read on the flight to ALA Annual Conference.

I love Rebecca Stead’s books. Hers are about character — and always feature a character who feels like a normal kid — but with quirks.

Bridge Barsamian was in a terrible accident when she was 6 years old and almost died. As she left the hospital, a nurse told her, “You must have been put on this earth for a reason, little girl, to have survived.” She’s always wondered what that reason might be.

Now Bridge and her two best friends, Emily and Tabitha, are in seventh grade. And things are changing. Emily has suddenly grown curves and has become hugely popular. A boy is sending her pictures… and wants a response.

Bridge started wearing the cat ears in September, on the third Monday of seventh grade.

The cat ears were black, on a black headband. Not exactly the color of her hair, but close. Checking her reflection in the back of her cereal spoon, she thought they looked surprisingly natural.

And once she gets started wearing the cat ears, it’s hard to stop.

This book follows three different voices. One is Bridge, dealing with seventh grade, and how things are changing between her friends. Another is Sherm. He’s writing letters to his grandfather, who recently left their family. He doesn’t send them. Along the way, he writes about this girl who wears cat ears.

Another voice is someone using second person who has decided to take a mental health day on Valentine’s Day. She tries to keep her parents from worrying, but isn’t successful. But she still doesn’t go home. She’s thinking about all that led up to this day.

All the plot threads of the book lead up to Valentine’s Day. There’s no big reveal or plot twist. (There is a little reveal of who is skipping school.) But all the threads wind up, in a nice satisfying story. You can’t help but like these kids, living their lives and figuring out why they were put on this earth — in lovely, quiet, quirky ways.

This is very much a novel about friendship — and friends who let their friends down. But don’t we all let our friends down, in some way or other? This book is about the hard decision of when to give our friends another chance.

rebeccasteadbooks.com
randomhousekids.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/goodbye_stranger.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 an Advance Reader Copy I got at ALA Midwinter Meeting.

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.

What did you think of this book?

Sonderling Sunday – No Longer Exiled

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

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. Sort of a Traveler’s Phrasebook for Very Silly People.

Sonderlinge 1

This week, I’m back to my stand-by, the ever-so-Sonder Der Orden der seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James KennedyThe Order of Odd-Fish.

Last time, we left off with some alliterative headlines. Jo has learned that Aunt Lily is no longer exiled!

We’re on page 236 in the original English version, Seite 298 auf Deutsch.

As usual, we’ll look at whatever interesting phrases catch my eye. Trust me, this won’t give away the plot — though I do hope it intrigues a few people.

Let’s start with the key word:
“exiled” = verbannt

As in:
“This means you’re not exiled any more?”
= Das bedeutet, du bist nicht mehr verbannt?

May you never need to use this sentence:
“The mayor’s dropped the case.”
= Der Bürgermeister hat den Fall eingestellt.

But this is a good phrase to know:
“For now, at least.” = Jedenfalls fürs Erste.

Oh, I like this word!
“nap” = Mittagsschläfchen (“midday-little-sleep”)

Another useful phrase:
“Are you crazy?” = Bist du verrückt geworden?

“she whispered fiercely” = flüsterte sie hitzig

Oo, I like how this sounds in German:
“That the Silent Sisters have gone away?”
= Dass die Stummen Schwestern verschwunden wären?

“They are all on the move.”
= Sie alle sind sehr umtriebig.
(“They all are very go-getting.”)

I hope you don’t need this sentence:
“But I’m living a lie!”
= Aber ich lebe in einer Lüge!

I’ve mentioned this before, but still like knowing the word:
“Inconvenience” = Ärgernis

“people who’ve been sticking their necks out for you”
= die Leute, die für dich ihren Hals riskiert haben

Again, I hope you don’t have reason to say this, but best to be prepared:
“It’s the worst possible plan!”
= Es ist sogar der schlimmstmögliche Plan!

Think about the situation where you might want to say this!
“prying at a mishmash of intertwined mechanisms.”
= wühlte in einem Haufen miteinander verhakter mechanischer Teile.
(“rummaged in a heap together entangled mechanical parts.”)

I always like James Kennedy’s lists of interesting phrases:
“Months of silence, of awkward pauses, of avoiding the topic broke down.”
= All die Monate des Schweigens, der verlegenen Pausen, der Vermeidung dieses Themas forderten ihren Tribut.
(“All these months of silence, the embarrassed pauses, the avoidance of these themes demanded their tribute.”)

“the least thing” = der kleinste Kleinigkeit

“Her face had warped and sagged.”
= Ihr Gesicht war verzerrt und eingefallen.

I like this word:
“Doorknob” = Türknauft

“escape” = Fluchtweg (“flight-way”)

“sheepish” = schüchtern

“No hard feelings?” = Kein Groll?

Here’s a grand collection of long words!
“Minor difference of interpretation of city ordinances.”
= Das waren nur unbedeutende Meinungsverschiedenheiten hinsichtlich der Interpretation der Stadtverordnungen

And we’ll finish with the end of the scene:
“Jo left the room as quickly as possible and didn’t look back.”
= Doch Jo veließ den Raum so schnell wie möglich und blickte nicht zurück.

If you are ever verbannt, I hope your exile will be lifted quickly. Bis bald!

Review of The Real Thing, by Ellen McCarthy

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

real_thing_largeThe Real Thing

Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook

by Ellen McCarthy

Ballantine Books, New York, 2015. 263 pages.

Written by a wedding reporter, this book is composed of stories — stories of people committing to each other. But Ellen McCarthy didn’t stop with weddings and also includes stories of couples whose love has lasted decades. Along the way, she throws in some good advice about finding and keeping the love of your life.

Bottom line, even if you don’t take any of the advice, this book is fun to read. It doesn’t hurt to be reminded that people out there are finding love.

The author throws in her own story — she started as a wedding reporter when she’d just finished a major break-up, but wrote the book as part of a married couple with a child.

Here’s some of her introduction:

When I first started on the weddings beat — also starting, as I’ve mentioned, a new chapter of single life — I wasn’t sure how it would affect me to spend my days interviewing deliriously happy couples and watching them walk down the aisle. It could have been like salt in a wound.

But the job had the opposite effect. All of these people — young, old, rich, poor, plain, beautiful, sophisticated, and simple — they’d all found someone. I was reminded again and again that love happens every day, in all kinds of ways, to all kinds of people. And when it does, it adds a beauty and richness to life that nothing else can match.

So a couple of months after the breakup, I found my dating legs again. This time I had the lessons of the people I’d written about swirling around in my head. Their experiences pushed me to be more open and optimistic, and at least try to enjoy it.

Even more important, the collective wisdom of these couples challenged me to rethink what I was looking for. So much of what they taught me about love ran contrary to what we learn in pop culture and society. Don’t look for lightning. Forget about presenting your best self — it’s your real self that counts. And dreams do come true, but almost never how you dreamed them.

Yes, reading these stories could have been like pouring salt in my wounds. But it wasn’t. Instead, this book left me smiling and encouraged.

ellen-mccarthy.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/real_thing.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.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Safest Lie, by Angela Cerrito

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

safest_lie_largeThe Safest Lie

by Angela Cerrito

Holiday House, New York, 2015. 180 pages.
Starred Review

Full disclosure right up front: The author of this book is a friend of mine. We were in a writers’ group together in Germany. So naturally, I snapped up an Advanced Reader Copy of her book when she told me they were available at ALA Annual Conference.

This is a Holocaust book. So honestly, I might not have picked it up if my friend hadn’t written it. But it’s yet another story of the Holocaust I hadn’t heard before. This book is about a Polish Jewish girl from the Warsaw ghetto who is smuggled out and stays in a series of homes, finally with a Polish Catholic family whose own daughter looked like the “master race” and had been sent to Germany.

Anna Bauman is nine years old when she’s told that she needs to be Anna Karwolska. Her Mama and Papa send her away to keep her safe, and she goes along with different heroic people, learning how to appear Catholic at an orphanage, always afraid of the ever-present German soldiers, seeing other people resisting and other children in hiding.

Anna has to learn Anna Karwolska’s birthday and history. She remembers her grandmother’s saying: “The safest lie is the truth.”

I like the scene where a German soldier is questioning the children at the orphanage. It’s sinister, but I like the way Anna turns it around.

Then he asks a question that I’ve never practiced. “What type of work does your father do?”

“My father is dead, sir.” I don’t feel sad or afraid telling him that my father is dead. I never knew Anna Karwolska’s father. Maybe it would help if I share a bit of truth. “He made furniture.” I want to catch the words as soon as they are out of my mouth. I don’t know if making furniture is a job only a Jewish papa would have.

But the soldier just nods his head, as if he’s bored. “What type of food did you eat for Christmas dinner?”

“The very best of food.”

“What type?”

“All types. There were sweets and meat and vegetables and . . .” — I swallow, thinking of all the good food — “sweets.”

“What exactly?”

“I’m not sure. I was very young and it was so long ago.” It’s true. Anna Karwolska would have been even younger than I was before the war began.

“Anna. Anna. Anna.” I don’t like the way he says my name. “Have you answered every question truthfully?”

I swallow. “Yes, sir.”

The soldier reaches under the table and a moment later metal clinks against the wooden tabletop. “Do you know what that is?” I do, but I can’t speak. “It’s my gun.” He smiles.

It’s a shiny silver gun with a black handle. There’s a screw connecting the handle. It seems like if I had the right tool and a moment to myself, I could remove that screw and the whole gun would fall to pieces.

“It’s your gun,” I say.

“I will use this gun, Anna. If you’ve told me a lie, I will shoot you and all the other children here. Do you understand?”

The screw is a small silver circle on a black rectangle. “It’s not made properly,” I say, staring at the screw.

“What?”

“The gun. It’s not made properly. There’s a screw showing on the outside.”

“Anna. This is very serious.”

I know it’s serious. I understand that more than any of the other girls in this room. “My papa always said that when furniture is made correctly, no one can see how the pieces are put together. But with your gun –”

He laughs. “Anna, you really are the daughter of a carpenter.”

A nice addition to the book is the Author’s Note at the back, where Angela Cerrito tells of her chance to meet Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who saved Jewish children, was tortured for it, and continued to save Jewish children during the war. This explains the ring of truth to the book. I love that this book is a tribute to those who risked their lives to save others.

angelacerrito.com
holidayhouse.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/safest_lie.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 an Advanced Reader Copy I got at ALA Annual Conference.

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.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Defender of the Flame, by Sylvia Engdahl

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

defender_of_the_flame_largeDefender of the Flame

by Sylvia Engdahl

Ad Stellae, Eugene, Oregon, 2013. 452 pages.
Starred Review

I like Sylvia Engdahl’s writing. I’d ordered copies of all of her Flame books, then hadn’t gotten around to reading them because they aren’t library books and don’t have a due date. So I got this one read on vacation. I’d accidentally purchased two copies of this third book, so thought I’d bring it along and leave that copy behind after I finished it. This plan worked well — it is a book I’m happy to pass on to family.

And even though this is the third book, the cover explains that it takes place 200 years after the events in the earlier books, so you can read it without having read the earlier books. I do now have a good idea of what happens in the earlier books, but I’m hoping that won’t spoil them.

This is a book about humanity’s future. It’s consistent with Sylvia Engdahl’s view, hinted at in the wonderful Enchantress from the Stars, that mankind’s future evolution depends on learning to use the powers of our minds.

Defender of the Flame takes place when humans are on the cusp of discovering all their minds can do. Terry Radnor is a starship pilot, and he gets in on a secret project — defending a planet colony founded two hundred years earlier, where everyone is telepathic.

Terry also goes into training and learns to harness his full potential. He finds out why he was never satisfied in relationships before. Only with the telepathic connection can he truly link with others. On the planet, he finds an idyllic situation. He will dedicate his life to protecting what they have built here.

But things on Earth, in general, are not going well. There is overcrowding, slums, poverty. And the idea of psychic power is ferociously opposed by many, even some in power.

Though I didn’t foresee what would set Terry Radnor’s life drastically off the course he was trying for and the way he would be called upon to protect the colony.

If you let it, this book can read like propaganda for Sylvia Engdahl’s world view, or perhaps I should call it her view of humanity’s future. She’s got a prime directive of non-interference that everyone seems to believe in much more firmly than I ever would.

However, ultimately it’s a hopeful view — and makes a really good story. This is fun reading, about a starship captain facing many tough choices and several different seemingly impossible scenarios and coming through. If you choose to think more deeply about the view of humanity’s future, that’s icing on the cake. Enjoyable and thought-provoking reading.

stewardsoftheflame.com
sylviaengdahl.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/defender_of_the_flame.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 my own copy, ordered via Amazon.com.

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.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Sweet, by Emmy Laybourne

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

sweet_largeSweet

by Emmy Laybourne

Feiwel and Friends, New York, 2015. 272 pages.

I feel like I shouldn’t have liked this book. But I was charmed by the two main characters and their sweet romance. Laurel has been invited to go on the cruise of a lifetime by her rich friend, Vivika. Tom was a child star who is now trying to shake his image as a tubby toddler who grew up in view of the world. He’s been hired as media host for this high budget cruise.

The cruise is to celebrate the invention of a new artificial sweetener, Solu. Besides being sweet, Solu sucks away fat. During the week-long cruise, before sales of Solu are allowed to the general public, the lucky (and wealthy) 500 guests on the ship are going to lose 5% of their weight.

Laurel is there primarily to support her friend. I love the explanation of why Laurel honestly feels good about her own body:

The messed-up thing is that Viv and I weigh around the same. I think we look fine. Like normal young women with curves in more or less the right places.

But Viv hates her body. And sometimes I can tell she thinks I should hate mine, too.

Maybe the reason Viv and I feel so different about our weight can be explained by our parents — or by the shape of our parents.

Viv’s dad is built like a fireplug. Short and fat. Exudes wealth, and perhaps because of that, he could care less about his weight. Viv’s mom? Even though she counts calories with a microscope, she’s still a wee bit oversize. She’s always wearing “foundation garments” and trying to get Viv and I to wear them. I think she might even wear Spanx to bed.

My dad? Regular height. Regular-dad beer belly. And my mom? Exactly like me. We’re both 5′ 7″. Both size fourteen. Ample breasts, belly, and rear.

So genetically, both Viv and I are set up to have the bodies we have.

But here’s the thing: My Dad loves the way my mom looks.

My mom will come home from a day at the bank with her hair frizzy, her suit jacket rumpled, her bust straining the buttons on her blue button-down shirt, and my dad will take her in his arms and gaze at her like she’s the most beautiful woman on earth. he thinks she’s sexy and perfect the way she is. (I know this because he tells her. Frequently. Often in public.)

So I know it’s possible.

It’s possible to find a guy who will find me attractive. I could even find one who finds the overflowing scoopfuls of me sexy and perfect.

Viv, on the other hand, has had to watch her dad grow steadily disgusted with her mom’s body over the years.

I like the way Tom, indeed, finds Laurel curvy and attractive.

How do they meet? Laurel throws up on his shoes.

As the cruise starts, Laurel gets horribly seasick — too sick to eat anything, let alone the Solu-laced desserts. Tom is trying to get rid of his baby fat, and is under a strict regimen with his trainer and best friend, Derek. Derek doesn’t want him to eat anything but “real food,” so Tom skips the Solu, as well.

The beginning of the cruise, when they run into each other and notice each other, is simply fun.

When Laurel starts to feel better, people taking Solu are already starting to act a little strange….

And that’s where I stopped believing the story, though it’s certainly a dramatic one. Supposedly, Solu can make fat disintegrate extremely rapidly. (Where does it go? Wouldn’t people at least have an elimination problem?) As well, it turns out to be the most addictive substance ever invented. I couldn’t quite believe that, either. I mean, with most addictive substances, the effect on different people varies. Surely, some could withstand its effects?

But not on this nightmare cruise. As you can imagine, when the Solu supply starts getting low, things start getting ugly. Very ugly. Oh, another thing I didn’t believe was that Solu addicts have a heightened sense of smell and can smell trace amounts of Solu — and will do anything to get it.

So, the story is one of survival for Laurel and Tom and the other people (mostly crewmen) who have managed to stay off Solu. What’s more, at midnight on the last scheduled day of the cruise, Solu is going to go on sale to the general public. And everyone thinks it’s safe….

I felt like it was just as well I didn’t really believe this book — because the things that happened as Solu took hold were nauseatingly horrifying. On top of that, some of the exploits that happen with a severe injury (I’ll say no more than that) were quite unbelievable to me, too.

So I didn’t quite believe what was happening, or even want to think about it much — but I still couldn’t stop reading, because I wanted to know what would happen to Laurel and Tom. Because, bottom line, I cared about them, because they were simply so sweet.

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

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Octopus Scientists, by Sy Montgomery

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

octopus_scientists_largeThe Octopus Scientists

Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk

Text by Sy Montgomery
Photographs by Keith Ellenbogen

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 2015. 72 pages.
Starred Review

The Octopus Scientists is part of the extraordinary Scientists in the Field series. As with The Tapir Scientist, Sy Montgomery puts herself in the story, telling us all about her two-week visit with a team of octopus scientists, what they were studying, and what they found.

In this case, the team of four scientists was searching for octopuses – to study where they live, what they eat, and even their personalities (bold or more cautious).
Among other interesting facts I learned, it turns out that octopuses is correct, not octopi.

Though many people still use this plural, octopus experts deem it incorrect because it mixes up two languages. Octopus is a Greek word meaning “eight-footed.” Adding i to the end of a singular noun is a Latin practice. The correct plural is octopuses, or octopods.

Most of this book addresses the biggest challenge: simply finding the octopuses, who are experts at hiding. But the team is very successful, and besides scientific results and information, because of this Keith Ellenbogen got an abundance of colorful, stunning photographs of octopuses and other sea creatures in the crystal clear water among the coral reefs.

I love the way the books in the Scientists in the Field series show what actual scientists do – including days of fruitless searching. It includes the difficulties they encounter and the mixed results as well as the triumphs and the new information gained.

Along the way, readers learn a plethora of facts about octopuses, and these facts are told as background in an engaging story, so they won’t quickly be forgotten.

This book may well inspire many future marine biologists. And the rest of us will marvel at the intelligence and beauty of the humble octopus. I had no idea they can change color more effectively than a chameleon, yet are colorblind themselves. Or that they can figure out how to open different kinds of latches. Or… This is definitely a book you should read yourself to find out more.

sciencemeetsadventure.com
hmhco.com

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

What did you think of this book?

Sonderling Sunday – Der Lorax, Part Three

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

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, I’m going to take another look at Der Lorax, by Dr. Seuss.

Lorax

Last year, I found a German version of this classic when I shopped at Powell’s in Portland, and I looked at the beginning of the book, and then the second part. It is time to push onward!

With The Lorax, it’s fun to do sections at a time, because this is poetry! I’ll include the original, the translation, and then give an idea of how the translation reads, literally.

I had just finished the part where the Once-ler had laid out his Thneed Scheme.

“‘I repeat,’ cried the Lorax,
‘I speak for the trees!’
‘I’m busy,’ I told him.
‘Shut up, if you please.'”

= „Ich sprech’ für die Bäume,
den die Bäume sind stumm!?
„Tut mir leid, ich hab’s eilig,
und schrei nicht so rum.?

(“I speak for the trees,
for the trees are silent!
I’m sorry, I’m in a hurry,
and don’t shriek so loud.”)

I like it when the translator makes up words. Since, after all, Dr. Seuss does the same.

“I rushed ‘cross the room, and in no time at all,
built a radio-phone. I put in a quick call.
I called all my brothers and uncles and aunts
and I said, “Listen here! Here’s a wonderful chance
for the whole Once-ler Family to get might rich!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch.
Turn left at Weehawken. Sharp right at South Stitch.”

Ich rannte durchs Zimmer und baute ganz fix
ein Funktelefon, in null Komma nix.
Ich rief meine Brüder und Onkel und Tanten.
„Ich hab sie, die Chance für alle Verwandten!
Die Einstler-Familie wird saumäßig reich!
Kommt schnell, fahrt Richtung Nordwudelwaldeich,
biegt ab bei Hühhotten, scharf rechts bei Südschleich.?

(“I ran across the room and built entirely
a radio-telephone, in zero point zero.
I called my brothers and uncles and aunts.
‘I have for you the chance for all the relatives!
The Onceler Family will be lousy rich!
Come quickly, drive in the direction of North-wudel-forest-oak,
turn off at Hoo-hotten, sharp right at South-creeping.'”)

“And, in no time at all,
in the factory I built,
the whole Once-ler Family
was working full tilt.
We were all knitting Thneeds
just as busy as bees,
to the sound of the chopping
of Truffula Trees.”

Schon bald strickte dort
in der neuen Fabrik
die Einstler-Familie
im Schichtbetrieb.
Wir strickten die Schnäuchte,
die Nadel klackte
zum Takt der Axt, die die Bäume hackte.

(“Soon knitted there
in the new factory
the Onceler Family
in shift-work.
We knitted the Thneeds,
the needles clacked
to the beat of the axes, that the trees hacked.”)

It’s fun to see what they do with this:

“Then…
Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree
at a time
was too slow.
So I quickly invented the Super-Axe-Hacker
which whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker.”

Und dann ging es los …
Mein lieber Schwan!
Der Laden fing zu brummen an!
Doch nur eine Axt
war mir viel zu lahm.
Schnell erfand ich das Super-Axt-Abhackmobil.
Das fällte die Bäume, gleich viermal so viel!

(“And then it began…
my lovely swan!
The shop started to grow!
But only one axe
was for me much to lame.
Quickly invented I the Super-Axe-Hack-Down-Mobile.
That felled the trees, four times as much!”)

When the Lorax comes back:

“He snapped, ‘I’m the Lorax who speaks for the trees
which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.
But I’m also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots
who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits
and happily lived, eating Truffula fruits.

‘NOW . . . thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
there’s not enough Truffula Fruit to go ’round.
And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies
because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!'”

= „Ich bin der Lorax, der die Bäume vertritt,
die du schneidest mit deinem Hackebeilschnitt.
Doch ich spreche
auch für die Braunfelliwullis,
die glücklich in ihren Braunfellipullis
die Nüsse naschten im Trüffelaschatten
und immer genügend zu essen hatten.

Doch seit DU hier anfingst, die Bäume zu hacken,
sitzt den Braunfelliwullis der Hunger im Nacken.
Die armen Kleinen, was sollen sie machen?
Mit knurrendem Magen gibt’s nichts zu lachen.?

(“I am the Lorax, who the trees represents,
which you cut with your Cleaver-Cutter.
But I speak also for the Brown-felli-woolies,
who happily in their Brown-felli-pullovers
the nuts nibbled in the Truffula shadows
and always enough to eat had.

But since YOU here started, the trees to hack,
sit the Brown-felli-woolies with hunger in their necks.
The poor littles, what shall they do?
With growling stomachs there’s nothing to laugh about.”)

And we’ll finish on a sad note as the Brown Bar-ba-loots walk off:

“I, the Once-ler, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
BUT . . .
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies, you know.”

= Ich war etwas traurig,
da gingen sie nun.
DOCH …
Geschäft ist Geschäft!
Da kann man nichts tun.
Ob mit oder ohne Geknurre im Magen:
Geschäft ist Geschäft
kann ich da nur sagen.

(“I was somewhat sad,
there they went now.
BUT …
Business is business!
You can’t do anything about that.
With or without growling in stomachs:
Business is business
can I only say.”)

I’ll stop there for tonight!

Now you know a slightly more polite way to shut someone up!
Tut mir leid, ich hab’s eilig,
und schrei nicht so rum.

Bis bald!

Review of Being Christian, by Rowan Williams

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

being_christian_largeBeing Christian

Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer

William B. Eerdman’s, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2014. 84 pages.

Here’s how this little book begins:

What are the essential elements of the Christian life? I am not thinking in terms of individuals leading wonderful lives, but just in terms of those simple and recognizable things that make you realize that you are part of a Christian community. This little book is designed to help you think about four of the most obvious of these things: baptism, Bible, Eucharist and prayer.

Christians are received into full membership of the Church by having water poured or sprinkled over them (or, in some traditions, being fully immersed); Christians read the Bible; Christians gather to share bread and wine in memory of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; and Christians pray. There is a huge and bewildering variety in Christian thinking and practice about all kinds of things, but these four basic activities have remained constant and indispensable for the majority of those who call themselves Christians.

In this book we shall be looking at what those activities tell us about the essence of Christian life, and what kind of people we might hope to become in a community where these things are done.

As I said, this is a short book. I read small parts of it each morning for a couple weeks. The author did get me thinking, and got me looking at these essentials of the Christian faith in a new way.

Here’s something he says about baptism:

So baptism restores a human identity that has been forgotten or overlaid. Baptism takes us to where Jesus is. It takes us therefore into closer neighbourhood with a dark and fallen world, and it takes us into closer neighbourhood with others invited there. The baptized life is characterized by solidarity with those in need, and sharing with all others who believe. And it is characterized by a prayerfulness that courageously keeps going, even when things are difficult and unpromising and unrewarding, simply because you cannot stop the urge to pray. Something keeps coming alive in you; never mind the results.

And here’s something about the Bible:

One of the things that Christian people characteristically do is read the Bible – or rather, in quite a lot of circumstances, they have the Bible read to them. It is worth remembering, especially for us who are inheritors of the Reformation and part of a literate culture, that for the huge majority of Christians throughout the centuries, as well as for many today, the bible is a book heard more than read. And that is quite a significant fact about it. For when you see a group of baptized people listening to the Bible in public worship, you realize that Bible-reading is an essential part of the Christian life because Christian life is a listening life. Christians are people who expect to be spoken to by God.

This is the first paragraph about Eucharist:

For Christians, to share in the Eucharist, the Holy Communion, means to live as people who know that they are always guests — that they have been welcomed and that they are wanted. It is, perhaps, the most simple thing that we can say about Holy Communion, yet it is still supremely worth saying. In Holy Communion, Jesus Christ tells us that he wants our company.

And finally, here’s something from the chapter on Prayer:

That, in a nutshell, is prayer – letting Jesus pray in you, and beginning that lengthy and often very tough process by which our selfish thoughts and ideals and hopes are gradually aligned with his eternal action; just as, in his own earthly life, his human fears and hopes and desires and emotions are put into the context of his love for the Father, woven into his eternal relation with the Father – even in that moment of supreme pain and mental agony that he endures the night before his death.

There’s more in this book, but this will give you an idea of what to expect. I found surprisingly many new insights about these fundamental practices.

eerdmans.com

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