Archive for April, 2016

Sonderling Sunday – Fumo versus Zam-Zam, the Ritualized Threats

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

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 it’s back to the Sonderbook that started it all, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy.

Sonderlinge 2

I think of Sonderling Sunday as a very silly phrasebook for travelers. Because it’s too much fun imagining a situation where you could use these phrases if you were a tourist in Germany. And when it comes to using phrases in unusual ways, James Kennedy is a master. I also hope, by the way, that it piques my readers’ curiosity and they are tantalized into picking up the book to find out exactly how these phrases are used.

Last time, we left off on page 260 in the English edition, Seite 330 auf Deutsch.

“Raucous cheers and wild applause.”
= Jubel und wilder Applaus brandeten auf.

“hooted” = johlte

“stragglers” = irgendwelchen Nachzüglern

“cash box” = Geldkassette

Only in a James Kennedy book:
“Fumo, the Sleeping Bee, versus Zam-Zam, the Dancing Ant of Sadness!”
= Fumo, die schlafende Biene, gegen Zam-Zam, die Tanzende Ameise der Traurigkeit!

“boasts” = Schmährede

“armored ostrich” = gepanzerten Strauß

Okay, this is just fun to write out:
“One hundred forty-four thousand, four hundred forty-four”
= Einhundertvierundvierzigtausendvierhundertvierundvierzig

“ritualized threats and insults” = ritualisierte Drohungen und Beleidigungen

“exchange of insults” = Austausch von Beleidigungen

“jiggling antennae” = wippenden Fühlern

“stinger” = Stachel

We lost the alliteration here:
“sleek sheaths of segmented steel” =
eine Rüstung aus unterteilten Stahlplatten

“slumber” = Schlummer

Here’s an interesting sentence, which you probably shouldn’t use if you’re a tourist in Germany:
“When I am finished with you, your body shall be torn asunder by five wild boars and buried in five ignominious places, each one more shameful than the last!”
= Wenn ich mit der fertig bin, wird dein Leichnam von fünf wilden Keilern zerfetzt und an fünf schändlichen Orten verscharrt warden, von denen jeder schmachvoller ist als der andere!

“Bold words!” = Kühne Worte!

“Verily shall I construct honeycombs of your carcass”
= Wahrlich, ich werde Honigwaben um deinen Leichnam errichten

“retorted” = konterte

“ashes of defeat” = der Asche der Niederlage

“contemptuous joy” = verächtlicher Freude

“Vile boaster!” = Schändlicher Prahlhans!

“Quafmaf, the Pigeon of the Moon” = Quafmaf, die Taube des Mondes

“Nixilpilfi, the Gerbil Who Does Not Know Mercy”
= Nixilpilfi, die Wüstenmaus, die keine Gnade kennt

“the realm of obloquy” = Reich der Schmach

“force to your lips the flagon of infamy!”
= die Flasche der Schändlichkeit an deine Lippen zwingen!

While you’re learning all these insults, this is a good response to know:
“Idle threats, Fumo!” = Leere Drohungen, Fumo!

“Mizbiliades, the Bleeding Butterfly”
= Mizbiliades, den blutenden Schmetterling

“Paznarfalasath, the Rhinoceros Whose Laughter Destroys Worlds”
= Paznarfalasath, das Rhinozeros, dessen Lachen Welten zerstört

“Zookoofoomoot, the Maggot of Dismay”
= Zookoofoomoot, die Made der Bestürzung

“Pft the Mouse” = Pft, die Maus

“bed of disgrace” = das Bett der Ehrlosigkeit

“the lullaby of destruction” = das Wiegenlied der Verheerung

Interesting translation:
“a tea ceremony in the Grudge Hut in Snerdsmallow”
= einer Teezeremonie in der Grollhütte in Gimpelgarten

Better know this:
“Consider yourself challenged!”
= Betrachtet Euch als herausgefordert!

“Challenge accepted!” = Herausforderung angenommen!

And another sentence I’d love to find an opportunity to use:
“The lowliest cockroach would spit on you.”
= Selbst die ordinärste Kakerlake würde dich anspucken.

And I’ll finish as the fight finally starts:
“Oh, look, it’s starting!”
= Oh, sieh nur, es geht los!

Review of Winter, by Marissa Meyer

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

winter_largeWinter

The Lunar Chronicles, Book Four

by Marissa Meyer

Feiwel and Friends, 2015. 827 pages.

Ah! The Lunar Chronicles come to a satisfying end in this book. If you have read this far, I don’t have to say anything to get you to read the final volume, so let me make some comments about the series in general.

What I loved most was the fairy tale parallels. Cinder paralleled “Cinderella,” Scarlet paralleled “Little Red Riding Hood,” Cress paralleled “Rapunzel,” and this final book, Winter, parallels “Snow White.” However, all the characters from each of the previous books are still in the story – and by the final book, elements from Snow White’s story seemed forced. (Whereas in Cinder they arrived in natural and clever ways.) In particular, the part about the poisoned apple seemed totally unnecessary in the overall scheme, and I didn’t really believe that a disease would progress the way this one was portrayed.

But I do like the character of Winter, and even her status as Queen Levana’s stepdaughter worked well. I do like that each of the main characters is very different from the others.

I still didn’t really believe in the wolf-human hybrids, which has been a problem for me since Scarlet. I didn’t particularly like the additional information we got about that in this book – didn’t make it easier to believe.

At first when I opened this book, I thought, okay, we’ve got four couples. Two have matched up with the one they love but have some obstacles between them. Two are in love but haven’t admitted it to each other yet. And I knew all four would get together by the end of the book, and I thought that was a bit much. But I have to hand it to Marissa Meyers – she kept each romance distinct and interesting. All four plotlines are definitely not simple!

In fact, if anything the plot was a bit too convoluted with all those characters to juggle. But that did keep things from being at all boring or predictable and kept you turning pages. She is one of those authors who gives you a lot of interior monologue – which means it takes a little longer for actions to happen. This book is more than 800 pages long, since that’s what it took to tie everything together. In some spots, we were following three different sets of characters in different places, so that slowed things down, too.

However, all that said – in this book pulling all the threads together, Marissa Meyer accomplishes a well-earned Happily Ever After. Though I was able to put down the book and go to sleep, I was never even slightly tempted to set it aside altogether, and I began reading the same day my hold arrived. We’ve got life and death situations and the fate of earth at stake. We’ve got an intrepid band of rebels who go deep into the tyrant’s territory. Can they win the day?

marissameyer.com
thelunarchronicles.com
macteenbooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/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 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 A Few of the Girls, by Maeve Binchy

Friday, April 15th, 2016

few_of_the_girls_largeA Few of the Girls

Stories

by Maeve Binchy

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2016. 319 pages.
Starred Review

I do so love Maeve Binchy’s writing! This collection of short stories is classic Maeve Binchy. Her agent and editors selected many she had written over the years and collected them in this marvelous volume.

There are thirty-six stories with a wide variety of viewpoints. Some leave me inspired and thinking good thoughts, more ready to cope with life. Others leave me laughing at a character who got a worthy comeuppance. All are so true — true to human nature, whether the good side or the bad side of human nature. All are also entertaining.

I think my favorite was probably the woman who was dumped who met a woman who had also been dumped years ago and now spent her time repairing broken china, which remind her of broken hearts.

…she would see also how fragile things could be put together again if you realized that this was possible. Rather than just putting them in the back of a cupboard and pretending that the break hadn’t happened at all.

The stories are short and sweet. I ended up tearing through the collection with great enjoyment. Though I did pause in especially nice places, which is why I especially remember “Broken China.”

For insights on life and love, this is a wonderful collection, but it’s also good for spending time with “a few of the girls” who will feel like old friends.

maevebinchy.com
aaknopf.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/few_of_the_girls.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?
few_of_the_girls_large

Review of The Most Wonderful Thing in the World, by Vivian French and Angela Barrett

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

most_wonderful_thing_in_the_world_largeThe Most Wonderful Thing in the World

by Vivian French
illustrated by Angela Barrett

Candlewick Press, 2015. 32 pages.
Starred Review

This is a fairy tale retold in “the time of your grandmother’s grandmother.” The beautiful paintings show clothing from the early twentieth century or late nineteenth century (I’m sure the illustrator could tell you precisely which). The paintings portray a Venice-like kingdom with a city set on a lagoon.

The king and queen decide that to find their daughter a husband, they will look for a young man who can show them the most wonderful thing in the world.

While princes and courtiers are bringing marvels to the king and queen (and here the illustrations are amazing), Princess Lucia has decided to see the city and to learn about its people.

Salvatore is the grandson of Wise Old Angelo, who gave the king and queen the advice. Salvatore brought the letter, and he’s sitting outside when the princess ventures out.

As Lucia came running out of the palace, she saw Salvatore sitting on the wall, playing with a little tabby cat.

“Excuse me, she said, pulling her cloak closer to cover her silk dress, “do you know the city?”

Salvatore smiled proudly, “Of course! I have lived in the kingdom all my life. Nobody knows the city better than I do, pretty lady. North, south, east, and west.”

“Can you show it to me?” Lucia asked. “Today?”

Salvatore was surprised. “But it would take longer than a day. Much longer.”

The princess put her hand on his coat sleeve. “Please?”

The young man bowed low. “I am Salvatore, pretty lady, and I am entirely at your service. Today, tomorrow, and the next day, until you have seen all that you want.”

“Thank you,” said the princess, and they walked away toward the heart of the city.

You can see where this is going! But the natural progression is carried out so beautifully and satisfyingly. The suitors bring some truly amazing things, but none of them is the most wonderful thing in the world. What the answer is, of course, is perfect.

The paintings in this book are very small and detailed, though truly wonderful, so it wouldn’t necessarily work for reading to a large group.

But anyone who likes an illustrated fairy tale will find a treasure in this book.

candlewick.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/most_wonderful_thing_in_the_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 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 Imaginary Fred, by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

imaginary_fred_largeImaginary Fred

by Eoin Colfer
illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Harper, 2015. 48 pages.

I have to admit, I have a problem with Imaginary Friend books. Including award-winning ones. Somewhere, the mechanism (that they do have a life of their own) breaks down. My suspension of disbelief is never perfect, and I can’t thoroughly enjoy the book.

That said, this one has less lack of logic than most. And the illustrations are by Oliver Jeffers!

Perhaps I was won over that the book acknowledges right from the start that not everyone who wishes for an imaginary friend gets one. It will only happen if “the conditions are just right, and if you add a little electricity, or luck, or even magic.”

Fred is an imaginary friend who likes it when he’s summoned. He tries to be a good imaginary friend.

But no matter how hard Fred tried, the same thing happened every time. One day, his friend would find a real friend in the real world.

A friend who did not have to be ignored when grown-ups were around.

When this day came, as it always did, Fred would feel himself fade.

Eventually, the wind would blow him up to a cloud, where he’d wait to be summoned by another lonely child.

When Sam summons Fred, Fred knows he’s different. They share more interests than any friend Fred has had before. When Sam makes a real friend, Sammi, Fred is sure he’s doomed… until he meets Sammi’s imaginary friend Frieda.

From there, things don’t proceed as they have before. Eventually we learn that “friendship is friendship. Imaginary or not, the same laws apply.”

Part of the fun of this book is in the details. Sam and Fred, who both love to read, are pictured reading the authors’ books, Artemis Fowl and Lost and Found. When the four friends perform in a quartet, grown-ups in the audience are very confused. I like when the friends practice speaking French.

Okay, there are still quibbles. If there’s an “imaginary community” as we learn at the end, how is this the first friendship between two imaginary friends, anyway?

But when it comes down to it, I can overlook my quibbles, because I kept coming back to and enjoying this book. If it tried to be general it would fail, but as a story about these particular four friends? This is an entertaining story which rewards repeated readings and gets you thinking about imagination and friendship and how they come together.

eoincolfer.com
oliverjeffersworld.com
harpercollinschildrens.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/imaginary_fred.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 Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

hungry_bunny_horde_largeThe Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde

by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Candlewick Press, 2016. 90 pages.
Starred Review

A third book about the Princess in Black! She’s a pretty and prissy princess in pink most of the time, but she has a secret identity – she’s the Princess in Black! She fights monsters with ninja moves!

As this book begins, Princess Magnolia is going about her ordinary business, ready to have a princessly brunch with her friend Princess Sneezewort. But then her glitter-stone ring rings! The monster alarm!

When the Princess in Black arrives at the goat pasture, where the hole leading to Monsterland opens, she doesn’t see anything scary. She sees a whole throng of fluffy purple bunnies.

The bunnies don’t look threatening. In fact, they look adorably cute. But there are hundreds of them. And they are terribly hungry. They eat all the grass in the goat pasture. Then they eat an entire tree. They eat a goat horn. They have their eyes on the Princess in Black.

In this case, it is Blacky the Pony (the secret identity of Frimplepants the Unicorn) who saves the day. The bunnies of the hungry bunny horde all speak the language of Cuteness.

Cute sniffles. Cute wiggles.

Cute hops. Only other cute animals could understand.

And that was why Blacky understood.

Because Blacky was not just Blacky the pony.

He was also Frimplepants.

Frimplepants the unicorn.

And Frimplepants the unicorn was as cute as they come.

This book came in at just the right time, when I was scheduled to read to a third grade class on Read Across America Day, and this book seemed perfect. Third graders might believe themselves to be too sophisticated for picture books (even though I know better). This book has 12 chapters and 90 pages. The text I quoted above covers three pages, and there are illustrations on every page (or at least every spread). So the book is accessible for someone who hasn’t been reading long but is ready for chapters – and there’s absolutely nothing boring about it.

And what I love about it is that the story is good enough that younger children who can’t read yet will love it, and older children who are completely capable of reading longer chapters will enjoy it as well. And adults won’t get tired of reading it either. There is much humor in the situation of cute bunnies creating such havoc.

Why should something easy to read and simple to understand be boring? The Princess in Black is the opposite of that.

squeetus.com
candlewick.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/hungry_bunny_horde.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 My Pet Human, by Yasmine Surovec

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

my_pet_human_largeMy Pet Human

by Yasmine Surovec

Roaring Brook Press, New York, 2015. 108 pages.

Here’s a delightful beginning chapter book with lots of pictures, told from the perspective of an adorable kitty.

There are five chapters. In the first one, “Mr. Independent,” the cat introduces himself.

I’m a lucky cat. I live a carefree life.

This is my territory. I know these streets like the back of my paw. Lots of cats are tied down by staying with their pet humans, but not me. I’m my own cat, and the only one I have to look out for is myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The cat knows how to get food from various humans along his route.

It took me a while to master “the Look,” but it’s essential to getting what I want from humans. And let’s just say, I always get what I want. I mean, who can resist this face? I’m adorable.

Of course, the pictures show the wide-eyed look, which is indeed adorable.

The cat has friends (a dog, a rat, another cat) who all have pet humans. But he likes not being tied down.

Then a family moves into the abandoned house across the street from the tree where the cat likes to sleep. He happens to be hungry, and a window is open.

The young human inside proves to be easy to train, with enough rewards for good behavior. Her mother, however, is a different story.

Kids will enjoy this easy-reading tale, told from a slightly different perspective. The language isn’t dumbed down, but there are enough pictures, it almost has the feel of a graphic novel, and is very non-threatening.

This is a nice twist on your standard new-to-the-neighborhood story. What does it take to find the perfect pet human?

mackids.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/my_pet_human.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?