Showing posts with label Adult Traditional. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult Traditional. Show all posts

Saturday, December 27, 2014

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Genre: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, Traditional
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I love fairy tales. I love them eve more when someone has taken a fairy tale and put such a spin on it that it stays with you for days.  “While Beauty Slept” is one of those fairy tales.  This is the Sleeping Beauty story with major changes.  I have to say that out of all of the fairy tales I grew up with, Sleeping Beauty was one of my least favorites, until now.
The main character Elise has lived a hard life up to the age of 14.  It is after someone in the market calls her a name, that her mother tells her the truth about her father that helps her understand why her father treats her the way he does.  Her mother has always expected so much from her because she wants her to go far in life.  Her mother had worked as a seamstress in the castle until something happened.  Elise is determined to work at the castle.  After the death of her mother and several of her brothers from illness she leaves home and heads to her aunt’s house.  There she stays for a couple of weeks being groomed for work in the castle.  This is just the beginning of her new life.  She moves quickly up the ranks becoming the personal maid to the queen.  Don’t think this is one of those feel good Disney type books because it is not.  This one is full of love and love lost, betrayal in all forms. There are the friendships formed and lost, and so much grief.  The emotions throughout this book bring you right into the world.  I could visualize all of it.  It isn’t often that I am that involved in the story.  I was hooked from the moment Elise catches her granddaughter Raimy in her trunk.  With everyone else asleep she pulls her on her lap and says to her, “I will tell you a tale….”

If you are someone who loves fairy tales and fairy tale retellings then I would say this is a must read.  It would definitely be for the older Young Adult reader, New Adult Reader or Adult.  I look forward to reading much more by this author.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Collection of Past Due Reviews

The Laceyville Monkeys Say the Right Words
Author: Harriett Ruderman
Illustrator: Beerly Luria
Publisher: Illusion Press
Source: Publisher Review copy

Let me start off by commenting on the illustrations for this book. The use of bright water colored pictures was wonderful the emotions expressed on teh the character's faces were well portrayed and helped the story line along. Hepzibah comes to Laceyville to enter her three monkeys in their talent contest. She takes them to Granny's house and hey perform for her. Granny decides to enter them as her own. However when she instructs them to dance and sing and tumble, she does it harshly and they just stand there. The trainer comes and saves the day. The lesson of speaking softly and kindly is portrayed with words and pictures. I enjoyed this book. This is a book I believe every parent should have and read before their child is born. After the birth of their child they should read it to their child at least once a week. I deal with students in middle grades and often can tell how they are spoken to at home. I loved this book and look forward to sharing it with my grandchildren

Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks
Publisher: PUSH
Pages 230
Source: I purchased

Martyn Pig has had a hard life. His mother divorced his father and left him with his dad. His father is a drunk who only stays sober when his sister is coming for a visit. She had tried to get custody of Martyn. Martyn finds himself in trouble when he accidently kills his father. Enter his friend Alex and her boyfriend Dean and the trouble has begun. This book kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. I felt the anxiety that Martyn felt while he was going through all his different situations. I have a hard time keeping this book on my shelves. this was a re-read for me. I first read it seven years ago when it first came out. I have had to purchase four new copies since that time because they have been stolen or just loved to death. This book is great for any kid because they can relate to it in so many ways.

GUTS by Gary Paulsen
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 148
Source: I purchased it

Move over Bear Grylls. Gary Paulsen, author of the Hatchet Books has soften been asked about his characters. A lot of his characters and their circumstances are based on actual events that have happened to him in real life. When I read about how he had sucked the eyes out of fish or eaten the guts of a squirrel. Maybe this is why my boys find this a really great book. He is a true survivalist and the reader of this book has a lot to learn from him. I enjoyed this book immensely. I realized he did not sugar coat anything. He talked about several instances where he observed people killed. The saddest was the story of the little boy feeding a wild deer and he and his mom didn't understand the signs and the deer kicked the boy killing him instantly. It is no wonder that his books are so realistic. They are based on events that actually happened to him.

An African Tale by Enna Neru
Publisher: Outskirt Press
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher's review

I have read a lot of myths but none have enchanted me the way this one did. The lessons to be learned about saving our resources were right on in this day and age. I enjoyed the idea that when the people became wasteful the water was collected into a stone in the shape of a diamond and buried in the desert until someone found. I felt sorry for Ledimo in the beginning of the book. His father was a terrible person. He used his sons ability. Jealousy, greed, hunger for power led to the downfall of Ledimo. It seemed like it took him a long time to learn his lesson. The idea of power being passed down to twins so that they had to cooperated seemed like the plausible thing to do. I enjoyed this immensely. I had not yet finished it when one of my students asked if he could read it next. He had been reading the back of the book. Since I teach reluctant readers, any book that can make them ask tot read it is excellent in my opinion. I would definitely recommend this book to all of my students.

One Speaks: Sacred Relationship Revealed by Richela Chapman
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 296
Source: Reviewers copy

Richela chapman makes some valuable points in her book, "One Speaks". The first chapter reminds us that before we can love someone else, we must first love ourselves. She encourages us to treat our heart and should as the temple that it is. For so many of us we have gotten lost along the way with excess baggage that makes it difficult to do just that. Something that I found helpful was in the reflections at the end of chapter 70. For years I have written down things when I was angry and then either tore them up and threw them away or flushed them down the toilet. Not once did I ever consider imagining the words actually being spoken to me and then thinking about my emotional reaction to them. I believe that is why the angry thoughts would resurface time and again. I enjoyed the reflection activities at the end of each chapter. As a teacher I made my students reflect on what they have learned and what they have read. For me this seemed so natural.

A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt

Publisher: Dreams Shared
Pages: 297
Source: Reviewer's Copy

I can remember when I was younger doing walk-a-thons to raise money for various things at our schools. The longest I had walked was 20 miles. I believed that was a lot until I read this book. Jeff alt walked 2,160 miles to fulfill a dream and raise money for a worthy cause. When I walk today I complain if I have to walk in a little bit of drizzle or if the weather is too hot. Jeff walked in downpours, snow, extremely cold weather or extremely hot weather and still kept on going. His dream was to walk the Appalachian Trail, a personal dream while raising money for the Sunshine Home where his brother Aaron was. This book is his inspirational story of how he accomplished this and the friends he made along the way. I had to ask myself when I finished this book, would I have the courage and stamina to do this? I laughed at the simple things, such as his realizing how bad he smelled when he hurt his ankle and had to get a ride to Gatlinburg. I would have been terrified to have crossed paths and then stood up to the group they called "The Vegetarians." Jeff tried to make hiking a pleasure in so many ways for so many people on the trail. I know I will never hike the trail long distance as he did. The next time I am on it I will remember him and bring some of his inspiration with me. I loved the maps at the beginning of each chapter and found the gear list and tips for taking children hiking especially helpful I have several friends who have been asking for an opportunity to read this and I will gladly share this inspirational book.

Grandfather's Story Cloth by Linda Gerdner and Sarah Langford
Grandfather's Story Cloth was one that so many people can relate to no matter what their cultural background. Chersheng's grandfather has Alzheimer's disease. He doesn't always remember his family, the time period, or where he is. This is upsetting to Chersheng and his younger brother. When their mother brings out a story cloth that the grandfather had made, the grandfather was able to share stories of his life in Laos. Chersheng decides to create something that will help keep memories for his grandfather of his time in America. this brought back memories of my grandmother who had alzheimer's disease. It often tears families apart. I loved the added information in the back of the book about alzheimer's disease, the Homong people and story cloths. I thought that it was great that this was a bilingual book. This is a great asset to my shelves.

The Unicorn Treasury by Bruce Coville
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books, 2004
ISBN: 978-052052164
Source: A gift from my daughter for my classroom

When my daughter was younger and we owned a ceramic business, she painted a unicorn that she still has today. As she got older and more adept at painting it was repainted a lavender with sparkles all over itl The mane and tail were glittery pink and it had a golden horn. It came as no surprise when she handed me a book full of unicorn stories, poems and unicorn lore. The stories were very crisp and refreshing. This collection of stories and poems were told by some of my favorite authors like C.S. Lewis, Jane Yolen and Madeleine L'Engle. That is not to say the other contributors were not good. I was not familiar with many and that made the book even more charming. The cover art was gorgeous. It takes anyone who has ever loved fairy tales and transports them back into that world. It was snatched up the minute I put it on my shelves. This is a must read for all who love unicorns.

The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle
Publisher: Orchard Books, 2008
Pages: 361
ISBN: 978-0545000130
Source: Library

I am picky about the fantasy I read. The reason I read this book was simple, I had taken some writing courses from the author and always loved what she wrote online. So, I figured I would try one of her books. Ruby Key is the story of Genna and Dan who lived in the village of Highbrush. They have hatched a plan to save their mother who is sick. The only night they are allowed out is the night they make their offering to the Nightlings who leave gifts for them in return. They know to go out at night might mean their death or they could become slaves of the Nightlings. to save their mother they must go out at night and venture to the taander tree to gather its sap. While out they encounter a nightling who becomes their friend. They find out that there is a problem brewing in their village and they join forces with the Nightling to try to set things right. I loved the way it ended. It was finished nicely, yet was finished in a way that a sequel would fit nicely. The characters and plot were definitely well developed. I would expect nothing less from Holly. I will also read more of her books. I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The Never Pals by Rocky Kuznik
Publisher: Outskirts Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-1432703035
Pages: 480
Source: Reviewer's copy

The Never Pals is the story of two neighbors who have never really had anything to do with each other. Frank Bingham sells cars for Frenchy Mandril. He is Frenchy's best salesman. When things go wrong, Frenchy leaves Frank to clean up the mess. He can't really stand Frenchy and his ignorance. He often wondered about Frenchy, "Why is it those parents of his decide to make a human form that included a moronic brain? Then choose to provide him living space on this particular planet is way beyond me." To me this was absolutely hilariously. I kept asking myself if he hated it so much, why didn't he find a different job?
January Thornton works for King's Crib Inn. He runs his kitchen like a drill sergeant. He takes great pride in what he puts out. However, his suggestions to the general manager often fall on deaf ears. The manager seemed to be in the throes of dementia. he didn't seem to know he had a secretary. He was unaware of many things that were going on under his nose.
Frank and January meet in their driveways and January suggests they go down to Florida for a couple of weeks and get away from the stress of their jobs. This is exactly what they do. They meet a couple of girls and as usual, Frank can't just stick with one thing. January has actually started a relationship. Their differences on vacation are as different when they are home.
Both have unique experiences which involve a robbery and attempted murder. This was a fun book to read. I liked January's character best. He seemed more level headed whereas Frank was out for fun and for himself. Need something to pick you up and give you a laugh? This book is the answer to that.

Messy Tessy by Leah Orr
Illustrated by Josephine Lepore
Publisher: AuthorHouse, 2009
Source: Review copy from Publisher/Author

Tessy is your typical child who likes to keep her toys handy. Mom wants her room to stay clean. When mom goes away and Aunt Fran comes to stay, things quickly get out of hand. With Aunt Fran's help the mess is cleaned up. Well most of it. This was a cute book. I remember my sister pulling so many of these antics and me playing mommy and cleaning up so our mother would not know about it. This was a really cute book. I look forward to sharing it with many little ones. I really like the idea that Lea Orr donated the proceeds of her first two books to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, to help find a cure. This is something very close to her as her daughter was diagnosed with CF. I look forward to future books. These make great read alouds for my grandchildren.

Who Wants to be a Poodle I Don't
Author: Lauren Child
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2009
Pages 38
Source: Publisher Review copy for Picnic Basket

I read this book twice. I loved it. They rhyme and story line were wonderful A story told from he perspective of the poodle. I have always wondered how much dogs liked being pampered. According to Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight, poodles would like to be treated like other dogs. It is okay to be pampered on occasion but not constantly. It is also not appropriate to give them long names. One think that I like even more than the story were the pictures. It looked as if they used scrapbooking papers and possibly fabric to create the looks. It was bright, cheery andgave the feel of elegance. By this I mean the poodle was pampered and the owner bought expensive items so teh choice of backgrounds and papers used gave the impression of elegance. This book will be a gift to one of my young friends, Charlotte. She is 4 years old and loves to read to her mommy (an art teacher at our school) every night. I know the two of them will thoroughly enjoy the book.