Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

"Bud, Not Buddy" by Christopher Paul Curtis

"Bud, Not Buddy" is the story of ten-year old Bud Caldwell, an orphan living in Flint, Michigan in 1936 during the Great Depression. Bud runs away from his foster famly and goes searching for his father. Bud finally finds a home with his Grandfather and his days as a runaway orphan come to a happy end. 
I enjoyed how this story reminded me of my father, who passed last year. The Depression had a lasting effect on my father. Growing up we always had a pantry stocked and i still have sauerkraut in my pantry dad had bought for me 2+ years ago. A 50lbs box of potatoes was an acceptable gift for my father to give and i helped him many of times dropping off a case of potatoes to one of his siblings. Usually once a month dad would drag me to the restaurant supply store to buy 1 prime, 1 new york strip and a round roast. 
Out of that I would cut him steaks and stew meat. He would vacuum pack all that and would fill up the  freezer. Dad would tell me stories about being hungry and scared that they would not eat the next day. I am sure my eyes would glaze over and i would have a uninterested look on my face. i never appreciated the stories of the Depression he had  told, but now i wish i could hear one more, I miss my dad.

RIP Paul L Roeder

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.” 
  William Shakespeare

Bryan R

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The Cay/ by Theodore Taylor

The Cay/ By Theodore Taylor

Yes, once again i found myself reading a historical novel. This is the second time i read this book, the first time was in the 5th grade. Phillip Enright is the son of a American Oil Executive and his southern mother. Phillip becomes marooned on a deserted Island, after the ship he and his mother are on is torpedoed. Phillip is blinded and is cared for by a elderly black man Timothy. The odd couple soon overcame racial differences to survive and built a strong friendship. I realy like rereading this book and remembered how exciting i thought being on  a desserted Island would be. It was also one of the reasons i became involved with survival classes as a teen. i can still remember trying to make fish hooks out of nails, just like the Timothy did on the cay.

Bryan R

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Dodo gets married/ by Petra Mathers

ZIS book is simply ZE marvel! It is about Dodo, who is pink German gal, riding a bike. Every Saturday she gawks at ZESE little windmills next to ZE house of Captain Vince, ZE one-legged veteran who is according to Dodo "zat poor captain in zere, such a sad story". One day they become friends, event more than friends: ZEY get married!Read everyone about ZE Dodo and ZE Captain, because ZEY are ZE SUPER-COUPLE!

Very imaginative work, with lovable characters and charming German accent on the pages

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Ksenia R

Blueberries for Sal/ by Robert McCloskey

Robert McCloskey wrote and illustrated BLUEBERRIES OF SAL modeled after his wife, Peggy, and daughter, Sally.
What could be better than canning blueberries for winter?  - Eating blueberries on a summer day!  - Or reading the story of Sal and her mom as the go Blueberry Hill to gather blueberries in their pails and their meeting with a little bear and his mother also seeking the delicious berries.  This story is still relevant after 60 years. We are still harvesting and preserving wild food stuff, especially in an economic downturn.  It is a evokes warm feelings of peace, serenity and happiness we have experienced in the abundant blackberry patches, local u-pick strawberry fields or mushroom picking spots.

Bonnie R
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Snip SNAP! What's that?/ by Mara Bergman

The story of three children who are frightened of an approaching alligator, SNIP SNAP!  WHAT'S THAT? by Mara Bergman with illustrations by nick Maland is the representative, perfect example of a read aloud picture book! 1. a repetitive phrase we all can say together - "were the children scared? YOU BET THEY WERE!" 2. fun illustrations (bright and colorful, they are highly supportive of the text. Several pages have no text, just illustrations.) 3. a theme or message (it acknowledges and validates the fear that the children feel and then models how to be brave to overcome the fear) 4. opportunities for active engagement (I can see children role playing by opening their arms to become alligator mouths or hiding like they are really frightened, etc.)  5. words for sounds (like swishhhhhhed and swoooooshed) and some, but not too many "bigger words" that they can make sense of due to context. (like flashing, gnashing and crashing) 6. a great ending (I won't give it away)  Warning!!  They're going to want to read this one over and over and over!

Bonnie R
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Bear called Paddington/ by Michael Bond

In 129 pages and 8 chapters, A BEAR CALLED PADDINGTON by Michael Bond is a collection of stories about a polite, English speaking, little bear who had emigrated from darkest Peru and was adopted by the Browns (a caring, polite, and reserved family).  They discover he is a very complicated bear to take care of.  In each chapter there is a new adventure as Paddington adapts to life with the Browns and learns how to live among the humans in England.  Troubles come but always seem to turn out for the good.
This was a delightful read for me and my friend Myra at the nursing home. 
Several of the aids listened in and smiled brightly as the said,  "I remember Paddington.  He was always my favorite!" 
 - A truly timeless book!

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Bonnie R 

Llama Lllama red pajama/ Anna Dewdney

In LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA, Anna Dewdney has put into rhyming words and most expressive pictures the tenderest feelings of a small child and mother during the unavoidable separation that comes with every bedtime.  Just when Mama thinks all is well and begins the nighttime chores, it starts.. loneliness, calling, waiting, fretting, whimpering, moaning, boo-hoo-ing, hollering, pouting, shouting, anxiety, weeping, wailing.....  "Baby Llama, what a tizzy!  Sometimes Mama's very busy.  Please stop all this Llama drama and be patient for your mama." It takes another bit of assurance and extra kisses to finally get the little llama tucked in for the night.  I imagine this little book would have quite a calming effect on any mother and child.

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Bonnie R

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile/ by Bernard Waber

In LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE by Bernard Waber Lyle is a happy, human-like crocodile who lives in "the house on East 88th Street" which is also the home of Mr and Mrs Primm and their son Joshua.  He is a blessing to the family and made all the neighbors happy... accept one.  Mr Grumps' distrustful cat, Loretta.  She was extremely frightened of him.  "Something will have to be done about that crocodile!" shouted the furious Mr Grumps.   Well, Lyle did get committed to the city zoo.  It was a sad day, indeed, but that's not where the story ended.  In the course of events that followed, there was never a dull moment and in the end "Everyone smiled happily.... even Loretta.

Bonnie R
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Olivia/ by Ian Falconer

Ian Falconer's OLIVIA  is an energetic, playful, energetic, imaginative, energetic, usually well behaved, energetic little girl pig who "is good at lots of things." I was especially impressed with her sand castle!  When she scares her little brother, Ian away because he "just won't leave her alone", I wondered if this might really be the story of the author's big sister.  Anyway, Olivia, like most children, is into many activities and uses her energy to the full extent.  She has so much energy, that her mother finds it hard to get her take a nap during the day. Its lots of fun but exhausting to this bouncing ball across the pages of her day.  Did I mention that she is very energetic?  By the end of the day, Olivia has worn out her poor parents but as a tradition in many families, Olivia's mother still finds the strength to read her a few books before bedtime and says, "You know, you really wear me out.  But I love you anyway."

Bonnie R
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The night pirates/ by Peter Harris

THE NIGHT PIRATES written by Peter Harris and illustrated by Deborah Allwright is very cute. It's an imaginative but simple story about a band of rough, tough little girl pirates and a nice little boy named Tom who joins their ranks.  With their clever disguise in place, it's a night of high sea adventure as they set sail in search of treasure.  There is no violence or scariness at all unless you count the threat of Captain Patch as he shouted his worst pirate curse, "If you don't give me back my treasure, I'll tell my mommy!"  The illustrations are beautiful  eye-catching and quirky!

Bonnie R
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Winnie the Pooh/ by A Milne

Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, about last Friday, Winnie-the-Pooh lived in a forest all by himself under the name of Sanders.

WINNIE-THE-POOH by A.A. Milne with decorations by Ernest H Shepard is a collection of ten stories of the life and trials of the friendly and thoughtful "bear of little brain", Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Woods.  His is a busy and exciting life and his love for honey sometimes leads to trouble.  Pooh pretends to be a raincloud, gets stuck in a rabbit hole, hunts Woozles, steals a baby kangaroo, survives a flood and manages to (almost) find the North Pole but he doesn't do it alone.  Throughout these experiences he's accompanied by his best friend, Christopher Robin or his quite timid, other best friend, Piglet, or Owl, who has problems with spelling or the ever-glum, slow-talking, pessimistic donkey, Eeyore who suffers from self-esteem issues.

At one chapter per visit, I read Pooh to Myra, at the nursing home. We were surprised and amused by the dry wit peppered throughout the book. Yes, it is a children's book but a good read for anyone of any age. Christopher Robin was blessed to have a father who could entertain with such spontaneous, gentle, and delightfully silly stories and we were blessed to listen in.

Bonnie R.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lon Po Po/ by Ed Young

Chinese version of Red Hood: 3 children outsmart fake PO PO grandmother-wolf through enticing him to climb the tree to taste gingko nuts. The gullible wolf ends up dead and children will gladly tell their mom this story after she'll return from the real Grandma PO-PO. The illustrations in this book is a real POPO!

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Ksenia R

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Madeline/ by LudwIg Bemelmans

She is smart, says what she thinks, and is she is just a bit disobedient.  Who wouldn't love her?

Ludwig Bemelmans' MADELINE is the story, told in rhyme, of Miss Clavel's 12 little girls in a Parisian boarding school. The smallest and most daring, Madeline, is quite the handful for the teacher but she gains the respect and admiration her roommates. They want to be just like her in every way.  After being rushed out to the hospital in the middle of the night for an emergency appendectomy and  then showing off the scar on her stomach when they went to visit.......

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Bonnie R

Corduroy/ by Don Freeman

The sweet tale of a little bear in corduroy overalls waiting to be purchased department store, CORDUROY by Don Freeman is a beautifully illustrated book with a simple text and huge appeal to anyone with a heart. Mine was nearly bleeding when I read it  to my friend, Myra, in the nursing home.  We were coming to the part about the unconditional love of the little girl who purchased him and the happy ending when Corduroy said, "This must be a home.  I know I've always wanted a home!" .....
And, Myra said,...... "Yes, who doesn't want a home?"
Bonnie R
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets/ by Herge

Tintin the Belgian Reporter and his dog Snowy are sent to Moscow to report on Stalin's Politics. Tintin is harassed by the Soviet secret police and the shenanigans ensue. I found the book boring and repetitive. I don't know if i would like any other Tintin stories but both my sons seam to enjoy them;so maybe Tintin is not so bad.

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Bryan R

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang/ by Ian Fleming

I was familiar with "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" from the 1968 musical movie. Shortly after starting the book it was obvious that the movie's artistic interpretation created a vary different story from the book. I prefer the book with its adventurous family and the mysterious car that can fly like a plane or float like a boat. Chitty is more than a car : it seems to have its own personality, and grows to care for the family that saved him from the scrap yard. The story is an easy read and holds onto your attention with nearly constant excitement. I think the adventures of Chitty and the Pott family would have made many more great stories, but Ian Fleming passed away before the publication of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

PS Ian Fleming is also the creator of James Bond

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Bryan R

Borka/ by John Burningham

Borka is not like all other geese in the family: she is featherless. One day Borka's mom knitted some feathers for her to wear, but younger geese are still laughing at Borka's odd appearance. One day she is left behind by her family who flew away from the winter. Borka wanders off to sleep on a ship and here her real life travels begin... She meets new friends, a dog Fowler, Captain McAllister and Fred. Upon discovering Borka on the ship, the Captain proclaims: "A goose on the board! She'll have to work her passage if she is coming with us to London". So Borka did : colied pieces of rope with her beak, picked some crumbs on the floor and helped her friends in every possible way. Later, the Captain left Borka to start a new life on the river Thames in London, where other geese did not mind at all having  a featherless company.
Beautiful work of firendship, acceptance and hope. Gorgeous illustrations and sadly sweet story.

new friends of Borka on the ship: the captain, the dog and barefoot Fred.

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Ksenia R