Tallulah is back dancing again in the new book Tallulah’s Solo! Tallulah is an excellent dancer and she knows it. She loves everything about ballet and can’t wait until the big recital. She just knows she is going to get a big part and be the star of the show. Tallulah’s brother Beckett is not an excellent dancer. In fact, he is not that interested in ballet. But when the big recital comes, it is Beckett who gets the big part and Tallulah is left in the back. Will Tallulah let her jealousy ruin her relationship with her brother or will she be a good big sister and help him learn his part?
This is a very good book for big sisters, big sister-to-be or just kids who like to dance. It teaches an excellent lesson about sharing the limelight and the importance of every member in a show. It also has some good tips for brothers and sisters participating in the same activities. The illustrations are very and tell the story just as well as the words. The is a great book.
What’s a definitive sign of a great book on CD? Sitting in your car to listen to just a little bit more even after you have arrived at your destination.
An admitted history buff, I was a little hesitant to try Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln: the Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever. What more could O’Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard add to the immense body of existing works on Lincoln? It’s not so much what they tell – it’s how they tell it. They talk in detail of the last few battles of the Civil War and of how General Robert E. Lee nearly escaped with his ragtag army. They show how John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators had several opportunities to kill President Lincoln and that the Vice President and several Cabinet members were to be eliminated as well.
There is a great sense of foreboding as events lead up to the assassination itself. President Lincoln seemed almost resigned to the fact that he would probably be assassinated – the authors seem to dwell on the fact that the President was a great admirer of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Fans of local hero Ulysses Grant will be pleased by the manner in which the general is portrayed in the book as well. Many will be surprised to learn that Grant and his wife were originally planning on attending the theatre with the Lincolns on the night of the assassination.
O’Reilly’s narration is rapid fire and well-paced and there is nary a slow moment in the entire eight-hour work. Consider checking this one out if you are planning a vacation drive – you won’t regret it.
Are you ready for a scare? Don’t read this book alone because you never know what’s lurking on the next page. Things That Go Bump In the Night is a collection of stories by Patrick Carman which can each be read in 15 minutes or less and each has terrifying video conclusions that you can watch online. You’ll meet characters like Dylan Smith, whose snowboarding skills are to die for, Troy, a talkative kid with a science teacher who has an enthralling skill, Emma, who’s got a gargoyle of a problem and many more. But here’s the thing, the book tells you itself, don’t get too attached to any of them.
This is a great book for grades 4-6, especially reluctant readers who like a good spooky story. I was scared. A lot.
Over the last half-year or so, I’ve been on something of a folklore kick. I’m not certain why folk tales appeal to me–perhaps it has been spurred by memories of my British grandmother telling me off-color stories that she remembered from her childhood (none of which I will repeat here).
To continue, some of the appeal would also have to be that they can be quickly read. Believe it or not, us library types are just as often pressed for time and don’t feel like reading a tome. But this is not to say that folk tales lack any depth, despite their being relegated to the realm of children’s stories (at least in our modern culture). But let’s leave any further analysis for the obnoxious literary theorist inside of me that I’ve been trying to suppress since finishing my masters. Folk tales are just entertaining and a great way of understanding people from around the world.
My current read (among others) is: Russian Folk-Tales retold by James Riordan. I’m reading the tale of Vassilisa, who is sent by her evil stepsisters to fetch firewood from Baba Yaga. Sounds like an easy task, right? One major problem– Baba Yaga is an old hag who flies around in a mortar and whose house is fenced by row upon row of the skulls of her victims (Warning: not every folk tale is safe for the children). The good news, though, is that evil is never victorious–well, most of the time.
Here are a few other books that I’ve read:
Latin American Folktales: Stories from the Hispanic and Indian Traditions- Particularly interesting are the Inca legends about their kings.
Russian Gypsy Tales- Amongst other things, explains why you shouldn’t try to summon the Queen of Spades at midnight.
Folk-Tales of the British Isles- Includes the tale of ”Tom Tit Tot,” an inspiration for Rumpelstiltskin.
The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales- As opposed to the Disney version of Cinderella, the evil stepsisters get their eyes plucked out by birds as punishment. They don’t call it Grimm for nothin’.
Justine’s journey to travel across country to see her terminally ill father before he dies, takes a horrible turn when her beloved Sheltie, Mack, is accidentally taken from her by the truck driver who was giving her a ride. Afraid of the consequences of being accused of stealing the dog, the driver dumps Mack along the highway. Justine, frantic to get her beloved pet back, starts a search to find Mack while dealing with an imminent death in the family. As the story progresses, you learn that Justine’s life has been a mess for years, with the trip to see her dying Father revealing painful family issues that are slowly coming to the surface.
Ed and Alice have spent the last seven years mourning the loss of their teenage daughter. Blame and heartbreak have caused them to withdraw from each other to the point of living almost as strangers in the same house. When they find a little black and gray dog by the side of the road they start to open up to each other as the Sheltie becomes a part of their family.
I admit the Sheltie on the cover of “The Dog Who Danced” by Susan Wilson was what first drew me to pick up the book and start reading. Shetland Sheepdogs hold a special place in my heart since our family has the joy of sharing our home with these smart, sensitive and very loveable dogs. More than just a really good story about a dog, “The Dog Who Danced’, is about people and how even the most messed up life can be redeemed.
In the new book, Pirates Next Door, the Jolley-Rogers have moved in next door while they repair their pirate ship and the whole town is in a tizzy about it. They don’t take care of their lawn, their ship is too big and blocks their neighbor’s views, their children play with “dangerous” toys (cannons!) and they jut don’t fit in. The neighborhood signs a petition to GET THEM and their pirate ship OUT. But before they go, the Jolley-Rogers leave a little present (marked with an X) for all of their neighbors in the hope of changing their minds about pirates.
This is a great children’s book to emphasize that different isn’t always bad and that you should never judge people based on appearances. It is a fun book to read that teaches a great lesson. The illustrations are amazing and I highly recommend it to all me mateys.
Ellen Potter has crated yet another masterpiece that grabs you from the beginning and does not let go with her newest book, The Humming Room. Roo Fanshaw is not your average 12 year old. Roo prefers to hide in small spaces rather than join the world around her. When her parents are murdered, Roo is sent to the ominous Cough Rock Island to live with her eccentric uncle in an old tuberculosis clinic. As she explores the mansion, Roo discovers ghosts everywhere she turns, an odd humming coming from a room in the forbidden East Wing and a garden with tragic secrets. Roo becomes determined to discover the truth about her uncle’s past and find the source of the horrible crying that pervades the mansion in the wee hours of the night.
Ellen Potter’s spin on the classic “Secret Garden” is as creepy as it is tantalizing. This is an absolutely excellent book for both boys and girls in grades 4-6. It’s a great story about a girl who feels as though she does not fit into the world and her journey to discover that she actually does. I could not put this book down. It was wonderful.
Serving Life (DVD) is probably one of the best documentaries I have watched in a long, long time. The title is deceptive, because the movie is based in a Louisiana state prison. It follows four men who have committed serious crimes and are serving life sentences, some without hope of parole. At first you think the film is going to focus strictly on their adjustment to prison life – until you see the hospice ward in the prison, set up for prisoners who are terminally ill. The four men apply to be volunteers in this hospice unit and the title “serving life” takes on an entirely different dimension. I never dreamt I would be moved to tears watching a documentary set in a prison – I challenge you to stay dry-eyed watching this one. This would make a challenging subject of discussion for church groups and film discussion gatherings.
“You are a piglet, deal with it.” This is what Liam is always being told by his brother and sister in the new book, Piggy Bunny. Liam is a piglet who dreams of being the Easter Bunny. His parents love him, support him, and tell him he is perfect just the way he is. ‘Just the way he is’ is a piglet who wants to be the Easter Bunny. No matter how much the other piglets laugh at him and tell him they don’t believe in the Easter Bunny, Liam knows that one day, if he practices hard enough, he will become what he knows he is supposed to be. In the end, a gift from Grandma finally lets Liam become someone everyone can believe in.
This is an excellent book about acceptance and being yourself. The light-hearted story-telling style teaches without preaching and makes the piggy characters real and relatable. This is a story every child should read.
When I was in elementary school I considered myself a pretty good athlete, after all I was the second fastest kid, the second farthest thrower, the second hardest kicker, second most accurate basketball shooter and I was pretty good at football. As far as football goes, I went to every Cincinnati Bengals home game and grew up looking up to those monstrously huge men. Residing in Norwood, at the time, the only guy I knew of that made it to the NFL or any professional sport from my hometown was Brian Pillman, but he never made it past a pro training camp. He did, however, make it as a professional wrestler.
As a six year old, watching those NFL games, I knew I didn’t want to be hit that hard, by anybody, thus, I turned my attentions toward baseball and soccer, after all I wasn’t even the best athlete in my grade, I was second. The best athlete in my grade, the guy that was first in all those categories did make it in the NFL. Not only that, he won the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Even as a young kid I knew my friend Marc Edwards would make it in football someday. Not only did he have tools and the talent but he had the drive and determination to rise up out of blue collar Norwood. The book Odyssey : from Blue Collar, Ohio to Super Bowl champion by Aaron M. Smith is about Mr. Edwards and chronicles what it takes to make it to the professional level in athletics and compete. He battled through some of the same adversity we all have. Nothing was handed to him, he knew what he wanted and worked to make his goal.
Even though he had talent, it still takes hard work to make it in any industry and Marc is evidence of that. This story is not about being a professional athlete it is about being the best person you can. Mr. Edwards’ odyssey should give inspiration to us all. Find your talent and work to make your goals.
Read the book.