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.
“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.
Even when I was a kid, books were a huge part of my life. Favorite books were like comfortable friends that I still remember with fondness. When my kids were young, I would often spend time reading books to them and we would go to the Library every week to pick out new ones.
When Alice Ozma was in the fourth grade, she and her father made a promise to read aloud together every night until the day she entered college. “The Streak,” as they called it, became an important part of their relationship. In the book The Reading Promise, My Father and the Books We Shared, Alice relates stories she remembers from those years. Her Father was a Librarian in a grade school library and he believed reading not only to be a subject to be learned, but an enjoyment to be treasured and shared. He passed on his passion and love of books to his daughter through sharing books together each night.
The Reading Promise is touching and funny and very enjoyable reading, I would recommend it even to readers who don’t usually read nonfiction. The writing style is such that you will finish the book long before you are ready for the journey to end.
The Reading Promise has a list of suggested reading as well as a sample “Promise,” for parents to use as tools to start a reading adventure of their own with their children. The author’s website, makeareadingpromise.com, has a lot of ideas for reading with children.
Just finished a thought-provoking book by author Charles Murray entitled “Coming Apart: the State of White America 1960 – 2010“. His main premise is that white America is becoming segregated into an upper and lower class. The upper class is highly educated and likely, according to his statistics, to produce highly intelligent offspring as well.
Murray looks at four elements that he believes demonstrate why the lower class is expanding. They no longer marry at the rates they once did, leading to a high rate of out of wedlock childbirth. They cannot afford the kind of Ivy League education the upper classes attain and they no longer have the industriousness of their ancestors, choosing to live off of government handouts in lieu of seeking employment. They also have lost their “religiosity” and no longer attend religious services on a regular basis.
Murray believes these differences have led to a major gap between the classes, in which neither side has a true understanding of the others’ lives.
This presidential election year has been filled with accusations that certain candidates are out of touch with “the common man” and that other candidates want to create a socialist society in which individuals are entirely dependent on the federal government for all aspects of their lives. Whether you agree with him or not, Murray’s latest is another thought-provoking analysis of current societal trends.
Pure is set sometime in the near future after nuclear detonations have destroyed the world as we know it. A select few escaped the blast because they had taken refuge in a dome. The people in the dome are referred to as “Pures” because the people who survived the blasts outside the dome are disfigured in very unusual ways. These people have been fused to inanimate objects, animals and each other. The people who live in the dome call them “Wretches.” Pressia is a teenager who instead of a right hand has a baby doll’s head. She has just turned sixteen and awaits the time when she is forced to either join the Operation Religious Salvation (ORS) or be killed by them. Her life changes dramatically after she meets Bradwell, a boy who has survived on his own since he was nine, and then, Partridge, a “Pure,” who has escaped the dome to find his mother. Baggott has created a cruel, but beautiful world that seems so plausible even with the bizarre mutations that litter the landscape. Pure stands out among the ever increasing numbers of post-apocalyptic fiction.
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.
Join Bad Kitty in her newest adventure Bad Kitty For President.
Bad Kitty has had it with the stray cats in her neighborhood! She decides to run for president of the Neighborhood Cat Club to enact legislation to put a stop to those darn cats and their wayward behavior. Kitty learns about the election process from Uncle Murray, all the while making almost every mistake in the book. Will Kitty become president, or fall pray to her “Bad Kitty” ways once again? The fast paced nature of this book will appeal to both boys and girls and will keep them interested until the very end. Even the glossary is written in a way to keep the kids reading.
This book is suggested for kids aged 7-10, though it would definitely be informative for older kids as well (and even some adults, too!). While some of the political satire may go a little over the heads of younger readers, the non-stop laughs is enough to keep even the most reluctant reader entertained.
Thanks to Mystery Book Club at the Milford-Miami Township Branch, I had the pleasure of rereading the winner of the 2006 Portico Prize for Fiction, The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid. The book begins with an unusually heavy spring rains that uncover a body covered with tattoos similar to those 18th century seafarers received in the south Pacific. Residents of the English Lake District think that it is Fletcher Christian who was a childhood friend the poet William Wordsworth. Many believe that Christian escaped Pitcairn after the infamous mutiny on the HMS Bounty, traveled to England, and was able to tell Wordsworth his side of the story. Jane Gresham, a William Wordsworth expert, goes to the Lake District to find the lost manuscript written by Wordsworth. While searching for the manuscript, Jane becomes embroiled in a modern day mystery. This book was one of the best literary thrillers that I have read. If you get a chance to read this one, we will be meeting to discuss it on March 15. Here are a few other literary thrillers that I would recommend.
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber
Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell