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This is a week of finishing things. In addition to those above, my book group completed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a Newbery to love and enjoy for sure.
A Snicker of Magic – Natalie Lloyd
There are moments in this book that are marvelous, the exuberance of this young woman, Felicity Pickle, called the “poem catcher”, just trying to figure out who she is, what’s important in life, and where she really belongs. A big help along the way is a new friend, Jonah Pickett, a wonderfully thoughtful boy she first meets at school. Most of the answers are figured out with Jonah in Midnight Gulch, where she has lately landed with her mother and sister, to live for a while with her Aunt Cleo while her mother makes a little money so they can take off again. It seems Felicity’s mother is a wanderer, doomed because of a long ago curse on the Threadbare brothers, but we don’t discover the connections for a long time. There are numerous interesting connections in the book, some heartfelt, some a little crazy, but all the threads are straightened out satisfactorily. I loved when I got to the part about the “snickers of magic” and loved the magical qualities that appeared throughout. I was reading still another book these past two weeks, so wonder if my opinion wasn’t colored a bit while reading both. I should have read it faster perhaps, but found there were some slow parts, and quite a bit of repetition of the same desires and feelings from Felicity. In all, it was a book I will recommend, but it didn’t touch me as much as others have expressed they were touched.
Charlie and Kiwi—an evolutionary adventure – written by Eileen Campbell, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision-a project of the New York Hall of Science
Parts of this book’s information are non-fiction, but it’s a fictional account of how a kiwi is really a bird, starting millions of years ago with dinosaurs who had feathers. A little boy has to write a report about a bird, his parents just brought him a stuffed kiwi from New Zealand, so that’s how the adventure began! Through a small delay in the report for class, and a few trips in a time travel machine, part of them with a “five-great” grandfather who was a bird expert, Charlie found his answers, actually more than one. He saw the process of adaptation through the years, and finally figured out how the kiwi, a bird, became a long-beaked, furry, ground bird who hunted insects at night. The book’s explanation is clear, and illustrations are simple and entertaining. If you are beginning to teach the concept of evolution, this is a terrific book.
Miss Emily – written by Burleigh Mutén and illustrated by Matt Phelan
What a lovely imagination this author has in telling the story that “might” have happened during a time that Emily Dickinson played with her neighbor children, including her niece and nephew, Ned and Mattie. It begins with an adventure, sneaking out in the middle of the night to see the wonderful circus train arrive in town. A mishap occurs, but the show indeed must go on, and I don’t want to spoil the story by telling all. This is a verse novel, written of a time gone by when children played and imagined they too were famous circus performers, this time with Emily Dickinson! The words are lovely, including a few of Emily’s own words. There is a poignant moment when the children realize “She needs our eyes/to see these things for her,/for—playful as she is with us--/ she isn’t part of the world’s hubbub/anymore. She is getting old!” Matt Phelan’s muted black and white sketched illustrations are muted, reminding me of the old (and faded) photos of years ago. I enjoyed reading this very much.
Still Reading: The Storied Life of A.F. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin - a lovely, easy and enjoyable read. Loads of book references, main character is a bookstore owner, his new love is a publisher's rep. For readers, not much to dislike!
What's Next: I have a few picture books that I own that still need to be read, and guess I'd better get to my #MustReadIn2014 list. So.many.choices!
Have a terrific reading week everyone!