On Mondays, I share books read for children and teens and link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. Others link to share adult books with Sheila at Book Journeys who started the meme a long time ago.
Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!
I read so many picture books this past week, partly because I kept Imogene, and she loves being read to, so we read lots of new library books along with a few of her favorites that stay here. Look at last week's post if you missed the monster book I brought her from the beach bookstore. She loves it so much that she brought it along, and we read it three times throughout the day! Just saying'!
I finished a NetGalley new Dystopian novel, out in September. Here's the review:
In The Scorpion Rules we discover a future world no one really wants, where an artificial intelligence called Talis has taken over. Yet, although we hear of “him?”, we truly don’t meet until the final fourth of the story. The premise is that Talis has achieved world peace by taking a hostage from every world leader - their heirs, known as "Children of Peace". When a government declares war, the child dies. These ‘hostage’ children are kept in small and isolated communities called “Preceptures”, studying the past and doing chores as others did years and years ago, like keeping bees and goats, raising their own food, etc. Some arrive at the age of five, as our main character, Greta, has, and she knows only this way of living, appears to believe wholly in the philosophy of Talis.
She is Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, appears disciplined and very smart. One soon realizes that while her intelligence might be real in the content areas, she has no idea that there are other ways to look at the world. The chance of self-knowledge comes with the addition to her group of Elián Palnik, the newest hostage. Greta sees him (and is not supposed to) enter her community in chains and a small piece of herself opens. She begins to have empathy for pain, and later, for other ideas of how the world could work.
The consistent push of Erin Bow to keep the reader off guard with new insights into how different hostages in Greta’s group act, and react, along with the frightening ideas of constant surveillance, and where the only “overseer” showing to be a sympathetic character to Greta is an AI creates an interesting and frightening read. There are romantic interests, but not where one predicts, and the real heroes are not predictable either.
The Scorpion Rules is a new approach to dystopian literature, keeping the action in one geographical place, and among just a few characters. The future of the world hinges in this singular place, an alarming thought. In ending, the over-arching power felt from that one Talis and the ending thoughts of Greta creates a hole of “I wonders” that won’t be filled until Erin Bow writes again.
And here are my favorite picture books read:
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile - written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb
I'm sure I read this years ago, but never reviewed it. This is not classified as an n-f story, but it closely follows the life story of Miss Dorothy Thomas, one of the author's heroes when she grew up. Miss Dorothy drove a green bookmobile in the beautiful countryside in a part of North Carolina, bringing books to those who didn't have the ability to get to a library. The words Houston uses in the story are poetic, and the illustrations realistic and gorgeous. Eventually a library was built in a small house that Miss Dorothy ran for years. This belongs to all those stories of people, often librarians who brought books to people living in remote areas. I grew up using a bookmobile for my reading, loving the librarian who soon began to discover what I liked and recommending/bringing me more and more wonderful books. Like the author, I won't forget this librarian in my life.
When The Sky Is Like Lace - written by Elinor Lander Horwitz and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
I wish I had a category for whimsey because that is where I would place this lovely, silly, poetic picture book. First published in 1975, then again in 2004, it's a story of a magical, a "bimulous" night where if one looks carefully, the sky is like lace, otters sing nasty songs to insult snails, and there are rules, too, about talking to rabbits and itching noses. It is filled with the kind of nonsense one might surely want to believe. My only concern is that there is no attention to diversity in the children, and I wish there was. Each illustrated page is lovely, showing the entertaining things going on, IF it's a "bimulous" night!
Bad Bye, Good Bye - written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Jonathan Bean
Poetic and sparse, the words help a little boy go from being mad because his family is moving, and he has to say goodbye to friends and favorite things. I love Jonathan Bean’s pictures filling the pages in overlays as they travel and as they arrive. There are moments of happiness as the boy discovers people and things that help him feel at home: “New town/New Park/New street/new bank.” The book shows well that there are two kinds of “bye”, a good and a bad one. I imagine conversations of how word meanings change sometimes can happen when this book is read.
Ask Me - written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee
A father and his young daughter go walking (seems like a thing they do often) and along the way, we can tell that it’s a “conversation game” they’re playing. She says “Ask Me . . . “ He says, “What?” She says, “Ask me what I like.” And he does. This loving easy talk continues throughout the book, so sweet to read. The pictures splash color across the page with happiness just like the words.
A Splendid Friend Indeed - written and illustrated by Suzanne Bloom
This has brief text, and the sweetest pictures of an exuberant duck trying hard to get a bear’s attention. That bear is reading, then writing, seems to be trying hard to have some ‘alone’ time. The duck doesn’t stop, and finally says just the right words. You’ll need to read it to discover how it all ends, and you will like this tale of friendship and patience.
Currently reading: Little Woman In Blue - by Jeannine Atkins, a novel about the "other" sister, May (known in Little Women as Amy) Alcott. Thus far, Jeannine has shown so much the times and community of Concord, tough female restrictions, and a character with yearnings for a different way of living. I'm enjoying it very much.
Next: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans - graphic novel by Don Brown