Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's Monday - Books Loved



           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

28 comments:

  1. You've got a great list! I want to read the books about Hurricane Katrina. Hard to believe it's been 10 years.

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    1. I've glanced at it, know it will be good, but sad, too, Jane. Thanks.

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  2. Now I want to run a bookmobile. Or be a pack horse librarian in Appalachia. Great on nice weather days; not quite so nice in the rain and snow!

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    1. It would be an adventure, wouldn't it? I think our last bookmobiles went away here in the Denver metro area a few years ago, but they (on the west side) went into the mountain foothills. I wonder if they're still in other rural places? Thanks, Karen.

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  3. What a territying dystopian read. I ca'nt wait to get my hands on it. And a book about another Alcott. I loved Jo, but I would love to learn more about May/Amy.

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    1. Woman In Blue is very good, Kay, and hope you enjoy The Scorpion Rules, too. Thanks!

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  4. I also loved Ask Me - it really captures the "talk" some little ones engage in. I thought it was delightful! Also I love, love Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile! She is my kind of hero.

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    1. Yes, two very enjoyable books, Carrie.

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  5. I loved Bad Bye Good Bye. The cover of When The Sky Is Like Lace is beautiful. The Scorpion Rules looks like an interesting read, but I'll wait for my life to calm down a bit before I get to it.

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    1. Yes, I think with all that's coming, you need to take some time Cheriee. Enjoy them when you can.

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  6. Bad Bye Good Bye was one of my favorites last year. Incredible art! I have been looking for more Barbara Cooney titles to read, so will have to look for When The Sky Is Like Lace.

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    1. Yes, I was delighted with Bad Bye Good Bye, so admire the artists who create such pages. Enjoy When The Sky Is Like Lace, a nice surprise, Elisabeth.

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  7. I think I'll be reading Ask Me this week. The cover always intrigued me. I just finished Drowned City and will be reviewing it for NFPB.

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    1. I hope you like Ask Me, Earl. I won't get to Drowned City very soon, I think, but will look for your review!

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  8. Very excited to read The Scorpion Rules! I quite liked Bow's Plain Kate, and this new book sounds especially intriguing.

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    1. You are ahead of me. I will look for Plain Kate. Hope you'll enjoy this one!

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  9. Linda, the only book I know is Bad Bye, Good Bye. I'm off to request new titles. Can't wait to read Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile. My mother-in-law's name was Dorothy. I know she would have loved this book.

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    1. Hope you enjoy some of the others, too, Ramona. Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile is lovely, along with all the other inspiring stories of those who carried books to people.

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  10. Thanks for another great roundup! So many books, so little time!

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    1. Always, Jane! Thanks, hope there are some here you'll love!

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  11. I enjoyed Miss Dorothy too and Bad Bye Good Bye. I am intrigued by Little Woman in Blue. Alcott was a favorite of mine in middle school. Have you read March?

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    1. Yes, I've read March, too, Crystal. It was a while ago, but I did like it. I also love Jeannine Atkins' writing, so wanted to read this very much. I've read Little Women several times in book groups, loved doing it.

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  12. Lots of great books on this list. I'm not sure if I was just expecting more since it was Bernard Waber, but I did not love Ask Me. I liked it, loved the illustrations.
    Drowned City was very good. I thought Brown did a nice job explaining such a disaster in an appropriate, realistic way.

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    1. I know that some are not happy with Ask Me, but I thought it was spare and simple, like his Courage. I'm really looking forward to Drowned City, although I know it won't be a happy book.

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  13. I am very excited to see a new Suzy Lee picturebook! About time. :) Will have to find this in our library. Drowned City sounds like a riveting read - unfortunately we don't have a copy of this yet in our library. The Scorpion Rules seems to be receiving a lot of attention lately.
    Oh yeah, have you read That Book Woman? I paired that I think with Miss Dorothy and her bookmobile when we had our books about books reading theme.

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    1. The illustrations by Suzy Lee in Ask Me are gorgeous, Myra. I hope you'll enjoy them. Yes, I've read That Book Woman, possibly found it through you! All inspiring to hear about, aren't they? I hope someday you will find Drowned City! Have a great reading week!

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  14. Appreciations for this list, Linda.
    I think we both enjoy that bookstore if it's on Sanibel - tho I've been away for ages.
    Suzanne Bloom's A SPLENDID FRIEND INDEED is one of my longtime loves & the kids I read it to in school agree.
    With a soft spot for books about reading & books, the Gloria Houston/Susan Condie Lamb bookmobile store inspired by the real Miss Dorothy Thomas is a must-read.
    Happy back to school season!

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    1. Thanks, Jan, yes the Macintosh Bookstore is on Sanibel, right on Periwinkle Lane! I was happy to find A Splendid Friend Indeed, such a lovely tale. I think I should begin a list of books about books, love those too.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!