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review 2020-06-23 07:55
Important, thoughtful memoir for young readers
Ugly: My Memoir - Robert Hoge

I got this text for a fellowship program on disability studies and found it very touching and challenging as it made me think about how I consciously and unconsciously judge others for looking different.

 

This is written for young readers (8-12) and I am going to send it to my 11-year-old godson as it's just a really funny and thoughtful look at what it means to grow up looking, as the author calls it, ugly.


It ends a bit abruptly but overall it's really engaging and thought-provoking. 

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review 2019-12-10 03:21
A MG Version of Great Book about Man's Best Friend
What the Dog Knows Young Readers Edition Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World - Cat Warren,Patricia J. Wynne

I wasn't sure what to expect from a Young Reader's Edition of this book, was it going to be dumbed down? Was it going to be a soup-to-nuts rewrite of the book, telling the story in a cutsie fashion? Or . . . well, I don't have a third idea, but you get my opinion. But what we got was the same book (as near as I can tell, it's been 4+ years), just pared down—not dumbed-down or anything. But a lot of the detail has been removed, every chapter boiled down to its essence. Simplified, yes, more accessible for younger readers than the dense "adult" text, but it's the same book at the end of the day.

 

After the end of the text, there's a section directing the readers to some more information and a <a href="https://catwarren.com/young-readers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Young Readers Info</a> section of Warren's website.

As it's so similar, I'm just going to use a lot of what I wrote back in 2015 to talk about the book, sorry for the re-run (I'll focus on this edition in a few paragraphs).

 

Warren was a journalist, is now a professor, and knows her way around a sentence. She clearly cares about the subject and has invested a lot of time and effort into getting to know it, her style is engaging and charming (I was chuckling within a couple of pages), and she doesn't mind showing her own failings and weaknesses.

 

Warren basically covers three topics: there's the science and history of using working dogs (of all sorts of breeds, not to mention pigs(!), birds, and even cats) to find cadavers, drugs, bombs, etc.; there's the memoir of her involvement with cadaver dogs via her German Shepherd, Solo; and anecdotes of other cadaver dogs and trainers that she's encountered/learned from/watched in action.

 

The history and science of dogs/other animals being used for their sense of smell, is probably the most fascinating part of this book, but it'd be really easy for the material to be too dry to bother with—Warren's voice keeps that from happening. I think it's terrific that at the end of the day, no one knows what it is about the smell of the human body that dogs sense—she'll explain it better than me, but that's the kernel the story. I just really enjoy it when the best and the brightest have to shrug and say, "I don't know." The chapter she spends on the future of dogs and/or digital replacements is good for similar reasons. Actually, I could just keep listing little facts/factoids/ideas here, but I don't want to steal Warren's thunder.

 

The best part of the book—the part that I found most interesting, and most frustratingly small—is the Warren's story about getting Solo, discovering he had just too much energy and personality, and needing to find an outlet for it all. Which is followed by the trials and tribulations of a newbie cadaver dog handler and her pup-in-training, growing into a capable working dog. Anyone who has a dog lover as a Facebook friend knows just how easy it is for someone's stories about their dog to get to the point where you can't stand to hear another<sup>*</sup>. Somehow, Warren avoids this totally—not an easy feat. It probably helps that dog does far more fascinating things than just hiking through the woods or chasing a ball.

 

<i><sup>*</sup> Of course, your friends don't have dogs as cool as mine. Let me tell you a little bit about her . . .</i>

 

The stories about the others—her friends, colleagues, teachers, etc.—round out the book. It's not just about Warren and Solo, it's not just about the military/police efforts with training animals—it's about dedicated volunteers, K-9 officers and dogs all over the country (and the world) making a difference. In places and ways you wouldn't expect. Really? Sending in one guy and his dogs into Vietnam decades later to search for POW/MIA? Also, seeing how different dogs act differently, yet get the same job done was mind-boggling. Especially for dogs trained together/by the same person, you'd think they'd act similarly.

 

I imagine it's to spotlight the work of others, to not brag about Solo too much, to talk about things that she and her dog haven't done/seen/smelled—or whatever reason there is, I wanted more Solo. A lot more. I have no problem with the rest of the book, it's just that there's not enough Solo (or Coda, her younger dog).

 

This new edition features some illustrations and instructional graphics. There were a couple that I wondered about the placement of, but they were all helpful, eye-catching and attractive. They added to, instead of distracting from, the text. Good stuff.

 

A fascinating, entertaining, and educational book—can't ask for much more than that.

 

<a href="http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/2019-library-love-challenge/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="aligncenter" src="http://www.hcnewton.com/irrreader/2019LibraryLoveChallengeSM.jpg" alt="2019 Library Love Challenge" /></a>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/12/09/what-the-dog-knows-young-readers-edition-by-cat-warren-patricia-j-wynne-a-mg-version-of-great-book-about-mans-best-friend
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review 2019-11-28 21:17
Surprises
Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han

This is book #3, in the To All The Boys I've Loved Before series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Lara Jean' story continues in this book with her deciding where to go to college.  She has so much going on with finishing her senior year in high school, planning a wedding, and figuring out where she stands with Peter and other boys in her life.

 

Peter just wants to enjoy being with Lara Jean.  He wants to hear words of forever and always.  While they are having to decide where they stand as a couple and what they will do for school, there are outside commentaries that seem to effect the status quo.

 

This last installment in the series made me want to beg the author for just one more book.  I love the characters.  I have grown to love their families, the community, and I am so grateful to have taken the time to get to know these characters.  There is so much that this story brings to life.  So many surprises in store for the reader.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2019-09-11 00:12
Solid
To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

Lara Jean Song has a lot on her plate as a sixteen year old girl in high school.  She lost her mother when young, and lives with her father and two sisters.  Her older sister is going away to college, and Lara Jean feels like this could be her year.  Until love letters she has kept hidden somehow get sent to the boys she wrote them to.

 

Along the way she rekindles a friendship with Peter, and maybe Josh.  She intends to solve the mystery of how the letters got out.  She also finds out what makes a teenager popular.  This is a story of more than just romance.  It is a yearning and a growth.

 

I was a bit sad to find that the book itself is quite thorough and varied and had split the attention away from more than just the main character.  After a while it grew on me and I just enjoyed the humor and "cultural" and teenage funnies.  As for what happens, well there are more books to this series, and I intend to read them.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2019-01-28 02:41
No, David!
No, David! - David Shannon

     With the reading level of 4-8 years, students in your classroom will love this book! This book aims at a younger audience with the character of David always wreaking havoc and being told No by his mother. David is a care free young character and your students will love this relatable character! This book teaches that just because a child may get into trouble, adults in their lives will not love them any less. 

     A great way to use this book in your classroom is to let your students think of experiences they have had where they felt like David. Have the students write down their feelings and experiences. You could also have the class create a special book of rules or suggestions for David.

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