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review 2017-12-19 02:39
A cute little book with some important hurricane safety lessons for kids
Elephant Wind (Mom's Choice Award Winner) - Heather L Beal

So the day care is having a field trip to a science fair and the local tornado siren goes off, the teacher rushes the kids to the shelter and then starts answering questions for the frightened kids. She calms them, tells them what's going on and how they (and their parents) can stay safe in the middle of a tornado. It's a great way to respond to a time like this and a great way to lure in the readers so they will absorb the same lessons.

 

Now, I'm not convinced that you're going to get kids living in an area that has the tornado shelters and sirens, etc. that are that old and not have some clue about what's going on (sure, maybe a couple of people who've just moved into the area, but not that many) -- but this book isn't trying to go for accuracy, it's trying to teach something. Like, say, about tornado shelters and sirens to kids so they know what they are before being taken to a shelter by their day care teacher. Basically, sure, it's a plot problem, but this book doesn't care about things like that.

 

Storywise, it's just different enough from Tummy Rumble Quake (well, this was actually published first, I guess, but I read them in this order. Still, technically, Tummy Rumble Quake is just different enough from this), which is a pretty tricky thing to pull off, but will keep some kids from tuning out -- it's not just a case of "here we go again." The ways to stay safe are clear, and will help minimize the fearfulness of the situation.

Again, on behalf of parents with little musical ability, some tips on how to sing this mnemonic song (a tune suggestion, perhaps), would be very helpful and welcome. The inclusion of the song is a great idea.

 

Sager's art did the job -- good use of colors and details, without overwhelming the reader and distracting them from the text. The tornado-elephant mashup pictures were an inspired choice -- one suggested by the text, no doubt, but the execution was spot-on.

A wonderful idea and I'm pretty sure a great help for those in areas where this is a lesson to be taught. I'd encourage parents and others to grab this one, too.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for this post and my honest opinion.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/12/18/elephant-wind-by-heather-l-beal-jubayda-sager
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review 2017-12-19 02:32
A cute little book w/some important earthquake safety lessons for kids
Tummy Rumble Quake (Mom's Choice Award Winner) - Heather L Beal

So the class (or whatever you call them) at this day care center is prepping for something called the Great ShakeOut (apparently a real thing -- I'm glad to hear that it exists), which is an Earthquake Preparedness activity. As part of that, they learn a bit about what causes earthquakes, what to do during one to say safe, and get some questions answered about the safety of others.

 

So you get a little bit of a narrative -- just enough to give the kids something to hang on to -- and you run it through some basic lessons that are given in a way to help the reader (or person being read to) remember and learn from them. I don't know if seismologists would use the comparison to a rumbling tummy, but how many of them write children's books? It's a comparison that'll stick.

 

My main -- really, only -- gripe with this is the song. There's no way to know how to sing this -- I'm sure it's best set to a familiar tune, but I have no idea what would work. I'd want to sing this to any kids I read this to/with -- and I have so little musical ability that there's no way I could even begin to guess what it should sound like. It's a great idea, and just the kind of thing that'd help cement the lessons in the mind of the target audience. But without a tune, it's just a little rhyme that isn't nearly as effective.

 

Sager's art does the job -- the colors are great and eye-catching. It's clearly drawn on a computer, but retains a hand-drawn feel. I can't say I was dazzled by it, but I can also say that I've seen worse. I can't imagine many children in the target audience wouldn't find the illustrations suitable and effective (but probably not in those words).

 

This book is such a great idea -- really. I like the concept, I think the execution is good, too. This is the kind of thing that'll implant itself in little brains and stay there for years. Parents, teachers, librarians, grandparents, and so on would really do well to pick this up and put it in front of young eyes.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for this post and my honest opinion.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/12/18/tummy-rumble-quake-by-heather-l-beal-jubayda-sager
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review 2017-12-13 03:04
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

So historians in 2054 have time travel tech and use it to travel back and study the past. In this story a young historian, Kivrin, convinces the history department at her college to let her travel back to 1320, but what they don't know is that she has been infected with a new strain of flu. She is accidentally sent to 1348 when the Black Plague starts in Oxford where she is deathly ill for days and almost dies. In the present the new flu strain causes an epidemic killing many people before a vaccine is developed.

 

This is paralleled by Kivrin watching everyone in the village she is visiting die horrible deaths from the plaque. And Willis's description is pretty graphic. To make matters worse since Kivrin is sent to the wrong year she is almost lost in the past.

 

While this story was a little long winded with some of the descriptions, etc. the story is really good. It jumps back and forth between Kivrin in the past and the people in the present dealing with the flu epidemic and trying to figure out how to get her back. I wonder if Willis was having a crisis of faith while writing this book as she is very detailed in her description of how people in 1348 felt that God had abandoned them, all except Father Roche, the village priest and the last to die. Kivrin even had a recorder embedded in her wrist that was activated when she puts her hands in an attitude of prayer. Kivrin even at times railed against God about not taking someone and the railing against Him about just getting it over and putting someone out of their misery.

 

All in all a great story and highly recommended.

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review 2017-11-22 20:02
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

I read this book a long time ago and remembered it fondly so I decided to re-read it. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, this time around. I haven't read the following 2 books, but I can't wait.

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review 2017-11-06 02:30
Wintergirls - review
Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson

 

Wow. This book is relentless, intense, and depressing...

That being said, it also seems realistic. It chronicles Lia's descent into anorexia and self-harm. Her best friend was bulemic and has died at the beginning of the book. She tried to call Lia multiple times on the night she died, but Lia didn't answer. The guilt Lia feels contributes to her decline. She has been in and out of treatment and knows how to fool the system. Her mother, father, and stepfather don't know how to reach her or what to do to help her anymore. How do you help someone who is determined to hurt themselves?

 

This book is a difficult read and not for the faint of heart. I didn't enjoy it at all, but I did learn from it and I do see the value in it. Thus my 3 star review. Anderson describes what Lia looks like and what she does to her body in graphic detail. So, beware.

 

I think this could be a good book for teens or their parents to read. Teens may see themselves and see hope or realize what could happen to them. Adults can see the pressures that today's teens face on a daily basis. I think books about these issues are important when they show the whole situation in a realistic light. Anderson does an amazing job of getting inside Lia's head and showing us her thought process.

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