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review 2017-08-11 15:47
The man behind the spider and the mouse
Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White - Melissa Sweet

Up til this point, I could most likely count the number of biographies written for children that I've read. Actually I could probably count how many biographies in total I've ever read because I have to admit biographies in general not my favorite genre. However, there are always exceptions and every now and again there are people who I find intriguing enough to seek out more information about them. Last year I read My Ears Are Bent which included different excerpts from The New Yorker along with background on the magazine itself. I discovered from this book just how much of the writing was done by E.B. White. (You might recognize him from such things as Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web.) This piqued my interest in White but I had so many other things on my TRL that I somewhat forgot about him until I saw Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet pop up as a recommended read. I think E.B. White would have heartily approved of this biography even though he was an intensely private, low-key individual. This book delivered not only on giving me the biography that I was looking for but also offering up beautiful mixed media layouts which make it more accessible to children.  His approach to writing and his proliferation of works is fascinating and astonishing. Sweet manages to educate the reader about his works but she also manages to paint a portrait of a writer that was passionate about his craft, his family, and his farm. She does this almost from the start. This book is great if you want to learn more about E.B. White yourself or if you want to introduce your kids to biographies. It's easily accessible and the layout is beautiful. Quick, fun read that I'd recommend for reluctant biography readers (like myself). 10/10

 

To give you a taste of what I mean about the mixed media approach:

 

Source: NPR

Source: NPR

 

What's Up Next: Brian Selznick Masterpost including The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Marvels, and Wonderstruck

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Alice by Christina Henry

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-02-28 16:20
Using mixed media to perfection
Wonderful, Wicked, and Whizzpopping: The Stories, Characters, and Inventions of Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl

I think it's been well-established that Roald Dahl is my favorite author of all time (with Charles Dickens at a close second). If you were in doubt about my love of Dahl's works you can check out this masterpost that I wrote last year with no less than 5 reviews. XD It should come as no surprise that I fangirled pretty hard over Wonderful, Wicked, and Whizzpopping: The stories, characters, and inventions of Roald Dahl by Stela Caldwell with (of course) illustrations by the incomparable Quentin Blake. From the very first page (the front-matter section), it is apparent that this is a special book. There are little snippets which look like yellow, lined notebook paper which denote actual notes that Dahl wrote to himself about the books which made him famous. (He always wrote his books on yellow, lined notebook paper by the way.) Did you know it was nearly James and the Giant Cherry instead of James and the Giant Peach? That somehow doesn't have quite the same ring to it. This entire book is like getting a glimpse behind the scenes PLUS reading condensed versions of some of his more famous children's books. The mixed media used in this book complements the subject matter perfectly. I'd go so far as to say this is a visually stunning book and you'd be silly not to check it out for yourselves...especially if you're a fan of Quentin Blake. You might have guessed already but this is a 10/10 in my books (pun totally intended).

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-08-16 20:59
5 for 1 Special: Roald Dahl Edition
The Twits - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake
The Magic Finger - Quentin Blake,Roald Dahl
The Minpins - Roald Dahl
The Great Mouse Plot and Other Tales of Childhood - Roald Dahl
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke - Quentin Blake,Roald Dahl

I don't think I've spent nearly enough time waxing poetic about one of my all-time favorite authors so that's what today's post is all about. Roald Dahl was introduced to me by my best friend roughly 15 years ago. You might know him best as the author of Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, and James and the Giant Peach. I mention these because the film adaptations are fairly popular (as they should be because they're excellent). Today I'm going to discuss 5 more that you may or may not have heard of and which I binge read quite recently.

 

The Twits is the story of two horrible, nasty individuals by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Twit. Their favorite occupation (besides being absolutely horrendous in increasingly vile ways to one another) is to torment their 4 trained monkeys and the birds which roost in their tree. As with most of Dahl's writing, there is a most satisfying conclusion at the end of this book which I just can't in good conscience spoil. Just know that Mr. Dahl certainly doesn't shrink from ghastly topics. ;-)

  

The story of The Magic Finger begins with a little girl playing with her two friends, the Gregg brothers. These two little boys share a singular passion with their father: hunting. Despite the little girls repeated pleas for them to stop this beastly sport, they decide to go ahead with their plan to go duck hunting. The little girl is made so angry by this that she unleashes the power of her Magic Finger and the results are truly horrifying. Let's just say that they shouldn't have dismissed her advice as being for the birds.

  

Perhaps my favorite of the lot was The Minpins which is a large sized picture book with beautiful color illustrations. The artwork alone makes this a fantastic piece of children's literature. This was posthumously published and is very different from the other books which I've read by him (and illustrated by Patrick Benson instead of Quentin Blake). It is the story of Little Billy (a human child) who escapes from his family home into the woods where he has been expressly forbidden to enter. There he comes into contact with a ferocious beast...and tiny little people called the Minpins who live high up in the trees. A marvelous adventure unfolds among these disparate characters which is both beautifully told and fantastically illustrated. It's a must read.

 

Now The Great Mouse Plot is a true story from Dahl's childhood which had me equal parts chuckling and shocked. It is the story of a singular event which occurred when he was a little boy. He and a few of his friends from school decide to exact revenge against a nasty old lady that runs a sweets shop...and that's all you should know going into this one. Prepare yourself.

 

And finally The Vicar of Nibbleswicke which was written for the Dyslexia Institute in London. (Dahl and Blake donated their rights to the Institute and it was actually published after Dahl's death.) This is a quick little book about a vicar who just happens to be dyslexic. However, he has conquered the normal form of dyslexia and contracted a new (and fictional) type called Back-to-Front Dyslexia which causes much of what he says to come out backwards. Conversations with his new parishioners, sermons, etc all are said as almost complete gibberish. Much hilarity ensues.

 

And there's my rundown of 5 Roald Dahl books which you may or may have heard of but which you most definitely should read.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2016-02-01 00:27
Rilla of Ingleside - L.M. Montgomery

Though commendable for exposing children to the effects of war upon families within a small town, the novel reads like wartime propaganda. Even though Montgomery hints at a character’s fate in her earlier novels, the way it is achieved is rather idealistic and unnatural. This “ending” can be rather disappointing for a modern reader who has been exposed to many examples of realistic portrayals of the effects of World War I upon individuals and families. As well, the constant reinforcement of how the character’s fate is achieved is unrealistic as well, given the circumstances. 

 

Also, the romantic elements of the story pale in comparison to the development of Anne and Gilbert’s relationship in the preceding novels. Like many wartime romances, the romance here somehow spontaneously manifests itself. While this inclusion is warranted, a few looks and brief exchanges over a handful of meetings and letters is simply not enough to convey to the reader a true meeting of kindred spirits.

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text 2015-12-29 12:59
Bookhaul #22

This is just a short bookhaul (only two books) but my plan is to not to buy any anytime soon, so I just wanted to show you these two.

First I got the Vintage Children's edition of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. I read this book two years ago for school and absolutely loved (well...) it, but I never owned a copy. I came across this one and because I also want to re-read it, I decided to buy it, This cover is absolutely beautiful! Oh and I also realised that this book only excists 10 years (in 2016) and it's already classified as a classic... what?! I thought it was written in the '70 or something.

 

Another Country is one of those books that I wanted for so long, but never bought it because there was that issue with this edition. Everywhere online I saw the same isbn with a different cover and I only wanted this one. Last week I decided to mail the company (site) that showed this cover because I wanted to be sure that if I order it, I really would receive this edition and I did! I'm so happy you guys.

 

I also received thos character cards from Victoria Schwab. These cards match with the characters from Vicious and they are so beautiful!

 

This will be the last bookhaul for a while (lol, lie!) so yea.

 

What is your latest book purchase?

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