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review 2017-02-15 22:43
Old Hat New Hat
Old Hat New Hat (Bright & Early Books(R)) - Stan Berenstain,Jan Berenstain

Old Hat New Hat by Stan Berenstain is a 1.5 on the Accelerated Reading leveling system.  It is a silly story about a bear that is considering buying a new hat. He looks at many different options, but there always seems to be something wrong with each of them. Some are too itchy and some are too lumpy. In the end, the bear decides to keep his old hat because it is perfect. I would use this book with beginning readers or as a lesson in second grade rhyming. 

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text 2016-09-07 15:21
Snowfire by Phillis Whitney

One of the things about buying a used MMPB from an amazon seller is that I have no idea what edition will show up in my mailbox. This has the merit of being a surprise, at a minimum. Sometimes I end up with gems like this one:



There is so much wrong going on with this cover that it is difficult to really take it all in. The book is set in a ski lodge and was published in 1972, so I'm assuming that outfit is some sort of swingin' 70's winter apres-ski get up. Any sort of critical analysis of it, however, demonstrates that it makes no sense at all.


The woven bit with the red, black & blue squares could be an oversized parka, and she is either wearing black tights or, possibly, black stretch ski pants, which were quite the thing back in the day. But the blue and white thing is completely inexplicable. It defies the laws of physics. She is wearing it sort of like a scarf, but it appears to be the approximate size of a queen bedspread.


The hair, however, is perfection. She has clearly been taking her cues from Farrah Fawcett as we all did during that time period (well, not me - I was 6):



And let us not even speak of the creepy over the shoulder guy, with his unsuccessful effort at the smolder.



Learn from the master, smolder-failure.

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text 2016-09-05 17:26
Victoria Holt collection & the Gothic square

I've been rather slowly collecting all of the old Victoria Holt paperbacks. At some point, I'll post a pic of them together, but at this point, I'm still early in the process. My collection began when I was at my local UBS around 3 years ago and they had a grab bag of books for $1.00 with the name "Victoria Holt" written on it.


I devoured these books like candy when I was a teenager, so I grabbed it, even though I had no idea what was in it, and paid my dollar and then took it home. It took a while for me to get ready to read them, though, so the four books (.25 each!) sat on my shelves for a while. Then, a few years ago, I picked up The Mistress of Mellyn, and I enjoyed it. It resulted in one of my favorite reviews, which you can find here, if you're interested.


I followed that one up with The Shivering Sands and The Pride of the Peacock in kindle format, and then I picked up The Kirkland Revels, which had been in that original bundle, and I read it. I decided at that point that the best way to read these books was in paperback, with their hideous old-fashioned covers (usually of a woman in a diaphanous dress running in terror from some sort of a castle or chateau or mansion), so I've started buying them whenever I find them, and buying them used from amazon from time to time. In addition, lots of the Holts have not been republished into kindle format, so some of her lesser known books are unavailable as ebooks.


I also remembered reading Phyllis Whitney, and none of her books are available as ebooks, so I bought The Window on the Square used from amazon, which had been recommended by a bookliker (can't remember which of you recc'd it) as one of her favorite books of all time. I also picked up Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, which has been republished in a gorgeous Rediscovered Classics print edition which makes my old Fawcett & Avon paperbacks look like the bastard step-daughters of the queen or something! It was also really expensive, compared to the $4.00 (.01 for the book, $3.99 for shipping) that I've been paying for the Holt/Whitney used books.


These books are available so cheap, that I've decided to just collect a whole shelf of them. Holt & Whitney are my first priorities, along with Mary Stewart, but I'll probably add Barbara Michaels, and possibly some of the lesser known gothic authors to the collection as I proceed!


That was a long lead-in to the pictures, which are of my most recent acquisition:



I don't think I've ever read this one, because it was first published in 1984, which is the year I graduated from high school. I am fairly certain I had abandoned gothics when I was around 16, so this one would've been published after I stopped reading them.


And, look at the inside cover page:



I believe that Dolphin Cay POA is likely a Property Owner's Association from Florida. And, I love the description - it hits all of the Holt-lover's hot buttons: windswept moors, galloping horses, and a man (no doubt the lord of the manor, but that's just a guess) who is forbidden to the heroine. Nine sentences.


I'm going to read this one for my gothic square!


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review 2016-03-18 14:48
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! - Lucille Colandro

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! is a fun, rhyming book that could be used in a kindergarten class on the first day of school. This book is about an old lady that swallows several school items that she needs for her first day back to school. The teacher could create an activity where students would drop the various school items from the text into the mouth of the old lady. On each item card, there will be a picture and the word of the item.

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text 2015-07-22 15:30
When Charlie met Diesel
Arsenic and Old Books - Miranda James

rainy day. A cat seeking shelter under a car. Charlie coaxes the cat out from under, wraps him in a towel and heads towards the vet's office to check for a microchip.


"A few minutes later my passenger and I pulled up in front of the clinic. There were three other cars in the parking area. I hoped I wouldn't have to wait long. I still felt damp and chilled, and I was ready to get home for a hot bath. . .


'Everything is going to be OK,' I said in a soothing tone. 'We're going to go inside and talk to the nice people here, and they are going to help us find out who you belong to, and then you'll get to go back home and be warm and dry. . ." 


I looked down at his face, and he stared up at me. His eyes seemed to be saying, I trust you, human. . . "


[The vet soon discovers there's no chip, the cat has no collar, and the vet knows of no Maine Coons in the area.  Looks like the cat needs a new home.]


"The cat kept staring at me. Then he began to purr that deep rumble that reminded me of a diesel engine. The way he looked at me made me feel he knew how lonely I was. My instincts were telling me that I needed to have this cat in my life. I also thought he might be telling me that he needed me too. . . 


'Very well,' I said after a deep breath. 'Let's do it. . .  I'll ask around and put an ad in the paper.  I want to make sure no one else is going to claim him.'


'What about a name?', the vet asked.


I smiled.  'Diesel. '


The cat warbled loudly, and Dr. Romano and I both laughed.


I stroked Desel's head.  'I guess he approves.'


So did I, I suddenly realized. My heart felt lighter, and my depression had lifted, at least for now.  I would have sworn Diesel smiled at me."


yeah, I'm a sucker for cat stories.

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