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This is the cutest book written by Lester L. Laminack. The story begins with a quiet day on the farm, until a strange box falls out of the back of a truck. A beautiful bird, with strange feathers, comes out of the box and struts to the farmers stand. Cars being stopping and taking pictures, and the farmer gets more business than ever. Back at the farm, the hens have became upset because they think they are performing all the work on the farm and the peacock gets to have all the fun. The four birds swap roles after guidance from the old hound, and at first it seems marvelous. To find out the fate of the birds, you will have to read the rest. At the end of this story, another mysterious box falls from the truck but no one knows what's inside. This would be a great writing activity for the class because they could make inferences about what was in the box and predict what would happen next on the farm. Another activity could be to compare and contrast this story to the "Three Little Pigs" by using a vinn-diagram. This text is a 3.3 on the Accelerated Reader scale.
Reading The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock is an immersive experience.The history of this book is that of slavery and the fate of the First Nations; be ready to be uncomfortable at the atrocities described and the language used. The first person-narrative creates a deeply personal memoir-like feel; I walk through Persimmon Wilson's life with him and "live" the history through his eyes.
Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson
Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley received through NetGalley.
This story focuses on Kayla -- a young woman who looks years younger than she is (young enough to be appealing to the Humbert Humberts of the world as well as old enough to come across as a young co-ed), which is helpful in her vocation. She's basically bait for serial predators (who the authorities can't/haven't done anything to) as part of her work with Wonderland. Wonderland is a group run by former federal agents bankrolled by a largely mysterious billionaire. Each "Wonderlander" goes by a code name derived from the Lewis Carroll book, and can quote sections relevant to their moniker (and recognize others quoting their parts). She and her colleagues -- Rabbit and Chesire (Kayla's Mouse) -- lure the killers/molesters somewhere, take them out and then have someone come in clean up after them.
Her brother, Shilo, is locked up in a Mental Health facility for a handful of reasons, but the largest is his insistence that a man who dresses in orange is his constant companion who tells him what he should do. No one else can see or hear Mr. Custard, naturally, so Shilo is on the receiving end of all sorts of treatments. Neither the drugs, the talk therapy, or anything else seems to be working -- Mr. Custard is still there, as much as Shilo might try to pretend he's not.
Both siblings are reacting to the disappearance/abandonment of their mother while they were young and the suicide of their father not long after in very different ways, but both of their atypical lives can be traced to these incidents. Now it seems that someone is killing women near their childhood home, and there's something drawing both of them back their to confront the killer.
The story is an interesting mix of Supernatural and Thriller stories, and once I saw that's where she was going, I wasn't sure that Peacock was going to be that successful with it -- very few are. I'm not talking straight-up Urban Fantasy, I'm talking about a Suspense/Thriller that mixes in some sort of magic/monster where bullets and explosions should be. The last time I read a mystery where the author tried this, it ruined the book -- it's tricky. The heightened reality that she was using already helps, but it doesn't guarantee success, Peacock tried a tricky thing and made it work, that's no small feat.
Still, there's only a little supernatural to this -- there's a human villain, human protagonists, human costs, human relationships at the core of this novel. Peacock's up to the challenge of writing them, no doubt about it.
I liked the characters -- especially Kayla. The story moved along well, the action was convincing -- and the predators were just horrible enough that you didn't really care that much that vigilante action took care of them rather than the law. Sure, the book could really have used one more thorough edit. More importantly, the facility that Shilo lives in draws more from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Gotham's depiction of Arkham than reality -- and as annoying as that is, really, if you're looking for realism, you've dropped this book before it gets to that.
Can she follow this up with an equally successful sequel? That might be trickier, but I'm looking forward to seeing her try.
To start off with, I believe this book is great to use with kindergarten up to sixth grade. As for how I would use this book, there are two different ways. The first way I would use this book is a compare and contrast with another version of The Three Little Pigs with second to sixth graders. The second way I would use it, which I like a little better, is to discuss the subject of how everything is not how it appears to be with kindergarten and first graders. In other words, while we think that one person has it easier than us, in actuality they actually have it just as hard or harder. Then I would have the students turn and discuss one instance where they thought one thing and it turned out to be totally different with their partner.