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review 2018-07-08 12:49
TO LIVE IS TO ENDURE - AND PREVAIL
You Don't Look Your Age: And Other Fairy Tales - Sheila Nevins

Several weeks ago, I happened to see Sheila Nevins speaking about this book on CSPAN's BOOK TV program. I was so taken in with her presentation that I decided to buy "YOU DON'T LOOK YOUR AGE: And Other Fairy Tales" at the earliest opportunity.

In essence, the book is an amalgamation of short stories and poems through which Sheila Nevins shares with the reader "the real-life challenges of being a woman in a man's world; what it means to be a working mother; what it's like to be an older woman in a youth-obsessed culture; the sometimes changing, often sweet truth about marriages; what being a feminist really means; " the need to identify and be wary of 'frenemies' (enemies pretending to be your friend); "and that you're in good company if your adult children don't return your phone calls." 

I fairly breezed my way through this book and - as a middle-aged man - appreciated the insights Sheila Nevins gave me from her own life. 

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review 2018-07-06 15:50
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Judy Blume

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I feel horribly betrayed by this book.

I read the third book in this series (found it in the lending library) and enjoyed it, so when I saw the first book as an audiobook at the library, I figured it would be a good read.

It all started well enough. Fudge is his usual annoying self, which leads to funny incidents and learning experiences for all involved. I was really enjoying it and it was heading for at least a 4-star review. 

Then came the ending.

I do not and have never liked stories where needlessly bad things happen to unsuspecting animals. When Peter wins his turtle, Dribble, at a birthday party in the first chapter, I was prepared for the worst. When nothing bad happened to him, I figured I was just overly paranoid. Dribble is fine for chapter after chapter, so I forgot about my unease. Then came the last few chapters and I was just not prepared. It was horrifying. The characters eventually laugh off the incident, but come one, Fudge is a freaking psychopath. I am glad I read this as an adult and not a child, because I would have been so upset, I can just see my little self crying uncontrollably. A horrible and completely unnecessary thing to happen in a children's book.

Not recommended for sensitive children, especially animal-lovers. If they do read it, just skip over the last few chapters. 

The rest of the novel was well-done, which is why I still gave it 3-stars. I knocked a star off for that disgusting ending, but otherwise the novel was fine.

I am left with a new-found hatred for Fudge though. Before he was just annoying, now I can't stand him. 

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text 2018-06-27 18:45
NIGHT GAUNTS AND OTHER TALES OF SUSPENSE by Joyce Carol Oates
Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense - Joyce Carol Oates

NIGHT GAUNTS sounded so promising to me when I requested it from Edelweiss months ago. (And just look at that alluring cover!) 

 

Since then, I've only managed to complete one story, and it's one that I already read in another collection. I've repeatedly attempted to read two other stories and I just couldn't get into them, so I'm calling it quits. No rating, no review.

 

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for letting me take a shot at this for free. I'm sorry it didn't work out.

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review 2018-06-23 19:31
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent - Bill Peet

Title:  Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Sea / Adventure / Pirates / Traveling


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+  (Some Intense Scenes)

 

 

Sea

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book. 

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent that is willing to risk his life to protect the people on a voyage for a new life. Bill Peet is extremely inventive whenever he uses various words such as “doldrums” and “bedraggled” to make the story more clever and dramatic. Also, the idea that Cyrus is more like a friendly sea serpent rather than a vicious one makes the story more creative as people usually believe that sea monsters are meant to be scary. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the scenes where he illustrates the sea as a calm ocean for the water is beautifully blue and during the storm scenes, he makes the sky dark and the ocean smashing viciously at the Primrose. 

Sea

Parents should know that there are many advanced words in this book and that this book may be a bit too long for younger children to handle. Some of the advanced words mentioned are “pilings,” “doldrums,” and “bedraggled” and young children may not understand what those words mean. Parents should write down the advanced words down on a piece of paper and define them so that the younger children would understand what the word means and therefore, it would make it easier for them to read this book. Also, the length of this book is a bit too long than any normal children’s book and that may be a bit too tiresome for some small children to handle, so parents should read at least a few pages a day so that children would not get too tired of this book. 

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is a wonderful story about the power of friendship and how it is better to help people rather than be cruel towards them and children would easily enjoy this book for ages. I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the advanced words and the length of the book may be a bit too challenging for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 18:53
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, The Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Emperor and the Nightingale
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, The Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Emperor and the Nightingale - Rabbit Ears,Glenn Close,Jodie Foster,Sissy Spacek

Title:  Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, the Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, the Emperor and the Nightingale

Author:  Rabbit Ears

Genre:  China / Fairy Tale / Folktale / Magic / Animals


Year Published: 2006

Year Read: 2009

Series: Rabbit Ears Treasury

Publisher:  Listening Library (Audio)

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Rude Behavior and Intense Moments)

 

 

Thumbelina

When I first heard that Rabbit Ears was finally releasing their classic stories on audio CDs, I was so excited and happy because not only will I have the pleasure of listening to these fantastic classics over and over again, but now everyone will have a chance to listen to this fantastic series! “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales” is an audio cd that is full of various fairy tales created by Rabbit Ears and with a vast array of famous celebrities along with engaging music for each story, this audio cd is a delightful treat for both children and adults!

Since I have reviewed half of these stories already, I am just going to briefly summarize each story on this audio cd:

The Fisherman and his Wife 
Told by: Jodie Foster
Music by: Van Dyke Parks

In this Brothers Grimm tale, a meek fisherman stumbles upon a magical flounder who promises the poor fisherman that he will grant him several wishes if he frees him. When the Fisherman told his wife about this, his wife suddenly gets greedy and she starts wishing like crazy.

The Talking Eggs
Told by: Sissy Spacek
Music by: Micheal Doucet dit Beausoleil

A kind girl named Blanchett learns about the importance of being kind towards other and how it brings its own rewards.

Thumbelina
Told by: Kelly McGillis
Music by: Mark Isham

A tiny little girl named Thumbelina, who is no bigger than a thumb goes on a wild adventure in the outside world that changes her life forever.

The Emperor and the Nightingale
Told by: Glenn Close
Music by: Mark Isham

An Emperor learns about the importance of the real thing when the real nightingale has to save the Emperor from a horrible fate.


Emperor

Oh my goodness!! Never would I have thought that I would enjoy this series now as much as I did as a child! Every narrator on this audio CD has greatly contributed enough excitement and tenderness to each of these stories that will have any child and adult listening to this series over and over again! Out of all four of these stories presented in this audio cd, my favorites were “The Talking Eggs” and “The Emperor and the Nightingale.” In “The Talking Eggs” Sissy Spacek has indeed done an excellent job at narrating this story as she provides a Southern flair to the story and actually puts so much emotion in her narration whenever she is enacting a character yelling or being soft-hearted. Micheal Doucet dit Beausoleil’s music is clearly catchy and inspiring as it has a slight country theme that will have many children toe-tapping to the music until the very end of the story! In “The Emperor and the Nightingale,” Glenn Close does a splendid job at narrating this story as she sounds extremely tender and soothing and Mark Isham’s music provides a magnificent presentation of Chinese inspired music that will have everyone be mesmerized by the music.

The only problem I had with this audio CD was that it did not come with a book or in this case, books, to accompany each story. For anyone who has grown up with the Rabbit Ears series since they were children might possibly be disappointed in not receiving a book to go with each story. However, because the celebrities’ narrations are so effective and creative, this audio cd is still a treat to listen to. 

Overall “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales” is a fantastic audio cd for both children and adults who love reading old classics and fairytales and will be an instant treat for many years!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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