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Search tags: young-at-heart
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review 2016-10-01 00:13
Four Dog Riot - Joe Cottonwood Joe Cottonwood has done something very interesting with this book. He takes us inside a wealthy suburban middle school (Menlo Park is a rather well-to-do part of the San Francisco Bay Area) and shows us the kids who don't fit in. Bowie's the troubled African-American kid, Jaz is the Asian girl who is sick of the stereotypes to which she's subjected, Hoot is the kid with the hippie mom, and Mimi is the popular girl with more secrets than she knows what to do with. Each kid has his or her own sub-plot to deal with, and resolving each story arc took a lot of finesse. Cottonwood shows us the underbelly of what some youth experience: bullying, exploitation, violence, and more. While the ending is ultimately satisfying, the journey is not an easy one. I found myself remembering incidents from my own junior high days and sympathizing with the various characters as they try to deal with changing bodies and attitudes. Well done.
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review 2016-04-03 14:56
Babe: The Gallant Pig - Mary Rayner,Dick King-Smith

I was utterly charmed by the film based on this book, and the tale itself is just delightful.

Babe is won by Farmer Hoggett at the local fair, and soon becomes of favorite not only of the Hoggetts but also of the animals on their farm. Sheepdog Fly takes care of him along with her puppies, and Babe is inspired to become a sheep-pig.

The book is illustrated with sweet pencil sketches, and would be a nice read-aloud book for parents to share with children, or for young readers to tackle as one of their first "chapter books."

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review 2016-03-13 15:11
Biography for the mid-grade set
Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals - Nancy Furstinger,Vincent Desjardins

"Mercy" is a short biography of ASPCA founder Henry Bergh, aimed at the mid-grade set. Because it deals with animal cruelty, it is not always an easy or pleasant read.

Nevertheless, it paints a picture of the times in which Bergh lived and how unusual it was for anyone in his high social position to speak up on behalf of animals.


The book also contains some informative sidebars about contemporary historical figures like P.T. Barnum and Louisa May Alcott, as well as things like the history of political cartoons and circuses.


The watercolor illustrations are appropriate for a book aimed at younger readers, and there are also some excellent historical photographs included to show the basis for the interior paintings.


Nicely done, and a good introduction to the historical importance of the anti-cruelty movement.

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review 2015-08-28 20:54
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame,Gillian Avery

I re-read this book for the first time in many years. I had forgotten how utterly charming the tales of Toad, Mole, Rat and friends are!

The little woodland animals have many an adventure -- particularly Toad, with his fascination for the (novel at the time the book was written) new motor cars.

The book is a delightful tale about friendship at the very bottom, and I highly recommend that parents share it with their children.

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review 2015-06-19 14:18
Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Stories - Terry Pratchett

This is a book of cute stories that Terry Pratchett wrote over the years and only curated a little bit before his death. They range from the initial tales of The Carpet People through stories of the people of Gritshire and Blackbury (who seem to have a great many travel adventures. There are dragons, knights, abominable snowmen ... you name it, there's an adventure for it.

The stories are appropriate for children, although they have puns that adults will find amusing on top of the clever story-telling. The illustrations add to the enjoyment.

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