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text 2017-03-28 16:54
Stay true to you with "Edward the Emu"
Edward the Emu - Sheena Knowles,Rod Clement

This great story, Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles, is a lively tale about an emu named Edward. Edward lives in a zoo and overhears many spectators say that the seals, lions, and the snakes are the best, most loved, animals in the zoo. Edward becomes heart broken and travels to each of these cages in hope to become the most appreciated and loved animal. While in the snakes cage, he hears that the emu is the best of all and decides to return to his pin. Upon arriving back, something startles him but to find out you'll have to read the rest! Edward is a great character and portrays the "grass is greener on the other side" idea very well. This entire story is rhyming and has a great natural rhythm while reading. I could see myself using this text to compare and contrast different animals using a vinn diagram. Students could compare and contrast Edward and one of their favorite animals at the zoo or even an animal in the text. This story has an AR level of 3.6. 

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text 2014-11-07 04:06
Favorite Childhood Books

After a few lame #BookBlogWriMo posts--and that lameness is totally on me, not the event or its creator, of course!--over the last few days, here's one where I can really shine. I read a ton as a kid, and while there are plenty of books that didn't stick out in my memory (some to the point of forgetting their titles to this very day), there are some that still have a really fond place in my memory.


First and foremost, if you want to take a glimpse at all the books I read during my childhood years, you can check out my shelves at Goodreads. 1993-2003 covers everything I can recall reading between my birth and the end of elementary school; 2004-2006 covers middle school; and 2007-2011 covers my high school years (plus a few months before and after I turned eighteen).


Let's do this in chunks, shall we?


A lot of little kids have an animal phase sometime after they learn to empathize with nonhuman creatures. My animal phase was long, intense, and fostered by series like Ben M. Baglio's Animal Ark and Dolphin Diaries, as well as Jeanne Betancourt's Pony Pals.



Books like Mummies in the Morning from Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series and Kristina Gregory's Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile from the Royal Diaries series helped foster my early childhood obsession with ancient Egypt.



Series like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter (of course!), Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness, Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest (and its sequels, Deltora Shadowlands and Dragons of Deltora), and Jackie French Koller's The Keepers helped make fantasy one of my two favorite genres to this very day.



My other favorite genre is horror, and spooky stories like Grace Maccarone's The Haunting of Grade Three, Mary Downing Hahn's Wait Till Helen Comes, and R.L. Stine's The First Horror helped solidify my love for all* things frightening. *Well, most. I don't do torture porn.



But I also enjoy mysteries, a genre which I was first introduced to through Ron Roy's A to Z Mysteries (with my favorite being the quite-spooky-when-you're-four story, The Haunted Hotel) and continued to explore with series like classic Nancy Drew and Ann M. Martin's The Baby-sitter's Club Mysteries.



I discovered manga via Miwa Ueda's Peach Girl, and ventured on with series like Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi's Tokyo Mew Mew and Matsuri Hino's MeruPuri.



Carolyn Meyer's Young Royals series helped get me into historical fiction (and I have a particular fondness for historical princess/queen stories thanks to both it and Royal Diaries), and her books Mary, Bloody Mary and Doomed Queen Anne, along with Ann Rinaldi's Nine Days A Queen, got me through a brief period of Tudor fixation.



Of course, like a lot of 2000s teens, I had a vampire phase, and the books that got me through that admittedly rough period included romance-y stuff like Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses (perfectly average upon rereading), and R.L. Stine's books, Dangerous Girls (didn't hold up upon rereading) and One Last Kiss (haven't been able to find for rereading!). But I also read horror-focused vampire stories, including Sebastian Rook's Vampire Plagues (still totally loved upon last rereading) and Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak (rereading... someday).


There were other favorites that didn't correspond with trends, of course. Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond was a book that I read thinking there would be actual witches, but totally loved even when it turned out to be about puritanical witch persecution and its victims... though I never actively sought out more books like it. (The time period and subject matter weren't what hooked me with this one--it was the emotional impact of Speare's writing.)


Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was an awesome series that I got into long after I should have, but totally loved when I finally sat down to read it (and yes, I do like the ending in spite of what almost everyone else seems to think). But while I love that series, I haven't managed to read any similar series yet--with perhaps the exception of the first book in the Templeton Twins series, which uses a "Lemony Narrator".


And then there was Nancy Springer's I am Morgan le Fay, which really made me a bit obsessive toward that particular mythological figure for a while (and, to a lesser extent, Arthurian myth), but I never really got around to reading many Arthurian books besides Nancy Springer's other endeavor, I Am Mordred... which unfortunately wasn't as impressive to me.


(I'm hoping to reread I Am Morgan le Fay soon, and I really hope it holds up!)


Of course, after writing all this out, I have to say I'm fairly interested to realize that most of my favorite stories growing up were written by female authors... except when it came to my vampire phase, which was inexplicably populated by male authors' books! I'm honestly fairly fascinated, and I'd love to someday take the time to break down my author stats to look at sex, race/ethnicity, nationality, etc.


So what about you? Have you read any of these books--besides the all-but-obligatory Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events? And what were your childhood favorites? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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review 2014-07-19 00:00
Clifford's Pals
Clifford's Pals - Norman Bridwell Clifford's Pals
Audio version has turn page sounds and last section does not offer them.
Clifford the red dog and Elizabeth takes care of him. He waits for her after school but gets tired one day and found new dog pals to play with.
Ball at a construction area looks like fun but it's a wrecking ball. Paint spills on them...
Always mishaps with Clifford...
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).
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review 2014-07-03 04:45
Three Weeks With Lady X - Eloisa James

Most of the reviews I've read of this say it's really good but goes downhill at the end. I thought it was just bearable and then got so bad, I was tempted to stop listening with just an hour left. It's cliched and obvious and the lack of any kind of moral center is simply appalling. Thorn thinks nothing of having sex with the unmarried woman he is setting up with his closest friend. India also gives no thought at all that the man she's considering marrying might be legitimately bothered by her having been with his best friend, like, a day previously. And neither of them consider how Thorn's intended wife would feel if she ever found out her entire home had been designed and decorated by her husband's lover.

Thorn's intended Lala is constantly described as sweet and warm and simple, yet there's no real sign of this in her depiction -- it's as if the narrative is saying, well, she can't just be shy and boring, so we have to give her some kind of positive quality. She's actually perhaps the most interesting character in the book, since her so-called simplicity is due to being learning disabled and consequently thinking she's stupid.

If I want to read about people having indiscriminate sex without any thought for others or possible consequences, I'll read a contemporary. No wait. That doesn't work either.

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review 2014-05-28 17:18
A Pony for Keeps (Pony Pals, #2) by Jeanne Betancourt
A Pony for Keeps - Jeanne Betancourt,Robert S. Brown


Reading some old pony book should
not be this emotional! *sob*

After the relative boredom I felt while reading I Want a Pony, I didn't expect A Pony for Keeps to hit me in the emotions... but it definitely did. Few common themes of children's literature upset me quite as hard as parents who disregard, neglect, or invalidate their children's emotional needs, and that is definitely what's going on in A Pony for Keeps. I'm sure there are plenty of other readers who get through this book without more than a "meh", but I just can't get through these kinds of books without my heart breaking just a bit for the kid in question.

In A Pony for Keeps, Anna wants to finally purchase Acorn, the pony she's been leasing. But her parents have other plans; if she can't pick up her grades, they're going to get rid of Anna's beloved Acorn. Their explanation is that Acorn is obviously just distracting Anna from studying... except that she studies constantly throughout the book, and they still accuse Acorn of being the problem when these hours of studying don't help their daughter before her next report card.

Throughout the novel, it is incredibly obvious that Anna suffers from dyslexia, which reduces her parent's actions from "delivering an emotionally crippling punishment to their daughter because she isn't performing well academically" to "deliver an emotionally crippling punishment to their daughter because she has a learning disability". It makes me wonder how many children this has actually happened to... and then, it makes me sick.

Because it's an elementary-targeted book in a series about three girls and their ponies, it should come as a surprise to no one that things work out for Anna and Acorn... but Anna's parents still come out looking like heartless morons. Not only do they never catch on to their daughter's actual issue--the various other adults in Anna's life have to go out of their way to explain it to them--but they actually go through with their threats to get rid of Acorn, even arranging things so that, if they hadn't changed their minds at the last minute, Anna would never have had a chance to say goodbye to her--let me repeat--beloved pet. More importantly, perhaps, they do not change their minds about this ludicrous punishment until Anna's teacher explains to these absolute imbeciles that they are delivering "a punishment for something that hasn't been [Anna's] fault". Someone has to tell these people that it isn't acceptable to give away someone's pet as punishment for having a goddamn learning disability!?

...my anger aside, children who suffered dyslexia will likely sympathize with Anna's (fairly short) journey to understanding her difficulties, though particularly sensitive children might fall more in line with my complaints. (I'll point out that I am 99% sure I read this book as a child and did not notice how problematic their behavior was... but this might say more about my own parents' style than anything else...) But I definitely don't mean to imply that it's a bad book just because I have an issue with the parent/child power imbalance. Children with dyslexia, learning disabilities, or just a sincere love of ponies will probably get a kick out of the story.

If your son or daughter's a budding young equestrian, Pony Pals is a fine series for them to get into, and A Pony for Keeps is vastly superior to the first book primarily because it had any kind of emotional impact on me; the first was much too monotonous to manage that. I definitely look forward to revisiting other Pony Pal books that I read as a child (and checking out ones that I didn't!). Hopefully the writing and plots will continue to improve.
Source: aftanith.blogspot.com/2014/03/book-review-pony-for-keeps-pony-pals-2_9.html
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