Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beauty By Robin Mckinely

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (Mass Market Paperback)

by Robin Mckinley (Author) "I was the youngest of three daughters..." (more)
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060753102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060753108
Amazon.com Review
This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin.

The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.

This was McKinley's first book, written almost 20 years ago. Since that time she has been awarded the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and has delighted her fans with another retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fable, Rose Daughter. Still, McKinley's first novel has a special place in the hearts of her devoted readers, many of whom attest to relishing Beauty time and again. (Ages 11 to Adult) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Joe and I just finished reading this book from our past. Both of us read (and enjoyed) this book when we were young and so it made for a light, fun read aloud together.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

One Thousand Splendid Nights


by Khaled HOSSEINI (Author) "Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word harami..."
  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: RIVERHEAD (January 1, 2007)
  • ASIN: B001194F5K
This is his second novel and is also a best seller. I picked this up at the library book sale because several people recommended his first book, The Kite Runner.

This book is gripping and simplistically complex in it's telling. He begins with the bastard daughter of a housemaid whose mother hangs herself. As a fifteen year old, she is married off to a 40 year old man, who physically and verbally abuses her after she miscarries several infants. At age 60, the man marries another wife, a 14 year old girl who he pulls from Taliban rubble. It speaks of the history of Afghanistan (Soviet rule, jihad, and then Taliban) through telling the lives of the people, mostly woman, who are most effected by the change in government. It is ultimately a love story. It intersperses Iranian words throughout the telling, which can be confusing because most are not defined and there is no Glossary of terms. My perspective is broadened by this book, conversely, my innocence weakened.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Skippyjon Jones

Skippyjon Jones (Paperback)

by Judy Schachner (Author) "Every morning, Skippyjon Jones woke up with the birds..."
For TV Turnoff week at school, Jonathan selected this book to bring home as his reward.
Our family has fallen for Skippyjon Jones. This wildly imaginative and hyperactive Siamese Cat who imagines he is a Chihuahua is interlaced with common Spanish words and a clever rhyming storyline that my children (ages 5-10) have loved! It makes an especially good re-aloud as the funny cat is sent to his room and imagines he is a brave bandit in old Mexico. Instead of "thinking how a cat should act" his imagination carries him into another culture and group of friends.

Product Description
My name is Skippito Friskito.
I fear not a single bandito.
My manners are mellow,
I'm sweet like the Jell-O,
I get the job done, yes indeed-o.
Skippyjon Jones is no ordinary kitten. Oh, no. . . .He's actually El Skippito, a great sword-fighter ready to battle banditos the world over! With a little imagination and a whole lot of fun, this frisky cat dons a mask and cape and takes on a bad bumble-beeto to save the day. And along the way, he'll be sure to steal young reader's hearts, yes indeed-o!

See all Editorial Reviews

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (April 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142404039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439836968

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Bashares

Hmm. This one is a tricky one. I hesitate to post a review or even that I have read it. It is a book club book and elements of it, I like very much. This book tells the tail of a pair of blue jeans that "magically" fits the Septembers, a group of four different girls whose moms met at an aerobics class while pregnant. The moms drifted apart but the girls remain close despite or perhaps because of distinct differences.
I do not believe that this book was meant for teens. It seems like a classic "chick flick." In books I and II (unfortunately) love, lust, and romance are confused and this lead to girls having sexual relations at 15 and 16. In the first book it is briefly, vaguely described and natural consequences (not pregnancy but mixed feelings and "loss") are described. In the second book, what Joe and I thought was "real" love crosses the line into lust and disappoints the second novel and series for us. It is one in which I hope my daughters DO NOT read. Thus, I hesitated to even admit to reading these...Did not finish the last one, lying to parents to make love by the Lincoln Memorial--Hmm. "What ever happened to first comes love, then comes, marriage, then comes?..." (Poorly written to be another "best seller.") Wiuth obvious