Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Reflections

In February I reviewed 56 books.

Board books: 0

Picture books:

  1. Vegetables in Underwear. Jared Chapman. 2015. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Such A Little Mouse. Alice Schertle. Illustrated by Stephanie Yue. 2015. [March 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Mark Teague. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Monkey and Duck Quack Up! Jennifer Hamburg. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  7. If I Ran the Zoo. Dr. Seuss. 1950. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Dr. Seuss. 1949. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose. Dr. Seuss. 1948. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  10. ABC Bunny. Wanda Gag. 1933/2004. University of Minnesota Press. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
Early readers/Early Chapter books:
  1. The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. All Hail the Queen (Anna & Elsa #1) Erica David. Illustrated by Bill Robinson. 2015. Random House. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Memory and Magic (Anna & Elsa #2) Erica David. Illustrated by Bill Robinson. 2015. Random House. 128 pages. [Source: Library] 
Middle Grade:
  1. The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands. Louise Borden. 2004. Illustrated by Niki Daly. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Cats in Krasinski Square. Karen Hesse. Illustrated by Wendy Watson. 2004. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Wanderville.  Wendy McClure. 2014. Penguin. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Little Author in the Big Woods. Yona Zeldis McDonough. 2014. Henry Holt. 176 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1937. 340 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6.  Rain Reign. Ann M. Martin. 2014. Feiwel & Friends. 240 pages. [Source: Library] 
  7. Winterbound. Margery Williams Bianco. 1936/2014. Dover. 234 pages. [Source: Bought]
  8. All the Answers. Kate Messner. 2015. Bloomsbury USA. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women. Cornelia Meigs. 1933/1995. Little, Brown. 256 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. Thimble Summer. Elizabeth Enright. 1938/2008. SquareFish. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. Debby. Siddie Joe Johnson. Illustrated by Ninon MacKnight. 1940.  Longmans, Green and Co. 214 pages. [Source: Bought]
  12. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Elizabeth Foreman Lewis. illustrated by William Low. 1932/2008. Square Fish. 302 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. The Graham Cracker Plot. Shelley Tougas. 2015. Roaring Brook Press. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
  14. Boundless. Kenneth Oppel. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 320 pages. [Source: Library] 
  15. Best Kept Secret. (Family Tree #3) Ann M. Martin. 2014. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Young Adult:
  1. Tesla's Attic.  (Accelerati #1). Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. 2014. Disney-Hyperion. 256 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Entangled. Amy Rose Capetta. 2013. HMH. 336 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Beyond the Parallel. Robin Brande. 2015. Ryer Publishing. 348 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Adult Fiction:
  1. The Lilies of the Field. William Edmund Barrett. 1962/1988. Grand Central Publishing. 128 pages. [Source: Gift]
  2. The Warden. Anthony Trollope. 1855. Oxford World's Classics. 294 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. (Perry Mason #9) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1936. 189 pages. [Source: Bought]
  4. Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) Rhys Bowen. 2007. Berkley. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Hard Times. Charles Dickens. 1854/1992. Everyman's Library. 336 pages.  [Source: Library]
  6. Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope. 1863. 403 pages. [Source: Bought]
  7. Sleep in Peace Tonight. James MacManus. 2014. Thomas Dunne Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust. Flavia de Luce #7. Alan Bradley. Random House. 392 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Dying in the Wool. (Kate Shackleton #1) Frances Brody. 2009/2012. Minotaur Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. Medal for Murder. (Kate Shackleton #2) Frances Brody. 2010/2013. Minotaur Books. 432 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11. Murder in the Afternoon. (Kate Shackleton #3) Frances Brody. 2011/2014. Minotaur Books. 400 pages.  [Source: Library]
Adult Nonfiction:
  1. Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) Jennifer Worth. 2005/2008/2013. HarperCollins. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers. Margaret C. Sullivan. Quirk Publishing. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
Christian Fiction:
  1. The Trouble with Patience. (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Maggie Brendan. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1) Jill Eileen Smith. 2015. Revell. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Where Trust Lies. Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan. 2015. Bethany House. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Christian Nonfiction:
  1. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]  
  2. First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ. John MacArthur. 1994. Victor Books. 191 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. Tyndale's New Testament. Translated by William Tyndale. A Modern Spelling Edition of the 1534 Translation with an introduction by David Daniell. 1996. Yale University Press. 466 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It's Not Safe To Believe. Tom Doyle. 2015. [March 2015] Thomas Nelson. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts. Joe Rigney. Foreword by John Piper. 2015. Crossway. 272 pages.
  6. What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover: What It Means and Why It Matters. Rabbi Evan Moffic. 2015. Abingdon Press. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Wycliffe New Testament 1388: An edition in modern spelling, with an introduction, the original prologues, and the Epistle to the Laodicieans. William R. Cooper, ed. 2002. British Library. 528 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  8. Chiseled by the Master's Hand. Erwin Lutzer. 1993. Victor Publishing. 153 pages. [Source: Bought]
  9. The Unexpected Jesus. R.C. Sproul. 2005. (AKA Mighty Christ in 1995). Christian Focus. 142 pages. [Source: Bought] 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Week in Review: February 22-28

The Lilies of the Field. William Edmund Barrett. 1962/1988. Grand Central Publishing. 128 pages. [Source: Gift]
The Warden. Anthony Trollope. 1855. Oxford World's Classics. 294 pages. [Source: Bought]
Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) Jennifer Worth. 2005/2008/2013. HarperCollins. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1937. 340 pages. [Source: Library]
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. (Perry Mason #9) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1936. 189 pages. [Source: Bought]
Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) Rhys Bowen. 2007. Berkley. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
Tesla's Attic.  (Accelerati #1). Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. 2014. Disney-Hyperion. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ. John MacArthur. 1994. Victor Books. 191 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Trouble with Patience. (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Maggie Brendan. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

This week's recommendation(s):

I'd say The Lilies of The Field and The Warden!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Seuss on Saturday #9

Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I don't like to brag and I don't like to boast,
Said Peter T. Hooper, but speaking of toast
And speaking of kitchens and ketchup and cake
And kettles and stoves and the stuff people bake...
Well, I don't like to brag, but I'm telling you, Liz,
That speaking of cooks, I'm the best that there is!
Why, only last Tuesday, when mother was out
I really cooked something worth talking about!
Premise/Plot: Peter T. Hooper is bragging to a girl, presumably his sister? presumably named Liz? that he is the best cook ever, and that he recently made the best scrambled eggs ever. Of course, his scrambled eggs weren't ordinary. His eggs didn't come from ordinary hens. His eggs didn't come from a store. He sought out extraordinary birds--both big and small--and spared no expense or effort. He even recruited helpers to help him collect the most exotic bird eggs. 

My thoughts: Like If I Ran the Zoo, this is all about the rhyme. This is classic Seuss coming up with silly, bizarre yet oh-so-fun words to say.
Then I went for some Ziffs. They're exactly like Zuffs,
But the Ziffs live on cliffs and the Zuffs live on bluffs.
And, seeing how bluffs are exactly like cliffs,
It's mighty hard telling the Zuffs from the Ziffs.
But I know that the egg that I got from the bluffs,
if it wasn't a Ziff's from the cliffs, was a Zuff's.
The book is definitely silly and over-the-top. And Seuss is definitely beginning to develop his style.  Is it my favorite? Far from it.

Have you read Scrambled Eggs Super? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you think of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Horton Hears A Who!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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What If...? (2014)

What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

Joe was going to his first big party. It was at his friend Tom's house, but Joe had lost the invitation and didn't know the house number. "It's OK, Joe," said Mom. "Tom lives somewhere on this street. We'll find it." So they set off.

Premise/Plot: Joe is anxious about attending his friend's party. Not just anxious about finding his friend's house, but about the party itself. He's worried about who will be there, what kind of food there will be, what games he'll be expected to play, etc. He's not sure if he'll want to actually stay at the party. (If his mom wasn't insistent, Joe might even not go to the party to begin with.)  He is walking to the party with his mom, and, together they are looking into the windows of each house trying to find the party.

What If...? got starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly.

My thoughts: I could relate to Joe's anxiety. So I wanted to like the book. But it was just a bit too odd for me to actually like it. What didn't I like? Well, the illustrations. They look into the windows of many houses on the street. These window scenes are illustrated in detail. And the scenes are just weird and slightly disturbing at times. It was hard to take them seriously. And since Joe's anxiety was real, I thought the illustrations were off. (In one scene, there's a man and woman sitting together reading. If you look closely, he's got antennas on his balding head. In another, there's an elephant in the house. In two more scenes, it looks like their are crimes being committed. Since readers are given two glimpses of each house, one from a distance, one up close, one is supposed to conclude that Joe's anxiety is getting the best of him perhaps and his imagination has run away with him. But I'm still not sure. I just don't like the illustrations.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Step Into The Spotlight (2015)

The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Marlo's mom has just joined the circus: joined as a chef. Her and her mom will now be living on a circus train. There are several other children for Marlo to get to know: some are performers themselves, some are children of employees and/or performers. Marlo really wants to become friends with the three Stardust girls: Allie, the acrobat, Bella, the animal trainer, and Carly, the clown. She's been told she can join the Stardust Parade IF she can come up with an amazing act of her own. She has just TWO days until the next performance. She's very determined and quite ambitious. Perhaps she can learn to be an acrobat? or a clown? or work with animals? Or perhaps not. Can Allie, Carly, and Bella help Marlo find her own way of being amazing? And will Marlo become a Stardust girl too?

This is an illustrated chapter book. I liked it. I did. It's a fun book with a playful premise.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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