Thursday, May 26, 2016

30 Days of Books: Day 4

I saw this at The Written World--a blog I've been following for most of the time I've been blogging--and I thought I'd join in the fun. I believe the most recent recurrence of this is from Jenni Elyse's blog.

Today's prompt: Favorite book of your favorite series

Yesterday, I chose the Anne series as my favorite series. Today I'll choose--somehow--my favorite book from that series. I've got it narrowed down to three or so. I love, love, love Anne of Green Gables. It introduces us to Anne, Marilla, Matthew, Mrs. Lynde, Diana, and GILBERT. It is a coming-of-age story not only for Anne but for Marilla as well. And I can't read it without CRYING over Matthew. But. Just when I think I've decided that is "the one" I start thinking about the others. I love the character of Davy introduced in Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. And Anne of the Island has that incredible 'aha' moment where Anne realizes what we've known all along. Gilbert is the LOVE OF HER LIFE. But I also love, love, love, love Rilla of Ingleside. It is practically perfect in every way. And how it makes me cry!!! Both tears of happiness and sadness. It gets me every time.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The Dot

The Dot. Peter H. Reynolds. 2003. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Art class was over, but Vashti sat glued to her chair. Her paper was empty.

Premise/plot: Vashti tells the art teacher, "I can't draw." Her teacher offers a suggestion--simple and pure--"Just make a mark and see where it takes you." So she makes a dot, a single dot. How far will that dot take her?!

My thoughts: I really, really love this one. I do. It is a fine story made great by the ending. I love how Vashti is able to both inspire and encourage another frustrated kid. When she hears, 'I can't draw,' she knows just what to say... I love how the book shows how a simple thing like a change in perspective can change everything. The book also, of course, celebrates expression and creativity.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

30 Days of Books: Day 3

I saw this at The Written World--a blog I've been following for most of the time I've been blogging--and I thought I'd join in the fun. I believe the most recent recurrence of this is from Jenni Elyse's blog.

Today's prompt: Your favorite series


Today I'll go with the Anne series by L.M. Montgomery. (Though I was tempted to go with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.) I have been reading and rereading Anne since I was in sixth or seventh grade. So a LONG time! I adore Anne and Gilbert.

What is YOUR favorite series?

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Louise Loves Art

Louise Loves Art. Kelly Light. 2014. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I love art! It's my imagination on the outside. So little time, so much to draw.

Premise/plot: Readers meet Louise, a little girl, who LOVES art. Actually, she loves art and Art. One day Louise creates a masterpiece. But. Before she can properly hang it in the gallery (on the refrigerator), her little brother Art gets a hold of it...with a pair of scissors. What will happen next?!?!

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I love Louise. I love Art. I love how their characterization comes through both in the text and in the art. I even love their cat. Her masterpiece is a drawing of their cat, and she finally captured his cat-ness. The use of language is wonderful. For example, "I've done it. So fierce! So feline! So fantastic...a masterpiece." I love the little details too. (For example, the "Herman Hermit" Louise passes on her way to the kitchen. The way Art is watching her create at the beginning, and actually drawing alongside her at the end. The use of color). And I love the double meaning of the title. It was very clever to name the little brother, Art!!!

Watch the Emily Arrow video. (I love the doll! Oh, how I wished I had one!!)

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

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

30 Days of Books: Day 2

I saw this at The Written World--a blog I've been following for most of the time I've been blogging--and I thought I'd join in the fun. I believe the most recent recurrence of this is from Jenni Elyse's blog.

Today's prompt: A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

(Those that *know* me know absolutely that I am a BIG, BIG, BIG rereader).

I could go with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Or. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Or practically anything by Jane Austen. Speaking of Jane, there's always Jane Eyre. And then there is almost anything by L.M. Montgomery. But. Instead I'm going with a chunkster that I've read three times. I am really hoping to read it again this year: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

What keeps me coming back to Les Miserables? I love, love, love the bigness of it.
This book is a drama, whose leading personage is the Infinite. Man is the second.
The book has depth. The story it tells is memorable and emotional. It is a book you EXPERIENCE. I love so many things about it: the depth and quality of the writing, the characterization, the narration, the themes.

There are many words that could be used to describe Les Miserables: compelling, political, spiritual, philosophical, dramatic, romantic. It is just as concerned about politics and social justice as it is romance and family. It touches on the subjects of education, crime, poverty, and injustice. It's a novel where ideas matter just as much as characters.

It's also a novel heavy on details. When it's good, it's REALLY good. But at times some of the details are too taste-specific. In other words, some of the details weigh the story down. At times Les Miserables is boring. It's worth reading. It is. It's worth pushing through to the end. It's okay to skim certain sections, in my opinion, because it is one of the most satisfying reading experiences overall. Not that I LOVE the ending, though I think I may have made peace with it this time around.

Who are some of the characters? Bishop Myriel, Jean Valjean, Fantine, Inspector Javert, Cosette, Marius, Eponine, Enjolras, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, Mabeuf, Monsieur Gillenormand, and Gavroche--just to name a few.  I don't know if I can say I have a favorite. I know which characters I don't like. But I really just like all of them--no matter their strengths and weaknesses.

Do you have a favorite character? a favorite scene?


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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