Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

Sunday Book Review: “The Tooth Mouse,” “Mimi’s Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It” & “A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home”

September 9th, 2012

And now, for the kids’ book reviews:

* “The Tooth Mouse,” written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Janice Nadeau, is a charming book. (Kids Can Press, 2012, $16.95, unpaged.) The illustrator used pencils and watercolors and went primarily with pinks, browns and greens for the color scheme. Her work gives the book a soft, inviting look. Reminded me of the Madeleine books, a bit. Oui! Sweet tale about the Tooth Mouse, who is the French equivalent of the Tooth Fairy. Nice touch: Go to the back of the book and you’ll find a list of “tooth traditions from around the world.” (Greece: Tooth Mouse and Pig. Sri Lanka: Squirrel. Chile: A parent.) (Wait… a parent?) “It’s the Tooth Mouse! Le Petite Souris!” My kids were delighted by this one.

* “A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home,” was written by poet Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Ed Young. (Chronicle Kids, $16.99, 2012, unpaged.) Oh, I like collages. And I love poetry, too. So this one jumped right up into my hands. (My kids liked it, too.) Fourteen critters, including Humboldt penguins, flamingos and mountain goats, keep on going in the strange places where they reside. Fun poems, and delightful art.

On the Rocks

“In the intertidal zone,
where waves are prone
to be forceful,
where the waters rush
to batter, buffet, crush,
dislodge, displace, fling,
a limpet is resourceful.
Its fine construction
employs suction.
In other words, its thing
is mightily to cling.”

* “Mimi’s Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed it,” by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, is a new publication from Citizen Kid. (Kids Can Press, $18.95, 2012, 32 pages.) As a rule, I dislike “message” books. (Why bullying is bad; a lesson, or six, about “kindness,” etc.) My son calls those ones, “Books that grown-ups like, but not kids.” (The Berenstain Bears, I am sad to say, fall into this category and are beloved by educators everywhere.) I am pleased to report that “Mimi’s Village,” while it has a message to send, is not a “message” book. Mimi lives in West Kenya, and her little sister, Nakkissi, gets sick from dirty water that Mimi let her drink. The family looks for help, but will it arrive in time? This would be a useful book in the classroom. The illustrations and story are bright and engaging. The glossary includes words from Swahili and Luyha dialects. I loved that the author included a whole section in the back with information on village health care workers, a breakdown of reasons why health care is critical, and a long list of websites where aid can be given. Nice job on this one.

on the nightstand this week: “Getting Over Mr. Right,” “The Magus” and anything by David Foster Wallace

September 9th, 2012

Man, do we like to read over here. I can’t review any of these, cuz we’re hip-deep in reading them. But I will say this:

* “Un Lun Dun” is one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read. It’s right up there with Harry Potter and the Hunger Games for me. China Mieville is wicked genius. So check it out. (May be too scary for the littles, but older kids will love it — grades four and up, I would say.)

* My daughter is reading “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” by Ned Vizzini and is really into it. I’m reading it as soon as she’s finished.

* I’m reading “The Magus” by John Fowles for classics book group. I’ve never heard of this one before, which is a shame because 1) It’s apparently A Classic and 2) It’s very sexy and good. Also weird.

* I kind of have a crush on David Foster Wallace, which is too bad, because he not just a late, great american author, he is the Late, Great American Author, DFW. (Seriously. Everyone just refers to him as DFW.) Why is it I never heard of him before last year? Hmmm. Would ponder this, if I had time. Maybe I’m not as well-read as I think I am.

* “Getting Over Mr. Right,” by Chrissie Manby, is British and sexy and funny. I’m all into the sexy books this week, it would appear.

* Steve is reading “The Wrecking Crew,” by Kent Hartman, and says it is all right. He’s interested in the subject, as a musician.

* So there you have it. My only complaint this week is that we’re back in school, we have too much going on, and no one is getting enough sleep over here. But what else is new?

What u reading at your house?

And now, a public service announcement from the Streets of Portland:


(Photo by Steve Rawley)

qotd: Arrested Development

September 9th, 2012

Michael: “And you finished off the whole bottle?”
Lindsay Funke: “I had to, it’s vodka. It goes bad once it’s opened.”
Michael: “I think that’s another of mom’s fibs, like ‘I’ll sacrifice anything for my children.'”

photo of the day

September 8th, 2012

Mt Williams at dusk

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Loud & Proud: “An American Family” + Honey Boo Boo Child

September 6th, 2012

Watching this week:

“Television ate my family.” — Lance Loud

We came up with the best way ever to spend our wedding anniversary this year: watching the Loud family implode on PBS’s “An American Family.” Me to Steve: “Don’t get any ideas.” His response: “Don’t even worry.”

I remember my ma telling me that she and my dad spent hour after hour, week after week, watching the documentary (the first “reality” TV program) when it first aired in 1973. I didn’t know what to expect, really, but I wanted to watch “Cinema Verite” (with Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as Pat and Bill Loud, and James Gandolfini as the series’s producer, Craig Gilbert). Didn’t feel like it was fair to the Louds to watch the fictional filming of their documentary, or the “behind-the-scenes-making-of” film of the film of the documentary (it all gets a little wiggy) without watching their documentary — the real one, which began shooting in 1971 — first. Now I want to give them all a hug, especially Lance, who I just adore, but he is gone now.

Also we’ve been watching non-stop “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” over here and Lord, does my head hurt now. It’s all good TV, people. Have you watched any of these films/shows? If so, what did you think? Gimme the Louds over the Kardashians any day, and gimme Honey Boo Boo any day over “Survivor,” woooooooooooooo-hoooooooooooo :) We love that little firecracker, she’s a pistol. She fractures me, I am not even kidding.

No, I’m not getting much writing done, but I need that once in awhile.

OK, I have to go to bed. More on all of this later. Much.

Msg to Betsy Hammond & Tom Hallman: Please will you learn to write please.

September 2nd, 2012

Betsy Hammond asks, Is the children learning? Maybe she and Tom Hallman can give lessons — pretty soon they’ll all be writing like m@th!rf&*ers smh ;)

From Thee O’s comments section:

“The irony flag was up in my head before I even started reading, and I knew it wouldn’t take long. I made it to the third paragraph. ‘But with class sizes swelling and teens more prone to text and tweet than string paragraphs together, schools and teachers face a tall order.’ And I could go no further.”

« Previous Page