Kids Book Corner

  • Goose Girl
  • Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
  • Peter and The Shadow Thieves
  • Peter and The Star Catchers
  • Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
  • Stella Brite and The Dark Matter Myster
  • The Island of The Blue Dolphins
  • The Phantom Toll Booth
  • The School Library Journal
  • The Sisters Grimm
  • Tuck Everlasting


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Cookies, Milk and a Good Book

Rachel, Noah and Eve went in for their yearly check-ups last week. Only Noah needed a shot. He got the Chicken Pox booster. I told him he could squeeze my hand if he needed to. I watched his mouth pop open when the needle went in, then he shut it. I looked at him and asked if it hurt? The nurse had the bandaid ready and was looking for the puncture, but wasn's finding it and asked Noah were it was. Then Noah said, "If shots were as painful as they are rumored to be you think I would be able to find it."

Everyone is growing well and pretty healthy. I asked about Noah's ever present bumps on his face. The doctor said it is a hereditary condition called pilaris keratosis. He also has patches on the back of his arms. The doctor recommended Lac-Hydrin. Noah wondered if that meant he could stop washing with the acne wash I had for the kids. I told him no. His skin has a harder time naturally sloughing off cells, so he gets some acne too. Some treatments list Retin-A, but Eve is allergic and so is my nephew Tyler. It leaves red burned patches of skin where the ointment touches, so that idea is out for any of my kids. The doctor said the condition should lessen as he gets older. Noah seemed to get the majority of the attention on this visit. We had him show the doctor how he can pretzel twist his fingers together in a really disturbing, yet interesting way. I wondered if this was a contributing factor to his poor fine motor ability, but the doctor didn't think so. He said that Noah just appeared to have very lax joints. We joke with Noah that he has little paws, and old man ear lobes, so we know his just has lax joints and connective tissue. Hmmm...interesting.

A fun and busy weekend. On Saturday morning I joined Rachel, Julia, Hannah, and Julia's mom, Karen in front of the Wallsmart to sell Girl Scout cookies at a booth sale. It was chilly, but we enjoyed being silly together. Sometimes people would walk out of the store with their carts loaded with different items and we would yell happily about how well that item went with cookies. I made Karen lose her train of thought when I yelled as a man passed by that cookies went great with Bud Light. Later, Rachel told a customer that cookies went well with birdseed. Hey, we worked with what we had. The girls made up a song to the old "Camp Town Races" tune:

C-o-o-k-i-e-s, Cookies! Cookies!
C-o-o-k-i-e-s, Cookies are our friends! Whoo!

We sold most of our wares with just a few dosidos and trefoils left.

Then, we went to Steak and Shake. I called Michael and invited him to bring Aaron, Aaron's friends Jeremy (who slept over) and Shafer. The place was packed so we had to do two nearby booths. Rachel and Julia crumbled a couple of samoas into their vanilla shakes.

The rest of the day I hung out at my mom and Jim's house and kept an eye on my brother so they could go out to a church activity. Michael stayed with Aaron and Rachel. I was able to finish The Lightning Thief by Riordan. Noah begged me to read this book. He gets very animated when he talks about the series and wanted to be able for me to understand what he was so excited about.

I saw the movie before reading the book, which is not the order I like to do things. I was rather stunned as each chapter rolled by that the only thing resembling the book that was in the movie was some of the main characters and the book title. I was less than unimpressed by the movie, but was willing to give the book a chance. The book is directed at the Middle School aged audience, but really hits the mark for the 4th-6th grade set and hovers there. The perils and adventures in the life of Percy Jackson are explained away as the whims and petty jealousies of the bickering Greek gods. I can see why young kids would find this book quite a lot of fun, but I found it rather tedious and am curious its literary staying power.

On a more positive note about this book series, it lit the flame of reading under my reluctant 9 year-old, and for that I am thankful to Mr. Riordan. I find Noah perched (yes, he perches when he reads. I'll have to post a picture of it some time)reading all the time now. He finished every book in the Percy Jackson series and is reading a Mythology book from his teacher's collection. He is also into the ,Animorphs book series.

Another Book Review:
I am absolutely amazed by Navajo Code Talkers. Thanks to Noah's teacher, who lent me this book of historical fiction of the invaluable contribution of the Code Talkers during WWII, I was able to learn more about their struggles.
I agonized over the way the government tried to strip the tribal peoples of their language and culture. The Navajo, along with other tribes, were physically harmed if they used their language or ways, then were called upon to use that same banned language to assist the war effort with their unbreakable code. They were unable to talk about what they did for the U.S. and freedom until the lifting of the top secret status in 1969.
I found it fascinating that they were very suited to the strenous life of a Marine, except for the cultural mistrust of water, which they overcame. Their stoic nature made it difficult for them to get help for the post traumatic stress that the horrors of war brought to them. The war gave them the opportunity to prove that their language is valuable and if the government and bigotry had won out, than that same government may have sewn the seed of its own destruction. I think these cautionary tales need to be frequently read. We can use this story into other facets of our life to realize the thing we destroy today, or disregard its value is the very thing that may preserve our lives tomorrow.

This is the first in the series of books set in the dystopian world a few hundred years from now when the "Rusties" have left some of the world in desolation. There are cities that rose from the rubble with advanced technology and the desire to stop future aggression and destruction by making everyone virtually the same. You are an "Ugly" until your 16th birthday, then you get an operation to make you physically attractive and almost impervious to illness. You also become rather docile. This life of perfection is the thing that most uglies desire. Tally Youngblood, the main character, looks forward to her operation, but in the mean time likes to do "tricks" to pass the time. Tally learns that there are people in "The Smoke" that want to live the rest of their lives ugly.

The book is aimed at the young adult group and really hits the mark. I thought the ideas were a great extension of an old Twilight Zone episode. The book is fast paced and interesting throughout. The character of Dr. Cable is a good foil for Tally's character. A good start to the series.

The second in the series finds Tally "Pretty". She finds friends in a clique called "The Crims" who did a lot of tricks during their ugly days. She lives in a world of beauty, parties, limitless food (with calorie purgers), yet is visited by feelings of inadequacy and longing for something she can't quite remember.

This series is like watching a chess match. The interesting thing is that Tally Youngblod's character seems to shift from pawn, to queen, to pawn again. Again the pace is fast and the pretty language is kind of Valley Girlesque, but appropriate. A solid sequel. I look forward to the third book.

The book I'm reading now is, Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.

Well, Michael made a yummy late lunch of scrambled eggs, bacon, and sweet potato/russet potato hashbrown, so I'm ready to curl up with a book. Two kids are in timeout for fighting and the other two just got out. There is an air of peace in the house, so maybe I could slip in a nap too?


1 comment:

Sue H. said...

Good Book reviews, as usual. And, I always love Noahisms.
Hope you had a wonderful reading/nap time on Sunday Afternoon.
When are you going to read your cousin Eddie's book? I think I gave it to you for Christmas two, or was it three, years ago.