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


Monday, August 02, 2010


That was the title in my head when I was thinking about the history stories in this first book review:

I had a good laugh along with learning some changes to history as researched by Graeme Donald. There always seems to be a caveat to any historical story, so I am even skeptical about these changes, but they are plausible. I was intrigued by the theory that many of the presumed bubonic plague cases might have actually been anthrax. For those who love to learn about history, but think it a bit dry this book is up your alley.

This book brought back a bit of nostalgia. The main character's mother is practicing for her appearance on the Twenty-Five Thousand Dollar Pyramid. That was one of the many t.v. game shows that I loved to watch. Miranda is a 6th grader who is a latch key kid who can't figure out what is going on with her best friend Sal. New York City is the setting and Miranda begins to get mysterious notes that spook her. A thread that runs through the book is the time traveling, science fictions story by Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle Time.

This book combined layered characters, science fiction, friendship, growing up and questioning how far you might go to right a wrong. A fantastic book for tweens to adults.

The setting for this book is Adenville, Utah where only a few towns folk are not Mormons. Tom, The Great Brain, and is brothers and mom and dad are part of the non-Mormon contingent. Tom and his brothers hold their own in the hard scrabble life of kids growing up at the end of the 1800's. In this town you have to show your strong, so you won't get beat up. Tom is always looking for a way to make a penny and his family keep him, somewhat, in check...but not much.
This book was recommended to me by a friend with the review that it was a lot of fun. I would have to say that there are, indeed, many adventures that the boys get into throughout the book, but the undertones maintained a mean-spiritedness that Rachel and I found distasteful reminding us of how we felt while reading The Diary of A Wimpy Kid. I felt that the entire book was a set up for the last page, which surprisingly delivers. Unfortunately, there are the rest of the pages that led up to that last one that you have to read. Simply not a fun book for our family read.

As I read this book absentmindedly, then more nervously scratching at a couple of mosquito bites on my neck, I was drawn in with the clear and engaging prose of Sonia Shah. She presented the history of Malaria and the mosquito as the vector for it's spread in a fascinating way. She explains the health consequences of malaria and how quickly and easily it can be transmitted throughout the world. She explains the political and economic ramifications of this plasmodium parasite and doesn't genuflect to deep pocket backers of malaria research who throw money at the problem in the genuine effort to fix the problem without listening to and looking at other more realistic scientific options. The plasmodium parasite has an ability to quickly adapt to the changing environment and pesticides while researchers continue to seek a way to defeat it's transmission.

Grab a hankie my friends! This book plucks all the heart strings. Petey is born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and also given the diagnosis of "Idiot" though he doesn't have a mental deficit. His mother and father are unprepared or able to take care of Petey's physical needs and those of their older children who feel neglected by all of the care required by Petey. At the age of 2 Petey goes to a state asylum. Over the years Petey's natural good nature helps him make friends, but most move on. Finally a young boy befriends Petey and learns that family can be more than biological. Petey also teaches those around him to appreciate things that are taken for granted.

Mo Willems can make Naked Mole Rats look great. This book was a fun read about being an individual...with style.

A rather clinical approach, not surprising, for the history of the Epidemic Intelligence Service. The evolution of this program to help locate the vectors and origins of epidemics. They can upset people because they are not on the scene as health care providers. They are masters at asking pertinent questions to find the source of the outbreaks through interviews and on sight detective work. There was a lot of information to present, which I'm sure was daunting. Though I found the subject fascinating I kept comparing this work to the writing of the development of forensics in the U.S. by Deborah Blum titled, The Poisoner's Handbook. Blum's prose is captivating, while Pendergast is a bit dry. I still found the characters and the development of the E.I.S. worth the read.

Learning to say "it's my fault" and "I'm sorry" is a hard lesson for many of us. This gooey mess of a book brings it home in a creative, eye-catching way. A Dr. Seuss I should have read eons ago. A simple message that can accomplish great things.

::::::::::::::::Conversations with Noah and Eve

On our return from the dentist office Noah and Eve got into a discussion about children and marriage.

Noah: I'm never getting married. I'm going to adopt.

me: You don't want any one who can help you?

Noah: No. I can do it.

Eve: Are you going to adopt a boy or a girl?

Noah: It will probably be a dude.

me: Will you make him wear a belt and get a haircut? (This is a reference to our discussion on Sunday about wearing a belt and getting his hair cut.)

Noah: Yeah, I'll make him wear a belt sometimes, but no ties. I hate ties.

Eve: Why not adopt a girl they don't wear belts.

Noah: I don't understand girls. I don't get them at all.

:::::::::::::Michael and Rachel Circulating the Room:::::::

Rachel requested a room makeover. She firmly stated that she had outgrown pink and lavender along time ago (this did not take into account that Eve was 7 and still liked it). We went to the home improvement stores to get paint samples. She did get final approval with Eve, since they share the room. She chose "Aegean Blue" and "Blue Suede". The lighter color matched exactly to the sample, but the darker bottom color came out greener, but it still looked good so we went with it. I cut it everything and Michael did a couple of coats of the lighter top color before leaving for Philmont, NM with Aaron. Eve cried that the castle Michael painted would be gone, but Michael assured her it would be okay and that we would take a photo.

Bye, our Castle in the Sky...

I patched all the little nail and pin holes.

I finished touch ups on the top, painted the bottom and the chair rail:

When Michael got home he helped Rachel put up her repositionable vinyl circles in chocolate brown and white:

I had already hung the Japanese paper lantern I found at Kohl's department store:

The company sent a complimentary pair of chocolate brown butterflies:

Michael found a salvaged cork board for some of the girls' artwork:

Rachel loves her Photo booth pics with her brother Noah:
Rachel displays a letter and magazine photo from her friend Julia (apparently there is some inside joke about llamas). She also has her detailed map of "Rachovia" (a town from her imagination...or is it? The photo of the crazy, long curly fry was a keeper too.

:::::::::::::Next post should have Philmont photos from Michael and Aaron's trip.

Smiles and thank you to Michael for fixing the computer!