This book was a fun combination of fantasy and finishing school. Sophronia is growing up in a Victorian-ish era. The ‘ish’ is there because it’s also a world of vampires, werewolves and flywaymen. That threw me off for a bit, but once I figured that out, the rest was smooth sailing aboard the floating Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Except for the flywaymen attacks and the espionage. It was a quick, fast-paced read and I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!
Sarah Nelson and her father move every time someone uncovers the secret she and her father avoid talking about. Her list of forbidden questions and words seems to grow whenever she asks her father about her mother. But, sometimes Sarah Nelson needs to dig for answers. Her alcoholic mother and her mentally-ill mother do not have many answers for her, and so it is up to her to search alone, wondering if her personal idiosyncrasies are really signs that she is crazy like her mother. When, once again the press finds out the family secret, Sarah decides that courage is not only found in books, like her favorite novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. So Sarah sets out to face her greatest fear and biggest mystery.
Sure Signs of Crazy is a journey of discovery and mystery, and it was a pleasure to get to know Sarah Nelson as she discovered her true self.
The unique things about The Vine Basket is that it reads like historical fiction, and yet is realistic and also, I believe, contemporary fiction. The author, Josanne La Valley based The Vine Basket on an experience she had while in northwest China. Uyghur is a tribe in China where the girls who don’t go to school or have poor families are in danger of being sent to work in factories. Local leaders have quotas to fill, so girls must constantly be on the watch. Mehrigul is one girl who knows she is in danger of being sent to work in the factories. Her older brother has left taking all hope from Mehrigul’s father. Will Mehrigul find a way to stay at home on the family farm, or will she give up her dreams of staying home and be sent to work in the factories far from grandfather and everything else she loves?
I enjoyed reading The Vine Basket and think you will too. Incidentally, I also think this book would be perfect for a school assignment. At 242 pages, it’s plenty long enough, and I would love to have teens read it and gain a broader world view- and maybe a greater understanding of who might be manufacturing the Chinese goods they purchase so cheaply. The price, it turns out, is really not so cheap.
If you have a lower elementary aged child, get ready for some wiggly teeth! This book is the perfect fit for those first wiggly tooth experiences. My 1st grader loved this and my preschooler is convinced that he has loose teeth just like Chipmunk. When Chipmunk’s awesome front tooth starts to wiggle even though he takes great care of it, he wonders what is going on. His initial confusion turns into understanding and joy when he realizes all the other kids his age are going through the same thing he is. Chipmunk is a little naive for my taste- what child doesn’t know about losing teeth- but maybe there are some kids like that out there. That particular fact didn’t seem to bother my kids one little bit, and they gave this book a big thumb’s up- and that’s what it’s all about! Do you have any tooth wigglers at your house?
*I received a review copy of this book for free.
Shoes for Me! and A Dress for Me! by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Mike Laughead, immediately bring to mind my many adorable nieces. One such niece, age 5, was recently being put to bed by my brother. After laying side by side for quite some time, she said, “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin?” My brother replied, “Sleep?” to which she replied, “Shoes and dresses. They are soooo pretty.” I think I know at least one little girl who would especially love these books!
In A Dress for Me! Hippo goes shopping for a new dress for school. She goes through dozens of dresses of all shapes and sizes until at last her mom is done. But Hippo hasn’t found the perfect dress yet, and begs to try on one more. Girls of all ages will identify with the hunt for the perfect dress and the hunt for the perfect shoes.
In Shoes for Me! Hippo’s feet have grown and it’s time to go shoe shopping. With a parallel storyline of tons to choose from, but none just right until Mom is fed up and ready to leave. Hippo always finds what she’s looking for in the nick of time.
If you have little ladies that love dresses and shoes, these are the perfect companion books to read with them. Fliess has a way with words and her rhymes will bring lots of smiles as you send your little ones off to bed with visions of dresses and shoes in their heads. While you could certainly read one without the other, I recommend getting both- because what girl only needs a dress without a new pair of shoes or a new pair of shoes without a dress?
I wish I could go to this. But, since I just got home from a trip to Europe, and seeing lots of other famous museums, I guess it’s not my turn this year. I would love to see the amazing illustrations at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I hope you can go and that you will tell me all about it! Please see below for details from the press release:
Art Auction to Benefit The Eric Carle Museum
Highly-Acclaimed Illustrators Donate Original Picture Book Art to 2013 Carle Honors
But there was more to see
Illustration © 1990 by Chris Van Allsburg
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s 2013 Carle Honors Art Auction features 17 original works of art donated by some of the industry’s most highly-renowned illustrators. The silent auction will take place on September 26th at Guastavino’s in New York City at the eighth annual Carle Honors, which will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the landmark Museum located in Amherst, MA. All works will be on display at Books of Wonder (18 West 18th Street, NYC) from September 5 through September 25, and can be viewed online at www.carlemuseum.org/carlehonors/auction2013. Absentee bids are encouraged, and can be placed now by contacting Rebecca Miller Goggins at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 413-658-1118.
The Carle Honors Art Auction benefits The Eric Carle Museum and its mission to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. Exclusive original illustrations have been donated by Eric Carle, Tony DiTerlizzi, Richard Egielski, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, David Macaulay, Barbara McClintock, Barry Moser, Jerry Pinkney, Susan L. Roth, Chris Van Allsburg, David Wiesner, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems and Robert R. Zakanitch. Works of art by the late Tom Feelings and William Steig have been specially contributed by Niani Feelings and Jeanne Steig, the 2011 Carle Honors Angel.
Don’t you want some of these pictures for your very own?