Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Reflections

In June, I read 65 books.

My top five:

Al Capone Does My Homework. Gennifer Choldenko. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages.
The Testing. Joelle Charbonneau. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 344 pages.
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. Richard Peck. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages.
They Found Him Dead. Georgette Heyer. 1937. Sourcebooks. 325 pages
The Language Inside. Holly Thompson. 2013. Random House. 528 pages.

Children's Books:

  1. Off to First Grade. Louise Borden. Illustrated by Joan Rankin. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. 
  2. Monsters on Machines. Deb Lund. Illustrated by Robert Neubecker. 2008. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. 
  3. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken. Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. 2008. HarperCollins. 56 pages. 
  4. Utterly Otterly Day. Mary Casanova. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. 
  5. Madeline and the Cats of Rome. John Bemelmans Marciano. 2008. Penguin. 48 pages. 
  6. Friday My Radio Flyer Flew. Zachary Pullen. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. 
  7. President Pennybaker. Kate Feiffer. Illustrated by Diane Goode. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. 
  8. The Odd Egg. Emily Gravett. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.         
  9. Yes, Let's. Galen Longstreth. Illustrated by Maris Wicks. 2013. Tanglewood Press. 32 pages. 
  10. Ball. Mary Sullivan. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. 
  11. Giddy-Up, Daddy! Troy Cummings. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. 
  12. Pirates vs. Cowboys. Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by David Barneda. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. 
  13. When Mermaids Sleep. Ann Bonwill. Illustrated by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher. 2013. Random House. 32 pages. 
  14. The Green Bath. Margaret Mahy. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. 2013. Scholastic. 40 pages. 
  15. Bad Astrid. Eileen Brennan. Illustrated by Regan Dunnick. Random House. 40 pages.    
  16. Who Wants to Be A Poodle I don't. Lauren Child. 2009. Candlewick. 40 pages. 
  17. Llama Llama Misses Mama. Anna Dewdney. 2009. Penguin. 40 pages.
  18. Grumpy Grandpa. Heather Henson. Illustrated by Ross Macdonald. 2009. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.
  19. Not Last Night But The Night Before. Colin McNaugton. Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. 2009. Candlewick. 32 pages.
  20. Oh, What a Beautiful Day! A Counting Book. Jeanne Modesitt. Illustrated by Robin Spowart. 2009. Boyds Mill Press. 32 pages.
  21. Snippet the Early Riser. Bethanie Deeney Murguia. 2013. Random House. 40 pages.
  22. The Story of Peppa Pig. Scholastic. 2013. 32 pages.
  23. Good Night, Sleep Tight. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Judy Horacek. 2013. Scholastic. 32 pages.
  24. Toys in Space. Mini Grey. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.
  25.  Ribbit. Rodrigo. Folgueira. Illustrated by Poly Bernatene. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.
Middle Grade and Young Adult:
  1. Al Capone Does My Homework. Gennifer Choldenko. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages. 
  2. The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. Richard Peck. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages. 
  3. The Belgian Twins. Lucy Fitch Perkins. 1917. 124 pages. 
  4. The Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling. 1894/1895/2012. Random House. 320 pages.  
  5. Odessa Again. Dana Reinhardt. 2013. Random House. 208 pages.
  6. The Language Inside. Holly Thompson. 2013. Random House. 528 pages.
  7. Magic for Marigold. L.M. Montgomery. 1929. 274 pages.
  8. Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum. 1908. 148 pages. 
  9. The Moon and More. Sarah Dessen. Penguin. 384 pages.
  10. Only You Can Save Mankind. Terry Pratchett. 1992. 207 pages. 
  11. Emily's Quest. L.M. Montgomery. 1927. 228 pages.
  12. In A Glass Grimmly. Adam Gidwitz. 2012. Penguin. 192 pages.  
  13. The Testing. Joelle Charbonneau. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 344 pages.
Adult Books:
  1. The Blue Castle. L.M. Montgomery. 1926. 218 pages.  
  2. The Red Box. Nero Wolfe. (Nero Wolfe #4) 1936. 266 pages. 
  3. The Reluctant Widow. Georgette Heyer. 1946/2008. Sourcebooks. 316 pages. 
  4. Detection Unlimited. Georgette Heyer. 1944/2010. Sourcebooks. 378 pages.  
  5. The Foundling. Georgette Heyer. 1948/2009. Sourcebooks. 439 pages. 
  6. The Autobiography of Methuselah. John Kendrick Bangs. 1909. 104 pages. 
  7. Arabella. Georgette Heyer. 1949/2009. Sourcebooks. 312 pages. 
  8. Death in the Stocks. Georgette Heyer. 1935/2009. Sourcebooks. 314 pages. 
  9. Behold, Here's Poison. Georgette Heyer. 1936/2009. Sourcebooks. 330 pages. 
  10. They Found Him Dead. Georgette Heyer. 1937. Sourcebooks. 325 pages    
  11. Strong Poison. Dorothy L. Sayers. 1930/1995. HarperCollins. 272 pages.  
  12. The Five Red Herrings. Dorothy L. Sayers. 1931. HarperCollins. 325 pages.
  13. A Blunt Instrument. Georgette Heyer. 1938. Sourcebooks. 309 pages.
Christian Books:
  1. The Christian Atheist: Believing in God But Living As If He Doesn't Exist. Craig Groeschel. 2010. Zondervan. 256 pages.
  2. Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know...And What They Mean. Rebecca Lutzer. 2013. Harvest House. 111 pages.
  3. The Book of Revelation. Adapted by Matt Dorff. Translated by Father Mark Arey and Father Philemon Sevastiades. Illustrated by Chris Koelle. 2012. Zondervan. 192 pages.  
  4. Love's Unfolding Dream. Janette Oke. 1987. Bethany House. 240 pages. 
  5. The Holy Spirit: Who He Is and What He Does. R.A. Torrey. Edited by Harold J. Chadwick. Bridge Logos. 343 pages. 
  6. In The Steps of the Master. H.V. Morton. 1934. 416 pages.  
  7. Creature of the Word. Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, Josh Patterson. 2012. B&H. 256 pages.
  8. The Pilgrim's Progress. John Bunyan. 1678. 185 pages? 
  9. Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark. J.C. Ryle. 384 pages. 
  10. Name Above All Names. Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson. 2013. Crossway. 192 pages. 
  11. Children's Favorite Bible Stories. Compiled by Tama Fortner. Illustrated by Natalie Carabetta. 2012. Thomas Nelson. 432 pages.  
  12. The Glory of Heaven: The Truth About Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life. John MacArthur. 1996/2013. Crossway. 224 pages.
  13. Done: What Most Religions Don't Tell You About the Bible. Cary Schmidt. 2005. Striving Together Publications. 114 pages.
  14. The Cure: The Divine RX for the Body of Christ: Life Changing Love. Harry Kraus, M.D. 2008. 188 pages.
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday Salon: Reading The Belgian Twins (1917)

The Belgian Twins. Lucy Fitch Perkins. 1917. 124 pages.

I was very surprised by The Belgian Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins. This 1917 novel tells the story of two Belgian refugees--two children, a boy and a girl, Jan and Marie or Janke and Mie. This isn't a quaint historical book. No, it was contemporary.

The book tells of the German army invading Belgium, disrupting if not destroying the villages and farms in their path. The twins' father joined the army when the first rumors of invasion came. The twins become separated from their mother when the German army comes to their farm. The children are hidden safely away, however. They come out of hiding to discover their farm a wreck and their mother missing. Which about matches the picture of their village. The children start searching for their mother in a nearby town, but an immediate reunion is not possible. Fortunately, the children meet a handful of kind souls along the way: 'Granny' and Father and Mother DeSmet and their children.

The two eventually end up in America as refugees! It is quite an adventure how they got there! This isn't a sad refugee story, but a happy one with a couple of surprises at the end.

Have you read any of the 'Twins' books? 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Week in Review: June 23-29

The Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling. 1894/1895/2012. Random House. 320 pages. 
Odessa Again. Dana Reinhardt. 2013. Random House. 208 pages.
The Language Inside. Holly Thompson. 2013. Random House. 528 pages.
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. Richard Peck. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages.
They Found Him Dead. Georgette Heyer. 1937. Sourcebooks. 325 pages
A Blunt Instrument. Georgette Heyer. 1938. Sourcebooks. 309 pages.
The Christian Atheist: Believing in God But Living As If He Doesn't Exist. Craig Groeschel. 2010. Zondervan. 256 pages.
Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know...And What They Mean. Rebecca Lutzer. 2013. Harvest House. 111 pages. 
Done: What Most Religions Don't Tell You About the Bible. Cary Schmidt. 2005. Striving Together Publications. 114 pages.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2013 Challenge: Paris in July

Paris in July 2013
Host: Bookbath; Sign-up post
# of Books: at least one
All of July

What I read OR watched:

1. Paris. Edward Rutherfurd. 2013. 832 pages. [Source: Library]
2. Second Fiddle. Roseanne Parry. 2011. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
3. Death in the Clouds (Death in the Air). Agatha Christie. 1935. 253 pages [Source: Library]
4. Watching Les Miserables 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Library Loot: Fifth Trip in June

New Loot:
  • Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
  • Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
  • Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
  • Death in the Air by Agatha Christie
  • Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Here's a Penny by Carolyn Haywood
  • Primrose Day by Carolyn Haywood
  • Two and Two are Four by Carolyn Haywood
  • Penny and Peter by Carolyn Haywood
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Leftover Loot:
  •  The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer
  • Silesian Station by David Downing
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
  • Mary Poppins, she wrote: the Life of P.L. Travers by Valerie Lawson
  • The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller
  • A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller
  • A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs
      Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.  

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, June 28, 2013

A Blunt Instrument (1938)

A Blunt Instrument. Georgette Heyer. 1938. Sourcebooks. 309 pages.

 I hated A Blunt Instrument. I loved a Blunt Instrument. Blunt Instrument stars one of the most ANNOYING (and offensive) characters I've ever found in a mystery: Constable Malachi Glass. What makes him annoying? He only speaks in Scripture. Almost every single sentence out of his mouth--no matter the situation or context--is a quote from Scripture. So his coworkers--Inspector Hannasyde and Inspector Hemingway--could be asking a perfectly logical question extremely relevant to the murder case in question, and do they get a logical response? No! They are stuck with Glass who is more of a puzzle than a help. (If Glass is supposed to represent a "Christian" I'd be very offended! Glass is anything but.) Glass is the main reason I "hated" this mystery novel.

However, there were plenty of reasons why I LOVED it as well. There were two possibilities for romance in this one, and I happened to care about both couples! Some of the suspects in this murder mystery were so fascinating! Helen North, a neighbor, is one suspect, as is her husband, John. (The two are separated.) Helen's sister, Sally Drew, lives with her and she's a detective writer, I believe. Another memorable character and another big suspect is Neville Fletcher, the nephew-and-heir of the victim. And I really have come to enjoy seeing Inspector Hannasyde and Inspector Hemingway work together!

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

They Found Him Dead (1937)

They Found Him Dead. Georgette Heyer. 1937. Sourcebooks. 325 pages

Some books should be read in a certain order. If only I had read They Found Him Dead before reading Duplicate Death, I think I would have enjoyed Duplicate Death SO much more if I'd met Jim Kane and Patricia Allison and Timothy Harte first in the pages of They Found Him Dead!

This mystery novel is vibrant and busy! Silas Kane died on his sixtieth birthday party--a tragic accident, so everyone believes except for the exuberant Timothy! He sees MYSTERY and CRIME everywhere he looks. But when Silas Kane's heir, Clement, is murdered just a short time later, others join Timothy in thinking that there is a killer in their midst! Jim Kane is the next heir, and Timothy and Miss Allison are worried that he'll be the next victim. And it appears the danger is very real as several attempts are made on his life...

Can Inspector Hannasyde and Inspector Hemingway solve the case in time? Will Timothy be a big help or a hindrance?

What I loved about this mystery novel is the characterization. Even when the characters were despicable--and a few of them were--there is something about them making them a joy to read about! This novel has so many QUIRKY characters. A few of the characters I really did love!

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail (2013)

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. Richard Peck. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages.

Every time a human walks out of a room, something with more feet walks in. Mice, of course, who are only a whisker away and everywhere you fail to look. It's true of the room where you're sitting. It's truer still of Buckingham Palace.

Richard Peck is a great writer. Some of his novels I've loved; some I've loved, loved, loved. I definitely LOVED The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. It is an animal fantasy adventure set in Victorian England. The star of this one is a nameless (but then again nameless is blameless) runt of a mouse. This mouse is VERY curious, and he has a tail to match: for his tail forms a question mark! Readers first meet the young mouse when he's in school, but when he breaks a few too many rules he decides to run away. His running leads him into MANY adventures! I enjoyed them all!

My favorite quotes:
You rarely see a mouse that size unless he's fallen into a butter churn. (106)
"A double life? A secret agent? You never know the full truth about a teacher. And he was everywhere I turned, practically in two places at once. But then, bats can fly. Very worrying. "What a merry chase you have led us from a schoolroom where you benefited from my teaching and protection," he wheezed, shaking his scaly old head. "All the right sort of schools are bat-run, of course, from burrow to belfry," he said, off on a tangent as usual. "How much the world has to learn from us. Yes, I think you'll find that all the best teachers are old bats." (170)

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's On Your Nightstand: June


What's On Your Nightstand is hosted by 5 Minutes for Books. I'm reading a handful of books:


The Magic Pudding by Normal Lindsay. I only recently heard of this Australian children's classic originally published in 1918. It's a short read--144 pages--divided into "four slices." The illustrations are so much fun! I've read the first two slices so far, and it's LOVE. The hero of this one is a koala named Bunyip Bluegum.


The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum. I've been "reading" this one since May, I think. While the other Oz books I've mostly read in just one sitting, this one has not been an easy read for me.


Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I'm rereading Insurgent in anticipation of the release of Allegiant this fall.



Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer. I really enjoyed Short-Straw Bride, and I am enjoying her newest book too.


Mary Poppins Comes Back. P.L. Travers. I finished Mary Poppins last night and I can't wait to start the next book in the series.


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The Language Inside (2013)

The Language Inside. Holly Thompson. 2013. Random House. 528 pages.

Emma Karas may not be the first heroine in a YA novel to ask the ever-important question: where do I belong? but her story--told in verse--is powerful and compelling. Emma may have been born in America, but she's spent practically all of her almost-sixteen years living in Japan. Now that her parents have returned to the U.S.--to Lowell, Massachusetts--because of her mom's recent breast cancer diagnosis, Emma is understandably upset. It's not like her life was completely problem free in Japan, the recent tsunami is proof of that. But it was without a doubt, her HOME. Emma was a part of everything, she belonged. But struggling with her doubts and fears about her mom's cancer in addition to her anxieties about starting a new school, starting a new life, is so overwhelming. And the stress certainly isn't helping her migraines. But some of the changes are interesting if not AMAZING. And in part this is because of her grandmother's insistence that she volunteer at a care center. A couple of times a week, Emma goes and works with Zena, a paralyzed woman unable to even speak. She communicates with a letter board and the rolling of her eyes. Together Emma and Zena write poetry and discuss life--the past, the present, the future. I loved these sections with Zena. Part of her volunteer life includes seeing Samnang on a regular basis. And these two become quite close!

The Language Inside is a verse novel.


lonely is when the language outside
isn't the language inside
and words are made of just 26 letters (130)

letter by letter
word by word
Zena spells
like this poem was just
sitting in her head:

my stroke beached me like a whale on hot sand
come home! my daughter called and called
but I couldn't answer and finally she swam away

by the time I could look up to talk
and tell her to lean over my face
so I could feel the tickle of her hair
she no longer felt like my daughter

come back! I called and called
but she swam away
with my sister (336)

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Odessa Again (2013)

Odessa Again. Dana Reinhardt. 2013. Random House. 208 pages.

There comes a day in the life of every big sister when it's simply no longer suitable to share a bedroom with your toad of a little brother. For Odessa Green-Light, that day was a Tuesday.

Odessa does not like change. And since her parents divorce, Odessa has had to deal with a lot of change: moving houses, starting a new school year, her father's BIG announcement that he is getting remarried soon, and last but not least her new attic bedroom with magical properties. The last isn't exactly typical, is it?! Which makes Odessa Again quite unique as a children's book. Odessa, our heroine, is in fourth grade. She's struggling with life at home and at school. Why didn't some friendships carry over from third grade? And does Theo Summers like like her like she likes him? If Sofia is really her friend, why does she keep telling Odessa's secrets to others? Odessa is desperate for two things: to get AWAY from her brother AND to get her mom and dad back together again. Neither seems likely to happen despite Odessa's newly acquired "time travel" capabilities.

By jumping up and down on the attic floor, she can travel back in time, twenty-four hours, twenty-three hours, twenty-two hours, etc. At first, she uses these opportunities to "fix" her life for really small things, but towards the end she wants to start making HUGE changes to her life. What she learns is that even with time travel, change happens and that is okay too. 

I enjoyed this one. Odessa was easy to relate to in many ways. For example, who wouldn't want the chance to go back in time just long enough to avoid getting a horrible haircut? 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading The Jungle Book (1894/95)

The Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling. 1894/1895/2012. Random House. 320 pages. 

The Looking Glass Edition published by Random House in 2012 and featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman includes the following stories and poems in its edition of The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Brothers, Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack, Kaa's Hunting, Road Song of the Bandar-Log, How Fear Came, The Law of the Jungle, Tiger-Tiger!, Mowgli's Song, Letting in the Jungle, Mowgli's Song Against People, The King's Ankus, The Song of the Little Hunter, Red Dog, Chil's Song, The Spring Running, The Outsong, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and Darzee's Chant. Essentially readers get nine stories and nine poems that were originally published in the Jungle Book and the Second Jungle Book. These stories were published in 1894 and 1895.

For better or worse, this publication excludes The White Seal, Lukannon, Toomai of the Elephants, Shiv and the Grasshopper, Her Majesty's Servants, Parade Song of the Camp Animals, The Miracle of Purun Bhagat, A Song of Kabir, The Undertakers, A Ripple Song, Quiquern, and Angutivaun Taina. These stories and poems were also included in the original publications of the Jungle Book and the Second Jungle Book. I haven't read the excluded stories, so perhaps the editors did choose the best of the best to represent Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.

If I had to choose just one word to describe the Jungle Book, it would be DIFFERENT. It is an adventure story, and adventure stories are not uncommon. But even in its writing--the language, the sentence structure, the flow, etc.--it is different, or, unique. Almost all of the stories in this newly published edition are about Mowgli, a young boy raised by a pack of wolves in the Indian jungle. He was accepted into the wolf pack and two other animals had a hand (so to speak) in bringing him up: Bagheera, a black panther, and Baloo, a bear. Many stories stand on their own as separate adventures. Some stories focus on the dangers within the jungle that Mowgli faces--the monkey, the tiger Shere Khan, the cobra king, the dhole, etc. Some stories focus on the dangers Mowgli faces from outside the jungle, mainly the nearby villagers led by Buldeo.

The main animals readers get to know are: Bagheera, Baloo, Kaa, Hathi, and Akela.

The Jungle Book isn't exactly my kind of book. These are not the kind of stories that excite me.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Library Books Read-a-thon

Rachael Turns Pages is hosting a week long read-a-thon: June 22-28. Sign-ups are here. So I didn't get a chance to update on Wednesday. I was able to finish three books though. I'm not sure what I'll try to get read today!

 What I actually read:

Title: The Christian Atheist
Author: Craig Groeschel
# of pages: 241
Initial Thoughts: I enjoyed this one. A full review will be posted at Operation Actually Read Bible.

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
# of pages:  487
Initial Thoughts: Oh how I love and adore this one. This was my third time to read it and I still love it!!!

Title: Half Magic
Author: Edward Eager
# of pages: 192
Initial Thoughts: What a fun novel!


Title: Mary Poppins
Author: P.L. Travers
# of Pages: 224 pages
Initial Thoughts: Another reread. I think I appreciate Mary Poppins more each time I read it. This was the third time I've read it. Some chapters I loved, loved, loved. Some chapters I didn't. But it is so worth the read!

Title: The Magic Pudding
Author: Norman Lindsay
# of Pages: 144
Initial Thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this one! Everyone should know this Australian classic!

Title: The Road to Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
# of Pages: 272
Initial Thoughts: The worst Oz book I've read so far. 

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
# of Pages: 544
Initial Thoughts: While I experienced it the first time I read it; I appreciated it more the second time.

Title: Stealing the Preacher
Author: Karen Witemeyer
# of Pages: 347
Initial Thoughts: Loved the cover, liked the contents. I thought it was a bit too busy with characters that didn't quite matter. But it was a pleasant enough read. 

Title: Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up
Author: Francis Chan
# of Pages: 208
Initial thoughts: It was good.


Title: Death in the Clouds
Author: Agatha Christie
# of Pages: 253
Initial thoughts: I loved this Poirot mystery!


Library books I hope to read:
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Half Magic by Edward Eager
  • The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn't Exist by Craig Groeschel
  • Silesian Station by David Downing
  • Sky on Fire (Monument 14) by Emmy Laybourne
  • All I Need by Susane Colsanti
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
  • The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller
  • A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller
  • All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan
  • Prototype by Jonathan Martin
 Other books I hope to read:
  • Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
  • Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer
  • I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week in Review: June 16-22

Al Capone Does My Homework. Gennifer Choldenko. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages.
The Autobiography of Methuselah. John Kendrick Bangs. 1909. 104 pages.
Magic for Marigold. L.M. Montgomery. 1929. 274 pages.
The Moon and More. Sarah Dessen. Penguin. 384 pages.

Arabella. Georgette Heyer. 1949/2009. Sourcebooks. 312 pages.
Death in the Stocks. Georgette Heyer. 1935/2009. Sourcebooks. 314 pages.
Behold, Here's Poison. Georgette Heyer. 1936/2009. Sourcebooks. 330 pages.     
Off to First Grade. Louise Borden. Illustrated by Joan Rankin. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.
Monsters on Machines. Deb Lund. Illustrated by Robert Neubecker. 2008. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages.
Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken. Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. 2008. HarperCollins. 56 pages.
Utterly Otterly Day. Mary Casanova. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.
Madeline and the Cats of Rome. John Bemelmans Marciano. 2008. Penguin. 48 pages.
Friday My Radio Flyer Flew. Zachary Pullen. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.
President Pennybaker. Kate Feiffer. Illustrated by Diane Goode. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.
The Odd Egg. Emily Gravett. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.       
Yes, Let's. Galen Longstreth. Illustrated by Maris Wicks. 2013. Tanglewood Press. 32 pages.
Ball. Mary Sullivan. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages.
Giddy-Up, Daddy! Troy Cummings. 2013. Random House. 40 pages.
Pirates vs. Cowboys. Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by David Barneda. 2013. Random House. 40 pages.
When Mermaids Sleep. Ann Bonwill. Illustrated by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.
The Green Bath. Margaret Mahy. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. 2013. Scholastic. 40 pages.
Bad Astrid. Eileen Brennan. Illustrated by Regan Dunnick. Random House. 40 pages.   
Who Wants to Be A Poodle I don't. Lauren Child. 2009. Candlewick. 40 pages.
Llama Llama Misses Mama. Anna Dewdney. 2009. Penguin. 40 pages.
Grumpy Grandpa. Heather Henson. Illustrated by Ross Macdonald. 2009. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.
Not Last Night But The Night Before. Colin McNaugton. Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. 2009. Candlewick. 32 pages.
Oh, What a Beautiful Day! A Counting Book. Jeanne Modesitt. Illustrated by Robin Spowart. 2009. Boyds Mill Press. 32 pages.
Snippet the Early Riser. Bethanie Deeney Murguia. 2013. Random House. 40 pages.
The Story of Peppa Pig. Scholastic. 2013. 32 pages.
Good Night, Sleep Tight. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Judy Horacek. 2013. Scholastic. 32 pages.
Toys in Space. Mini Grey. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.
 Ribbit. Rodrigo. Folgueira. Illustrated by Poly Bernatene. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.
The Pilgrim's Progress. John Bunyan. 1678. 185 pages?
Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark. J.C. Ryle. 384 pages.
Name Above All Names. Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson. 2013. Crossway. 192 pages.
Children's Favorite Bible Stories. Compiled by Tama Fortner. Illustrated by Natalie Carabetta. 2012. Thomas Nelson. 432 pages.
The Glory of Heaven: The Truth About Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life. John MacArthur. 1996/2013. Crossway. 224 pages.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Library Loot: Fourth Trip in June

New Loot:
  • Mary Poppins, she wrote: the Life of P.L. Travers by Valerie Lawson
  • The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • The Frog Who Croaked by Jarret J. Krosoczka
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
  • My Cat Copies Me by Yoon-duck Kwon
  • In Sheep's Clothing by Rett MacPherson
  • Half Magic by Edward Eager
  • The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn't Exist by Craig Groeschel
  • The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller
  • A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller
  • All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan
  • Prototype by Jonathan Martin
  • Sky on Fire (Monument 14) by Emmy Laybourne
  • All I Need by Susane Colsanti
  • A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Brave Girl by Michelle Markel
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
  • Look Up by Robert Burleigh 
Leftover Loot:
  • For Keeps by Natasha Friend
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
  • The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
  • The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keen
  • Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know by Rebecca Lutzer
  •  The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer
  • Silesian Station by David Downing
  • No Wind of Blame by Georgette Heyer 
    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.  

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Challenge completed: Once Upon a Time

Once Upon A Time
Host: Stainless Steel Droppings
Dates: March 21-June 21
# of Books: Quest the First, five books

What I read

1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum.
2. The Marvelous Land of Oz. L. Frank Baum
3. Ozma of Oz. L. Frank Baum.
4. Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum. 1908. 148 pages.
5. The Grimm Legacy. Polly Shulman.
6. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis.
7. The Annotated Hobbit. Revised and Expanded Edition. J.R.R. Tolkien.
8. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop. Kate Saunders.
9. Bliss. Kathryn Littlewood.
10.  A Dash of Magic. Kathryn Littlewood
11. Whatever After: Fairest of All. Sara Mlynowski.
12. Pinocchio. Carlo Collodi. 
13. Stardust. Neil Gaiman.
14. In A Glass Grimmly. Adam Gidwitz.


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Eight Picture Books from 2008

The Odd Egg. Emily Gravett. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. 

All the birds had laid an egg. All except for Duck. Then Duck found an egg! He thought it was the most beautiful egg in the whole wide world. 

The Odd Egg may not be my favorite Emily Gravett picture book, but I still liked it. (I really loved, loved, loved Monkey and Me! And I thought Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears was fabulous!) Duck may not have been able to lay an egg, but that won't keep Duck from being "Mama" by the end of the book. Even if her offspring is...well...a little odd.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

President Pennybaker. Kate Feiffer. Illustrated by Diane Goode. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.

On a not too sunny but not too cloudy, not too hot but not too cold Saturday afternoon in May, Luke Pennybaker asked his father one question because Luke Pennybaker wanted just one thing. "Dad," he said. "can I watch TV?" His Dad didn't say yes, as Luke thought he should have. And he didn't say no, as he usually did when Luke asked him if he could watch TV. Instead, he answered Luke's one question with five entirely different questions.

Luke has just realized that life is unfair. He decides to do something about it, something other than complaining. He will run for president. He won't be in the Republican party or the Democratic party. No, he'll be in the BIRTHDAY PARTY. The "political party" that treats everyone like it is their birthday! He has definite ideas on how to improve the quality of life for the ordinary citizen. But can he win the election? He might just be able to do it, even if he can't vote for himself.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Friday My Radio Flyer Flew. Zachary Pullen. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.

One Saturday I searched...and my dad's old Radio Flyer surfaced. That Sunday we went for a stroll. Then on Monday morning I got motivated. Maybe that old Flyer could really move.

A little boy spends a week working on his dad's old wagon, and with a little help, by the end of the week, he is ready to FLY.

I really loved some of the illustrations. Some spreads I just loved; other spreads I didn't like at all. But the story is simple and fun.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


Madeline and the Cats of Rome. John Bemelmans Marciano. 2008. Penguin. 48 pages.

From an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Left twelve little girls in two straight lines,
Their bags were packed, a camera stowed;
They were ready to escape the cold.
The train it leaves at half past nine--
Hurry, hurry, Madeline!

This will be no ordinary excursion to Rome, not with Madeline. After a busy day of seeing all the sites, a day without any mishaps, the worst happens: a thief steals Miss Clavel's camera. Madeline begins a very long, very complicated chase. A chase that reveals dozens of homeless cats--all in need of good homes. What's a girl to do?

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

Utterly Otterly Day. Mary Casanova. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.

Little Otter wakes in his safe, snug den, ready to play in an utterly otterly way. He tugs Sister's whiskers, wrestles Mama's tail, then slides out the tunnel--whippidy, slippidy, sail!

Little Otter has a mind of his own. Now that he's a "big otter" he thinks he can look out for himself, that he doesn't have to stay close to his family. But is that really the case? On this Little Otter's "utterly otterly" day, a big crisis is averted and great fun is had. But has he learned any lesson at all? I'm not sure.

The language was very playful, very figurative, I suppose. And I liked the illustrations. But I didn't quite love this one.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken. Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. 2008. HarperCollins. 56 pages.

Chapter One
Louise At Sea
Louise longed for adventure. She left the henhouse and went to sea, where the water was deep and dark. Louise stood alone on the deck of the ship and let the wind ruffle her feathers. 

Louise is not your ordinary chicken. She longs for adventure. She dreams of adventures. She's a very restless chicken. Now, she's had plenty of adventures, as you learn in this picture book. She's been at sea, even survived being captured by pirates, even survived a shipwreck. She's joined the circus and survived a lion's attack. And that's just the start...

It was interesting to see a picture book broken down into chapters. But I didn't exactly love this one. I found some of the illustrations a bit disturbing--like the drowning pirate.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

Monsters on Machines. Deb Lund. Illustrated by Robert Neubecker. 2008. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages.

 Construction crew monsters arrive on the scene. They don hard hats before they go near a machine. Leather work gloves, some earplugs, and big heavy boots are required for safety by all builder brutes. Stinky Stubb's the mechanic. He checks out the grader, the tractor, the cranes, and the big monster-vater. Once engines are greased and the gears start to spin, he shrieks to the others that work can begin.

If your little one loves monsters and construction vehicles, this one is for you. If you don't particularly like monsters or construction vehicles, well, you won't miss much by skipping this one. 

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 4 out of 10

Off to First Grade. Louise Borden. Illustrated by Joan Rankin. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. 

Twenty-one poems celebrating the first day of first grade in Mrs. Miller's class at Elm School. Twenty-one poems celebrating different perspectives; in addition to the perspective of students, we get the perspective of the teacher, the bus driver, and the principal too. The students' views are all different too. They like different things, are excited about different things, are nervous about different things. Some take the bus. Some come by car. Others walk. Some have older siblings that attend the same school. Others have younger siblings who are not ready to start school just yet. I liked the poems. I thought they were very natural.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Al Capone Does My Homework (2013)

Al Capone Does My Homework. Gennifer Choldenko. 2013. Penguin. 224 pages.

I just LOVED this third book in the series. I really do love Moose Flanagan and his family. I think Moose is one of the best narrators! In Al Capone Does My Homework, Moose has a few mysteries to solve. First, he needs to find out WHO set fire to their apartment, and why! There are certain busybodies on Alcatraz who are telling everyone that Natalie, Moose's older sister, set the fire! In fact, this hateful woman calls Natalie's special boarding school and has her put on probation! All without proof. Moose may struggle with his sister, with his relationship to his sister, how he really feels about "being responsible" for her, but he knows that he HAS to defend his sister and protect her from people like that. There are a few clues to follow in this one, and I won't share any more details, but, this book is so great!!!

I loved spending time with Moose, Jimmy, Annie, Piper, and Janet.
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Seven 2013 Picture Books

Bad Astrid. Eileen Brennan. Illustrated by Regan Dunnick. Random House. 40 pages.

She came into town like five tons of bad luck. She came into town in a big moving truck. Meaner than any girl you'll ever meet--and she and her family moved in down the street. Astrid was at least four feet two, without socks! She was boxy and solid, like a cabinet that talks. 

Is the new neighbor down the street, "Bad Astrid," really BAD or is she just misunderstood and in need of a friend? One dog who is tired of being picked on asks a question few might dare to ask of their tormentors? WHY? 

I'm glad it worked out for these two dogs, but I can't say that I loved their story.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

The Green Bath. Margaret Mahy. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. 2013. Scholastic. 40 pages.

"Sammy!" 
"Look at yourself!" cried his mother. "You're covered with dust and dead spiders."
"But I was sneaking up on pirates," cried Sammy. "How can I have adventures and stay clean?"
"Just forget about adventures for the moment," said his mother. "Your grandma's coming, so stay clean for once."

Well, it's imaginative! Sammy's dad has brought home a new bathtub, a green bathtub. Sammy looks at it closely and notices something no one else seems to: the tub is alive and just aching to go on fantastical adventures. And do these two have an adventure? Yes! And it's quite an adventure with sea monsters, pirates, and more.  

What I liked best about The Green Bath was the playfulness, especially the playfulness of the language. "Then began a wonderful bath-and-buccaneer battle. The buccaneers had swords, but Sammy bewildered them with bubbles and baffled them with soapsuds. At last, every single buccaneer was bobbing in the waves, beaten, bubbling, and blustering." And, "Sammy scrambled out of the bath and gave his mother the sort of smacking kiss a pirate in a good mood might give."

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

When Mermaids Sleep. Ann Bonwill. Illustrated by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher. 2013. Random House. 32 pages. 

When mermaids sleep in oceans deep inside their coral caves, they lay their heads on seaweed beds, rocked softly by the waves. Those same waves carry sailing ships from shore to distant shore. Abed in bunks, asleep on trunks, the scruffy pirates snore. Inside those rusty iron trunks their stolen treasures gleam, dug up from sands in far-off lands where genies gently dream.

 Do mermaids, genies, pirates, unicorns, goblins, wizards, and fairies sleep? That is the subject of Ann Bonwill's bedtime read aloud. She enters the world of fantasy, fairy tales, and shows that everybody has to get a good night's rest. No one can have fun adventures all the time. The text can be quite beautiful--poetical--in places. 

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Pirates vs. Cowboys. Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by David Barneda. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. 

Burnt Beard the Pirate was the scourge of the seven seas, the four oceans, and several lakes. His scurvy crew had ransacked so many ships and pillaged so many villages that all their treasure had them riding low and slow. It was time to go ashore and bury the booty. Their usual spots were filled to the gills, so those pirates went inland. All the way to Old Cheyenne. Black Bob McKraw was the terror of the Wild West. His gang of rip-roarin' rustlers were nastier than week-old chili, and twice as gassy.

Pirates vs. Cowboys begs to be read aloud. It is rich in figurative language and humor! It's an odd book, to be sure, but it's a FUN book. Burnt Beard the Pirate and Black Bob McKraw and their respective gangs are having a horrible time trying to communicate with one another. They are offending each other greatly. Burnt Beard can't understand a word out of Black Bob's mouth and vice versa. Fortunately, someone in Old Cheyenne speaks both pirate and cowboy. 

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

Giddy-Up, Daddy! Troy Cummings. 2013. Random House. 40 pages.

Once there was a dad who was really good at playing horsey. Seriously, he was the best. He was sure-footed on any terrain--carpet, hardwood, or linoleum. He could scoop up his kids and take them from bed to breakfast before the toast popped up. And he hardly ever bucked, no matter who was riding on his back. 

It was playful, imaginative, full of surprises and dangers. It is a crazy, over-the-top picture book. For their "horse" (good, old dad) is captured by horse rustlers. And that's just the start. Before supper time, their dad will have wowed crowds ALL over the place, he will even have won the Kentucky Derby. But those pesky rustlers won't take no for an answer.... It's a good thing these two know how to make their dad go even faster by tickling.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Ball. Mary Sullivan. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. 

Ball is the only word in this mostly-wordless picture book by Mary Sullivan. The story is easy to follow, however. A dog LOVES to play ball with the little girl. All is well until it's time for her to go to school, presumably. The dog tries to interest others in playing ball. He tries the mom; he tries the baby; he tries the cat. But, no, it's hopeless. He then tries to entertain himself with the ball, though that isn't quite as much fun. He even dreams about the ball... The book ends with the little girl returning once again. I did enjoy the story sequence. I didn't love the illustrations, but I liked the story they told.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

Yes, Let's. Galen Longstreth. Illustrated by Maris Wicks. 2013. Tanglewood Press. 32 pages. 

Let's wake up extra early, before the day gets hot. Let's pack a picnic, hurry up--ready or not. Let's get into the station wagon, roll those windows down. Let's sing out loud and wave to cows as we drive out of town. 

A celebration of family AND nature, a combination that is sure to please some readers! IT is an action-packed day of outdoors fun: hiking, swimming, diving, collecting rocks, etc.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Arabella (1949)

Arabella. Georgette Heyer. 1949/2009. Sourcebooks. 312 pages.

I definitely enjoyed rereading Arabella by Georgette Heyer. Arabella is being treated to a season in London by her godmother. On her way, she runs into a little difficulty. She accidentally meets one of society's most eligible but oh-so-impossible-to-catch bachelors--wealthy of course--Mr. Robert Beaumaris. When she overhears a conversation not to her liking, she impulsively tells a few big lies. She's wealthy too. She understands what it is like to be chased for one's money. She hates all the fuss, too. Of course, at the time she had no idea who he was or how "important" he was in society. She just thought he was arrogant and insufferable! But when her godmother makes much of him, invites him to her debut party, well, Arabella begins to grasp the situation better!

Arabella is enjoyable as a heroine. I also really liked Mr. Beaumaris. I loved getting his point of view! It was fun to see him chase her!


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five 2009 picture books

Oh, What a Beautiful Day! A Counting Book. Jeanne Modesitt. Illustrated by Robin Spowart. 2009. Boyds Mill Press. 32 pages.

Oh, what a beautiful day! One pig is prancing. Two ducks are dancing. Three chicks are cheeping. 

I really love this one! It is charming; it is lovely. A cozy, gentle counting-to-ten book starring a young girl who's enjoying life. I love her "And I'm a part of it all." The illustrations are soft, sweet, and oh-so-perfect for this kind of book. 

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations:  4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

Not Last Night But The Night Before. Colin McNaugton. Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. 2009. Candlewick. 32 pages.

Not last night but the night before, three black cats came knocking at the door. I came downstairs to let them in; They knocked me down like a bowling pin. Not last night but the night before, the man in the moon came knocking at the door. He rushed right in; he didn't stop. He spun me round like a spinning top. 

Not Last Night But the Night Before is quirky. It is imaginative; it celebrates plenty of nursery tales (Little Miss Muffet, Little Bo Peep, Three Blind Mice, Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, etc) throughout the text. The illustrations reveal even more of the story. (The company makes an even bigger mess perhaps than the Cat in the Hat.) It's rhythmic. It's a bit crazy. You'll either love it or hate it, I suppose!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Grumpy Grandpa. Heather Henson. Illustrated by Ross Macdonald. 2009. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.

I have one grandpa. He is always grumpy. I call him Grumpy Grandpa even though I'm not supposed to. Mom gets mad, but it's true. Grumpy Grandpa is always grumpy. And he's scary, too.

The little boy narrating Grumpy Grandpa is a little scared of his grandpa. He's come with his family to stay for two whole weeks. He can't imagine why anyone would come to spend time with someone who is just grumpy no matter what. But during this visit, the little boy learns a little more about his grandfather. And the two do become friends. 

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Llama Llama Misses Mama. Anna Dewdney. 2009. Penguin. 40 pages. 

Llama Llama, warm in bed. 
Wakey, wakey, sleepyhead!
Llama school begins today!
Time to learn and time to play!

It is Llama Llama's first day of school. And will there be llama drama? Yes. But not as much as you might expect considering some of his tantrums in previous books. 

This one is part of a series. Other titles include Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Llama Time to Share, Llama Llama Mad at Mama, Llama Llama Home With Mama, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Nighty-Night, Llama Llama Wakey-Wake, Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom, Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Who Wants to Be A Poodle I don't. Lauren Child. 2009. Candlewick. 40 pages. 

In a sumptuous apartment in a fashionable city lived the elegantly rich and divinely glamorous Mademoiselle Verity Brulee. Along with Verity Brulee, with her very own personal bedroom, lived Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight or Trixie Toes for short or Trixie Twinkle Belle or Trixie Belle Baby, depending on Verity's mood.

 Trixie, our heroine, does NOT like her name. She wants to be an ordinary dog. She does not want to wear clothes or be styled or groomed all the time. She wants to be like all the other dogs. She wants to be free to step in puddles, among other things. But how will she ever convince her owner? This picture book is all about being misunderstood and finding your voice anyhow.

I thought the design of the book kept it from being reader friendly. It is hard on the eyes to have black text on dark backgrounds--like brown or dark gray. And perhaps it's fun or cute to have the text wrap around in circles and such, but I found it annoying.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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