Monthly Archives: July 2014

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Myster by Deborah and James Howe

Bunnicula: A Rabit-tale of Mystery by Deborah and James Howe is a book “written” by a dog named Harold. His owners bring home a little rabbit they name Bunnicula. Harold’s cat friend Chester becomes convinced Bunnicula is actually a vampire. Is he? That’s for you to decide. It is a short, fun, and adorable book. It is quite amusing. A great book for children and an excellent read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 81
Pages Read in 2014: 15,958
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children

The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy and her friends are on another adventure in The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This time a bored Munchkin boy has discovered a secret word that can change any living thing into another form. He joins up with a bitter Nome and together they attempt to trick the beasts of Oz into waging war against the people of Oz. Meanwhile, Ozma’s friends are coming up with amazing gifts to give Ozma for her birthday.

As with the other Oz books, L. Frank Baum proves he’s a genius at writing a children’s book that is still engaging for an adult to read. It is rather predictable (nothing bad ever happens for long in Oz), but in a good way. The Magic of Oz is a short, fun read sure to delight everyone who reads it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 80
Pages Read in 2014: 15,839
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Classic

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting is a fun, cute, and quick story about a people doctor turned animal doctor who can talk with animals. He and his wide range of pets go on a trip to Africa and back and go from rich to poor to rich to poor to rich again. The only problem with the book is some racist bits and also a derogatory word for a black person used in a derogatory way toward a lion by a lioness (even keeping in mind it was written almost 100 years ago, seeing that in a children’s book was upsetting – when choosing an edition to read, I’d strongly recommend picking a revised version instead).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 77
Pages Read in 2014: 15,528
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit tells the story of siblings who accidentally dig up a sand-fairy. The Psammead agrees to give them one wish a day (though some days they get more). The children quickly discover that wording a wish correctly is harder than they thought. Some days are fun, but they always have unexpected consequences. The story was cute. The idea was darling. The children, however, were quite irritating and some chapters really dragged on as if the author wasn’t sure what to write for that wish and so kind of kept going in circles. Definitely not my favorite book!

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 75
Pages Read in 2014: 15,273
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Set in both 1939-1943 and the present day, Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler tells the story of an ill-fated love between teenagers Isabelle, who was white, and Robert, who was black, when such relationships were not only taboo, but often illegal, and the story of a love between Isabelle, now nearly 90, and Dorrie, a 30-something black hairstylist (in the salon is where their relationship began) trying to sort out her life and raise her children. It all starts when Isabelle asks Dorrie to take her on a long road trip to a funeral. Along the way, in alternating chapters, Isabelle tells her story from 70 years ago, while Dorrie tries to deal long distance with her own issues.

The Isabelle chapters were heartbreaking. Part of the end is known from the beginning. Isabelle’s late husband and son were both white so even though I was rooting – hard – for Isabelle and Robert’s relationship to work out somehow, I knew it wouldn’t. The racism that kept Isabelle and Robert apart despite their feelings for each other was painful. The Dorrie chapters were much more light-hearted for the most part, though there were deep issues touched on in those as well, some also painful to read. The funeral scene and the scenes just prior and after are gripping. But as intense as those scenes were, the last couple pages were so painful and real and beautiful. I loved this book. The storytelling between past and present is flawless. The emotions are extremely well portrayed. Absolutely nothing is predictable. I would give Calling Me Home more than 5 stars if I could.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 72
Pages Read in 2014: 14,607
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Realistic Fiction

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is a gentle, slow-moving story that is loosely based on the fairy tale “Maid Maleen.” It is set in a fictional land somewhat reminiscent of Mongolia. Lady Saren, the daughter of the leader of one of what seems to be a loose confederation of lands, is a terrified girl betrothed to an evil ruler of another land, but also secretly betrothed to the kind ruler of yet another land. She refuses to marry the evil man and so her father locks her and her maid, Dashti, up in a tower for seven years. On many occasions Saren orders Dashti to pretend to be the Lady which leads to quite a mess when the truth comes out.

The book is written in diary form (Dashti’s writings) and so is told both in a kind of a past tense and real time mix. Dashti’s feelings and views on things are interwoven throughout. The ending is everything one could wish for in a story like it. The mythology/religion of the lands is a little complicated to keep straight. I enjoyed Book of a Thousand Days.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 69
Pages Read in 2014: 14,103
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fairy Tale

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

When I was little, I loved watching The Littles. Likewise, I loved reading The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The story, in which tiny human-like creatures “borrow” things for their homes inside the walls and floors, is sweet and fun. The teenage Borrower daughter, Arrietty, makes friends with a “human bean” boy of 9. Her parents are afraid at first, but soon find he is a useful friend to have. Until they are discovered that is. The book really drew me in and I had to read the last couple paragraphs three or four times because I was so surprised!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 68
Pages Read in 2014: 13,797
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children