Recent picture book favorite:
Hest, Amy. Mr. George Baker. Candlewick, 2007. ISBN 978-0763633080 32 pp. $
Whimsical, descriptive language tells the story of a 100 year-old-man, Mr. Baker, and a young boy who wait for the bus together. They are both learning to read.
Recent chapter book favorite:
Munoz Ryan, Pam. Becoming Naomi Leon. Scholastic, 2005 (reprint). ISBN 978-0439269971 272 pp. $7.99
Munoz Ryan never disappoints. Naomi is a soft-spoken, thoughtful, clever little girl with a talent for carving. Owen, her younger brother, has been diagnosed by Doctors as an FLK, “funny looking kid” because of his physical disabilities. That doesn’t stop him though, Owen’s the smartest kid in his class. Gram is Naomi and Owen’s great-grandmother, and their guardian for about seven years. She loves and treasures them and takes care of them like they were her own children. They are a happy family in a trailer park in the town of Lemon Tree until the day that Naomi and Owen’s problem Mom shows up and wants to take Naomi away. Read the story of an unusual family’s struggles and travels to keep things together.
Recent grown-up stuff:
Sedaris, David. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Back Bay Books, 2005 (reprint). ISBN 978-0316010795 257 pp. $17.99
It amazes me that one write manages to make me laugh until my guts are about to burst and in the next paragraph cry like a baby. Sedaris’s poignant stories about life, love, family, Christmas celebrations, gun laws and much more have a way of piercing the most tender part of your heart and then hammering on your funny bone.
I finished listening to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim last week and since then I have been missing David Sedaris. It felt like he was keeping me company on my commute and I cherished every moment we had together! I gave the tapes to a coworker who has confessed the same feelings…in fact, she told me today she anticipated the loss and ordered the audio online! At times I found myself choked up and teary eyed by a bittersweet story or some poignant tale of heart ache … and many, many times I found myself belly laughing, again teary eyed but for a different reason. I just absolutely love David Sedaris and even though he is amazing & funny to read I highly recommend you give this a listen…nothing rivals it! And if you can read/listen to nothing else do not miss the last chapter, Nuit of the Living Dead, …just try and stay focused on the road while you’re driving & laughing!
I tried to fill the void with another book on tape and recently started Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Running Out of Time. Unfortunately, tape 2 broke on me! Luckily, I have amazing access to a public library and got a copy of the book which I finished this morning… very quick read, it’s a fast-paced, suspenseful, adventure! And I have to say, I think I preferred reading it on my own which I vaguely remember happening with another Haddix book. Audio publishers should really take more care with narration. It is amazing to me the spectrum you experience and the real difference in quality you can hear and that doesn’t mean aural quality but the actually tone and expression and overall feel of the narrator. Anyway, Running Out of Time got some press recently for it’s similarity to M. Night Shyamalan’s movie. the Village ( the book was published first). I saw The Village before reading the book and I have to say overall it is pretty different BUT the basic premise is so similar and so unique (not your usual plot device here) that it is very suspicious!
I really love Haddix’s work and have yet to be disappointed. I find her characters strong and intriguing and the plots always very suspenseful and as I said above, unique … her story ideas are never run-of-the-mill! In this story a 13 year old girl, Jessie, discovers her 1840 village is actually a living history tourist attraction and she must be the one to save her friends and family from a diphtheria epidemic. So not only is she dealing with a huge lie, she also has to adapt to the 20th century, AND save the lives of all these people…including her own! This is why when the tape broke I had to get the book…there was no way I could wait for the replacement!