Oct 20, 2014

A Mad Wicked Folly

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller follows Vicky an upperclass girl who is sent home from finishing school after she's caught posing nude in her art school class.  Upon returning home she finds herself engaged to a man she's never met and her father forbids her from her art.  Vicky finds a way around his restrictions, finds herself drawn to the suffragette movement and begins questioning the life that she has grown up with.

This was a fantastic book.  It had all the things that I love in historical romance novels but with a fantastic early twentieth century feminist twist.  Instead of being thrilled to be in the world of debutantes and coming out's Vicky wants to go to college to study the art that she loves.  I adored the descriptions of the clothes, city and the early women's rights movement.  The romance seemed secondary to the story of Vicky finding herself but it was still wonderful and there was a terrifically romantic ending.

Appropriateness:  Vicky is an artist and draws naked men as part of her training.  The drawing is non-sexual and she repeats this several times (although others are outraged) that the drawing is not emotional (although she does have a chaste relationship with her model).  This is a great book to talk to your daughters about feminism and how hard the women in our past had to work so that we could have equal rights.  I recommend it for fans of historical romance 13+

Oct 15, 2014

Taking Flight

Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina tells the unlikely story of Michaela DePrince's journey from an orphanage where she was ranked as the least liked child to the stage as one of the world's most recognizable ballerinas because of her amazing story that was first brought to the world in the documentary First Position.

I really enjoyed this memoir and found myself unable to put it down. Michaela's story reads as uplifting even at it's darkest and the only time I felt a bit teary was at the very end (and it was smiley tears). It's a quick and fast read that young dancers (and those who enjoy reading about dance) will find enjoyable and be inspired by. The second half of the book has quite a bit of ballet jargon that may confuse non-dancers (although it's easy enough to just imagine something beautiful). I as the mother of a tiny ballet dancer did not have enough knowledge to imagine many of the steps she spoke of (it would have been nice to have a glossary of ballet terms at the end). The prose is simple and very easy to read and there's a nice set of pictures in the middle to help connect the reader to Michaela.

Appropriateness: Michaela and her mother Elaine did a fantastic job writing about her early life in a way that young readers could handle without feeling that it was too traumatic. I would have no problem letting a fourth or fifth grader read this book and it's written in a way that would encourage kids to want to learn both about ballet and about war in Africa. I recommend this book for readers 10-16 (it's a bit simple for adult and older teen readers unless they're already invested in her story).

Oct 12, 2014

10 Turkeys in the Road

10 Turkeys In The Road by Brenda Reeves Sturgis and Illustrated by David Slonim is a fantastic Thanksgiving book that kids love.  The counting book begins with a farmer unable to get by because there are turkeys in the road.  The delightful illustrations continue with each number until they finally steal his truck and he ends up at the turkey circus.

My students loved this book and I was able to put it to a familiar tune and sing the entire thing.  They giggled at the illustrations that get sillier with each page that's turned.

I recommend this book to kids 4-8 and it's a must have addition to holiday picture book libraries. 

Oct 10, 2014

Dem Bones

Dem Bones by Bob Barner is a terrific book that weaves the song Dem Bones along with information on the bones in the body.

My students adore this book.  While it doesn't read aloud very well (too much information on each page) they still think it's fantastic and want to hear it.  It's a perfect addition to any home or classroom library. 

I recommend this book for kids 4-8.

Oct 7, 2014

At the Old Haunted House

At the Old Haunted House is a fun Halloween Retelling of the classic children's song Over in the Meadow.  This version sings very well and the pictures are engaging and fun without being scary.  My music students love to sing along.

I recommend this book to readers 3-8.

Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Oct 5, 2014

Who took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar>

Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar by Bonnie Lass and Philemon Sturges and illustrated by Ashley Wolff is a delightful animal version of the classic chant.

My students love this book and enjoy guessing who it was that took the cookies.  I recommend it for kids 3-7

Sep 30, 2014

Ten Timid Ghosts

Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell is a fantastic counting book with a great rhythmic text that can be sung.  My students loved the story line which consists of a witch moving into a haunted house and then scaring the ghosts one at a time so they'll leave.  At the end the ghosts scare the witch and then hand out candy to the trick or treaters. 

I recommend this book for kids from 3-8
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