Reading Update: Today is Wednesday, May 21. As of today, I have read 52 books and got myself one of these thingamajiggers:
Which, of course, is just patently silly. Obviously when I set this goal I wasn’t taking picture books into consideration! So I guess I’m going to go ahead and change my goal… hold that thought…
Okay. That’s better.
Since last week, I read the following books:
All of the above were fewer than fifty pages in length. (I’ve been reading a couple of big fat books, too, but just haven’t finished them.) With the exception of The Night Bookmobile, they’re all children’s picture books.
Listen to the Wind is a kid’s adaptation of the Three Cups of Tea story. I always kind of look askance at Greg Mortenson stuff, after all the scandal and whatnot, but the artwork in this picture book blew me away. Plus, if you take the discrepancies and financial indiscretions off the table, Mortenson’s story really is inspirational and has a great sort of message for young readers. This book is obviously a vast over-simplification of the whole tale, but worthwhile and a good adaptation.
Henry’s Heart is a densely assembled nonfiction-ish picture book about the human circulatory system. It’s awfully cute and would be a big hit with little kids with an interest in science and medicine. It’s not a great read-aloud book because of the non-linear writing (lots of sidebars) but a lot of children would get a kick out of poring over all the little details. I think it would also be a good supplemental text or something for a health class!
I quite liked Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated. It’s exactly the sort of storybook I would have adored as a child. Just a sweet little fairy tale, with endearing illustrations and the sort of less-than-perfect ending that appeals to me.
My Name is Sangoel is the story of a refugee boy who struggles to find a way to maintain his identity after moving to America. None of the people he meets in America can pronounce his name, until he comes up with a clever way to bridge the language gap. It is sweet and simple, and would be a terrific book to share with young students who have classmates from other countries.
I really loved the artwork and text design in Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History! It’s another nonfiction picture book and tells an abbreviated version of Annette Kellerman’s life. I wish that it had gone into a little bit more detail about her early medical problems; I think most young readers will miss entirely the fact that she was (initially) disabled.
Then there’s The Night Bookmobile. Oomph. That’s the sound of being kicked in the stomach. On the one hand, this book was SO good. I loved the concept of the Bookmobile and the Library, and the protagonist’s yearning for the Bookmobile resonated deeply with me. I’m sure it would with any lover of stories. But the resolution? The protagonist’s choice? The way she let her desire for something unattainable ruin all of the many good things in her real life? Ugh. This book falls in the unhappy category of being one I would recommend to tons of people, except for the fact that I can’t, because it would feel too much like an endorsement of something reprehensible. Pooh.
Finally we have Extra Yarn, which was so very nice. I love Klassen’s artwork, obviously, but I also loved the story and its adaptable metaphor — for happiness, kindness, love, you pick ’em. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
Currently Reading: Here, let me just copy and paste exactly what I wrote last week for this section.
I have Possession (book 5 in the Fallen Angels series, a dreadful guilty pleasure of mine) for on-the-road, and a MASSIVE copy of the first volume of The Absolute Sandman at home. It stays safely at home because it’s the public library’s, and I don’t want anything to happen to it (as it’s rather wildly expensive) and it seems like it might be somewhat safer there.
Looking Ahead: I don’t even know. Ha! I guess we’ll see what strikes my fancy next after I finally finish these other two behemoths.