Monday, July 31, 2006

Book Review: Sarah's Quilt

July 31, 2006

This book is a sequel to Nancy Turner's These Is My Words , which I read 4 or 5 years ago. I remember absolutely loving the first book; however, 4 or 5 years is too long in between books, and I couldn't follow the sequel very well. Too many references were made to the prequel, and I didn't start enjoying the book on its own until the last quarter or so. So,my recommendation would be: read These Is My Words right before you read Sarah's Quilt. I don't know why the book has this title, by the way. It makes it sounds like a corny romance novel when it's actually about life in the Arizona territories in the late 1800s.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Book Review: Fairy Tale Feasts

I stumbled on this book at the library last week: Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters. What a fantastic book! The premise is to pair a recipe with a fairy tale or folk story. For example, "The Little Mermaid" is followed by recipes for Seaweed Stuffed Shells and Tomato Sauce; "Hodja Borrows a Pot" is followed by Hodja's Kebabs and Cucumber Yogurt Salad. This week Laurel made--completely by herself!--Runaway Pancakes (to go along with the story by the same title) and fruit salad (to go with "The Fox and the Grapes"). Next on our list are Cinderella's pumpkin tartlets and sweet chocolate mousse from "Seven Hills of Sweet."

I love that nearly every page in this book contains an extensive sidebar giving further information about both the story itself and the foods. In the recipe Perfect Porridge, for example (which follows "The Magic Pot of Porridge"), the sidebar lists such facts as "In the old days, porridge was eaten by a wooden spoon, because..." and "Scottish porridge makers use a 'spurtle...'" etc. etc. Really fun book!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Book Review: Hitty: Her First Hundred Years

July 10, 2006

We're finally done! I've been reading this book by Rachel Field outloud to Laurel for months. I can't even remember when we started; it's been so long! We kept losing it, finding it, reading other books in between....but at long last, we're finished.

Laurel says, "I didn't love this book, but it was really good." Hitty traces the life of a handmade wooden doll through 100 years and a dozen or more owners. She travels from Maine to India back to the U.S. and all sorts of places in between. The book presents, through Hitty's eyes, a unique look at culture through several generations. I think much of it was a little bit above Laurel's head (she's 8). I think the book is better suited for 10-12 year olds. This would be great to incorporate into an American History study, 1800s-1930s.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

July 9, 2006: Book Review: The Solace of Leaving Early

This second book by Haven Kimmel is just fabulous. (If you haven't read her first, the memoir A Girl Called Zippy, run to the nearest library and check it out immediately!) The story features two ridiculously obsessive and much too philosophical characters who are forced together because of a small-town crisis. I absolutely despised the annoying character of Langston for much of the book, but she is ultimately redeemed in her role as foster mother to two little girls. A heavy read at times--and much flawed religious thought--but well worth it.