Saturday, May 30, 2009

Turtle's Penguin Day

Little Turtle is so inspired by the book about Penguins his father reads at bedtime that he dreams he is a penguin. The next day Little Turtle goes to school pretending to be a penguin, and all the children in his class cry, "We want to be penguins too!" Their teacher, Ms. Dog, reads to them about penguins, and they spend the rest of the day applying what they've learned. One of my favorites is when "they all tried to pass balls to each other using just their feet the way penguins do with their eggs."

I like this book for its direct link between reading and learning and fun. I like the colorful and cheerful illustrations. I like the creative use of "penguin colors" for the cover, and the polka-dots for the end pages. The book finishes with one page of Penguin Facts.

Turtle's Penguin Day
by Valeri Gorbachev (2008)
Recommended for ages 4 - 8
ISBN 9780375843747

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Beckoning Cat

Like me, you may often have noticed little statues of cats, beckoning with a paw, in Asian businesses. In her picture book The Beckoning Cat, based on a Japanese folktale, Koko Nishizuka tells the delightful story of this kind cat, and why it has become a symbol of good luck. This is a lovely book to share in honor of Asian Pacific America Heritage Month, recognized annually in May.

The Beckoning Cat

by Koko Nishizuka

Illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger

ISBN 9780823420513

2009; $16.95

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Books Not Finished

It used to be that I thought it imperative to finish every book that I began. Then as I realized that I'd never be able to read all the books I wanted in my lifetime, I began to give myself permission to stop reading books I did not like. It still is a struggle. I have this feeling -- where does it come from? -- that you should finish every book you start. Perhaps it results from school where you have required reading.

This spring I have encountered five books that I have not finished reading. I am slightly unnerved. Five books in only the first quarter of a new year! As a friend of mine would say, "What's up with that?"

Here are the books and the short version of why I put each aside.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2009 Newbery Award Medal recipient
Dark, dull, difficult to imagine.

Paris Noir edited by Aurelien Masson
The introduction was a turnoff!

Into a Paris Quartier by Diane Johnson

Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters by Nancy Pelosi and Amy Hill Hearth
Obviously ghost written, and very poorly.

The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church by Diana Butler Bass
I imagine this was a doctoral thesis which someone decided to publish. Boring.

Anyone have a good book to read?