Tag Archives: children

Some Fools, A Turtle and Queen Elizabeth by A.M. Lascurain, Dariusz Golen, and Agnieszka Golen

Some Fools, A Turtle and Queen Elizabeth by A.M. Lascurain, illustrated by Dariusz and Agnieszka Golen: This is the tale of a jester named Peppy Birthdaycakes and his quest to become funny. He is aided by several other jesters, a dairy maid who also does alchemy, and a turtle with a French accent. In the meantime, the evil (and bumbling) wizard Humidor stalks them. The whole story is laced with puns and other silliness, and on every other page is an absolutely beautiful illustration. Most of my quibbles are technical: typos and grammatical errors are everywhere, and I really wish all of the gorgeous artwork could have been printed right side up. I understand the point of printing them sideways so they fit on the page better, but it’s distracting to constantly be turning the book. On the bright side, they are all rotated to the left, so you only have to turn the book one way. Anyway, despite the technical issues, overall this is a very cute little fairy tale, excellent for reading aloud to children.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Booking Through Thursday – Encouragement

This week’s BTT is about Encouragement. That is:

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teenager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

I was one of those non-reading children, and once I was into chapter books the few things I did read were only because other people did. My sister, whom I idolized, was a big reader. It was because of her that I ever read any Piers Anthony, D. Manus Pinkwater, Douglas Adams, or Robert Asprin. I read A Little Princess and some unicorn series because my grade school friends were really into them. I always participated in the Summer Reading Program at the local public library (which had the best children’s librarians ever, by the way), but there wasn’t much incentive for me, really, considering the prize at the end was just another book. I remember getting a book in the gift exchange in fourth grade and being just incredibly disappointed, especially since everyone else got toys. The books assigned at school were no help either. I still fall asleep just hearing the names of such standard English Class fare as Johnny Tremain, The Incredible Journey, A Separate Peace, and The Scarlet Letter.

The change came during my freshman year of college. I didn’t own a television, and after a while I became so desperate to read something – anything – that wasn’t a text book that I picked up Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I’d liked the movie, so I figured I’d give the book a try. I loved it, and luckily was able to find copies of the next three books in the series at the college library. (Being in the Honors College gave me the unexpected perk of being able to check books out for an entire semester, which came in handy considering how little free time I had for pleasure reading.) After that was the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (aside: this is one series I’d want an e-book reader for, since the mass market paperbacks have a tendency to fall apart and anything larger is super heavy), and by then I was hooked. I needed to have a book on me at all times, if only to pick up for a few minutes before class started. These days I have three books going at any one time: my regular book, an audiobook in my car, and a paperback in my gym bag for reading on the exercise bike.

So I guess this is a long-winded way of saying to just let them be. You can’t – and probably shouldn’t – force interests. If they want to read, they’ll get around to it eventually. If not, then not. Pleasure reading isn’t the be-all and end-all of pastimes. I enjoy reading, but I know plenty of perfectly intelligent and well-rounded people who don’t. It’s just one of those things.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: A book that appears to have been part of everyone’s childhood except mine. We had a lovely hardbound copy as long as I can remember, but I never read it until now. And it doesn’t translate well to adults. Having been written a century ago, I expected it to be dated, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so…odd. Each chapter is more or less a separate story about the same group of characters: poetic Rat, generous Mole, selfish Toad, gruff Badger, and friendly Otter. Toad has by far the most personality, what with his utter conceit and his obsession with motorcars, but he’s less entertaining than tiresome. I don’t have any issues with the idea of talking animals in general, but when they begin interacting with humans it can get a little strange. For example, the illustrations in this book show Toad at roughly half the height of an adult human – which he would have to be, given part of the storyline. Maybe I would like this book more had I grown up with it, but as it stands I just see it as a really bizarre little tale that I will most likely never read again.

What Makes Me a Muslim? by Catherine Petrini

What Makes Me A Muslim? by Catherine M. Petrini: Though aimed at elementary school children, this overview of the Muslim religion proved to be a pretty good primer for me as well. I wasn’t familiar with most of the holidays or the sheer diversity of practices in the global Muslim community. It’s always fascinating to see the vast differences in interpretation of the same book. Definitely recommended for explaining the basics of Islam to a small child (or an uninformed adult, like myself).

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Why Don’t Your Eyelashes Grow? by Beth Ann Ditkoff

Why Don’t Your Eyelashes Grow? by Beth Ann Ditkoff: This is a collection of questions and answers geared towards parents answering their children’s queries about their bodies. No, it’s not about puberty. It’s about all the other little stuff: why do we have boogers, what are moles, etc. I knew most of the answers already, though I recognized several misconceptions I held as a child. I can see this being a useful book to have in the house. Unfortunately, I am a touch leery about the credibility of the information. Yes, the author is a doctor, but there is no bibliography or even recommended further reading. That always puts up a red flag for me when reading nonfiction.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne

The World of Pooh by A. A. Milne: This thick volume contains both Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, and contains pretty much all of the most famous stories. I’d been meaning to read this since my exposure to these tales had been limited to Disney’s interpretation. Most of the characters were more or less the way I’d imagined, with the exception of Eeyore. In the book he’s less mopey and gloomy than sarcastic and self-centered. To be honest, I think I like this snarky Eeyore better. The stories as a whole were fairly enjoyable, though the sad endings of each book (with a separate story just to say goodbye) got a little tiresome. Growing up really isn’t this big horrible thing. Believe it or not, you are allowed to have an imagination as an adult. That said, I do understand why these tales are so beloved. They are charming and undeniably memorable.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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