Monday, June 09, 2008

Brainteasers from Jewish Folklore, by Rosalind Charney Kaye. I found this while looking through the section on Jewish folklore for my storytelling class. These riddles are fun and appropriate for all ages.

The Warrior Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima. This is what I would classify as fantasy for boys: there are fantastical elements, like magic and spells and such, and there are action/adventure elements: play-by-plays for soccer games, and blow-by-blows for sword fights. I don't feel driven to read the second one, but I'm glad it's on my radar.

The Royal Pain, by MaryJanice Davidson. This uses the same characters as the first book (The Royal Treatment) but uses another character as the main focus. I didn't like this character as much, but readers who enjoyed the first will like this as well. Davidson's books often, I feel, are too heavy on slang and other popular cultural references that will quickly date the material. However, I applaud her use of full and complete sentences (nearly) all the time.

The Shamer's Signet and The Serpent Gift, by Lene Kaaberbol. The author continues to make plot that I don't feel are the most obvious or what will be the most comfortable for young readers. The thing that I find confusing is that she writes chapters from the perspectives of two different characters, but doesn't alter her writing style in the slightest, and it is frequently difficult to remember who is speaking.

Now One Foot, Now the Other, by Tomie dePaola. This book has it's good points and not-so-good points. A subtle point is that, both before and after his stroke, Bobby's grandfather lives with Bobby and his parents. There's definitely good family relationships, but they are unobtrusive. I'm not sure, however, that that is how people who have suffered a stroke talk, or if the recovery experienced by Bobby's grandfather is entirely normal. It's good to have picture books that help kids deal with these difficult topics. It may be unrealistic, however, to expect such a near-total recovery.

The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales, by Peninnah Schram; illustrated by Gianni De Conno. The author has adapted a number of Jewish folktales from various countries. They are generally well done. I used "How Much is a Smell Worth?" in class. 

Delilah D. at the Library, by Jeanne Willis; illustrated by Rosie Reeve. I will not review this book for the Slissard Line, because the librarian is a cross, shushing stereotype, and the main character does things in the library that the author fails to discourage. Its only redeeming quality is the artwork.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

Wow! You've been reading a lot. Great short reviews. Chima's Warrior Heir is VERY popular in my school, as is the sequel, so it's good you know about it. The Rennison are so popular in middle school, but they aren't my cup of tea, either. I think sometimes the students like them just because they make me say "Nuddy-pants" and "snogging". I'll have to check out the rest of your reviews later! Thanks!