Monday, May 22, 2017

Passing It On

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
My boys and I went to give blood last weekend. I was rejected for my low iron (apparently buying vitamins is not enough; you are supposed to actually consume them), but my muscle-bound older son as well as the just-turned-sixteen younger one passed easily. So I guess I did my duty.

Now I'll finally find out if that crazy nurse was justified in stabbing with a needle after my second childbirth. I kept asking her what the blood type was but she just laughed at me and chased me down with her sharp pointy weapon. It's hard to run fast a few hours after giving birth to a 9 pound + baby.

So far I've mostly kept up with my ridiculously easy walking pledge, except for the day Thick as Thieves came out. It wasn't quite nice enough to walk around a track while reading, so I abandoned all forms of motion and lay around reading it all day. And then rereading the best bits.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as I finished some kidlit books and a few picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:

PalimpsestCity of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War IIThick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief, #5)
In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor, #5)An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)Wounded (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #24.5)

Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente.  The ending wasn't all that satisfying, because I didn't really like any of the main characters so I had no concerns about whether they achieved their goals or happiness or anything. But the scenery throughout was varied enough to be interesting.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. I've finally finished this book. It was good, but somehow I wasn't driven to finish it and as I owned both paper and e-copies the library due dates didn't come into play. I'm glad I finally carved out time for it, and I'll try to work in the sequels.

* Civil War II (Ms Marvel 6), G. Willow Wilson.  I enjoyed it, and it had a good balance of life vs. super-heroing, although I thought the kids were dumb. No one seemed to understand that planning to blow up the school was a problem, or trying to blow up the building where the school bomber was being "extra-legally" held was also a choice with consequences. Kamela has a very believable teenage understanding that everything is her fault, and view that is also believably echoed by Bruno, who blames her for his injuries even though he built the bomb himself.

Thick As Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner. The latest in the Attolia series did not disappoint, although it was not what I expected (this is a good thing). It examines the effects of slavery as well as friendship and betrayal, and shows us beloved characters from new angles.

In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor 5), David Weber.  I liked the Lindskold story, thought the Zahn one was over-long but OK, which was the same for the Weber story. The final bit on the specifications and history of development of a bunch of imaginary spaceships left me drooling with boredom.

* An Unseen Attraction, K J Charles. The idea of a taxidermist and a lodging house keeper with an apparent spectrum disorder finding love in Victorian England is fascinating, and when you add in mysterious family connections and murder things get even better.

* Wounded, Laurell K. Hamilton. Outtake from the previous Anita Blake book, with a chance to discuss what Anita, Micah, Nathaniel and Jean-Claude wear. Some of it is pretty out there -- Jean Claude wears a black suit to the wedding! I'm sure no more than 50% of the other guys there did that. Also they take a chance to tell the kid who got shot in the book to stop whining and start doing his PT; after all, everyone they know had it much worse and came back stronger. It did exactly what it said on the tin.

* Books I started and completed this week

I started but didn't finish:

The Innocent (Will Robie, #1)thumbThe Hate U Give

The Innocent, David Baldacci. This in on top of my virtual pile of ebooks I own but haven't read, so I'm adding it to my reading rotation. I'm cranky because the protagonist hasn't settled down somewhere yet.

Dead Silent, (Mike & Riel #5),  Norah McClintock. I'm a bit irritated by the protagonist, which is unfair because his self-absorbed guilt for things that are manifestly not his responsibility is just the latest of a pile of YA books with this problem. But maybe I should find another way into this series, because I don't have enough background with this guy to cut him any slack. OMG, I just looked for her website so I could find a picture of the book and found out that she died this February. She was only 64; I'm going to miss the rest of her books. She was a great author of YA mystery; the Dooleys are among my favorite books in that genre.

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas. This is a strong YA book told in first person by a teenaged African American who feels split between her swank high school (mostly white) and her "ghetto" home life. When her childhood friend is shot by a racist cop who mistook a hair brush for a gun, she finds these conflicts almost overwhelming. It did seem to make an effort to tick off as many current affair boxes as possible -- her uncle is a cop, her father is an ex-con, her best friend is absorbed in her white privilege, her boyfriend is a well meaning white guy who wonders why black kids have funny names, etc. But the voice is strong and true throughout.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Boy, Snow, BirdMaplecroft (The Borden Dispatches, #1)The Door at the CrossroadsAlliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)

Boy, Snow, Bird,  Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. At this point the bizarre things that happen to this family have overwhelmed the character development. I get the theme of choosing an identity as society tries to force you into one, although I'm not sure why that would cause you to kick your seven year old out of your house (or why her dad would be OK with that), but finding out in the same book that the white man you married was black and that the abusive man who raised you was your mother?  Disc  7-8/8.

Maplecroft, Cherie Priest. The whiny lover has sold herself to the beast, but at least it gives a chance for the doctor to join with them in opposing the eldritch aquatic evils.

The Door at the Crossroads, Zetta Elliott. Another Cybils finalist, I'm having trouble making progress because these teenagers are in definite peril. I'm proud of Judah for fighting for his freedom, but it's still hard to read about his tortures.

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 2. Hey, the feed was late! Shocking. So I didn't actually get to listen to this, but I did track down the audio so I can.

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Men drink a lot and lose things.

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.


Picture Books (most read in the library while waiting for my kids to rendezvous):

The JourneyWaiting for IceAn Armadillo in New YorkBefore I Leave
My Name Is BlessingThe Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsDragons Love Tacos

The Journey, Francesca Sanna. Gentle pictures complement the child's-eye view of war and displacement and illegal border crossings.

Waiting for Ice, Sandra Markle. True story, my favorite kind of nature story. Good pictures, not graphic but fairly lifelike.

An Armadillo in New York, Julie Kraulis. Cute and educational. I'm not sure why an armadillo, but I think this is a series.

Before I Leave, Jessixa Bagley. I am now completely distracted by this spelling of Jessixa. Is it pronounced Jessiksa?Anyway, the book has good pictures and a strong story of two friends coming to terms with the smaller one's impending move. A bit didactic.

My Name Is Blessing, Eric Walters. True story of a boy sent to an orphanage in Kenya when his grandmother cannot feed him. They change his name from "Suffering" to "Blessing" (to his and her approval). I'm a bit concerned because institutional care is almost always worse for the kid, but Blessing seems to be doing OK. I liked the real-life update and photos in the back, as well as the way his physical handicaps are acknowledged but not the whole story.

The Legend of Rock, Scissors, Paper, Drew Daywalt. This is a fun crowd-pleaser, with vibrant personalities for each of these titans of the suburban fight scene and a solid mix of colorful images and dramatic wording. It's fairly long, so good for an experienced pre-schooler or early elementary crowd.

Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin. A good mix of pictures and humor make for a fun book. I know a boy with the same name as our dragon-loving protagonist, so it's a possibility for a gift.


2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 5 / a lot. No change. Ordered the next audio from the library.
  3. Reading My Library: Now on disc 8 of Boy Snow Bird. Picked up a book from the next shelf.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 18/51. The author thinks his book was set somewhere around Kentucky or West Virginia, and I need Kentucky -- can I just tell him the setting is now definitely Kentucky?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day and Son-Day

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Mother's Day, the great holiday to celebrate guilting our children! Mine was quite nice, involving a breakfast in bed -- cooked, tasty, but without napkins or flowers. My teens are still works in progress, but they were cheerful and willing about it, so I think that's a win. Then I drove them back to their dad's house, instead of making them take the bus; after all, it was also SONday (get it? get it? I almost didn't).

Then things go rough with some extended family, but I still had a nice dinner with my siblings. It's hard to be a teenager, and it's so easy for them to be completely self-centered, which is really hard on the family around them.

The weather is getting nice, and I've started a walking pledge with some friends. We've started with an absurdly low goal, but if the sun stays out maybe we'll slowly extend it. The first result is that I refuse to move a millimeter without my phone on my person, because that's a step I could be missing!

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as I finished some kidlit books and a few picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Raymie NightingaleBlood, Bullets, and Bones: ...A Long Way HomeBlack Butler, Vol. 6 (Black Butler, #6)

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. This was for Friday's book club. It turned out I was the only one who finished it, as the library stalled on delivery for everyone else. The few who received it couldn't make any traction. I think they would have liked starting with the original series better; this one assumes you understand the world. I liked it, but found the pain quotient extremely high for my tolerance. I am weak for characters my kids age. Next year I will have to avoid college books -- eep!

* Strangeways, Bob Brunner. No cover art because this is a manuscript the author gave me to read, which is very exciting. It's a thriller set in a men's prison, so not my usual genre, but it was smoothly written so I always wanted to keep going and there were some good twists (and gruesome bits). I sent it back with my reactions, so it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Raymie Nightingale, Kate DiCamillo. (Cybils audio)  The ending worked well for me; there were few unfired guns left on the mantlepiece but the connections were smooth and not forced. Beverley and her mom were left a bit underdeveloped (the dog? really?), but Raymie found a firm footing within herself and among her friends, one that didn't depend on her almost invisible mom or her absconding father.

Blood, Bullets, Bones, Bridget Heos. A Cybils NF finalist. This was for my Tuesday night movie/book club, where we share a book and watch a movie related to it. We went with a YA nonfiction book, which was a bit of a disappointment; it had interesting facts but the parts didn't add up to a better whole. Oh well, it gives lots of scope for our movie choices.

* A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierley. After seeing Lion I was interested in the story behind the movie, so I put myself on the waitlist for the memoir and it did not disappoint. Brierley is not a professional writer, but his sincerity and emotions are clear on the page. I also liked seeing how the movie adjusted things for the big screen; I don't think they distorted much and I approve of how they did it, but I also liked seeing what really happened in his family and his travels. I also liked the idea of his recreating his train odyssey as an adult.

* Black Butler 6, Yano Toboso. This wasn't my favorite entry in this manga; I found many of the new circus characters confusing and I had forgotten the backstory with the Grim Reaper. But I liked it enough to add the next on to my request list.

I started but didn't finish:

In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor, #5)Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)

In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor 5), David Weber. Mostly. This is a book of short stories in Weber's Honorverse, one by him and others by Jane Lindskold and Timothy Zahn. And then there seems to be a technical spec on ship design (???). I liked Lindskold story about a refugee who doesn't submit, and I'm hoping to like Zahn's story, although it's harder to sell me on stories in the Soviet-Russia-ish People's Republic.

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. This is the new Baen Free Radio audio serial, so I won't finish it for ages and ages. In fact, I think I won't even let my senior listen along, because he'll be off to college before it's done. But I may give him a few of the other Liaden stories. I'll also dig up the one before this, because I've fallen behind.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Boy, Snow, BirdCity of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)PalimpsestMaplecroft (The Borden Dispatches, #1)The Door at the Crossroads

Boy, Snow, Bird,  Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. I'm still don't forgive Boy for sending Snow away. I'm impatient to get an explanation, but the filter through Bird means that is slow to come. At least now she's corresponding with Snow, so we get more of a panorama. Disc 5-6/8.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Sigurd to the rescue! Lots of flashy battles and mysticism for the ending.

Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente. Again it's a lush verbal landscape, spinning a lot of wheels (although there is a plot if you are patient enough). I don't think my Tuesday club would have liked it, so it's just as well we jumped to her kidlit.

Maplecroft, Cherie Priest. Despite helping pick this I didn't manage to read it with my book club a few months back, so I'm diving back in. This time I'm invested; the danger is real and not just gross, and the characters have my sympathy.

The Door at the Crossroads, Zetta Elliott. Another Cybils finalist, I'm having trouble making progress because these teenagers are in definite peril. YA has gotten so hard for me!

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Men drink a lot and lose things.

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.


Picture Books (read in the library while waiting for my kids to rendezvous):

What To Do With a BoxCandy PinkKenta and the Big WaveViolet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm BookFlora and the PenguinThe Riddlemaster

What to Do With a Box, Jane Yolen. Fun, good but unobtrusive rhymes. I think adults are more pleased with these "boxes are cool" books, because it's not news to kids, but this addition to the genre is fairly fresh and has details that should keep children's attention.

Candy Pink, Adela Turin. The message about girls deserving as much freedom as boys was very heavy handed but that might make it more accessible to kids? They'd probably appreciate this more. I think this book was written a generation ago, because I was expecting things to go in a more trans-gender way, but it stuck to the traditional feminist message that pink enclosed pedestals are not as fun as men like to pretend.

Kenta and the Big Wave, Ruth Ohi. I gave this five-stars because it resonated so much. Kenta endured a tidal wave that destroyed his house and stole his soccer ball. He mourns without self-pity and helps his family rebuild. He didn't endanger himself and others by foolishly chasing his dropped ball. So when another child finds the ball on the beach and mails it back to the carefully inscribed address, it seems like a fitting return from a just world, a symbol that you can sow as you reap.

Victor and Violet Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book, Alice Kuipers. I thought Violet was bossy to the point of unpleasantness, and Victor was unrealistically patient with her. It's not easy to make me dislike a picture book about books, but Violet managed it with her casual disrespect for her brother and willingness to ignore everyone else's preferences in pursuit of her own fun.

Flora and the Penguin, Molly Idle. This was a lot of fun! I noticed the fish early on and thought that was just the kind of detail that makes for a fun shared read. (Especially in a wordless book the child can read to the adult .) And then a fish became a character, and there was conflict, and someone had to die. My sons would have liked this book as preschoolers, especially with the creative use of lift-the-flap pictures.

The Riddlemaster, Kevin Crossley-Holland. This was not a winner for me. I found the illustrations unappealing, the children tiresome and the riddles a bit lame. I mean, puppies ARE dogs.


2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 5 / a lot. Finished the audio and the nonfiction. Struggling with the YA.
  3. Reading My Library: Now on disc 7 of Boy Snow Bird. Picked up a book from the next shelf.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 18/51. The author thinks his book was set somewhere around Kentucky or West Virginia, and I need Kentucky -- can I just tell him the setting is now definitely Kentucky?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Star Wars Day

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
May Day, Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo, all holidays that involve not that much work but are fun anyway. It's a good way to start spring, which Seattle did in the past few weeks. Which sadly means my lawn is growing. I should just pave the whole thing and paint it green.

I joined another reading team, so I have an excuse to rack up lots of pages. I'll see if anything changes in my reading habits. Also, I forgot to do this status check last week, so I'm putting two weeks worth out now.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as I finished four kidlit books and 10 picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this fortnight:

Written in Red (The Others, #1)The Span of Empire (Jao #3)The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation NowDressed to Steal (Nancy Drew: Girl Detective, #22)
Shadowed SoulsBreak and Enter(Chloe & Levesque, #5)Raven's Shadow (Raven Duology, #1)My Life Before Me (Secrets)Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves, #1)

Written in Red, Anne Bishop. The alt Vaginal Fantasy book. I ended up liking this one (I abandoned the main pick), enough that I wouldn't mind reading the next few. I'm still a bit squeamish about the setting in North America after removing all Native Americans and instead sticking a lot of American Indian imagery into the Others, but I liked the strengths of the main character and her ability to handle the puppy/boy she babysat. (This was the only book I finished last week. It was not a very productive week.)

The Span of Empire, Eric Flint and Dave Carrico. I never really got into this third entry to the series, and I suspect the change in authors had something to do with it. The new aliens were a bit dull, and the expanded look into the Big Bad aliens bored me. I also somehow had the feeling that Crowning Moments of Awesome were reserved for the guys, which was probably unfair but still how I felt.

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. Installment 48 finished off this audio books. I enjoy the radio-serial nature of the audio books included in the Baen podcast. My son and I enjoyed this Master & Commander in space book (I'd previously read it and some others in the series) but I don't think he'll go out hunting for more. There's a lot of repetition in the characterization of Mundy and Daniel, which slows down the action a bit too much. Even the narrator seemed a bit bored a few times.

* Heretic, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I read this for a library book club that is aimed at promoting discussions "across the aisle" to get people to talk to people they disagree with. We didn't actually get any Muslims at the meeting, but we managed to disagree on the definition of Islam, the need for reform, and a few other things, all while sharing apple juice and cookies.

* Dressed to Steal, Carolyn Keene. The first book I read for my reading team. It was interesting to see a modern Nancy Drew, who apparently has no qualms breaking laws right and left (breaking and entering is a daily habit). She also can't remember to put gas in her car, and Bess is now chosen as a runway model, which hints she may not have that pudgy figure she used to have. George is still athletic, though, and Ned is still devoted.

Shadowed Souls, ed. Jim Butcher & Kerrie Hughes. Lots of short stories pulled from various author's standing series, so a good sampler for people looking for more urban fantasy. I had to reread the first story to count this for my reading team, so I could appreciate the Butcher story even more. Nothing clunked, and I liked seeing some old favorites (Tanya Huff's Vickie) and even enjoying some authors I had tried but failed to click with earlier (Anton Stout).

* Break and Enter, Norah McClintock. I like this author, and I'm slowly digging through her backlist. This is #5 in a series I haven't tried yet, involving a smart teen age girl with a cop for a stepfather who has to deal with jealous rivals framing her with the too-credible help of a suspicious teacher. Gripping but not too silly.

Raven's Shadow, Patricia Briggs. I found the shape of the story a bit unwieldy, starting with two youngish people, then lurching twenty or so years into their marriage, and then dawdling again. But I found myself moving faster through the last half, finding the politics of the empire interesting and the complexities of three or four factions at the final scene worth the path to get there. I'll definitely read the second book this year (famous last words).

* My Life Before Me, Norah McClintock. After reminding myself that I like this author, I picked up another of her works on my TBR bookcase. This is the start of a series about seven orphans, with different authors going their own way with each one. I like the journalism angle of this one, with the protagonist clearly having a very personal stake in the history she chooses to investigate but she manages to keep a fairly objective head despite her youth. I'm not sure I'll try any of the linked stories in this series, but I won't avoid them either.

* Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George. My last elementary book club pick of the year. I had completely forgotten the attempted rape scene, oops. We'll see how the kids take it. I hope they are like me and just look at the wolves and the competency fun.

I started but didn't finish:
Raymie NightingalePalimpsestBlood, Bullets, and Bones: ...

Raymie Nightingale, Kate DiCamillo. (Cybils audio) The quirky Florida characters have the emotional sharpness associated with DiCamillo; I especially like Raymie tracing the size of her soul within her. The adults are blurry, but the interior life of children feels authentic.

Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente. This looks like it will have a similar feel to her planet book, with strange, vivid images coming together in a mosaic to show a complete novel. I'll trust her even though the first sections haven't gripped me much. I think this is a book club pick for somewhere; maybe my local Vaginal Fantasy? The official pick isn't a library option.

Blood, Bullets, Bones, Bridget Heos. A Cybils NF finalist. We try to keep our choices diverse in my Tuesday book club, so we went with a nonfiction book. We're lazy, so we opted for a YA one from my Cybils list, since they've been good to us in the past. I'm not supposed to finish this, as we need time to pick another book. But it gives us a lot of scope in picking the accompanying movie -- anything with murders or death or bullets.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Boy, Snow, BirdCity of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)


Boy, Snow, Bird Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. I have lost all sympathy for Boy with the start of Part 2, and so far Bird is not winning a popularity contest with me. I'm also distracted by having to listen to a Cybils book as well, so this has slowed to a crawl. 5/8 discs.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. The bad guys are ambitious, there are betrayals and forged betrayals and the emergence of hidden players -- the last few chapters are exciting.

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. This is for Friday's book club. It involves a lot of adventurous teenagers who accept torture as a normal working condition, but I worry about them. It's hard reading YA as a mother of young adults; it makes me sensitive.

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox. Popular science book about quantum effects. Good thing I've been discussing math with my high schoolers, as I managed the trigeometry-optional chapter with ease.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. I think this is the least favorite Scott I've read, because so much of it hinges on the girl being stupid. Even Ivanhoe's Rowena had more on the ball.

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.


Picture Books (read in the library while waiting for an appointment):

When the Wind StopsThe Matchbox DiaryLala Salama: A Tanzanian LullabyLittle TreeInterstellar Cinderella
Bug on a BikePakkun the Wolf and His Dinosaur FriendsYou're Here for a ReasonHelp!: A Story of FriendshipCharlie and the New Baby

When the Wind Stops, Charlotte Zolotow. Lovely. I liked the story and the theme of renewal, which stayed gentle enough for a bedtime story. This would be fun to read to children.

The Matchbox Diary, Paul Fleischman. Great pictures, good story, emotionally real frame. This is a book that would reward rereading, and which also can spark discussions about history, family, or literacy.

Lala Salama, Patricia MacLachlan. Simple and sweet. The words and pictures complement each other. A simple bedtime story for a quiet child (or one you would like to become quiet).

Little Tree, Lauren Long. This is a charming illustrated story of a tree who refuses to change and loses the chance to grow. It ends happily, although the cynic in me thinks the tree would have been doomed once it was under the canopy. Nature, unlike children's books, doesn't always give second chances.

Interstellar Cinderella, Deborah Underwood. Fun. I liked that it ended with her declining marriage and becoming a mechanic, rhymes with panic. The verse and the pictures were unexpected enough to entertain.

Bug on a Bike, Chris Monroe. Cute but random. The story seemed driven mostly by the need to make the next rhyme, which might charm small children but I wanted more. And the party at the end didn't seem like a balanced payoff.

Pakkun the Wolf and His Dinosaur Friends, Yasuko Kimura. I didn't much like the art, and there were too many boys. I'm starting to really notice the unbalanced ratio in picture books, and the slightly repulsive art only gave me an extra reason to speculate. I didn't emphasize with any of the characters. Kids probably would like it fine, but I was annoyed when the mother chicken called on a small boy instead of dealing with her lost egg by herself.

You Are Here For a Reason, Nancy Tillman. I found the message pressuring rather than validating, probably because of the personality of my kids. I think this would work very well for some kids -- the pictures are warm and the text simple, but I'd have trouble reading it aloud with the correct emphasis (just as I can't read Rainbow Fish without revealing that I think of it as a tale of horror and body-dismemberment in a failed hope for acceptance).

Help! A Story of Friendship, Holly Keller. Too many boys. I worry for the continuation of the species in all kids books. This book was unfortunate enough to be the upteenth boy club book in rapid succession, so its rating suffered. Also, and this is even sillier, some snakes do eat mice so it was not a ridiculous worry. The pictures were nice.

Charlie and the New Baby, Ree Drummond. Cute but not much drive. The pictures are sweet but not very memorable, and Charlie doesn't even bond with the new calf -- he just wakes up and it's off his blanket so he goes back to eating.


2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. Need to finish these up. I own the last one, so it keeps getting pushed behind due library books. Focus! (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 3 / a lot. Mostly through the second audio.  Started two YAs -- a fantasy and a nonfiction.
  3. Reading My Library: Now on disc 5 of Boy Snow Bird. Picked up a book from the next shelf.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 18/51. The elementary school book club book was set in Alaska, the Canadian author's book was in Indiana, and I read a review that placed Written in Red in Ohio, so I'm claiming that as well.