Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sigh....More Short Reviews

From reading other blogs, I know it's common to go into a slump from time to time. Well, I'm in one. Until this passes, I'll just post short reviews of my reading and pass along anything interesting that I find. I have some ideas that will keep me posting on a regular basis, but they won't be lengthy book reviews.

So, in passing, this is what I've read recently:

Nonfiction books that can be read aloud in one setting are not easy to find. They are out there, but not easy to find. That’s why I was happy to find Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu. Written and lavishly illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Ted Lewin (Peppe the Lamplighter), Lost City tells the tale of Hiram Bingham, who discovered the lost city of Machu Picchu. If you are doing a unit on South America, you'll want to take a look at this book.

Four Perfect Pebbles is the harrowing story of a family's survival of the Holocaust. After efforts to immigrate abroad failed, the Blumenthal family found themselves at the hands of the Nazis. Lila Perl writes of their nightmare starkly and quietly, which makes this one of the most devastating and affecting Holocaust memoirs written for young readers that you may ever read. Although this is one of the slimmest Holocaust memoirs, its effect on the reader is long-lasting.

Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart is an endearing and unique story of two sisters challenged by the shock of their father's prison term (for forged checks). Written in prose, this is a charmingly illustrated look at a subject rarely covered for young readers. Although the subject matter is serious, the greater story is that of the family's coping with and surviving the unexpected. Many children will be able to relate to the love and exasperation the two sisters feel for each other.

For Little House fans that can't get enough of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Laura's Album is not to be missed. Crammed with photographs of the Ingalls and the Wilders, Laura's Album is a lovingly written tribute to the author. Although certain details are not fully explained (i.e. the mention of Laura's infant brother's death, but no explanation of how he died), and written before the extent of Rose Wilder Lane's influence on the Little House books was fully known, Laura's Album is a terrific biography of a familiar friend to many young readers.

Happy reading!

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