Monday, March 18, 2013

Latest Reads

Happy Monday, readers! It's been a while. I've been reading all this time, but haven't really had anything that I've wanted to blog about.  I've also been working on upcoming programs and making plans for our summer reading program, so blogging has been put on the back burner. 

In my quest to whittle down the books in my personal library, I picked up Henry VIII: The King and His Court.  I bought this many years ago on account of Alison Weir's stellar reputation, but I was reluctant to read a book about Henry VIII, given his reputation.  I was quickly drawn into Weir's stunning portrayal of this deeply complicated, intelligent, obsessive, and cruel ruler.  Weir also details the social customs of the era, which deepens the reader's enjoyment and understanding.  I definitely need to investigate her other writings.

I had never heard of Horace Pippin before I read A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, so every detail about this self-taught artist gripped me.  Horace Pippin, the grandson of slaves, loved to draw.  He reveled in drawing natural scenes, but always added a splash of red to his creations.  Even when he had to quit school in order to help with the family finances, he never forgot his love of drawing.  World War I loomed, and Pippin enlisted; after suffering an injury to his arm, Pippin was forced to adapt his artistic techniques, using his injured arm to move his good arm.  This is an inspiring and vivid tribute to Pippin, who earned recognition for his artwork rather late in life. 

The Passover Lamb is a lovely and welcome addition to our Passover books collection.  Although excellent books about holidays are always needed, I'm specifically interested in books that feature stories about  holidays.  The Passover Lamb, based on an actual experience in the author's childhood, centers on young Miriam, who is finally ready to recite the four questions asked by the youngest child at the Passover Seder.  The birth of triplet lambs threatens their trip to her grandparents' home; the mother lamb only has milk for two babies, meaning that the family will need to feed the third lamb on a constant basis.  Luckily, Miriam thinks of a way to save the Seder meal and to keep the newborn lamb safe and fed. I love this story; I love that it features a rural Jewish family, which is a rarity in children's fiction.  The illustrations are inviting and realistic; the writing will keep the interest of young children.  Those in search of stories and nonfiction titles more directly focused on the actual celebration of Passover will need to investigate further, but this darling story is an asset to any Passover books collection.

Our March books are trickling in!  Our new books shelves should be replenished shortly with wonderful reads.

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