Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: All I'm Asking For #ChristmasAnthology

Authors: Brighton Walsh, Kat Latham, Christi Barth.
Publication date: December 2013
Age: Adult
Put love on your wish list with the romance anthology "All I'm Asking For." Included in this holiday anthology are three romantic holiday novellas: Tinsel My Heart, Season of Second Chances and Mine Under the Mistletoe.
Tinsel My Heart by Christi Barth: This Christmas, the producer of a small town holiday spectacular is swept away by a handsome Hollywood director.
Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh: Being stranded in a snowstorm offers a couple a second chance at a future together.
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham: An American in London helps a brooding Brit put the ghosts of Christmas past behind him.
Wherever you are, however you celebrate, this collection of three festive novellas will bring warmth to your holiday season.
I LOVED this anthology!! I'm usually very easy to please when it comes to Holiday novellas, but All I'm Asking For has three very well written novellas that will warm your heart and feel like it's already Christmas!

Tinsel My Heart is a story about two kids who liked each other but never saw again. Now one of them is famous and comes back to their little town, to find he still likes the girl of his dreams and maybe he can have her now. I liked this couple, they were fun and loved their HEA.

Season of Second Chances was a story about a couple who break up two years ago but now will have to spend a night together again, and it's impossible to turn off their attraction and love for each other. But if nothing have change, they can't have a future. I liked it because it was not only about second chances, but also about changing and understanding the importance of family.

Mine Under the Mistletoe is a story of a couple who is supposed to do a house swap but the weather leave them both stuck at London. Christmas is a difficult time for them, the plan was to spend it alone, but getting to know each other and enjoying the holidays together is the recipe to fall in love.... I really liked this story because the characters miss someone and it's really difficult to enjoy Christmas when you miss someone you were close too. :(

Overall, All I'm Asking For is one of my favorite holiday anthologies. The stories are so cute, but with the right sexy spark. They are short novellas, but I promise they will keep you reading until the end and satisfied with the characters and their development.

More about this book at AmazonGoodreadsBook Tour.

Pink Sugar by O. Douglas

One of the shameful things about this year is realising how many books my dear friend Clare has given me over the years which I have yet to read.  Her name has appeared a few times already in my Reading Presently project (as the bestower of Four Hedges, Cullum, and possibly How The Heather Looks) and is likely to appear at least a couple of times more - but, for today, she is the provider of Pink Sugar (1924) by O. Douglas, the pseudonym of John Buchan's sister Anna.  I'll call her O. Douglas in this review, to make things simple.  It's the only Greyladies edition I've read so far, although I'm thrilled that they have reprinted a couple of Richmal Crompton books, including the wonderful Matty and the Dearingroydes.  And, guess what, Pink Sugar is rather fab too.

Kirsty Gilmour is 30 and has made a home for herself in the Borders (so the blurb says for me), taking in an old aunt who fusses and worries, but is rather lovely, and three children Barbara, Specky, and Bad Bill. The novel opens in conversation between Kirsty and her livelier friend Blance Cunningham - Blanche was quite a witty character, and I was sad that she almost immediately departed the scene (she also said wise things like "People who knit are never dull") but we are not at a loss for characters after her departure.

Kirsty is rather gosh-isn't-the-world-wonderful at times, thankfully offset with some quick-wittedness; like Lyn I sympathised more with the minister's unhappy sister Rebecca, and found the characterful novelist Merren Strang more amusing - but Pink Sugar needs someone like Kirsty at its heart, because it is neither an unhappy novel nor a caustic one.  It is emphatically gentle and life-affirming, where a cup of tea and a dose of self-knowledge are the inevitable accompaniments to evening.

The children veer a little towards Enid Blyton territory, but that's no bad thing (especially compared to modern literature, where happy children seem such a rarity), and there is a wildly unconvincing love plot thrown in to tie things up, but Douglas's good writing and refusal to bathe too deeply in sentiment made me able to love relaxing and reading this.

One aspect of the style I couldn't get on board with was Douglas's frequent recourse to Scottish dialect, for the maids, cook, etc.  It was so impenetrable that I ended up skipping forward a few pages every time it appeared, so fingers crossed that I didn't miss anything of moment there...

And in case you're wondering what 'pink sugar' has got to do with anything, as I was for quite a long while, thankfully it is explained by Kirsty in the narrative.  Excuse the rather long quotation, but I couldn't find a neater way to cut it off...:
"I was allowed to ride on a merry-go-round and gaze at all the wonders - fat women, giants, and dwarfs.  But what I wanted most of all I wasn't allowed to have.  At the stalls they were selling large pink sugar hearts, and I never wanted anything so much in my life, but when I begged for one I was told they weren't wholesome and I couldn't have one.  I didn't want to eat it - as a matter of fact I was allowed to buy sweets called Market Mixtures, and there were fragments of the pink hearts among the curly-doddies and round white bools, and delicious they tasted.  I wanted to keep it and adore it because of its pinkness and sweetness.  Ever since that day when I was taken home begrimed with weeping for a 'heart', I have had a weakness for pink sugar.  And good gracious!" she turned to her companion, swept away by one of the sudden and short-lived rages which sometimes seized her, "surely we want every crumb of pink sugar that we can get in this world.  I do hate people who sneer at sentiment.  What is sentiment after all?  It's only a word, for all that is decent and kind and loving in these warped little lives of ours..."
So 'pink sugar' is essentially akin to seeing the joy in life - and is, perhaps, a codified reference to any reader or critic who would sneer at Pink Sugar itself, as a novel.  Admittedly, it isn't Great Literature, nor is it trying to be, but I think Douglas is doing herself an injustice with this sort of self-defence.  Pink Sugar isn't a lightweight romance with no thought given to the style or characterisation.  It doesn't stand on sentiment alone.

Others who got Stuck into this Book:

"The strength of the book is the atmosphere of village life." - Lyn, I Prefer Reading

"Pink Sugar is a lovely, sweet, frothy concoction of a novel" - Christine, The Book Trunk

"I am so very happy to have made the acquaintance of O. Douglas." - Nan, Letters From a Hill Farm

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Michael Walmer (Publisher)

Many bloggers are lucky enough to receive review copies from publishers; it's something I've found interesting to track through my 6.5 years as a blogger.  At first, only a few publishers thought it was a good idea - then it became quite widespread and we were inundated - then the recession hit, and publishers wisely held back a bit.  I still get offered a fair few, but don't accept very many (and all the unsolicited ones doubtless go to one of the five other addresses in Oxford I've lived at since starting my blog).  Since I don't have an e-reader, that cuts out a fair few review books too, now that people often want to send them that way.

But sometimes I get really excited about a review book offer - and that's when they come from a reprint publisher.  It's no secret that I prefer books from the early 20th century, and I love it when review titles come from Persephone (a little pile waiting to be read, sorry), Bloomsbury, Hesperus, Penguin etc. which are reprints of hard-to-find authors or titles.

Even more exciting is when I hear about a new reprint publisher - and so I was very happy to get an email from Michael Walmer - both the name of the man and the one-man publishing house, I think - and I quote the beginning of his blurb from his website:
Michael Walmer has set about publishing a list where the main ingredient is quality. Authors will be sourced from all over the world, with a love of erudition, be it elegant or rough-edged, simple or complex, poetic or blunt, or all of these!, as the enlivening and guiding principle.
It's early days, and the list is obviously quite short at the moment, but what a list it is!  He has certainly gone for witty writers, and his authors currently include Saki, Ada Leverson, Ronald Firbank, and Max Beerbohm.  Also on the list is Mary Webb, but I shan't hold that against him.  A few reprint series have specialised in interwar novelists, but I think this late-Victorian/Edwardian period has been hitherto a bit neglected, and I think Walmer has chosen a fruitful area.

I was spoiled for choice, but opted for a review copy of Stella Benson's first novel I Pose. When I reviewed her novel Living Alone, I said that I wanted to read something equally witty and surreal, but without the fantasy hoo-ha.  Well, I'm about halfway through I Pose and it seems to be the very book I'd hoped for - I'm absolutely loving it, and it was pretty scarce before Walmer brought it back into print.  Hurrah!  (I will, of course, review it properly in due course.)

The books are print on demand, but much, much better quality than you'd usually expect from POD titles - and they have properly designed, individual covers, so often (sadly) lacking from PODs.  Do go and check out the website for more info about the authors and titles available, and how to order - let me know what takes your fancy!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos - - ESSENTIAL

Gantos, Jack From Norvelt to Nowhere, 278 pgs. 2013. Farrar Straus Giroux; $16.99. Language: G; Violence: PG; Mature Content: PG.  

Young Jack Gantos returns in this laugh-filled sequel.  Life didn’t get back to normal in Norvelt, in fact, when Mrs. Custard returns from Utah, she becomes the next victim of the Old Lady killer.  When Miss Volker asks Jack to join her on a pilgrimage to visit the gravesite of Eleanor Roosevelt, the short trip turns into an odyssey crossing the Eastern US while avoiding Mr. Spizz, a couple of detectives, and other dangers. Old Ladies should not carry guns!  

This book is a continuation of Dead End in Norvelt, and I recommend you read that one first even though Gantos does a good job of filling in the reader.  A good clean read, action packed and plenty of history lessons, this is an Essential pick for your library.  A great boy book that girls will love, too.  EL MS ESSENTIAL Lisa Librarian

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

When I'm not reading book blogs (or, y'know, engagingly actively with the outside world, whatever that is), you'll probably find me watching vloggers on YouTube.  I don't watch any of the book vloggers any more, as they rarely talked about any books I'd be interested in (other than the one I'm going to write about today), but I do watch a lot of funny people, generally just talking about things that have happened to them, or opinions they hold.  One of these channels is called the vlogbrothers, where brothers John and Hank Green each make weekly videos addressing each other, but also addressing all their audience (whom - which? - they call 'nerdfighers', which is a little too high schooly for my liking, but I'll let it pass).

Anyway, John Green is not only a YouTube star, but a bestselling author.  He's written a few books, but it is his most recent, The Fault in Our Stars (2012), which caught my attention, and which my friend, ex-housemate, and self-proclaimed nerdfighter Liz lent to me.

Now, The Fault in Our Stars is teenage fiction.  I'm afraid I hate the term 'YA' ('young adult') because it is always used to refer to teenagers who are not young adults.  I am a young adult, being about a decade into adulthood.  The demographic of most fiction encompasses my age group.  Teenage fiction is for younger-than-adults, or old-children, but not for young adults.  Vent over.  Anyway, I haven't really read any teenage fiction since I was a teenager, and I didn't really read much of it after I was about 14.  I know a lot of grown-up readers (including bloggers) engage with it a great deal, and that's fine with me, albeit a little confusing.  (People often say something along the lines that it "deals with issues that adult novels wouldn't cover", which simply isn't true, since adult novels cover pretty much everything between them.)

I could turn this post over to a discussion for and against teenage fiction (and feel free to chime in on that, should you so wish) but instead I want to talk about The Fault in Our Stars specifically.  It was immediately obvious to me that it was teenage fiction, and I'm not sure why - partly, of course, because the protagonist Hazel (a girl with terminal cancer) is a teenager, but also the style.  Its simplicity, maybe?  Pass.  A few pages in, and I could cope with that, though, and didn't remain at my initial psychological distance from the book.  Indeed, I embraced it, and was swept along.

Hazel is 16 and she is dying of cancer - more precisely, she has Stage 4 thyroid cancer with metastasis forming in her lungs. Green had spent some time working as a student chaplain in a children's hospital, years before he wrote this novel, and you can tell that he is familiar not only with the goings-on of support groups and medical procedures, but the dynamic of teenagers living with cancer.  Somehow it is not an outsiders' book - although Green has not had cancer, and I have not had cancer, I didn't feel like their was a barrier between Hazel's experience and my understanding of it.

Green presents a girl who is sarcastic, witty, secretly a bit sappy, and rocketing along a path of self-discovery, finding her place in the world - she is like every teenage girl in the West, then.  Except she has cancer.  It is an intelligent portrait because, although cancer is (obviously) the overriding focus of her life and those of her family, it doesn't seem to be the starting point of Green's creation of the character - instead, it is something that happened to a character he created, even if it happened before the novel began.

The main thrust of the plot, indeed, is more typical of teenagers' novels - and adults' novels - that is, love. Hazel meets Augustus (Gus) Waters, a heartthrob teenage ex-basketball player - who is in remission from osteosarcoma (to which he lost a leg).  He is suave, funny, handsome, muscular, sweet etc. etc.  I.e. he's not as realistic as Hazel, in my book; he reminded me a bit of Todd from Sweet Valley High, if that oh-so-literary reference means anything to you.  Their relationship is cotton-candy sweet, of the variety which comes with passionate kisses being applauded in public.  Yes, that 'public' is Anne Frank's house, but it works in context... just.

A more nuanced subplot is the shared love Hazel and Gus have for a novel called An Imperial Affliction by Peter von Houten (which doesn't exist in real life, but Green's novel seems to have spawned dozens of fake cover art attempts - just Google Image Search it.)  Of course, the author is not all he seems... but it's a nice, interesting story - and goodness knows I'm a sucker for a character who loves books and reading, in any novel.

Ultimately, this is a book aimed at teenagers, and I believe they are the readers who will most benefit from it.  Hopefully it will inspire a love of reading in people who watch the vlogbrothers channel and, acting in the same way as Point Horror and Sweet Valley High for me, lead them eventually onto adult novels and older literature.  But it is not simply a gateway to later reading; for its intended age group, and for anybody being indulgent for an evening, it's a fantastic and well-crafted novel.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spartan and the Green Egg: A Trip to the Rainforest by Nabila Khashoggi –NO

Khashoggi, Nabila and Illustrated by Cadag, Manuel  Spartan and the Green Egg: A Trip to the Rainforest 59 pgs. Full Cycle Publications, 2013. $13.89.  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.
When Spartan tells his best friends about a book that teaches them how to communicate with aliens, they decide to give it a try. Not only does an alien egg appear in their tree house, but it communicates with them. It takes them to the Amazonian rain-forest, where they meet Amazon Natives, learn about logging and deforestation, and help to turn things around.
I had high hopes for this large glossy educational graphic novel. But one thing I am really picky about, especially with genres outside of historical fiction, is terminology. This book features Amazon Natives, but refers to them twice as just Indians. Worst of all one of the kids jokes that the Indians might boil them for dinner. Also these Amazon Natives are portrayed as extremely stereotypical Pocahontas style Native Americans. I am all for opening students eyes to the dangers of logging and deforestation of these precious rain-forests, but when they solve the problem purely with Alien magic (isn't that just handy?), it just doesn't work for me at all.

EL –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff –ADVISABLE

Cliff, Tony Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant 176 pgs. First Second, 2013. $12.09.  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG. GRAPHIC NOVEL
Delilah Dirk is a free spirited adventurer in early 1800’s. She travels the globe in her flying boat taking jobs, stealing, and fighting. In Constantinople she meets up with Selim, a Turkish Lieutenant. When he becomes embroiled in her escapades, he must escape with her. Selim mostly just likes sitting with friends and making and drinking tea, so life on the road for him, in constant danger, is jarring. But life without it, without Delilah, might just be too dull…
Top notch fantastic illustrations. One scene was frame-worthy stunning. The action is non-stop and interesting. I did feel like this was a character introduction story, made only to set the foundation for a real story. I think students will love the strong female heroine and maybe the historical setting will interest them in history. Also, despite the cheesy romance title, the book is romance free -just a pure adventure and friendship story.

MS, HS –ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb - ESSENTIAL

Bascomb, Neal The Nazi Hunters:  How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captures the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, 241 pgs.
Arthur A Levine Books, 2013. $9.34 (Kindle) $12.23 (Hardcover)
Language PG (2 swears); Mature Content:  PG; Violence: PG: 

For eight years, Adolf Eichmann was in charge of Jewish affairs for the Nazis and was responsible for sending millions of Jews to their death. As World War II ended, Eichmann reluctantly accepted defeat; and knowing that he would be hunted for war crimes, he made a plan for escape and disappeared. This book explores the culmination of many victims of Eichmann and the Holocaust and their desire to see justice met.  It reveals the discovery of Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, Argentina, his capture, his transportation to Israel, and ultimately his trial--an event that was able to enable the world to look, hear, and feel the horror of the Holocaust. 

This non-fiction book--packed with pictures, documents, and facts--opens the reader’s eyes to the details, excitement, and significance of this sixteen-year Nazi hunt.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because of its breadth of information, the simplicity of explanation, and suspenseful plot.  It is rated PG for two appropriate uses of language and the mature reference to events relating to the cruelty and violence experienced by the Holocaust.  Some character names and flashbacks create confusion, but this is aided by the numerous graphics.  I highly recommend this book for every high school library shelf—the interest level and historical enlightenment is fantastic.  

MS HS-ESSENTIAL. Reviewer:  Donna Huxford

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dr. Z’s Adventure Park (I Scream, You Scream Scary Tales) by James Preller –NO

Preller, James  Dr. Z’s Adventure Park (I Scream, You Scream Scary Tales) 112 pgs. Feiwel & Friends, 2013. $5.39.  Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.
Sam loves amusement park rides, the scarier the better. When she wins a ticket to the newest ride, Dragon’s Tooth, she is over joyed. But its only 1 ticket, so her parents must stay behind as she goes off with a scared little boy in a mine car, down into the earth. Things start to go gravely wrong, and Sam tries to protect the boy. Turns out nothing is what it seems.
This was more horror than anything. I think it was cold, dark, and didn’t have much to redeem itself. I wouldn’t want my students reading this. There is some very descriptive injuries and terror that isn’t great for Elementary. But the plot would be a bit too childish for older students. 
EL –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author. 

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Believe it or not, I'm reading a proof copy here... oops.  I started The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey more or less as soon as the proof copy arrived from Headline, back in 1884 or whenever it was that it was sent (erm, 2011?) but wasn't in the right head space to be reading it, and popped it back on the shelf, knowing I'd go back to it.

Well, with a repeat of A Century of Books lined up for 2014, I'm enjoying delving into 21st-century literature in my post-thesis binge.  Indeed, I finished reading this shortly after I submitted my thesis, and before I flew to America, so it's taken a little while to review.  And it's every bit as good as everyone was saying it was, back when it first came out.

 It's your standard fantastic creation story... a lonely woman who longs for a child accidentally creates one, and then begins to lose control over her creation.  The story is remarkably similar to Edith Olivier's The Love-Child - and even more similar, overtly so, to the Russian fairytale 'The Snow Maiden'.  With my interest in novels of this ilk, it's as though it were written for me.  But, as with any updating of fairytale, what is important is the way in which the tale is told.  Ivey does it beautifully.

Mabel and Jack have moved to the middle of snowy nowhere in Alaska, 1920, and live quietly, working hard to keep their farm going.  Both characters are quite shy and keep their emotions to themselves, but it's clear at the same time that these silent emotions run deep - so deep that any hint of them is unbearably painful.  And yet, shy as they are, they somehow make friends with their jolly neighbours Esther and George.
"I suppose I'm the black sheep.  No one else in my family would think of living on a farm, or moving to Alaska.  My father was a literature professor at the University of Pennsylvania." 
"And you left all that to come here?  What in God's name were you thinking?"  Esther shoved Mabel playfully on the arm.  "He talked you into it, didn't he?  That's how it often is.  These men drag their poor women along, taking them to the Far North for adventure, when all they want is a hot bath and a housekeeper."
"No.  No.  It's not like that."  All eyes were on her, even Jack's.  She hesitated, but then went on.  "I wanted to come here.  Jack did, too, but when we did, it was at my urging.  I don't know why, precisely.  I believe we were in need of a change.  We needed to do things for ourselves.  Does that make any sense?  To break your own ground and know it's yours free and clear.  Nothing taken for granted.  Alaska seemed like the place for a fresh start." 
Esther grinned.  "You didn't fare too badly with this one, did you, Jack?  Don't let word get out.  There aren't many like her."
Though she didn't look up, Mabel knew Jack was watching her and that her cheeks were flushed.  She so rarely spoke so much in mixed company.  Maybe she had said too much.
These sections actually reminded me a bit of Betty Macdonald's The Egg and I, although that is a comedy; the same hardships and marital tensions come about because of giving everything to a working farm.

It swiftly becomes clear that the thing missing the in the lives of Mabel and Jack is not simply money or an assistant, but a child - and, of course, one materialises.  A child made out of snow turns - it seems - into a real child, called Faina.  She is quiet and undemonstrative; Ivey cleverly changes the way dialogue is spoken in any scene in which Faina appears, so that it isn't announced by speech marks but blended into the narrative.  In the same way, Faina seems to blend into the natural world, never quite leaving it to be their child, always disappearing into the snow.  She willingly wears the beautiful coat Mabel makes, but she is still wild - like Clarissa in The Love-Child, she cannot really be contained.

And then there is the question, unearthed by Jack, as to who Faina really is.  Is she a miracle, crafted from snow?  Or is she all too human, abandoned and homeless on the snowy mountainside?  Well, obviously I'm not going to tell you.  Nor am I going to tell you about the other complication that arrives, which again mirrors the plot of The Love-Child (and which, I realise, probably means that Edith Olivier probably read 'The Snow Maiden'.)

Eowyn Ivey has met with a lot of success with this novel, and deservedly so.  The Snow Child is written with a beautiful simplicity - or a simple beauty, if you like - with emotions always playing out near the surface; there isn't much introspection, or a web or words trying to weave a complex portrait of an emotional state, but rather Mabel and Jack's urgent feelings are clear to the reader (even while they are hidden from others.)  What I mean to say is, sometimes the deepest and most complicated situations require only simple words; sometimes the simplest words can convey the deepest sorrow and be more moving than any over-wrought passage.  I know I'm not alone in being very affected by The Snow Child - my friend from OUP admitted that it made him cry, and I've got to say I liked him even more after that confession - and it is a novel which requires some sort of emotional stability in its reader, or it would be too heartbreaking from the outset.  But, oh, it's worth it.

As I wrote earlier, this novel could have been crafted for me and my interests - and it got a mention in my thesis - and I was surprised, but pleased, to see how widely it was admired and loved.  Rightly so.  Eowyn Ivey is a significant new talent, and I look forward to seeing what comes next from her.

When Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith-Essential

Griffith, Gretchen When Christmas Feels Like Home, illustrated by Carolina Farias. Albert Whitman and Company, 2013. $16.99. Picture Book

Eduardo has moved far from his village and is worried he will never feel at home again. His aunt promises that by the time Christmas arrives he will believe he belongs. Eduardo is skeptical, but as the days pass and he makes new friends, learns a new language, and watches the seasons change, he realizes that he may just have discovered a new home.

The illustrations are what make this book special. While the story is appealing and the use of Spanish words mixed into the text is a clever learning device, it is the pictorial representation of Eduardo’s experience that elevates this book.

EL (K-3)—ESSENTIAL. AEB Social Studies Teacher

The Christmas ABC by Florence Johnson-Advisible

Johnson, Florence The Christmas ABC, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Random House Children’s Books, 1962 renewed 1990. $3.99. Picture Book
This classic picture book teaches the ABC’s using Christmas vocabulary.

A delightful holiday book that will teach beginning readers their alphabet while celebrating the season with fun illustrations and charming descriptions.

Pre-K, EL (K-3)—ADVISIBLE. AEB Social Studies Teacher

Serafina's Promise by Anne Burg - ADVISABLE

Burg, Anne E. Serafina's Promise, 299 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2013. $16.99. Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.       
An engaging novel about a girl growing up in war-torn Haiti, a country whose citizens are worn down by poverty and natural disasters. Serafina and her family are challenged to stay alive and united despite hunger, sickness, flooding and an earthquake. Serafina dreams of becoming a doctor, yet battles the guilt of knowing that every extra bit of family income is going to pay for her school uniforms rather than keeping other family members fed and healthy. The book is written in poetry stanzas, yet is very easy and enjoyable reading.     

EL, MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Katherine S., Utah Educator.

Ding Dong! Gorilla! by Michelle Robinson - ADVISABLE

Robinson, Michelle Ding Dong! Gorilla!, illustrated by Leonie Lord. PICTURE BOOK. Peachtree Publishers, 2013.  $15.95.  Content: G. 

There is a mess and none of the children want to clean it up because they say the Gorilla did it.  A clever story about how messes are made and the way children blame someone else so they don’t have to clean up.  The illustrations of the Gorilla are wonderful and I recommend this book.

EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Mindy Tidwell