Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summertime reading pile – Update: No. 1.

My blog posting of April 20th listed a few oldies, and hopefully goodies-books that I had missed as they arrived in the Doucette and had slated for my summertime reading pile.

I’ve been a reading, mad woman the last while and have mostly gone through the aforementioned list plus some.

Here are a few observations.  Take them for what they’re worth.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
Recently reissued from the 1960s book, it does have an old-fashioned sensibility in the storytelling which I did enjoy.  The book differs significantly from the movie I remember seeing as a kid but still had a good sense of adventure if not entirely realistic. I had hoped that the story would have relevance to the science curriculum with the father being an inventor and the car needing to be rebuilt.  Not such a strong science connection.  Would recommend it as a read aloud for elementary grades as good, gentle family fair.

The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli
As it takes place during the Italian Renaissance, I thought this might be one I’d recommend as a tie-in to the social studies curriculum.  Though I did like the book, it probably wouldn’t be the book I’d recommend first.  I think the book, Leonardo’s Shadow by Christopher Peter Grey (823 G8687L FIC) works better.  Both show some of the same political scheming of the time period though the books take place in different cities, one in Florence and the other in Milan.  Leonardo da Vinci is in both, though more significantly in Leonardo’s Shadow, and we get to ‘know’ his complex character and brilliant mind better in it.  Suggested for grades 7 and up.

Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine
Wow!  I really liked this one.  I really liked Jenny’s last one (see blog April 26th) Finding Violet Parks.  She comes up with such interesting premises that draw you in and leave you wanting more.  About half way through this one I could see where this was going and still enjoyed the journey.  It is about relationships between family and friends with a little coming-to-terms-with-grief thrown in.  Recommended as YA.

The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going
Quite liked this, too. It’s one of those “quiet reads” where you get to know the characters, where there’s not a lot of really, big action but lots of everyday occurrences that add up to something meaningful and special.  Takes place around the time of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. with best friends Gabriel (white) and Frita (black) helping each other deal with big and small fears alike. Suggested for grades 4 to 7ish.

I’ve just started into The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer.  Stay tuned for more.


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