Saturday, 25 July 2009

#6 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Date read: 6/21/2009
Rating: 4*/5 = great

My thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this childhood favorite. I liked how Mary "blossomed" as she started caring about others and let others care about her. I also liked how she and Dickon showed Colin a new way to live.

#5 The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban

The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban
Date read: 6/16/2009
Rating: 4*/5 = great

My thoughts:

Although it's been many years since I had read this book, I still found it as poignant, funny and moving as I did when I was a child. I enjoyed the interactions between the tin mouse and his son in their quest to find a home and a family.

#4 The Book of Three

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Date read: 6/14/2009
Rating: 4*/5

My thoughts:

I enjoyed rereading this childhood favorite featuring the characters Taran, Eilonwy and Fflewddur Fflam. I especially liked how Taran learned that being a hero takes more than swinging a sword and looking handsome. I look forward to rereading the next book in the series, The Black Cauldron.

Monday, 22 June 2009

End of Challenge

A big thank you to all of you who joined me in this challenge.
I hope you enjoyed reading your childhood favourite books as much as I did.
I've rediscovered a few more of them thanks to your reviews and will be re-reading them over the years.
Many thanks to all
Lynda ;0)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge

Katy - Book 3
Published: 1886
Pages: 178
My Rating: 4 stars

Sarah Chauncey Woolsey was an American children's author who wrote under the pen name Susan Coolidge. She died in 1905 and is best known for her classic children's novel What Katy Did (1872). The fictional Carr family was modelled after the author's own, with Katy Carr inspired by Susan (Sarah) herself, and the brothers and sisters modelled on Coolidge's Woolsey siblings. Two sequels follow Katy as she grows up: What Katy Did at School (1873) and What Katy Did Next (1886). Two further sequels were also published: Clover (1888) and In the High Valley (1890) - wikipedia

This is another one of my mother's books that I also loved as a child. The totally adorable cover shows a picture of Katy and Ned on the Grand Canal in Venice. I can't locate book 2, What Katy Did At School so I've gone straight to book 3 which takes place 3 years after Katy Carr leaves Hillsover boarding school and returns home to Burnet.

Katy cares for a neighbour's daughter, Amy Ashe, while Mrs Ashe cares for her nephew who is stricken with Scarlet Fever. After many months, a grateful Mrs Ashe asks Katy to accompany her and Amy on an extended holiday to Europe. What follows is a travelogue through England, France and Italy and the reader is given glimpses of the growing love between Katy and naval lieutenant Ned Worthington, Mrs Ashes's younger brother. The glimpses mind you, are little more than fleeting mentions, we are talking 1880's children's story (wouldn't want to sully a young girl's mind lol)

I particularly loved Katy's journey through story-book England. Katy had a penchant for visiting places she had read about in novels, one such being 'Wimpole Street'

"That is the name of the street where Maria Crawford in Mansfield Park, you know, 'opened one of the best houses' after she married Mr Rushworth. Think of seeing Wimpole Street! What fun!"

Another nostalgic read; adorable, outdated and slightly 'kitschy' story but nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable. This also completes the Childhood Favourites Challenge for me.

Posted on my blog The Eclectic Reader

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Childhood Favourites #5: A Watcher in the Woods

A Watcher in the Woods

Florence Engel Randall

First Hardcover Printing: 1976

New York: Atheneum Publishers

Jan Carstairs is 15 (almost 16) when she and her family move into the old Aylwood place. Jan wasn't happy about the move in the first place, she's used to the city; not the isolation of this country estate. But there is something else, something more unsettling that has Jan so upset. She felt it that first day, a presence in the woods. The old woman knew it was there too and after talking to Jan, decides to "take a chance" on the Carstairs, reluctantly leaving her home and the Watcher behind.

It isn't long before odd occurrences have the entire Carstairs family upset. Mirrors are mysteriously broken, always in the same X pattern. 10-year-old Ellie begins to "hear" things and relate messages in mirror writing. The TV becomes a bridge of communication when strange programs are transmitted late at night. With help from their nearest neighbour and Jan's new friend 19-year-old Mark, the Carstairs race against time to piece together the identity of the Watcher in the Woods!

I was 11-years-old in grade six when I first read A Watcher in the Woods. I've always considered this one my crossover book; my first step onto the bridge between children's literature and the world of adult books. Skip ahead thirty years and though I remember the thrill of reading this book, some of the details were sketchy. Revisiting this childhood favourite became great fun with all the "oh yeah, now I remember!" moments because try a I might, the ending would not come back to me 'til the end!

In 1980 Scholastic released a paperback edition with the slightly altered title The Watcher in the Woods to coincide with the Disney film version in theatres the same year. To complete The Childhood Favourites Challenge, this 1980 edition is the one I had to borrow on an inter-library loan.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is at the top of my list of childhood favorites. I'm not alone, as almost every female friend and acquaintance I know says the same thing. Louisa May Alcott wrote this book in 1868. It was an instant hit and has continued to remain a hit.

It's a story loosely based on the author's own family experience. In it we find a family of four daughters (Beth, Jo, Meg and Amy). a mother (Marmee) and a father who is away from home as a civil war chaplain. In addition, we have Aunt March, old Mr Laurance, his grandson Laurie, John Brooks and so many more. This novel is rich with characters. 

The plot revolves around the daily activities of the four girls and follows them for several years as they grow from girls into women. Each of the four girls have different personalities, with strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed reading how they were all so creative when it came to devising ways to entertain themselves and each other. One of the activities included a secret society, The Pickwick Club, or P.C. as they called it. Gardening was another activity. Each girl had her own quarter where she planted her favorite flowers. All that is, except for Jo, who liked to experiment with different flowers. The girls also had various chores and other jobs.

The book follows the girls with various friendships and as they contemplate marriage and what they will do with the rest of their lives. There are various issues in the book that I didn't notice in previous readings. I liked the strong feminine determination they each showed. As a child I remember liking Jo because she was such a tomboy. I still like her for that. 

It's been 140 years since the book first came out and it's still relevant for today's girls/young women. I was thinking about this book for my ten-year-old granddaughter but I've decided to wait a year or two. I'd recommend this for 12 and up.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

This is the story of a little orphaned girl, Heidi, who has been raised by her Aunt Detie.  As the story opens Heidi and Aunt Detie are on their way  up to the top of a Swiss mountain. Heidi must now live with her grandfather. Aunt Detie can no longer take care of her as she has a job with an important family in Frankfurt. 

At five-years-old Heidi is a bubbly and kind little girl. It doesn't bother her that Grandfather is grumpy and not liked in the village or that he lives in a hut and there is no extra bed or chair for her.  This spirited little girl wins him over. She also makes friends with Peter, the boy who takes care of the goats and with Grannie, a blind neighbor.

Heidi and Grandfather settle in and make it a happy and pleasant home in the Alps. They become very attached to each other. It's been two years but one day Aunt Detie shows up with a new plan.

Detie takes Heidi back with her for a "visit" to Frankfurt. She has secured a place for Heidi as a companion to the invalid daughter of a very rich man. Clara is confined to a wheelchair, is taught by a private tutor, but she has no friends her age. Heidi is just what Clara needs.

On this year long visit Heidi learns to read and write. She looks forward to the day she can read to Grannie. Although Heidi and Clara are good friends, Heidi is very homesick. Her health begins to fail and Clara's doctor suggests she return to the Alps.

Once back in the Alps Heidi gains back her health, she teaches Peter to read and write. Grandfather is reconciled with the people in the village, and Clara comes for a visit. Yes, things turn out okay and everyone lives happily ever after. This is probably where I first started my love for the happily-ever-after stories. 

Sunday, 14 June 2009

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

Published: 1872
Pages: 178
My Rating: 4 stars

This book was my mother's when she was a young girl, passed on to me & enjoyed numerous times as a child and now re-read in adulthood for pure nostalgia. It's battered, the book jacket is torn & worn, the story is out-dated but I love this childhood favourite just because it was one my mum adored.

Katy Carr was not a bad girl, but she was a very impulsive and thoughtless girl, and this led her, and the younger members of the Carr family who followed her lead, into many scrapes. Aunt Izzie who helped Dr Carr with his motherless children was very prim and proper and thoroughly disapproved of Katy's behaviour... Disobeying Aunt Izzie's order not to ride on the new swing, Katy did so and met with a bad accident. It was thought that she might never walk again. Then followed many miserable months of pain and inactivity before Katy, with the help of all the family and especially Cousin Helen, regained her courage and learned to be patient and thoughtful for others. - book jacket

This is such a sweet story and while hideously out-dated, it certainly made me smile to think how many young girls given this book were encouraged to model themselves on Katy's reformed character.

Set in a small town in the late 1800s the story begins with an introduction to the six Carr children, their kitten, and their best friend Ceci as they make a trip to 'Paradise' - "wild and endless and full of adventure as any forest of fairy-land" - the children's secret picnic place in the marshy thicket near their house. They argue over which path to take to Paradise; Pilgrim's Path & the Hill of Difficulty, the Path of Peace or Sassafrass Path and as usual Katy, the eldest of the Carr children has her way.

The descriptions of the Carr children and their escapades were enchanting; Katy, Clover, Elsie, Dorrie, Joanna (John) & Phil are captivating characters & actually quite believable and I was kept entertained with the spats & pranks, recitals & games. One day Katy is late to school, in a terrible temper and a spate of trouble all because she hadn't bothered to sew in the string of her bonnet & her father quotes her this - (one I'd heard many times from my own grandpa!)

"For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."

When 12 year old Katy falls from a swing & is bedridden for years, she is inspired by her invalid cousin Helen, to strive to be the sweet natured, uncomplaining, bed-bound "heart of the family."

While I know this story had a serious underlying moral tone in its time, I thought it very entertaining & found myself laughing at the quaint Victorian theme of self-sacrifice and humility helping little girls grow into good women.

Published on my blog The Eclectic Reader

Friday, 29 May 2009

Childhood Favourites #4

Mary of Mile 18

Story and Pictures by Ann Blades

1971 First Hardcover Printing,
Montreal: Tundra Books

It seems I've always known the story of Mary Fehr, a young girl living in northern British Columbia. Indeed this book was a favourite of all my elementary school teachers and came home with me many times from the school library. It's true that we saw harsh yet, beautiful winters here in Nova Scotia but Mary lived through the winter with much less comfort and way more responsibility than either I or most other children I knew at the time.

Though this book touches on the hardships of enduring a cold Canadian winter without such comforts as running water, electricity and indoor plumbing, it does so in such a quiet and understated way. The beauty of growing up with a strong sense of hardworking values in a large and loving family, shines through in this book.

I can't imagine any child not feeling the pull of wanting a puppy when Mary finds a stray half wolf-pup and wants to keep him. Her father though, is quick to remind her that animals must earn their keep on a farm and wolf-pups are useless.

Sadly Mary goes off with the pup while the others go about their jobs ... The pup snuggles in Mary's arms as she carries him into the woods. How she wishes she could keep him!

Still tugs at my heart!

Ann Blades gentle watercolours perfectly capture the cold and lonesome beauty of a northern Canadian winter. The bare limbs of trees, the soft and ever present snow, the wonder and magic of Northern Lights and one stealthy and snarling coyote, illustrate and contribute to the enduring charm of Mary of Mile 18.

A Canadian classic to be enjoyed by all ages, everywhere!

** Ann Blades was just twenty years old and working as a teacher at a tiny country schoolhouse in the northern village of Mile 18 when she created what would become a childrens book sensation. Unable to find books for her students that represented their lives, she decided to write and illustrate her own stories. Mary of Mile 18 was her first book and included the students she taught that year. The Vancouver Art Gallery exhibited the tender naive paintings, and the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians in 1972 chose it the BOOK OF THE YEAR in the largest and most enthusiastic vote ever given a book. Translated into many languages including Swedish, Danish and German, Mary of Mile 18 celebrated it's 30th printing in 2001.

A Boy of Tache and A Salmon for Simon are among Ann Blade's other award winning books. **

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Rescuers ~ Margery Sharp

Childhood Favourites # 3:

The Rescuers ~ Margery Sharp

with drawings by Judith Brook

London: Collins, 1959

158 pages

I was ten years old when Disney's The Rescuers came to the big screen. It was quite a treat for my sisters and I to go to the movie theatre and see it. Soon thereafter, I was delighted to learn that the movie was actually based on books. The Rescuers, Miss Bianca a fantasy & Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines soon made their way into my heart and home!

In this first book, three mice set out to rescue an imprisoned poet from the Black Castle. The story of how Bernard, Miss Bianca and Nils come together as part of the Prisoner's Aid Society and then set out on their long and perilous journey is quite an adventure. When finally they reach the Black Castle, more obstacles stand in their way including Mamelouk, the Head Jailer's cat. Months of waiting and careful planning go by before the three brave mice can even attempt their rescue, their timing must be perfect.

It was wonderful to re-discover these books again and share them with my 8 y.o. daughter. She didn't ask why this first book wasn't anything like the movie she knows so well; I had to laugh though, when she asked why the mice "talk funny". As most readers well know and as I explained to my daughter, Miss Bianca is of a certain social class, a rather high society mouse. Being unaccustomed to older, "proper" English prose, the narration felt a little off to her young ears but she soon adjusted and picked up some new vocabulary along the way.

Something else she found terribly funny comes from the part of the story where Miss Bianca is in search of a brave Norwegian mouse,

"In the Embassy cellar there was evidently some kind of bachelor-party going on. At least fifty Norwegian mice were gathered there—singing and shouting and drinking beer."

That's right, beer drinking mice and they are swigging it back in the illustration on the opposite page which includes a floor littered with empties and spilled tankards! It's actually quite cute but not something I would expect to find in more recent editions of this classic tale. Thankfully, our library has all nine of the original titles for my daughter and I to enjoy reading together!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Review: Dear Mr. Henshaw

Beverly Cleary was definitely my favorite author growing up. I read all the Ramona Quimby books multiple times, but I think the prize for the most rereads of one books is this one...Dear Mr. Henshaw.

This was the first time I had reread it as an adult. What a difference of perspective! Leigh Botts' favorite author is Boyd Henshaw. He writes to him for the first time in 2nd grade, and a couple years later sends him a list of questions to answer as part of a school report. Mr. Henshaw answers his questions and sends a list back for Leigh to answer. So begins a mentorship and friendship in writing. Along the way, Leigh deals with feelings surrounding his parents' divorce and being the new kid at school, all while developing the skills he needs to become an author someday.

I was struck by the talent it takes for an adult to write authentically from a kid's perspective. We see the world through Leigh's eyes - even how he interprets Mr. Henshaw's advice. And, we see Leigh develop over the years he writes to Mr. Henshaw. His thinking becomes less concrete, and he is able to view a situation from multiple perspectives. He also develops self-awareness. I think it takes a skilled author to convey so many things in language plain enough that it can be understood by young readers.

When I opened the book last night, I could have told you that the book was in letter format between a kid and an author. I had forgotten almost all of the details, but as soon as I read them again they came back. I could hear some of them being read by my second grade teacher, while others were familiar because I'd read them so many times before. It was a fun trip down memory lane.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

My Rating: 5 stars
Copyright: 1943
Published: 1971
Pages: 185

This was my all-time favourite book growing up & unbeknownst to me at the time, my first experience with the fantasy genre. As a child I was so enchanted with the story, I believed the Enchanted Forest and the Magic Faraway Tree were actually real.

Only a few pages in and this delightful story came rushing back, along with the magical, wishful feelings experienced as a child. Fanny, Dick, Bessie & Jo, Moon-face, Silky, Saucepan, Dame Wash-a-lot & the Angry Pixie became old friends once again and the lands at the top of the Faraway Tree re-ignited my love of Enid Blyton. The Land of Do-As-You-Please, The Land of Goodies & The Land of Presents must surely be every child's dream

The Magic Faraway Tree and other stories by Enid Blyton will always hold a special place in my heart.

Posted on my blog The Eclectic Reader

The House At Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

My Rating: 5 stars
Copyright: 1928
Published: 1974
Pages: 176

When I found my 1974 edition of The House At Pooh Corner I just had to re-read this much adored childhood favourite.
It was a nostalgic visit to the 100 Acre Wood to play with Pooh, "a bear of very little brain", Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Tigger & of course Christopher Robin.

The stories within are simple & funny & endearing & silly & I giggled & sighed my way through them. As an adult you realise how 'little brain' Pooh actually has :-) & how neurotic Piglet is & Eeyore's sarcasm becomes apparent. As an adult I enjoyed the rhymes and poems, the funny adventures but I also enjoyed the quirky insight into human nature & the subtle reminder of what's important in life. I'd forgotten that The House At Pooh Corner marks the 'end of a chapter', Christopher Robin is leaving his childhood & his friends behind.

"Pooh, when I'm - you know - when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?"
"Just Me?"
"Yes, Pooh."
"Will you be here too?"
"Yes, Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be, Pooh."
"That's good," said Pooh
"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."
"How old shall I be then?"
Pooh nodded."I promise," he said.

These aren't just characters in a book, they're friends, friends you're never too old to visit.

Posted on my blog The Eclectic Reader

Friday, 24 April 2009

Charlotte's Web

Thanks to the movie, the plot of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is well known to most children. [I love the version with Julia Robert's voice as Charlotte.] In case you missed it, here is the story line: Wilbur, the Pig, lives on the Zuckerman Farm. He was horrified to learn he will be killed and made into bacon and ham. His best friend, Charlotte the Spider, vows to save him. Charlotte does her thing, which is to spin a web with the words ’some pig’ in it. Will that be enough to save Wilbur?

There are more characters than Wilbur and Charlotte. There is Templeton the Rat, the old sheep, the goose and the gander who talk funny. And, there is Fern, the eight-year-old girl, who understands what the animals are saying. There are some grown-ups as well.

Published in 1952, this book has served several generations. I remember first reading it when I was a young teenager to the children I was hired to babysit. Each week they were anxious for me to come and read more chapters to them. My children loved the story too and now the granddaughters.

One of the things I like best about this book is that it does not talk down to children. Charlotte has an excellent vocabulary and uses words like versatile and languishing. Wilbur always asks Charlotte what the word means and Charlotte gives an easy to understand definition.

This is a good book for our four-year-old granddaughter as she loves big words and already has a huge vocabulary. I recommend it for children three and up as a read-to book and as a read-on-your book for big sisters(or brothers) of eight and up.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, HarperCollins Publications, 1952.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Title: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Author: Dr. Seuss
Genre: Childrens
Challenges: Childhood Favorites Reading Challenge, A to Z Reading Challenge, 2009 Support Your Local Library, 20 Books in 2009, Pages Read Challenge 2009, PB & J Challenge, 101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge,

Rating: 4/5
No. of Pages: 62
Published: 1960

From the back:
"Did you ever fly a kite in bed? Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?" Such are the profound, philosophical queries posed in this well-loved classic by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. While many rhymes in this couplet collection resemble sphinx-worthy riddles, Seuss's intention is clear: teach children to read in a way that is both entertaining and educational. It matters little that each wonderful vignette has nothing to do with the one that follows. (We move seamlessly from a one-humped Wump and Mister Gump to yellow pets called the Zeds with one hair upon their heads.) Children today will be as entranced by these ridiculous rhymes as they have been since the book's original publication in 1960--so amused and enchanted, in fact, they may not even notice they are learning to read!

What a wonderful rhyming book as usual for a Dr. Seuss. I’ve always love this one and like reading this with my youngest nephew. I always love the illustrations that he does. The Zeds with one hair. How can you not think it’s funny.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Book #3: Mandy

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
Date read: 4/13/2009
Rating: 3*/5

My thoughts:

I enjoyed re-reading this book as it was one of my favorite books growing up. As I read, I smiled at remembering Mandy's climbing over the wall, and even though I knew how it would end, I still worried when she was in the cottage while she was sick.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Book #2: Stuart Little

Stuart Little by E.B. White
Date read: 4/2/2009
Rating: 5*/5

My thoughts:

I don't know how many times I've read this book, but reading it again for the Childhood Favourites Reading Challenge was a joy. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still laughed when I read about Stuart inside the piano, and I felt sad when his friend Margalo the bird left home.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Chilhood Favourites #2

Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson
Illustrated by Adrienne Adams
Translation: R.P. Keigwin
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961

A lovely version of the classic tale, this book was one of my favourites! As a young girl, I was enchanted with the idea of a child no bigger than your thumb growing inside a magic flower. Apparently the narcissus and tulips that grew in our yard, though very pretty, were not of the magic variety. Try as I might, no small girl or guardian flower sprites were ever found.

Stolen from her mother, Thumbelina escapes the clutches of an ugly toad and a tiresome tedious mole, both of whom want to claim her for their wife. A swallow that she nursed back from the brink of death carries her off to warmer lands and a kinder fate.

Exquisite illustrations enhance the experience of returning to a childhood favourite, they just don't make them like this anymore. To see more of Adrienne Adams work in this book, click here for a real treat.

** cross-posted at A Season to Read **

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Pippi Longstocking

How lovely it was last week when I revisited my friend Pippi Longstocking at Villa Villekulla.
The classic tale of an irreverent redhead, Astrid Lindgren created a loveable little misfit that taught us all about mischeviousness.
A nine year old girl that lives all alone but for her pet monkey Mr. Neilson, Pippi lives life to the fullest in the way she knows best. After her mother died and her father was blown overboard at sea, Pippi has one adventure after another. In this introductory book, we join Pippi as she socializes with her neighbors, Annika and Tommy and we are delighted as she attends the circus and battles burglars like no other kid can.
Pippi is simply irresistible and I do so hope that today's generation of little girls get to experience these books. They truly are a classic and Pippi will definitely be a lifetime friend. I sure remember days of dreaming of living Pippi's life or at least having her as a neighbor!

Pippi Longstocking was my Childhood Favorites Read for the month of February. In March, I'll be rereading another childhood classic, Bambi. No matter how many books I read , the children's category is always one of my favorites.

Friday, 27 March 2009


The Swiss Family Robinson - Johann David Wyss

Product Description(from Amazon.Com)

Swept off course by a raging storm, a Swiss pastor, his wife, and four young sons are shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island. Thus begins the classic story of survival and adventure that has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812.

This is such a wonderful book! It brought back lots of childhood memories for me. It amazed me when I was a child and it amazed me again as an adult. How this family, all alone on an island manages to survive and flourish, and keep up their spirits. Some of the things that happen is really hard to believe and all the things they find to survive is even more amazing.
If you haven't read this book you really should! It really makes me wonder if it is based on a true story or all make believe. I really would like to believe it's real!!

This is my last book for this challenge. I have done a wrap up of this reading challenge at my book blog,
Just Books.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


"A Treasury of Peter Rabbit and Other Stories" by Beatrix Potter

This book has several stories. One being The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
The story begins,
Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were - Flopsy,
and Peter,
Peter gets in all kinds of trouble when he goes to Mr. McGregor's garden. He loses his suit of clothes and his shoes. He also gets all wet when he hides in a watering can. He does eventually get out of the garden and goes back home to his mother.

"The Tail of Benjamin Bunny" is the next story in this book. The story begins,

One morning a little rabbit sat on a bank.
He pricked his ears and listened to the trit-trot, trit-trot of a pony.
A gig was coming along the road; it was driven by Mr. McGregor, and beside him sat Mrs.
McGregor in her best bonnet.

Benjamin and Peter have gone back to Mr. McGregor's garden to get Peters clothes. They get trapped under a basket with a cat sitting on top. Old Mr. Bunny comes along and saves Benjamin and Peter by trapping the cat in the greenhouse. Old Mr. Bunny takes Benjamin out of the basket by his ears and whipped him with a little switch, takes Peter out and the handkerchief with the onions.

"The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin"

This is a Tale about a tail - a tail that belonged to a little red squirrel, and his name was Nutkin.

Nukin and the other squirrels went to Owl Island to get some nuts. They took some mice as an offering for Old Brown, he is the owl, and put them on his doorstep. But Nutkin was excessively impertinent in his manners. He was always telling riddles to Old Brown.

"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!
A little wee man in a red, red coat!
A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat;
If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you
a groat."
And so Nutkin kept telling riddles until Old Brown got very tired of it. He was going to skin and eat Nutkin when Nukin pulled very hard and broke his tail. Nutkin doesn't tell riddles anymore!

"The Tale of Two Bad Mice"

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful doll's house; it was red
brick with white windows, and it had real muslin curtains and a front
door and a chimney.

The mice make a terrible mess of the doll house. They got very upset the food was plastic, so they went about tearing up things in the doll house. They took all the feathers out of a bolster and made themselves a feather bed. They proceeded to take items from the doll house to their home. The girls that owned the dollhouse dressed one of the dolls up in a policeman's outfit. But the mice paid them back for everyting they broke and tookwith an old crooked sixpence found under the hearth rug.

"The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher"

Once upon a time there was a frog called Mr. Jeremy Fisher;
he lived in a little damp house amongst the buttercups
at the edge of a pond.

Mr. Jeremy Fisher goes fishing one day to catch some minnows for lunch. He is having company for lunch, Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise and Sir Isaac Newton. Mr. Jeremy Fisher puts on his macintosh and a pair of old shiny galoshes, he took his rod and basket and sets off to catch some minnows. Instead of catching minnows he catches little Jack Sharp the stickleback, covered with spines! Instead of a nice dish of minnows - they had a roasted rasshopper with lady-bird sauce!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

What a pleasure to go back in time and remember sitting/lying on our front porch one summer with this book. That summer I was living out this tale of the Florida "Crackers", as they were called. Birdie Boyer and her family have just moved to an old farm with ambitious plans to fix it up. Their nearest neighbors are the Slater family. These are not the nice neighbors the Boyers are used to. It's apparant to the reader that the Slaters do not want the Boyers on the farm.

The Boyers plan to raise sugar cane and other crops. The crop Birdie cares the most about is the strawberry one. She works hard on caring for the young plants but the Slaters allow their hogs and cattle to roam about and wreck many of her plants. Even after Pa Boyer erects first a board fence and then a barbed wire fence, the Slaters ruin the fences and push their cattle through the garden. Pa Boyer does a few things to get revenge but the Slaters manage to be even meaner.

Lois Lenski has an uncanny way with dialogue. She writes in such a way that I swear I can hear exactly how the people are talking. Here's a sample:

"Ain't them right purty, Ma?"

Birdie brought the first cupful in and Ma made shortcake.

"I think that's jest plumb good," said Pa.

The author wrote seventeen books in this series of regional stories. I like knowing that she did extensive research for each one.  They have all been very popular. This one, however, won the Newbarry Medal in 1945. I don't remember how old I was when I first read this book but I would think a good reader of nine or ten could handle it. I'd also recommend it for those of us who are a little bit older.

Published by Harper Collins, 1945

Thursday, 19 March 2009


"Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson

I read this book when I was a child, which was a few years ago, and loved it then. And I still loved it now! If you like pirates, sea voyages, adventure and a mystery you will love this book.

It all starts when a seaman comes to the 'Admiral Benbow' inn. The seaman brought with him his sea chest and the contents unknown at the time by anyone. Jim Hawkins is the boy in this story and he is telling the story. After some time the seaman has some visitors that want his sea chest and what is in it. He gives Jim the message that if anything happens to him to take his sea chest. Some men (pirates) come for the seaman and he is killed. Jim gets the sea chest and it's contents and takes it to Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney. They open it and find a map of an island. This starts the adventure to Treasure Island.

Wonderful classic book that I personally think every child should read!

Sunday, 8 March 2009


Product Description(from Amazon.Com)
Anne is a young orphan who finally finds a home at Green Gables, but it's not exactly smooth-sailing. Anne always seems to find herself getting into scrapes!

This book brought back lots of memories for me. As a child I always dreamed I was Anne. I was always getting into scrapes. One I thought of while reading this book was when I found a baby field mouse. I brought it home, made it a little house out of a shoe box and loved it dearly. Of course it died a few days later. But I just cried and cried. My mother suggested we have a funreal for the mouse. So we put it in it's little house show box and buried it in the backyard.
My favorite part of the book is when Anne was in the boat floating down the river. The boat got a hole in it and starting sinking. Poor Anne had to hang onto a pylon at the bridge. And who saved her, her enemy Gilbert Blythe. How awful for Anne. I loved the ending when her and Gilbert made up after all the years they were enemies.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Homer Price

homerHomer Price

Robert McCloskey

The Viking Press, 1941

Genre: Children's Fiction

Homer Price was one of my childhood heroes. I was quite the tomboy and I imagined myself as Homer. We had a lot of things in common. We both lived in the Midwest, although his town is smaller than mine. We both have some rather quirky relatives and neighbors, but then quirky seems normal. We also shared some traditions that are gone now. Does anyone burn leaves in the Fall anymore? 

Homer has lots of adventures that are told in six chapters. Each chapter is a separate story. I'm not going to tell you about all the stories, just two. 

The first is the story of Uncle Ulysses' Donut Machine. Homer is in charge of his uncle's diner for a couple of hours while Uncle Ulysses is at the barbershop. With some help from a rich customer, Homer gets the donut machine going and the donuts are really delicious. Unfortunately, he can't stop the donut machine and pretty soon donuts are piling up everywhere. Of course there will be a creative solution. Here's a picture from this story. Just looking at it tickles me inside.


Another story features Homer's Uncle Telly and the Sheriff who are competing for the hand of Miss Terwilliger, who is a very clever lady. Both men collect string and have string balls that are nearly six feet across! A contest is devised to see who has the most string with Miss Terwilliger as the prize. The clever Miss Terwilliger has her own plan for this contest. I won't spoil it for you but, there is a happy ending.

I'm so glad this book is still in print and still popular with children. I'd recommend this book to both boys and girls in the seven to ten-year-old range. And then I'd also recommend it to adults like me who still have a big child inside of them. You can always say you're getting this for the kids or grandkids.

On The Banks of Plum Creek

plumcrkOn The Banks of Plum Creek

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Harper and Row, 1937

Summary: This book features Laura Ingalls in Minnesota when she is seven to eight years old. The book opens with the whole family moving to a beautiful place on the prairie. Unfortunately, there is no house. There is, however, a "dugout" - a house dug into the ground and fortified with sod. 

Pa is determined that he will have an amazing harvest of wheat and oats that will bring riches to them all. So he buys supplies on credit to build a nice two-story house. I don't want to spoil it for you except to say that it does turn out fine. But getting there is tough what with the grasshoppers and the ice and snow storms and other calamities. This is the first book to introduce Nellie and her brother. They play a very minor role, unlike the TV series.

My opinion: It was still a fun read as an adult. I like that the author doesn't talk down to the reader. She tells of everyday experiences as if they were adventures. For example the task of walking a mile into town with her sister when there was no road. Or the time the roof fell in on the dugout. Or how they picked the plums off the trees by the creek. Although there are a few good drawings to illustrate the story, it's still a great read for using your imagination. I recommend it for children eight-years of age or older. It would make for a great read-aloud book for the whole family.

Friday, 27 February 2009

The Tawny Scrawny Lion

Childhood Favourites # 1

Tawny Scrawny Lion
Author~ Kathryn Jackson
Illustrator ~ Gustaf Tenggren
New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.
First Published: 1952

Little Golden Books were among the few I remember having around the house as a small child. Tossed in the toybox with wooden blocks, Pebbles and Bam Bam dolls, Slinkys and pull toys you could find The Poky Little Puppy, The Little Red Hen, The Happy Whale, The Shy Little Kitten and The Little Red Caboose. What you wouldn't have found was The Tawny Scrawny Lion. Tawny Scrawny was mine! You see, I was the oldest of four little girls and in order to protect my book from the ravages of crayons and the carelessness of mud-pie hands, I kept Tawny Scrawny at my Grandmother's house. Mixed in with this great story that teaches children the days of the week and the virtues of vegetables are all the wonderful smells, sounds and memories (not to mention the individual attention!) that I treasure from my childhood.

Tawny Scrawny chases (and eats) the jungle animals but remains skinny with so much running around. Sitting with some distance between them to talk things over with the lion, the nervous animals think their problems are solved when a fat little rabbit comes hopping on the scene. Enticing the lion with the thoughts of his five fat sisters and four fat brothers more so than the carrot stew bubbling back at his house, the rabbit is spared by the lion. Picking berries and catching a few fish along the way, the two finally make it to the rabbit's house and there it is: a big pot of delicious smelling carrot stew! All those fine rabbits move fast to fill the lion with bowl after bowl of stew then top him up with berries. Alas, Tawny Scrawny is now "fat as butter and sleek as satin". Hooray! The little rabbit saved the day and left the lion with an affinity for carrot stew.

Is it any wonder my love of reading (and stew) began with this book!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

The Black Stallion My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published: 1941
Pages: 241

The Black Stallion was one of my favourite childhood reads. I first read it as a horse-loving 8 year old, re-read it until my Scholastic copy became dog-eared and visited with The Black & Alec again as a 40 something child at heart.

I believe this to be the premise that makes The Black Stallion a classic, a book remembered fondly from childhood days, pieces of the story remaining with you over the years, then upon re-visiting as an adult the wonder of this fantastic tale comes flooding back.

The story begins with young Alec Ramsay and the wild black stallion as the only survivors of a shipwreck. It explores the developing bond and the mutual love between boy and horse developed over weeks on a deserted island, through rescue and return to Alec's family in New York. Neighbour & former racehorse trainer Henry Daily recognizes the Black's phenomenal potential for speed, thus man and boy team up to train the spirited horse & show his talent to the world.

Walter Farley brings readers a wonderful adventure with oodles of emotion. The match race between Sun Raider, Cyclone, and the Black in the final chapter had my heart racing. A must read story of timeless magic for children & any young horse-lover.

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
I can read it all by myself - Beginner Books

This is my own copy from my childhood. A 1968 edition bought for me by my mother when I was 5.
As you can see, it's slightly beaten up!

This is my favourite Dr. Seuss book. I loved the idea of green eggs and ham!

As usual this book is great for learners as it's full of repetitions of rhyming words, helping young readers to recognise and learn them.

Here's an extract from the book

And here's a great picture from it.

A wonderful book. One of my most treasured.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Hop On Pop

# 13
Title: Hop On Pop
Author: Dr. Seuss
Genre: Childrens
Challenges: Childhood Favorites Reading Challenge, TBR Challenge 2009, What’s In a Name 2009, 2009 Support Your Local Library, 20 Books in 2009, Pages Read Challenge 2009, PB & J Challenge, 101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge,

Rating: 5/5
No. of Pages: 64
Published: 1963
From the back:
First published in 1963, Hop on Pop remains a perennial favorite when it comes to teaching kids to read. Here, as in most of his extensive body of work, Dr. Seuss creates uncomplicated, monosyllabic rhymes to foster learning and inspire children to read. But what was radical about this little book at the time of publication (and what makes it still compelling today) is Seuss's departure from the traditionally dull pictures and sentences used in reading primers. In contrast, the illustrations here are wild and wonderful, and the accompanying language, while simple, is delightfully silly. For example, the rhyme "THREE TREE / Three fish in a tree / Fish in a tree? / How can that be?" is brought to life with a trio of plump, self-satisfied fish perched atop globular branches as two stymied hybrid dog-rabbit-humanoids look on in consternation. Hop on Pop does much more than teach children the basics of word construction, it also introduces them to the incomparable pleasure of reading a book.

As always – what a wonderful book. I used to read this to my brother when he was a child. I have now had the opportunity to read the book to my nephews. The rhyming makes the whole story come to life.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Book Review-The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

I read this book as a kid and thought it would be fun to read again. I always thought it would be such a blast to have a magical cupboard that would make your toys come alive..
This book is about a medicine cupboard that a young boy got for his birthday. His mother gives him a special key to use for the cupboard. He put his toy Indian in the cupboard and when he wakes up in the morning he finds that the Indian has come alive!!!
Omri is a very smart and responsible boy, he realizes that these men are actually real live people and not just toys and he is responsible for their lives. His friend Patrick is not so responsible and quite careless with the men..Together the Patrick and Omri realize that as much fun as it is to have real life cowboys and indians, it is a lot to be responsible for, so they decide to send them back ... for now...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Ludwig Bemelmans trained to be an artist and had no aspirations of being a writer. First published in 1935, Madeline was the second piece of literature done at the urging of a Viking Press book editor. It was Madeline which brought Bemelmans his fame in a children's book modeled after his daughter, Barbara.

I thoroughly enjoyed Madeline books when I was young since Mr. Bemelmans books seemed to do something no other children's author had done. He took children on whirlwind adventures to Paris, the Louvre ; all over the globe. I used to dream of the life of Madeline but at that age, could never quite understand why she lived in a house of twelve girls and Miss Clavel.

Madeline is simply Madeline, a precocious little redheaded Parisian schoolgirl with an attitude kept in check under the tutelage of Miss Clavel.
In this book, Madeline is rushed to the hospital for an appendectomy and all the other girl's are envious of the attention. Miss Clavel, the nervous caretaker takes the girls on a trip to visit the ailing Madeline.

It was quite fun, rereading Madeline after all these years and I wonder. I wonder if little girls still read Madeline. I haven't seen an influx of Madeline dolls on the market and have never heard a little girl speak of her. It would be sad if Ludwig Bemelmans Madeline didn't live on....

Thursday, 5 February 2009


From the Back Cover:
"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents." So begins the memorable tale that introduces readers to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - four sisters who, despite the Civil War, manage to keep laughter on their lips and love in their hearts. Through illness and poverty, disappointment and sacrifice, the March girls never forget what is truly important - their family.

I loved this book! It brought back so many memories of my childhood. I always wanted to be in the March family and be a Little Woman. That the girls all more or less got their wishes in life was a fantastic thing. I had forgot about Beth being sick. So that was a little bit of a surprise, but I did remember it once I got to that part.

TWO LITTLE WOMEN by Carolyn Wells

The Premise: Dotty Rose moves into the house next door to Dolly Fayre. Both girls are just shy of their 15th birthdays and they become fast friends. Carolyn Wells give a glimpse of what life was like for two moderately well-to-do families in the early part of the 20th century. This first book in the Two Little Women series takes us through the end of their 8th grade year and the summer before they begin highschool.

My Take on the Book: I remember loving this book as a tween. It is one of the first book I remember reading that was more character driven. There really isn't a plot line other than the girls daily lives. For me, one of the most memorable m oments was when they decorated their rooms in matching styles, Dotty in pink and grey and Dolly in green and white. I wanted my room to look just like theirs, only I would have done green and yellow:)

This book was published in 1915 and although their houses sounded much like the one I grew up in, there are some glaring differences. In the book, the households had servants (plural) as a matter of course which we most definitely did not. It bothered me this time around that Wells made specific mention of the black cook who traveled with the Roses to the mountains when they went for their summer vacation, and her speech (completely uneducated) was mildly offensive. I realise that at the time the book was written, this was the norm, but now, it rankled. Other than that, it was enjoyable to revisit two very good friends from my past.

Side note: for all the pregnant bloggers out there looking for different and unusal names, this book had a few -- Girls were Dorinda (nickname Dolly), Flossie, and Maisie May. Boys were Todhunter, Tademus, Clayton and Lorillard. Bet you won't see many of those on the playground!

Rating: four stars

My Rating system: five stars - couldn't put it down and will read again

four stars - enjoyable read, but had some flaws

three stars - really didn't affect me one way or the other

two stars - too many problems to make the story enjoyable

one star - didn't even finish the book

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Five Go Off in A Carvan by Enid Blyton

Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton

Amazon Product Description:
A caravan holiday for the Famous Five is bound to be an adventure! And when they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around....

First published in 1946, I read these Famous Five books when I was in primary school in the 60's early 70's. They were wonderful - full of adventures and good clean fun.

Now they do seem a little dated with their clean living, ginger bear and jam sandwiches, and class distinctions.

However, the stories are still endearing and if not as popular now, this book brought back lots of happy memories.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit: Four Favourite Rabbit Tales by Beatrix Potter (audio book)

The delightful tale of Peter Rabbit who sneaks into Mr. Mcgreggors field, eats his way through his crops and is nearly caught!
I loved this tale as a child ... and as an adult it is still endearing.
The CD also has the Tale of Benjamin Bunny, the tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, and The Tale of Mr. Tod.

Friday, 23 January 2009

The Owl Service by Alan Garner

The Owl Service

Synopsis: From back cover:
'Scratchings in the loft above Alison's room - not mice or rats - but claws being sharpened, then Roger had felt himself reeling under the scream and the vibration of the ancient rock. And Alison was obsessed with those plates - she did nothing but trace the owl pattern on them. Gwyn couldn't fathom it yet, but he was trapped too in the Welsh valley and the legend.
Only old, half mad Huw knew the power of the ancient tragedy - of a maiden made from flowers who betrayed her husband, Lleu, with a lover. And Huw told Gwyn that now the lady had come again "She wants to be flowers but you make her owls. You must not complain, then, if she goes hunting. Lleu, Blodewedd and Gronw Pebyr - they are the three who suffer every time, for in them the power of this valley is contained and through them the power is loosed." Alison Roger and Gwyn had become those three ...'

Based on the Welsh Mabinigion tale of Blodewedd, Alan Garner writes a wonderful tale for young adults.. Mystery, legend, jealousy, class, and race are all mixed in this enchanting novel.

Re-reading it now as an adult, it is even more interesting to see how the tensions of class, which were being eroded in the 1960's. are incorporated into the tale, as well as the assumptions about the Welsh and Welsh valley life.

A very clever novel, with lots of layers - yet still enjoyable enough to be read just as a magical tale.
One of my favourite's still

.I actually live less than 10 miles away from Tomen-y-mur where this Mabinogion legend is said to take place. The stone is said to still exist, at Llech Ronw in the Cynfal Valley. More about this legend here

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Two By Robert McCloskey

Here are two books I loved as a child. I shared them with my children and now I'm starting on the grandchildren. The books are by the same author, Robert McCloskey. The stories are different but the writing style is the same. And, no one can mistake McCloskey's drawings. To re-read them again and again is a joy.

ducksMake Way For Ducklings

Robert McCloskey

The Viking Press, 1941

A Caldecott Medal Winner

Summary: This is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard's search for a new home in time to lay with eggs. After the eggs are hatched and the new little ones learn everything from their mother, they are ready to travel. Mrs. Mallard takes them on a walk through Boston. Along the way they meet very busy traffic, some friendly policemen, and other nice people.

My reaction: Having this book read to me is one of my earliest memories. However, I still see the setting for this story as Lincoln Park in my hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin. It must have been read to me that way. The story is still very simple yet very charming. All of the drawings are what I believe is called sepia. This may be different for some of today's children who are used to bright, vivid colors. Based on my grandchildren, I see this as a good read-to book for two to four year olds.

21-v-0cfzyl_sl160_aa115_Blueberries For Sal

Robert McCloskey

The Viking Press, 1948

A Caldecott Honor Book

Summary: Little Sal and her mother take their pails to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries to be canned for winter food. Little Sal helps pick the berries but eats most of them. Meanwhile, on the other side of Blueberry Hill, is Little Bear and his mother. They have come to eat enough blueberries so they can grow big and fat for the long winter. Both Little Sal and Little Bear become separated from their mothers. I will stop the story right here so I don't spoil it for you.

My reaction: This is another charming story with beautiful, simple black and white drawings. I read this book last Spring to my granddaughter when she was three. We both loved it. We could both understand what it felt like to be separated from our mothers. And, as two blueberry-lovers, we wished we could be on Blueberry Hill and eat all those berries. 

Monday, 12 January 2009

The Secret of Grey Walls

The Secret Of Grey Walls by Malcolm Saville

Synopsis:'When David, Peter, Mary, Dickie and Tom of the Lone Pine Club go on holiday together, they know something exciting is bound to happen. They soon find themselves investigating a sheep-stealing plot and following a trail which leads to the strange house with grey walls.'

I loved reading Malcolm Savilles 'Lone Pine Club' series when I was young
.This is the fourth book in the series.Written in the early sixties and set in postwar era, these stories are based on friendships, loyalty and courage.

In this novel the gang end up in the sleepy town of Clun on the Welsh / English border in the winter holidays.As usual a mystery is discovered, adventures taken, and the mystery solved by the gang

Loved it ...want to try and buy the whole series now (although only a few are still in publication)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

mannequin's list

I'm afraid I'm quite late to the challenge but I'm here at last. I cannot help but browse the Childrens section of the library each visit. I've chosen five of my childhood favorites and will post reviews appropriately. Thanks for having me and I look forward to reading everyones reviews.

  1. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, 1939
  2. Eloise by Kay Thompson, 1955
  3. Bambi by Felix Salton, 1929
  4. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, 1950
  5. The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon, 1960
I really could have gone with all Pippi Longstocking's (and gladly so!) but I figured I needed to mix it up! Here's the link to my blog post : Fractured Toy


The Premise: Three children come to spend the holidays at Green Knowe, an ancient house on an island in the middle of the river. Two of the children, Oskar & Ping, are displaced children and the third, Ida, is the niece of the woman who is renting the house while working on a book about giants. The children, all around 11 years old, spend most of their time out on the river discovering other islands.

My Take on the Book: This wasn't the book I thought it was. I remember loving a book about Green Knowe when I was growing up and I think it might be The Children of Green Knowe. I found this one difficult to get into and cannot imagine liking it as a child. The children find some fantastical things on their island searches (on one, there are flying horses), but the author doesn't spend any time on any particular spot and therefore loses opportunities to enhance to book. I need to find The Children of Green Knowe and reread that because this was a disappointment.

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

Title: The Secret Seven
Author: Enid Blyton
Pages: 94
Publisher: Hodder Children's Press

This is the first in Enid Blyton's Secret Seven series.
Here we meet the Secret Seven - Peter, Janet, Pam, Colin, Jack , Barbara and George. Not forgetting Scamper the dog!
In this first adventure they uncover a mystery at an old house which is looked after by a deaf caretaker.The gang have secret meetings, build snowmen, investigate a mystery, and get their reward.
An enjoyable children's book.
Originally published in 1949

I was an avid Enid Blyton reader as a child - reading all her books - fairy stories, Secret Seven, Famous Five etc.
Although she is quite dated in someways now and her characters naive compared to today's children, the stories are endearing and the adventures were exciting to me as a child.
I still remember making 'blackcurrant tea' from jam, as they do in this story!

# 2 for this challenge

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Brittanie's First Two Reviews

The first is Sarah, Plain and Tall by Sarah MacLachlan. It is a very short book at 58 pages meant for children in elementary school. It won the Newberry Medal in 1986. I don't remember how old I was when I read it but I found it on my bookshelf dedicated to childhood books. I enjoyed it again this time around. It is a sweet story of Papa, Caleb, Anna, and Sarah. Papa and his children Caleb and Anna live in North Dakota Praire. The narrator of the book is Anna who is about 12 and Caleb her little brother. Their mother died after having Caleb. The story begins with Caleb asking Anna if their Mama sang every day and Papa too. Anna reply yes. Their is no singing in the house since. Papa decides it is time to find a mother for Anna and Caleb and puts a ad in the paper. Sarah Wheaton of Maine replys and comes to stay for a 30 day trial period. It is evident that Sarah misses her home in Maine. The story is about what happens next. It is a simple but beautiful story. I highly recommend it.

My second book I finished is "Kristy's Great Idea" by Ann M. Martin.It is the first book in the Babysitters Club series. I loved this series as child. I did not read all the series because I outgrew them as she continued writing. The book is about four friends Kristy, Claudia, Mary Ann, and newcomer Stacey. They all do a little babysitting after school and on the weekends. Kristy has a great idea of having a babysitter's club where people can call and reach four sitters at one time during their weekly meeting. In the background are details of their families and daily lives. Rereading it now I still enjoyed the story and would recommend the series. I am very tempted to keep reading as time allows the rest of the series. :)


I'm going to post my list now because I keep adding to it and I am taking part in 12 other challenges this year so there has to be a stopping point somewhere. However, it's very difficult for me to pass up re-reading some of these books, so the list may grow in the future. Here is my list, to date:

1. The River at Green Knowe by LM Boston

2. Two Little Women by Carolyn Wells

3. The Happy Hollisters at Lizard Cove by Jerry West

4. Marjorie at Seacote by Carolyn Wells

5. Either Jack and Jill or Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (or maybe both)

6. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and at least one of the Oz books are wandering through the back of my mind. Not to mention The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards and The Princess and the Goblin. Seriously, I need to stop!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Book #1: Little Bear

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Date read: 1/2/2009
Rating: 5*/5

My thoughts:

I read this book for the Childhood Favourites Reading Challenge. When I learned about this challenge, I immediately thought of this book. It was the first book I ever read, so it holds a special place in my heart. I stood in the children's section of our local library today and read it, chuckling to myself as I read the text and enjoyed the pictures, especially of Little Bear and his "space helmet" made from a box and his mother surprising him and his friends with birthday cake!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Brittanie's List

My List:
* The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (one of my all time favorite books ever)
* A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
* Face-Off by L. E. Blair (A Girl Talk Novel)
* Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
* Sarah, Plain and Tall by Sarah MacLachlan
* Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M. Martin (the first in the Babysitter's Club Series)
* Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
* Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
* Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
* Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
* Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Hopefully I will finish all these books. I am signed up for quite a few other challenges too. My blog is