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