Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Book Review Club (December 2017)



Welcome to the final edition of 2017 of The Book Review Club. December is a busy time of year. All the better to learn of a good book and sit down quietly with it and a cup of tea. AND what are the bests gifts in the world to give? Books! So, please click through to other reviews at the end of mine.


A FLIGHT OF PICTURE BOOKS 

Picture books! Why picture books? Well, I'm reviewing a few seasonal picture books for a couple of reasons. First, it's good to read picture books. Even as grownups. Rebecca J. Gomez lists here 10 (sometimes very funny) reasons why adults should read picture books. Here's one of my (serious) favorites: "A picture book could teach you something new." Second, picture books are part of how I decorate my house for various holidays. On the coffee table, I fan out picture books relating to the holiday. They're short; they're colorful; they're unintimidating (it should be a word!). Everyone flips through them. They're conversation starters. My children trip down memory lane. Picture books are a very good thing.

THIS NEXT NEW YEAR by Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Yangsook Choi: This Korean-English bilingual book follows a half-Korean boy as his friends and family prepare to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Pasadena, CA. It's about fresh starts, bringing luck into your house, being the best you can be and feeling comfortable about celebrating in the way that fits you. Very uplifting. At the back, there are facts about the Korean language and the lunar year. And here's a link to Duk Gook soup (Korean Rice Cake New Year's Soup). I'm going to make it this year. Let me know if you do. Duk Gook Soup

THE LEGEND OF POINSETTIA by Tomie dePaola: This folk story of a young girl, Lucida, who lives with her family in a small village in the mountains of Mexico. Her plan to weave a new blanket for the Christmas Eve Nativity scene falls through. She doesn't want to be the only one without a gift for Jesus and grabs an armful tall green weeds and places them by the manger. After Mass, all the tall green weeds throughout the village shine with red stars. The weeds have turned into la Flor de Nochebuena (the Flower of the Holy Night--the poinsettia). There are great details about life in rural Mexico and Christmas preparation. There is a nice moral about the power of simple gifts that come from the heart. At the back, the author explains how the poinsettia ended up in the United States.

A KENYAN CHRISTMAS by Aunty Kiko, illustrated by Moses Wanjuki: Filled with Kenyan details like bare Jacarandas and hornbills and peppered with Kenyan words, this rhyming picture book is very atmospheric. It follows Akinyi who is at first stuck inside due to the short rains, but then goes to the fair and the beach and finally celebrates Christmas with her extended family in the country. At the back, there is a glossary and facts about Kenya.

(Dear FCC: Bought. Bought. Bought. Oh, and Season's Greetings to you!)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!

PICTURE BOOKS
Jody Feldman: FINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
                         by Lindsay Mattock and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
         
                         THE YOUNGEST MARCHER: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks
                          by Cynthia Levinson and Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
                       

MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: CASTLE IN DANGER by Karen Lautenberg (MG,  historical)

Sarah Laurence: A SEASON FOR DARING GREATLY by Ellen Emerson White (YA, contemp)

Stacy Nyikos: I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER by Erika Sanchez
                                                                                                                    (YA, contemp)

ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Ellen Booraem: A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles

Linda McLaughlin: BRAT FARRAR by Josephine Tey (mystery)

Patti Abbott:  THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY by Louise Penny (mystery)

Ray Potthoff: AWAY AT WAR: A CIVIL WAR STORY OF THE FAMILY LEFT BEHIND
                       by Nick Adams (historical, also appropriate for YA)

NONFICTION REVIEW
Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS by Sy Montgomery

Margy LutzAT HOME IN NATURE by Rob Woods (memoir)

Scott Parker: THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS by Les Stander


Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

4 comments:

Lucy said...

I was smiling through your entire review. And I want to pick up these books. Thanks for the review! :)

Powell River Books said...

In my time as an elementary teacher I read many picture books, and picture only books. I liked those because the kids could use the pictures as a stimulus to tell the story in their own way. - Margy

Sarah Laurence said...

I've been offline most of today after losing internet, but we have it back now. A "flight" of picture books is just the right word. Thanks for hosting Barrie!

Jenn Jilks said...

When I was teaching, I'd often read a picture book, not matter the grade level, to begin our new themes!