Thumbs up for The No. 1 Car Spotter and The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird by Atinuke. Kids’ books.
Absolutely delightful kids’ early chapter books about a clever boy growing up in a very small village in an unnamed African country. He is the No. 1 Car Spotter because he is the best at spotting and identifying the makes of the cars that go by.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Identity Thief by Alex Bryant. All ages fantasy.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I read it pretty much in one sitting, so certainly I found it engaging. And I laughed quite a few times. But did I really find it enjoyable? I’m not sure. What I was thinking, as I read, was: This is a book I would give to a kid as a bang-up fictional example of how discrimination spreads throughout a populace, and what role the media plays in shifting public opinion.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani. Children’s graphic novel.
A girl whose mother won’t talk about why she emigrated from India discovers a shawl that transports her to a magical version of the land. Cute, but I wish the characters had been more deeply developed. (I think that would have been possible even granted this was marketed toward children.) This seems to be the author’s debut as a graphic novelist, which seems about right.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. Children’s.
Charmingly illustrated, but not a substitute for reading the full stories in The Children of Noisy Village.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Benjamin the True by Claudia Paley. Children’s fantasy.
Benjamin discovers a witch, Ellenwan, in a cellar in his otherwise ordinary town. She teaches him witchcraft. There aren’t many books that really make you believe in magic while you’re reading them. This is one of them.
“I am not leaving you behind because I think you are afraid, or because there is nothing for you to do.
… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by E. L. Konigsburg. Children’s.
Hmm. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading it, it just seemed a bit pointless at the end. There are better books about magic, about imagination, about friendship, about school in the 1960’s, and there are better books by E. L.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Prince of the Godborn by Geraldine Harris. Children’s fantasy.
By all rights I should have been bored to tears by this, the first volume in a series about a spoiled half-God prince and his warrior half-brother traveling the world in search of seven MacGuffins. It also suffers a slight lack of commas. Yet, somehow, the characters and the world charmed me.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Children’s fantasy/horror.
It was…fine. I think I would have liked it more had I been reading it aloud to small children. But then, I would have to get close to small children…so I’ll pass.
Coraline knew that when grown-ups told you something wouldn’t hurt it almost always did. She shook her head.
… >> Read more