Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Reviews of 2008...some quilts, a little Theodosia, and a lit report

Well the year is coming to a close and this is the last day for 2008 reviews. I've got three today, a picture book, middle grade book, and a YA choice to celebrate the end of the year. Enjoy!

Patricia C. McKissack is one of those authors a librarian can just depend on to pump out fantastic books. She's won the Newbery Honor AND the Coretta Scott King Honor, writing about a myriad of subjects that pull her reader in. Her latest, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Ben Quilt, a picture book, is no except to this unspoken rule. Based upon real events, small vignettes tell the story of how the women of Gee's Bend come up with ideas for and ultimately create, such beautiful quilts.

One of my favorite vignettes is the following:

Remembering

"Mama told me,
'Cloth has a memory.'

I hope
the black corduroy remembers that it it was once the pants...
my uncle wore to go vote for the first time,
all clean and new.

I hope
the pink and green flowered tablecloth remembers
the peach cobbler
I spilled on it at the Fourth of July picnic...
before my brother went off to school
in Boston,
when we were still
all together.

I hope
the white lace handkerchief remembers
how pretty my cousin looked...
the day she got married to Junior
all over again.

I hope
the dark blue work shirt remembers
how hard Daddy has worked...
all his life.

If by chance the cloth forgets,
I want to always remember...
all of it." (7).


Told from the perspective of Baby Girl, we get to learn all about what it takes to become a quilter, accompanied by the beautiful illustrations of Cozbi A. Cabrera. The book is absolutely filled with culture and wonderful historical moments that will not only entertain, but teach as well. This is recommended for all libraries (and perfect for a blogger that loves quilts...like me!).

Next up? Only one of my favorite characters in children's literature! Miss Theodosia Throckmorton is back in Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, written by R.L. LaFevers. In the follow up to Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, those named Serpents of Chaos are back and causing more trouble than ever. We have mummies that move on their own, a stone jackal that comes to life, Mr. Tetley back in some most unusual circumstances, governesses galore, and of course, the curse-fighting, quick-witted Theodosia in the midst of it all.

These books remind me a bit of Harry Potter with a good dose of Enola Holmes. Theodosia is incredibly funny and sarcastic, with a whole lot of smart thrown in...my favorite kind of character. I love the cover design on this one and my one minor complaint is the length. At almost 400 pages long, it's a bit of a heavy one, and almost unnecessarily. There is a bunch of dialogue and some whole chapters that probably could have been left out, made it 100 pages shorter and it wouldn't have seemed quite the task to finish. I loved it though and am constantly recommending Theodosia to kids!

Finally, my lassst review of 2008, is a young adult novel written by Sarah N. Harvey. The Lit Report is one of those books that I had to sit and ponder for a bit once I had finished, deciding whether or not I really liked it. The verdict? Definitely liked it.

Julia and Ruth have been unlikely best friends since the first met in Sunday school. Now they're just shy of graduation and spending their time finalizing their big plans for moving to a city, getting a modern, loft apartment, and living the high, exciting life, away from their small town. A damper is placed on their plans when Ruth gets pregnant and is terrified to tell her extremely religious parents. The girls become creative, planning to hide Ruth's pregnancy until she gives birth and then have the baby adopted by a new family.

Julia, the leader of this crazy plan, learns everything she can about midwifery and delivering babies, setting up a grand scheme for "delivery day." As expected, nothing goes as planned and the girls end up with much more than they originally bargained for, becoming closer to each other, yet farther apart as the pregnancy progresses. Ruth is changing and Julia doesn't like it.

Filled with a whole lot of heart, The Lit Report definitely had a lot of things going for it. A great friendship, good writing, and a unique story. It's not your typical teen pregnancy story, which is certainly a positive. That being said, there were a few things I didn't care for overall. The premise of the story, to me, was completely unrealistic and the author didn't quite sell me on it. Too much just seemed "made up" rather than taken from something that could actually happen between two teen friends, especially the coincidental occurence of Julia's pregnant stepmother, allowing for her to use that as a coverup when asking questions for Ruth. Just a little too "perfect."

The Lit Report definitely has teen appeal and I can see it becoming a popular novel. I really enjoyed it...just didn't love it.

For more info on any of these, or to purchase, click on any of the book covers to link to Amazon.

Lots of reviews for you in 2009, hope you enjoyed the last of 2008!

1 comment:

Kailana said...

I got a snowstorm for my last part of 2008, so I am not sure I am a big fan! It is still snowing and blowing out there. It's going to be a fun first day of the new year!