The premise of this story is that a girl, Maple, is kept back in grade four while all her friends move to grade five, middle school, and shun her. She fails because she can’t read. This has just been discovered by her “excellent” teacher and she is diagnosed with dyslexia.
Before I address the story writing, I must address this issue of failing a child for the teacher’s inadequate assessments. This book is published in Canada so I don’t know what province this would still be happening in. For decades in Ontario, teachers must assess students independent reading at least three times a year using unfamiliar text with no pictures or oral clues. The students are assigned a reading level and this is followed from grade SK to six. Teachers plot the child’s progress from one term to the next and if a child is falling behind, further testing and support is put in place. Everyone involved would be alerted if a child couldn’t read long before they reached the end of grade five. Parents would be livid if a child was suddenly kept back with no indication for years that they were struggling. There would be long discussion of why this child slipped through their fingers and someone would be held accountable.
Setting that aside, the story is an accurate representation of the trauma a child in this situation would suffer. Quite often the friends in their former class forget about including them, especially if they seldom see each other at school. Parents are often unaware that a child is being socially excluded. Maple is hurt but resourceful and brave. She suffers a horrible humiliation and has the compassion to forgive. Unfortunately, today I think the public humiliation of her poor oral reading would not be put on the intercom but would be spread across social media where it would not be forgotten so easily.
The book also touches on how difficult it is for minority children, especially those of mixed race, to find representation in media and history representation.
This is a touching story but it feels a little out of date. This seems as though the social and academic situations pertain more to the time of the author’s childhood than present day.
In the time of Queen Elizabeth I of England, fourteen-year-old Rosemary Prowd has a secret that could kill her. When she flees, with her parents, to her godmother’s cottage, the danger follows her. She seems to be destined to become a homeless beggar, the victim of a stalker, accused of witchcraft, or hung as a thief. As her support system collapses, her survival depends on her wits, courage, and determination. Then a mysterious plant opens a world of possibilities. Will using it be her salvation or her doom?
D.J. Hawkins reviewed on Sep. 17, 2021 5 stars This is the first book of Bonnie’s that I’ve read and let’s just say that I’m a fan. Bonnie’s writing style is so immersive and detailed. And who doesn’t love a classic you’re-a-witch, ghost story? As the protagonist, young Rosemary is misunderstood, snarky, and plagued with the ability to see ghosts. But she is endearing and oftentimes quite hilarious, even if she doesn’t mean to be that way. Another aspect of this book that I LOVE is the images throughout; the headers and the scene breaks. Visually, they pulled the story together and made me so much more intrigued. Although historical fiction (the book is set in England during Queen Elizabeth I’s time) is not my usual go-to genre, I can definitely say that Bonnie has prompted me to explore this genre more and I’ll definitely be reading more of her books. (reviewed 6 days after purchase)
This is a romance story about lovers who cannot be together but cannot stop loving each other. No matter what, they meet once a year at the gazebo to reaffirm their devotion. By a series of circumstances, they live on two different continents and this cannot be reconciled.
The romance is sweet but I felt a little frustrated that they didn’t figure out a way to make it work. Many couples face these problems and overcome them.
The book is a quick read, not too syrupy, with just the right touch of romance. The characters are likeable and engaging. An enjoyable book.
Well, this was a real disappointment. It was a detailed, well-thought out plot but read like a second draft. Forget the overwhelming number of characters. Forget that lack of individual personality for the characters. But, for heaven sake, put some tension into it. It read like a police officer’s notebook, a dispassionate, flat recitation of events. There were numerous opportunities for suspense, where he could have heightened interest, but didn’t. A good screenwriter could turn this into a great movie and it would definitely be a case of the movie being better than the book. I don’t see how it could be nearly as boring. To call this a thriller is like calling Donald Duck a criminal genius.
Olive is a thoughtful woman in her early 30s going through some major life changes. She has shared everything with her three best friends since they were tiny but they are becoming distant since she is walking a different path. In the 30s women must make their decision of whether to have children or not.
One of her. friends has three children, one is pregnant, and one is undergoing expensive and painful procedures to try to conceive. Olive has never wanted children and society gives her the impression that something is wrong with her. Women without children are to be pitied or not trusted. If you don’t want them now you will later. There’s constant pressure to have a real family. To make matters worse, Olive’s boyfriend of 10 years wants to have children and he’s shocked to find out she seriously is committed to being parentless.
The book explores societal pressures on women to bear children, even pressuring each other. The book explores how life changes affect relationships as we watch the young women struggle with demands of their families, society, and their own needs. It is a thought-provoking book and will elicit a lot of great discussion for book clubs.
I thought it odd though that twice in the book, out of nowhere, she takes shots at vegans. It seemed really out of place. It was a minor diversion though.
She has a casual first person contemporary young voice. Easy to read, like listening to someone telling their own story.
I recommend it for anyone who is pondering the idea of whether to be a parent or not, or wants to understand the dilemma of 30-year-olds trying to decide.
This novel takes place in 1968 and focusses on two brothers who live in Alaska and are affected by the Vietnam war. The older brother, Joe, signs up to fight while the younger brother, Sam, becomes involved with the peace movement. When Joe is injured and returns home he is suffering from PTSD. He cannot understand his younger brother’s actions and their relationship suffers. Sam just wants to live a happy life fixing his car, dating girls, and hanging out with his friends. Life is complicated and major events affect everyone’s life. Unfortunately, the story ends with a cliffhanger. I hate not knowing the outcome of something so that always impacts my review of the book.
The voice is quite easy to follow and Sam is a likeable protagonist, not a perfect young man but a good guy. It’s easy to see viewpoints of both brothers. Perhaps a bit more background on the history of the war in Vietnam we help the reader understand Sam’s opinion better. Young readers may not know what triggered the peace movement.
It is it easy to read book about brothers, coming of age, family dynamics, and the impact of war on those who fight it and those who love those fighters when they return. It creates a fairly good picture of the 60s.
Suitable for grade 6 and up. There are a few fights but nothing too drastic and the encounters with girls are PG.
Leonard (My Life As A Cat) by Carlie the Sorosiak is one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time. I chose to read this to my granddaughter and found myself struggling not to read ahead when she wasn’t around. The author has a wicked sense of humour and a profound sense of humanity. We laughed out loud more than once.
Leonard is actually an alien who meant come to Earth as a human and spend one month in Yellowstone Park working as ranger. Unfortunately, something went wrong and he arrived hundreds of miles away, in the middle of a flash flood and in the body of a cat. He was rescued by a ten-year-old named Olive who is also a unique individual and going through tribulations of her own.
Leonard can type to communicate and can understand every species on the planet. It becomes Olive’s mission get him to the rendezvous point within a month’s time so that he can continue his immortal, hive-like, logical life. Olive tries to enrich his stay by fulfilling his unusual bucket-list, unusual that is, for a cat. However, a lot can change in a month. Both Leonard and Olive develop deep feelings for each and as the date approaches, we also find ourselves torn.
There are complications galore included the near impossibility of getting to the rendezvous point on time. Sorosiak builds the suspense and our angst over how this story will end. But she handles it like a master.
This story is about family, friendship, acceptance, love, courage, and sacrifice. My granddaughter and I were in tears when it was over, realizing that there could never be a more perfect ending.
This charming picture book tells us about the hatching of an independent-minded and curious little chick. He boldly sets out to explore the world without his mother. He wants to fly like the robin, swim like the duck, eat bones like the dog, and face down the big scary rooster. In the end mother hen has to drive off the rooster and the little chick finally excepts her wisdom that growing up takes patience.
The illustrations are realistic but lack any originality or pizzazz. It could have been more humorous.
The story ends with two pages of facts about baby chicks and hens.
This is a good book to teach a child that chickens are more than just meat and egg producers. They are living beings with relationships and personalities. As well, most children can relate to the little chicks impatience at not being able to do everything the grown ups do. It’s suitable for ages 4 to 7.
This is a good book to stimulate discussion about animals and about maturing at a safe and reasonable pace.
The Biscuit series of books are classed as “I can read!”. They are perfect for very beginning readers. Biscuit is an adorable puppy who does the kinds of things real dogs do. In this story, he resists getting into the bath.
The little girl wants Biscuit to get into that tub but he wants to dig instead. She struggles to manipulate him into the water but, after a short emmersion, he escapes and chases another puppy named Puddles. The two of them dig in the mud and play in the water. Then they roll in the flower bed where the girl tries to catch them with a towel. Both puppies latch on and a tug-of-war ensues. It ends with the little girl falling into the bathtub herself. Children laugh out loud at this ending.
It is difficult to find emergent reading books that have engaging, logical stories children can relate to and enjoy reading. The Biscuit stories are perfect. Capucilli captures the mischievous and endearing nature of puppies while Schories draws them with simplicity and charm.
Highly recommended for emergent readers in Kindergarten and first grade.
This popular humor writer now has two children’s books. Both feature a girl whose mother is a fairy and father is a mortal. This isn’t your typical fairy story however, as she uses a computerized wand and presents herself as a normal woman most of the time. The husband is reminiscent of the early Bewitched television series. He’s not too crazy about her using magic.
Kinsella uses humor and suspense effectively and engages a young audience from the first page. My almost six year old granddaughter listened eagerly as I read this book to her in four sittings. This early chapter book is supplemented with many pictures.
If you are a traveler to resorts, you’ll chuckle at the scene where two fairy mothers have a wand battle over reserving poolside seats with their towels. There is also a chapter with wacky monkeys that children will love.
All in all, this is a light-hearted romp through modern magic and family dynamics.