Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is my first Judy Moody Book. I don’t always read the same books as my kids nor do I always read the books with my kids. But I did end up reading this one aloud with them over the summer, I am sure you can guess why based on the title.
I must say I much prefer the character of Judy Moody to that nasty little girl, Junie B. Jones. I really can’t stand Junie. Any child who acted the way she did would banned from house forever!
In this book, Judy Moody is left with her aunt Opal for the summer. She plans a summer of adventures that all seem to go sideways. At the sametime, Stink (Judy’s younger brother) is hunting for Bigfoot.
The Bigfoot subplot as well as the crazy aunt add a lot to book and certainly make it entertaining for kids.
As something for kids to read over the summer, this book hits the mark.
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Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi My rating: 2 of 5 stars First of all, I would qualify this as a middle grade book. In general, I find middle grade books very difficult reads. So many kids I know are reading above grade level and get into the middle grade books at younger ages– don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. However, the content of middle grade books can be rather ify. The language is boarder line with insults like ‘dumbwad’ (used in this book and the wimpy kid series). The plots and subplots also cross the line at times. For example, I don’t really care for the anti-biz and pro-illegal alien messages in this book. They are not appropriate for the age group and I would consider a subtle form of propaganda. I loved the Origami Yoda series until the Princess Leia book. Again, it dealt with the issue of students being gay. I simply don’t think that is appropriate content for a middle grade book. So, if I was frustrated with the content and language, why 2 stars and not just 1? The story flowed well and kept me and the kids interested. The author did a nice job of knitting the plot together and coming up with devises for the kids to be on their own and without parental supervision during a zombie brake-out. Also, for a book called Zombie Baseball Beatdown, I didn’t feel as if there was enough baseball action in the book. The baseball content skirts the beginning and ending of the story and is missing from the middle! Personally, I don’t recommend the book, but other readers are free to make their own choices. View all my reviews
The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War by Caroline Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The War That Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander was a three star read for me. I am not sure what I was expecting. But, I can tell you this was a very close reading of the Iliad. Alexander did A LOT of quoting from the Iliad and even went so far as to quote passages that she translated herself. I am impressed she was able to translate it. I don’t believe she included her own translations to be showy, I truly agree she probably could not have quoted entire books of another persons translation. However, it should give you an idea of how much she quoted. I felt as if I was simply reading an heavily annotated version of the Iliad. She did offer some guidance on Greek myth and provided a lot of background information on the characters in the epic.
As a reader, you can definitely tell that Ms. Alexander has a love affair with Homer’s Iliad. For me, that was one highlight of the book. She writes with a love, care and passion for the epic that certainly comes through in her work and makes the reader appreciate her book, her research effort, and her labor of love.
It is an okay recourse book on the Iliad, but I am not sure that it is awe inspiring in anyway. There is nothing in Alexander’s book that really stands out for me. There is nothing in the book that will resonate with me in the long term.
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Having read Gone Girl, I decided to give another of Gillian Flynn’s novels a try. It is, of course, another mystery-suspense novel. Those of you who know my reading tastes, know mystery-suspense is probably my least favorite genre. Still, when I read Gone Girl with my book club I loved it so much that simply had to give Dark Places a try.
So what’s it about? A farming family that suffers from one day unexpected events that lead up to a night of unintended consequences which results in three deaths, a son in jail and a young daughter being sent from foster home to foster home. Cherry right?
As in Gone Girl, Flynn treats readers to different view points in the novel by switching from present day to the long-ago-past. By playing with both time and point of view, Flynn keeps readers guessing until the bitter end.
I listened to the audio version of this story and it presents listeners with several readers for the book, which enhances the story and the listening experience. This is one of those books that is propelled forward by the audio narrators. The added level of interest helped me finish this book quickly.
I would recommend the book in both its written and audio versions.
One of the worst days in my childhood summer was when the dreaded summer reading list arrived in the mail. It came in a manilla envelope and seemed innocent enough until my mother opened it and took out the reading list, “Optional Summer Reading List”–what a joke. About 25 years ago, the list included such acclaimed books as Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins— both of which I could not stand! Let me just say that books for young readers have come a long way since my childhood. In fact, the horrible scene with the black flies from Hatchet is still with me. Ugh…. With summer just around the corner, The Booky Mom is getting ready to make summer reading for Cinco and The Princess at little less traumatic! So here goes…
- Let’s Start With a Bribe. The children love yummy worms. So why not turn simple yummy worms into book worms? I am going to fill a mason jar with our “book worms” and each child can have one “worm” each time we sit down for our reading time.
- Summer Reading Programs. Our local library, and probably yours, offers a summer reading program for kids 0- 11. Read 5 books and earn a book buck, which is good for a book at the library used book store. Barnes and Noble is offering a program as well. Read 8 books, fill out the required form, take it to the store and get a free book from a pre-selected group. Of course, I cannot forget the Scholastic Books reading challenge.
- Using our Mom Camp Theme Days to Keep Reading Interesting. As part of our Mom Camp Theme Days, we will also be choosing books that match the theme. So, follow our theme days for ideas of coordinating books and projects that will hopefully make reading less painful.