Picture book roundup

My daughter has picked up a babysitting job this summer. Our delightful six-year-old neighbor comes to our house three or four days a week. I have loved seeing my daughter take on the responsibility of planning a variety of activities for them to enjoy together–cooking, crafts, writing letters to Disney princesses, history explorations, dolls, swimming, art (did you know you can make ice cube paints?), and more.

My favorite, though, is watching my daughter share her love of reading. They go to the library for storytime and summmer reading programs. Every day–several times a day–they read together. At the beginning of the summer, the girl’s parents shared they were worried about her reading abilities because her teachers thought she was behind.

I’m not an expert in early childhood education, but I see much to celebrate in her reading. Is she reading chapter books on her own yet? No, but should all kindgergartners be reading at that level? As I’ve read with her and watched her read with my daughter, I see that she knows all kinds of things about reading:

  • She already has favorite authors and series: Mercer Mayer, Biscuit, Junie B. Jones, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious.
  • She knows that books share stories and that the best stories are for sharing. She enjoys reading and being read to. She loves reading books with repetition where she can help read.
  • She makes meaning out of what’s on the page–both text and pictures. When she’s not sure of a new word she encounters, she looks at the page to figure it out. Even if she guesses a different word that what is printed, her guess usually makes sense with the story,

Here are some of the books I enjoyed reading with Melanie last week while my daughter was busy with judging at the 4H Fair.

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Biscuit in the Garden by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, pictures by Pat Schories – Biscuit is a new character to me, but he must be popular with my neighbor since I found several books about Biscuit in the library bag. The simple, repetitive text is perfect for beginning readers to join in with the reading. The bright illustrations are delightful. Biscuit is so cute, it’s hard to stay mad even when he gets into the birdseed and makes a mess in the garden. This book invites discovery and surprise as Biscuit explores flowers and bugs and birds in the garden. The next step will be to invite our neighbor to our garden as it begins to produce lots of veggies and fruit.

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My Dog Never Says Please by Suzanne Williams, pictures by Tedd Arnold – This book elicited lots of giggles as we read it together. Ginny Mae is tired of being told what to do. She has to remember to say please, use her best manners at dinner (chew with her mouth closed and use her napkin), clean her room, put on shoes. Through it all, her pesky little brother Jack points out that he does all these things. She also looks enviously at her dog Red, who doesn’t have to do any of these things. Why couldn’t she be a dog? Ginnie Mae gets her wish and moves into the yard with Red, who even shares his fleas. I love the imagination that spills across each page–and the hope that leaves the door to the house open any time Ginny Mae wants to come home.

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Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems: For some time now, I have been hearing my Nerdy Book Club friends sing the praises of Mo Willems, so on our last trip to the library I pulled a few of his books off the shelf for the girls to peruse. Knuffle Bunny came home with us, and I get it now. This book is genius! The first thing our neighbor pointed out was, “Those pictures look real.” Yep, there’s a black and white photograph on each page. Within each photo–and sometimes running out of the frame–are vivid cartoon characters. We had as much fun looking at the pictures as we did reading the text. The text, by the way, captures more drama and adventure than I could have imagined on a trip to the laundry mat. I don’t know about the girls, but I will be looking for more books by Mo Willems. I hope our neighbor has found a new favorite to add to her growing list of things she loves about reading.

What are some of your favorite books to share with young readers?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

June books read

June has been a good reading month. I’ve especially enjoyed listening to audio books while I run and clean. Thank you, SYNC YA for offering such great stories through the summer for our listening pleasure. I starred my favorite reads, but honestly, they were all good.

53) Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor-Hansen and Amy Newark – inspiring stories of unexplainable coincidences and divine help

54) A Praying Life by Paul Miller – very thoughtful and personal look at prayer

55) **Dodger by Terry Pratchett – what a fun romp throuh Victorian England–lots of excitement, intrigue, and a fabulous cast of characters.

56)** Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – Wow! The mystery and magic grow ever more tangled.

57) **The Wright Brothers by David McCullough – a fascinating look at these two brothers, their family and their accomplishments

58)** Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – I enjoyed reading this one aloud to my daughter.Her verdict? It’s a good book.

59) Revealed by Margaret Peterson Haddix – The conclusion to this series is filled with surprises and unexpected twists

60) Undivided by Neal Shusterman – the conclusion to the Unwind series is as surprising as it is satisfying

61) Landline by Rainbow Rowell – Would you change the past if you could?

62) My Dog Never Says Please by Suzanne Williams, illustrated by Tedd Arnold – What fun! Maybe I want to be a dog for a day, too.

63) Biscuit in the Garden by Alyssa Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories – Biscuit has more fun in the garden than I did.

64)** Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems – I love, love, love this books. Read it again!

65) Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business – I couldn’t help myself after hearing my daughter read parts of it aloud to our neighbor

What good books have you read during June? What summer reads are you looking forward to?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

It’s been a busy week with work (I do love working from home, though!), but I read lots of good books. Rainy weather probably helped. It finally dried out enough to work in the garden this weekend and we’re starting to enjoy some of the first veggies–broccoli, zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I also had the opportunity to read with the just-finished-kindergarten girl that my daughter is babysitting this summer. I love that she loves stories and being read to!

Blog posts this week:

I finished…

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Revealed by Margaret Peterson Haddix – This conclusion to The Missing series is filled with excitement, danger and surprises. We finally find out Jonah’s identity fro the past (I was right and surprised!) and learn even more secrets about time travel. Somehow, Haddix weaves in even more surprises–unaging parents and time agents, a suspicious historical figure and separating/uniting time streams that resolve in the most unexpected manner.

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UnDivided by Neal Shusterman – With a conclusion to the Unwind Dystology that is as surprising as it is satisfying, Shsuterman delivers another world that is both dark and disturbingly familiar. Connor, Risa, Lev, Starkey, Hayden and Cam continue to fight Proactive Citizenry, but powerful forces are aligning against them and threaten to tear them apart–literally with unwinding.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell – Would you change the past if you could? That’s the question Georgie McCool faces as her husband takes their two children home to his family for Christmas and she chooses to stay in Los Angelos to work in scripts for her big break. She says Neil is not leaving her, but is he? When the old phone in her childhood room connects to Neil fifteen years ago (and the only other Christmas they spent apart), Georgie must face the truth about herself. It tooke me awhile to get into this one, but I’m glad I stuck with it. The more I got to know Georgie, Neil and Seth (Georgie’s best friend and writing partner), the more I rooted for them.

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My Dog Never Says Please by Suzanne Williams, illustrated by Tedd Arnold – What fun! Maybe I want to be a dog for a day, too. Ginny Mae is tired of everyone telling her what to do–say please, eat with your mouth closed, clean your room. She looks enviously at her dog, who doesn’t have to do any of it, and decides to move out to the dog house. Who hasn’t felt like that on occasion? At least the door is always open to welcome her back inside the house.

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Biscuit in the Garden by Alyssa Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories – Biscuit has more fun in the garden than I did. I spent  my garden time wielding a hoe. Biscuit chases birds and spills birdseed and smells flowers. Who wouldn’t enjoy a garden like that? This was fun to share with the girl next door. She enjoys BIscuit’s adventures and can help me read it, too

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Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems – I love, love, love this books. Read it again! The first thing my neighbor pointed out was the pictures–they look real. I loved the contrast of the bright cartoon figures as they moved across the different black and white photographs on their journey from home to the laundry mat. We had as much fun pointing things out in the pictures as we did reading the whimsical story of a toddler whose Knuffle Bunny takes an unexpected spin.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – All the poems this week have explored the loss of words and stories. I can’t imagine a world without either.

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Cruel Beauty by  Rosamund Hodge, narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden – I am almost done with the audio book. The ending is going in a direction I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to see how Hodge pulls it all together. I will definitely be looking forward to her other books set in this world.

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The False Prince by Jennifer Neilson – I’m still enjoying reading this one to my daughter. I still enjoy Sage, and I enjoy seeing how cleverly the beginning unfolds now that I am reading after knowing how it ends. I’m even more impressed with Sage’s brilliance at playing this dangerous game (and with Neilson’s genius for writing it).

Coming up…

There’s another trip the library for more summer reading fun. I’m not sure what I will find, but I’m sure I will like it. There are also two more books to download from SYNC YA. I’m not sure which one I want to listen to once I finish Cruel Beauty. There are so many good choices. Does anyone have a recommendation for one of the audiobooks to listen to next?

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

UnDivided by Neal Shusterman

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Imagine a world where the United States has been devastated by a second civil war known as the Heartland Wars–fought over abortion. To end the war, a compromise is reached that has far reaching consequences no one quite understands. Abortion of a fetus is illegal. Unwanted babies may be storked–left on any doorstep where the finder must take in the baby. Imagine a world where medical technolog has increased to the point where any body part can be transplanted into a human. Even though abortion is no more, teenagers (between the ages of 13 and 17) can be harvested for their body parts through a process known as unwinding. They are not killed, just divided.

This is the world that Neal Shusterman has created from our worst nightmares as a society in the Unwind Dystology. UnDivided (Simon and Schuster 2014) is the fourth and final book in the series. As the story twists through the darkest shadows within the human heart, it surprises as much as it satisfies.

Connor and Risa are still on the run from the Juvenlie Authority (and every other branch of law enforcement and parts pirates), but they are together again. They may even hold the secret that has a chance to bring an end to unwinding–if all the pieces come together at just the right time in just the right way. Lev, the tithe turned clapper, is still searching for his place in the world. Starkey and his storks let loose a reign of terror on harvest camps, but Starkey is not as in control as he thinks. Nelson and Argent are out for revenge against the AWOLs. Hayden once again broadcasts his call for rebellion whereever he can steal a few airwaves. Even Camux Comprix is determined to bring down the company that created him before they can fulfill a plan that takes the evil of unwinding to another level.

I find this series a difficult one to read–The issues of life it raises are ones that probe deep into thought and emotion—but I find it impossible to put down. The alternating points of view allow the reader to piece together the story along with the characters. None of them have the whole picture. Even though there are definite good guys and bad guys, their motivations are mixed–even the parts pirates have standards of a sort. Okay, maybe Proactive Citizenry is entirely evil. Some of the most frightening aspects of the books are the political advertisements and news articles interspersed throughout the story. Even though their contents is completely made up, the tone and rhetoric are all-too-familiar.

It’s hard to read this book and be content to just let things happen. If we don’t speak out while we have the chance, there are powers that would be all too willing to take our voices from us.

What are you willing to speak up for? What are you willing to risk?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Revealed by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Margaret Peterson Haddix creates a heart-pounding conclusion to The Missing series with Revealed. I’m just relieved that we didn’t have to wait for 36 (the number of missing children kidnapped from history) for the end–and to learn which missing child from history is tied to Jonah Skidmore.

If you have missed this series, it starts with Found–where Jonah and his annoying little sister Katherine learn about a mysterious plane that appeared 13 years ago–filled with babies. Each of the babies was a missing child from history who had been kidnapped out of time in order to be adopted (and make the kidnappers Gary and Hodge very rich) in the future. It’s an exciting adventure that lures in even readers who don’t think they like science fiction. It starts in the present day with mysterious events, and Haddix weaves in the sci-fi elements gradually so that we are able to (sort of) understand it along with the teenage characters.

But it’s not just science fiction. With each of the subsequent books in the series, Haddix explores famous missing children from history as Jonah and Katherine travel back to fix time and to save the lives the missing children have in the present. They travel to 14th century England, Roanoke Island and the Hudson River in the 1500s, the fall of the Russian czars in the early 20th century, the home of Albert Einstein in Germany before World War II, and finally, to the kidnapping of the Linbergh baby in America. With each visit to the past, new complications with time arise and Gary and Hodge keep a step ahead of the time agents.

In this last book, Jonah is stranded by himself to save not only Katherine and himself, but all  of time itself. Charles Lindbergh appeared in his living room to kidnap Katherine. Then Jonah’s parents have reversed their ages back to 13–along with JB and Angela. The other 35 children from history have disappeared. It seems that Gary and Hodge are back with one last plot to make their fortune by selling famous babies in the future. If they succeed, everything and everyone that Jonah loves will be destroyed.

Once again I am amazed at the twists and turns that Haddix weaves into this final plot. I had long suspected that Jonah might be the Lindbergh baby. I was right–and surprised (but I won’t tell you how). Jonah learns that he can depend on himself to make the right decisions even when he doesn’t understand all there is to know about time travel. Heck, even the time agents learn a thing or two when Jonah follows his heart to do what is right.

If you haven’t yet discovered this series, check it out. You’re in for the ride of several lifetimes as you explore history from the ancient past to a possible future where time travel can happen.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Flying with Orville at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC

Flying with Orville at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to fly. My earliest dreams were of flying. The first time I rode in an airplane (7th grade on a Girl Scout trip to New York City), I felt the power of the jet engines under my feet as the plane roared down the runway, and I knew I wanted to learn to fly. The airline magazine even had a full-age ad for flight school. I didn’t do it then, but when I was in college, I signed up for a ground school class and did earn my private’s pilot’s license.

I don’t fly any more, but I am still fascinated with all things related to aviation. I’ve visted the Wright Brothers’ Memorial in Kitty Hawk and even soared with a hang glider down the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge. I thought I knew the story of the two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, who proved to the world that humans could indeed control powered flight. I was wrong. I only knew the basic outline and merest beginning of the story.

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My daughter gave me a copy of David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers (Simon and Schuster 2015) for my birthday, and I was fascinated from the first page. McCullough brings the brothers and their family to life with extensive quotes from their public remarks and their private letters and journals. There is no doubt that the brothers were genious in their innovation and determined and thorough in their study of flight, but they will be the first to admit that they did not achieve flight on their own. My favorite comes from Orville in response to a friend who said the brothers stood as an example of how much Americans could accomplish “with no special advantates.” Orvile replied, “to say we had no special advantages…the greatest thing in our favor was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiousity” (McCullough 18). In addition to the intellectual encouragement of their father, they also had the lifelong support of their sister Katherine. Mechanic Charlie Taylor built the engines for the powered flights.

Even though their first flight at Kitty Hawk gets all the glory, it was just one moment in a lifetime of work to advance aviation. Before they could prove flight was possible that fateful December day, they had to redo all the previously known calculations on lift and wind through creating their own wind tunnel. Through their experiements at Kitty Hawk, they realized that the know calculations were wrong. Once they proved flight was possible (and the world took little notice), they knew their real work had just begun to make flight practical. They packed everything up and went back to Dayton where they continued their experiments in a field outside of town.

After years of experimentation and modificatioins to their flyer, they finally had a craft that they could control through the air. Even so, they were aware of the dangers and Orville and Wilber would not fly together. That way if one crashed and died, the other could continue their work. Even though the people of Dayton were somewhat aware of the flying going on outside their city, the rest of the world continued to ignore them. Twice, the Wright brothers wrote the United States government about their invention. Twice the government refused to take any interest. The leading scientific journals likewise dismissed reports of their flights as impossible. The story was finally broken by Amos Root, an Ohio beekeeper, in his journal Gleanings in Bee Culture. The French government took interest, and Wilbur set off for France to win over customers (with the help of Hart Berg and his company that the Wrights hired to help with business negotations).

I had known next to nothing about the work of the Wright brothers after Kiitty Hawk, and found it to be even more impressive than the work leading up to Kitty Hawk. McCullough brings these two brothers to life across the pages. In addition, photographs illustrate their journey from childhood to international fame.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

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Blog Posts this week:

I finished…

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Outside the West Lafayette Public Library

Not a single book! As you can see below, I’m in the middle of quite a few books. I also had several new magazines come in for me to read (often cover to cover in one or two sittings). I went on a road trip with my daughter to West Lafayette where she got to job shadow a chemist at a company that makes polymers. While she watched chemists at work, I explored the local public library. I suspect I will finish quite a few books I’m reading next week.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – a few more poems of loss and grief. I’m glad I’m reading these slowly. It would be too much to take in all at once. But with each one I’m amazed at the ability of the poet to take a moment of loss and grief and transform it into something that has great beauty as well as great pain.

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Undivided by Neal Shusterman – There is so much to think about in this book. Right now I’m at the point where it seems there is no way out for our heroes who are trying to bring an end to the practice of unwinding. I can’t see any way out, but I will hang on until the end.

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Cruel Beauty by  Rosamund Hodge, narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden – I love Nyx. She is angry and resentful–and resourceful and stubborn and not at all sure of her own mind. Who can blame her? Nothing is what it seems in the castle of the Gentle Lord. Who is really the demon? Who can be trusted?

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The False Prince by Jennifer Neilson – This is the new read aloud with my daughter. It’s another book I wanted her to read (because I knew she would like it. She says she wants to find books on her own.) I must have been right because I caught her sneaking ahead with reading it Sunday morning. Maybe I should just read a few chapters aloud and then switch to the next book I think she would like.

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Revealed by Margaret Peterson Haddix – My daughter actually checked this one out of the library, but we have both kept up with the series. Haddix is bad for ending each of the books on a cliffhanger. I’m just excited because I don’t have to wait for thirty-some volumes before finding out who Jonah is from history–unless there are any more surprises before the end. If you aren’t familiar with this series, Haddix does a fabulous job of combining science fiction time travel with historical fiction into heartpounding adventures.

Coming up…

Well, obviously I should finish some of these books I’ve started. I also picked up Landline by Rainbow Rowell from my last trip to the library, and I’m eager to start it.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

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I fell in love with Blue Sargent, the Raven Boys and their quest to wake the sleeping Welsh king–Glendower–from the very first book in The Raven Cycle. With each volume, Maggie Steifvater weaves ever more complex layers of magic and mystery throughout the area of Virginia that intersects with Cabewater. This third volume–Blue Lily, Lily Blue–explores the magic of Cabeswater and the ley line even further, until the magic can’t help colliding with the real world in the most unexpected of ways.

The growing power of Cabeswater and the ley line attract more outsiders to their small town. Gansey’s old mentor Professor Malory comes along with his service dog. Greenmantle and his wife Piper show up to track down and punish the Grey Man and are willing to destroy everything he values to do so. The locals are also affected by the growing magic. Noah becomes even more ghostly at times, and Adam nearly gets lost in his promised service to Cabeswater. I love getting to know these characters more and more, but I am most intrigued by Ronan and getting to glimpse beneath his sharp exterior. Don’t worry, he’s not losing his edge, but Stiefvater gives us just enough to understand and even appreciate it.

Once again, the ending leaves me begging for more.  Rather than a disappearance (people do have a tendency to disappear into Cabeswater), the ending provides the sudden reappearance of a character. There are also questions of what to do with the 600 year old crazy woman–Gwenllian, daughter of Glendower–they released back into the world.

This is a book that weaves magic with the modern world and creates characters that I long to go on a quest with. At least I get to journey with them through the pages. I hope we don’t have to wait long for the next installment.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

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A long time ago in a library far away from where I live now, I discovered the books of Charles Dickens. I devoured Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield and all the other books that lined that shelf. Yes, I was that teen who not only willingly read the classics assigned in class, but I also looked for them on the shelves for fun.

When SYNC YA offered Terry Pratchett’s Dodger (read by Stephen Briggs) as one of their free audio book downloads this summer, I was doubly excited. I had been introduced to Terry Pratchett by a long ago student who eagerly explained Discworld to me, but I never got around to reading any Pratchett boooks even though they sounded like my kind of book. And then, well, Dodger.

I was not disappointed. I love Pratchett’s Dodger. He is quite a rascal, but has a generous heart. He also has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. (Some might think it’s the wrong place at the wrong time when he goes for a shave from Sweeney Todd, but it always works out for Dodger.) His adventure begins when he comes up out of the sewer and finds two thugs beating a young woman. He fights off the thugs and can’t get the young woman out of his mind. As he earns her trust, he creates a plan for her escape from a deadly trap. Somehow he transforms from geezer tto hero with every adventure.

I enjoyed the secondary characters as much as I did Dodger. The mysterious young woman–known as Simplicity (though she is not simple at all) has as much spunk and nerve as Dodger. I want to know more about Solomon Cohen–the Jewish jeweler who took Dodger in and tries to keep him on the straight and narrow (or at least a straighter and narrower way than the streets might influence). I suspect Solomon has had quite a few adventures of his own.

Some of the characters are recognizalbe figures from literature and history. I already mentioned Sweeney Todd. Mr..Charles Dickens himself takes quite an interest in Dodger, though his constant scribbling makes Dodger nervous. I learned the inspiration behind several other characters from the author’s note at the end. (I love an auther whose author’s note on historical references and slang vocabluary can make me snort.) Charles Dickens’ friend Henry Mayhew and his wife care for simplicity. Dodger finds himself on the same side of the law as the “Peelers” or new cops under Robert Peel. Angela was indeed one of the most independent and wealthiest women in England. Even Benjamn Disreali makes an appearance or two (though he would have liked missing the tour through the sewers).

Dodger leads readers (or listeners) on a fun romp through Victorian England–especially the underbelly. I’m glad I don’t live on London’s streets and hunt for coins in the sewers, but I enjoyed visiting while I listened. Now I’m even more interested in exploring Discworld.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

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CONFESSION: This book sat on my shelves for over twelve years before I was brave enough to open it and try to read it. I survived physics in high school thanks to the amazing teacher Mrs. Abernathy. I discovered a “physics for English majors” (no math!) to complete the last science requirements for college. While I enjoy The Big Bang Theory, I wasn’t sure I could keep up with Stephen Hawking. I bought the book as a souvenir from a class trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and it has taunted me ever since.

To my surprise and delight, Hawking not only understands theoretical physics more than I ever will, but he is able to explain it to English majors like me. Since my background knowledge of advanced physics is lacking, I’m sure I did not comprehend everything, but I was able to follow the general concepts–and are they fascinating.

I knew that our understanding of the universe had grown tremendously since my last science classes. Now Hawking has put those discoveries in order and given them context. From the discoveries of the earliest astronomers and scientists such as Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton to the advances of later scientists such as Einstein and Oppenheimer to his own work today, Hawking shows how science both builds on the work of those who came before and changes what we thought we knew.

He is able to choose just the right analogy to explain concepts that stretch my understanding of time and space in spaces smaller than an atom and further than we can see. I suspect that I will now be more interested in the latest discoveries from physics and look forward to the day when the broad principles of physics will be commonly understood by nearly everyone, not just a few scientists who specialize in the field.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

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