Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

So, I picked this book up because I have heard a lot about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell( here after referred to as JS & Mr. N) by the same author. Being curious I did some investigating and discovered that JS &Mr. N sounded like a book I would like, written in the style of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens with magical twists that often involved fairy folk. The problem? JS & Mr. N is over a thousand pages long. I can barely get through a 200 page novel in two weeks. I really don’t think the library would be pleased with me checking out a book for over two months, plus I wasn’t sure if I would like the author’s writing style.

More investigation ensued wherein I discovered that this little book of short stories all took place, or related back to the world that the author flesh out in JS &Mr. N.  Yes, I would get a fun little taste of author’s writing style and JS & Mr. N all in one go without the 1000 page time commitment.  So I checked this little book out from the library.

So how did the experiment go? I enjoyed most of the stories in the book and I really did like the writing style. It felt like a mix between J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen, which was like heaven! My top favorites were “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” and “The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse.” The short story collection had a lot variety between the stories. The settings felt different—though most take place in the English country side. There were a variety of characters types—though most stories explored what happened when the fairy world and human world met. I was even surprised at the variety of styles. Some stories were written with unconventional spellings to give the story a more authentic antique feeling, one was told entirely in the format of diary entries.

So overall I enjoyed this experience, though by the end I did get a bit bored, but I don’t know if that is because I tired of the author’s style or if I just didn’t like the last few stories. I still don’t know about committing to reading a 1000 page book, but this was a nice read anyway. It was refreshing to read something a bit out of my normal reading, and a book of short fairy stories hit the spot.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Picture Books Mo Willems Part II

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

The first book in Mo Willems award winning pigeon series, Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is full of personality and character. Willems has always had a gift for conveying characters in a brief amount of text. In this short little book the illustration and text work together to bring to life a character screaming with personality. You will laugh and be charmed by the dramatic and true to life tantrum this little bird throws when he is not allowed to get his way.

Don’t let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems

This installment of Willems series is just as charming as the first. The pigeon needs to go to bed, but of course he doesn’t want to. His personality shines as he tried to wheedle his way out of heading off for bed, but ends up exhausting himself in the process. Turns out that even energetic and dramatic pigeons need some rest.

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

In this cute little tale the Pigeon finds a delicious treat, and a soft heart. In this tale his is joined by a small, naive, and inquisitive chick companion. When he finds a delicious hot dog he finds that the best treats are shared with friends. This is a cute little story everyone in the family will enjoy.

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

My personal favorite of the Pigeon series in The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, Pigeon tells us all he knows about puppies, which to the astute reader is not very much. He longs for and dreams about a puppy until he meets one on the street on day and discovers that Puppies aren’t everything he imagined.

I loved these books the art was so simple and yet so expressive, and the character of the pigeon so well drawn and entertaining that you couldn’t help but like his dramatic and expressive personality. When I had to turn these books back into the library I was so sad! They are fun to reread and were short and funny. These will end up in my library one day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesdays At the Castle by Jessica Day George

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Castle Glower is no ordinary pile of stones, adding rooms on a whim, creating hallways that stretch on forever. Those who know the castle well know a few tricks to get around its ever changing floor plan, but Celia is the only one who has attempted to map it out. Her knowledge of Castle Glower serves her well when her parents disappear after an ambush. She and her two elder siblings—Rolf and Lilah—must protect the castle and kingdom from the greedy ambition of visiting prince named Khelsh.

Celia and her siblings must support one another in their grief and rely on their own resourcefulness to outwit and out maneuver Khelsh and his supporters on the council. TheCastle Glower is not only a setting but a character in its right, providing protection, clues, and information that the children can use to fight the plots of those trying to take over the kingdom.

This one is a fun read with plenty of laugh out loud moments as both Castle and children play pranks on their enemies to discourage and delay them in their tactics. Celia and her siblings are easy to cheer for because they are smart, strong and united in their loyalty to both Castle Grover and their people. This is a great read for guys and girls, as I have found true of Jessica Day George’s Dragon trilogy also. I sometimes wish the covers were a tad more boy friendly. My husband raced through this one faster than I did and I think the humor appealed to him more. So, anyway, a fun read full of clever pranks, and a charming setting.

Jessica Day George's Website