Saturday, December 19, 2009

Family Review Round-Up

Since I'm in something of a book slump, I thought I'd let you know what the other Dudleys are reading and enjoying. It may help with your gift buying, at any rate, if you have any overlapping demographics.

Scott stole a book I brought home from the library and tells me it's fascinating: PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION: FIVE MOVIES AND THE BIRTH OF THE NEW HOLLYWOOD by Mark Harris. Harris examines the movies up for Best Picture in 1967, including BONNIE AND CLYDE, THE GRADUATE, and--ahem!--DR. DOLITTLE. If you have a movie-lover on your list, this might be the book. I wouldn't know. Haven't had a chance to read it yet!

My 10-year-old was forced by the powers at school to read THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart and got hooked (it's a series, naturally). Never mind that I had held up the selfsame book to her at the bookstore, only to have her reject it. She also was on a Meg Cabot kick, and after tearing through THE PRINCESS DIARIES series, her new favorite is BEING NIKKI. Something about someone getting a brain transplant and becoming a supermodel (huh?). You may not want to take my word for that plot summary.

Then there's my 8-year-old, who, if it isn't a comic book or graphic novel, isn't interested. He's reading his way through the MARVEL ADVENTURES series at the library and also loves the CLONE WARS illustrated books. Because his third grade class is taking the Sasquatch Reading Challenge, he has to read books with higher word-to-picture ratios, the latest of which was LAWN BOY by Gary Paulsen. (Gary Paulsen, who now gets his own imprint with his publisher because he's so danged successful!) Because I had to type up the review of LAWN BOY, I can give you a direct quote:

I wouldn't vote for this book to win the Sasquatch Award so far because each title of a chapter has long words I can't understand very good like economic expansion combined with portfolio diversification.

My favorite part of LAWN BOY is when Arnold, Lawn Boy and his family get to see Joey Pow box. Joey Pow is Lawn Boy's guard. Joey Pow could beet a person at boxing in 4 and a half seconds. Every time a person would come up to face him he would either just punch him or block and attack. After Lawn Boy saw Joey Pow box he had a dream about Joey Pow becoming a world champion. Before this happened Lawn Boy was keeping a secret about his 4 million dollars he had. Read LAWN BOY by Gary Paulsen to find out if his secret never got told to his parents.

As for my 6-year-old, she ate up the DISNEY FAIRIES series (various authors--gorgeous illustrations) and is halfway through the FAIRY REALM series by Emily Rodda. I see a common theme emerging. But she did also love Rumor Godden's seasonal THE STORY OF HOLLY AND IVY and we all read aloud THE NUTCRACKER by E.T.A. Hoffman and Maurice Sendak. If you can't fork out mucho ducats for the PNB production, this edition has Sendak's wonderful illustrations and--bonus!--you won't have to look at men leaping around in tights and codpieces!

Don't forget how University Bookstore and Parkplace Books both gift-wrap for free, and UBS will even SHIP for free. No post office! Good luck out there.

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