Moon Over Manifest Summary

Dec 10, 2011

Moon Over Manifest
By Clare Vanderpool
Age: Suitable for really almost anyone but targeted toward 10-12 year old girls.
Awards: 2011 John Newbery Award.
My Rating: Five stars+++++

It’s 1936. Abilene Tucker’s lived on the railroad with her father Gideon her whole life, but shortly after she turns 12 he decides that railroad life is unsuitable for a young lady like Abilene and sends her to Manifest, Kansas, where he once stayed. She’s to live with Pastor Shady Howard, an interim pastor for the First Baptist Church and a friend of Gideon, while he stays working on the railroad back in Des Moines, Iowa. Once she hops off the train, Abilene immediately begins a mission to find “some news about or some insight into my daddy.”
While looking for a place to hide her possessions, Abilene finds a Lucky Bill cigar box with all kinds of mementos in it, a couple of letters, and what looked to be a map under a loose floorboard in her new room.


Nov 17, 2011

By Johanna Spyri
Apple Classics

Heidi, a little girl, was orphaned and had come to live with her grandfather, the Alm-Uncle, who lived a life in seclusion, and everyone in the village of Dorfli feared him, except the good pastor who was his friend. Nobody was comfortable with the situation at hand, but they ought not have worried for little Heidi’s sake, for she was as happy as could be, growing strong and healthy while frolicking about with the goats in a green meadow with Peter, the eleven-year-old goatherd. Then one day, Aunt Dete, who had led Heidi to Grandfather’s doorstep, appeared again, this time to take Heidi away for good, to Frankfort, where a wealthy man wanted a girl to be the companion of his invalid daughter Klara, for Aunt Dete thought that Grandfather did not want Heidi. But the muggy air, lack of blue sky and green grass, the atmosphere and population, these factors drove Heidi to despair and ultimate longing, for now she knew she could not go home as often as she wished as Aunt Dete had hurriedly promised, and if she tried, she would receive a cruel and harsh punishment from the strict housekeeper, Mrs. Rottenmeier.

I shan’t reveal too much, but hopefully you are now interested in this book enough to check it out at your local library. This book is: sweet, heartfelt, tender, loving, and warm, and some themes are: care and family and happiness. Heidi herself is pure, innocent, sensitive….
“Let me be, dear child; it is always dark for me now; whether in snow or sun, no light can penetrate my eyes.”
“But surely it does in summer, grandmother,” said Heidi, more and more anxious to find some way out of the trouble, “when the hot sun is shining down again, and he says good-night to the mountains, and they all turn on fire, and the yellow flowers shine like gold, then, you will see, it will be bright and beautiful for you again.”
“Ah, child, I shall see the mountains on fire or the yellow flowers no more; it will never be light for me again on earth, never.”
At these words Heidi broke into loud crying. In her distress she kept on sobbing out, “Who can make it light for you again? Can no one do it? Isn’t there any one who can do it?”
Now can’t you see that she is only mischievous because her heart is so pure and free? Making Mrs. Rottenmeier unhappy was not her goal at all, and although she disagreed wholeheartedly with whatever the old lady said, their lives were so completely different that you really cannot blame them for their conflicts. Mrs. Rottenmeier (how strange her name is!) had such a narrow, restricted way of thinking that one cannot help feeling sorry for her, for indeed she must have led a childhood of bitter feelings, and forced into these very same rules herself. Her youthful years were not full to the top with a run-with-the-wind kind of luxury, but most likely filled with dreadful needlework and arithmetic lessons. And so I hope you are sorry, for not only her but also for the people whom she affected with her outrageous ways, too.

Black Beauty Analysis & Thoughts

Nov 3, 2011

Black Beauty has had 9 masters over her lifetime, but only 5 of them were good to her. Here is a list of her masters:
Her birth master, “Master”
Squire Gordon of Birtwick Park
Mr. York
Mr. Barry (whose groom was Filcher)
Jerry Barker, the nice cab driver
Jakes, driver for the corn dealer
Mr. Skinner, mean cab driver
Mr. Farmer Thoroughgood
Miss Ellen

A few words about the masters:

Squire Gordon was very good to Beauty, and she loved the three happy years she spent there. But the mistress got sick and had to move to warm places.

Jerry Barker, a cab driver whose real name was Jeremiah, was great to Beauty. He had a nice daughter and son and his wife was named Polly. But he got dangerously ill, and the family moved to the country. (click title for more)

The Journey That Saved Curious George

Oct 9, 2011

The Journey That Saved Curious George:
The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey

By Louise Borden and Allan Drummond

This book is a biography about the creators of Curious George, Margete Waldstein Reyensbach, later referred to as Margret, and Hans Reyersbach, hereafter referred to as H. A. Rey, and about the effect World War II had on their peaceful artists’ life. When they got married in Brazil (they had both come from Germany seeking work) they took a honeymoon trip to Paris, and worked there in an apartment for four years. When the war began in Poland, they moved to the French countryside for four months, until it was too cold to live in the drafty house. Then they moved back to Paris, and when the German soldiers came to France, they got the right papers to get out of France and on a boat to Brazil. In Brazil they got on a boat to America, and the whole journey took four months.

My favorite part of the book is

Regarding Observations about Olivia Kidney

Regarding Observations about

Olivia Kidney Stops For No One

By Ellen Potter

On my first reread of this book I realized something odd. Olivia Kidney is, judging from the cover, a freckly twelve-year-old girl with thick ginger blonde hair in two ponytails, with cheery smile and crystal blue eyes. But it seems the book would not have you believe so. If not for the cover illustration, on which even Olivia is not portrayed clearly (she is about 3 inches tall on it) Olivia Kidney could have been a girl with black, blonde, brunette, or red hair, with blue, green, violet, black or hazel eyes and any complexion anybody could think of (Imagine an olive-tanned red-haired and violet-eyed Olivia!). It appears that if you write an illustration book, particularly a colored picture book, you tend to leave out what your character looks like. Really I suppose this author is so POMPOUS that she infers you will ‘get it’ after looking at the cover for five seconds and considers this a colored picture book (there isn’t a single picture in it save for the cover)! I didn’t, at first. In fact, if the author did not tell you that Frannie/ Venice’s hair was NOT butter-blonde or any kind of blonde, I would’ve assumed the girl was Frannie! I’m just saying maybe the author relies too much on guesswork and this could potentially go havoc.

The Higher Power of Lucky

Sep 13, 2011

The Higher Power of Lucky
By Susan Patron
Age Group: 9-12
My Rating: 4.56 stars out of
Awards and Recognition: 2006 John Newbery Medal, New York Times Best Seller, ALA Notable Children’s Book, Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice, JLG Selection, and winner of the FOCAL Award.
 5 stars.

Lucky lives in the tiny town of Hard Pan (Population: 43) with her Guardian Brigitte. Lucky’s mother died before the beginning of this book because she had been out in a rainstorm and touched some power lines that had fallen down, and got electrocuted. Her father didn’t like children, so he called up his first wife, Brigitte, whom he had divorced and who lived in France, to come take care of Lucky.

One day, Lucky sees a suitcase that Brigitte has taken out and sees Brigitte’s passport in it. Lucky hasn’t seen a suitcase in her trailer home for 2 years. This, along with a booklet entitled  “Certified Course in Restaurant Management and Administration with Diploma from the Culinary Institute of France in Paris” that Brigitte is studying convinces her that Brigitte really does not want to be her guardian anymore

What is a classic & Daddy-Long-Legs

Sep 6, 2011

Daddy Long Legs
By Jean Webster
A+ for excellence :O)

Classics are good books. I totally agree with Bumbles from Quirky Girls Read ( about the lure of Classic things. However, not a lot of people realize that, and think classics are: old fashioned, boring, and most of all, long. But classics do not have to be three hundred years old for people to say, "Oh, that's a classic." And not all three hundred year old books are called classics. So many people would ask, "What exactly is a classic?"

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
E. L. Konigsburg
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, who live in Connecticut, run away from their home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, they plan to learn everything they can about the museum, and sleep in the historical beds of famous people. They came with twenty-seven dollars, but left with the richness of golden experiences. For throughout their journey, they had encountered a mysterious rich old lady a secret she might know the answer to, and a very peculiar statue, which the secret is about.

This book won the Newbery Medal, and rightly so, because this is certainly a timeless classic, and though that phrase sounds stereotyped, I really mean it.

I am entering this book into a contest hosted by a blog I follow, Quirky Girls Read. Click here for details.

Girls to the Rescue, Book 1

Sep 3, 2011

Edited by Bruce Lansky
Meadowbrook Press
Age Groups: 8-12
My Rating: B+ (4 stars)
Ten short stories about girls who are all creative and resourceful and who all "save the day" in some sense--but not like superheroes, of course. An example is the Japanese girl named Kimi in the story Kimi and the Ogre. Kimi saves the day by getting her foolish brother Taro out of trouble and danger with her quick wits, not strength or superpowers like in comic books.

It was hard to pick since there were so many  good ones, and all the characters were so fully developed, but my favorite short story was