Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: Minifred Goes to School by Mordicai Gerstein

✰✰✰✰ Mr. and Mrs. Portly have been wanting a baby. Instead they get a precious little kitten. They name her Minifred and raise her just like a little girl. She wears clothes, reads, and sings. Only Minifred doesn't like to follow the rules. When her best friend, Olivia, goes off to school, Minifred decides to go too. Unfortunately, school has lots of rules, and Minifred breaks all of them. According to the principal's copy of The Big Rule Book, 'ALL students must obey all the rules.' Will Minifred have to leave school? Are kittens even allowed in school? Check out this cute picture book to find out.

The Bottom Line: Minifred Goes to School is a charming, fantastical tale about a talking kitten who was raised like a little girl, but behaves like the cat she really is. It's a fun picture book for kids going to school for the first time or getting ready to go back to school. Children will enjoy Gerstein's colorful illustrations too. Recommended for kids in grades Pre-K - 2. It's also a humorous pick for story hour.

Details: Minifred Goes to School written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. Hardcover published by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2009. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-06-075889-9

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review: Back-to-School Crafts by Sue Locke

✰✰✰½ It's August, and it's that time of year when our thoughts turn to getting ready for school. If you are looking for fun and easy projects to fill the last days of summer vacation while getting ready for the new school year, check out Back-to-School Crafts. Twelve projects are included; each features step-by-step instructions and photographs. Projects range from pencil toppers, a school days chart, and pencil pots. Patterns, a glossary, and an index are included.

The Bottom Line: Back-to-School Crafts is a fun way to get ready for school. As part of the Creative Crafts for Kids series, the 12 crafts featured were designed for children. However, adults will need to supervise and assist when necessary. Recommended for beginning crafters and families with kids in grades K - 3. Also, recommended for grade school teachers and librarians looking for fun crafts to feature in August as the kids prepare for school. If you need more crafts ideas throughout the year, check out the other titles in the series including: Birthday Crafts, Friendship Crafts, and World Crafts.

Details: Back-to-School Crafts by Sue Locke. Hardcover published by Gareth Stevens Publishing in 2010. 32 p. ISBN: 978-1-4339-3542-8

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

✰✰✰✰ Galilee "Gal" Garner lives for her roses. As an amateur rose breeder, Gal's world revolves around her precious hulthemias. The challenge of breeding the perfect rose consumes her every waking hour when she is not teaching or undergoing dialysis for a chronic kidney disorder. Gal's world is quite predictable, which she finds comforting. Then one day Gal is called out of class to discover that her 15 year old niece Riley has arrived unexpectedly. With nowhere else to go, it's soon settled that Riley will temporarily stay with Gal.

Although Gal teaches high school, she is completely unprepared for the challenges of raising a teenager she hardly knows. Gal is unaccustomed to the demands of parenting and soon finds herself in over her head as she juggles her teaching career, her health issues, and her new role as a guardian to a teen all while aiming to create a rose that will be the envy of the rose society. While Gal is as thorny as her roses and difficult to get to know, her journey changes her from an inflexible spinster into a nurturing caregiver. Along the way, Gal is given the opportunity to start actually living her life instead of living through her roses.

The Bottom Line: This is a beautiful tale told in the first person; it celebrates love, forgiveness, and the bonds of family. Although it is a bit predictable, it was a joy watching Gal's character blossom. This is a fast read, making it perfect for the weekend. Once you pick this one up, you won't be able to put it down. Enthusiastically recommended for those who enjoy contemporary fiction about family dynamics. This will also appeal to those interested in roses and gardening. Additionally, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns would also be a great pick for a book club.

Details: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway. Hardcover published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2012. 368 p. ISBN: 978-0-399015775-2 Note: I received a complimentary uncorrected proof from Putnam Books in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.