Posts from the “book review” Category

What we are reading…

Posted on 22 September, 2015

kids books

 

Ewan would happily spend most of his day being read to. As the reader I try and mix things up quiet a bit. There’s only so many rounds of the same book I can do so we get extensive use out of his library card and I get to keep my sanity. It’s win win.

He is getting to be quiet a harsh critic. If he’s not into it or if you don’t read it with sufficent gusto then he promptly hops of the couch and declares “finished da book” and he’s gone.

So here are a few that pass muster recently:

1) A Further Tale of Peter Rabbit after a few rentals from the library we went all out and bought this one. He wants everything Peter Rabbit has, steamy porridge, cheese and pickles and he often walks around saying things smell of onions. I thought it was too long to keep his attention but I was very wrong. The decision to buy it rather than continually renew it in the library was sealed by the fact that Emma Thompson reads the audio CD and I happy to welcome her into our car!

2) Giraffes Can’t Dance. A friend bought Ewan this and it has made it’s way into the ranks of his all time favourites. All Giraffes at Fota wild life park are now called Gerald after the dancing giraffe himself and spotting the cricket on every page has become his obsession.

3) Upsy Down Town. This one is my favourites to read. It’s mad, colourful and rhymes. With lines like “No one knows why there’s a tiger flying by” what more can I say!

4) Some Dogs Do. On a recent trip to the library a friend recommended this one. I would never have picked it because the illustrations aren’t my kind of thing( I’m also a picky customer) but the story is lovely and from the first reading Ewan has been asking for this one on rolling repeat.

5) Erroll is about a rogue squirrel who gets stuck in box of nuts. Soon after his release, from the box of Nutti Nuts, he develops a strong addiction to peanut butter sandwiches. There is plenty of little details in the drawings which I suspect is what brings Ewan back to this one time and time again.

6) Monkey and Me. This is a simple book with lots of repetition. Highly repetitive books do risk wobbling the pendulum on the insanity barometer but the fact that it’s short, Ewan can finish the sentences and the cuteness of the girl means that it makes the cut. (Update: He just got  quoted this book to me (minus a few pages) in his delusional tired voice and he finished with saying “THE END, I still wide awake Mummy”

7) The Diabolical Mr Tiddles. This book of a cat with dubious morals has won Ewan over and the fact that there is a horse in it called Alan cracks him up!  (Only now am I seeing a theme of cheekiness that appeals to him, and if they are cheeky animals all the better! This should help in further library searches!)

8) Mr Happy. I used to love the Mr Men books and so I tried forcing them on him from a young age. He wasn’t interested until the last few months. The fact that the books are longer than your average toddler book didn’t help their cause but the idea of Happyland and doors in trees with winding staircases has converted him. For me, I’m all about the wallpaper!

9) Mad about Mini Beasts  He got this as a present recently and the timing couldn’t have been better. He was starting to get a bit unsure of all the wriggling creatures that surround this old house of ours but this book has made him curious again about all the bugs and wriggling things we find in the garden and it makes me feel like David Attenborough when go finding mini beasts in the garden!

He has taken to pulling the book below off the shelf but I have warned him that he’s on his own with this one…

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If you’ve any suggestions of gorgeous books for toddlers that read well then I’d love to hear them.

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Gone Girl- A book in review

Posted on 16 January, 2015

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If, like me, literary trends pass you by as quickly as fashion seasons then I have just the book for you!
Gone Girl was published in 2012 and it has been popular for so long that they  even had time to make in into a film.
This week I decided to see what the fuss was about.

Since Ewan was born reading took a back seat. In the early days I could barely tell when I was awake or asleep and as he grew I had just fallen out of the habit. Unread books would sit by my bed side and haunt me like an unfinished argument. I slugged through books like punishments. My mantra, “You used to read, reading is nice, you should get back into it”. was repeated often but it was half-hearted. Ewan would take out the book mark. I would spend the first 10 minutes of picking up the book trying to find my place again, it was monotonous

I’m glad to say Gone Girl has been the book to pull me out of the abyss. It has all the facets of a good ole page turner. It’s a who dunnit with a
dysfunctional love story,a tale of “he said, she said” with a twist or two to keep you on your toes.

We are not left waiting long before we find out that the girl who has gone is Amy. She disappears on the day of her fifth wedding anniversary and her husband Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect. The story jumps from both their perspectives, Nick’s story is told from the days after his wife’s disappearance and Amy’s through her diary entries. As the story unfolds you see the discrepancies in their accounts. This is where it starts to get interesting as I tried to decide where my allegances lay early on.  Honestly, neither character endeared themselves to me. Nick seems to have fallen into a well of self pity . I realise it’s not a great time in his life what with the police interrogations,a missing wife and failed career,but still, the man lacks a backbone of any kind! All the while Amy’s diary voice grated with a tone of martyrdom which should be reserved only for those seeking sainthood.

Despite not liking the characters they are well drawn and their thoughts are definitely recognisable. Part of the reason I enjoyed the book so much was how the writer played around with the idea of marriage and what it means. How two people at the same point in time can share an experience and understand it completely differently. How well do any couple know each other? Can you ever know anyone completely,or would you want to?

Alternating between the view points of husband and wife in short chapters is also what helps give the book it’s best characteristic: pace. The book swings back to  some small detail while you are on the edge of your seat as to what’s happening to the other character. I’m generally an nauseatingly slow reader but I raced through this during Ewan’s nap times and Fireman Sam’s episodes, when Steve was trying to talk to me, while my tea cooled and housework went undone, basically every second I had was dedicated to discovering what was going to happen next.

There’s a lot of talk about what the female character, Amy, does for feminism. (You can read  some of those articles here but be prepared for spoilers!) To be honest the fact that we are even still talking about female characters all needing to be a homogeneous collection of characteristics to advance the female cause is not only dull but it feels like a failure of some kind. Female characters could and should be anything. I have never seen the same level of reaction for what male characters have done for the image of masculinity. Every male character doesn’t face dissection for what effect this has on women’s perceptions of men.

This is a thriller, so sit up and be thrilled. Let the book sweep you up so entirely that you gasp out loud. I know I did!

 

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