The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher: By MOLLY BANG

Book Review

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This book is a prime example to express how art can be used as a medium for education or for children’s healthy entertainment in an exceptional style.

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Book: The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher

Genre: Children’s Book

Author: MOLLY BANG

Aladdin Paperbacks

An imprint of Simon & Schuster

First Aladdin Paperbacks edition May 1996

Book Review: The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher is a picture story book of 24 pages with two central characters – one is the Strawberry Snatcher who is drawn as having a blue coloured, thin body with long limbs wrapped in a clothing of bright green with base of red and wearing an awkward purple hat, the entire figure of the strawberry snatcher is uncanny still amusing; and the other is the Grey Lady with a big body and with grey hair, wearing a fully covered grey coat, this figure resembles a clever, gratified grandma.

This book is a set of painting art-works with loud colours, the pictures are in rapid sequence; a few drawings combine  to  express two or more sequence of the story at one instance, a few others is fascinating mix of similar colours where the observer of the story has to search to spot one of the characters in the picture – and this is done with matching the background colour of the picture with the colour of the clothing of one of the central characters.

 

Yes, the story is about the peculiar looking strawberry snatcher who follows the grey lady to snatch her basket full of strawberries — this is a witty story and an intellectual  piece of art which makes it more appropriate for children of 7 years and above to appreciate – more so for visual learners or for children who have an aptitude  for creative skill like painting.

 

Academic Use: This book can be  valuable  as a conversation piece for children of 8 to 10 years; two children  can give voice-over to the two characters, the dialogues between the characters will vary according to the individuality of the children yet the conversation has to inflexibly be within the picture description of the story, this activity can also mark the growth of children’s intellectual and language ability.

 

Author: Molly Garrett Bang is an American illustrator. For her illustration of children’s books she has been a runner-up for the American Caldecott Medal three times and for the British Greenaway Medal once.


Amazon link: The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang


Twitter: @mirandapresence

No Talking – By Andrew Clements

Book Review

Author: Andrew Clements has written more than fifty books for children, including the award-winning, multimillion-copy bestseller Frindle.

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Book – No Talking

Genre – Children’s Literature

Author – Andrew Clements

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

First paperback edition June 2009

Book Review: Dave Packer had to prepare a report on the history of India to give a presentation for five minutes or less for his social studies class, just some basic facts on anything related to India, he found the most interesting section on India was about how it became independent and thought the most interesting person in the story of India’s independence was Mahatma Gandhi – in one of the books, he read this about Gandhi:

For many years, one day each week Gandhi did not speak at all. Gandhi believed this was a way to bring order to his mind.

Dave wondered what that meant, “to bring order to his mind”, could something as simple as not talking change the way your mind worked? … this belief seemed to have been good for Gandhi; would not talking make him smarter?  So Dave decided to give this philosophy a try, to effort to keep his mouth shut all day on Monday, but giving this report in his social studies class on Monday would ruin his experiment … How would he cope with his experiment of “No Talking” for a day? How could this philosophy help Dave of fifth grade?

The story develops to discover the influence of Dave’s experiment – first as a personal goal of Dave which later transpires as a contest for two days between the students of the fifth grade as Boys vs. Girls, with a set of rules to follow; how the teachers deal with the peculiar situation on the first day of the contest, how the teachers involve themselves in this contest on the second day to appreciate the concept’s novel approach in the teaching and learning process.

 

As per my grasp of the story, the source of this story is founded on research discoveries of the concept – “No Talking”, executed in a school; the scheme of the narrative is purposely kept entertaining so as to captivate the curious mind of a child – which expresses about the author’s commendable story telling ability with a challenging storyline to narrate specifically to children. The concept and the clever narration  of the story is more appropriate  for children of 10 years and above to comprehend and appreciate, and at a leisurely pace a child probably  will take less than a week’s time to finish reading this book. The theme of the story is essentially based in a school background thus incudes a lot of names of students and teachers which could bring a trace of confusion in a young mind while reading.

 

 “No Talking” as an activity in school is a practical concept with many constructive benefits towards a child’s holistic development, as revealed in the book – this activity can be carried out in schools for 1 day, for at least 2 times in an academic year, for children above 10 years; for teachers this book caters as an useful resource book for planning this activity.


Amazon link: No Talking by Andrew Clements


New York, Actually – By SARAH MORGAN

Book Review

Author: Sarah Morgan is the no.1 bestselling author with sales of over 15 million, her other novels based on the Big Apple  are Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park & Miracle on 5th Avenue.

 ‘Morgan is a magician with words’ – RT Book Reviews  

New York, Actually (HarperCollinsPublishers): Book Review

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This novel is on Molly, Dr. Kathleen Molly Parker, a relationship psychologist — her bog, Ask a Girl, has a large volume of traffic; and her books had hit the bestseller lists in both the US and the UK all under her pseudonym Aggie – which meant she had both anonymity and financial security enabling her to live comfortably in New York City.

On her early morning run with her dog, a Dalmatian—Valentine who has a heart shaped nose, in Central Park she comes across Daniel Knight, with his dog, a German shepherd—Brutus who is as strong and athletic as his owner; but something about the way he moved told her that when this man wasn’t pounding the paths, he dressed in a suit and was commander in chief of whichever empire he presided over.

Mr. Daniel Knight is the best divorce lawyer in Manhattan, who gets smitten by Molly during his early morning run – it wasn’t just her hair that caught his attention or those incredible legs, it was the air of confidence …

This is an unusual contemporary love-story, Molly and Daniel are characters with contrasting professional interest and that’s the incompatible point between these two’s outlook towards relationship, at first; otherwise they both personally view romantic relationships as a short-term association and this assertiveness brings them both together, at first.

Through this story, the author also remarkably expresses about the consequence of conflict in a relationship. (pp. 222, 223 & 224)

The city of Manhattan is the backdrop of this love-story; it particularly describes the Central Park and a bit of the city’s landscape in a vibrant manner.

 

The plot of the story fascinates  the reader to finish reading the story as rapidly as possible as it leisurely discloses layers and layers of mysteries, and the prose which consistently comprises of witty conversations between the different characters of the story has the reader thrilled – which certainly articulates  about the charismatic writing skill of the author—Sarah Morgan.



Amazon link: New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan


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EMMA – By Jane Austen

Book Review

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817): Jane Austen is one of the most well-known and widely-read English novelists.

Jane’s fascination with words and with world of stories began quite early, in the 1780s during her adolescence she started writing her own novels. Between 1811 to 1816, Jane started to anonymously publish her works; Emma was published during this time.

Her works started attracting scholarly attention in the 1920s and came to be recognized as brilliant masterpieces and revealing commentaries on social conditions of Austen’s time.

Emma: This novel is a very lengthy read, with 55 chapters, very intellectually phrased with complex grammatical construction of sentences, which has to be read in short passages for a proper understanding rather than choosing for a hasty read which may cease to lose the novel’s excellence in the reader’s opinion.

It is unadulterated literature that enriches the reader with exceptional knowledge of English literature and in quintessence articulates about the opulent cultural life of people belonging to the upper stratum of society in England during the end of 18th century and at the beginning of 19th century. The humour is polished sarcastic; the novel starts with theatrical appeal with very lengthy conversations and gradually eases to poised narrative.

Highly recommended read for avid literature readers, and once you have finished reading this novel—it will all the more intrigue you for another read.

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EMMA- By Jane Austen

Twenty-one years old Emma Woodhouse is handsome, clever, and rich; the daughter of Mr. Woodhouse — a nervous old man, beloved for the friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper. The real evils of Emma’s situation is the disposition to think a little too well of herself, which leads her through a course of outright misperception in her impulsive ideas of match-making.

Hartfield, is Emma Woodhouse’s paradise; the residence of Mr. Woodhouse—the Woodhouses first in consequence in a town of Highbury.

There are many characters that exist to make this story about Highbury and Hartfield complete, a few important ones are:

Harriet Smith – A seventeen-year old, a parlour-boarder at Mrs. Goddard’s school, is a girl not certainly clever but with a sweet, docile, grateful disposition; totally free from conceit and only desiring to be guided by any one she looked up to.

Mr. Elton – A very respectable vicar of Highbury, is a handsome young man.

Mr. (Gerorge)Knightley – A sensible man with a cheerful manner, a very old and intimate friend of the family, but particularly connected with it as the elder brother of Isabella’s (Emma’s elder sister) husband. He lived about a mile away in the adjoining parish of Highbury, at Donwell Abbey.

Mr. Weston – A native of Highbury, had satisfied an active, cheerful mind and social temper by entering into militia of his country. Once his wife death, after a three years’ marriage, the widower-father, gave his child up to the care and wealth of the Churchill’s. When a complete change of life became desirable, he quitted the militia and engaged in trade. After eighteen or twenty years of his life, he had purchased a little estate adjoining Highbury, at Randalls; and obtained his second wife– a truly amiable woman, Miss Taylor.

Miss Taylor/ Mrs. Weston: Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse’s  family, less as a governess than a friend, particularly very fond of Emma, between them it was more the intimacy of sisters. Matrimony as the origin of change, Miss Taylor was happily married to Mr. Weston.

Mr. Frank Churchill: Brought up as his uncle’s heir; Mr. Frank Churchill — a very good looking young man, had a great deal of the spirit and liveliness of his father’s.

Miss Jane Fairfax: The only child of Mrs. Bates’s youngest daughter; Mrs. Bates’s – the widow of a former vicar of Highbury, was a very old lady. Jane was an orphan, brought up by Colonel Campbell. Living constantly with right-minded and well-informed people, her heart and understanding had received every advantage of discipline and culture; and Colonel Campbell’s residence being in London, every lighter talent had been done full justice to, by the attendance of first-rate masters.   

Miss Bates: The simplicity and cheerfulness of her nature, her contented and grateful spirit, were a recommendation to every body, and a mine of felicity to herself. She was a great talker upon little matters, full of trivial communications and harmless gossip.

The catalysts of this novel are the characters – Miss Jane Fairfax and Mr. Frank Churchill.

Pages 163, 189, 190 & 191 – Comprises very brilliant descriptive narrative of a shop called ‘Ford’, which is place of convenience to the citizens of Highbury.

Chapter 8: This chapter is a debate over the mind-set related to men and women on the subject of suitability of partner associated with social norms in the prospect of matrimony, these considerations do prevail in the present era in consequence to arranged marriages in some cultures.

A few passages from this novel:

“ A man,” sad he, “must have a very good opinion of himself when he asks people to leave their own fireside, and encounter such a day as this, for the sake of coming to see him. He must think himself a most agreeable fellow; I could not do such a thing. It is the greatest absurdity —Actually snowing at this moment!—The folly of not allowing people to be comfortable at home—and the folly of people’s not staying comfortably at home when they can! If we were obliged to go out such an evening as this, by any call of duty or business, what a hardship we should deem it;—and here are we, probably with rather thinner clothing than usual, setting forward  voluntarily, without excuse, in defiance of the voice of nature, which tells man, in every thing given to his view or his feeling, to stay at home himself, and keep all under shelter that he can;—here are we setting forward to spend five dull hours in another man’s house, with nothing to say or to hear that was not said and heard yesterday, and may not be said and heard again to-morrow. Going in dismal weather, to return probably in worse;—four horses and four servants taken out for nothing but to convey five idle, shivering creatures into colder rooms and worse company than they might have had at home.” (p. 95)

 

“But your father is not going so far; he is only going to the Crown, quite on the other side of the street, and there are a great many houses; you might be very much at a loss, and it is very dirty walk, unless you keep on the footpath; but my coachman can tell you where you had best cross the street.”

 Mr. Frank Churchill still declined it, looking as serious as he could and his father gave his hearty support by calling out, “My good friend, this is quite unnecessary; Frank knows a puddle of water when he sees it, and as to Mrs. Bates’s, he may get there from the Crown in a hop, step, and jump.”(p. 159)

 

“If it would be good to her, I am sure it would be evil to himself; a very shameful and degrading connexion. How would he bear to have Miss Bates belonging to him?—To have her haunting the Abbey, and thanking him all day long for his great kindness in marrying Jane?—

“So  very kind and obliging!—But he always had been such a very kind neighbour!”And then fly off, through half a sentence, to her mother’s old petticoat. “Not that it was such a very old petticoat either—for still it would last a great while—and, indeed, she must thankfully say that their petticoats were all very strong.”(p. 183)

 

When the ladies returned to the drawing-room after dinner, Emma found it hardly possible to prevent their making two distinct parties;—with so much perseverance in judging and behaving ill did Mrs. Elton engross Jane Fairfax and slight herself. She and Mrs. Weston were obliged to be almost always either talking together or silent together. Mrs. Elton left them no choice. If Jane repressed her for a little time, she soon began again; and though much that passed between them was in a half-whisper, especially on Mrs. Elton’s side, there was no avoiding a knowledge of their principal subjects: The post-office—catching cold—fetching letters—and friendship, were long under discussion … (p. 243)

 

“I cannot make speeches, Emma:” he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. —Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.— But you understand me …. (p. 348)


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