NIGHT IN THE COUNTRY: By Cynthia Rylant


Author: Cynthia Rylant is an American author, she has written more than 100 children’s books, many of Rylant’s books are about her childhood in Appalachia.

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Book: NIGHT IN THE COUNTRY

Genre: Children’s literature

Story by Cynthia Rylant

Pictures by Mary Szilagyi

Aladdin Paperbacks

An imprint of Simon & Schuster

First Aladdin Paperbacks edition 1991

 

Book Review: Night in the Country, is a story on describing the countryside at night with emphasis on the sound of some common night creatures, animals and things in the tranquil of night; the pictures give the impression of being colour pencil art – comprising of many darker tones of colours and are of blurry styles, it is like a visual narrative with few lines of the short story printed on the pages of the book.

 

Academic Use: This narrative is especially appropriate for teaching auditory readiness/discrimination in the age group of 4 to 6 years; the teacher can narrate the story along with the aid of an audio player for sound recordings of some of the creatures and things mentioned in the story.

As per my perspective, this story is best suited in audio visual format than in a book format for teaching auditory discrimination in preschool children.

This book is a good reading material for children of 6 to 8 years – with mentions of auditory words for vocabulary development, for encouraging nature sensitivity; and also a good resource book of art-works for children who are inclined towards creative-work of painting


Amazon link: Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant


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The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher: By MOLLY BANG

Book Review

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


See You in the Cosmos – By JACK CHENG

Book Review

As a reader of this book, it seems to me that this book is a humble tribute to an eminent astronomer Dr. Carl Edward Sagan by the author Jack Cheng.

Dr. Carl Edward Sagan (1934 – 1996) was an American astronomer:

“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” – Carl Sagan

He tried to make science popular. He thought about what life from other planets would be like. He said that people should look for life on other planets. He is world famous for his popular science books and the television series Cosmos, which he co-wrote and presented.

Sagan was associated with the U.S. space program from its inception. From the 1950s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA, where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the Solar System, arranging experiments on many of the expeditions.

Sagan assembled the first physical message that was sent into space: a gold-anodized plaque, attached to the space probe Pioneer 10, launched in 1972. Pioneer 11, also carrying another copy of the plaque, was launched the following year.

He continued to refine his designs; the most elaborate message he helped to develop and assemble was the Voyager Golden Record that was sent out with the Voyager space probes in 1977.

Sagan often challenged the decisions to fund the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station at the expense of further robotic missions. (Source: Wikipedia)  Dr. Caral Sagan’s Scientific Achivements

 

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See You in the Cosmos:-

Author – JACK CHENG

An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017

Published in Great Britain by Puffin Books 2017

Book Review: Alex Petroski is a eleven-year old boy, though he thinks himself to be thirteen-years-old  in responsibility age because he can cook and take care of his dog, whom he has named  after his hero, Dr. Carl Sagan; he plans to launch his rocket—Voyager 3 at the Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival in the desert near Albuquerque, New Mexico, to carry his iPod into space – his Golden iPod with his sound recordings to connect with other life forms out in the universe, and thus this exceptional idea of his initiates his adventure …

So his golden iPod is like a personal diary – with him narrating to record the happenings of the day, his venture to the rocket festival which advances into meeting nice strangers, his trip to Las Vegas and so on … with many other exciting revelations.

 

The simplicity of the language makes the novel a fortunate book for the children between the age-group of 8 to 11 years; the content is very informative and contemporary, though the exceptional presentation of the story does require a little explanation by an adult and at a leisurely pace a child may take a month’s time to finish reading this book.

The pace of this novel is slow for adult readers; considering that this book is particularly meant for young readers and written from a view point of a young child, however the unique presentation of the concept – by which I mean the novel is written like a narration on an audio player is highly commendable, makes it an admirable read for teenagers and adults too.


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Amazon link – See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

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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BETWEEN the SHEETS – By Molly O’Keefe

Book Review

This novel is like watching (or the better word is IMAGINING) an X-rated Hollywood movie with a superb storyline. The book cover does suggest an erotic allure and it does contain a fair amount of the same, which seems not as much of tender and with a trace of sexual violence between the story’s main characters Shelby and Ty, because through this literature the writer essentially tries to mention how supressed negative emotions sprung reflexively during the very intimate moments.

Furthermore, this story talks of — the illness of Alzheimer, the excess care and support needed by its affected; how brutal childhood has a negative imprint on adult personality.

 

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Shelby Monroe, an art teacher, is a part-time employee at Bishop Elementary school; who’d been in cold, slightly awkward affairs with men she wanted very little from, men there was never any fear would try to get more from her — meets Wyatt Svenson, his nickname Ty, a man with a tall and wide physique and a charming personality; through Casey – a eleven-year old, tall and gangly boy, Ty’s child from a former girlfriend …

There are many other characters in this story which gives the story a nice strength, by the end of this very beautifully story all the broken pieces of Shelby’s and Ty’s core personality is merged together because of their faith in each other and their willingness to try to chance the bad situation in order to move ahead in life.

 

The very lengthy erotic passages has some monotonous moments – otherwise from this, the narration captures the complexity of human emotions to the very core in a brilliant writing by Molly O’Keefe.

 

Few excerpts from this novel:

“Hey, Ms. Monroe,” Casey whispered, but before Shelby could say anything, Mom leaned over and shushed him.

Shelby gave him a wink and then tried very hard to pay attention to the church service.

………

“Tic-tac-toe?” he whispered. “Am I six?”

A laugh bubbled out of her and now her own mom was giving her the death stare. She composed herself and drew a hangman and the spaces for a ten-letter word.

“Hangman,” he whispered. “I like it.”

She pointed to a blank spot where he could write down his guesses and handed him the stubby pencil. Over the top of Casey’s bright head, Wyatt was watching her, and despite her years of experience ignoring things, she could ignore him for only so long. Almost as if her eyes were magnetized and he was true north, she could not help but look at him.  (pp.118 -119)

 

“Mom, we need to talk.”

“About the factory? Because I know our numbers are down, but I‘ve made some changes to the—”

“It’s not about the factory.”

“I can’t lay anyone else off. We’re running on a skeleton crew.”

“Mom. We’re going to have to bring someone into our house. A nurse. To care for you.”

 Mom was silent, and the tall weeds growing through the cracks in the asphalt and between the stones of the drive were laid nearly flat by the wind. Sturdy weeds levelled. (pp. 256 -257)

 

“We’ll go slow,” he told her. “For both of us.”

“Slow? We haven’t done anything slow.”

“We’ll start with dinner. Sunday night, my house. I’ll cook.”

“You can cook?”

“See all the things we don’t know about each other?”

She smiled at his joke and he felt the engine of his heart kick over. This was happening. It was really happening.

“What about Casey?”

“My son and I have kept enough secrets from each other, Shelby. If you and I are a thing, he’s got to know about it. If we’re in, we’re all in.”

She let go of the box only to cup his face in her hands. She pressed her lips on his, softly. Sweetly. She tasted of coffee and toothpaste, and if faith had a flavour, it was there too. (pp. 298 – 299)

Author: Molly O’Keefe is also the author of several other novels – Wild Child, Crazy Thing Called Love, Can’t Buy Me Love, and Can’t Hurry Love.

Amazon link: Between the Sheets (The Boys of Bishop)