Friday, October 16, 2009

The Laceyville Monkeys, Say the Right Words

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That's the old saying that my father taught me way back in the last century when I was a little girl. For the most part, my father was right. Words never hurt me physically, but whenever a harsh word was sent my way, pain would resonate longer. Words may never break your back, but they can break your spirit. This is the lesson I believe Harriett Ruderman wants children to learn in her book, The Laceyville Monkeys, Say the Right Words.

The Laceyville Monkeys are a trio of amazing monkeys that can sing, perform gymnastics and dance. However; if you don't say the right words, the monkeys will not perform for any audience. With charming illustrations by Beverly Luria, Ruderman has created not only a world that will delight children, but passes on the very valuable lesson of choosing the right words. The rhyming tale is certain to delight children and parents alike.

Miss Hepzibath Mott arrives in Laceyville with her three monkeys; Eva – the ballerina, Sheva – the singer, and Keva – the gymnast. To begin their delightful performance, Miss Hepzibath Mott says the right (and kind) words. She wishes to enter the trio in the big talent contest, but Granny Scott has other plans. On the day of the contest, she sneaks the monkeys out of the house and enters them into the contest. However; Granny Scott has never learned the lesson of using the right words and the monkeys refuse to perform. Without giving too much away, you can be rest assured that your children will be enthralled with the wonderful ending.

The book's colorful pictures and rhyming words will teach the lesson of kindness that will stay with your children long after the back cover is closed. In this day and age of harshness, perhaps a few adults could read the tale and learn the lesson as well.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

The Hole In The Sky

The Hole in the Sky has on its cover an amazing piece of artwork. Created by Katherine Navarette, it is worthy enough to be framed and hung on the wall. When you open that beautiful cover, the front piece contains a map of Murantenland drawn by Joan Swan. The book includes two ribbons for marking your place, perfect for reading along with your child. The included ribbons will stop a reader from turning down the corners to mark their place – a personal pet peeve. When you read the copyright page, you learn that the book is made from mixed sources – well managed forests and recycled paper.

The presentation of the book from its beautiful cover to the map to the book mark ribbons would be a disappointment if the author, Barbara A. Mahler, had not written a story to warrant such an amazing presentation.

The Hole in the Sky is about 13-year old Kaela Neuleaf. She lives with her father, who is a rather sad man after the death of her mother. Kaela is your average teen. She has struggles in school, wondering where she belongs and she dreams of something magical happening to her. Kaela is not alone in her awkwardness; she has her cousin, Shawn, who wears glasses and gets picked on – a lot.

The magical appears to Kaela and Shawn in the form of Netri. Netri is from Murantenland and he helps them go through the hole in the sky. Kaela, it has been determined, is the red haired girl mentioned in the prophecy that will end it all.

The Hole in the Sky was written for 8 to 12 year olds. However, any parent would enjoy reading the book right along with his or her child. There are many themes of love and loss throughout the book that lend themselves to wonderful, thought-filled discussions with your child. The book made me wish I had a young daughter and we could read it together.

A bit slow in the beginning, the story soon picks up speed and carries the reader through an impressive ride through a beautiful new world. When the young reader comes to the end, she will have learned lessons about love and healing. The best part is that the story weaves the lessons in a manner that is not preachy. The Hole in the Sky is the first book in a trilogy. After closing the back cover, I was wishing the second book was available and I believe you will wish the same.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Blogcritic Writer of the Day

I woke up this morning in a very pensive mood. I have a lot to do at work, I have a lot of books taking up space in both my living room and my purse that I have to finish reading and I'm locked out of the audiobooks section of the library, because once again, I couldn't return my library books on time. To top it all off, McAfee says I'm not protected because the virus software can't get past 4% when scanning. When am I going to find the time to fix that?

I download my email and glance at it, convinced that only bad news can arrive. I have a comment on my article for Blogcritics, The Ladies of Friday Night article. In case you don't know, for this TV season, I'm recapping Ghost Whisperer and Medium. Well, since I am full of myself, I decide to read the comment and the writer mentions that I am the Blogcritics writer of the day! I am blown away! Little old me! Woo Hoo! On top of that, my article is mentioned! Way to go Me!

I know I should be a way more humbled person, but sometimes it is nice to see your hard work rewarded. And, after the week I had at my paying job last week, I could use a little reward this week.

God Bless

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Monday, October 05, 2009

This Week's Books

The first thing you'll notice about this week's this week's books is that it is being published on Monday. I think Monday's will be a better day for the feature. Next, you'll notice that I've added a DVD and a video game to the list. Finally, you should notice that I haven't reviewed any of the books on this site as of yet. I'm still working on the reading all of them and their reviews. This week I'm posting my review of The Hole in the Sky. As usual, the review will appear on Blogcritics first and then here.

Happy Reading, Watching and Playing!

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