Friday, August 31, 2007

Poetry Friday

This is a poem that comes from The Witch Poems, by Barbara Bucknall. This is the last book of poetry that my dad gave me before he passed away. I always got at least one volume of poetry a year, from the time I was six. Usually Shel Silverstein or Dennis Lee struck my fancy. I love how my dad really appreciated and fostered my love of poetry. It makes me miss him even more.

The Witch is Perplexed

The witch is pondering good and evil.
She thinks she is under a curse.
Every time she casts an evil spell,
Using only the best ingredients
And following the recipes in her magic book,
It backfires.
When she tries to do good,
To see if that will work any better,
It often backfires too.
If neither good nor evil works,
She can reach no conclusion.
Friendship is good, but gangsters can be friends.
Marriage is good, but look at the bad marriages.
Religion is good, but look at the fanatics.
They would murder you for their faith.
There is not a single thing that we call good that cannot be bad
Depending on how we take it.
The problem presents no easy solution.
The witch is fast becoming a total relativist.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Before I Die

No. This is not the book jacket. It is simply what I was doing during the last pages of Before I Die, by Jenny Downham.

Tess has leukemia. She's had it for four years, the treatments aren't working all that well, and frankly...she's sick of it all.

Being sixteen, she has come up with a list of things to do before she dies. The first thing on the list is sex. She lets her friend Zoey in on the list and recruits her in her mission. Zoey doesn't even blink. This is what Tess loves about Zoey. She's the only one, that since Tess got sick, still treats her the same.

Sex, however, is only one of the things on Tess' list, and as life moves on, Tess' list morphs, and surprisingly gets longer.

Her life is complicated by her dad, who just wants to save her, her mum, who doesn't live home or attend treatments, and her changing feelings for Adam, the boy next door.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this so close on the heels of Thirteen Reasons Why, but I am glad I did. Since I read this is arc format, I don't want to give too much plot away, but I think Jenny Downham has done an amazing job of bringing Tess' struggles to life. I love the fact that during much of the book Tess is indeed, unlikeable. She is real and raw. She is going through things that all teens struggle with, and the fact that she has cancer, while devastating, is only part of the story.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ivy + Bean

So, I almost named my youngest daughter Ivy, after one of my grandma's friends. Back then I thought ... "Hmmm. It may be a bit too old fashioned." Now as Ivy's pop up all over children's books, I am kicking myself.

Here is a read that pairs up nicely with the Grace books!

Bean's mom is always bugging her to go across the street and play with that nice new girl, Ivy. But Bean knows what nice means. Nice = Boring. Why would she want to play with a girl who seems to like to simply sit on her porch alone, when Bean could be tormenting her older sister Nancy? That is a much more interesting pursuit!

One day, however, fate throws Bean and Ivy in the same vicinity and friendship quickly blooms. Getting into mischief is so much sweeter when you have a partner in crime!

Number 1 in the series by annie barrow and sophie blackhall fits nicely into the early independent reader arena. With just enough black and white illustrations and a couple sassy protagonists, Ivy + Bean is sure to find a place in the hearts of fans of Judy Moody, Just Grace, and those on the way to Hannah West.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Still Just Grace

This has been sitting around on my "to read" pile forever, and boy do I wish I had gotten to it earlier. I was reminded once I glimpsed Mindy's review that I had to get on this! But then Harry Potter and Kiki Strike and Smekday happend. But here we are.

Grace is just as lovable as she was in the first installment. Her best friend Mimi is getting a new neighbour, and frankly, Grace is a little bit worried. What if Mimi likes this new kid Max even better than she likes Grace? And to top it all off, Grace has to take a vacation from school to help her grandma move out of her house and into a Seniors apartment. Normally getting a vacation from school when other students do not would be great, but Grace has a bunch of worries now.

Once Grace gets back, she has even more to face. Their student teacher, Mr. Frank, has assigned a group project. Since Grace was away, all of the groups have been selected. Grace gets stuck with two other Graces, one of whom is "the big meanie". Can Grace work with the bossy Grace? Can she stand that Mimi is spending all of her time with Max and Sammy?

Once again, Charise Mericle Harper has written a winning story about family, friendship, and change. Grace has her assumptions challenged, and she is forced to use her empathy powers quite a bit. I love that Grace is still drawing comics and making lists. Her voice is authentic, and I find myself smiling as I read these titles!