Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What We Are Reading

I'm re-reading "Too Close to the Falls" by Catherine Gildiner for my Book Club meeting this month. I got the book from my mother-in-law, lent it to my friend Jamie, and she loved it so much she suggested that we all read it.
It is a memoir about a girl growing up in upstate New York, near Niagra Falls, in the 1950's. When she is four, her mother asks her pediatrician what to do with her overly-active and irrepressible child. The doctor recommends that her daughter burn off her excess energy with hard manual labor, and so Catherine starts working full-time in her father's drug store before she starts kindergarten.
The chapters of the book describe various adventures and quirky experiences. She delivers drugs all over the county, has a deep personal relationship with people she sees on television, battles authority figures, and tries to fit herself into a world where girls are supposed to be quiet, sit still, and obey their elders. The chapters jump around a bit. They are arranged by theme and are not chronological. It reads like a series of short stories, which makes it easy to pick up and put down. It's a very enjoyable book.

One of my son's favorite books currently is "Firefighter Frank" by Monica Wellington. It is a picture book about firefighters' routines between and during fires. The pictures are stylized and cartoony while still being realistic enough for a fan of firefighting equipment and trucks. The story is simple but written clearly and in a way that is a pleasure to read. We've liked this one a lot and will be sad to return it to the library (after two renewals.)

My daughter and I are working our way through "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, illustrated by Greg Call. It is a prequel to Peter Pan. This book is fun and exciting enough that I am tempted to read ahead while she is a school (but so far I have resisted.) It may not be appropriate for some young children as it revels in the gory cruelty of pirates and the Dickensian horrors of being an orphan. As various things are revealed in this book, my daughter likes to speculate on how they will relate to Peter Pan (we haven't read that book, just seen the Disney movie many, many times.)

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