Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Book Review

You know when you like something so much that you get overexcited when you tell people about it? I've been feeling that way about some books lately so I'm posting my thoughts about them. In case you feel inclined to read but need some suggestions, here are mine:

My Life In Dog Years by Gary Paulson. It's a collection of real life dog stories. It's short. It'll make you laugh and cry. I read it out loud to my husband and one story to my Dad (while the power was out. By lantern light. It was like the good ol' days). They laughed too. (They didn't cry. Maybe it's just a Lu thing.) You don't have to be a particularly big dog lover to appreciate them because they're cool stories from someone's real life. Not made up. The author is the guy who wrote Hatchet. And a bajillion other children's books, many (all?) with outdoor survival themes.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. Did I write about this earlier? I don't know. It's worth writing about again if I did. The protagonist is youngish, she goes to some forsaken northern state and homesteads. She's believable, she's the kind of girl you'd like as your best friend. This isn't an outdoor survival-just-hanging-on-by-a-thread pioneer story. First of all, it's during World War I. Second of all, even though she's sort of eeking it out on the land, it's a refreshing look at the world. It might make you want to try a little gardening, or just get outside and appreciate the world a little more.
http://www.hattiebigsky.com/

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. I know I wrote about this before but I WANT YOU TO READ IT! I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. It's downright funny. It's unique. It's got cartoon illustrations. The main character has attitude. My husband liked it. You can buy cool tee shirts and such from the website You can read a chapter of the book here: http://www.smekday.com/excerptfromthetr.html. (Just don't read it at work. You'll be laughing and people will look at you funny).

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It's short. It's full of energy and frustration and emotion. (I read this one out loud too, and by half way through when the main character was mad, I was mad. I wanted to kick some of the other characters for him. It was great to feel all defensive for him and then remember, He's not real. My husband gave me a funny look at that point.) He's the third child in a time when you are only allowed to have two kids. So he's Hidden. And he meets another shadow child. She's kick booty cool. There's more books in the series, but you could stop after this one. If you want to. But you won't want to. To boost my credibility I turn to The Rock again: he missed our exit on the freeway because he was concentrating on the book. Nuf said.

Star Girl by Jerri Spinelli. One of my favorite books. It's a modern fairy tale that's not all that full of magic or fairies. In fact, there aren't any of either. It's a story about an oddball girl, from the perspective of a go-with-the-flow guy who sort of starts to be interested in her. It's about popularity. It's about seeing people for what they really are. It's about being yourself. It's about looking at the world differently. It's about making your life fun because you can. It's about caring about other people because you can. http://www.jerryspinelli.com/newbery_017.htm

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. You know with this kind of title it's going to be good. The protagonist is a jr. high schooler. He has a little brother who's cute and fun. Then the little brother get's sick. This is how his older brother sees the whole thing unfold. It shows how a normal kid might deal with something traumatic like serious illness of a family member. And it's funny. Funny I tell you. It's sort of jr. highish, but so what. Go ahead, relive those years.
http://www.jordansonnenblick.com/index.php?r=drums

And to clear the record: I only read three of these books this summer (and one of them I'm rereading again soon). But these are fun times books. I want to share them with you. And, this saved The Rock from having to listen to me rave again about how much I like these books.
(and sorry for the crummy formatting. I know it looks awful. I'll get it fixed as soon as I can) --Lu

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I Want You To Get Dirty





Tucson has just boosted its summer coolness factor.  Mud Fest '08: Return of the Mud Monster (yes, there was one last year) happened at Reid Park today.  It was free of charge.  (P.S. I'm writing this from my friend's house and right now she is putting neosporin on my knees (belly flopping into the mud gave me some major exfoliation)...but she had to crawl under the table to do it.  So there's a little voice coming from under the table saying, "This may sting, burn, tingle and/or tickle."  She's right.  It did a ltitle of all of that.)

A highlight of the event was hearing a mom yell at her kids, "I want you to get dirty.  You aren't made of sugar." 

I think the photos give you a good idea of what it was like.  I haven't had such effortless fun in a long time.  I highly recommend it. --Lu