Friday, October 7, 2011

Where I've been...

Well, if anyone was reading this before, I don't blame you for givingit up recently, since there hasn't been a post since April!

Since then, I've put my house on the market, bought another house, moved (these three really happened due more to my husband's efforts than mine, especially the actual moving!), had a baby, bought a new car, and quit my job. It's been a busy summer.

I can't make excuses about not posting--mostly it was due to lack of effort and energy. However, since our life changes required a little bit more discretion this time around (I wasn't sure about going back to my job, as I was with the last baby), I couldn't post about work-life issues and maternity leave in the same way as I had in the past. I did indeed decide to quit, and with my husband starting a doctoral program, it seems to be the right decision. I'm enjoying being a full-time mom for now, although there's definitely an all-new balancing act to learn with a third baby in the mix.

I don't want to entirely get out of touch with the library world, of course, and I'm toying with the idea of trying a more kid-lit focused blog in the near future. While I play around with the idea and read up in the current kid-lit blogosphere, here are a couple recent reviews from my Goodreads account:

The Mostly True Story of JackThe Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I spent over half of The Mostly True Story of Jack waiting to find out when I was going to learn out what was really going on in Hazelwood, and once I got to the climax of the book, I still wasn't sure. I think Barnhill has a good sense of the rules of her magic, but I never got that same sense. This would be my main criticism of the book. For example, I never understood quite what the Avery men got out of making deals with the evil
"Lady"--even those callous enough not to care about the price they had to pay didn't seem to gain enough to make it worthwhile. They gained the same kind of power in the town that Potter had in the town from It's a Wonderful Life, but it didn't seem like the kind of power that would be enhanced by magic.

My other criticism is with the emotional ties--while the reader (who has the benefit of seeing scenes with other characters where Jack is not present) can tell that Clive, Anders, and Wendy are good guys, it seems to take Jack over half the book to come to that conclusion. Once he does, the action is going full-steam, and I find it hard to believe that he has as much time to get to know and love them as he does at the end.
Despite those criticisms, the book was an enjoyable read. I particularly like that even the bad guy has a sympathetic side. I would have liked to learn more about what happens to Mr. Perkins (a crony of the Avery's)--he seemed poised to make a moral turnaround.
Finally, the book ended well but not completely happily--this was impressively done, even more so given that it's a children's book (which I think makes such an ending harder).

Madeline's RescueMadeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually don't like the pictures in this one quite as well as in the first Madeline, but this is the one that won the Caldecott. Some of the line drawings aren't as beautiful as the Parisian landscapes Bemelmans usually does, although the story (a dog rescues Madeline and then comes to live at the school) is just as charming. One "problem" I've noticed is the difficulty of identifying Madeline (in all his books) in pictures of the whole group--her hair does not always appear as red (because not all the pictures are full color) and it's sometimes straight, sometimes wavy. Even her bed seems to change positions occasionally! Doe
sn't detract from the fun of the books for the most part, but it does make it hard to point her out to an inquisitive 3 year old when he asks which one she is.

View all my reviews

Hope everyone is having a great fall!


Beth said...

Libby, I didn't realize you had #3! Congratulations!!

Libby said...

Thanks, Beth! Lydia arrived on August 2nd.