Sunday, July 23, 2017

Picture Book Review: Horton Hatches the Egg, Dr. Seuss

This is classic Seuss.  In this story we see Horton the elephant again.  He is hatching an egg because the lazy bird Mayzie doesn't not want to sit her egg.  Horton's statement is classic, and can teach us all a lesson.  "I meant what I said, And I said what I meant....An elephant's faithful One hundred per cent!  So Horton endures.  He endures rain storms, snow storms, friends who tease him, hunters who capture him, being shipped across the ocean, being in a circus and on display all over the world, boredom, and being uncomfortable; yet he sits the egg, which hatches as an elephant bird.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Movie Review: Les Miserables (1998)

This is a fascinating version of Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean.  This version is not a musical.  Geoffrey Rush portrays Javert, and makes an interesting contrast; strength against finesse.  However Valjean proves he is a changed man, when he exposes himself to save a man he didn't know.  Cosette is also well done as played by Claire Danes.  It is interesting the way Valjean confesses his past to her.  Fantine is portrayed by Uma Thurman, and the scenes where she is hallucinating of her daughter, and passing away are very nice.  Peter Vaughn portrays the bishop who sets Valjean on a righteous path.  This story is very poignant, and this version does it justice.

Book Review: Disney: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

Disney Beauty and the Beast: Los in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly, Disney Press, Los Angeles, 2017.

Here is a book that takes a more detailed look at Belle's love for books, and much like a Jane Austen book, explores how a love for books; when it becomes fanatical, can have negative consequences.  In this case, death is vying for Belle, and does this with the help of a book.  In this book, the characters are alive; however they are not what they seem to be.  However, Belle discovers this too late, but how can she ever get back to the Beast.  This story takes place after the wolf attack and before the ballroom dance.  
The new movie, and the old, are so magical, there is not much that could live up to that.  This book does not quite have the same magic but is enjoyable.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Review: Roald Dahl's George's Marvelous Medicine

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Puffin Books, New York, 1981.
This book should come with some warnings.  You usually don't play with chemicals such as these, and get away with any kind of a positive result.  Even if you want to get even with your cantankerous grandmother.  This book is about a medicine which makes things grow, but cannot be duplicated.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Book Review: Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders

Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders  by Brandon Mull, Alladin, New York, 2014.
This is the first in a five part series.  Many of Cole's school friends are kidnapped.  Cole doesn't really understand what is happening, but he follows them, in an effort to rescue them, and becomes a prisoner, kidnapped like the rest.  They are in a new kingdom, where slavery is condoned.  Before he knows what is happening, he ends up at a place on the edge, where life expectancy is not very long, working as a sky raider, salvaging things from cloud castles in the sky.  This is dangerous work; but his life only gets more dangerous when he runs away with Mira, a princess in disguise, who is wanted by the king.
Mull pulls it off again.  There are likable characters in this world, and the imaginative components are incredible.  We have magical ropes and flying swords, and building things with your mind.  Great stuff.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Picture Book: The Berenstains' B Book

The Berenstains' B Book, A bright and Early Book, Stanley and Janice Berenstain, Random House, New York, 1971.  This is a progressive story told with B words.  It is quite ingenious and has a surprise ending.  I rather enjoy this  book.  I had a co-worker who had each page made into a poster size picture, and he enjoyed displaying it in his office.  It is no wonder.  This book is good, and the artwork matches the Berenstain's feeling.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review: The End: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The End by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Harper Collins, New York, 2006.
I finished this series a few weeks back, but always have a hard time with finishing a series when I have enjoyed the characters so much.  In this case the characters are the Baudelaire orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny; and also Count Olaf.  These four go to the end of the book.  Olaf releases the deadly spores of the Medusoid Mycelium, and refuses to take the antidote apple until it is too late.  He succumbs.  The orphans only discovered the antidote by reading the history their parents had written.  The orphans try of also save Kit Snicket who is in labor.  Again the deadly spores over come her, but not before they are able to help her deliver a healthy baby.  In this way, the story marks the end of one adventure, and the beginning of another.  The orphans are thrust into the parenting role rather quickly.
I have enjoyed the characters immensely, but was disappointed with so many questions still being left unanswered, particularly with regards to the Quagmire triplets.  We find out the went to confront some strange beast, but that is the last we know of them.