Each month, I write a book review column for a local magazine here in town. In collaboration with (and with permission from) the publisher, I am adding the column to my blog as I thought it might be a fun feature. So – here you go:
What happens when your older brother tells you that you’re too little to play with him? If you’re Ladybug Girl, you go off and create your own fun! The small girl in this story is sad and mad when her parents are too busy to play and her brother won’t. In despair, she looks at all her toys, declares she is bored but then wanders around and makes her own fun. She also learns that she is not too little to make her world a bit better (helped by her dog Bingo). Charming illustrations help to tell the story and give hope to neglected younger brothers and sisters.
Matilda – Roald Dahl
Written in a similar vein (and by the same author) as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this fun novel is full of rather naughty people getting their come-uppance (both the kids and the adults). The heroine is young Matilda, a very clever young girl and almost a prodigy in reading and math skills. However, despite this, her parents are not supportive of her academic efforts, and so there are lots of adventures involved with Matilda outwitting the various adults and kids in her life who are mean to her. She attends a local school with a tyrant headmistress and a lovely classroom teacher who both provide a balance of good and bad in Matilda’s young school life. This is a super-good book to encourage kids that it’s ok to be academically clever (even if it does make you the odd one out for a while). It’s also about a girl realizing she doesn’t have to accept the limits by others (which I believe is an important message). This story works well for both boys and girls, and was an enjoyable quick read. (There is also a movie out based on this novel, but haven’t seen it so not sure of its quality. As always, I suggest that you read the book first.)
Subtitled “How We See Ourselves”, this book is part of an ongoing series of photographic essays focused on women of all backgrounds from across the country. Illustrated by a series of really good photographs of the various subjects taken by professional female photographers, every woman featured is unique: working or not working, parent or not, and from all over the place. This is a great graphic reminder that whoever you are is perfectly OK, and that American women (and indeed people all over) come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and colors. A nice coffee table book to browse in spare moments, and good to leave around for “teachable” moments with daughters, sons etc.