Each month, I write a book review column for a local magazine here in town. In collaboration with (and with permission from) the publisher, thought it might be fun to read here. So – here you go:
A sweet how-to-go-to-bed-nicely book using friendly baby dinosaurs to show the way. As the book asks “how do dinosaurs go to bed?”, the pictures show different kinds of dinos doing exactly the wrong thing when their parents say it’s bed-time: crying, pouting, running around and general misbehavior at the end of the day. But then the book asks “Do dinosaurs do that?” when the answer is a hearty NO. Most dinosaurs go to sleep quickly and quietly without a big fuss. A calmly rhyming story with lots to look at in each picture. And then – nicely hidden in each picture somewhere is the real name of each dinosaur which adds another fun aspect to the experience. One of my favorite go-to-bed books and good for all small dinosaur fans.
This title covers some of life as it was for kids of all ages who grew up on farms in the Midwest and Texas at the turn of the twentieth century. The history of this region is so rich, and I think it’s important for West Texas kids to have an understanding of how life was for the pioneers and for those who followed. Using excerpts from diaries and letters from kids around the 1900’s, the author clearly shows the ups and downs of farm life before electricity, machinery and other inventions were commonplace. It’s not all work – there is time for play, but families are dependent upon kids for their labor, so there is always work for them to do. Discussion questions and a glossary are included at the end for further study, and a visit to the National Ranching Heritage Center would be a great way to complement this read and bring it to life.
American chef Julia Child has co-written her autobiography in this book, and even if you’re not that big into Food (with a capital “F”), this is an interesting take on ex-pat life in France. Aside from the cooking history, Child is one of the most optimistic happy authors that I have ever read (backed up by a quick internet search of her 1960’s cooking shows which are sweet and hilarious at the same time). She starts from scratch learning about expert cooking at the prestigious Cordon Blue cooking school in France, and is the only female in her class. She makes mistakes, learns from them and then, in collaboration with two French cooking experts, ends up writing the book that introduced 1960’s America to French cooking. A quick and fun read about a hilarious woman who just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer with what she wanted to do with her life-long passion. Bon Appétit!
So there you go. More next month! Happy reading.