Lubbock Home and Family Book Review for July 2013

LHF_logoEach month, I write a book review column for a local magazine here in town. In collaboration with (and with permission from) the publisher, I thought it might be fun to read here. So – here you go:

YOUNGEST:

all-the-water-in-the-worldAll the Water in the World – George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson

A book with large abstract illustrations full of color, this shows the younger readers about the world’s water cycle: how it works, where water comes from (and goes to), and why it’s important to save it. Taken from a story-telling perspective (more than strictly scientific), this is a gentle and thoughtful book to read with kids as they learn about our precious natural resources in a semi-arid location like Lubbock.  (Also very useful to explain natural cycles such as the drought we have had in recent summers to younger readers and help to understand why we need to be careful about water use.)

MIDDLE:

National Geographic: Angry Birds – Mel WhiteAngry-Birds-Book

A clever tie-in with the popular computer game of Angry Birds, this NatGeo book is a collection of real “bad-tempered” birds from all over the world. From the parrot that lives in the snowy mountains of New Zealand to the rude coot, this is an ideal way to introduce middle readers to the huge world of birds, both big and small. Great photography clearly shows different bird species being annoyed, testy or furious and is an effective (and sneaky) way to teach reluctant readers about 50 species of rather clever birds doing what they do best – being their normal slightly grumpy selves. This was a really fun read. (There is also a NatGeo Angry Birds book about space – “accidental” learning at its best!)

ADULT:

School-of-Essential-IngredientsThe School of Essential Ingredients – Erica Bauermeister

This is a fun and fast read that focuses on a small group of adult students attending a casual cooking class at a local neighborhood restaurant. Characters are introduced one chapter at a time, so the reader gets to know their back story and how they ended up at that particular class, so the narrative is woven together to get a complete picture of the group by the end of the book. This format works really well in this case. The one thing not so good about this book is that it tended to be over-written in how the author describes food, but if you ignore these occasional lapses, it’s a well told story. If you’re a fan of Laura Esquival’s Like Water for Chocolate or perhaps Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, you’ll enjoy this (although this has fewer elements of magical realism in it). Plus there’s a sequel to this volume coming out soon. One warning: there is a high chance that this book will make you hungry. 🙂

Note: Bauermeister is also a co-author of a great reference book for women writers if you’re curious in off-the-beaten-path books: 500 Great Books by Women.

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