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:
YOUNGEST: Open This Little Book – Jesse Klaumeier/Suzy Lee
This is a kid’s book that definitely improves with multiple readings. My first take was “meh”, but reading it again yielded details unseen and not appreciated before which added to the experience. The first thing you notice once you open the book is that the actual physical pages get smaller and smaller as the story progresses – the bigger the characters are on those pages, the smaller the actual size of the pages – which makes things rather fun. How does a giant open her tiny book with her huge hands? With lots of color and rhythm, this story has lovely detailed drawings to draw the little book reader in and the varying page size helps to keep it interesting. Not too much of a story, but it’s just right for little fidgets. Overall, a fun read for all involved.
MIDDLE: The Girls’ Book of Glamour – A Guide to Being a Goddess – Sally Jeffrie
A handbook designed to teach young girls and tweens how to be “glamorous” – be prepared to have your kitchen cabinets raided as this book details how to make your own soap and lotion using everyday ingredients. It also covers other areas such as how to walk in high heels (I can’t do that!), how to host a spa party with friends, and how to make sure your skin looks great. This is not a book focused on self-esteem or the importance of school, but it might help a young self-conscious person feel a little more confident in the world of elementary and middle school. (Warning: This book encourages (very light) make-up. Just FYI.) This would be ideal if you have a child who is *dying* to play with make-up and all that jazz. The one weakness to this book is that it’s not particularly multi-cultural, but quite a few of the ideas would work with any young person. A fun and light-hearted read for curious minds.
ADULT: Tangles – Sarah Leavitt
Subtitled: A Story About Alzheimer’s, my Mother and Me, this is a poignant graphic novel (sort of serious comic book and not for kids) about one family’s journey into becoming the caregiver for their mother. A person who was very independent, smart and who “loved ferociously”, this chronicle invites the reader to experience some of the family’s thoughts and feelings as Alzheimer’s affects the health of their mum. This is not the easiest reading experience, but it is very well done and effectively portrays how the disease took their mother’s bright personality away and replaced her with an unpredictable stranger who happened to look like their mum. This is sad, but it handles a real-life situation with grace and class without giving the impression of a perfect family (because who is?) After reading this book, I really feel for families who have to care for someone with this disease. A poignant and powerful read.