Monday, June 6, 2011

Mini Book Reviews

My TBR pile has been collecting dust. Of course, here in NM, dust is not necessarily indicative of time passing, but in this case I have had some of these books an embarrassingly long time without writing a review of them. Not fair to the authors or publishers who so kindly sent them to me for review, so I am going to highlight a few fiction titles together today in an attempt to catch up. Please don't take my procrastination as reflecting in any way on the quality of the books, and stay tuned for some nonfiction reviews tomorrow.

Shoes for Me
by Sue Fliess
Marshall Cavendish
Review copy from publisher
This is one of those books you instantly want to schedule for a story time. The short, snappy rhymes and attractive illustrations make it a natural read-aloud, whether for a child on your lap or a group sitting in front of you. Children will enjoy bits such as
"Fuzzy, furry -
shoes that quack?
I'm no duck.
Please put those back."

while parents will smile as they recognize the upturned nose and crossed arms greeting Mom's attempts to get a decision made. Looking forward to sharing this with S., who doesn't mind being butt-naked as long as she has shoes on - preferably someone else's!

by Jamie Lee Curtis
Review copy from publisher
Books by celebrities. Book stores like them because they sell, sometimes based solely on name recognition. Reviewers and librarians hate them for the same reason. Some celebrities turn out to be good authors after all - Julie Andrews Edwards comes to mind. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. But most of them...yeah. Madonna? Please stop now.

USUALLY, Curtis's books fall into the latter category. They are the type of overly-sentimental, preachy books that many parents eat with a spoon, and kids couldn't care less about. (Can we say that we hated "Is There Really a Human Race?" without getting bashed?) This one, cute. Without being cutesy. It is over-the-top in the things the child says his/her Mommy can do, but in an appealing way. The language doesn't seem as forced as in some of her previous books. This is one I will read with C. and S. (because, of course, I can do all those things, too), and may have to add to my Mother's Day story time at the library. Here's hoping this is indicative of Curtis working on improving her writing, rather than coasting as some well-published authors seem to do.

Okay, that was an odd review. Basically: If you like Curtis's other books, you will love this one. If you didn't like Curtis's other books, ignore the author's name and pick this one up anyway.
Freddy! King of Flurb
by Peter Hannan
Review copy from publisher

Freddy's just a normal kid . . . with an out-of-this-world life!
Freddy, his sister, Babette, and their parents have been abducted by aliens! Next stop, the planet Flurb, where things couldn't be more different from their ordinary life on Earth. On Flurb, they snack on yootleturds, the buildings are alive, and the aliens make Freddy King!
But his reign won't last long if the evil Wizbad has anything to say about it . . . or Babette! Her brother as king? No way!
Okay, after reading that Hannan is also the creator of the CatDog series, I get it. No, I don't get CatDog, or SpongeBob, or any of the similarly stupid cartoons out there, but I get what group this series is written for. This is a tricky thing for reviewers: we don't have to personally like a book to give it a good review. We can recognize quality writing or interesting character development even if we aren't in the intended audience.
Unfortunately, this has...erm...well, neither of those. It kind of reminds me of writing assignments I got from my elementary school students, with the spelling and grammar cleaned up. Jumpy plot, stereotyped characters, 'funny' lines that aren't even worth a groan. BUT...I just described half the TV shows kids seem to enjoy these days, so if you are looking for a way to lure them from TV to books, these may be perfect. The second in the series is already out, and pretrty cheap to pick up in paperback - or even cheaper at your local library:)
(I don't know what happened with the indents there, and have given up trying to fix it.)

No comments:

Post a Comment