Bird-watching is NOT boring! Is a hawk swooping down to gobble a mouse boring? Of course not. And how about crows getting into your neighbor’s garbage? Also not boring . . . Those birds are really smart! (OK, you should probably go shoo them away. . . .)
If you’re looking for an outdoor activity to entertain youngsters with this summer, you’re going to want to pick up Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate. This great book is a guide to bird watching for kids eight and up. Cate makes it clear that she’s no expert, she just really loves birds, and it shows in this beautiful little book. She starts out by explaining what you need to watch birds and lists Bird-Watching Do’s and Don’t's, starting with “Do only go to places you know are safe.”
With fun illustrations and conversational tone, Cate encourages her readers to get out and explore nature and sketch what they see. She says,
Try to sketch while keeping your eyes on the bird as much as you can. This takes practice, but it’s so worth doing. Don’t worry about how “good” your picture is – - the act of drawing is valuable no matter what the results look like, because when we draw, we look extra, extra hard, and that helps us focus our attention.
Cate goes on to explore different aspects of birds like colors, shapes, bills, feet, etc. She even mentions migration and habitats. She emphasizes giving birds space while watching their activities and listening to their calls and suggests using field guides to identify species. Cate packs a lot into this 51 page book that is sure to inspire many youngsters! I loved Look Up! and think it’s the perfect book for a budding artist, a budding ornithologist, or any child who enjoys the outdoors!
For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.
Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
Bond enforcement agent Stephanie Plum and her sidekick, Lula, are trying to bring in Geoffrey Cubbin, who’s accused of embezzling millions from a local assisted living facility. As usual, things don’t go their way and Stephanie needs rent money so she agrees to help Ranger out as he tries to discover who’s after the members of his old Army unit.
Notorious Nineteen is Janet Evanovich‘s latest book in her Stephanie Plum series. If you’re familiar with the series, it’s more of the same – cars are blown up, Stephanie’s apartment is broken into, and Stephanie can’t decide between two hot men. I enjoyed the book but am getting rather frustrated that Stephanie isn’t getting any better at apprehending skips and that both Ranger and Morelli would tolerate Stephanie stringing them along for so long. Even with my frustrations, reading this book was a fun way to spend a few hours. I don’t think I laughed out loud with this book but I did chuckle a time or two and smiled quite a bit.
I listened to the audio version of Notorious Nineteen. It’s narrated by Lorelei King and she does a great job voicing all the characters. I enjoyed her narration but have to admit that some of her voices weren’t what I’d been hearing in my head as I read the other books in the series. The audio is on 5 CDs and last approximately 6 hours.
My friend Julie sent me this book. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
Kate Vaughn has been in love with Jack from the time she was thirteen years old yet somehow has trouble committing to him. He decides he can’t wait for her any longer and moves on. Kate pays him one last visit just before his marriage to another woman and, a few months later, she discovers she’s pregnant and single. As much as it hurts her, she decides the best thing to do for baby “Luna” is to put her up for adoption.
On the surface, it appears that Kate has moved on with her life – she’s the owner of a successful boutique and she has a great boyfriend. When it appears that he wants her to make a commitment, Kate realizes she has to make peace with her past in order to have a future.
And Then I Found You, by Patti Callahan Henry, sounded like an emotional read that was right up my alley and while I did enjoy it, I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped to. Inspired by a true story from Callahan’s own family, the book is full of heart and emotion but it didn’t stir me the way I thought it would. I found the story to be sweet and predictable and thought the writing was fine but the character development felt uneven to me so I had a lot of trouble relating to, or empathizing with Kate or Jack.
The story alternates been 2010 and the past and is told from Kate’s point of view. It’s set in Bluffton, SC and Birmingham, AL, both places I know, so I enjoyed the settings very much. Most people have enjoyed And Then I Found You more than I did – to see what others thought, check out the links on She Reads. Watch for a giveaway of this title coming soon!
Review copy provided by Wunderkind PR. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative! If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!
So far this week, I haven’t encountered any new words in my reading so I’m relying on my Word-a-Day calendar today.
1. esemplastic – “The prison walls of self had closed entirely around him; he was walled completely by the esemplastic power of his imagination . . .” – - – Thomes Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel
Esemplastic is an adjective that means shaping or having the power to shape disparate things into a unified whole.
2. vinaceous – “The bird can be identified by the vinaceous tint of its head and throat.”
Vinaceous is an adjective that means of the color of red wine. I think I’ll be able to remember this one!
3. embonpoint – “Aunt Marielle’s embonpoint was a direct result of her attraction to sugary desserts.”
Embonpoint is a noun that means plumpness of person: stoutness.
Ever since the publication of The Kite Runner ten years ago, I’ve heard a lot about Khaled Hosseini‘s writing, but somehow have never made the time or the effort to read any of his work and I’m not really sure why. When I was recently offered the opportunity to read his latest book, And the Mountains Echoed, I didn’t hesitate to grab it, and I’m so glad I did. I will definitely be making the time to read Hosseini’s other work after reading this masterpiece.
I’m not going to summarize this book because I went into it knowing nothing and I really think that’s the best way to experience it. I would hate to spoil anything for anyone who has yet to read this marvelous book. Suffice it to say it’s a story of family, love, faith, honor, and sacrifice. It shows how one decision can alter the lives of so many and how guilt can surround you. Hosseini’s writing is gorgeous and immerses the reader in the story – once you pick And the Mountains Echoed up, you won’t want to put it down. I loved this book so much and have been urging everyone I know to read it. It will definitely be one of my favorites of the year – it’s a must read that you’ll want to pick up as soon as you can!
Review copy provided by Penguin Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and hosted by Abi of 4 the LOVE of BOOKS this month. I’m at the beach celebrating Mother’s Day with my mother and sister. We’ll do so much chatting, I won’t get much reading done, but that’s okay by me. Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox last week:
- Awaken by Meg Cabot came from Scholastic
- What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe came from W. W. Norton
- The Original 1982 by Lori Carson came from Harper Collins
- All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue came from Harper Collins
- Love Rehab by Jo Piazza came from Open Road Media
- Madd Addam by Margaret Atwood came from Random House
- The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe came from the author
- A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen came from Penguin
Did you find any goodies in your mailbox last week?
With an all-star cast and a funny premise, The Big Wedding sounded like a must see summer movie. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t live up to its promise. Don and Ellie’s adopted son, Alex, is getting married and his birth mother is making the trip from Colombia for the ceremony. She’s very religious and doesn’t know that Don and Ellie are divorced, so Alex asks them to pretend like they’re married for the weekend. Mayhem ensues but things work out in the end.
I thought this movie would be funny but it really wasn’t. Even though Don and Ellie’s children were all successful, the family was dysfunctional with a capital D. The family doesn’t communicate well and everyone from the parents on down is selfish and immature, so scenes that had the potential to be funny ended up being rather sad instead. The Big Wedding was a miss for both my friend and me – if it looks interesting to you, I’d recommend renting it.