Tag Archives: bedtime stories
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Big Appetites: tiny people in a world of big food by Christopher Boffoli.
My favorite, and also the most challenging part of the whole Christmas shopping thing is taking my 5.5-year-old out to pick out presents for his mom. It’s funny: he never wanted to go to the perfume counter or look at jewelry; I guess he knows his mother too well. He felt most inspired at the book store. Although I put the kibosh on the book of poetry supposedly written by a cat (it was even worse than you might imagine; this cat is not only not real, but a terrible poet to boot. Think of someone who is not a poet trying to sound poetic. And then filter that through the lens of a cat. You get the idea) his next selection was definitely worth a look.
Perhaps you have the the art of Christopher Boffoli. Microsculptures of all kinds of people doing all kinds of everyday activities placed in an environment of food. The cover depicts a tiny person “mowing” an enormous orange. Suddenly, such a pedestrian task as cutting a green bean becomes as big a job as cutting a fallen tree. Two lumberjacks toil over the bean. A little crawdad become a beast on the loose.Someone must have told the artist to add captions to the pictures, maybe to beef up the size of the book. Personally, I think these take away any open-ended interpretations of the images. I prefer to ignore them and let the pictures speak for themselves. Big Appetites is a funny and easy coffee table book.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Lockwood & Co., book one: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.
Happy Christmas Eve, Everyone! I know that maybe I should be reading heartwarming books of sharing, caring, and snow. But I ain’t. I’m afraid that the last book I read was NOT about Holiday warmth, or family, or gift-giving. It was a young adult novel about scary ghosts and the children who fight them.
London, some time in the future. The Problem first arose a few decades ago. Ghosts began appearing in huge numbers. And unlike the wispy specters of days gone by, these ghosts are dangerous; just a little ectoplasmic caress and you’ve been “ghost touched” which can be fatal. Interestingly, children are more sensitive to these spectral forces; adults cannot see or hear them. So it is children who work as ghost hunters.
The story surrounds Lucy Carlyle, who has joined the team of Anthony Lockwood and George Cubbins. Unlike most teams, they have no adult supervisor which makes them sometimes a little careless but always exciting. When a wealthy iron worker hires them to rid the most haunted house in England of spirits, they are in way over their heads but eager to prove their worth.
Totally scary and very engaging, this is a great read for older kids or childish adult who enjoy a good shiver. It just occurred to me: A Christmas Carol is totally a ghost story and it’s seasonally appropriate, so maybe I’m not totally off-base on this! Merry Christmas!
Post by Mark T. Locker
Prince Caspian: the return to Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is sequel time around here! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was such a resounding success that we thought we would dust off the follow-up, Prince Caspian. Anyone who tries to follow this series sequentially is in for a challenge. The recommended order and the order in which they were written are not the same. I just went for the sequel the movie empire chose to use as the sequel as well. Note the cover says it is “Book 4” Whatever!
Only one Earth-year has passed since Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter tumbled out of the wardrobe and back into England. On their way back to school they feel a distinct tugging and, next thing they know, they are back in Narnia. Only, everything has changed. Hundreds of years have gone by and the Old Narnians, the talking creatures, the centaurs and fauns, are all in hiding, driven nearly to extinction by men. One man, and true heir to the throne, is a sympathizer and an rallies the Old Narnians to take back their land. When they are clearly losing, Caspian blows the magic horn which once belonged to Susan, which will bring help from anywhere.
Guess who that help is? Guess what caused that mysterious tugging? It’s not a bad book though my son wishes there was more dialog. There’s a ton of these books. I’m not sure if we will read them all or not. If anyone out there has suggestions for chapter books for reading aloud, let me know!
Post by Mark T. Locker.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.
Did you know there was a doctor before Dr. Who? That’s right. He was named Dr. Seuss. Perhaps you have heard of him. He recently got lots of coverage for his book Green Eggs and Ham being read on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Well before that day, he wrote this Christmas book which I’ll bet everyone but me read long, long ago. It has been turned into both a live-action and an animated movie. It’s got a soundtrack whose songs appear on occasional Christmas mixes and it is firmly embedded in our culture. Verily, anyone who vocalizes a dislike for the season is promptly labeled either a Scrooge or a Grinch.
I, on the other hand, only read it for the first time last week. My kid has seen the animated movie numerous times, regardless of whether is Christmas or Flag Day or Arbor Day. Who can blame him? There are precious few Flag Day movies for kids. Always interested in raising a well-rounded child, I grabbed the book when I saw it on the shelf. Doubtless all copies will have been snatched up by now. (Yup, 21 holds!)
I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m going to assume the book is better. Full of that holiday redemption that people just eat up this time of year, what better moment than the Grinch’s realization that Christmas isn’t just about getting stuff? (Well, in theory, at least) Watch his heart grow three sizes! Watch him join the Whoville inhabitants for roast beast! Fun for all ages.
Oh No! Not Again! (or How I Built A Time Machine to save History) (or at Least My History Grade) by Mac Barnett.
How’s THAT for a mouthful of a title? Honestly, the plot is hardly less confusing. I rather enjoyed this book and my son did too, though I suspect he missed what was really happening in the story.
The main character (hardly a heroine) is miffed for having gotten one question wrong on her history test. Rather than just accept it, she uses her genius to build a time machine and change the past to fit her answer. The question was about which country has the earliest known cave paintings. Her wrong answer was “Belgium”. So, with a little trial and error—it is a homemade time machine after all—she finds herself in prehistoric Belgium. Armed with paints and brushes, she proceeds to paint a fantastic cave mural, since the inhabitants of the cave seem disinclined to do it themselves. However, while she is busy drawing robots on the cave wall, the cavemen discover her time machine and proceed to bring all manner of people from all points in history back to the prehistoric era.
Needless to say, history becomes a little more changed than she anticipated. One the bright side, she got that one question right on her test! On the other hand, all the rest of her questions were wrong due to her effect on history. Like I said, the finer plot points are lost on my son, but the book is funny and entertaining nevertheless.