Monthly Archives: June 2013

Author of the Month for July!

I had so much fun focusing on reading the works of one author for the month of June, that I decided to do it again for the month of July!

I am so glad you joined me last month as I reviewed some of the wonderful books by the two-time Newberry Medalist Katherine Paterson, and I hope you will join me as I review some of the wonderful books by one of my personal favorites when it comes to children’s books: Tomie dePaola.

I have loved the short, captivating tales and simple, beautiful artwork of Tomie dePaola as long as I can remember. I have many favorites, and I look forward to sharing some of what I consider his best books!

 

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Review of “Bridge to Terabithia”

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Bridge to Terabithia was written in 1977 by Katherine Paterson, and dedicated to her son, David, following the death of his childhood best friend, Lisa Hill.

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While I had viewed the terrific film based on the book, I had never actually read the book. Since for the month of June I was focusing on reading and reviewing some of Katherine Paterson’s best books, I felt it was high time to correct that!

“He had to be the fastest– not one of the fastest or next to the fastest, but the fastest. The very best.”

The story is centered around a fifth grade boy, Jess Aaron, and his relationships with his family, schoolmates, and best friend, Leslie Burke.

“It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.”

Throughout the story, we see that Jess is not only a very lonely boy– stuck right in the middle of his four sisters and having no friends at school– but also feels discouraged and unloved at home.

In his art, he creates his own dreams, keeping them all to himself. Until he is befriended by Leslie, the new girl next door, and Miss Edmunds, his music teacher.

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Overall, I found Bridge to Terabithia to be a sweet, beautiful story that handles delicately the matter of childhood death.

I also came away from the book wanting to be the kind of friend that Leslie Burke was. I want to so impact the lives of those around me, so that when our paths part, I changed their life in some small way. Really, I think that is part of the message of this book– be the friend who encourages, who is loyal, who is a real, true friend.

While not a perfect book, I definitely think it is worth reading, and would highly recommend. I would give the Bridge to Terabithia an “A”.

Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

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The Great Gilly Hopkins… Coming Soon!

I am very excited to share with you that the book from last week’s review, The Great Gilly Hopkinsby Katherine Paterson, is being made into a film!

According to reports, it is in pre-production, with a targeted release sometime in 2014. It is supposed to star Kathy Bates of Fried Green Tomatoes fame as Maime Trotter.

I cannot wait to see who takes the role of the Great Galadriel herself!

 

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Review of “The Great Gilly Hopkins”

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The second book of Katherine Paterson’s that I am reviewing this month is her Newberry Medal-winning, 1978 novel, The Great Gilly Hopkins. 

The novel introduces us to, and follows the story of, eleven-year-old Galadriel Hopkins, better known as Gilly. Unfortunately, Gilly is not only a foster child, but one with a reputation for being a bit unruly, thus leading to her unstable life, being bounced from one foster home and school to another. 

When the social worker turned her attention back to the traffic, Gilly carefully spread the gum under the handle of the left-hand door as a sticky surprise for the next person.”

The above quote gives quite the insight into the main character, Gilly. Always on the lookout for ways to one-up authority, get her own way, and con someone, Gilly feels she has to take care of herself, because no one has ever been there to take care of her, to really love her.

Why did it have to be so hard? Other kids could be with their mothers  all the time.”

The book really gave me insight into what it was like to grow up the product of a broken home. To grow up shifting from one home to another. To not have a mother’s unconditional love. To not have a shoulder to cry on. I really appreciated the way I was able to contrast my growing up years with those of young Gilly, to see how much I have taken for granted all my life. 

“All that stuff about happy endings is lies. The only ending in this world is death.”

Overall, I found The Great Gilly Hopkins to be a wonderful, eye-opening book. A word of caution to parents, however– there is a fair amount of cursing in the book, especially for a child of ten or twelve, including taking the Lord’s Name in vain. However, for a mature reader, I believe it could be a very helpful read. I would give the book a “B”.

Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

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Review of “The Light of the World”

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Best known for her book, The Bridge to Terabithia, two-time Newberry Medalist Katherine Paterson has written several marvelous books, so I have decided to spend the month of June reviewing some of her books. This week I am beginning with one of her more recent titles, The Light of the World, a beautiful retelling of the life of Christ for children.

“This is the story of light coming in to the world.”

While the book is half story, half pictures, it is a lovely addition to any library, especially if you have children in your home! The story is full, giving a broad scope of the life of Christ, without being overwhelming for story time.

Katherine Paterson’s gift of storytelling is abundantly clear as she succinctly whittles down the Biblical account for little people! Pair that with Francois Roca’s absolutely gorgeous illustrations, and it is a masterpiece.

“This was the work that Jesus had been born for- to make the lame walk, to make the blind see, and to preach to the poor and friendless the good news of God’s loving kingdom.”

I appreciated many things about the book, one of which was the introduction, which gave insight from both Creation and Isaiah’s lifetime on the importance of light, and how Christ is that light.

There were, however, two points that I saw which could be problematic, and which parents should be aware of.

First, the book does not quote directly from Scripture, but is rather retold and paraphrased by the author. Thus it reads as if Jesus said, but is actually Paterson’s paraphrase.

Second, in the retelling of the Last Supper, Paterson’s story refers to the bread and wine as being “like my body” and “like my blood” whereas in Mark 14, when Christ instituted the Eucharist, he said, “this is my body” and “this is my blood”.

“The light still shines through everyone, who like Jesus, lives the good news of God’s loving Kingdom.”

Overall, I found The Light of the World to be both a beautiful and wonderful book, and look forward to reading it again many times. I would give the book an “A”.

Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

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