Elementary, She Read

elementary she read

Elementary, She Read
A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #1

Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her great uncle Arthur’s Emporium. The shop—located at 222 Baker Street—specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

“The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good. Vicki Delany’s outstanding series debut is sure to charm the most discerning fan of the great fictional detective.”

What an enjoyable book to read! It was a fast paced read with some good twists and turns. I liked the setting – a bookstore with an adjoining tea room and a pretty New England town. My dislikes are minor – the history between Gemma and the handsome detective confused me at first. I thought that there was a previous book with the two of them in it but once I was satisfied I was only reading history, I wasn’t confused any more (I guess that’s really more of a like than a dislike – so well written was their background story!) I also didn’t like (at first) the fact that the only cat in the series, Moriarty, loved everyone else except for Gemma, whom he thoroughly hated. Then as I thought about it, I realized that Moriarty (the character) would never like to Sherlock Holmes, so it stands to reason that the cat Moriarty wouldn’t like Gemma, the Sherlock-like human. So, that’s also more of a like – another example of fine writing! (I also didn’t like the character of the female detective, but she was very well written to be mean and that’s good!)

As in all the cozies we’ve read, the violence takes place off stage – which we like – and the gory details are left to an absolute minimum. The mystery was good and although my initial suspicions about the murder were correct, I wasn’t absolutely sure until the big reveal. I will be reading the next book in this series.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a cozy atmosphere in which to learn more about the fans of Sherlock Holmes!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue

 

And Tango Makes Three

and tango makes three

And Tango Makes Three

Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Illustrated by Henry Cole
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005

From the dust jacket, “In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango’s family is not like any of the others.”

This is a true story of 2 male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who became a couple and built a nest for an egg that never came. One of the zookeepers placed an extra fertilized egg in the boy penguin’s empty nest and they each took turns to sit on it and eventually, a female chick, Tango, was hatched.

The penguins in the story are so sweet – they’re like any other animal couple – playing, sleeping and eating together; and, most of all, their inborn desire to have a chick. When I was reading it, my heart hurt a little when Roy and Silo built their little nest and tried to hatch a rock – which of course, didn’t hatch. Thank goodness for attentive zookeepers who care for their charges and want to provide the best for them.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for cuteness of the penguins, of course, but more importantly, for the honesty and forthrightness with which the story is told. No apologies or excuses, here. Just the facts, ‘mam, just the facts. Two boys can make a family!!

If you want to read about the multiple times this book has been challenged and banned, please scroll past the adorable illustrations!

 

 

 

You can imagine why this book is banned and challenged… The ALA reports that And Tango Makes Three was the most frequently challenged book from 2006 to 2010, except for 2009 when it was the second most frequently challenged…and thank you to the ALA for the following information.

2014 –
• One of three books about gay couples withdrawn from libraries in Singapore (2014), where gay sex is illegal. In a statement, the National Library Board suggested that gayness and family values are incompatible. And that copies of the book would be pulped. It was announced later that authorities in Singapore reversed their decision and stopped the national library from destroying the children’s books, after its decision in July produced a public outcry over literary censorship. Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim ordered that the books be moved to the adult section, where parents can borrow them for their children.
• Frequently challenged in the U.S. for the following reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, as well as “promotes the homosexual agenda”

2011 –
• Pulled from the Gibbs Elementary School in Rochester, Minn. (2011) as inappropriate for elementary school students and removed from school library shelves. This decision was later reversed as a mistake for failing to follow district policy. Eventually, a “temporary resolution” was reached requiring that one of the parents who challenged the book be present when their child checks out books from the school media center in the future.

2009 –
• Challenged, but retained in the North Kansas City, Mo. schools despite a parent’s concern that the book wasn’t age-appropriate, didn’t follow the district’s policy on human sexuality education, and tries to indoctrinate children about homosexuality. In subsequent discussions, the schools appear to be headed towards segregating elementary school libraries according to “age appropriateness.” Students might be restricted to view or check out materials in their own age-class or younger.

2008 –
• Returned to the general circulation shelves in the 16 elementary school libraries in Loudoun County, Va. despite a complaint about its subject matter.
• Withdrawn from two Bristol, England, U.K., primary schools following objections from parents who claimed the book was unsuitable for children and that they had not been consulted on their opinions.
• Challenged, but retained at the Eli Pinney Elementary School in Dublin, Ohio despite a parent’s concerns that the book “is based on one of those subjects that is best left to be discovered by students at another time or in another place.”
• Challenged in the elementary school library in Ankeny, Iowa by parents who do not want their children to read the story of two male penguin parents in the Central Park Zoo due to concerns that it promotes homosexuality. On Dec. 15, 2008, the Ankeny school board members voted six to one to keep the book.
• Retained in the Chico, Calif. Unified School District, over complaints that the book is inappropriate for elementary school students. The district review committee determined that the book meets library selection standards and district policy.
• Retained by the Calvert County Library in Prince Frederick, MD after requests that the book be removed from the children’s section and shelved in a labeled alternative section.
• Retained in the Meadowview Elementary School in Farmington, Minn. despite a parent’s concern that “a topic such as sexual preference does not belong in a library where it can be obtained by young elementary students.”

2007 –
• Challenged at the Lodi, Calif. Public Library by a resident deriding what she called its “homosexual story line that has been sugarcoated with cute penguins.”

2006 –
• Moved from the children’s fiction section to children’s nonfiction at 2 Rolling Hill’s Consolidated Library’s branches in Savannah and St. Joseph, Mo after parents complained of its homosexual undertones.
• Challenged at the Shiloh, Ill Elementary School library. A committee of school employees and a parent suggested the book be moved to a separate shelf, requiring parent permission before checkout. The school’s superintendent, however, rejected the proposal and the book remained on the library shelf.
• Pulled from 4 elementary school libraries in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC area after a few parents and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James questioned the controversial but true story. The books were returned after the local paper questioned the ban. It should be noted that there was no formal request for the book’s removal.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack, North Carolina Division Chief and Banned Books Librarian

Julia Child Rules

julia child rules

Julia Child Rules
Lessons on Savoring Life

Karen Karbo
Illustrations by Mark Steele
skirt!, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, 2013

From the dust jacket: “…Julia Child Rules dissects the life of the sunny, unpretentious chef, author, cooking show star, and bon vivant, with an eye towards learning how we, too, can savor life.

“…{the author} takes us for a spin through Julia’s life: from her idyllic childhood in California to her confusing young adulthood in New York, her years working for the OSS in Sri Lanka, her world-class love affairs with Paris and Paul Child, and her decades as America’s beloved French chef. {The author} weaves in her own personal experiences and stops for import life lessons along the way: how to live by your whims, make the world your oyster, live happily married, work hard, and enjoy a life of full immersion. It celebrates Julia’s indomitable spirit and irrepressible joy, giving readers a taste of what it means to master the art of living.”

Julia Child was an amazing woman and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her life. The author wrote about Julia in a way one might write to a friend about another friend. It is friendly, warm and funny and far from one of those staid, traditional, (and some may say, dry) biographies. It is inspirational and thought provoking, especially with the ‘Rules’ with which the book was tied together. Some of my favorites were: “Rule 1: Live with Abandon; Rule #3: Learn to be Amused; Rule #4: Obey Your Whims; Rule #6: To Be Happy, Work Hard; Rule #7: Solve the Problem in Front of You.” All good rules for any one follow, but the main overall thought is to accept who you are and be that person. Julia knew she would never win any beauty contest but she accepted that fact and was happy and successful anyway. She lived every moment of her life until she lived no more. Her life had just as many valleys and peaks as any of us has, yet she accepted the moments, both good and awful, for what they were and then moved on, still excited about the next step.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for providing inspiration to get out of bed each morning and throw myself fully into my life, savoring it all.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack, North Carolina Division Chief and Banned Books Librarian

Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Cat

three more stories

 

Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Cat

Sara Swan Miller
Illustrated by True Kelley
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002

From the dust jacket, “Here kitty, kitty! Would you like to hear a story? Here is your chance to cozy up with your cat and treat her to three new stories written just for felines. If your cat likes to wake up early—very early—then she’ll think this book is the cat’s meow. She will also like to hear about some interesting birthday presents and funny white stuff she can play in. Here is a funny book to savor with or without your favorite cat!

“Sara Swan Miller and True Kelly, author and illustrator of Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat, have again joined forces to create three new and hilarious adventures that will have readers everywhere happily purring. So do your cat a favor and read her this book. Just remember to pet your pet while you read!”

Three MORE stories??!! I haven’t even read the first ones! Anyway, speaking as a cat who reads books to other cats – it was very funny!! While the birthday present one and the white fluffy stuff (snow) one were both funny – the waking up early one was the funniest by far! It reminded me so much of what Toby goes through with mom almost every morning! I rolled on the floor laughing it was so funny. The author must know cats very well to write something so true to feline nature.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for laugh out loud funny stories that you’d better read to your cats!!!

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue

 

 

Sever

sever

Sever
The Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 3

Lauren Destefano
Simon & Schuster, 2013

From the dust jacket: “After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

“Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for the future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

“In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren Destefano’s Chemical Garden Trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.”

When I finished the first book of this trilogy I hoped against hope that the intensity with which the author wrote would be maintained throughout the series. I hoped, but doubted as I had been let down by so many authors before (J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Angie Sage & Jasper Fforde being notable exceptions) never fulfilling the promise of a good story. Well, I can add author Lauren Destefano to the list of notable exceptions – this series of books was heart-pounding, exciting, depressing and wrung-me-dry of uncried tears all the way to the last page of the third book.

I am unable to reveal any of the painfully exquisite details of Sever – the slightest hint would ruin it – but suffice it to say, this series was one of the best I’ve read in a long while and will stay with me for a long time after. And although I can’t see myself rereading it any time soon (the emotional rollercoaster I went on with the characters just about wore me out), I’m keeping the books just in case. This was the perfect ending to Rhine’s story and the trilogy as well. Love, love, love these books.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws only because I’m not sure I’ll reread them, but the Trilogy gets 5 out of 5 paws!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc

BobbieSue