Monday, August 08, 2016

MMGM- Let Your Voice Be Heard

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.






25897714Silvey, Anita. Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete SeegerAugust 2nd 2016 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

This well-illustrated biography, we learn about Seeger's unconventional upbringing with educated parents, his musical career, and his interest in social justice. Difficult topics, like his parents' divorce, his investigation by the Un-American Activities Committee, and his marriage to Japanese-American Toshi Ota in 1943, at the height of World War II, are all covered fairly. The musical influences from which Seeger took his inspiration, as well as the musicians he inspired, represent such a wide range of performers that this is a fantastic book to have in a middle school library, and could be very useful in History Day projects. This was a well-researched and very complete book on an important figure in US history, but is also fun to read. 

My only complaint is that the book ended rather abruptly. While Seeger was most active before the 1970s, he did continue to perform and become involved in politics. The book mentions that, but condenses the last 40 years of his life into very few pages. This was at odds with the pacing of the rest of the book, and left me dissatisfied. While I love the cover illustration, Seeger was so iconic (at every stage of his life!) that it's a tiny bit of a shame that a photo isn't on the cover. 

29056083Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
July 31st 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Purchased copy for Picky Reader!

Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley's children, James and Albus, are both off to Hogwarts. Albus is a somewhat awkward lad, and he's afraid that he will be assigned to Slytherin, which would be a bad thing, given his father's background. On the train, he happens to meet one nice boy, but he turns out to be Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Draco. He does get sorted into Slytherin, but it's not that bad. What is bad, however, is being the son of Harry Potter. He fights constantly with his father, is frequently in trouble in school, and takes refuge in his friendship with Scorpius, which of course his father forbids. When Albus overhears that the Ministry of Magic has a Time Turner, and the father of Cedric Diggory (along with his niece and nurse, Delphi) wants to use this to get his son back, Albus decides to run away from school, use Polyjuice potion to impersonate Harry, steal the Time Turner, and bring back Cedric. Of course, things go badly wrong, but through this experience Albus learns things about himself, his father, and the real fate of Voldemort. 
Strengths: According to my daughter, this is everything that she could want. The words "Rowling Canon" actually came out of her mouth. She was pleased at the interplay between the past and the present, and there were some twists that she expected and was glad to see. Certainly, a must purchase for any library that has Harry Potter. 
Weaknesses: Reading a script is always difficult for me, and there are lots of gaps due to the play format. The marvelous details and writing are not in this story because Rowling didn't write it. I can't think of another series where the author had an idea and instead of another book coming out, a play was produced. Also, I didn't like Albus. He was a brat. There's a lot of talk in blog reviews about Harry's difficult child hood making it hard for him to parent, etc., but Albus was just a prat. I did like Scorpius, though, and Draco came off looking much more sympathetic than one would have imagined. 
What I really think: At some point, you just have to finish up any story and let it go. I'm sure that my daughter would read anything that ever came out about Harry Potter, but like Naylor's Now I'll Tell You Everything, sometimes it's best to leave things to the imagination. Now that we know there is a nursing home for wizards, do we really need a story where Albus puts Harry there? 

16 comments:

Alex Baugh said...

Kudos for reading this newest book in the HP series. As much as I enjoyed the original books, I just couldn't work up the interest to read this one, no matter how many discount offers Barnes and Noble sent me. But I can understand Picky Reader's interest, my Kiddo feels the same way about these books. I'm also just not a fan of reading scripts and I was perfectly content with the ending of the last book, (well, except for the Hermione marrying Ron Weasley mistake).

Greg Pattridge said...

I'll probably skip the newest Potter book unless J.K. decides to write this other person's script into a novel. Saying that, if I get the chance I'd go see the play.

Michael G-G said...

Like Alex and Greg, I have little interest in the new HP script. (But glad your daughter was enthused.)

Linda B said...

My husband and I took our 'then' children to see Pete Seeger long ago & he was a joy to see. I'm sorry that the book isn't longer, too, because he did do many things in his long career. I never finished the HP series, but know my daughter-in-law will read this newest addition to the story. I laughed with your nursing home comment, too much information from Rowling?

thechroniclesofachildrensbookwriter said...

I was intrigued by the Seeger bio. I think there's a picture book bio coming out next year about him as well.

Jane @ raincitylibrarian.wordpress.com said...

UGH I found the marketing for this so frustrating - it was promoted everywhere as the new Harry Potter book, when it's not a book at all. I've had more than a few disappointed kiddies come in who were expecting another Harry Potter novel, and can't wrap their heads around the play format. I have no problems with them bringing out a play, but I wish they hadn't promoted it as "the eighth Harry Potter book", it was unfortunate misleading advertising.

Jenni Enzor said...

The first book sounds really intriguing. There's not enough interesting biographies at musicians. I haven't read the Harry Potter script. I don't enjoy reading plays much, and it sounds like it doesn't add much to the "canon."

Ricki Ginsberg at Unleashing Readers said...

I think I will be reading about The Cursed Child for several weeks. I wish I loved Rowling as much as everyone else did. I haven't read any reviews until yours (and Kellee's comments), so it is interesting to me. Thanks for sharing!

Jana Eschner said...

I just ordered the Pete Seeger book from my library; looks like a good book to share with students. I don't know why, but I'm feeling ambivalent towards the Harry Potter book. I know it's hugely popular and my students will probably want it; but for now, I've resisted it. I very nearly bought it at Kroger the other day and then stopped. I'll come around one of these days!

Chris Margocs said...

I almost picked up the Pete Seeger book at our librarians' meeting today for review...but a continuation of the series of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...was also on the table, so I snatched that one up instead. Interesting review of the Potter book; it will be on our shelves this fall for the fans in my school!

Cheriee Weichel said...

I am not a Harry Potter fan, although I am happy to see so many readers reading him. It is particularly strange to see all the hype around me and not be one iota interested. Sigh. Now the Pete Seeger book I want to read!

Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) said...

I loved the new HP story. It was more Scorpius's story than anything, and I loved the look at identity. But I know many people don't feel the same way as me :)

Happy reading this week!

Rosi said...

I actually met Pete Seeger many years ago. Interesting fellow. I will have to check that book out. I haven't read the Harry Potter books (I know, I know. I'm weird that way.) so I don't have much interest in the new book. The last line of your post had me laughing out loud. Thanks!

Carrie Gelson said...

My daughter made off with our copy of this HP title. Eventually, I will try and read it but not currently in the mood with so many other fantastic titles out there.

Iron Guy Carl said...

I got to see Pete Seeger with Arlo Gurthrie back in the '80's and it was a marvelous concert, as you could imagine. And I have always liked how you shoot straight with your reviews. Yes, some stories are complete and should just be left alone after the end. Could you imagine how depressing it would have been if Tolkien had written a sequel to LOTR?

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

So happy to read your candid thoughts about the new Harry Potter novel - I promised myself that I will read it in the coming weeks!!!

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