Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Variety of Books

Ben M. Baglio's Animal Ark Books are something that I bought a lot of at the thrift store when my children were in about 3rd grade. A Scholastic series, I assumed they were harmless fluff involving animals. Spaniel in a Stocking was bought by the summer intervention program and housed in my library, and I was surprised at how much I liked it. Mandy lives with her parents, veterinarians who run a clinic in England. A huge winter storm is approaching around Christmas time, and Mandy is excited, until it almost stops some animals from getting proper care. I liked especially how the book discussed animal health issues, like not giving chocolate to dogs, spaniels having hip dysplasia, and birds eating things that make them sick. I usually have a number of 6th graders who are interested in animals, and this is great.

Working my way through the entire opus of Fred Bowen, but it's hard because his books are usually all checked out! Picked up The Final Cut, and it is the same nice mixture of problem, sport, and historical fact that the other Bowen books I have read are. Why does his publisher only release them in paperback, though? This is criminal. In this book, four friends who have played basketball together for years find themselves in competition when they try out for the basketball team. I liked the end notes on Michael Jordan, and how he wasn't a great player when he first started.

Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio's What the World Eats was absolutely fascinating. The two visited 25 families in a variety of locations, took photos of them in their kitchen or eating area with a week's worth of food, and also compiled statistics and facts about the country. Every well-to-do US child needs to read this book if they get the least bit whiny. This is a great companion book to Material World, and would be a good book to use in social studies to point out the differences in other countries. I particularly liked how rural China and urban China were both represented. I think there is an adult version of this that includes more countries, and I will be looking for that as well.

Finally, a disappointment and irritation. Ordered Tera Lynn Childs' sequel to Oh. My. Gods., Goddess Boot Camp, because the first was a fun mix of cross country and Greek mythology. I'm about half way through, and I am not joking when I say that I may write to Dutton Books and ask for my money back, because the editing is so poor. This is a huge shame, because I DO like the book but am so distracted by the grammar. Childs and her editor obviously do not understand the verb "to smite", laboring under the mistaken belief that the verb is "to smote", but insist upon using it again and again anyway. Argh! Even my 16 year old knew that the principal parts of the verb were smite, smote, smitten, not smote, smoted, smoted. As she said, "get smoted" just sounds very wrong and should have set off some grammatical bells in someone's head, sending them to something like Curme's English Grammar, just to be sure. Childs and her editor need to be teached something.

Yes, I do realize I am about the only person who will realize this error.


  1. In England the Animal Ark books are by someone called Lucy Daniels..a pseudonym in both cases I imagine, although it's interesting that they felt the need to change the sex.

  2. Thanks for the warning - oh.my.gods was medium popular and I've been debating whether or not I should get the sequel. I've been looking for more sports books too, and I don't think we have any Bowen!

  3. Oooh, what a disappointment about GODDESS BOOT CAMP, seeing as I purchased a hardcover copy and the first was really cute! I used to love Animal Ark, though--and What the World Eats was fascinating, indeed! Loved the photographs--it's one of those books that you want to keep looking at...