Review / Birdie’s Bargain

20211218ma_4059Book: Birdie’s Bargain (2021)
Author: Katherine Paterson
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Opening lines from the book …
It wasn’t until the volunteers from the Lions Club had left and they stood in the empty apartment looking at nothing that Birdie realized her bicycle was gone. The sofa, the kitchen table and chairs, all the beds—even the TV—had been carried to the truck. Daddy had finished stuffing the trunk of the Subaru and the tiny U-Haul trailer with all the boxes and baby furniture when she thought of it.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Birdie is such an introspective girl. I love how we get right into her worries for her daddy who is being shipped out overseas (he’s in the Army).

2) Birdie’s grandmother is just the right amount of grown-up for this story. She’s involved in Birdie’s life, but also encourages her to go out and make friends in her new home. There’s also Mr. Goldberg, the teacher. Like the grandmother, he’s there as a grown-up influence, yet he’s not a helicopter-type who ruins the kid’s agency in the story.

3) And then we come to Alicia Marie. Oh boy, what a character! She’s one of those characters that you can’t stand. She’s so bossy toward Birdie, and yet there’s something about her that makes you feel sorry for her.

4) Finally, there’s Daddy. We don’t really get to meet him too much as a character. But we do get to know him quite well through Birdie’s memories and thoughts.

5) I love when books reference other books. This one talks about Charlotte’s Web and Anne Frank’s Diary and Because of Winn Dixie. I love how it all affects Birdie’s experience.

THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…

1) If you’re looking for a book that wraps everything up neatly with a bow, Katherine Paterson isn’t your author. There were a few things, especially about Alicia Marie, that I wanted to know more about. It wasn’t anything horribly wrong with the book, but I would have liked a tiny bit of closure there.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am so thankful for another book by Katherine Paterson! She is such a thought-provoking author. And I really enjoyed this one…

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Review / The Children’s Blizzard, 1888

20211218ma_4061Book: The Children’s Blizzard, 1888 (2018)
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: MG, Historical Fiction
Series: I Survived


Opening lines from the book …
A deadly blizzard raged across the prairie, and eleven-year-old John Hale was trapped in a frozen nightmare. The wind screamed in his ears as he staggered through the blinding snow. His whole body was numb.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) That opening is pretty exciting! The first chapter (which feels like a prologue) drops us right in the middle of things. Of course, the second chapter will take us back a few months to let us get to know the characters before letting us know what happens next.

2) I liked the story about the boys hunting King Rattler. As the newcomer to the prairie, John feels outside the friendship circle. But then they invite him along. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a good thing, but I’m glad it was the start of their friendship.

3) There’s some nice foreshadowing going on when John thinks he’s lost his sister Frannie in the long grass at the beginning of the story. I like how that comes into play during the blizzard later on.

4) I love the story trope of the strict teacher that the kids don’t quite understand but learn to trust. This teacher is sort of like that.  

5) This book reminded me so much of The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I later found out that this was a different blizzard (her book was set in 1880-1 rather than 1888).

THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…

1) At the end of the book, the author has a list of other books about blizzards, etc. And the one book that is missing is The Long Winter. While the blizzard years are different, they do both take place in Dakota Territory. And that book is arguably one of the BEST of the Little House books, and even was given a Newbery Honor book. In fact, I had to go to the internet to find this info out. It’s like talking about the best fantasy books and forgetting to mention The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is the first book I’ve read from the I Survived series. They’re short and quick to read. It had a lot of exciting parts and I’m glad to see historical fiction that isn’t a time-travel book!

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #13 / Spring is in the Air

20210313ma_0690“Signs of Spring” / Theme: Spring is in the Air

A little about this photo…

One thing I look forward to every year are the little signs of spring. One of my favourite signs are the little green bits that start popping up through the dirt. And these are some of the clear winners …

Snowdrops. (I love how that name evokes both winter and spring at the same time!)

 


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #12 / True Beauty

20210313ma_0666“Snow-Covered Falls” / Theme: True Beauty

A little about this photo…

Niagara Falls is beautiful any time of the year, but there’s something special about the Falls in the winter. All those icy and snow-covered rocks. It’s like somebody took icing sugar and sifted it over top of everything. ⁠

And yes, I know it’s the first day of Spring!


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #11 / Fun Fact

20210310xs_0016“A Lot of Keys” / Theme: Fun Fact

A little about this photo…

Spent part of my week trying to figure out what these keys actually open. Took a picture of said keys. Went online to find out interesting things on the topic of keys. Ended up finding out a few fun facts about, you guessed it … keys!

Did you know?

1) Viking women used keys as a status symbol. When a Viking woman was married, she became the keeper of the family keys. Apparently, many of these women actually “wore” their status proudly by sewing the keys onto their dresses. For everybody to see!

2) Both Catherine the Great (of Russia) and Louis XVI (of France) loved locks. Louis had his own forge in at Versailles and made locks to use on furniture (like small chests). Catherine, on the other hand, so loved intricate locks that she would often give them as gifts. Ah, the prerogative of royalty.

3) Harry Houdini was apprenticed to a locksmith. He soon learned how to pick any lock, which became rather handy to him in his later career as an escape artist.


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #10 / Quiet

20210115ma_0112“The Stacks” / Theme: Quiet

A little about this photo…

Shh! No talking in the library! I actually love the quiet atmosphere of the library. Just people sitting with books, quietly turning pages. Ah…

I’m not completely against any talking, but I’d rather you talk softly. (Of course, it’s a different story with reading hour. But that’s always confined to the children’s section. And I’m happy to see little kids excited about books!)


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #8 / This Side of Things

20210219xs_0007“Snow Grass” / Theme: This Side of Things

A little about this photo…

I had to wade out in the snow to get this shot. I liked the look of the dried grass poking out of a fresh layer of snow. On one side, the grass. The other side, the snowy path into the woods. There’s something so enticing to my eye when it comes to “dead grass” in winter. Maybe it’s the nice clean lines against the white snow. 


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #7 / Comfort

20210213ma_0295“Tea Time” / Theme: Comfort

A little about this photo…

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a cup of tea. And add some scones. Mmm!

I made a batch of scones to deliver to a friend yesterday. And surprise, surprise! She had something for me as well. (We were both baking. The one in the photo is her gift to me!) Of course, when I got home, I had to do a photoshoot with such delicious fare. I got out my Blue Willow tea set and voila!

Happy Valentine’s Weekend!


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek

Photo Challenge #6 / Footprints

20210129ma_0224“Footprints in the Snow” / Theme: Footprints

A little about this photo…

Out on our walk, we came upon these footprints in the snow. What I want to know is… What kind of animal made those prints? I’m guessing something with a tail. Perhaps an opossum. A big opossum, judging by the size of the feet! (Considering that I battled opossums this past summer over my cabbages, this is a likely option. Note: The opossums won in the cabbage war, by the way.)

Do you have any guesses?


THIS 2021 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Please join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2021picoftheweek