Friday, September 13, 2013

Mini-Review Catch Up

Sorry for the blog silence!  I blame it on a combination of factors: vacation, writer's block, and too much to do, too little time.  Let me try to kick it back into gear with some mini-reviews:

I reread Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan basically on a whim, because it had been a long time since I last read it. It's a lovely story about two children who anxiously await the arrival of their father's mail-order bride: will she like them? will she stay? I recommend this award-winner -- and it's short enough to read in one sitting.

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder is a Newbery Honor book that I don't think I read as a child, but I would have enjoyed it then. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it now! A diverse group of friends in a busy urban neighborhood create their own secret world of imagination in a vacant lot. I loved the interactions between the kids -- some parts of the plot felt a little dated, but the way the characters felt and related to each other is still fresh.
I also picked up the sequel, The Gypsy Game. Though not quite as excellent as the original, I still found it worth reading. It lacked the imaginative elements that made the first novel stand out, but the characters were still well written.

 Dog Friday by Hilary McKay is one of this author's earlier efforts, and it doesn't quite have the depth of her more recent works. After being bitten by a dog, Robin discovers that he is afraid of dogs -- even the pathetic creature known as Old Blanket who belongs to the eccentric family who move in next door. When he finds an even more pitiable specimen of canine life on the beach one day, however, he begins to rediscover his love for dogs -- but will he be able to keep this dog, or does it have an owner out there looking for it? I'm a sucker for both dog stories and McKay's writing, even her early writing, so this was a winner in my book. And the scene where Beany serves dinner to the bed and breakfast clients is the funniest thing I've read in some time!

 I picked up another Newbery Honor that I didn't read as a child: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg. Elizabeth is a lonely only child until she meets Jennifer, who claims to be a witch. This is a great story of a quirky friendship, and I really enjoyed it.

That's all for now -- I have several more books waiting to be reviewed, but I think I have more to say about most of them that what I've posted here.

(Reviewed from copies borrowed through my library system.)

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