Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lost and Found

Lost and Found
A heartwarming tale about a kid who wants to help and the penguin who needs him. Jeffers' tale is clearly set in the not too distant future, Antarctica has been reduced to an island easily circumnavigated by a child without a jacket.
It was cute, and the four year old book critic immediately called for it to be reread.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias

Redolent with decadent color and brimming with enthusiasm for salvias, The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias is sure to kindle your passion for this beautiful plant, and to ignite your creativity in garden planning. Drawing from his extensive knowledge of the different varieties of salvias, John Wittlesey has pulled together easy to understand lists to help any gardener find the salvia that best suits her need, whether she prefers a salvia with dramatic foliage, such as Salvia officialis Icterina, or one best suited to cutting- like Salvia sclarea. Looking for something to fill in and add texture to a rock garden, this book will steer you in the right way. Need a fragrant but sturdy groundcover? Whittlesey has something for you as well. The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias even has something for those who are tired of purple.

Detailed plant identification information and an explanation of their place in the world of pollination makes for an informative book, rather than just a pretty one. Of course, the most useful part is probably the section picturing each cultivar of salvia and explaining its type, habit, size, hardiness, origin, and landscape use. Of course, if you live in the cold northern expanses, you might have a moment's jealousy when you see the gorgeous cultivars that thrive in zone 10b. That said, I think I am going to try to incorporate some Salvia caespitosa into my garden this year. Not only is it beautiful, but it's suited to zone 5, and I have been planning a rock garden for a while now.

All in all, it is a beautiful, easy to follow, instructive book that incidentally has a lot of coffee-table value as well.

For more of my gardening book reviews, check out Paisley & Pretties.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Change the World Before Bedtime

Change the World Before Bedtime
Most kids want to be heroes, and this book gives them practical ways to achieve that goal. Written in sing-song rhyme, Change the World Before Bedtime, a collaboration between Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good, inspires kids, no matter how little, to do the things they can to improve the world around them. A positive and encouraging story, Change the World Before Bedtime promotes stewardship, manners, and civic engagement. I liked nearly everything about it except the font, which could have been a touch larger for reading upside down to a group of kids, and could have had a touch more whimsy to better match the marvelous and endearing illustrations- but don't let that stop you from reading it. You'll be glad you did, and so will your kids.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Little Moose Who Could Not Sleep- A Maynard Moose Tale, by Willy Chaflin & James Stimson

The Little Moose Who Could Not Sleep - A Maynard Moose Tale

When your young ones are full of sleepy, but bedtime rolls around and instead of sleeping, they think big thinks that keep them awake, this is precisely the bedtime tale you need. Full of whimsical and colorful pictures and a storytelling vernacular that pulls the reader into the tale, The Little Moose Who Could Not Sleep is both endearing and engaging. I enjoyed the folksy language and the imaginative characterization of the Little Moose, but most dearly, I love the bit about Mother Moose making the universe out of thin air.
The Little Moose Who Could Not Sleep packs a lot to think about into forty pages.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

RATGIRL: Song of the Viper

Krause's dystopian tale delves into the heart of what people will do to survive, and how far from the life they want they are willing to go in order to provide for the people they love. All in all, I liked it. I liked
the way she created characters who were despicable in the same ways that the despicable people we've all met would be if put in power or under strain, and I liked that she took the types of good people who are everywhere, and had them reacting realistically within the tight prison of poverty, fear, and darkness resulting from the corruption of the local government as well as the threat of the sun. These aren't heroes who can't be touched by minor irritations like chapped lips- they're real, they're hungry, and they're going to survive.

You can read my full review on We Do Write.