One-Minute Book Reviews

April 3, 2009

A Good Warm-Weather Activity for Young Children

Filed under: How to,Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 4:21 pm
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Maybe it’s because the sultry days of summer don’t feel as far away as they did a few weeks ago. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t forgotten how our family’s adored German shepherd mauled the sheet cake at my Sweet Sixteen party with a lunge toward the dining-room table.

Whatever the reason, I love this idea for warm-weather fun from Steve and Ruth Bennett’s 365 Outdoor Activities You Can Do With Your Child (Adams Media, 1993), which might especially appeal to an apartment-dwelling preschooler who can’t have a dog:

Let your child create an “invisible dog.” Tie piece of rope or string (with a loop at the end for the imaginary dog’s head) to a handle made of cardboard or another sturdy material. Then “walk around with the invisible dog, talk to it like a real dog, and try to teach it to speak (your child can bark for the dog in an attempt at ventriloquism), sit up, shake hands, roll over, and (this requires extra imagination) fetch,” the Bennetts suggest. Alternately, they say, you or the child could hold the leash while others try to guess what trick the dog has performed.

If you like this idea, head for your library, eBay or another good source of older books. If your library doesn’t have 365 Outdoor Activities You Can Do With Your Child, you can ask the staff to get it for you on an interlibrary loan. Or go to an online or retail bookseller and pick up the Bennetts’ 365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child (Adams Media, 2002), which is just as good but easier to find. Among the many books of activities for children, but the Bennetts’ stand out for their abundance of easy, no- or low-cost activities that don’t involve television or other electronic devices.

For more ideas for free summer fun with children ages 3 and up, see the review on this site on June 20, 2008 www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

December 10, 2008

Late Night With Jan Harayda — Dewey Is Not Marley

Filed under: Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:47 am
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My library wouldn’t let me take out the story of Dewey the Library Cat today because I owe $38 in fines. I was willing to pay the fines, but the library refused to take my money. A staff member said I have to bring my overdue books back first. Apparently I am the literary equivalent of a drunk who has had so many accidents, she can’t get bail until she goes into rehab.

I read bits and pieces of the book before my privileges got cut off, and here is my opinion of Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (Grand Central, 288 pp., $19.99), the No. 1 bestseller by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter. Dewey is not Marley, because Vicki Myron is not John Grogan. Not close. And Marley was a bad, bad dog. Dewey was a good, good cat that, as a kitten, got dropped into a metal after-hours book-deposit slot at a library in Iowa on a freezing winter night.

Dewey a sweet memoir by the librarian who found him the next day with frostbite, and I might give it to a couple of people for Christmas. But I had the feeling that after 50 pages or so, you’d wish this cat would show a little of Marley’s spirit and start destroying priceless first editions of The Son Also Rises. What would the visitors to Dewey’s Facebook page think of that idea www.facebook.com/pages/Dewey/34303826286?

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

October 11, 2008

‘Katie Loves the Kittens’ – A Picture Book for Children Who Have Been Scolded for Being Too Affectionate With a Pet or New Sibling

Filed under: Children's Books — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:06 am
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I haven’t seen John Himmelman’s new picture book, Katie Loves the Kittens (Holt, 30 pp., $16.95). But Meghan Cox Gurdon, who is usually right about these things, said in the Wall Street Journal: “On the face of it, this delightful story for children ages 3–8 tells how a small, exuberant dog named Katie must learn to curb her boisterousness in order to earn the trust of three kittens who have just arrived in her household. Subtly, it also works as a parable for any child who has ever been scolded for being too bouncily affectionate with a pet or newborn sibling.” Read Gurdon’s review at online.wsj.com/article/SB122307253831303537.html and about Himmelman at us.macmillan.com/author/johnhimmelman.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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