Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MOVIE - Only the Brave

My Halloween Night movie, haven't missed one in 15 years!
PG-13 
Wide release 10/20/17
Viewed 10/31/17 at Carlisle 8
IMBd:  8.1/10
RT Critic:  90  Audience:   93
Critic's Consensus:  Only the Brave's impressive veteran cast and affecting fact-based story add up to a no-frills drama that's just as stolidly powerful as the real-life heroes it honors.
Cag:  5/ Story was so well done, acting was superb, and nothing was nicey-nicey cleaned up
Directed by Joseph Kosinki
Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connely, Jeff Bridges

My comments:  What a powerful, well done movie, a lovely tribute to the Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, Arizona. It would be a terrible shock to go to the movie without having a clue about the ending and even then, of course, it's hard to conceive.  What brave, honorable, hard-working men.  Men with families, senses of humor, dedication.  The actors that portrayed them did a wonderful job.  I've been to and through Prescott (Press-kit) many, many times; the first one with Steve and the kids when we left Jerome and twisted around and around the mountains, not knowing where we'd end up.  It was Prescott.  The last time I was there was almost exactly two years ago, on my way home for a letterboxing event in Lake Havasu.  I remember I woke up to snow and hightailed it back to Tucson without looking for a single letterbox!
     How, I wonder, did they film the forest fire scenes?  It looks like it was filmed in and around Santa Fe.  The ferocious flames were unbelievable, and made what happens so, so real and terrifying.  Incredible movie-making.  So hard to rate this film!



RT/ IMDb Summary:   Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. As most of us run from danger, they run toward it--they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.

Monday, October 30, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
2015, Millbrook Press, Minneapolis
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.29 - 769 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  collage of flattened plastic bags
Setting:  Contemporary Njau, Gambia
1st line/s:  "Isatou walks with her chin frozen."

My comments:  Oooo-eeeee, this is my kind of book!  Ite tells how one woman in Gambia, after realizing that stinky, fly-attracting piles of plastic bags were making her village unsightly and unhealthy, came up with a plan to reuse/recycle them.  In the long run, the women of the town have started one heck of a business enterprise!  Illustrations are collaged and are lovely, as is the story.  My last class at THA recycled plastic bags into PLARN and we made a sleeping mat for the homeless shelter.  It took a lot of hard work and almost a full year, but boy were the kids proud!  This is a great introduction to teaching about recycling plastic gabs AND introducing some really cool DIY activities.

Goodreads:  Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.
          The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.
          Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person's actions really can make a difference in our world.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

MOVIE - Menashe

PG (1:21)
Limited release 7/28/27
Viewed 10/26/17 at Carlisle Theater (downtown)
IMBd: 6.4/10
RT Critic:  96  Audience:  64
Critic's Consensus:  Menashe offers an intriguing look at a culture whose unfamiliarity to many viewers will be rendered irrelevant by the story's universally affecting themes and thoughtful approach.
Cag:  2/Okay
Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
A24 Films
Based on a real story, and protagonist is portrayed by the real person on which it's based.

My comments:  I had high expectations for this movie but came out feeling just "meh"  No joy, no joy at all.  A very depressing film.  I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose, because I almost always feel that way after I watch anything about any kind of deeply religious cult. I'm afraid I can't rate this very highly.  Not recommended.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  Deep in the heart of New York's ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe--a kind, hapless grocery store clerk--struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah's death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven's strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah's memorial. It's his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood, and restore respect among his doubters.

Also:  Menashe, a widower, lives and works within the Hasidic community of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Since his wife passed away a year before, he has been trying hard to regain custody of his nine-year-old son, Rieven. But the rabbi (and all the community behind him) will not hear of it unless he re-marries, which Menashe does not want, his first marriage having been very unhappy. Father and son get on well together, but can Menashe take care of Rieven properly? Not really for all his goodwill as he holds down a low-paid job as a grocery clerk that consumes too much of his efforts and energy. Always late, always in a hurry, he endeavors to improve himself though. But will his efforts be enough to convince the rabbi that he can be a good father without a wife at home?

64. Untamed by Madeline Dyer

Untamed #1
read on my iPhone
2017, Ineja Press
358 pgs.
YA Dystopian
Finished 10/26/2017
Goodreads rating:  4.05 - 135 ratings
My rating:   1 Blech
Setting: Dystopian otherworld

First line/s:  " ' Your mother's gone.' "

My comments:  I'm so glad I'm finally done with this book.  Repetitious and boring are my first two thought when connecting adjectives to it.  Lousy world building.  No surprises, huge forays into the dream world, it seems like the same scenes were rewritten over and over with slightly different changes or additions.  Not my cuppa tea at all.  Surprised I finished it, actually.  Not at all recommended.

Goodreads synopsis: As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides--because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.
          But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.
          Yet, as one of the most powerful Seers that the Untamed and Enhanced have ever known, Seven quickly discovers that she alone holds the key to the survival of only one race. But things aren’t clear-cut anymore, and with Seven now questioning the very beliefs she was raised on, she knows she has an important choice to make. One that has two very different outcomes.
          Seven must choose wisely whose side she joins, for the War of Humanity is underway, and Death never takes kindly to traitors.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - Grandfather's Christmas Tree by Keith Strand

Illustrated by Thomas Locker
1999, Silver Whistle, Harcourt Brace & Co.
Looks to be out of print
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.06 * 35 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Evergreen with gray fir sprills.
1st line/s:  "My mother and father came to Colorado in May of 1886."

My comments:  Thomas Locker's illustrations drew me this book...and the story, though long-ish for a picture book, is simple.  It tells how a family tradition (placing a hand-carved set of geese into the boughs of their huge outdoor spruce) of this Colorado family began.  It's not about Christmas, or gifts, it's about survival and family love.

Goodreads:  Beginning their life together in the Colorado wilderness, a young rancher and his wife work hard, and joyfully anticipate the birth of their first child. Their many hopes and dreams for their new family are suddenly put in danger when a merciless winter storm hits. The logs in the woodpile quickly dwindle, and soon their only chance for survival is to cut down the lone remaining spruce tree, which provides warmth and shelter to a family of geese--a family not unlike their own. On Christmas Eve the couple prays for a miracle that will protect them and their newborn son. Thomas Locker's glorious paintings and Keith Strand's inspiring reverie bring the Christmas spirit to life in this heartwarming story of faith and family.

Monday, October 23, 2017

62. The Painting That Wasn't There by Steve Brezenoff

Field Trip Mysteries #1 (as of Oct. 2017 there are 20 in the series so far)
Illustrated by C. B. Canga
read the book, borrowed from Bosler Library
2010, Stone Arch Books
85 pgs.
First Chapter Books, Mystery
Finished 10/23/17
Goodreads rating:  3.56 - 71 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting: contemporary River City, USA

First line/s:  "My name is James Shoo.  No one calls me that, though.  Everyone calls me Gum instead."

My comments:  Although the protagonists in this book are sixth graders, this is definitely a book for kids who are just starting to read chapter books.  The story and the characters are very simple.  The mystery, although absurd to an adult, would probably be enjoyed by a first or second grader. I would definitely add this to my collection of first chapter books. It's unimportant that the kids are older, they act like any kids - and would totally be embraced by a younger reader. The book has all the elements of a mystery, and would be a good read aloud when introduction the genre to a first or second (or perhaps even third) grade class.

There are several pages after the story that could be very useful in a classroom - including discussion questions and ideas about setting up a mystery notebook for yourself.

Goodreads synopsis: James "Gum" Shoo's art class heads to the museum. They've been learning about forged art, but they never expected to find a fake in the gallery! Only Gum and his gumshoe friends will be able to solve this museum caper.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

63. Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke

Ellie Hatcher #2
listened on Audible
2008, Harper
352 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procecural
Finished 10/22/17
Goodreads rating:  3.76 * 2459 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting: Contemporary NYC

First line/s:  "The man leaned forward on his stool to make room for a big-boned redhead who was reaching for the two glasses of pinot grigio she'd ordered."

My comments:  Once again, Ellie Hatcher, NYPD cop, is after a serial killer - this one targeting young party girls with long blonde hair.  In the first book in the series we're given a glimpse into the world of online dating, this time we're given a glimpse of the late night NYC club scene.  Every once in awhile we're allowed to get into the head of the serial killer without any kind of identification, which makes it really interesting.  I'm not sure why I'm drawn to these gory murder mysteries, but Ellie Hatcher is really smart and astute, her new partner is almost too good to be true - and very likable - and the endless careening around New York City (for this NYC lover) is a really nice plus.  It was read really well, too.

Goodreads synopsis: Acclaimed thriller writer Alafair Burke delves into the underworld of the Manhattan nightclub scene in Angel’s Tip. Burke is the daughter of crime fiction superstar James Lee Burke, creator of Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux, prompting the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to proclaim that “this fast-paced-but-human thriller proves that writing talent is genetic.” A superb crime novel featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher (“a strong female protagonist in the tradition of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski and Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone” —Boston Globe), Angel’s Tip follows Ellie’s investigation into the murder of a young college student, quite possibly by a member of New York’s young moneyed elite, and fans of Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben, and Sue Grafton will most definitely want to trail along.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

MOVIE - Same Kind of Different as Me

RPG-13 (1:59)
Wide release 10/20/17
Viewed around 10/21/2017 
RT Critic: 33   Audience:  87
Critic's Consensus:  
Cag: 3.5
Directed by Michael Carney
Paramount Pictures
Based on a true story

Greg Kinneer, Renee Zellweger

My comments: Stupid, forgettable name for a movie.  Having no clue what this movie was about, I went.  It was probably a good thing I had no clue, because I probably would have never gone if I'd known its premise.  It was OK.  A tearjerker, which I'm not crazy about.  And I felt I had to take a couple of stretches of imagination, "liberal license."  I think what they wanted to say was that the wife, Debbie, had a very strong link to Denver, when the movie made it appear that the stronger link, all along, was the husband, Ron.  It was based on a true story, I'll have to look up if it was from a book or not.  Acting was fine, I don't think I've seen either Greg Kinneer or Renee Zellweger in a movie recently, they've both aged well.  Lots of religion without being preachy.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME is based on the inspiring true story of international art dealer Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear), who befriends a homeless man (Djimon Hounsou) in hopes of saving his struggling marriage to Debbie (RenĂ©e Zellweger), a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives. Jon Voight plays Hall's father, with whom he reconciles thanks to the revelations of his new life. Based on the New York Times bestseller.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day Trippin' to State College

A cold and crisp 37 degrees greeted me this morning as I began my first trip through the mountains to State College.

First stop was Marty's Quilt Shop on the outskirts of Lewistown.  A self-proclaimed "dog lady", her shop is in an old house with lots of Encore Yarns and a little of this and a little of that.  Really, really nice woman.

From there I went to Belleville to Mary Lee's Fabric Shop.  The shop is filled with patterns, samples, and consignment items as well as lots of fabrics including wools and homespuns.  They open at 8 in the morning and have lots of the fabrics that Amish and Mennonite women make their dresses with..  A lovely young Mennonite woman waited on me and told me how to get to State College using back roads.

From here I drove 305 up and around and through the mountains to get to my next stop.  Indeed, this is Amish country.  I passed two different buggies that were painted bright yellow.  Apparently there are three different Amish sects around here, and each paint their buggies in a different way.

A quick stop into Greenwood Furnace State Park - two lovely ladies in the office were talkative and informative.  I bought next year's 2018 State Parks calendar and got my State Parks Passport stamped.  Took a drive through the double loop camping area.  There's only one restroom and I noted the sites that seem the closest - site 38 would probably be the best.  Just a half mile down the road and across the street is a swimming area at the edge of what appears to be a little lake.  Loads and loads of picnic tables there, too.  Very nice.  Also right here is a little dam and spillway.  Looks like there are hiking trails and other things to explore and check out.  Big football game coming up this weekend at State College (vs. Michigan) and the campground is going to be full.

Stitch Your ARt Out is in Pine Grove, near State Collefgwe.  Thes has to be my most favorite store of the year!  Loads of Australian Aboriginal fabrics, lots and lots of projects, knitting - great yarns - and ideas galore.  The own'er name is Cynthia.  I must look and see if there's a class I can take up here.  Block of the month - an aboriginal design -started in Jnuary and is $60.00 for the whole year.  She'll mail, and it's not to late to begin.  She plans to have a workshop in March at the shop to put the quilt together.  Nittany Budget Motel is just down the road.


THE American Philatelic Center is in Bellafonte, just 11 miles up the road from State College.What a wonderful experience!  The building, part of an old match factory,, has been remodeled extensively  They even have a noriginal post office from mid-1800 West Virginia that has been dismantled and put together inside.  It's on permanent loan from the Smithsonian!  It's also a working post office.  Reminds me of the Postal History Museum in Tucson.  The have an exhibit with is A to Z of Stamp History, which was just marvelous.  The library - two floors of philatelic history  - has its own couple of librarians working here full time!  The woman who showed me around and kept checking on me has worked there for 37 years, but I never got her name, foolish me.  She was marvelous.  I loved, loved, loved this stop.  On the way out there were three baskets of old [ostcards, notecards, and first day covers - free for the taking!






Before leaving Bellafonte I found a letterbox in a Little Free Library on the top of a huge hill on South Allegheny.  The hill reminds me of San Francisco - I can't imagine what they do in the winter to traverse it!

I went up the the trailhead of Mount Nitanny in Lemont, where I found a letterbox and a handful of acorns.

I got onto 322/22 all the way to 81.  Decided to catch a movie in Harrisburg, making it a full super-fun day.  I never did get to explore State College.  Another road trip!

MOVIE - Marshall

PG-13 (1:58)
Wide release 10-13-17
Viewed Tuesday evening, 10-17-17 at the Regal Theater in Harrisburg
IMBd:  6.8
T Critic: 87     Audience:  87
Critic's Consensus:  Marshall takes an illuminating, well-acted look at its real-life subject's early career that also delivers as an entertainingly old-fashioned courtroom drama.
Cag:  5/Loved it
Directed by Reginald Hudlin
Open Road Films

Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, James Cromwell

My comments:  What an excellent movie!  I particularly loved all the humor and the growing relationship between Samuel Friedman and Thurgood Marshall.  Perhaps these parts were added with "creative license," in that writing a biopic about something that happened 76 years ago (1941) can't be full of the truth, and this is a movie, after all, not a documentary. The actors, and acting, were superb (although Kate Hudson's portrayal seemed a little off to me). Powerful storytelling about a piece of our history - a LARGE piece - that is shaming and shameful.  There was an older (white) couple sitting behind me in the theater that were cheering and clapping every time something positive happened, or every time someone put an arrogant white person in their place.  They applauded at the end.  That's how I felt, applause is necessary.  Highly recommended.


RT/ IMDb Summary Starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell. Director Reginald Hudlin's Marshall, is based on an early trial in the career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. It follows the young lawyer (Chadwick Boseman) to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) charged with sexual assault and attempted murder of his white socialite employer (Kate Hudson). Muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall partners with a courageous young Jewish lawyer, Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad). Together they mount the defense in an environment of racism and Anti-Semitism. The high profile case and the partnership with Friedman served as a template for Marshall's creation of the NAACP legal defense fund.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

MOVIE - Victoria & Abdul

PG-13 (1:51)
Wide release 10/6/17
Viewed Sunday, 10/15/17 at Gettysburg Majestic with Claudia

IMBd: 6.9/10
RT Critic:  68  Audience:  72
Critic's Consensus:  Critics Consensus: Victoria & Abdul reunites Dame Judi Dench with the role of Queen Victoria -- which is all this period drama needs to overcome its imbalanced narrative.
Cag:  6/Awesome  5/Loved it  4/Liked it a lot  3/Liked it  2/It was okay  1/Didn’t like it
Directed by Stephen Frears
Focus Features
Based at least partly on a true story, which the Brits hid for many years!

Actors:  Judi Dench, Ali Fazal (and Dumbledore plays the Prime Minister of England!)

My comments:  While watching, although I'd heard that this story is based on fact, I wondered how much.  After getting home I did a little research, and was delighted to find that at least some of the story is based on fact.  The humor included, whether real or not, was excellent.  I discovered that Abdul spends over 10 years with Queen Victoria.  I wish the movie had showed this much passage of time more effectively.  Judi Dench ROCKS!  Ali Fazal, who plays Abdul, is apparently a Bollywood star.  He did a really good job with the role, I enjoyed very much watching his expressive face.  One reviewer summed it up pretty well....it's how joy and humanity are combined that makes it.  How much you think is real and how much is fake is up to the beholder.  It's a good movie no matter which it is!  Recommended.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria's (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

Ding-DIng-Ding! A Hundred Books

100 books read and reviewed so far this year.  Granted, only 61 or them are "full length" novels.  39 are picture books.  Yes, I've read oodles more picture books, but I've only reviewed those I really like, really don't like, or fit a category that I'm trying to keep a list of.  Yee-ha!

PICTURE BOOK - Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins

Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
2012, a Schwartz & Wae Book
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.68 - 595 ratings
My rating: 4
Endpapers:  solid pinky beige

1st line/s:   "An empty street.
                    Outside, a mean wind blows.
                    Icicles hang from the windowsills.

My comments:  Another math picture book, and it's cute.  The illustrations, by G. Brian Karas are fun to peruse.  A little girl and her younger brother decide to purchase ingredients, make lemonade (and limeade and lemon-limeade) and sell it outside in the blizzard.  There's all sorts of math having to do with quarters and how they add up, how much they spend, and how much they make.  They even have to come up with marketing and advertising ideas!  Nice for first and second ... and perhaps some third graders, too.


Goodreads:  In a starred review, Publishers Weekly declared this delightful picture book "a beautifully restrained tribute to trust and tenderness shared by siblings; an entrepreneurship how-to that celebrates the thrill of the marketplace without shying away from its cold realities; and a parable about persistence."  
          A lemonade stand in winter? Yes, that's exactly what Pauline and John-John intend to have, selling lemonade and limeade--and also lemon-limeade. With a catchy refrain (Lemon lemon LIME, Lemon LIMEADE! Lemon lemon LIME, Lemon LEMONADE!), plus simple math concepts throughout, here is a read-aloud that's great for storytime and classroom use, and is sure to be a hit among the legions of Jenkins and Karas fans. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

61. I've Lost My Hippopotamus by Jack Prelutsky

illustrated by Jackie Urbanovich
read the book - from Bosler Library
2012 Greenwillow Books
144 pgs.
Kid's Poetry
Discovered and read on 10/10/17
Goodreads rating:  3.89 - 277 ratings
My rating:4

Some of the poems I liked to follow comments, below

My comments:  I was greatly surprised to see this book pass through circulation at the library....I'm very familiar with other Prelutsky books that "look" the same - A Pizza the Size of the Sun, New Kid on the Block, Something Big Has Been Here. - but this was totally a new one to me.  There were lots of poems that take two words (one being an animal) and combining them:  Pelicantaloupes, Crabacus, Asparagoose, and Wiguanas to name a few, where he goes on his usual silly explanations that no one else can get away with.  And there are six haikus!  CAMEL:  I have one large bump,/ Two long, beautiful lashes,/ And a foul temper.  His vocabulary usage, as usual, is superb, introducing what I am sure are many new words to unsuspecting young'uns.  Lots of fun!


Goodreads synopsis: Some of the animals in this book are real. They include:
the hippopotamus (she's missing)
the elephant (he's artistically talented)
the octopus (it's great at multitasking).
          Others may not be quite so real. These include:
the wiguana (very hairy, for a lizard)
the halibutterfly (there's something fishy about it)
the gludu (quite clingy).
          In the tradition of Jack Prelutsky's classic poetry collections The New Kid on the BlockIt's Raining Pigs & Noodles, and A Pizza the Size of the Sun, here is a book packed with more than 100 funny poems and silly pictures. Most of the poems are about animals—some are big and some are small, some have unusual interests, and some are just plain unusual.


A handful of haiku: (!!)

Camel

I have one large hump,
Two long, beautiful lashes,
And a foul temper

Frog

All evening I sing.
Happy on a lily pad,
Celebrating spring.

Mole

Tunnel!  I tunnel!
I never see my tunnels,
Yet they comfort me.

Oyster
I’m clearly no gem,
But in my interior
I’m growing a pearl.

Peacock

I am glorious!
My tail has a thousand eyes
For you to admire.

Zebra

Black white black white black.
I am a striped illustion,
A horse in disguise.

Cupcakes

I’m very fond of cupcakes
And love to eat them up,
But I’ve never found a cupcake
That came inside a cup.

I Played a Game of Golf Today

I played a game of golf today –
I’d never played before.
I wasn’t ery good at it
And won’t play anymore.

I shot a sixty-seven,
Which was surely not my goal.
My score was even higher
When I played the second hole.

I’m Gazing through My Telescope

I’m gazing through my telescope
At something in the skies,
Something I could never see
If I just used my eyes,
Something that’s so far away
I wonder haow the light
Can even reach my telescope
Sop I can see the sight.

Somewhere in the universe,
As distant as can be,
I now extraterrestrials
Are looking back at me.
Of course, I can’t detect them,
And in fact, I have no hope,
If they can see me, the must have
A Better telescope.

A Centipede Was Thirsty

A centipede was thirsty,
But to satisfy its need,
It drank too much for it to hold ---
And so the centipede.

My Pencil Will Not Write

My pencil will not write,
My crayons do not draw,
My lantern cannot light,
My saws refuse to saw.
My toothbrush is too soft,
My football can’t hold air,
My kit won’t stay aloft,
I’ve lost my underwear.

My songbird has no song,
My you-you doesn’t work,
My calendar is wrong,
My clock has gone berserk.
My TV won’t turn on,
My hat falls off my head,
My cat’s meow is gone ---
I’m better off in bed.

My Snake Can Do Arithmetic

My snake can do arithmetic,
My snake is far from dumb,
My snake can take two numbers
And come up with a sum.

She can’t subtract, which makes her sad,
And two things make her sadder . . .
She can’t divide or multiply ---
My snake is just an adder.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - Sona and the Wedding Game by Kashmira Sheth

Illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi
2015, Peachtree, Atlanta
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.62
My rating:4
Endpapers: Pink with intertwined streamers from edge to edge

1st line/s:  "My grandparents and my ousing have come from India for my sister Nisha-ben's wedding."

My comments:  What a delightful way to explore the customs of another culture and religion!  In this charmingly illustrated story of an older sister's wedding, Sona figures out how to steal the groom's shoes to follow tradition, while the reader learns all sorts of interesting information about an Indian wedding.  It's followed by two very readable Author's Notes pages with more explanation.  Recommended.

Goodreads:  Sona's big sister is getting married and she's been given an important job to do. She has to steal the groom's shoes. She's never attended a wedding before, so she's unfamiliar with this Indian tradition as well as many of the other magical experiences that will occur before and during the special event. But with the assistance of her annoying cousin Vshal, Sona finds a way to steal the shoes and get a very special reward.

Friday, October 6, 2017

YA National Book Award 2017

I got looking at the longlist, then the shortlist, of the National Book Award nominees for 2017, and wondered how they correlate with other awards, such as the Printz and maybe even the Newbery AND how they "match up" to what Goodreads readers feel about them.  So, as part of that investigation, I thought I would look at this year's list:

*Shortlisted books are highlighted in yellow.
Goodreads ratings as of 10/6/17 follow each title

Arnold, Elana K.: What Girls Are Made Of (3.77 - 332 ratings)
Benway, Robin:  Far from the Tree (4.48 - 332 ratings
Mabry, Samantha:  All the Wind in the World (3.63 - 84 ratings
Perkins, Mitali:  You Bring the Distant Near (4.26 - 218 ratings)
Reynolds:  Long Way Down (4.60 - 376 ratings)  Free Verse
Sanchez, Erika L.: I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter ((3.92 - 75 ratings)
Snyder, Laurel: Orphan Island (3.82 - 1577 ratings)
Thomas, Angie: The Hate U Give (4.61 - 49,661 ratings)
Williams-Garcia: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground (3.99 - 459 ratings)
Zoboi, Ibi: American Street (4.03 - 2770 ratings)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

MOVIE - Blade Runner 2049

R (2:44)
Wide release 10/6/17
Viewed 10/5/2017
IMBd:  8.4
RT Critic:  87   Audience:  81
Critic's Consensus:  Visually stunning and narratively satisfying, Blade Runner 2049deepens and expands its predecessor's story while standing as an impressive filmmaking achievement in its own right.
Cag: 4.5 (at least)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Warner Brothers Pictures

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford

My comments:  Very impressive movie, though overly long.  There were two scenes with Jared Leno, the second one seemed endless - I'm sure it was to show off his creepiness and it sure was creepy.  Ryan Gosling is an amazing actor.  Period.  It was wonderful to see Harrison Ford reprising his original role 30 years later, but Ryan  Gosling certainly stole the show.  I remember enjoying the first Blade Runner, but I really loved this one.  Creepy and thought provoking and dark, convoluted, strange, and violent - a great package.


RT/ IMDb Summary:  Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.