Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to take time to reflect on why I feel thankful.  Sure life has had its ups and downs but, in the scheme of things, I know I'm more fortunate than many other women at this stage of life, and for that I'm grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving Readers
(just some of the reason we are thankful)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Peppa Pig and the Day at the Museum

Candlewick Press

Peppa Pig is and her family are pretty darn cute. In this latest story Peppa and brother George are very excited about their first museum visit, even though they have no idea what to expect.  Peppa's all excited about the King and Queen room - fancy jewels and pretty gowns. George is anxious to see the dinosaur room (even though he's a little nervous), because Mummy and Daddy are there to reassure him. They even get to see a space exhibit, a pretend space ship, and try what a moon walk might be like. There's even a snack bar which ranks high on dad's list of favorites for this outing.

This is an adorable book that Peppa fans, as well as Peppa "newbies" will love.  The colorful illustrations will be a hit with young children and, the dust jacket even includes a coloring poster on the inside.

5/5 stars
(sent by publisher)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - A Newport Christmas Wedding; Shelley Noble

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where I share the first paragraph sometimes two from a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. 

William Morrow-2015


" MERI CALDER-HOLLIS SOON to be Meri Calder-Hollis Corrigan, stood on an antique wooden washtub in the middle of her grandmother's living room.  The tub had seen many incarnations.  First as the receptacle for Saturday wash days, then as a bed for several litters of puppies, kittens, and once a wounded fox.

For several summers it held geraniums by the front door, ice for the church picnic, and even borrowed for a photo shoot for a brochure of one of the mansions Meri was restoring at the time.  Today it was covered with a white sheet and served as a platform for the hemming of her wedding dress."

What do you think -- keep reading or pass? 
(Feel free to join in this week by posting your intro below?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Little Snowplow; Lora Koehler and Jake Parker

The Little Snowplow; Lora Koehler and Jake Parker (illustrator)
Candlewick Press - 2015

In this cute story a small blue snow plow has to prove his capabilities when he sets out to work with the Mighty Mountain Road Crew.

To prepare the "little uno plow" gives himself a workout before the first big snow fall. He does fall clean ups and moves heavy concrete to prove to the bigger trucks he can handle a big blizzard.

In the spirit of "The Little Engine That Could", persistence pays off for the little blue snow plow.

The illustrations are terrific and there are plenty of trucks and visuals to entertain little ones. The snow plow has eyes for headlights and the grill for a mouth. Kids should enjoy this one.

4/5 stars
(sent by publisher)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wildflower; Drew Barrymore

Wildflower; Drew Barrymore
Penguin Audio - Dutton - 2015

I fell in love with Drew Barrymore when she was just 7 years old.  My own daughter is Drew's age and I remember sitting with both kids in the theater watching E.T when they were little. Over the years I read about her childhood struggles, her unconventional parents and her movie successes, so I was anxious to read her new book, which she says -- isn't really a memoir. 

The book is a series of short stories that follows no particular chronological format. Drew talks about her hippie parents - never married, neither of which were capable of parenting. Her mother would take her to Studio 5 instead of to school. She states that what her parents did give her was a "blueprint of what not to do with her own kids one day".  She does speak fondly of her grandfather John Barrymore though.

When left to fend for herself too frequently she became a wild child and when her mother didn't know how to handle the situation she institutionalized her in a psych-based facility for a year.  When Drew was released at the age of 14 she petitioned the court to emancipate herself and the court allowed it. At 14, Drew got her own apartment, a job in a coffeehouse and dropped out of school.

Drew shares stories of her younger days, her professional life, exploring religion in India, skydiving, her visits to Africa and her sponsoring a child with AIDS, and how the experience made her realize she felt ready for motherhood.  She shares stories about how she met her husband Will and how welcoming and loving his family was, and how for the first time in her life she felt she was truly part of a family. She claims that she "hit the in-law jackpot".  Drew and her husband have two little girls, Frankie and Olive.

Because of the lack of a structured format this book never felt like a traditional memoir.  er story is clearly tempered and written knowing that her daughters will read this book down the road.  It's clear that all of the challenges that Drew faced as a child made her more resilient and gave her a "never give up" attitude.  I loved reading about her love of animals and her experiences with her own pets, as well as her experiences and love of motherhood.  The stories feel genuine and heartfelt.  So happy I listened to this one - narrated by the author herself.

(4/5 stars)
(audio sent by publisher)