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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Yearly archive for 2019.

I love the beautiful, cool-toned artwork in this book -- the mixed-media pictures, the blues and greens and collections of complementary colors decorating plumage -- Birds is lovely.

The beginning part of the book contrasts different kinds of birds -- some migrate, others stay home; some are large, others are small, etc. The second half is a simple celebration of the joy of listening to bird songs and watching them fly. 

This book isn't very wordy and doesn't try to be all "educational" about it -- no actual names of birds are mentioned. There's a place for books like that, but I also appreciate the linking of birds with the imagination, and the affirmation that birds bring something important and intangible to our lives.

(In compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received this book for free through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I was not required to write a positive review.)

Scrounged From: LibraryThing giveaway

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Carme Lemniscates
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

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The Cave is a short but amusing book about a little creature whose eyes are visible from outside of its cave. A hungry wolf waits outside, continually asking the creature when it will come out. The book follows a simple formula, but contains enough mystery that children will probably enjoy it, and even adults will likely find it amusing. And it's short enough to keep repetitive readings from becoming tedious.

I enjoyed the illustrations and appreciated that the book didn't try too hard to be deep or funny -- it sticks to its sparse wording and allows a simple tale to develop about the interplay between these two odd characters and one bigger-than-it-seems cave.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

 

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author/Illustrator: Rob Hodgson
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: A bit of peril

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I'm so glad I grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on TV. I have good memories of the characters and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, especially the Bubble Land and Josephine the Short-Necked Giraffe operas. But the show wouldn't have been the same without Fred Rogers himself, something I was reminded of again while watching the excellent documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?.

So I was glad to have a chance to read A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers. There were a few poems in this collection that I remembered as songs from the TV show, enough to sing them instead of read ("You've Got to Do It"), but I'm sure there are others that I simply don't remember the tune for, so most of these poems were new to me. Many of them are affirmations of the dignity, curiosity, and value of all human beings, especially children, as well as the things that make each of us unique. They also manage to use words and ideas that are on the level of young children without sounding babyish or pandering.

In spite of the general attitude of positivity, Mister Rogers was also not afraid to explore fears and anxieties that children might have, most notably "Sometimes I Wonder if I'm a Mistake." The ability to validate negative feelings sets this apart from a lot of sappy, feel-good songs and poetry written for children. 

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Fred Rogers
Pages: 128
Content Advisory: None

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The Green Glass Sea is a very interesting idea for a book -- it tells the story of a gradual friendship between two girls who live in Los Alamos -- a place that didn't exist on paper during World War II, because it's where scientists worked on the atomic bomb. Both Suze and Dewey have parents who are working on the "gadget," and both girls are misfits to one degree or another. When they have to live together, they begin to learn to appreciate each other's strengths. 

Aside from the friendship, this story is filled with details of the period. While some scenes were, I thought, I bit overly detailed and slow, items and places are still very thoroughly described. This novel also contains positive characterizations of a woman scientist and a girl who is an engineering nerd. At the very least, this has piqued my interest for Los Alamos and what it must have been like to live there as a kid. While the story doesn't go into detail about the ethical issues surrounding the atomic bomb, that is at least alluded to by the end.

Scrounged From: PaperbackSwap.com

Format: Paperback
Author: Ellen Klages
Pages: 324
Content Advisory: A few "minor" swear words, a couple scenes of bullying, and a parental death is described (not graphic)

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I'm so glad Kevin Henkes has taken to writing about the seasons, and I hope he does all of them. Winter Is Here is a poetic exploration of the sights and feelings of winter -- from the way the snow covers the outside world to the many different articles of clothing that a child must put on before going out to play. Gentle text works well for young children, and the bright illustrations bring colors and definition even to descriptions of white snow and transparent ice.

Of course, the best part of this book is that it ends with spring!

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Kevin Henkes
Illustrator: Laura Dronzek
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

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