Bookworm Burrow

Book reviews on over 125 different books from several different genres. Use the search or categories to see more.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame November 6, 2009

wind in the willowsThe Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was first published in 1908. It is recommended for readers ages 8 and up.

I had an unbelievably hard time getting into this book. Even though it was only about 140 pages it took me months to read. It’s not that it’s a bad story I think it was just written so below my reading level that I had a hard time being interested. However, I think I would enjoy it if I were to read it to my children who, I’m fairly certain, would enjoy the animal characters and their adventures by the river. In the beginning we find Mole cleaning his house. He gets tired of cleaning and without any further planning leaves his house and sets off on an adventure. He makes it to the river and finds Rat who invites him to go on a picnic with him by boat. Mole is worried because he’d never been in a boat but agrees and makes an instant and lasting friend in Rat. While on the picnic they meet Badger, who is a nice enough animal but sort of anti-social. Badger admires Mole’s common sense and again Mole easily makes a new friend. Later they decide to go visit Toad. He lives in a really fancy house right on the river. They find Toad all excited about his new venture. He’d tried and failed at so many things in the past but that doesn’t keep Toad from trying new things. Cars are the current excitement in Toads life. He routinely manages to crash and break them but survives each time only to buy another and go at it again. It’s this love for cars that causes most of his problems. Toad’s friends convince him to give it up and to a point succeed until he steals a car and goes for a joy ride, which, as it should, lands him in jail. He manages to escape with the help of a washerwoman and has a few interest adventures on his way home being incredibly unruly. When he arrives home after being gone quite some time he finds his house has been taken over by weasels. Toad then goes off seeking the help of his friends. They are disappointed in the life he chose but after a quick chastisement they agree to help him get his house back. Badger plans the whole thing, Mole helped with the more subtle parts, Rat makes sure they are armed to the teeth, and Toad moans about his role in the whole thing. In the end Toad learns how to be a good friend and thankfully changes his ways. Badger, Mole, and Rat help save the day and are happily rewarded with their great friendship and a fine feast. All in all it’s an okay book. Grahame takes too many detours and subplots for my taste. He goes into great detail when a word or two would do about things that are never again mentioned in the book. It’s a great story with fun characters just not one of my favorites.

 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter PanPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie fits into the classical juvenile fiction genre and first appeared as a play in 1904. Later it was published as Peter and Wendy in 1911. It is recommended for readers ages 8 and up.

When I discovered the Disney movie Peter Pan was based on a book I was anxious to read. Typically I read the book first but it was an interesting experience to have it occur the other way. I was amazed while I read how closely the Disney movie stayed to the novel. There were major parts left out and the character of Peter was made to be more likeable but all in all it was much the same. The story begins with a thorough description of the Darling family and how they all came to be and how they acquired Nana, the nursemaid dog. One interesting difference is that Wendy, John, and Michael were not only gone one night but they were gone for quite some time. The books goes into detail how their parents and Nana think over the night they left and planning how they could have done things differently. The night the children left Peter came in and was tempting them to leave. Nana heard and managed to escape and run for the parents. Peter heard them coming and managed to get the children out of the house just before their parents burst into the room to stop them. Their flight to Neverland took days and days to accomplish and at times Peter would even forget they were there. When they got to Neverland everything is much the same as the movie but Wendy had her own cottage to live in outside of the tree where all the boys slept. The same adventures took place with the Indians and Captain Hook and even the capturing of the lost boys and Peter’s rescue. It was an interesting read but for once I think I prefer the movie to the book. Peter’s character in the book is a little too harsh for my taste. He seems moody and flighty but not in the fun carefree way that I’d imagined before. His uncontrollable selfishness also makes him more of a villain than someone to admire. Barrie’s writing at times also leaves something to be desired. He tends to bring himself down saying how this or that detail isn’t really important or that it’s not the best story but he might as well tell it anyway leaving me wondering if this is a draft with notes and not the real thing. I enjoyed finding the origins to one of my favorite children’s movies but I hesitate to recommend it to anyone else unless you have a burning desire to experience it first hand.

 

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner August 4, 2007

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Children — Julie @ 12:38 am

skippyjon-jones.jpgSkippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: 2003

Recommended Age Group: 4 and Up

Summary: Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat with a great imagination and a desire to be anything but what he is. His mother Mama Junebug Jones doesn’t like this at all and sends him to his room to think about being a cat. While in his room Skippyjon’s imagination once again gets away with him and takes him into his closet and to old Mexico where he pretends to be a Chihuahua. He has great adventures as a chihuahua and ends up saving the day but also causing a big mess.

Personal Notes: An enormously fun story and one of my favorite books to read aloud. It does have a bit of Spanish in it but that makes it more fun because you can really get into it and include the accents and everything. On the back of the book it recommends it to children ages 4 and up but I think my two year old does great with it. It really depends on the day. I wouldn’t think you had to wait until four to enjoy this book together.

 

Wet Dog! by Elise Broach illustrations by David Catrow

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Children — Julie @ 12:27 am

wet-dog.jpgWet Dog! by Elise Broach illustrations by David Catrow

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication Date: 2005

Recommended Age group: 2 and Up

Summary: Wet Dog! is about a hot old dog who is just trying to cool off from the “too-hot sun.” He goes through getting wet by different kinds of water. First he sees a man washing his car, then in a sink full of dishes, he goes on through many different kinds until he ends up in a like. The whole time people are telling him to shoo but in the end they realize he’s got the right idea and they too jump in the lake to get out of the “too-hot sun.”

Personal Notes: A fun book to real aloud to anyone. My children and I love this book. It’s a little above my one year old’s attention span but my two year-old enjoys the rhythm and sounds. Elise Broach uses great repetition and fun sounds to keep the readers attention. I also love how they are learning about different kinds of water with a fun story line. The illustration by David Catrow are fun and fitting. The dog is so cute you just have to love him!

 

I Like it When… by Mary Murphy

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Children — Julie @ 12:14 am

i-like-it-when.jpgI Like It When… by Mary Murphy

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication Date:1997

Recommend Age Group: Birth and Up

Summary: This book goes through some of the most basic interactions between parents and their children. From helping to hugging to bath time. The illustrations are simple and easy for little ones to comprehend.

Personal Notes: This is the best book I own for my babies (ages one and two)! They love it so much we read it every night. We act out together what the penguins are doing on the page and they love it. In the end the adult penguin say I love you and the baby penguin says I love you too, because of this my oldest says he love me, it feels great! A must for any child’s collection.