Happy New Year!
Been away from the keyboard for awhile because those last couple of weeks of school were a bit of a bear and then we went to visit family in Florida and I've just enjoyed catching up on reading. Some times I just need to consume rather than produce.
I finished Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan which was four-fifths of a great book. In the reverse of The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John (in which a newly orphaned girl is sent from England to Africa to live with a grandparent), a newly orphaned girl living in early 20th century British East Africa is sent to live with a grandparent in England after a cholera outbreak. The Dickensian twist is that a greedy couple who have lost their own daughter convince our protagonist to take her place and therefore weasel her way into the grandfather's heart (and his estate) against her better nature. Like the St. John, the natural beauty of the settings are vividly described and the relationships are strongly felt. The pace is well done throughout until the final chapters which become more summary that action.
Anyway, I like these books but wouldn't recommend reading them one right after another. I took a longer break between the first and second one and enjoyed them, but then went right on to the third and wasn't as enthused with it as the other two (though I was pleased with the tone of the ending). The second one was great, mysterious, adventurous and fun. The third one took about half way through the novel for the plot to really kick in but the second half was fun. I will recommend them to a certain kind of student, but if there are more, I won't be reading them.
To my daughter we finished reading the next Ramona book in Beverly Cleary's series, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I'd never realized how connected these are--really one continuous story and how important the economics of the family were to the books. I can't wait to read the next two to find out how her parents fare in their jobs and schooling as much as I can't wait to see what further shenanigans Ramona gets herself into. We've just started the next book in Cressida Cowell's series, How to Speak Dragonese. So far it's as much fun as the others, but quite a shift in tone from the Ramona books!
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
The Schwa was Here
The Mysterious Benedict Society Collection
The White Giraffe
Listening for Lions