Monday, October 10, 2011

Soar, Elinor!Soar, Elinor! by Tami Lewis Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Looks like I was behind the times coming to this one but I'm so glad I did. What an interesting person! Will have to add her to our third grade wax museum list.

I really like picture book biographies ... especially the well done ones. This tells enough of the story to give a good picture of her life from childhood to the experiences that made her famous, but without so much detail that a reader gets bored or distracted or bogged down in difficult text. If they need more information there are, of course, other places to go--including the notes at the end that talk about the research the author did.

Plus the illustrations are just beautiful at giving a sense of time and place.

I won a Skype visit for our students from the author last week. Can't wait to figure out which class will participate and talk more with her about it.

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The Map of MeThe Map of Me by Tami Lewis Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How funny. I was offered a copy of this book to review for my blog and then ... oh, about a month later (I'm a little behind in my reading--been under the weather for a while now, dumb fall allergies) I won a Skype visit from this author through a different blog.

Luckily ... I liked it! Really! Kind of reminded me of Frances O'Roark Dowell, Frances O'Roark in terms of writing style. This is realistic fiction about a young girl named Margie trying to find her place in middle school and in her family. Younger sister Peep is the family genius, Dad's too busy to notice, and Mom is unhappy. One day ... Mom leaves. Margie goes after her and drags her sister along for the drive. Yes, that's right. Drive ... even though Margie is in the sixth grade. Might they have wanted to put some sort of disclaimer in there about "don't try this at home"? Kind of ridiculous to even consider that so in one way I'm glad they didn't. Surely kiddos would know not to put the key in the ignition outside of a book?

"Another minute and we were on Bridge Street. I stepped hard on the gas and we flew right across. out of Ithaca. Off the page. Gone" (p 51).

"Maybe throwing that atlas out the window hadn't been my smartest move, but I couldn't give Peep the upper hand. Peep could not be Queen of the Road. That title belonged to me" (p 61).

Two examples of how the whole map analogy is tied through the story without being preachy.

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