Hmmm…. I wanted to write a review that isn’t a review for the cookbook Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson. But any comments I write would be reviewing the book, so that doesn’t work! The principle behind the book is to show you that once you master a cooking formula, you open up a world of variations to help you break free of “cooking BY the book.” The recipes in the book are actually just a suggestion for ingredients and amounts, and you can add or subtract ingredients to accommodate your own tastes. Learn the technique for the item, be it soup, frittata, hash or quiche (just to name a few!), and you can whip up any of these later without dragging out a cook book!
Keira, the heroine of The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley, uses a magic pen to write a story for a contest and ends up winning a trip to France. She takes her best friend Bella and her mom. It ends up that the story she wrote is actually set in the castle they are staying in. The problem is: Keira didn’t know she used a magic pen to write her story or her family’s history of being word weavers.
Keira and Bella meet Chet at the castle and end up having adventures that weren’t on the girls’ itinerary as Keira keeps getting pulled into the story. When she wrote the story she had been angry at her mom and gave it an “unhappy ever after” ending. Now she has to discover a way to change the story to save her life, and that of her Mom and Bella.
I really like fantasy and fairy tale types of stories, so this was a fun book for me. It had just enough twists and turns to keep me wondering what was going to happen next!
In the book The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, Matthew is a lonely boy with a germ phobia who spends his time in his room washing, cleaning and looking out the window; watching as life in his neighborhood goes by. He knows everyone’s schedules and routines.
When the old man next door has his grandkids for the summer, Matthew has something new to watch. But the kids, Casey a six or seven year old girl and Teddy a year and a half old boy, start watching and making fun of him. They make fish faces because he’s behind glass and that’s where he gets his “Goldfish Boy” nickname.
While watching one day, he sees Teddy in the front yard alone at 12:55. Matt leaves the window and then Teddy disappears. Matthew is the last one to have seen him.
Matthew used to have friends at school, but his phobia has caused most of them to drift away. His obsessions have kept him from allowing anyone to get close to him, even his parents. His parents finally make him seek medical assistance and we begin to understand what happened to him to bring on his compulsions.
Since Matt can’t make himself go outside, there are just two kids in his neighborhood that he e-mails with, Melody and Jake. They help him “investigate” the disappearance of Teddy. Against Matt’s wishes Melody comes over, and he finally opens up and talks to her about his problem.
In the end, all his time and careful observations, along with aid from Jake and Melody, help Matthew solve the mystery of Teddy’s disappearance. The support of his friends and his parents finally helps Matt to begin to break his compulsions and allows him to no longer be the Goldfish Boy.
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege
She always wondered why her mother gave her up. Then, as an adult she finds a book titled I Have to Love my Father, Don’t I? written by her mother, about her grandfather Amon Goeth, a vicious Nazi Commandant.
Jennifer then begins the struggle to try to overcome her guilt and shame and to try to come to terms with what her family had done and who they were.
I was very moved reading this. It was so hard to imagine what I would have done in this situation. I admire the author’s strength in continuing her struggle to make peace with her mother, and her demons.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
First we have Caroline Ferriday in New York working with the French Consulate trying to help the displaced children and families there. Next is Polish teenager Kasia Kuzmerick working as a courier for the underground resistance. And lastly there is German Doctor Herta Oberheuser.
Kasia and her sister Zuzanna end up getting arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp for women, which is where Herta ends up working. While the separate characters paths finally do cross, it is much later in the tale that we get the full impact of the interactions between them.
I kept waiting for the three stories to tie together. They all seemed so separate from one another at first. My patience paid off, and there was a wonderful denouement in the end! It was truly a wonderful story of courage and hardships.
That the first person arrested for speeding in the United States was driving 12 miles an hour in 1899?
I found this information on page 115 in the book Weird but True! Stupid Criminals by National Geographic Kids. This book has more than 150 silly stories about criminals, and will have you laughing out loud!
Fifty Cars that Changed the World shows a 1908 Model T, just a little newer than the first car to get a ticket…. But chances are someone DID get a ticket in one of them. Fifty Cars tells the history of some of these vintage vehicles and how they changed the auto industry all over the world.
Barn Find Road Trip by Tom Cotter is “3 guys, 14 days and 1,000 lost collector cars discovered.” If you enjoy tinkering and restoring cars, you will love seeing the treasures they found. Some of them are even for sale if you need a project. If nothing else, you may get inspired to start peeking in some of the old barns around here.
It is ok to speed, sometimes! Like …. On a race track! On the Speedway by Jake Maddox is a children’s book with four short stories about teenage boys at the speedway. Anyone who dreams of being behind the scenes at the races will enjoy these stories.
There are many different kinds of auto racing: NASCAR, sports racers, Indy cars, Formula 1 cars, Stock cars and more. Racing Driver by Giles Chapman is ideal for a future race car driver. It shows “how to drive Race Cars step by step.”
So, basically, those NASCAR guys were criminals in their own right…. Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay and Big Bill France by Daniel S. Pierce shows how the colorful characters that were racers-by-day and bootleggers-by-night created the NASCAR that people love today.
But, the need for speed has always been with us. I’m sure that cavemen were racing each other to that hill over there, just because there was a hill over there. But we have all kinds of books on horse racing, motocross, hydroplane racing, bike racing and even the Iditarod. So… race right into the library and get one of these exciting books!
That the pigeon Cher Ami was awarded France’s Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for bravery after saving the ‘lost battalion’ in 1918?
I found this information on page 67 in the book When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lennon Lost his Brain by Giles Milton. This book has lots of ‘the rest of the story’ stories from accounts in history.
Fly, Cher Ami, Fly! by Robert Burleigh tells Cher Ami’s story with a suspense that illustrates all the drama of the situation. Top Secret Files: World War 1 by Stephanie Bearce and Animals with Jobs: Carrier Pigeons by Judith Janda Presnall both talk about the famous pigeon as well. There are a few small details that differ from version to version, but I believe we can all agree that Cher Ami is a hero that deserves his place in history and the Smithsonian!
When we think of spies we don’t usually think of animals, but they have been used to spy for longer than you can imagine. 24/7 Spy Files: the Cold War Pigeon Patrols by Danielle Denega explains how dogs and dolphins were also used as spies. In Everything World War 1 by Karen L. Kenney you can even see pictures of a horse and a dog with specially fitted gas masks helping out behind enemy lines. Of course there are all kinds of animals that are ‘working’ animals: service dogs, plow animals, and trained animals acting in all kinds of TV shows, commercials or movies. Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert gives you the stories of some famous animals you have probably seen on TV or in the movies. You may even get some tips on how to train your pet and make them famous.
Mo Willems writes a very popular series of books about a pigeon that the kids love! Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog are just a few of the titles available.
Here in Everett, we have Pigeon Creek #1. The book Come Back, Salmon by Molly Cone tells the story of how the kids at Jackson Elementary cleaned up the creek so salmon could come back and spawn there. The project started in 1984. Today it remains a healthy creek thanks in big part to those dedicated fifth graders.
Lastly, some people are said to be ‘pigeon toed’ (also known as metatarsus varus, metatarsus adductus, in-toe gait, intoeing or false clubfoot). This is a condition which causes the toes to point inward or outward when walking. The Good Foot Book by Glenn Copeland DPM tells us what can be done to correct that problem. It makes me wonder if a pigeon that has its feet turned incorrectly would be ‘human toed?’