I have a few ARC’s from Netgalley that are pending review. ARC’s are Advanced Reviewer Copies that are provided to readers a few months before the books are released. The reviewers should send a feedback and also promote the books on their Instagram page or blog posts. I have about 10 ARCs and I decided better late than never. First up is a middlegrade book, ‘The Dog who Lost his Bark.’ It is a sweet and sad story about a boy and a dog. The Dog is the main character in this novel. When the Dog was a pup, he was mistreated and thrown in a dump. The Dog has trust issues with humans and loses his bark and only whines. A dog that loses his bark is not a happy dog. The Dog has a new owner, a young boy named Patrick. Patrick is visiting his grandfather and his mother finally approves his request to get a dog. The Dog becomes Patrick’s pet. The rest of the story is about how Patrick teaches Dog …
Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler is one of the best books I read this year. The watercolor illustrations were intricate and soothing. There are different kinds of love. The first ‘love’ we are introduced to is ‘family’ love. This book is inspired by Eliza Wheeler’s grandmother, Marvel’s childhood. Six-year-old Marvel has recently lost her dad. The family finds a new house in the woods. At first, the small tar-paper shack does not find so appealing. Marvel has seven other siblings, both older and younger than her. Marvel along with her mom and siblings work hard to make the shack as their home. In addition, the woods give them many natural gifts that help them in making their ends meet. This beautiful book teaches about sorrow, the power of time in healing everything, the strength, and the love in the family that helps us survive tough situations. No matter how hard life is, simple pleasures are always around the corner. Make sure you keep an eye out for them.
My first introduction to The Jungle Book was a cartoon show that came every weekend, in India. I was 6-8 years old when I saw it first time and it was my favorite TV show. In the Indian version, Mowgli, the protagonist, had a boomerang, and how I wished I had one. The Jungle Book was written by Rudyard Kipling and was first published in 1894. It is about a boy called Mowgli who gets lost in an Indian jungle and is adopted by a wolf family. Mowgli’s teacher is Baloo, the Bear and Bagheera, the panther is his mentor and friend. Mowgli’s enemy is Sher Khan who waits for a chance to pounce on Mowgli and have him for a meal. The original book is a bit hard to read because the English was a bit different in 1894, but the beautiful pictures by Nicola Bayley helped me to complete it. If not the book, I definitely recommend watching the movie.
Indian mythology is my favorite in world mythology. We have great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. The epics are filled with brave princes, beautiful and capable princesses, ferocious demons and villains that make your heart skip a beat. I grew up reading Indian mythology and fables like Jataka tales and Panchatantra that taught principles of life in a fun way. In this book, Tales and Legends from India, Ruskin Bond collects the tales from various sources: the great Hindu religious epics, Buddhist fables and stories recorded by early travelers. This is a beautiful and entertaining book that introduces you to Indian fairy tales and mythology. While reading this book, I was transported to childhood and also came across new stories that I haven’t read before. In Ruskin Bond’s own words, “India is more than a land – it is an atmosphere – and this book is designed to give the reader the feel of India and recapture some of its old magic.”
The Republic Day of India is on January 26, so this whole week I am highlighting books featuring India. Ruskin Bond is my favorite Indian children’s author. I grew up reading his stories and I cherish his writing style, which highlights the elements of nature. Cherry Tree is a picturebook by Ruskin Bond. Rakhi, is a six-year old girl who lives in Mussoorie. One day she eats delicious cherries and takes her grandfather’s advice to plant the seed. But the soil in her place is stony and might not be suitable for a cherry tree. Despite that, Rakhi plants the seed and protects it from hungry goats, savage bullock carts and other dangers. The cherry tree survives, flowers and gives first crop. It is a beautiful story that will encourage children to plant and nourish, and have a beautiful connection with nature. Do pick up this book if you have it available at your local library. Nothing is lucky if you put it away. You must make it work for you. – Cherry Tree
When was the last time you danced? How Do You Dance by Thyra Heder is a celebration of dance. There are many ways to dance, you can jump, shake, moonwalk and jiggle, just to name a few. You can also dance anywhere, in your home, at the bus stop, at the grocery store etc. We can dance when we are happy and also dance when we are sad. In this book, everyone encourages a boy to dance and also give him many ideas about how, when and where to dance. Will the boy dance? If one of your new year resolutions is to lose weight, then this is the best way to lose some. If not, just dance, there is no need of an occasion to have some fun. This book definitely inspired me to dance. I read this book while making breakfast and I did it while swaying my hips. Well, nobody complained about how breakfast tasted so all is well that ends well. The book is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers …
In December, I read a lot of Christmas themed picturebooks. These were books about Christmas trees, Reindeer, Santa Claus and one nativity book. I also read one of the books from Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse series for the first time. Now, I am reading the whole series from beginning. The concept is that a brother and sister, Jack and Annie discover a magic treehouse in the woods. You can travel through time, in real and fantasy worlds by pointing at a picture in a book and wishing you were there. The Magic Treehouse series follows the adventures of Jack and Annie. Looking forward to reading exciting children’s books in 2020.
December was a good reading month, given that I had a lot of holidays. I read fiction, non-fiction and children’s books (next post). Among non-fiction, I loved Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book is a creative person’s bible and reveals the pleasures and pains of a creative life. The other book, The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven revealed 100 secrets for a happy life. Each secret was a statement followed by an example showing the application of the secret and supporting scientific literature or quotes. Among fiction books, Miracle Creek by Angie Kim and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins were murder mystery/thrillers. Into the Water is a decent thriller but not as good as the previous novel, The Girl on the Train. Miracle Creek was a bookstagram favorite but it did not live up to my expectations because I guessed the ending within 30% of the novel. A Woman is no Man by Etaf Rum and The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia were good reads. A …
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Room for a Little One tells the nativity story with animals playing the main role. An ox was in his shed. He sees a dog and invites him to come in. After the dog, comes the cat, mouse and a donkey carrying Mary. All of them are welcome in the shed. Jesus Christ is born in the shed among the presence of animals. This story teaches kindness and helping one another in time of need. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
The Night Before Christmas is a poem written by Clement Clarke Moore and was first published in 1823, and is still remembered today. The poem writes about what happens the night before Christmas. The whole house was asleep but the owner was awoken by the visit of Santa Claus to his home. This poem painted Santa Claus as a jolly old man on a sleigh pulled by 8 reindeer, dressed in red and jumping down through the chimney to leave gifts. In a way Clement Moore painted the modern image of Santa Claus. The illustrations in this book were by Mary Engelbreit and are rich in detail. Enjoy the Christmas Eve!