Tale of Rescue by Michael J. Rosen

The Tale of RescueThe Tale of RescueThe Tale of Rescue by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows

I’m not entirely sure how to review this book. It’s a sparse tale, and despite the potential for gripping action, it ends up being almost slow and gentle, with an old-fashioned feel. The illustrations are the standout – they’re fantastic, and reason enough to get the book in print not an electronic version.

Where I struggle to recommend the book is with the target audience age. The illustrations and limited text make it tilt younger, but the writing style and tone tip it older. I enjoyed it as an adult, so don’t be put off by thinking it’s only for children, but be aware that it’s very short.

Even with some misgivings about the book, I did enjoy it, and would easily recommend it as a library book. I’d hesitate to advise purchasing it without previewing it, except for die-hard animal lovers who will want to read any and all texts featuring dog heroes.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
When a blizzard traps a family outside in a whiteout, a cattle dog devises a stunning rescue in a moving, suspenseful, and gorgeously illustrated story.

A family—a mother, a father, and their ten-year-old son—have come all the way from Florida to the Appalachian foothills to experience the wonder of a snowy weekend. At a nearby farm, a cattle dog is working, as she does every day, driving her forty head of cattle from pasture to corral and back again. And then, suddenly, a blizzard descends. The family is trapped outside, disoriented in the whiteout. They are panicked, exhausted, freezing, and stranded in waist-deep drifts. From off in the distance, the cattle dog has heard their faint, snow-drowned cries. Her inexhaustible attention turns to saving them. This stirring tale is both a compelling story of survival and a meditation on the tremendous will of man’s best friend.

Book Details

Title: The Tale of RescueThe Tale of Rescue by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows
Author: Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows
Category: Juvenile Fiction
My Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
Two years ago: Ebook Review: Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen
Three years ago: Using Goodreads

What the Kids are Reading (in September 2015)

I Always ALWAYS Get My WayI Always, ALWAYS Get My WayI Always, ALWAYS Get My Way by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins

Read daily (often several times a day) for weeks – my daughter especially loved it. Fun language and great illustrations, plus a satisfying conclusion.

Where is the Green SheepWhere Is the Green Sheep? Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek

Deceptively simple, but it has wonderful repetition. Why did it take me so long to read a book by Fox?

Double Trouble in Walla WallaDouble Trouble In Walla WallaDouble Trouble In Walla Walla by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca

I did eventually have to stash this one in the library bag, after about a dozen readings, because the kids adored it. The language is so. much. fun. But after all those readings, my tongue was tired of being twisted, and I had had enough. Well illustrated, and I need to look into Clements’ other books, because this one was such a hit.

Higher HigherHigher! Higher! (Leslie Patricelli board books)Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli by Leslie Patricelli

No surprises here – it’s a typical Patricelli book. (That’s not a complaint.)

Over in the WetlandsOver in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story by Caroline Starr Rose, illustrated by Rob Dunlaver

Beautifully written, with great rhythm so it’s fun to read aloud. The illustrations are lovely, although some of them are so dark (appropriately for the topic, but my kids still thought they couldn’t see anything on those pages). A better fit as an older picture book – my six-year-old enjoyed it a lot more than his four-year-old sister.

0-439-70049-3Where’s Walrus?Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage by Stephen Savage

Really amusing wordless book. Both kids were hugely entertained by finding the walrus, and imagining what he was doing in each scene.

This Little ChickThis Little ChickThis Little Chick by John Lawrence by John Lawrence

Enjoyable read with lots of fun opportunities to make animal sounds. That always makes for a popular book here. 🙂

The Busy Little SquirrelThe Busy Little SquirrelThe Busy Little Squirrel (Classic Board Books) by Nancy Tafuri by Nancy Tafuri

A cute enough story about the seasons, but it suffered a bit in comparison to some of the better ones we’ve read recently. I was underwhelmed by the illustrations, and Where’s Green Sheep and This Little Chick had more interesting repetitive structures.

Farmer DuckFarmer DuckFarmer Duck by Martin Waddell, illustrations by Helen Oxenbury by Martin Waddell, illustrations by Helen Oxenbury

Another one where they liked it but didn’t LOVE it like others.

Q is for DuckQ Is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing GameQ Is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game by Mary Elting and Michael Folsom, illustrated by Jack Kent by Mary Elting and Michael Folsom, illustrated by Jack Kent

My son was very entertained by the riddles in this, especially since he figured them out easily.

Wolf Won't BiteWolf Won’t Bite!Wolf Won't Bite! by Emily Gravett by Emily Gravett

I loved the illustrations in this one, and my kids loved repeating the “Wolf Won’t Bite!” refrain, but they were a little bit traumatized by the ending. And my kids are not generally sensitive readers at all

Squid and Octopus Friends for AlwaysSquid and Octopus: Friends for AlwaysSquid and Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu by Tao Nyeu

This is a nice bridge book as it’s a longer picture book, divided into four “chapters.” It reminded me of another book, but I can’t figure out which one, and that’s been driving me batty since finishing this one. It’s cute, but not one I feel any significant desire to borrow again.

Ten Nine EightTen, Nine, Eight Board BookTen, Nine, Eight Board Book (Caldecott Collection) by Molly Bang by Molly Bang

A gentle bedtime book – I liked the counting-down aspect. I think it was a little too gentle for my older two, and they weren’t interested in it. Maybe they needed to have heard it for the first time as younger kids?

Wodney Wat's WobotWodney Wat’s WobotWodney Wat's Wobot by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

I didn’t like reading this one out loud (had a terrible time with actually reading a “w” sound instead of an “r” sound), and was glad the kids seemed mostly indifferent towards it. It went right back into the library bag.

The Crown on Your HeadThe Crown on Your HeadThe Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman by Nancy Tillman

The illustrations are pretty (although not my preferred style), but some of the text was so sappy and saccharine that I found myself all but rolling my eyes while reading it. This one also went right back into the library bag after one reading.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer
Two years ago: Cooking the Book: Weelicious (Broccoli Pesto) by Catherine McCord
Three years ago: Library Love

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Recent Readaloud: Five True Horse Stories

5 True Horse Stories | Review by @SheilaRCraigFive True Horse StoriesFive True Horse Stories by Margaret Davidson | Review by @SheilaRCraig by Margaret Davidson

I was expecting this to just be another readaloud with the kids, and bought it for our trip to Arizona, as I was looking for something small and light to take on the plane. Instead it turned out to be a nostalgia-filled experience: I read this exact book when I was a child. I remembered the stories (some of the specific phrases as well), and the illustrations were instantly recognizable.

It made me so happy I’d grabbed this on a whim. That said, I’m not sure how impressed I’d have been if I didn’t have that nostalgic glow associated with it. The writing is serviceable, but nothing special, and it’s not one I’m excited to reread with them.

My verdict:
It’s dated at times, but not so much that it’s off-putting. Although, I was a bit surprised at how sad the one story is, and yet it’s presented so matter-of-factly, so consider this a heads-up if you’ve got sensitive listeners/readers!

The kids’ verdict:
They liked it, and kept asking me to read more, so it held their interest, but they didn’t ask for it to be repeated.

Find the book: Print | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Five wonderful, true stories about real horses–a Morgan, a Mustang, a wild pony, a performing horse, and even a donkey.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: The Harlot’s Tale by Sam Thomas
Two years ago: Together: Growing Appetites for God by Carrie Ward
Three years ago: How to Find Great Books to Read

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Gilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr

Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me FreeGilbert & Sullivan Set Me FreeGilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr by Kathleen Karr

Perhaps the only thing I like better than historical fiction is historical fiction that’s based on real events, especially little-known ones. Kathleen Karr has found one of those types of events and brought it to light in this delightful account.

It’s a terrific coming of age tale, with history and friendships and lots of wonderful characters. The book is out of print, but there are used copies easily available, or check your library.

Several years ago I read the book and really enjoyed it. Before writing this post I decided I needed a refresher on it, and I’m currently listening to it. That’s turned out to be an excellent choice, because it’s fabulous as an audio book – music plays such a big role in the story so I love that the audio book includes that as well.

Listening to the actors sing the parts from the performance is even better than reading about it, so I’d highly recommend getting this on audio if you can. It’s available through Audible or OverDrive, so check your library if you don’t have an Audible subscription.

Find the book: Print | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
In prison, there are few secrets. But Libby Dodge, the youngest inmate, guards the nature of her crime from the other women, even as they openly recount their former lives as arsonists, thieves, and prostitutes. Libby’s hopeless and miserable situation changes unexpectedly with the arrival of a new chaplain, Mrs. Wilkinson. Mrs. Wilkinson has surprising and newfangled ideas about prison reform, which include launching an elaborate production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. The production transforms the women–their views of themselves, their abilities, their place in the world.

Book Details

Title: Gilbert & Sullivan Set Me FreeGilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr
Author: Kathleen Karr
Category: Juvenile Fiction / Historical
My Rating: 5 Stars


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Two years ago: Death’s Acre by Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

What the Kids are Reading (in August 2015)

What the Kids are Reading August 2015Boot & ShoeBoot & ShoeBoot & Shoe by Marla Frazee by Marla Frazee

Super cute, and my kids *love* the page with the squirrel running around everywhere. There is a little bit of potty humor because the two dogs pee on the same tree. My kids thought that idea was hilarious, and I was amused at the role that fact ended up playing in the story. We’ve already reread it several times.

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the WorldHow to Make an Apple Pie and See the WorldHow to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman by Marjorie Priceman

I think this suffered by my inflated expectations. We liked it, but didn’t love love love it like I thought we would. It was a fun way to talk about geography a bit, but we’ve already done that so much it didn’t interest my son as much as it likely would have otherwise. I think he was also being too literal with the ideas in it. Why would they travel all the way over there for this – that makes no sense?!? We’re still going to try her follow-up title, How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A.How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. by Marjorie Priceman

Puff the Magic DragonPuff, the Magic DragonPuff, the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret

Beautifully illustrated with the familiar text from the famous song. It was surprisingly hard to read the book without singing it. The bittersweet nature of the text also jumped out at me this time (as the last time I heard the song I was still quite young).

Harry and HorsieHarry and HorsieHarry and Horsie (Harry and Horsie Adventures) by Katie Van Camp, illustrated by Lincoln Agnew by Katie Van Camp, illustrated by Lincoln Agnew

Really cute story and illustrations – my kids were entertained by this one.

The Pout Pout FishThe Pout-Pout FishThe Pout-Pout Fish (A Pout-Pout Fish Adventure) by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna

The hit of the month – my kids LOVED it. LOVED it. I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve read it, and I’ve heard them reciting the one refrain again and again. I like a lot of the language in it as well – “kaleidoscope of nope” might be my favorite.

Hopper and WilsonHopper and WilsonHopper and Wilson by Maria Van Lieshout by Maria Van Lieshout

This reminded me a bit of Winnie the Pooh, and I’m not sure why. The gentle story line and illustrations? The odd friendship pairing of an elephant and a mouse? Whatever the reason, it’s a very sweet book, with lovely illustrations.

Pirate Nap a Book of ColorsPirate Nap: A Book of ColorsPirate Nap: A Book of Colors by Danna Smith, illustrated by Valeria Petrone by Danna Smith, illustrated by Valeria Petrone

One of my two Bookroo books this month. We’ve read a lot of books about colors, and this was one of my favorites. An overall story line that holds up on its own, plus integrating the colors into the story, plus pirates = big winner here. My daughter thought the purple monster part was the best.

Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep-OverHugless Douglas and the Big Sleep-OverHugless Douglas and the Big Sleep-Over by David Melling by David Melling

One of my two Bookroo books this month. I thought it was fine, if nothing too exciting, but my kids were vastly entertained by it (especially the aftermath of the sneeze.) I’m looking for others in this series to get from the library since mine were so tickled by this one.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Daddy-Long-LegsDaddy-Long-LegsDaddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster by Jean Webster

Sweet and charming, if completely predictable. Don’t let that keep you from trying this book – despite the complete lack of any sort of surprise involved in the narrative, it was such a fun, comforting read. Yes, I know, I’m a committed fan of epistolary novels, but I don’t think you have to be as partial to them as I am to still appreciate this.

There’s a sequel companion novel, that follows this one chronologically (thank you Caroline for the correction on the term), Dear EnemyDear Enemy by Jean Webster, which I’m excited to read. And Dear Mr. KnightleyDear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay seems to be an updated version of the story. I can’t wait to get to this one too.

It’s also one that would work for precocious readers, if you’ve got younger girls whose reading ability surpasses their maturity for some of the content in contemporary YA titles.

Thanks Jessica for picking this as part of your Young Adult Book and Movie Club – I wouldn’t have read it without that prompting, and I so enjoyed it.

A heads-up: the Kindle version is only $.99, which is admittedly a great deal. But it doesn’t include the drawings that are scattered throughout the text, which is a real shame. Something to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing it.

Publisher’s Description:
Bright and lively Judy Abbott is an orphan who dreams of escaping the drudgery of her life at the John Grier Home. One day she receives a marvelous opportunity—a wealthy male benefactor has agreed to fund her higher education. In return, Judy must keep him informed about the ups and downs of college life. From horrendous Latin lessons to falling in love, the result is a series of letters both hilarious and poignant. Fans of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women will relish this American-girl-power coming-of-age story.

Book Details

Title: Daddy-Long-LegsDaddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Author: Jean Webster
Category: Juvenile Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars
Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Bookroo: A Bookish Subscription Service

bookroo box and wrapped booksSeems like subscription boxes are all the rage right now, and it’s easy to understand why. New items sent right to your door? How fun!

But beauty boxes aren’t my thing, and even clothing ones don’t tempt me that much. I’d rather spend my money on books and things for my kids.

Now a subscription box of kids’ books? SIGN ME UP.

H with Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep-Over 2Literally, sign me up. I jumped at the chance to try Bookroo. No, this post isn’t sponsored by them (although they did give me a discount code to try them. And I also have a discount for you to try them too!) I was just that enthusiastic to try what looked like such a fun product.

Before I signed up, I checked out what books they’ve been sending in the past. What fun would it be if it’s all old familar books we already have read or own? Nowhere near as much fun as it’d be if they were new discoveries.

Glancing over previous boxes, I found one – ONE – title that we already read, let alone owned. And that solitary title is an absolute favorite, so that speaks well to their taste.

H reading Hugless DouglasSo, we’re trying it out. I signed up for a three-month subscription, and they’re nice enough to let me alternate between picture books and board books.

Our first month’s delivery arrived, and it was all I could do to hold off the kids long enough to get a picture. I had thoughts of taking an unboxing video but that wasn’t happening. Too much excitement by the big kids! (How convenient it is for me that two picture books = one for each kid to immediately claim. Board book subscriptions come with 3 book in each box.)

boo_headIf you want to try Bookroo, you can get $4 off a subscription. Where I think think Bookroo really shines is for gifts – they make it super easy, and the packaging is nice. I would have been delighted to get this as a baby shower gift, and I love the idea of sending this to friends who have new babies.

And a reminder: This post is not sponsored by them, and I’m not an affiliate. They did give me a discount code to use to try their service, but you can also get a discount too: If you click over to them using my link, you’ll automatically get $4 off your order.

Early Reader Success: Billy and Blaze

Billy and BlazeBilly And BlazeBilly And Blaze by C. W. Anderson by C. W. Anderson

A classic early reader, and for good reason – it’s a great choice for that stage (especially if your early reader likes animals). Every two-page spread has an illustration on one side, and limited text on the other, so it’s helpful for kids like mine who need lots of white space or else they’re discouraged.

The book is about 50 pages (it’s wandered off or I’d double-check it) but all the illustrations make it very readable in two sessions. A more motivated reader could easily tackle it all in one reading session, but my reader did it in two. He’s not as motivated as some of his friends and relatives. 🙂

He was able to sound out every word, and the only one he had trouble with was “bridle” – pronouncing it “briddle” If he were at all familiar with equine equipment I think he’d have recognized his mistake and corrected it himself, but I’m kind of glad he didn’t know it as it led to a discussion on homonyms with him when I told him the correct pronunciation. He was then confused, because wasn’t “bridal” something to do with weddings? We’d just been to his second cousin’s wedding the weekend before and apparently he’d heard the term, or that’s my guess anyway.

Which makes me wonder if initially he remembered the “pickle” syllable word rule, but intentionally didn’t follow it thinking “this is a story about horses, there is nothing about a wedding here!” No matter if he was thinking that or not, I liked the opening it gave for that extra discussion on the weirdness that is English at times.

On a plotting note, he enjoyed the story, and saw the pictures for additional Billy & Blaze titles that are available. He’s requested two of them – and I got him one of those requests (Blaze and ThunderboltBlaze and Thunderbolt by C. W. Anderson) so he clearly liked the story enough to want more of it. Yay!

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Recent Readaloud: Here’s a Penny

Here's a PennyHere’s a PennyHere's a Penny by Carolyn Haywood by Carolyn Haywood

A Sonlight book that I’m not likely to have picked up on my own. I’d never heard of it, and the cover didn’t grab me. The only reason I *might* have tried it is because of the familiarity of the author’s name.

They stories are sweet, in an old-fashioned way. A heads-up if you’re reading to children with any issues related to adoption: Penny is adopted and then he gains a brother at the end of the book by another adoption. I tried to gloss over this a bit, because G REALLY wants another baby so he can have a brother, and the book makes it seem so easy – just ask your parents, and you’ll get your brother! We quickly finished it and I went into distraction mode with other books.

There’s a sequel, Penny and PeterPenny and Peter by Carolyn Haywood. I’d hoped to get it from the library, but it wasn’t available. I ended up buying a copy, because G liked it enough and wanted to know what happened next with Penny.

My verdict:
Easy to readaloud, the chapters are a nice length too for keeping their interest. They’re not as short as true beginning chapter books, but each one is generally 10 – 14 pages. The illustrations scattered throughout the text are nice, but their style doesn’t match with the cover art. I’m wondering if they’re original to the text – I know the versions currently in print have updated covers, which would explain the difference in style.

The kids’ verdict:
G enjoyed it – after reading one chapter a day for two days, we put it aside for our trip (and recovery). Picking it up again, I gave him a quick refresher as to what had taken place. Then I read chapter 3, and there were immediate requests for another one! Another one! Another one! Yeah, we read the final 8 chapters in two days, and if I’d been able to finish in in one day he’d have happily listened to it.

H semi-listened to it, but she didn’t complain when we finished it without her.

Publisher’s Description:
His name is not Penn or Penrose or anything that would make you think of Penny. His real name is William. But when his parents first saw him as a baby, with his red face and red-gold curls, they said, “My goodness. He looks like a brand-new copper penny.” And Penny is what they call him.

Now Penny is six years old, and this is the story of his adventures at home and in school. Many of them include his two best friends, Patsy and Peter, and his two kittens, Really and Truly. Penny learns how special it is to be adopted, what it means to belong in a family, and even, in the end, how it feels to have a new brother.

Book Details

Title: Here’s a PennyHere's a Penny by Carolyn Haywood
Author: Carolyn Haywood
Category: Children’s Fiction

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Goodbye StrangerGoodbye StrangerGoodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead by Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead is a phenomenal storyteller. Her Newbery winner When You Reach Me is amazing, and Goodbye Stranger stands up to the lofty comparisons that are sure to arise. While not quite as layered as When You Reach Me (for reasons which would involve spoilers for When You Reach Me so I’m not going to detail them), it’s still much more layered and thoughtful than the stereotypical middle grade book.

There is plenty of meaty content in the book, but it’s never explicit, and I wouldn’t hesitate to share this book widely. It would be easy for the book to become harsh with the topics and themes it addresses, but Stead manages to keep it more gentle almost.

I think this works as a middle grade or young adult book. It opens up many avenues of discussion with children who read it – the nature of friendship, bullying, cell phone use and abuse (including sexting), the challenges of growing up (especially the perils of 7th grade), and more.

Despite my praises and saying it’s surprisingly gentle considering the content, I’d still be careful before giving the book to super precocious readers. Know your readers and what they can handle!

Highly, highly recommended. I finished it and then immediately wanted to re-read it, to better appreciate the way Stead wove the story together.

Publisher’s Description:
Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games–or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?

This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl–as a friend?

On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

Book Details

Title: Goodbye StrangerGoodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Author: Rebecca Stead
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars
Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!