Thursday, February 27, 2014

Burial Rites

Title: Burial Rites
Author: Hannah Kent
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Lydia

Burial Rites is a grim yet extremely powerful story which details the story of the last woman to publically beheaded in Iceland before capital punishment was abolished. Hannah Kent’s tireless research reveals the life and death of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a fiercely independent yet emotionally wrecked woman accused of murdering two men. Burial Rites does not argue her guilt or innocence; rather, the story focuses on Agnes’s last days of forced labor on a countryside farm and her relationships with those around her.

Kent’s writing vividly captures 1830’s life in the brutal and unforgiving Icelandic landscape. As Agnes’s date of exaction looms closer, both the story’s characters and the reader/listener simultaneously become closer to Agnes. I listened to the audiobook version of this novel, and the narrator does an excellent job of capturing all the character’s emotions.

By the end of the story I felt sympathy forAgnes and those around her. I believe that her story was very well-drawn, although certain other characters remained weakly defined throughout the novel. That, combined with a somewhat slow narrative pace makes me award the book 4 out of 5 stars. Regardless of any shortcomings, the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir is a powerful rumination on life, love, friendship, and death which will stay with you long after the last page.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Author: Arthur Geisert
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Helen$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:2254413/one?qu=thunderstorm+arthur+grisert&lm=ROUND_LAKE

Summary: The story follows a thunderstorm through drawings, minute by minute, hour by hour as it travels through Midwestern farm country. From early afternoon to early evening, the illustrations show in great detail the storm evolving into a tornado and its destruction of everything in its path. This is a wordless book and the illustrations show the sky changing and the storm becoming more intense and destructive, and also describes its effect on the inhabitants of the community, both human and non-human.

Review: The illustrations tell the power and force of a summer storm and how great the destruction can be in a six-hour time frame. There is a lot going on in each picture ,but words were not needed to describe what is happening. An excellent picture book for Kindergarten to age 3.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dog Chronicles: Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I, 1917

Dog Chronicles: Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I, 1917
Author: Alison Hart
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Deb$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:2298120/one?qu=darling%2C+mercy+dog+of+world+war+I&lm=ROUND_LAKE

Summary: Darling is a border collie living in a small village in southern England. He is a beloved pet of three children. But when the pet tax is too expensive, the family sends her off to the War to become a Mercy Dog.  Darling is trained and meets several military folk who befriend her, and guide her to become an invaluable part of the War as a Mercy Dog.  Mercy Dogs go into the battlefields to locate wounded soldiers and lead the medics to the soldiers. They also carried medical supplies and water to wounded men.  They had to be brave and smart despite gunfire, bombs and poisonous gases.  What keeps Darling alive is her hope to go back home to her family.

Review: Darling narrates this tale so you see the War through her eyes. I learned so much about these amazing dogs from this story. I never knew they existed. These dogs were only used during World War I because of the trench warfare. The United States did not have any, but England and France had many. I enjoyed this story about these brave dogs that helped so many during the horrors of World War I.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude
Author: Kevin O'Malley
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Christi$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:957682/one?qu=once+upon+a+cool+mortorcycle+dude&lm=ROUND_LAKE

Summary: Once upon a time there was ... a princess who loved all her beautiful ponies and a cool muscle dude who rode an awesome motorcycle. But a giant came and started stealing them! The dude came to fight the ugly, smelly giant with his mighty sword. She turned gold into thread while she cried for Buttercup, her favorite pony. And he took the princess's gold thread for payment. The end! Wait a minute! That's not how it ends! Oh no? Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who had to tell a fairy tale to the class, but they couldn't agree on the story. Will everyone live happily ever after?

Review: One of my favorite picture books!  I think grade school kids would really enjoy this book.  A boy and a girl had to write a fairy tale in class and couldn’t agree on the story. She wanted a princess story and he wanted a story about a cool motorcycle dude. In a way, they both got what they wanted. What we end up with is something for everyone. This book made me laugh out loud and I would definitely recommend it. It would be a great book for a read aloud in class.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cookie, The Walker

Cookie, The Walker
Author: Chris Monroe
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Helen$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:2230156/one?qu=cookie+the+walker+chris+monroe&lm=ROUND_LAKE

Summary: A dog gains fame and fortune and wonderful treats when she decides to walk upright on her hind legs, but she soon realizes this new life is not to her liking; she just wants to go back to her old life of being a dog and good times with her friend Kevin.

Review: This is a sweet, charming book about friendship and loyalty; realizing what is important in life. This book is appropriate for children ages 4 to 8.