Monday, March 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday

It's Mailbox Monday, a fun weekly meme sponsored by Marcia at The Printed Page.  Just as the post office, or mailbox is a place to gather to share the news, this gives readers  a chance to share the books that came into their house last week.

This week, I got several ARCs from the author's or publishers.  I try not to overload on children's books and generally will only accept one or two a month.  So these are my two for the spring. 

Children's Books:
Bailey's Day by Robert Haggerty.

A delightfully illustrated story about a dog who belongs to a mailman.  When his owner goes to work in the morning, Bailey eats his food, takes a nap and then goes out into the yard, where he promptly disobeys the rules and goes out roaming with the dog down the street.

They have a series of adventures, including hiding when they see the mailman coming.  They finally do get found out, the mailman takes them home, and then chides them for breaking the rules.

I would have liked this book a lot more if it had included some indication that the bad doggie understood that he was "bad" and there were some hint of unhappy consequences for disobeying.  There aren't and that will have to be one for the parents and grandparents who will enjoy reading this really well written and illustrated story to children.

In addition to the colored drawings, the book includes photographs of the author's dog - the real Bailey. Haggerty is in fact a retired postman and gives us a great story designed to help children imagine what goes on with dogs when people aren't watching.  Lots of fun for the little ones.

Thanks to the author for providing this review copy.
This next one I really wanted to like, but I can't say that is the story.

Share from the Heart by Marilyn Randall is my first book to read by this author, although it is the sixth she's written.  Designed to help children understand the concept and values of sharing, we see two young boys strolling along, confronting a fire-breathing dragon, being scared and then learning that the dragon just wants to be friends.  The children and the dragon take the time to explore their feelings towards each other and in the end adopt each other as 'family.'

I would have liked this book so much more if it had been in prose.  The forced non-rhythmic poetry doesn't rhyme well, doesn't scan well as poetry and is extremely difficult to read aloud.  I give all children's books the read aloud test with our pre-school group at the library, and trust me, this one did not work.  There are far too many words on a page, and although there is a delightful (and rather simple) illustration on each page, the children lose interest about 1/3 of the way through.  The vocabulary just doesn't ring well in the forced rhyme scheme for reading aloud.  It will work much better for precocious 1st and 2nd graders who can read it to themselves.

Many thanks to Ms. Randall for letting me read this one to our kiddies. I'm going to check out some of her others at

be the noodle by lois kelly
fifty ways to be a compassionate, courageous, crazy-good caregiver.

No....that's not a typo.  Ms. Kelly uses no uppercase letters in her title, or chapter headings.  I haven't finished this one yet, but I am finding it to be a really easy read, and I definitely know it's going to be a great resource in our library. Written to capture the wisdom she accumulated while caring for her terminally ill mother, it provides encouragement, humor, and love.  It would make a great gift to anyone dealing with end-of-life issues.  Each of the 'lessons' is written as a short 1-3 page essay, explaining how she arrived at this lesson, and why it is important.  I'm looking forward to finishing this one next week.
And finally, today, while I was working on this post, the UPS man came in the pouring (and I MEAN POURING) rain and presented me with
The Lotus Eaters..
by Tatjana Soli
I've been drooling for this one to read for my Vietnam reading challenge.  There are so many accolades already posted for this one.  I'll be reading it as soon as I finish Man From Saigon.  
Here's the blurb from Amazon:

A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.
On a stifling day in 1975, the North Vietnamese army is poised to roll into Saigon. As the fall of the city begins, two lovers make their way through the streets to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country she has come to love. Linh, the Vietnamese man who loves her, must grapple with his own conflicted loyalties of heart and homeland. As they race to leave, they play out a drama of devotion and betrayal that spins them back through twelve war-torn years, beginning in the splendor of Angkor Wat, with their mentor, larger-than-life war correspondent Sam Darrow, once Helen's infuriating love and fiercest competitor, and Linh's secret keeper, boss and truest friend.
Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman’s struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war.
All in all a good week in the mailbox.  Now it's time to get back to reading......what goodies did the postman bring you?


  1. I'll be reading The Lotus Eaters soon for an April tour. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. great mailbox...I look forward to your review of Lotus Eaters

  3. I need to learn to be a noodle. Will look for that one.

    Hope your house hasn't floated off to Canada in all the rain.

  4. I love noodles but not sure that I want to be one.


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