#747 Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Eggs by Jerry SpinelliEggs by Jerry Spinelli

David’s life has changed quite a lot recently. He has had to move in with his grandmother, which he doesn’t like. The reason he lives with his grandmother is because his mother died. She fell. Everyone falls, but David’s mother died. He doesn’t understand. His grandmother tries to help him out, but David doesn’t even want to talk to her.

David goes to an egg hunt for Easter and finds, what he thinks, is a dead girl, but she’s not dead. Her name is Primrose. She’s sneaking into the egg hunt because she’s too old to go now. Primrose lives in a van outside a small house. Her mother lives in there and works there as a psychic. She wanted to share a bed with Primrose, there was only one bed, Primrose didn’t want to. She thinks her mother is weird, instead, she lives in a van.

David goes to find Primrose one day and it starts a friendship between the two. They go out at night to collect junk to sell. Primrose needs money so she can redecorate her van. David ends up staying out late many nights. Primrose sneaks into his room. His grandmother knows nothing about it.

Primrose learns more about David’s life. David always wants to follow the rules. David will never watch the sunrise. He misses his mother terribly. He tries to get Primrose’s mother to find her, but she says that his mother is all around. David cannot find her.

The two get lost one day walking to the city along the train tracks. Everyone is terribly worried about them. David and Primrose both come to realizations about their lives. The people in their lives are more important than they have given them credit for, even in their own minds.

What I liked

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jerry Spinelli book, but I did read several as a child. They’re not bad as far as books go. I liked that Primrose and David formed this strange friendship and both got something they needed from it. They both managed to come out of their respective shells a bit because the personality of the other one pushed and pulled on that shell.

What I didn’t like

The story is sad. David is so young. It’s difficult for him to realize that his mother is dead. He’s old enough to know what dead is, but the manner his mother died in, is ordinary. It’s not how people usually die. David could probably have grasped the idea of a deadly car accident easier than a deadly fall. Everyone falls and we usually don’t die from it. If someone told you a loved one died from something ordinary, wouldn’t it be difficult for you to grasp as well? I think being a child and trying to deal with something so hard to grasp makes it that much more difficult.

I lost a part at a young age, just like David, although my father’s death was more comprehensible than a fall. It’s difficult to grow up minus one parent, even if your parents aren’t together, it’s always better to have two of them alive.

Primrose also has issues with her mother. While Primrose’s mother does love her and tries her best, it almost feels as if there is something wrong with her. Maybe she has a mental health issue or some other disability. I think it’s also very difficult to be the child of a person who is like a child themselves in various manners. Both of these children are lacking something in parentage, but I think the meshed family they ultimately find with new friends, is going to give them a more complete life experience.

Overall

It makes a person think differently about eggs.

Weigh In

If you have a personal tragedy in your life, is there an item that symbolizes your grief?

Would you find it difficult to take the death of a loved one through ordinary circumstances?

#672 Scruffy by Jack Stoneley

Scruffy by Jack StoneleyScruffy by Jack Stoneley

A lonely dog waits outside a house tethered to a drain pipe. Her owners, an elderly couple, have left her there. They must leave their home because it’s going to be demolished. Someone is supposed to pick the dog up, but the dog knows that it must get back inside of the house to wait for her owners to come back. She manages to free herself, but in the meantime, she misses the woman who was supposed to pick her up.

The dog soon has three puppies, they die, one by one, until only one is left. The last puppy is black and white. One day the house is boarded up and fire is set to it. The dog knows something is wrong. She has to get her puppy out. She goes upstairs with her puppy, where she has never been allowed and finds that the only way out is the chimney. She climbs out of the chimney with her puppy to be rescued in the nick of time by some construction workers.

She is taken home and cared for, but she decides to escape. These people, although nice, are not her original owners. She must get to the house and wait. She escapes with her puppy one day. They pass a field of sheep where the puppy stops to play, only to be shot at by a farmer. The mother does not make it. The puppy is left to fend on its own. The daughters of the farmer care for her for a while, but she escapes and makes it into town.

In town, she finds a homeless man, who used to be an actor, his name is Joseph Tibbles. He cares for the dog and gives her a name, Scruffy. Scruffy helps Joseph in his act, but eventually this friendship comes to an end as well. Scruffy then has to fend for herself again, but soon finds the companionship of a pack.

Eventually, the entire pack of dogs is picked up and taken into a shelter. She is placed in a Tuesday cell. When it’s one week later, all the dogs in the cell will be euthanized. A man comes in and takes a picture of Scruffy and puts it in the paper, perhaps all hope is not lost.

What I liked

This story is based on a true story. Scruffy was real. I never knew Scruffy was real. I used to have the cartoon that was based on this book. Scruffy was a real dog, who actually lived. Her story was actually in the paper. Jack, the author, put her picture in the paper, writing an article about Tuesday’s dog. The article ran the day Scruffy was supposed to be euthanized. The response was overwhelming. Everyone wanted to adopt Scruffy. Everyone wanted to adopt all the dogs in the shelter, in fact, that’s what happened. That day every single dog was adopted out of that particular shelter and from many more shelters. Scruffy went on to live to be fourteen years old with happy owners. Later on, Jack wrote this book, which was also turned into a cartoon. Jack saved hundreds of dogs with one article.

This story just goes to show you what a little knowledge can do. If people know and people act, good things can happen. Sometimes people just have to know about something so they can act.

I used to have this cartoon as a child. I used to watch it. I remembered the part about the fire. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube apparently.

I am so happy that Scruffy did succeed. I was reading this and thought all was going to be lost as I didn’t remember how the cartoon turned out. I thought Scruffy was going to get it.

What I didn’t like

Get your tissues, people. This book will grab your heart and squeeze it. It’s ends happily, but the journey getting there is rough. It is a sad story. It’s sad how some people treat animals and it’s sad how some people are treated. Some people don’t want to neglect animals, but are sometimes given no choice because they themselves are being treated badly. Sometimes it comes down to a situation of saving one’s own skin or saving the dog, and ultimately, you generally have to save yourself.

My pets provide companionship to me and I just cannot fathom that someone would just throw away an animal, just take it to the pound and leave it there to be euthanized. Any pet I’ve gotten rid of personally has gone to people, actual people.

Last year, I lost a pet, three actually. I got divorced and my ex took one of our outside cats and the dog. I have no idea what happened to the dog, but I know what happened to the cat. I additionally had to give one of my cats to a cousin because she tried to run outside every time the door was open and I couldn’t take her with me to an apartment, but she’s enjoyed herself where she’s at.

As far as the cat that my ex took, he left me this nasty note one day saying that the cat was not mine. It was scrawled in angry writing on a piece of brown paper in pencil and left in my carport. I had no idea why he left me this nasty note, just one more nasty note among many nasty notes, emails, voice mails, and texts. He later emailed me and told me that the cat was given away, implying that he found someone to take the cat. Too late, I found out that my ex had taken the cat to the pound, where he was probably euthanized. My sweet cat, was taken to a pound, right after my ex left me the nasty note, where he was probably killed because my ex is not a nice person. If I had known that the cat was at the pound, I would have gone and gotten him, but I didn’t know until too late. I later had these awful dreams about my cat and the whole situation. I was so upset over it and my whole family was actually upset over it.

Because of this incident, this book hits close to home. While I was reading about these poor dogs waiting in the shelter to die, I thought about my poor cat, just waiting there to die, with no one to come and rescue him, and it just made reading the book all the more difficult.

Overall

If you have to get rid of a pet, find a home for them, not a shelter.

Weigh In

Do you think we could garner the same reaction to Scruffy’s story today?

Do you think Jack is a hero for writing this story?

Part 1 of Scruffy below

#670 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Harry Potter is back, years later, and this time, we’re talking about his son Albus and how he’s friends with Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius. Albus goes to Hogwarts, but he’s not sorted into Gryffindor, he’s sorted into Slytherin. Albus and Scopius both seem to be loners and become fast friends.

There are problems at home for Albus; his dad just doesn’t get him. He’s the great Harry Potter and his shadow is difficult to stand in.

There are rumors floating around that Voldemort had a child, some say that child is Scorpius. Draco has had enough of these awful rumors. Why would he send his wife back in time to have a child with Voldemort? More rumors are floating around. The rumor is that someone has a time-turner.

Amos Diggory wants his son back and wants someone to use a confiscated time-turner to get him back. Albus and Scorpius decide to take matters into their own hands, but apparently they haven’t watched a lot of Doctor Who because they cannot even begin to fathom what big impact little changes in the past can have on their current lives. Ultimately, there is a cursed child and the rumors are somewhat true.

What I liked

I liked that this was a new Harry Potter book. I loved that J.K. sat back down and wrote some more on this whole magical world we’ve all grown accustomed to. I’m a grown woman and I love Harry Potter. When I got divorced I had a sock party, inspired by Dobby, to celebrate my freedom. I don’t have posters on my wall or anything, but the entire story is fascinating.

Danger continues to follow Harry, even as an adult, of course. Danger follows his family and danger follows his friends. He is Harry Potter and always will be.

Time travel is very interesting. I have a love of Doctor Who and I enjoyed the idea of traveling through time and the consequences thereof in this book.

What I didn’t like

While I would love to see this play, I don’t like that this book is written as a play. I want a book to be a book. Plays have this explicit stop about them. We label when each person talks, we set the scene, and we include actions and possibly emotions around the lines. I liked being in plays in school. I like movies and such, but I don’t necessarily like my books to be like that.

Because this is a play, there is less meat to the story than if this had been a regular Harry Potter Book. Look, I pre-purchased this book from a 2nd and Charles, and it wasn’t cheap. I don’t feel that there is enough Harry Potter-ness in this story to warrant the price it sells for brand new. I still liked it, a lot, but I don’t feel as if it’s quite enough.

Why would anyone sleep with Voldemort? He looks like a dork. He literally congealed out of some goo, but had been living on back of people’s heads before. So someone, you’ll find out who, has sex with congealed goo man, who also has no nose, and gets pregnant. You can’t expect this to turn out right on any level. Neither of the parents are right, so why would the child be?

At some point the threat of Voldemort has to stop. Look, Hitler was bad, but he’s gone now. He doesn’t threaten to  come back to life every few years and go after more people. He is dead, and while people proclaim still to follow him, he’s not really a big threat. We have new enemies, like terrorists and ISIS. The wizarding world would also have new enemies because that’s how time works. That’s how the world works. Voldemort is gone, but then someone else, just as evil, or more, comes to take his place.

Overall

This was still a very enjoyable read and it reminded me of the whole Harry Potter experience.

Weigh In

Should Voldemort still be an enemy? Yeah or nay?

Is time travel ever wise?

 

 

#649 Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

 Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

Katrina Katrell saw something she could not explain in the subway. She told Krabby, her guardian, but the guardian told her that she was silly and headed for a lobotomy. Katrina really did see something. That something was Morty the zorgle. He was a normal zorgle, who didn’t go out much for adventure. He loved playing ball. One night the ball hall of fame was on fire and Morty rushed in to try to save it. For his bravery he was awarded with a ticket for the hero lottery.

Katrina meanwhile was trying to escape a lobotomy. The doctor had showed up at the house. He had plans to cut Katrina from here to there. Katrina narrowly escaped by tying her sheets together and running away, her freedom was brief though. She met a nasty gang, and they almost got her, and would have, had it not been for Morty who showed up at exactly the right time.

Morty had won the hero lottery even though he didn’t feel much of a hero. He went anyway at the urging of his father to find out what happened to the zorgles of Zorgamazoo; they had all disappeared. Katrina was saved and decided to go with Morty. They traveled tricksy paths and finally ended up in Zorgamazoo where they met a Windigo named Winnie, who told them where the zorgles had gone to. It was now up to Katrina, Morty, and Winnie to save the zorgles and themselves, perhaps even the entire world.

What I liked

This book was a pleasure to read. Really. I am not exaggerating or joking. This book is so whimsical and so fanciful. The type is arranged in different ways. Some of the words go diagonally. Some of the words are in spirals. Some of the words are in one font that the others are not in. The illustrations are wonderful. This book is just fantastic.

I bought this book for ninety-nine cents on a whim and I’m going to keep it. This is exactly the type of  book that I would like to read to my own children some day or nieces and nephews.

The entire book rhymes in a Dr. Suess style rhyming scheme. The particular rhythm of the rhyme has a technical name, but I’m not that much of a poetry buff, so I’m not even going to mention it.

This book was just lovely. Buy it for your children. Read it to them at bedtime, one chapter at a time.

What I didn’t like

Nothing…loved it!

Overall

This is the kind of book that will spark a love of reading in a child.

Weigh In

Would you go on an adventure if you won a hero lottery?

Do you think you could ever accept something into your life that you once considered a myth?

#635 Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura Williams

Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura Williams Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura Williams

Korinna is a member of the Nazi Youth Party. She frequently goes to meetings. One of her friends has a brother who is in the local police force. They arrest Germans for harboring Jews. Jews are the reason things are so bad for the German people, at least that’s what people say. Korinna believes this to an extent, but doesn’t entirely like the violence that she sees being done to the Jews. She’s glad her family is a good German family.

Korinna hears something in the wall. She does not know what it is. She searches and searches and finds out that her wardrobe moves. Behind it she sees something she never would have expected to find. There are people back there. A woman and a little girl. Her parents tell her that there are indeed people. If they were not hiding them, they would be sent off to a labor camp.

Korinna is not happy about this, but her views begin to change. The two people in the wall really aren’t all that different from herself. They don’t seem like bad people, nor do they seem like the reason that bad things have happened to Germany. People are suspicious about Korinna’s family though and the family must take action before bad things happen.

What I liked

There’s almost nothing more satisfying than a spoiled brat with a one-sided view of the world learning that there are in fact more ways to look at the world.

Korinna learns that Jews aren’t bad. People aren’t bad because of their religion. Korinna has to change her view of the world and her new view conflicts with the views of people around her. So now she’s different,  but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What I didn’t like

This other girl who Korinna is friends with sounds like a total brat.

Overall

There’s more than one way.

Weigh In

Would you have changed your mind as easily as Korrina?

Would you have changed your mind about the world faster than Korinna?