Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone

February 10, 2019
Subheader: 

More like Sir Barely-Appearing-In-This-Book.

There's no realistic usage of mathematics in this. There's no engineering or practical application of anything. It feels like the author had an ending in mind, maybe just the title of the book, and wanted to write something based on Euler characteristics, so she had to make some kind of weird, contrived situation for them to derive Euler characteristics on their own. Everything they do is just super lucky. I don't know who's going to enjoy this book. People who are really gung-ho about math, I guess.

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Message: 

Knowing mathematics will help you become the king? Enjoying math is mandatory.

Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine

February 3, 2019
Subheader: 

Or maybe "moonshine" is like "moonlight."

Maybe the father should have been clearer. Maybe she should have an additional adult helping take care of her. And where are Thomas's parents? Why do they let him drive around the island on his bicycle? Couldn't she go stay with them? This is just a weird book, and I'm not sure how applicable the message is to children nowadays.

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Message: 

Lying can cause very naive people to get killed.

Mirandy and Brother Wind

January 27, 2019
Subheader: 

Not sure whether I'd rather catch the wind or inherit it.

It's just this misunderstanding between friends. She thinks Ezel is telling her she can't do something, when he's really trying to suggest that they could dance together without saying it. And it turns out she dances with him because he's her friend and she doesn't want other people being mean to him. She sticks up for him and does the right thing.

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Message: 

Stick up for your friends.

The Rough-Face Girl

January 20, 2019
Subheader: 

Mildly interesting.

It's the standard 'older siblings mean to younger sibling, younger sibling wins in the end' story that's all over the world, like Cinderella from Europe or Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters from Africa. It's unclear why RFG's father lets her sisters treat her so terribly. And in Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, at least the younger daughter gets tested on her personality, and not her weird ability to see invisible things. As usual, the younger girl gets rewarded by marrying the best guy because that's what girls want.

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Message: 

Don't be haughty and don't lie to people? Or, make sure you can see invisible things.

Little Mamá Forgets

January 13, 2019
Subheader: 

Unrealistic, or highly unusual, memory loss.

She seems to remember things that are important to the granddaughter. Which is rather inconsistent with the forms of memory loss that I'm familiar with. She forgets that the granddaughters name is Lucy, not Luciano (which is Little Mamá's name). Why would she call someone else by her own name? Maybe it's Lucy's mother's name, too? I feel like I have to make a lot of excuses for this book to make sense.

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Message: 

When you lose your memory as you age, you lose things kind of randomly and sporadically.

Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose

January 6, 2019
Subheader: 

Forced rhymes, cliché story.

I was disappointed by this book. I was hoping based on the summary that it would be more interesting, rather than just, 'Hey these people met and fell in love and then they're happy.' It wasn't clever. It wasn't inventive. It was pretty run-of-the-mill. A good message, but not interesting enough to hold my attention.

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Message: 

Don't judge people by their appearance.

Each Kindness

December 30, 2018
Subheader: 

Missed opportunity is more dramatic than actual reformation.

"The Hundred Dresses" is almost identical in storyline to "Each Kindness." All the kids make fun of a poor girl, and at the end, the girl moves away and the main character is depressed by what happened. Basically, the main characters need to see someone else suffer in order to grow, and they don't realize the opportunity they had until it's gone.

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Message: 

Be nice to people for niceness's sake. Or, you never realize how much of a jerk you were until after the fact.

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals

December 23, 2018
Subheader: 

Tries too hard to be funny, and doesn't quite deliver.

I'm definitely in support of all books that try to take the parent into account. If this book entertains parents enough to want to read it to a pre-verbal child, I think that's great. But overall, I was not that impressed by it. It's not great, it's just okay.

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Message: 

Baby, you are loved.

Teddy’s Favorite Toy

December 16, 2018
Subheader: 

Doing the right thing is the least you can do.

The best thing about it is that his favorite toy is a doll, and absolutely nothing is mentioned about it being unusual. It's not the story of how some other character came to accept the fact that he's a boy who plays with dolls.

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Message: 

Moms are awesome and will do what is needed to help you.

William's Doll

December 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Not as good as it probably used to be.

This book was probably great for its time (1972). I think it's a bit outdated in execution, although the message still resonates today. This book was at the beginning of teaching people about the topic, and it deserves some historical credit for that.

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Message: 

There's nothing wrong with boys wanting dolls.

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