Amy Says Read This

Seriously, you should totally read this.


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Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! by Leslie Kimmelman

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Kimmelman, L., & Gustavson, A. (ill.) (2009). Mind your manners, Alice Roosevelt!. Atlanta: Peachtree. ISBN: 9781561454921

Annotation: Teddy Roosevelt could handle almost anything. Except his oldest daughter, Alice, who liked to break rules and get into mischief.

Reaction: This picture book is as much about Teddy as about Alice, but it did have some fun facts about the President’s daughter, including that she owned a pet snake at one point!

The art is detailed and reflects the mischievousness of Alice and the whole of Roosevelt family. Gustavson’s depictions of Alice and her family’s antics are really my favorite part of the book, making it a much more enjoyable read than the text alone.

This book is not quite as much fun as What To Do About Alice, which focused more on Alice’s exploits rather than her father trying to get her to behave, but it was a good read. I enjoyed the way it depicted the family, and I think it’s always fun to see “behind the scenes” in the lives of famous people.

Media Used: Oil on prepared paper

Author’s Website

Illustrator’s Website


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Tell Me A Dragon by Jackie Morris

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Morris, J. (2009). Tell me a dragon. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. ISBN: 9781845075347

Annotation: In this beautiful book, people from all over the world describe their dragons.

Reaction: The art in this is breathtaking. The pictures are beautiful and remind me of Renaissance paintings, full of detail and light. Each dragon has distinct features, unique to the people and places where they belong. Each double page illustration is accompanied by a few lovely lines that tell the reader what kind of dragon they’re looking at and it’s special characteristics. The dragons are caring and playful and warm, and not a one pillages or eats people. These dragons are protectors and friends, and the final pages, with all the dragons grouped together, invites the reader to imagine his or her own dragon.

This book is a total must for fantasy lovers, and I think the final page of “Tell me about your dragon” could foster some really lively imaginative play for children.

Media Used: Watercolors

Author’s Website


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Carter Finally Get It by Brent Crawford

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Crawford, B. (2009). Carter finally gets it. New York: Hyperion. ISBN: 9781423112471

Annotation: Will Carter is finally starting high school, and he’s determined to be the coolest, strongest, awesome-est dude there, if he can manage to pay attention during football practice and if all the girls in school don’t end up hating him.

Reaction: This book is HILARIOUS. I’m honestly not sure when the last time I laughed so much during a book was. Now, look, Carter is a pretty typical (I assume) fourteen year old boy. He thinks mostly about sex and how he can get a girl to do it with him. I think at his core, he’s a good kid, but he’s still got a lot of growing up to do before he becomes Not a Jerk. But you know what? This book made me think a lot about my own high school experience, and I think it would strike a familiar chord with readers who are currently in high school. Plus, I really enjoyed the peak into the psyche of an adolescent male.

Carter brings humor to all his antics, and I was sitting in the back room at work hoping no one walked back there while I was reading it because I was laughing like a crazy person. One of my friends said that she hopes he does a lot of growing up in the sequels and adjusts his expectations and opinions of women, and I agree that it would be great to see that character growth, as well as give male readers a good example of a regular dude who values and respects women.

This was a fun, quick read and would be great for any young man in high school.

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The Banshee by Eve Bunting

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Bunting, E., & McCully, E. A. (ill.) (2009). The Banshee. Boston: Clarion Books. ISBN: 9780618821624

Annotation: Young Terry is awoken one night at his home in Ireland to an awful wailing. It’s the Banshee, foretelling death in his house! Can he convince her to leave his family alone?

Reaction: I really like the team Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully make. McCully does a great job of translating Bunting’s words into beautiful illustrations that get across the mood and tone of the story. Her watercolors are washed in greys, indicating night as well as spookiness.

Bunting’s story introduces readers to the Irish superstition of the Banshee, a wailing woman who foretells death nearby, and she gives a portrayal of how that superstition might affect a child. I like that Bunting often introduces kids to different perspectives from what they’re used to, and this book could start a discussion about other bogeyman sort of superstitions they know about.

While this isn’t really a Halloween story, I think it’s one that could be read with older kids during that time of the year. The story is a little spooky and probably too scary for the preschool and under set, so I would wait to read it with children who appreciate fiction and that thrill of being a little scared.

Media Used: Watercolor

Author’s Website: None

Illustrator’s Website