I really enjoyed reading the first Hereville graphic novel, so when I saw the next one on netgalley, I was eager to revisit Mirka’s somewhat bizarre world. Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (published November 2012) is another look at the spunky young Jewish girl who has fantastic adventures in her small community.
In the first volume, Mirka fights a troll in order to win a sword, but her battle ends up being different from what she expected! In this second volume, Mirka learns that a meteorite is coming to the earth. The witch helps her by transforming the meteorite, but it was not quite what she was expecting! Once again, Mirka must come to terms with herself in the humorous challenge she faces in this volume.
Hereville is such a blend of creativity that I really enjoy reading it, and I imagine the intended audience (young middle grade readers) loves it far more than I do! It has a strong strand of Jewish culture, but it also is a fantasy, an adventure, and a tale of a girl dealing with bullies, family, and basic pre-teen difficulties. I am not Jewish and I loved the glimpse at an Orthodox Jewish family and community. In general, I really like the world Barry Deutsch has created, and I’m glad he’s continued Mirka’s saga in this second volume of her adventures.
Note: I read a digital review copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.
Raisin Reads is a column with thoughts on children’s literature straight from the mind of a kid!
About the author: Raisin is five years old. He likes to read, and he wants to be a construction worker when he grows up.
I like Mercy Watson to the Rescue because when the fire department comes, Mr. and Mrs. Watson think Mercy called the fire department! But she did not! Eugenia Lincoln called the fire department instead!
Mercy is a pig. In Eugenia’s opinion, pigs belong on a farm. Mercy does not live on a farm. She lives in a house. Eugenia does not like Mercy because of that. At the end, Eugenia still does not like Mercy. But Mr. and Mrs. Watson like Mercy. They think she is a porcine wonder because they think she called the fire department.
My favorite part is the very end of the book. I think other people would like the book too.
Mom’s thoughts: Raisin read this book by himself, then he listened to it and read it at the same time. I am a big fan of audiobooks, and for a beginning reader, listening and reading together helped him recognize words, learn correct pronunciation (he had not encountered phrases like “porcine wonder” before), and better grasp the big picture of the story. The Mercy Watson series is a perfect follow up to shorter early readers like Mr. Putter and Tabby and Henry and Mudge. Mercy Watson’s story is longer (it has twelve chapters) but the sentences are well geared toward a young child beginning to read. There are a few sentences on each page, and the type is large. As in the early chapter books I mentioned, most two-page spreads have a color illustration. In Mercy Watson, these are illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, and there are also a few full two-page illustrations in the book. This makes it very accessible for the early reader too. There is something about color illustrations and large text that say “Come read me, I’m not that hard!” Besides all that, the story is fun!
What other chapter books for early readers are like this? We’re looking for large text and color illustrations, and yet less than 100 pages and plenty of easily accessible amusing story!
Raisin narrated the above review to me. Do you have any comments for him? I’ll pass along any messages.
I have been looking forward to introducing my son to the favorite books of my childhood, and I’m delighted to find he is finally old enough to appreciate them!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (originally published 1978) is a perfect chapter book for young readers. The chapters are less than five pages, the stories are compact and yet still inter-related, and the silliness factor meets the needs of a child. My son loved the time we spent reading these together, and as soon as we finished it, he took it from me and informed me he was going to read it again to himself. He is more than half way done.
As an adult, I still enjoyed it. It is silly and yet it does play off of realistic challenges: adults telling you to do things that seem impossible (going to take a note to a non-existent teacher), falling asleep when you should be awake, getting along with other kids, and overcoming stereotype, for example. I really enjoyed revisiting it as an adult. (more…)
Grammar has a reputation of being dull and dry, but a turn-of-the-century classic, Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbitt (first published 1878), attempts to make it fun by turning learning the parts of speech into a game.
In the imaginary world of Grammar-Land, the parts of speech have been arguing about which of them is most important. They must come before Judge Grammar and explain themselves. The book is written with the “children of Schoolroom-shire” as the intended audience, and as each part of speech comes before the judge, he asks the children for help in understanding the parts of speech.
Because I love studying grammar, I think it goes without saying that I loved this book! I found it to be a delightful introduction for kids. The parts of speech have distinct and memorable personalities. I think my favorite was Little Article.
Admittedly, the plot is not a fascinating adventure. There is no disguising the fact that this book is teaching something. But, compared to other options, I think sitting and reading about Grammar-Land is an ideal way for my son to first be exposed to the parts of speech. With the worksheets that other homeschool parents have made (here and here), I see Grammar-Land as a delightful beginning grammar “curriculum” for my young son. Best of all, Grammar-land is available for free at Google Books. I’ll come back here and report when Raisin and I have read it together.
Supposedly, Jules Verne is, in France, considered a “travel and adventure” writer, and is considered one of the great French authors, along with Zola, Hugo, and Dumas. Although I don’t consider him one of the greatest authors I’ve read, I have no doubt that Jules Verne is a great author, and well deserving of his “classic” status. The splendor of his writing may have been lost in translation.
His novels are amazingly inventive creations, a mix of science and fantasy. I am not generally interested in science fiction, but Jules Verne I can read and enjoy. Many name him the father of science fiction, and I definitely can see him as an influence on later writers. In general, I really like Jules Verne’s books because they feel like classics “light.” The stories are simply fun, and the prose is not challenging to read for the most part (although some of his book gets science heavy in parts). As for the science fiction aspects of some of his novels, they truly do make for a fun adventure!
A Journey to the Center of the Earth (originally published 1864 in French) was our book for this month’s book club, and we all enjoyed it, though few of us considered it a favorite classic. (more…)