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Tag: Jen Bryant

Picture Books: Not Just for Kids

November is Picture Book Month. You might be surprised at how many aren’t just for children. In fact I think many are really for us older folks who may be reading them with children. For any of you who might not have read one in years, except maybe to younger kids, check out some of these books that have a lot of appeal for anyone 12 and older.

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Try these alternatives to the “classics”

School will be starting in less than a month & that means English class and those literature “classics”  you’re forced to read. To this day, I’ve never been able to get through Moby Dick. I think that’s why I love the current commercial so much for Microsoft I heard on a radio station about the girl doing to book report using initialisms. Part of it goes something like this, the girl says it’s about LFW (looking for whales) and “OMGROTDC“ (Oh my God, rolling on the deck crying)  – is, of course, the captain’s response to losing his leg.

I do love Jane Austen so I don’t think it’s so bad having to read her, although I understand that guys don’t feel the same way. But, if you’re not into reading Austen’s books set in the Regency Period, try this recently published contemporary tribute to her Sense and Sensibility called Sass and  Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler. Gabby Rivera’s almost 18, and a senior in high school. She’s very sensible, responsible  and grouchy all the time – completely unlike her younger sister Daphne, 15, who’s always dreaming about the perfect guy. Daphne’s popular, upbeat and isn’t afraid to feel things – and is head over heals over a new guy at school. Gabby’s the opposite. She doesn’t have any friends except guy pal Mule (why he’s named that is a story in itself).  She once had feelings for a boy but he tragically died and she ended up completely debilitated. She never wants to feel that way again. Their parents have divorced and their rent’s gone up so much they’re forced to move. Unable to find a decent place, they end up in the carriage house of a wealthy family. Gabby hates their son, Prentiss, without really knowing him because she believes he caused the death of his cousin Sonny, the guy she once loved. Like Sense and Sensibility, misunderstandings ensue and Daphne has a extremely humiliating experience before it ends happily. I have to admit that after reading it, I prefer the original because I thought both girls in Ziegler’s version were a lot less sympathetic than Austen’s and their heartbreak unnecessarily drawn-out (the review in Kirkus says it reads like “sisters on the verge of a nervous breakdown”). Despite that, their problems are compelling in a car crash kind-of-way and readers who have sisters will relate to their love-hate relationship.

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