Friday, September 02, 2005

It is a hot one today. But, it is a three day weekend and we have lots of tourists on the island enjoying their last long weekend of the summer so hot weather is a good thing. Too bad the sun wasn't out a bit more. Not sure what we are up to with Steve off for three days, perhaps nothing more than relaxing after our summer company. I have been working on putting one of my Reader's Advisory column Q&As together and discovered that locating well illustrated editions of children's classics is not easy - that is if you don't want an adaptation or an abridgment. But, part of the fun is the search - just what a librarian would say! :-)

Finished Walter Dean Myers short but intense YA novel, The Beast. I just looked at the reviews for it and they are not outstanding, but good. I am not sure what to think of this novel. At times I was wondering where Myers was going with the story and others I had to stop and reread a paragraph as the imagery is so well done. Once we leave and then return home it is not the same - actually it might be, but we aren't. We see it with different, more experienced, eyes. That's what happens to Spoon when he leaves Harlem to attend a suburban prep school for his senior year. He returns home for Christmas to find his girlfriend doing drugs and his buddy dropped out of school. "And suddenly I knew there was a reason I hadn't been home since August. It wasn't clear to me, but I knew it had to do with the mix. Chanelle, Brand, even Julie had all taken the train or driven from New York up to Wallingford, but the distance had been different. They had taken their lives, their successes, with them, and I had left mine behind." He had also left behind Gabi, who couldn't cope with her mother's cancer, her younger brother's gang involvement, and her blind grandfather. She let the beast catch her and things would never be the same between her and Spoon. Their talks of a future together had become just that, talk. They had taken separate paths.

When I was a kid my brother Dan had a hamster that rode around in his pocket. My brother Larry was given a guinea pig to use in a maze for his science fair project and discovered he had a whole family of guinea pigs! My own children had hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, and hermit crabs. But, none of them are quite right when that child wants a dog, or in my kids' case, a dog and a cat! In Angela McAllister's Monster Pet! Jackson wants a pet that is big and wild and all his. But, dad brought his home a hamster. Jackson named him Monster, but he certainly didn't act like one. He couldn't fetch a stick and he couldn't climb a tree and he certainly could not roar. Jackson got bored with him and Monster was lonely. That night Monster found his way out of his cage and into his hamster food and into the garden. He was now a monster size hamster and had Jackson learning how to store food in his cheeks and exercise on the wheel. I wonder what would have happened if Jackson hadn't fallen out of bed and woke up? :-) Charlotte Middleton's illustrations make the monster size hamster so goofy looking he isn't the least bit scary so even little ones will love this book about how important it is to care for your pets, even the littlest, meekest ones.