Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Ability by M. M. Vaughan

The Ability by M. M. Vaughan
Copyright 2013

This is a fantasy and/or science fiction story is intended for middle grade readers. The main character and his friends are all 12 years old.  Christopher Lane and his friends have been chosen to go to a private government school because they show particularly strong "Ability" skills.  The premise is that all twelve year olds (starting with their 12th birthday, and lasting only until they turn thirteen) have some "ability" but some have it stronger. They have been invited to a posh school to learn how it works, and to help save the Prime Minister who is in danger - from an incident that happened thirty years ago.  Meanwhile, there are twin boys being trained elsewhere to use their abilities for more sinister reasons.  

I enjoyed this book.  There is nothing on this book to say that is the first of a series, but it could be, indeed. The ending, which I will not give away, lets me think that there will be more in the future.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just Grace and the Super Sleepover by Cherise Mericle Harper

Just Grace and the Super Sleepover by Charise Mericle Harper
Publication Date:  January 7, 2014

First, let's get the business part out of the way:   I acquired this book as a paperback ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) at ALA 2013. . . so just a couple of weeks ago!   Let's remember I that I am a Librarian who primarily is a stay-at-home-mom at present.   However, I thought this that this book would be an interesting read for my 7-year-old niece who is about to begin second grade. As a note, it might still be a little beyond her reading abilities, yet, but when I gave this book to her to read, she was thrilled with it.  There are many illustrations as Just Grace illustrates many of the stories in her book! Niece spent lots of time going over the illustrations.  Yay!   The book is recommended for readers ages six to nine years old.

This is the latest installment of Just Grace series of books. One of her friends, Grace F, is inviting over several girls for her birthday party, which is to be a sleepover in a tent!  Outside!  Everyone else is excited, but Just Grace is not exactly excited. She is rather scared of the idea of sleeping outside in a tent.  Is it safe?   Meanwhile, Just Grace talks a lot about learning about the Earth in school (third grade), and the songs that her teacher makes up to help them learn.

 I will admit here that this is the first Just Grace that I have read, and I really enjoyed her as the heroine of this story.   The author does an excellent job of capturing the voice of a third grader.  For me, as an adult, it was a quick and easy read, but it also found my third-grade self lurking . . .  I would have loved this book when I was in third grade!

(In third grade, I read books such as The Little House books, Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, Carolyn Haywood's Betsy books and other books such as Rebecca C. Jones' Angie and Me.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Moving Miss Peggy by Robert Benson

Moving Miss Peggy: A Story of Dementia, Courage and Consolation
by Robert Benson

I read this little book early this past Sunday morning.   The copy of it was acquired on Saturday afternoon at ALA 2013.  Mr. Benson was there in person to sign copies of it.  I had never read any of his works before.  I may send him an email now that I have read the book.

This is a very well-written and poignant story.  It is written in the third person for the most part.  It is not written from the point of view of the author, although he is obviously a character in the story.  Sometimes it is addressed as "we" (the four siblings who must decide what to do with their mother), and then each sibling or spouse is named when necessary.  

Miss Peggy, as she is most often called, married young and gave birth to five children over the next 16 years.  After her husband passed away fairly young (their youngest child was still just 16 years old), she led a rather independent life working and enjoying living.   However, in the last couple of years, some things haven't been quite right with her, and her living children gather to decide what must be done for her, and who will do what things for Miss Peggy.

She is experiencing dementia, and it is getting worse.  She is not quite the self she used to be.   She has already had to give up driving.  It is finally decided that she must be moved into an assisted living facility, and her large townhouse must be sold   The siblings set out to find just the perfect location for their mother.  In the meantime, they are trying to carefully dissolve their mother's household and belongings.  Various pieces of furniture goes to various grandchildren who are moving out on their own, for instance.

It is a beautiful story, and it really resonated with me.   I have experienced some of these things recently with my grandpa recently moving into assisted living.  I inherited some very special furniture. . .  and this past Sunday, my grandpa was able to share again the story of how he and grandma acquired that furniture more than sixty years ago (they were moving, and many of their possessions were lost in a flood.  This was some of the new furniture that they were able to get at cost.)  Grandma died seven years ago now, but she was experiencing dementia at the time.

I highly recommend this book.