Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The American Dream by Russell A. Baker

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Having a house well stocked with historical fiction, I was curious how The American Dream would measure up compared to our existing favorites.  I was extremely pleased with Baker's ability to make history come alive in a new and exciting way.  Not another cookie cutter time travel book, Baker introduces a bit of esponiage into the mix--drawing youngsters into a cat and mouse chase with one of history's villains.

The first in The O'Connor Chronicles, readers are introduced to sisters Kaitlyn and Kristen, Kaitlin's classmate Sam, and their history teacher and neighbor, Mr. Bacon. Mr. Bacon uses rather unconventional methods to help kids experience history.

One rainy afternoon as the O'Connors and Sam are hanging out, the trio is trying to figure out what to do. Kristin is always ready for an adventure and as they see a suspicious person nosing around Mr. Bacon's house, the kids feel compelled to go explore. They soon discover that Mr. Bacon is no ordinary neighbor and they are soon drawn into a world of high tech and secrecy.  The American Dream takes young readers on an historical adventure that will leave them begging for the next installment, Exceptional Americans!

I loved that Baker included interesting quotes at the beginning of each chapter--great food for thought. And there were just enough illustrations sprinkled throughout to help younger readers visualize the characters and events. This would make a great read aloud with family or a read alone for ages 8 and up.  I'm well past the target age and thoroughly enjoyed it myself! Grab your copy today and start living history!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The American Dream for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I absolutely loved the manga version of Marie Kondo's tidying up book.  The foundation and steps for achieving what she calls the "magic" of tidying up are all present in a condensed and easy to read and understand format.

I love how the book uses a very appealing format for teens to introduce younger readers to the concept but I also enjoyed it myself; it's great for those who are short on time (or lack the focus to read a book).  Marie herself stars in this book, as she helps someone work through the tidying process (often referred to as the KonMari method).

Loved the illustrations (including how to properly fold things).  While there were still elements of eastern philosophy and religion that I don't espouse, I found those elements much less obvious in the manga form of the book.  There is still plenty of worthwhile information that anyone could benefit from. What a great way to get younger people on board with a more simplistic lifestyle. The manga version also makes for a very quick and easy reference when you need a refresher about the KonMari steps.

The fictionalized story was so fun, I'm hoping there'll be a sequel so we can find out the rest of that story!  My 12 year old snatched up the book as soon as I had completed it and I look forward to helping her put the tips into practice.  If you haven't read any of Marie Kondo's books, this would be a great way to get started!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up from Blogging for Books for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.