Monday, August 13, 2012

Favorites, Money, and Evil Rats

I've been struggling through books lately, many of them highly recommended, but none catching my heart or even my undivided attention. I'm searching for that next greatest book, and I'm not finding it yet. (Any suggestions would be very welcome!)

This is going to be the most random blog post ever, but I thought I would recap what have been my hands-down favorite novels of this year so far, (and I'm not even going to put down the authors, because I've already blogged about them. But type these babies in Amazon, and you'll see it all):


Between Shades of Gray

A Greyhound of a Girl

The Unfortunate Son

While I can't call the following my absolute favorite books that I would choose to read on my own, these are some of my favorite read-allouds this year:

All of the How to Train Your Dragon Books. I think Cressida Cowell is perhaps the best plotter of action stories for kids of all time.

A Whole Nother Story

Any Hank the Cowdog and any Soup book (the soup books by Robert Newton Peck).

Calvin also loved it when I read The One and Only Ivan out loud. A strange book, but worth giving a try.

I am also now in love with Oliver Jeffries (Stuck). And honestly, The Berenstein Bears. I'm serious. And I won't even attempt to justify that to all you Berenstein Bears naysayers. Naysay away, but I am standing my ground.

I also wanted to share a story with you that warmed my heart. Shaemus is my newest reader, and in some ways, my least enthusiastic. We've established a new allowance/money policy in our house, part of which involves a chart that the kids can refer to if they want to earn extra money for doing housework. To my GREAT surprise, all of my kids have taken advantage of it so far (except for Flannery), and to my even GREATER surprise, Shaemus wanted to earn extra money to buy books. This may be because we announced a plan for the next two years to be travel years for our family where we go on family vacations to fun locations all over the east. Financial sacrifices have to be made for this to happen, and I announced that part of my sacrifice would be to not buy any books for the next two years (with our family's money—you better believe any birthday/Christmas money I happen to receive from generous relatives will go to feed my starving book fetish). The kids were shocked, stricken. They even complained. And then Shaemus spent practically an entire day doing jobs to earn money for books.

Utilizing Amazon's four-for-three bargain, he purchased eight books, seven of which came in two days. He then spent two days reading them all. An independent reader of chapter books, even with lots of words on the page, has been born. Seriously. That was all it took. He needed the books to be his, and maybe he even needed to earn them, but now he is reading everything. (See sneaky picture below as demonstration)

Now here's Shaemus with his new books (okay, we are staging this. He couldn't find most of his new books at such short notice, but let's just pretend. And if you're wondering what's around his neck, it's his cape.)

On another note, one rat is still missing. The evil Scabbers. She woke up my poor nephew who was visiting by running around his bed in circles while he was sleeping on it. Then two nights ago, I had the fabulous experience of a rat running over my pillow-covered head (a necessity with a rat on the loose) and down my leg and over my feet. After drowsily asking Sam why he was tapping all over me, I realized it was the rat. Of course by the time I realized this, the rat was gone. So we have a rat on the loose, a rat who likes to run over and around people on their beds while they are sleeping.

In other words this rat is taunting us, which reminds me of a very bizarre picture book I absolutely love and will share with you before signing off:

Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
Product Details

It is very, very strange, but very relevant to my current situation. Read it. Just for fun.

And please, never, ever buy rats.


  1. I love the Berenstein Bears, have since I was little - BUT the newer ones are trash! Have you read them? No lesson is taught and I was so disappointed!

  2. Yes, and I fully agree. The illustrations are fuzzy too—like the printer, or the colorer (that's what it looks like—a little kid's coloring job), couldn't quite get the colors in between the lines.

    Thankfully, there are plenty of old Berenstein Bears so we can ignore the new ones.