A children's book blog by Miriam Rainwater

A children's book blog by Miriam Rainwater

"TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book." ~ Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mooshka, A Quilt Story

 Title: Mooshka: A Quilt Story
Author and Illustrator: Julie Paschkis
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Rating: 3 Stars

At bedtime, Mooshka always said, "Sweet dreams." First thing in the morning, Mooshka might say, "Pancakes."

This is a story of a talking quilt, made by the main character's grandmother to tell the stories of the generations. Quite a cute idea, I might add. However, I'm sad to say that the storyline simply does not live up to the uniqueness of that idea or the normal quality of books from Peachtree Publishers.

I received Mooshka: A Quilt Story from NetGalley for review. The story's illustrations are made from pieces of quilt fabric and are bright, textured, and cheerful. They would capture any child easily from beginning to end. On the contrary, the narrative starts out well but doesn't carry through.

Mooshka is the name of the quilt, and it is somehow magical because it tells stories that help Karla go to sleep each night. All she has to do is touch a piece of fabric, and Mooshka will tell her the story. Readers enjoy short stories of Karla's grandfather's proposal and her mother's escapades of jumping out of the cherry tree to learn how to fly. We also reads stories about the dog's Halloween costume and Karla's aunt's fortune telling.

Then one day when Hannah, Karla's little baby sister moves into Karla's room, the quilt mysteriously stops talking. Karla feels a bit jealous of her little sister, but one night when the baby is crying, she goes over to her sister's crib tell her stories from the quilt. This is where I took issue with the plot of the book. I understand the thought of wanting Karla to tell the stories to her younger sister, but I was disappointed that Mooshka didn't start telling stories again. I dare say children will be dissatisfied with this conclusion, also. In addition, there is no explanation of why Mooshka stops talking. Is it because Mooshka doesn't like the new baby? Is it because Karla was jealous? There is no resolution.

Despite its closing pages, however, Mooshka: A Quilt Story has a strong Russian flavor and captures the joy of giving to the next generation (or at least, in Karla's case, her little sister).

What items do you have in your house that tell a story of past generations?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, January 23, 2012

The House on Dirty-Third Street

Title: The House on Dirty-Third Street
Author: Jo Kittinger
Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Rating: 5 stars

All the houses on Thirty-Third Street were old and run down, but the one with the For Sale sign was the worst. I'd call the whole place "Dirty-Third Street." 
"It's perfect," said Mom. 
"It doesn't look perfect to me," I said.

"Hillbilly Heaven" March 2007
As soon as I read these words in The House on Dirty-Third Street, I knew that I was going to love this book. It took me back to the day my parents bought and old, run down foreclosure. They were going on and on about how beautiful it was going to be. They could see it. My six younger siblings and I couldn't; we thought they were crazy.

The Transformation May 2009
The house, which we named "Hillbilly Heaven," ended up being a two-year-long project that we tackled mainly as a family with occasional (much-appreciated) help from friends. We gutted the house and put everything back together. Now, it is beautiful.

But it didn't get that way without a lot of stress and sweat, and that's why this title from Jo Kittinger rang home with me. Kittinger creates a believable tale about the stress of such a huge project and an inspiring message about the perseverance, faith, and community unity it takes to get through such a monumental task. What will it take to cheer up the house (and the neighborhood)?

Illustrator Thomas Gonzalez's watercolor paintings change from dull and gray to bright and colorful, just like the old house and the main character's perspective. I had to smile when I saw the change, because I remember the change in real-life. It's amazing!

Negative elements: None. Great job, Jo Kittinger!

Overall, reading The House on Dirty-Third Street would be a wonderful opportunity for your child to learn about never giving up, being a beacon of light and hope in a community, and the enjoying the reward that comes with good hard work.

What kind of project has your family completed that felt like it would just never happen? What helped you endure?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Up and blogging again and Goodreads account

To my readers,
Last semester was a doozie, evidenced by the fact that I completely disappeared from the blogging world. I'm sorry about that. I'm planning to start back up with blogging again and continue to share books with you that you can share with your children. I've missed this! A new blog post should appear on Monday.

Meanwhile, check out my new Goodread's account. (http://www.goodreads.com/26letterimagination)
Although I haven't written a lot of reviews on there, yet, I do have a bookshelf full of books I've read in the past and have enjoyed. Goodreads is a good way to see what books I love that are not new-releases. Whereas I normally focus only on new releases when it comes to this blog, I have many old favorites. A lot of those are reflected in my choices for my Goodread's shelves, and I'm sure to add more as I realize how many books from my childhood I remember and appreciate.

I'm excited to be back!