Shark Lady: True Adventures of Eugenie Clark

Our rating: ****

Ever since she was a child, Eugenie Clark wanted to swim with sharks. She spent hours in the aquarium watching the fish in fascination and dreaming of the day when she would be able to study them in the wild. And when she grew up, she got that chance.

This book chronicles Dr. Eugenie Clark’s life, albeit in a somewhat condensed form. Shark Lady was one of my favorite books when I was somewhere in the eight to ten years old range. It has lovely illustrations, and is told in an engaging manner without being too choppy or “watered down” for young kids.

Petunia

Our rating: ***½

One day, Petunia, the silly goose, finds a book lying on the ground. Petunia has heard the farmer say that those who own books and love them will be wise, so she keeps the book, believing that she will no longer be a silly goose. With her new-found wisdom, Petunia feels that she is qualified to give advice to the rest of the farm animals but, since she has never read the book, her advice has disastrous (and explosive) results.

Petunia is a silly story with a moral. Although the moral is a little too obvious, the rest of the book comes across well, is very enjoyable, and makes a good start to a small series featuring the silly goose.

Flap Your Wings

Our rating: ***

One day, a boy finds an egg lying in the path. He sees a nest nearby and decides to put the egg into it. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Bird are quite surprised when they come back to find a very large egg in their nest. Nevertheless, they take care of the egg until it hatches into… Well, you’ll find out.

A humorous tale, accompanied by P. D. Eastman’s excellent illustrations. I found it rather difficult to read aloud, as the sentences tend to be very short, but it would probably be enjoyable for a beginning reader. Overall, a fun book, but I think I like The Best Nest better.

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Our rating: ***½

This book contains five stories about Frog and Toad, in which spring comes and Frog tries to wake Toad up, Toad tries to think of a story to tell Frog, Toad loses a button, Frog and Toad go swimming, and Toad is unhappy because he never gets any mail.

Light-hearted tales that are fun to read aloud. My favorite is the one where Toad tries to think up a story, perhaps because I myself am a writer. If you enjoy this book, you may want to also read Frog and Toad Together.

Ella Enchanted

Our rating: ****½

Ella has a problem. At birth, a foolish fairy granted her the gift of obedience. Now any command she receives, however big or little it be, she is compelled to obey. This has obvious disadvantages, and if the knowledge of her curse falls into the wrong sort of hands… well, it could be very bad indeed. However, Ella is not one to simply accept her fate. She determines to find the cure, no matter how long it takes.

This is a delightfully fun read. It’s lighthearted, but at the same time isn’t meaningless fluff. The story is cleverly written, and I found it almost impossible to put down. In short, Ella Enchanted is… enchanting! I’d say it’s best suited for ages 12 and up, but it could be a good read aloud book, too.