Monday, January 2, 2012
Three Books Worth Your Time
As my first post of the New Year I thought it would be nice to reflect on books I read and reviewed in 2011. While I read many books and enjoyed most all of them, Three books stood out above the rest. The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins; My Hero, My Ding by Lisa A. Tortorello; and My Finny Fin Fin by Judi Chesshir. Not only did I find great pleasure in reading these books, but I also had the distinction of meeting Lisa in person and of interviewing both Aaron and Judi.
The Year Money Grew on Trees is not Aaron's first book, however it is his first YA book. It is a superbly written story of a determined boy. Goaded into an agreement by his conniving neighbor Mrs. Nelson and trying to evade the summer job of doom lined up by his father, Jackson Jones works diligently to live up to the bargain of restoring a neglected apple orchard. Jackson enlists the help of his siblings and his cousins and spends a summer learning as he goes. Will he manage to grow a crop of apples worthy of selling? Will he be able to sell the apples once they are grown? Will he fulfill the bargain made with Mrs. Nelson and in return become the true heir of the orchard. The answers to these questions and many more await you in this wonderful book.
Not only is Jackson Jones the main character most believable, but he also managed to find a special place in my heart. With every page I read, I rooted Jackson on. With every page I read, I wanted him to succeed more than anything. In some small way, I saw myself at that age. If we do not soon see more YA fiction from Aaron, it will truly be unfortunate thing.
My Hero, My Ding by Lisa A. Tortorello is a beautiful memoir of the time spent with her grandfather. I have always loved a good biography, autobiography, or memoir, so it is understandable that I thoroughly enjoyed Lisa's account of the special bond she and her grandfather shared while she was growing up. It was a joy to learn about Lisa's childhood and laugh at the antics displayed by her and her grandfather. My favorite story was of the time she roped the door of the workroom to a drawer across the way, locking he Grandfather in securely. She then told a subsequent customer, "He's tied up at the moment, but he'll be out shortly." I came away from My Hero, My Ding feeling that it would have been a great experience and lots of fun to have known Lisa and her grandfather during that time. I recently met Lisa at a book expo we both attended, and I can say she is truly the warm and friendly person of whom her Ding was so fond.
My Finny Fin Fin is a wonderful book written by Judi Chesshir an elementary teacher with a gift for teaching and writing. Judi puts a whole new spin on the tale of The Three Little Pigs with her book. Three dolphin brothers each attempt to choose a good home, but only one chooses wisely and survives being eaten by the Big Bad Shark. Beautifully written, and beautifully illustrated, this book is a must have for all those in love with children’s fairy tales. Not only is this a great book, but as an added bonus an audio version is available for download. As incredible as Judi's book is, the audio version takes it to a whole other level.
So if you are looking for a good piece of YA fiction, a good memoir, or a picture book with a great audio download then these three books are definitely worth your time. Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day.