A Secret Worth Sharing: The Secret Garden

A book ahead of its times! The ending is so oddly in tune with contemporary thought on happiness and depression, Burnett could have written Burns’ classic self-help tome, Feeling Good. That aside, the timeless story is one of survival and friendship -- two little wretches who grow into healthy, strong, loving young people. Interesting isn’t it that research shows...

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A GREAT Book about a Great Girl - The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

(One of my all-time favorite Paterson novels.) Distance brings you nearer.

Paterson uses the third person in this and most of her novels, first person being too egotistical, in her view (some essay/lecture of hers). But the voices of the characters are so vivid, so alive, it could be written in crayon and I’d still

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Um, Did You See My Computer Anywhere? The Borrowers by Mary Norton

An adventure-filled story that ends up being a bit of a mystery. Are the borrowers real?

I can see the appeal—what child doesn’t wonder who got off with their pencil stub or favorite toy car? The characters are richly drawn, the details making the little people believable and the whole story credible.

I don’t see the necessity of...

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One Bizarre Book: The BFG by Roald Dahl

My first thought: wow! Dahl is on LSD! Which makes sense for an early 80s book (child of the 60s/70s). But no, not psychotropic drugs, just a little Freud and Jung with a dash of Platonic forms. Ok, on to at least one real thought: BFG’s fabulous voice of made-up words, rhythm and bizarre syntax that never muddles meaning. It is so vivid and real, and so surprisingly...

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Bread and Jam, Peanut Butter and Pepperoni, Whatever

Engaging the child within everyday family life. The lyrical text is sweet and gentle, reminding me of Rosemary Wells, and with it, Russell uncovers everyday details to engage the world of a child. The sorts of details that may drive a parent batty, but get at how closely children observe aspects of the world that appeal to or interest them. There is a deep understanding of...

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Purple Plastic Purses and Other Uses of Alliteration

Super-fast summary: Little mouse Lily has a crush on her teacher. She so wants to impress him with her new purse, but ends up disrupting class and being scolded. Her crush quickly turns to anger and she draws a cruel picture, but later repents and all is well.

The bigness of Lily's angst, like Ramona’s in the Ramona Quimby books, shows...

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