Friday, October 28, 2011

It's a Book

Summary: Playful and lighthearted with a subversive twist that is signature Lane Smith, IT'S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age. This satisfying, perfectly executed picture book has something to say to readers of all stripes and all ages.

Why I recommend it: Because I just got it last year, and I love it. It's my go-to present for baby showers, kids birthday's and pretty much anything. I give it to Adults, kids, and even the odd teenager. It's pretty fabulous

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Man of The Century

Summary: "I am the spy of the century," said Woodrow Lowe, age 108, to his interviewer. "I was also a white slave, a heavyweight contender, the ruler of China [until the Dowager Empress cruelly deposed him], and the man who started World War I; and if you don't believe me, you can get out of my house." Were the ancient husk's pronouncements those of a liar or madman? At first it seemed the answer to both was yes. Yet over the years emerged unimpeachable evidence of these and many other feats. Man of the Century is Woodrow Lowe's story, unlike any ever remembered or read. He fought John L. Sullivan in the Dakotas; he was the first man up San Juan Hill during the charge of the Rough Riders and stood with Teddy Roosevelt at his Second Inaugural (Teddy bailed him out more than once). He carried off Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassin, never to be heard from again. He was a slave of the Dervish in the Sudan. Diamond Jim Brady met his match in Woodrow. He was the blond boyo who, a club fighter with a distinctive cauliflower ear (thanks to John L.), found himself mixed in with a century of American and world history, and, remarkably, lived to tell about it in his fashion, at once a rollicking, shrewd recital, dramatized to the hilt, that defied the challenge of the dry historiographies, and created a fulsome story filled with characters - real and some mythic you'll never forget.

Why I Recommend it: This is in no way the best book ever written. It's not overly popular, well known and I believe it didn't even make it to paperback printing. The thing is, I have no idea why. I read. A Lot. And this book is wonderful. I love it. It's funny, well written, the characters are appealing and it seems at the same time fantastical and realistic. I love it, though I can't put my finger on why. It's more than worth a read if you can find it, your best bet is ABEBooks or the Library.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Carl at the Dog Show

Summary: Madeleine''s mom has to help Carl''s Cousin, Gamble, get ready to compete in his event at the dog show, and she tells Carl and Madeleine to meet her by the show ring. Do Carl and Madeleine listen? Of course not! They immediately set off to explore--they help groom other dogs, have a snack, test out dog beds, create an agility test of their own--all with hilarious results and mom none the wiser. With its minimal text and Alexandra Day''s signature art, CARL GOES TO THE DOG SHOW is sure to please Carl fans, Rottweiler lovers, and dog enthusiasts of all sorts.

Why I recommend it: My dog is technically a show dog, and I'm always struck by how many kids are at dog shows. I'm not a rabid pure-breed fanatic, I think rescue is important, and have done my fair share of rescue. That being said, I also usually suggest that for first time dog owners, a purebreed dog from a reputable (and I can't emphasize that enough) breeder gives you some security in what you're getting out of the dog, and support for the dog. If you're getting a pure breed dog, looking into the breed is important, and one of the best places for meeting the dogs, seeing what they're like in full show coat, and seeing how the breeders treat their show dogs. It's a complicated world, but it's usually a good sign of how a breeder treats their dog at home, with how they treat them at a show!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Balloon Tree

Summary: Balloons! They are the favourite playthings of Princess Leora. When her father, the king, goes to a neighbouring kingdom to participate in a tournament, he tells Leora to signal him with balloons if anything goes wrong. But the archduke, planning to take over the kingdom, promptly locks the princess in her room and orders all the balloons in the kingdom to be popped. With the help of a wizard and a boy with the only balloon left in the kingdom, Leora is able to plant a balloon tree that blossoms into thousands of balloons. But will it be in time to save the kingdom?

Why I recommend it: Oh, hey. Look! It's Phoebe Gilman again! She's brilliant. Read everything.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I went to Stratford the other week, for a few reasons. I stayed with family (obviously) and while I was rifling through the attic (what else do you do when you go to family?) (clearly you rifle through the attic) and I found a few pictures of when I was a kid. As my cousin said to me after posting them on Facebook, I still look the same. No really. I even have the same haircut - that's a little creepy. 

So, here's to yester-years, and the future. Here's to good choices, and bad, here's to hindsight being 20-20 and there's to taking risks and adventure.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Summary: Cimorene, the youngest princess of the Kingdom of Linderwall, is frustrated by her cloistered, sheltered life. Unlike her petite, blonde, blue-eyed sisters, who can "gaze up through their long eyelashes" at their various suitors, Cimorene, tall, dark-haired and intelligent, is not satisfied with the stifling and close-minded interests of her parents and their kingdom. She is bored with her "proper" lessons in etiquette, embroidery, dancing, and how loudly to scream when being carried off by a giant.

Why I recommend it: This series is second only to the Immortals, and even that is arguable. It's a princess, who doesn't want to be a princess, who runs off to live with Dragons and refuses to be rescued. This is another series that to this day I re-read, recommend and love. Brilliant. Strangely, Patricia C. Wrede also wrote Snow White and Rose Red, fairytale fantasy (for adults) (no really, it's way more... mature), being a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red" (not "Snow White") set in Elizabethan England and including elements of the Thomas the Rhymer ballad as well

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Sometimes, I wonder what's wrong with my dog. Sometimes, I also wonder what he's thinking. He's pretty shaggy, and I'm pretty sure he thinks he's a human (no really, not in the crazy way that like "oh he's my baby" but in the way I'm fairly sure he thinks we're idiots. Maybe not a human. Maybe just a cat) like in the picture below.

Why doe he need a pillow? We don't GIVE him the pillow, he'll steal it off my roommates bed. And then drag it to where he wants it. And then steal the other pillow off the bed and put it on top of the first pillow. That... is totally normal. Right Please?

Then there's this one. First Gambit decided he had to take the bottom part of his bed out. Then I'm... fairly sure the Tigger toy kicked him out of his bed, but I'm unsure how it managed to take Gambit on and win. I picture it as some sort of a death match, but that's just me.
I'm unemployed guys. This stuff keeps me up at night.