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Friday, December 25, 2015

William Shakespeare's Star Wars - Ian Doescher



A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

back in 1977, George Lucas released a film that changed sci-fi genre and pop culture forever. Rich with allegory and old-time tropes, many which could be traced back to Shakespeare's works, Lucas's Star Wars films quickly became a classic loved the world over.

Doescher seemlessly transforms the work into iambic pentameter and adds more Shakespearian influence by adding the omniscient narrator through R2D2. The addition of new songs and minstrel renditions of the existing songs, made me smile. The play between Han and Leia is overly dramatic in the fashion of Shakespeare. I was happy to have listened to the audiobook version instead of reading the written version. With the different voices and sound effects it was like listening to an old radio show.

If you are a fan of both Star Wars and Shakespeare, this is the book for you.

Source Material:
Star Wars Trilogy Novels
Star Wars Trilogy Movies

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice - Wendy Pfeffer

On or around December 21st is the shortest day of the year known as winter solstice, which indicates the official start of winter. This children's book, decorated with wonderful illustrations, begins by explaining the change from autumn to winter in a modern context with dressing warm when outside and staying toasty inside buildings and goes on to explain what causes the change scientifically.

Following this introduction, children are then told about what ancient people thought about the change of seasons and includes explanations of some of the festivities of the ancient peoples, including: the Romans, northern Europeans, Sweden, Incas, and finally some of the modern traditions.

The back of the book includes an index with illustrations of with more details of how the tilt of the planet causes seasons, activities to demonstrate the tilt of earth, and even a few ideas on how to celebrate solstice.

Children will enjoy learning about natural events and how people around the world celebrate them when reading this book.

More by the author:
The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice
A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox
We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season

Friday, December 11, 2015

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

When Jacob's grandfather used to tell him stories of his childhood filled with floating girls, talking birds, and monsters, he was amazed. But after making the mistake of telling the wrong children at school and being mocked, he demands his grandfather no longer fill his head with lies. These stories are long forgotten to Jacob's memory, even though his ailing grandfather calls him at least once a week insisting the monsters are after him. It isn't until it's too late that Jacob realizes his grandfather wasn't telling fairy tales or lying at all.

Seeking closure, Jacob convinces his parents to take him to the island his grandfather grew up on to seek out the truth of his childhood. What he finds is beyond his wildest dreams and nightmares. Like his grandfather before him, Jacob becomes the center of a war he doesn't want to be part of, but has no choice but to endure.

The beginning of the book was so normal, starting with Jacob trying to get out of his family job and dealing with his mentally ailing grandfather. As a reader, I was just as confused and horrified about the first unusual incident as Jacob was. And when he got to the island, the first few peculiar incidents I shared his disbelief. I loved following along with Jacob as he learned about the strange world Miss Peregrine and her charges occupied.

While this novel is the beginning of a series, I wasn't satisfied with the conclusion of this first book. It did leave me curious for what awaits Jacob and his friends in the future, though, so I guess the author did a great job.

Books in the Series:
Hollow City
Library of Souls

Friday, December 4, 2015

Trouble in Teton Valley - Gary McCarthy

After escaping Cheyenne, Henry and Samantha ride the Medicine Wagon out toward Yellowstone National Park, where the good doctor hopes to enjoy the natural beauty of the preserve and Samantha hopes to sell some of her father's "medicine" to make a bit of money. Along the way they make a stop in Teton Valley, where Samantha gets caught with her sticky hands by the sheriff. Fortunately, she has Henry on her side, who manages to negotiate her freedom.

Just as they are about to leave disease breaks free, the top that only a doctor like Henry Wallace can hope to contain. With his knowledge and Samantha's determination, they may be able to save the town from death.

There hasn't been much development in Samantha's character in the previous two books, but she seems to be realizing that she's not as slick as she previously thought. And after seeing Henry having to pay for the consequences of her actions out of the goodness of his heart, she's realizing maybe her way of life isn't best for her. Henry, meanwhile, is learning the necessity of being a hard man out in the lawless west. As with the previous books in the series, there was nothing particularly special in this novel but it kept me entertained during my commute.

I'm disappointed that the audio book I borrowed advertises a fourth book in the series that hasn't seem to have come out yet. While I'm not heartbroken over it, I have found this light series a nice way to unwind.

Books in the Series:
The Medicine Wagon
Cheyenne