Review: The Lady and the Panda: the True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China’s Most Exotic Animal

The Lady and the Panda: the True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal
The Lady and the Panda: the True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China’s Most Exotic Animal by Vicki Croke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author Vicki Croke exudes enthusiam for her subject, Ruth Harkness. Rich details of China in the ’30s, America’s quest for exotic animal specimens, and the gradual development of more humane zoos. I would recommend reading, rather than listening, to this one, as there’s so much more than just the main narrative. I listened with only half an ear while working and missed a lot of interesting stuff.

View all my reviews

Review: Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend

Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend
Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am zooming through this richly written book. Holbrook Gerzina’s enthusiasm is as contagious on the page as it is on her radio show (http://www.wamc.org/prog-bookshow.html).

P.S. How cool: One of my local librarians is thanked in the acknowledgments!

View all my reviews

Review: Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street

Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street
Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More a history of the evolution of educational television for children than a mere celebration of Sesame Street. Davis weaves in the life stories of all the major players, doesn’t shy away from politics, and makes it all a delicious read.

I saw this on the “New Books” display in one of the libraries where I’ve been working and had to read it! Couple this with a family viewing of the new “Electric Company” DVD box set, and you have yourself a ’70s preschool nostalgia extravaganza.

View all my reviews

Review: Swear to Howdy

Swear to Howdy
Swear to Howdy by Wendelin Van Draanen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Van Draanen fans will be disappointed in this one. The language doesn’t work and the stories, though humorous, aren’t quite “there.”

The last fifth of the book bears no resemblance to the beginning 4/5. I suspect that very few kid readers, even mature ones, will be prepared for what happens.

LOVE the title and the cover illustration.

View all my reviews

Review: The Man of My Dreams

The Man of My Dreams
The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sittenfeld is a very good storyteller. Hannah Gavener could be anyone you might have known in college, a young woman going about her moderately successful life but trapped in her head with a diminished sense of self-worth.

This is a less uncomfortable book than Prep. This may be because most of Hannah’s story gets told when she’s a young adult, instead of a floundering teenager. Hannah is truly making her own choices, even if she’s not having any fun. The main character in Prep seemed to be more desperate and taken advantage of.

View all my reviews

Review: Crash Course in Reference

Crash Course in Reference
Crash Course in Reference by Charlotte Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Written in a friendly, easy-to-read style, this book covers all the basics. It begins with the definition of reference service and includes the reference interview, the evolution of reference resources (print and digital), how to decide what to buy, what free online versions are out there, and reference ethics. A nice reminder for folks who don’t do this every day, or a good starting point for someone looking to learn about reference service.

View all my reviews