Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Last Olympian )Percy Jackson and the Olypians #5) by Rick Riordan

Product Details
Product Details

Pub. Date: May 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Format: Hardcover, 400pp
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series , #5
ISBN-13: 9781423101475
ISBN: 1423101472


All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

My thoughts:

This installment was a little harder to listen to than the prior four in that more people are hurt and killed in this one. I know that made it a more difficult read/listen for my children. It was interesting to see how things played out and to get a further back-story on some of the characters and gods and how things in the past are playing out in the present. Finding out how Nico and Bianca ended up at the Lotus Blossom Casino for all those years, what happened to their mother, why Luke’s mother is the way she is and what led Luke down the path to becoming the vessel for Kronos. Also how infighting and unfairness among the gods led to some of them siding with Kronos over the Olympians. It is a good lesson on how things from the past continue to play out in the present and how we all must take care with our words, actions and decisions not because we are going to cause a battle that could end like as we know it, but because today’s events could come into play at some later date. A flip comment today meant as a joke can be taken the wrong way and become a big issue for someone farther down the road. Sometimes the comment you take away from a conversation and just can’t shake was forgotten by the speaker moments later and wasn’t meant in an unkind way at all.

Seeing the demigods in a more grown-up way was different and I think I am going to miss their adventures. I was a the bookstore last weekend and saw the Riordan has a new series about heroes now so that should be interesting. I wonder if the characters from these will make appearances of if it will be new heroes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

Product Details
Format: Paperback, 208pp
Series: Ramona Series
ISBN-13: 9780380709595
ISBN: 0380709597


In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters first grade. Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different. Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible.

Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively. Enraged when Susan copies her wise old owl prepared for Parents' Night and receives praise for it, Ramona rebels. Overcome by guilt and no longer brave, she tries mightily thereafter to please her teacher, but still Mrs. Griggs infuriatingly reports home that Ramona lacks self-control. Only because she is a girl with spunk, to use her father's word, does Ramona's courage return, earning her at last an uneasy truce with the teacher.

Beverly Cleary draws here a portrait of a little girl discovering with astonishment that the way others see her is not always the way she sees herself. In the contrast lie moments of

My thoughts:
Ramona is becoming one of my favorites. I do not recall reading any of these books when I was in elementary school, but honestly I can’t remember most of the books I read then so that doesn’t really mean all that much. Ramona is just the right age for my older two children. They are in school and can understand where she is coming from. The part in this story where she meets the dog walking to school by herself but a different way than usual really grabbed them and brought about a lot of good conversation. Some things are still the same as they were when this book was written 35 years ago and some are different. My children do not walk to school alone they take a bus and even if we were close enough to walk I would walk with them. I don’t think too many young elementary students walk alone any more but the interactions with her parents and students at school are much the same.
It was good to see someone coping with fitting in to a new classroom and getting to know a new teacher, since that was what they were both doing when we were listening to the book. As adults I think we sometimes forget how hard it can be to be a good listener and to follow directions at school all day. Ramona's stories are so fun to listen to. Now that we've read a few I would like to rent the movie again and watch it. When we saw it at the drive-in this summer I hadn't read any of them and I think we might all appreciate Ramona even more now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

Product Details
Pub. Date: April 2007
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Format: Compact Disc
Series: Ramona Series
ISBN-13: 9780739338957
ISBN: 0739338951


Beverly Cleary has given books to each member of the Quimby household except Mrs. Quimby. Now she gets her turn at last in a story that hits the high and low points of a working mother's life as seen from Ramona's seven-and-a-half-year-old viewpoint.

Inevitably domestic tensions, not without their amusing side, occasionally arise. Mr. and Mrs. Quimby sometimes forget who is to do what, as when the Crock-Pot is not plugged in and dinner remains uncooked. Beezus acquires a ludicrous teased hairdo at the student body shop while Ramona gets a becoming pixie haircut. Ramona, who feels unloved, takes to twitching her nose like a rabbit in a cozy picture book until her teacher becomes concerned that something is making her nervous.

Yet Ramona is wrong. She is loved, and readers will rejoice with her when she discovers the wonderful truth. Few writers today are as skilled as Mrs. Cleary at showing families in the round, and here she is at the peak of her powers.

My thoughts:

I listened to this audio book earlier this summer with my children while we were in the car. This is something I mention a lot but I love how listening to a book holds my children’s attention so well. We do not have a DVD player in the car, but even if we did I am not sure it would hold their attention as well. When they watch TV they sometimes talk because they can still see the picture, while with an audio book if they talk they miss the action so they tend to be better behaved.

Ramona’s jealousy of her sister is something that is so common in families so the story was easy to relate to. Some of the antics from this book are featured in the movie that came out this summer, Ramona and Beezus. The incident with the tooth paste and wearing pajamas to school among others. We checked the book out after having seen the movie at the drive in theater. Because we had already seen actors playing the roles that is how I pictured each of them as we were reading. In this book they are a little younger than they were in the movie.

I like how even though these books were published years ago they still hold true today. It was neat to be able to tell my children that the book was even older than me because I am sure they think I am quite old!