Thursday, April 22, 2021

Climate Change and How We'll Fix It by Alice Harman and Andrés Lozano


It's Earth Day and I've been saving my review of this book just for today! It's so good. Climate Change and How We'll Fix It by Alice Harman begins with the very first thing you need to know: What's the difference between weather and climate? As I read the beginning of the book, it occurred to me that already I found that it had defined climate change in a more palatable and easily comprehensible manner than any other book I've read (and I do enjoy reading about climate change), enough so that I couldn't help but think that a lot of adults could get a great deal out of Climate Change and How We'll Fix It

From the introduction of Climate Change and How We'll Fix It:

In the first section of this book, we're going to try to answer the big questions you might have about climate change. Questions like "How do we know it's happening?", "What is causing it?", and "What will happen if we don't stop it. 

Then, in the second section, we'll look at some of the problems getting in the way of fixing climate change. And in the third section, we'll try to figure out how humans — including you! — can help solve these problems and create a better, safer world for us all. 

There's a pretty substantial list of contents but the first section, "What We Know" talks about the Greenhouse Effect, different types of energy/fuel and how they contribute to climate change or can reduce it, food and farming (impacts of farming on the climate and the reverse), "Too much stuff" (conspicuous consumption, particularly in advanced nations where advertisers try to convince everyone they need more, and how wasteful consumption adds to the problem), and how exactly scientists find the evidence and impact of climate change. 

The second section uses talking heads (illustrated with little conversation bubbles) to show the two sides of various issues. For example, the "That's not fair" problem has a person from an advanced nation and a nation that is trying to become wealthier in discussion. The person from the wealthier nation tells the other that his country needs to reduce its carbon emissions but the other country's opinion is, "Hey, you did it to make yourselves wealthy and now it's our turn." 

The third section, about solutions, goes into some interesting territory in that it tells the reader that there are ways to do your part but it's also important to understand that there are reasons people don't understand and act on climate change, that it's important to listen to others and learn from them, try to promote fairness in climate action, and not lecture people. I thought the bit about not lecturing because it doesn't work anyway but simply doing what you can was particularly great because, in fact, I've read an entire book about why people don't want to even think about climate change, much less accept it, and it makes a lot of sense to stick to simplicity — do what you can to help, but let others come to understanding of what needs to be done in their own time. 

Geared for older elementary level, Climate Change and How We'll Fix It would be an excellent library resource and wonderful for use in classrooms or for science reports. Adults who don't want to read a more in-depth book but just want to know the basics will get a lot out of it, as well. Here's an interior image to give you an idea of the reading level (click on the image to enlarge). 


Highly recommended - I've read quite a few books about climate change but this children's book is one of the clearest, most easily comprehensible books I've read. It does become a little repetitive in the latter half and I thought the fictional conversations were a tiny bit more complex than the text. Still, Climate Change and How We'll Fix It is an excellent primer about climate change: what it is, how scientists know it's not normal, why progress in reversing it has been slow, and what readers can do to help bring about change. It also contains a very nice glossary. 


My thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy! 


©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot by Kate Dalgleish and Isobel Lundie


Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot by Kate Dalgleish is just what it sounds like, the story of a young elephant who has a bad memory. When Edmund is sent to fetch some items for his brother's birthday party, his mother teaches him a song about memory and then sends him with a list, which he promptly discovers that he's forgotten. 

Colin the Cricket tags along to try to help Edmund but Edmund can't quite hear what Colin is shouting. The end result is like a game of telephone. Colin shouts, "It's a bunch of balloons!" and Edmund says, "Aha! A gang of masked raccoons!" and promptly places them in his wagon to take home. Here's a spread showing how Colin's shouted reminder to pick up twenty pointy party hats becomes "seven sassy dancing cats!" You should be able to click on the following image to enlarge.


As you can see, the illustrations by Isobel Lundie are dynamite. There is not only a ton to look at to keep little eyes busy, but she also has hidden Colin the Cricket throughout the book. At the end of the book, the number of Colins to be found is mentioned (25) and there's a foldout illustration of what happens when Edmund brings home all the wrong items. Edmund has forgotten to send out the invitations but his brother says he thinks he's about to have the best party ever!

Highly recommended - This book is a serious gigglefest. If my grandkids were within driving distance, I'd dash over to read it to them because I just know they'd have a great time laughing at Edmund's silly mistakes and enjoying the crazy illustrations. So. Much. Fun. 

Many thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy!! My copy of Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot is going on the favorites shelf to save for grandkid visits. 


©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling and Gina Perry


Aven Green is a girl with no arms who has decided to put her superior brain cells to use solving mysteries in Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling. At first, the mysteries are not all that mysterious. In some cases, she's the guilty party, which makes sleuthing very easy. But, some mysteries require more brain power. 

When a string of mysterious disappearances of food at the school along with gigantic messes happen, Aven is on the job. And, when she finds out her grandmother's dog is missing, crime solving becomes even more urgent. 

Working in sleuthing around her everyday life at home, at school, and with friends, Aven tracks down clues to the mysteries. But, will she be able to figure out what's going on at school and what's become of her grandmother's dog? Aven doesn't want her grandmother to be sad about her missing fur friend. 

Highly recommended - Hilarious and adorable middle grade fun; I smiled all the way through Aven Green Sleuthing Machine. I love the fact that Aven talks about her armlessness up front and then after that it's no big deal. You're reminded when she writes with her toes or picks up a fork with them, and when you see her in the illustrations. But nobody treats Aven like she's any different from them apart from helping her when she asks by doing things like holding a pen or flipping a button. One of my favorite scenes takes place when Aven has her friends over and they're karate-chopping pillows, which totally took me back to childhood sleepovers. 

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine is the second of the Aven Green books I've read and both serve as excellent lessons in not "othering" people who are a little different. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus (link leads to my review) is a YA, while Aven Green Sleuthing Machine takes a step back in time to elementary school — third grade, as I recall. Aven is a great character, funny and delightful. I hope there will be a lot more books about her. I particularly loved the way she gave a title to every mystery, i.e. The Mystery of the Missing Donut (not from the book, just an example). 

My thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy!



©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Monday Malarkey


Recent arrivals:


  • Unstoppable by Joshua M. Greene - from Insight Editions, unsolicited, for review
  • Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusty Bowling and Gina Perry, and 
  • Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot by Kate Dalgleish and Isobel Lundie - both from Sterling Children's Books for review 


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Take Three Girls by Crowley, Howell, and Wood
  • Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Milkman by Anna Burns
  • Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot by Kate Dalgleish and Isobel Lundie
  • Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusty Bowling and Gina Perry


Nocturnes is a book of short stories. After taking a break from them for a few weeks, I'm back to reading short story collections. Although I haven't begun to read my next one, I have a couple of possibilities on the bedside table. 


Currently reading:


  • The Last Night in London by Karen White


Posts since last Malarkey:



Only three posts in the past two weeks because I took off last week to read. Did I read while I was taking my blog break? Yes I did.  But, did I also take the time to tackle my Do List like crazy and have fun painting up a storm? Yes, I did that also. I may have done more from the Do List than anything else but it was a decent week and part of the reason I took off from blogging was the fact that I was running out of books to review. I have now planted myself firmly back into the "Wow, you have quite a review backlog" category. However, only 3 of the books I haven't reviewed (out of 8) are from publishers so I'll review those, first, then take my sweet time with the others. 


In other news:

We only watched one episode of The Mallorca Files and one of Ambassadors. I'm also watching Atlantic Crossing and World on Fire on PBS but I missed both, last night. I think you can watch PBS episodes online if you miss them. Guess I'll find out. 

We did our major pot planting about a week ago and, wow, things do grow fast down here. We only do pot planting, not garden plots. But, thanks to the pandemic we have some large planters (pandemic gardening was part of our entertainment in 2020) and it's exciting to see everything filling out. 

In painting news, I finished a mixed media project I started working on in February using a little of what I learned from a free tutorial by artist Kate Morgan. There was a good bit of trial and error but I like the end result. I do art exactly like I used to do writing, back when I wrote fiction regularly. I always have a bunch of different projects going and I just move from one to another and back, building on them. I guess I usually read that way, too. Hmm. 

©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Week off to read

Back next Monday. 



©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Fiona Friday

I feel judged. 


©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig


Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig is a fictionalized account of real-life events in which a group of Smith College graduates traveled to France during WWI to help the citizens who had been bombed out of their homes and were starving, lacking medical care, and often living in cellars of damaged buildings or barns. 

Kate Moran, a former scholarship girl from Brooklyn, is working a job she doesn't really like when her wealthy best friend from college, Emmeline Van Alden asks her to join the Smith College Relief Unit after another member dropped out. They will be going to France to help displaced and starving citizens, mostly women and children. Kate agrees for the change of pace but after being stung by the words of Emmie's cousin, many years back, she isn't sure she is interested in resuming her friendship with Emmie. 

Along with 15 other Smith grads, Kate and Emmie travel across the Atlantic Ocean and arrive in Paris to find that the proprietor of the place they planned to stay doesn't have enough rooms and some of their supplies have either gone missing or are stuck with nobody available to fetch them. Only a few of the women can drive and there are many complications but eventually they make it to a bombed-out village and set up to help the citizens get back on their feet. They are not far from the front line, relatively speaking, but they're able to set up their own lodgings and a store and provide for the villagers' medical needs and slowly branch out to aid those in the surrounding area. But, will the war stay far enough away from them or will the Germans break through and endanger the women and everything they've accomplished? 

Recommended - Excellent WWI fiction based on real events. Because the author stuck closely to the real-life events, much of Band of Sisters is about the friendships and backbiting, the difficulties acquiring supplies and dealing with automobile disasters, the dangers that single women face driving around the countryside, the touches of romance, and how the women overcome obstacles big and small. It's slow of pace in the first half to three-quarters but I was actually quite gripped by the everyday challenges the women faced and imagining how I would handle them if I'd been among them, wondering whether I would stick it out or run wailing back to the US in defeat. In the latter part of the book, it becomes fairly nail-biting and I particularly loved that bit. 

I really appreciated the fact (made clear in the author's note) that she fictionalized the characters but chose to use actual events within her work of fiction rather than making things up. As a result of that choice, there's an everyday feel to most of the book but I prefer accuracy of events, even if that means a book is a bit less action-packed. Even before I read the author's note, the Smithies' challenges seemed very realistic to me. Read Band of Sisters when you're in the mood to dip your toes into a unique view of WWI history and don't mind a quieter, slower-paced read (at least till near the end). 

I received a review copy of Band of Sisters from HarperCollins (many thanks!) in exchange for an honest review and have posed my copy on a news periodical from 1919. It's not in great shape and the pages have to be turned carefully or they'll crumble. The photos are amazing, though. I chose the spread above because the Smith women encountered ruins everywhere they went, although the photo above was taken in Belgium. Here's another photo that shows a Red Cross relief worker from Great Britain. The Red Cross is mentioned but as I recall the women worked with either the American or French Red Cross. You should be able to click on both images to enlarge them. 


©2021 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.