Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: When Will This Cruel War Be Over?, The Diary of Emma Simpson, Dear America by Barry Denenberg

By: Barry Denenberg
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: April 1st, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 8+
5 stars: I Loved It!
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Series: Dear America Series

The peaceful, traditional Southern life that Emma Simpson and her family know is shattered when the Civil War reaches their soil. Soon, Emma's father and brother are called to battle, but her family is confident the South will quickly win the War between the States.As the months drag on, though, the harsh realities of war set in.

Death and hardship are all around Emma, and food, medicine, firewood, and ink for her to write in her diary become increasingly scarce as troops from the North march deeper into the South. Finally, even her home is commandeered by the Yankees. Still, with a brave spirit and the knowledge of what is most important, Emma never loses hope that the war will end.

Acclaimed author Barry Denenberg's WHEN WILL THIS CRUEL WAR BE OVER? is now back in print with a gorgeous new package! -quoted from Goodreads

I absolutely love this series, as each book featured in it takes the reader back into a different time in our country's history. It's both an exciting and educational read. Though I'm out of the targeted age range for these books, I find them to be just as engaging as I would if I was reading these as a young reader. Barry Denenberg does a brilliant job at giving the reader an inside view of the life of a young girl living through the Civil War.

Emma Simpson has grown up in the south in a rather comfortable life style, but tragedy soon strikes her family and all but robs her life of all that she holds dear. This brave young teen holds true to her faith, firm in her love and finds solace in reading Jane Eyre. Emma's lost her brother to the war, her father is off fighting in the war, she's lost many she's known around her to war, disease, and poor heath, including her mother. Barry does an amazing job at showing the toll this war took on the lives of those who lived through it, fought during it and survived it. It doesn't matter if you were from the North or the South, this was a war that effected everyone, and Emma's story is one of bravery, heartbreak and courage.

I highly recommend picking this book up. It's a fabulous fictional read with a lot of historical references set during the Civil War. I think this is a book readers of all ages will enjoy.

Valentine Books for Kids, Book Reviews: Pinkalicious Pink of Hearts & Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine

This past week I've been posting some reviews for some great Valentine Day books via my Celebration of Love series. Today I wanted to share two more reviews for Valentine Day themed books for kids.

Published by: Harper Festival
Released on: November 22nd, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: K & up
4 stars: We Really Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Pinkalicious loves Valentine's Day! Everyone in her class is assigned to make an extra-special Valentine's Day card for one person in the class. Pinklicious creates a magnificently pinkerrific card. Will the valentine that she gets in return measure up? -quoted from Goodreads

Fans of Pinkalicious will love reading about Pinkalicious's Valentine story. She not only learns the importance of making a nice card for a friend, and how fun it is to do something like that, but she learns the importance of making something and getting a gift made from the heart. This is adorable story comes with Pinkalicious stickers and cute Valentine Day cards, a must have for any Pinkalicious fan.

Released on: November 22nd, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 5 & up
2 Stars: It Was An Ok Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Amelia Bedelia is sure she will love everything about Valentine's Day.
The sweet surprises

Cards to give and receive
A party at school
A big, long family hug

Amelia Bedelia can't wait.

What could be better?
Valentine's Day!
Hooray for Valentine's Day! -quoted from Goodreads

I loved Amelia Bedelia when I was younger, and I enjoy seeing her in a younger form, but this is not a story that connected well with my kids as many things were a little over their heads. For example during the Valentine party one of the students asked for punch, so Amelia punched him. While I understood the concept behind that my kids did not and I had to explain it to them. Having said that, I think the over all concept of having Amelia Bedelia act the way she does at this young of an age doesn't work well with the targeted age group. It missed the mark from original charming Amelia. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed reading about Amelia's mishaps during Valentine's Day and how she was able to fix things, but overall this is a story that didn't connect with my kids or myself.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~