August 10, 2012

Review: Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto

Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto by Gianni Rodari, translated by Antony Shugaar

This strange novel is the story of a rich Baron, named Lamberto of course, who discovers an ancient secret: if his name is spoken continuously his aging will stop and even reverse. He hires a group of people to live up in his attic and recite his name, so that he will return to a healthy, younger self. Problems arise as a greedy nephew and some bandits try to get their hands on his vast wealth. This modern fairy tale was quite fun to read, with zany illustrations and a less than comfortable (though to my mind, perfect) ending. Although I greatly enjoyed this book, I am not sure that it would appeal to my students. There is a great deal of Italian geography mentioned in the book, but mostly in lists rather than being described. Another problem I had in reading it was the detached manner that it dealt with some of the bandit's actions. Al in all, I think this book would be great for someone looking for something new or unique to read, but I'm not sure it's really a book that will have appeal to elementary students. There is some marketing that compares it to The Little Prince. I was very excited when I read that comparison, but honestly it's nothing like the innocence and depth of that great work of fiction. Read if you'd like a zany take on humanity, otherwise, skip this one. This review is based on a publisher supplied electronic copy.

Until next time, bon voyage and happy reading.

August 8, 2012

Review: Sidekicks

Sidekicks by Dan Danko & Tom Mason, illustrated by Barry Gott

My tour of books named Sidekicks concludes with this superhero story of Guy Martin, also known as Speedy, who can run 92.7 miles per hour and making him the fastest man alive (causing superhero Fastest Man Alive Man to change his name to Almost Fastest Man Alive Man). He's the sidekick to Pumpkin Pete and is left to deal with villains when they destroy both the superhero and the sidekick halls. His less than super fellow sidekicks lend a helping hand. There are some laugh out loud moments in this book, but it's by far the weakest of the books called Sidekicks. Most of the super abilities are just plain silly. Overall, the book gets a "meh" from me. Read if you like superhero parodies, otherwise, skip this one. I did get a kick out of realizing that all three Sidekicks books made fun of the "villain monologue." This review is based on a library copy.

Until next time, bon voyage and happy reading!

August 6, 2012

Review: Let's Hear It For Almigal

Let's Hear It For Almigal by Wendy Kupfer, illustrated by Tammie Lyon

This cute picture book is the story of a girl with hearing loss who gives up her hearing aids for a pink (cotton candy pink!) cochlear implant. Full disclosure time: my son has a cochlear implant. The author has a daughter with hearing loss as well. This book is full of self affirmation and joy over hearing that it's not hard to believe, like Almigal says, she's the luckiest girl in the world. The illustrations are cute and cartoonish, with enough realism and detail for the story. I really liked this book.  I do feel that the author brushed over the hard work it takes to get kids using an implant, and I wish the character were a boy, but this book would be great for any students who have classmates with implants to introduce them to the concept of what they are, as well as any students receiving implants. Highly recommended. This review is based on a publisher supplied electronic copy.

Until next time, bon voyage and happy reading!