Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feeding the World by Anne Rooney (World at Risk)

Feeding the World
Part of the "World At Risk" series, Feeding the World,  gives general information about how food is produced all over the world, both for export and home consumption. The reader learn about some of the coming difficulties facing farmers because of global warming, a growing world population and possible food shortages. This would be good for a report or for some basic instruction on how the world's food market works. My grade? A C.

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography
A biography told in graphic format, Anne Frank, tells the story of Anne's life from her birth, to her life in the Secret Annex, to her tragic death in a Nazi concentration camp, to the lasting legacy of her diary. I wasn't sure that the comic format would be an appropriate way to showcase Anne's life, since some artist's styles are too campy. Not so, with this one. There's an adjustment in style when switching from life in the Secret Annex to updating major events in Nazi Germany and the war. The illustrations with the Nazis are drawn with harsher lines, seem more angular, so the reader immediately understands the horrors associated with the Nazis.

The story is complete and I applaud the inclusion of the importance of the publishing of Anne's diary. By presenting her story in this graphic format, Anne's story is now much more accessible for those that might be put off by the size and difficulty of Anne's diary. I give it a 'B+.'

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (The Kane Chronicles #1)

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)
I'm a huge fan of Riordan's Percy Jackson series, but for some reason it took me over six months to finally pick The Red Pyramid up to read. Frankly, I didn't enjoy Carter and Sadie as much as Percy and gang, and I really can't say why. I could see similarities in the writing style and even in the way the plot developed, but just didn't have the same excitement and energy.

I know, I know, it sounds like it's a terrible book, but that's not so. It's still a very readable adventure-fantasy, once the story gets going. I just didn't love it, nor did I love the Egyptian mythology that's the basis for the Kane Chronicles. It's possible that I set my expectations up too high and the next book in the series will be the one to snatch me. We shall see. All in all, not a bad one, just not the one for me. I give it a 'B-' rating.

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Fairy tale set in the same world as Ella Enchanted (although a different kingdom), where beauty and song are valued. Fans of Ella or fairy tales will enjoy this one.

As an aside, I will say the songs written in the story are enhanced by listening to the audio book. I lucked into listening to it (after I'd started reading) and found the singing memorable. I give the story a B+.

Washington at Valley Forge by Russell Freedman

Washington at Valley Forge

Washington at Valley Forge tells the story of how the Continental Army spent the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. Descriptions of the horrible living conditions, freezing temperatures, starvation, and disease faced by all who spent the winter there gives the reader a better understanding of the difficulties overcome by Washington and his men. Just about every page features an illustration to compliment the text, while not overpowering it.

As typically found with any book by Russell Freedman, the story is well-researched, presented in a logical and simple way, but not dry or boring. In fact, I found the book to read like a novel with vivid descriptions. I'm not sure how many casual readers will actually pick up this book, but I hope to get it in the hands of some non-fiction and biography lovers. My grade? A solid 'B.'