by P.L. Travers
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
If I had seen the movie all the way through before now, it was ages ago. But I can tell that the book version of Mary is much meaner than the Disney version. There are no games and songs to make cleaning up or taking medicine more fun (though the medicine in the book does taste differently -and deliciously- to each person). There are twin babies in the book, too, and they have their own chapter near the end that is quite different than the rest of the book and is one of my favorites. The book is so imaginative and I think it lost a lot of that magic when Disney translated it to film. There were things they left out or changed that really added a lot to the story, but that’s life. As usual, the bottom line is: read the book!
by Stephanie Tolan
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
This is the sequel to Surviving the Applewhites, both of which I really enjoyed. The premise of this book is that the family is bankrupt and is going to start a summer camp for creative children to pay the bills. This actually reminded me of the premise of a grownup book I read years ago called When the White House Was Ours by Porter Shreve. The dysfunctional adults and creating their own school were very similar. Main character E.D. is the voice of reason in this family of left-brained artsy types, adults and kids alike, leaving E.D. de facto in charge of details that adults should have thought of. She handles her role with much grace and maturity, yet with a measure of frustration mixed in. The premise is wacky on its own, but the creative climax and resolution of the story are entertaining and clever.
by Marty Sederman
Sederman tells an incredibly moving story of a boy whose dad travels a lot for work. There are some great, progressive moments that were great to read, like when the dad kisses his son’s forehead and tells him he loves him, and when the boy tells his mom that when he grows up, he’ll stay home all the time with his kids and his wife can be the one who works. I read this one, and Fly Away Home, and a dozen other books on social issues for an annotated bibliography project for library school. It’s a good one to have in one’s repertoire and/or on a book list for when that patron comes in needing just this.
by Eve Bunting
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
This is the tale of a boy who lives in the airport with his dad. The boy talks about the way that they work very hard at blending in with everyone else so they won’t be found and kicked out. He also describes the community of other homeless people who live at the airport. It’s a moving story but part of me wonders if anyone could do this anymore with security as it is (it was written in 1993). I only gave it 3 instead of 4 stars because it’s incredibly dated and I’m not sure how relevant or accurate the story is anymore. Still, I think that it’s a moving, well-told story that would open up kids’ eyes to a segment of the population that is very much hidden: homeless children.