It’s been a while since I did a Reading Roundup post. There are a lot of books to fill you in on. Most of them are Roald Dahl books from my collector’s box set (and they are all short, sweet, and fun books), but there are a few thick books, too. I did a lot of reading in August, again, because most of the Roald Dahl books took a day or two to read. But, I only finished one book this month. I’m halfway done with another–What About Faith by Robert L. Millet. I’ll probably finish it by the end of the week.
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Alexander Hamilton by Jonathan Henness and Justin Greenwood.
**I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
I was super excited to read another book about Alexander Hamilton, especially after getting this book all about his values. Add to that, the fact that is was a graphic novel…I was sold!
However, don’t be fooled. Look at the subtitle on the top of the book…not graphic novel….no. Graphic history. It was a history essay with illustrations. Any speech bubbles were actually only direct quotes. There wasn’t really any story…other than what a historical essay had. There was also a ton of narrating on each page. It wasn’t colloquial at all, either. No, it still had the same historical essay vernacular.
On the other hand, the illustrations were great.
The Twits by Roald Dahl
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This is a short story about a horrible couple named the Twits. Mr. and Mrs. Twits are terrible to each other and terrible to animals. They eat bird pie all the time and abuse monkeys to train them to stand on their heads. The story shows some of the mean tricks the couple play on each other. Then, the monkeys and the birds finally get sick and tired of their miserable lives. So, they decide to play a prank on the Twits to get them stuck on their heads.
It’s a fast read and cute. A quick lesson on domestic abuse going both ways, as well as animal cruelty…beware…animals always get their revenge. Haha. At least in Dahl’s world…
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
I was a little unsure about this book. The first exposure I had to Fantastic Mr. Fox was the 2009 movie trailer. I was 19 and didn’t appreciate the much more mature feel to it…there was smoking and alcohol, and it didn’t look very kid-friendly although it was rated PG. Then, I saw Roald Dahl wrote it. I was disappointed.
So, when I opened this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, Roald Dahl was just typical Roald Dahl with this book. It’s no different than his other short stories. It’s about a couple of horrible farmers who don’t appreciate the fox (and other animals) feeding themselves on their land. So, they set out to kill the foxes and other animals. This is how Mr. Fox devises a plan to save his family and friends.
I liked it a lot. Although, there were quite a few exclamation points in the story–literally. A lot of “Come now!” “Good show!”, etc. But, now that I’m almost a decade older, I think I actually want to sit and watch the movie.
The Giraffe and Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl
This was a very short story. It’s about a little boy who meets a team of a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey. The three animals are window washers. Together, the four go into business helping one of England’s lords. It’s a cute little story, probably fit for early elementary school. There aren’t any terrible people in it, or any big huge problem to be solved. Really, the only word to describe it is: cute.
George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl
Another short story where the kid is the hero…have you noticed a trend with Roald Dahl’s book? George has a cantankerous grandma who takes medicine. So, one day, George finally got fed up with his grandma. He decided to make his own medicine–full of hygenics medicine, food, cleaning supplies, etc–anything that could help straighten, clean, and de-toxify his grandma physically and mentally. But, it didn’t quite have the effect he was hoping for. And, his parents want him to recreate the medicine…each batch does something different.
It’s quite funny, with no real plot. But, as an adult, seeing all that George put into the medicine, made me freak out a bit–there were some toxic things that humans shouldn’t ingest! He could’ve killed his grandma instead of it having a magical reaction!
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
When I was a child, my family owned the Tim Burton / Disney version of the movie. In third grade, my teacher read us the book…but that was over 20 years ago! Holy cow, 3rd grade was over 20 years ago!!!!
There are differences between the book and the movie. The biggest being that the rhino that killed James’s parents isn’t in the book, but it is the cloud people that cause the peach to crash on top of the Empire State Building. Also, his aunts don’t chase him to New York in the book–it insinuates that the peach squashed them to death.
This was a great book to reread–read all on my own. And it made me quite nostalgic–now I want to watch the movie again and introduce it to my son! I would definitely want to read this to a mid-upper elementary school student.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Again, as a kid, I had seen the movie. And I loved it. I actually own it today! I love watching Matilda! So, I was excited to finally actually read the book. And, to be honest, I still heard Danny DeVito narrate it! Haha.
Matilda is an unwanted child and sibling of a swindling, TV-obsessed family. She is left to her own devices often and teaches herself how to read. She loves learning and is a prodigy. Matilda is finally allowed to go to school where the Trunchbull is headmistress. She loathes kids and abuses them. Thankfully, Matilda’s teacher is the sweet and kind Miss Honey. This book is about how Matilda helps Miss Honey with her past and saves the school from the terrible Trunchbull with an amazing power she harnesses.
I definitely recommend reading this book (and seeing the movie) to anyone and everyone. It’s well written and you will come to love Matilda and Miss Honey. You will love hating Ms. Trunchbull. The main difference is that the movie goes more into detail (creative license) on the backstory between Ms. Trunchbull and Miss Honey.
The Witches by Roald Dahl
This is another one of my favorite Dahl works. I’ve actually read it twice before in my childhood. And, apparently, there is a 1990 movie starring Angelica Houston! Haha! I’m going to watch that too!
The main character and narrator is a young British boy…he never gives us his name. His grandmother raised him and told him tales of witches–how to recognize them, their powers, etc. One day on vacation, the young boy stumbled upon a meeting of all the witches in Britain, led by the Grand High Witch of the world. He is discovered and turned into a mouse. But that doesn’t stop him from working with his grandma to get rid of the witches.
I loved this book! It was very creative and has great story telling craft–but then again, Dahl is known as one of the best story tellers in the world. I also loved the bravery and tenacity of not only the young boy, but his grandma. Another must-read!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This was my church’s book club read this month. I was excited because it is by Neil Gaiman..the man who wrote Stardust and Coraline. It was an interesting book. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I liked it, but there were plenty of things I didn’t. I definitely enjoyed the way it was written far more than Stardust. It was very easy to read but also a grabbing book–I kept thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it.
The book is about a boy named Nobody Owens whose family was murdered by a man Jack as an infant. He was raised by ghosts in a graveyard and given powers of the graveyard to protect him from the man Jack and other humans. This book shows his life growing up in the graveyard–what he learns and some minor adventures.
For most of it, I thought it was just a series of adventures as he grew up with now real unifying plot. It seemed like Gaiman had dropped the plot of the man Jack…until the very end. It was quickly reentered. He didn’t really describe the society of Jacks-of-all-Trades very well. He also was very ambiguous about the Honor Guard. It seemed like he left a lot of details out and a lot of loose ends, almost like he was preparing for a sequel.
I also really liked the way he described the ghosts and graveyards and their powers. However, then Gaiman adds in more mystical creatures, like werewolves and, very quickly, a mummy. He never really described what kind of creature Silas was, although dropped some ambiguous hints. I think Silas might have been a vampire?
But, I’m excited for book club tonight to see what the rest of my friends thought of it.
This year, I’ve decided to reopen up Reading Roundup to other to linkup with! I’ve partnered up with two good blogger friends who love books too!
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How It Works:
- Reading Roundup will happen the last Tuesday of every month! The linkup will be open for two weeks!
- There really aren’t “rules.” This is free and open. We are book lovers and want to read about your books!
- Link up a post of a book review you did from this month. Or, a roundup of book reviews you did this month.
- Try to hop around and engage on other people’s book reviews! Make some new friends!
- Grab this pinnable image to put on the bottom of your post! (But, no pressure to do so!)