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The Sheep Pig/Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

My girls love listening to audiobooks in the car. I have a nice selection of children’s literature, thanks to some great Audible sales. After we listened to Pippi Longstocking, my girls chose The Sheep Pig, by Dick King-Smith. This book is also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig, and is the inspiration for Babe, the Academy Award nominated film.

The story begins when Farmer Hogget wins a piglet at a county fair. Mrs. Hogget is delighted, and thinks about the delicious ham they can eat at Christmas. In the barn, the despondent little pig cries because he is in an unfamiliar place, away from his family. Fly, the sheepdog, comforts him, and calls him Babe, after she learns that his mother called all of her piglets. When Fly’s puppies are sold, she grows closer to Babe, especially after she realizes the little pig has a natural capacity for learning. Babe wants nothing more than to learn to herd sheep. While Fly’s philosophy involves exerting dominance over the woolly beasts, Babe wonders if the sheep might do what he wants if he simply asks nicely. But what will the farmer do when he realizes that the pig might be the best sheepdog he ever had? Continue reading

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Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger

I don’t remember whether I saw Crankee Doodle on Goodreads or on Amazon, but as soon as I saw it, I knew that my girls would love it. One of the songs that the Kindergarten children sing at the Memorial Day concert is Yankee Doodle, and it has been a favorite around the house before and after the concert.

Crankee Doodle is a picture book written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by Cece Bell. The premise of the book is simple: a smiling pony wants to go to town, and a cranky man in colonial garb refuses to go. He complains about not wanting new things, and that the quality of the items in town is not the same. The pony wheedles and begs, but the man doesn’t listen. The pony makes sly allusions to a feather in a hat being “macaroni” (fancy), but this only makes the man even crankier. Can the pony convince his human friend that going to town is worthwhile? Continue reading

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

In preparation for the release of The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, I thought I would revisit my review of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. I originally wrote this review a couple of years ago, and I’m happy to share it here today.

I found The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate at my local library. I borrowed the audiobook version after noticing the pretty artwork on the case. I am a little embarrassed to admit it, but yes, sometimes I do judge a book by its cover.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a children’s novel written by Jacqueline Kelly.
The story takes place in the last half of 1899. Calpurnia Tate is an 11-year-old girl who lives on a farm in Texas. She has the misfortune of being the middle child with three older siblings and three younger, and the even greater misfortune of being the only girl. Her family is relatively prosperous though, and Callie has a lot of free time. Continue reading

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Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I found Echo at the library a couple of months ago. I had not heard anything about the book, but the plot sounded interesting, so I checked it out. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up using one of my Audible credits to purchase the audiobook version. This middle grade novel was written by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Echo begins with a fairy tale: a duplicitous monarch, the midwife following his orders, a witch, three magical little girls, and a little boy lost in the woods.

The bulk of the book is broken up into three sections that take place over a ten-year period in three different parts of the world. At first the stories seem decidedly modern, and not like fairy tales at all. But just like any good fairy tale, there are obstacles to overcome. Friedrich lives in Germany during a time when Hitler is gaining power. He loves music, and hopes to go to the conservatory, but the large birthmark on his face is considered to be a deformity that must be addressed. That, along with his father’s opinions regarding the new regime, is attracting the wrong kind of attention. Can Friedrich summon the courage to face his fears in order to help his father? Continue reading

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

I first heard about The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly a couple weeks before its release. I think I saw it mentioned on Goodreads, so I placed a request through the library network. This young adult novel was written by Stephanie Oakes.

Minnow Bly spent most of her life in a cult that lived in the wilderness, completely isolated from the rest of society. Discipline is swift and brutal: Minnow lost her hands because she was disobedient. Minnow no longer lives on the group’s compound; it was burned to the ground, and the prophet was killed. Minnow is confined to a juvenile detention facility, and as she adjusts to her new surrounding, she must come to terms with her past as she faces an uncertain future. Continue reading

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Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was not familiar with Ronald Malfi’s work when I received the opportunity to review Little Girls, but the premise was intriguing. By the end of the book, I had become a fan and will be seeking out more of Malfi’s books.

Little Girls is the story of Laurie Genarro, who has returned to her childhood home after her father’s passing. He was an old man, but there was nothing natural about the manner in which he died. Laurie moves into the house with her husband and daughter, with the intention of preparing the old home for sale. Her father’s caretakers tell Laurie about her father’s ranting in the throes of his dementia, and she can’t help but wonder if there was any truth to his fear. What if something was trying to get into the house? Laurie is also unsettled by her daughter’s new friend; Abigail looks exactly like her own childhood friend Sadie, who died thirty years ago. Continue reading

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China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Two years ago, I read Kevin Kwan’s debut novel, Crazy Rich Asians. It was a delightful romp through Singapore (and other locations) that featured some of the wealthiest people in the world. When I found out that a sequel was coming out, I placed a request at the library months in advance. China Rich Girlfriend arrived about a week after its release, and I was very excited about diving right into the book.

China Rich Girlfriend features an ensemble cast of characters, most of whom appeared in the first book. While there are many subplots, the main story features Rachel Chu. In the first book, she was forced to dodge accusations that she was a marrying her fiancé for his money. How could this be true when she had no idea that Nick belonged to one of Singapore’s wealthiest families? Nick’s mother Eleanor has returned, and she has managed to track down Rachel’s father. Even though Rachel and Nick are content to live typical American lives (they both work as professors), they find themselves flying to Shanghai to get to know Rachel’s father and his family. Continue reading