Thursday, July 4, 2013


Children's Books

The Wolves in the Wall by Neil Gaiman

The artwork spent on this book will surely get the reader’s attention.  I spent more time inspecting each picture than reading the whole story.  There’s a certain oddness to them that most people would think them disturbing; but if parents would want to wean their kids into good art, this is something to start them with.  Dave McKean did a great job with this one.

This was a Finalist in the 2003 Bram Stoker Award, Work for Young Readers.  The story deals with how kids can sometimes be carried away by their imagination, and how those imaginations led them to fear.  The lesson lies in how kids should learn how to be the hero in conquering their own fear.  Sometimes accomplishing that just needs further imagination, motivation, and a lungful of bravery.

Book Details:
Title: The Wolves in the Wall
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: ★★★

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

This is one of those stories I wished the movies got exactly right.  The book received the Newbery Medal in 1968; and the William Allen White Children's Book Award in 1970.  So, it seems a waste of film not to give it justice.

Claudia dragged her brother Jaime into running away from their home because she believed that her family does not appreciate her.  And then, she decided to be the hero to prove that the statue of the Angel was an authentic Michelangelo.  In short, she no longer wants to be that same reliable Claudia who does the laundry, the dishes, and takes out the trash when she comes back home. She wants to be the important Claudia, appreciated by everyone.  Besides, she thought, running away is the greatest adventure there is.

The first lesson, I believe, goes to the parents.  We parents are not given kids as an extension of ourselves, to be an additional adult to take care of things in the house, while we are busy making a life for ourselves.  It is never wrong to teach our kids chores, but we have to remember that our kids are entrusted to us, so we should take care of them, not the other way around.

The second lesson is best described by this passage:
“I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal.  But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything.  And you can feel it inside you.  If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you.  You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them.  It’s hollow.”
Book Details:
Title: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Rating: ★★★★★

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

The story begins with a teenage girl, named Tulip, but she had the good sense to dub herself Hope and made it legal eventually.  The thing is, you have to live-up with that sort of big name, and Hope sure did.

There is so much juice in this book. The story of love, hope and strength all neatly tied up within 186 pages.  Joan Bauer did a nifty job developing the characters and the events throughout the book.  I felt them between each setting and dialogue.

The sense of never-giving-up-no-matter-what is written all over.  Every character had their own issue to take care of, and unwavering hope was their key to each and everything.  The story also speaks of accepting the end –everything ends.  It was not about mourning what we lost, but appreciating what we had, and drawing strength from memories made.

This is a very inspiring read, no wonder it was made into a Newbery Honor Book in 2001.

Book Details:
Title:  Hope Was Here
Author: Joan Bauer
Publisher: Puffin
Rating: ★★★★★


  1. Hi, Louize! I've read 2 out of the 3 books you've featured!

    I had a good time reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. E. L. Konigsburg is favorite children's book author, so I really make it a point to read all her books. My favorite is still The View from Saturday! Have you read it? It's very enjoyable!

    I love Hope Was Here! It was one of the few books I picked up that I have no idea whatsoever. I basically had no expectations. I love the food described in the novel!

    1. Hello, Peter!
      I have not read The View from Saturday. This is my first E.L. Konigsburg actually. I will keep an eye for the rest of her books. Those 2 books were lucky Booksale finds. I picked them right away, remembering those blogs I read. Of course, I've read Hope Was Here from you. I am really happy having read it. ❤

  2. It's been a while since I've read some good children's books. Will take note of these books here! :)

    1. Hi Lynai! If the baby ain't due this month, I'd say that it's timely to squeeze in one of these since it's National Children's Book Month.

      Don't worry, you'll have all the pleasure of reading babies' book to your daughter soon. ♥