Library Books Enjoyed, 9/5/13

This week’s crop is a return to books we all definitely enjoyed:

Annabelle Swift KindergartnerAnnabelle Swift Kindergartner by Amy Schwartz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I checked this out because I remembered enjoying it when I was in elementary school, and it seemed apt, with our oldest starting kindergarten. Both he and the three year old really liked it and asked for it to be reread a couple times.

While some details have definitely changed (most noticeably, the price of milk–although I’m impressed by how cheap milk still is!), the story has held up well over time. Annabelle’s nervousness about starting kindergarten, her frustration when her sister Lucy’s advice turns out to be unhelpful, and her eventual chance to shine still resonate.

Monkey See, Monkey DrawMonkey See, Monkey Draw by Alex Beard*

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a selection from books read aloud at storytime, and while it’s not a personal favorite, I appreciate its quality. The illustration style is unique, and I think the monkeys’ faces are a little creepy looking, but they didn’t bother my kids, and the pictures do incorporate hand, foot, and thumbprints in a way that’s fun. Also, I think the border drawings enhance the story.

Also, I think the story has a nice message, that not all games have to be competitions, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with the message. A fun choice all around.

Cinderella's RatCinderella’s Rat by Susan Meddaugh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one that we just happened upon when I was searching the catalog for more Cinderella stories for my three year old. It’s by Susan Meddaugh, who is more famous for her Martha books, but I like this one better than Martha. The rat is charming and sympathetic as he tells the story, and the way it turns out is completely unexpected. Also, it’s a fairly short fractured fairy tale. We just got it yesterday, and it’s already been reread several times.

View all my reviews

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Knitting Class and the Yarn Harlot

One thing I didn’t put on my Durham list last week was “take a knitting class at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.” That’s because I COMPLETED this item over the summer. I’ve been wanting to do this since I discovered the shop in early 2011, and I’m so happy I got it in. It was everything I’d hoped it would be: an outing by myself, a chance to learn a little more about knitting, and an excuse to do some shopping at the store. As a bonus, the project is something I’ve been wanting to make for myself but didn’t know how (a shawl–at church, it always seems to be cold, whether because the AC is up too high or because the heat isn’t on!) and is something I can make with alpaca yarn that my husband brought home from a trip to Peru this spring. Here’s the work in progress:

Beginning of shawl.

Beginning of shawl.

It obviously has a long way to go, but I feel like I learned enough to confidently continue the pattern and do the blocking and finishing when it’s done. (And if now, well, then I’ll have to make another trip over to the shop…)

In a somewhat related category, I finally discovered the Yarn Harlot this summer. That would be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a knitter and writer from Toronto who writes about knitting, mostly humor and stories rather than patterns (although she has those, too, I understand). I read her first book during some unexpected traveling in July, and I was laughing out loud and making my mom listen while I read her sections. In my defense, my mom laughed, too! Although I realize (and so does Ms. Pearl-McPhee, for that matter), that knitting humor is a very specific genre, I wholeheartedly recommend her books to anyone who does any kind of crafting, or if there’s a crafter in your life who you are trying to figure out. If you suspect someone is hiding yarn around your house, Yarn Harlot will tell you where to look!

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a KnitterYarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here’s the original. I didn’t think you needed my whole review since I basically told you everything already.

And here’s some text to make the pictures

line up correctly.

All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a SpinAll Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars