Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Juvenile Fiction

The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book.  It made me miss Texas, and all the things Texan, like the peeling Crape Myrtles. I originally grabbed this book off the shelf at the library because the cover features a beautiful paper cut. Since it was the author's first novel the book does start off a little slow moving, but I quickly picks up the pace. The general premise of the book is about a girl named Callie Vee in 1899 who starts becoming fascinated with science, and the relationship she gains with her granddaddy, a retired cotton farmer, through scientific exploration. The author did a good job of making Callie relate-able and helping the reader get into her shoes. (At least I found her relate-able, I'm a middle child girl who grew up in Texas at the turn of a century, with a house of brothers.)

Here are the two quotes I like:
Granddaddy says to Callie, "The lesson for today is this: It is better to travel with hope on one's heart than to arrive in safety... (233).
The Callie pondering on the new century: "Part of me wanted our lives to go on as they always had, with all of us living together in our teeming old house.  The other part of me yearned for desperate and dramatic change, to leave Fentress far behind. ... Granddaddy had told me I could make whatever I wished of my life. Some day I believed him and other days I did not. (328).

But before I read about Callie I read this, it was shorter and I need something after the challenging child.  Did I post about that?

Me and the Pumpkin QueenMe and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a cute Juvenile Fiction book, I grabbed off the shelve while my kids picked out their story books. It was of course a fast read, I finished it in two sittings. Its about a little girl who has a desire to grow a giant pumpkin for the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Ohio. I won't tell you the ending, but the beginning is she wants to grow one after her mom prematurely passes away because her mom loved the show and always said
"maybe we could grow one". Cute book, especially if you were 10.

And since I just realized I never posted about this:
Alisa refered me to this book.
The Challenging Child: Understanding, Raising, and Enjoying the Five The Challenging Child: Understanding, Raising, and Enjoying the Five "Difficult" Types of Children by Stanley I. Greenspan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off Alisa referred me to this book, because J's personality is not what they write parenting books about.  He isn't a challenging child, but he is definitely not the norm, and so I'm always worried he is overlooked, if that makes sense.  But I didn't need this book for J I need it for Nan. Nan is a challenging child.  Turned out to be helpful, for both though, because it turns out based on Greenspan's opinion J is not being bypassed, but in fact is excelling. Even with Nan being challenging, we are doing some right things according Greenspan, and we have implemented some more. We just need patience and edurance.  But I knew we were doing things right, because she is getting better, slowly. I also know we are doing things right because I have a mysterious blessing with Nan, with J I second guess everything we do, but with Nan I know when something is right for her, and when something is not.

But to the review of this book that I wrote on Goodreads:
This book was very long and boring, I thought it should have been half as long.  But it was extremely helpful and informative. It was one of the few helpful parenting books in my opinion, and I've read a lot of parenting books.  It has five different personalities, and explains how to help those personalities become more well-adjusted.  It was great to read because it turns out my daughter is Highly Sensitive child, and boy is she hard to care for because everything results in screaming. We can do no right in her life, everything we do makes her upset.  She often reacts with screaming, drooling, pulling her clothes, and complete jello state of melted toddler on the floor. It was such a relief to read the chapter about the Highly Sensitive child, and start implementing some action plans.  My son is the self absorbed child, and now after reading that chapter, I'm relieved to know he is actually very well adjusted for his age.  Although you shouldn't compare your children to others, after watching him in correspondence to other kids his age, is doing well with his imagination and his communication. Since we moved last year to a neighborhood with lots of kids, he has made great progress from a weird quiet self absorbed child, to one who interacts well with others, one who explores a vibrant imagination, and one who for his age is good at diffusing problems with friends. With all that said, I should do better about giving him 30 minutes of "floor time".  I give my daughter that time, but I'm not as good with unstructured time with my son. My husband and I are both inattentive children, and it was helpful to read that chapter to understand better some of our different quirks.  For example my husband was in the gifted program in elementary school, and since then has appeared "lazy" in college and high school.   Apparently that is a extremely normal. He isn't lazy the education system just makes a switch in between those years. While I still need to work at closing conversations, and completing thoughts. (We are both inattentive children but in different ways.)
After I read this book, I have to give my parents and in laws props.  As I read the book, some of the personalities were very much like some of my siblings (myself included), and my parents seemed to do a good job of teaching us to be well adjusted and less challenging.  While my in laws are extremely good at teaching kids to complete thoughts, questions why they complain, and have a full conversation that closes the complete thought.  I now realize after reading the book, that my husband (taught by his parents) has done a very good job of getting me to complete a conversation, especially when we were dating. Which has helped me be less inattentive.

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