I cannot believe we have been reading challenge books for 7 weeks now! I felt like I was making a dent in my Amazon’s 100 Greatest Children’s Books challenge, but now I’m not so sure.
I only read 2 books this week, but they were both new to me. I haven’t been great about estimating how much time a novel will take me to read, so even though I only read 1 picture book and 1 novel, I count this week as a success since I read more than 4 hours.
Now without further ado….
Olivia the Pig, by Ian Falconer, was a cute story of…you guessed it….Olivia the pig! Fun illustrations added to this picture book’s introduction to Miss Olivia. This is a book I will happily buy for all my nieces and nephews!
My novel this week was A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle, was also a new one for me. This is the story of Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace. They are carried through a time wrinkle by Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which. They travel to the planet Camazotz to save Meg’s father from IT – a disembodied brain who controls the inhabitants of his world.
Honestly, I thought the book was going to be about time travel on Earth. However, the integration of science, theory of matter, time travel, alternate worlds, was something I wasn’t expecting. There were parts of this novel that dragged for me – namely the time they are traveling through the wrinkles to Camazotz.
Madeline L’Engle’s Newbery winner certainly has a complicated plot. But the characters are what makes the story for me. Meg is a frustrated, angry, compassionate, scared, and mainly REAL girl. I can totally relate to her. And, she gets to be the hero! She is the one who saves everyone! It is her “flaws” that are the qualities needed to save her family.
All of that is worth a 3 star rating to me. However, then I read the afterward section. It started with a biography of Madeline L’Engle written by her granddaughter. She talked about how the author wrote the book for herself, struggled to find a publisher, read extensively in scientific literature, and was a generally fun grandma! Then this 50th Anniversary Edition had a copy of the last interview that L’Engle gave before her death. Her frank answers, and surprising comments, showed her personality to me. Finally, as with many Newbery books, it included her Newbery acceptance speech. Once again, I was amazed at the strength and forward thinking of this amazing author. My connection to the author through these extras edged the book into the 4 star zone!
So, there you have it. A cute picture book with illustrations. A Newbery that is made by the stories of the author. Next week….a picture book that I’ve had on hold FOREVER is finally in at the library! Also, a re-read novel from my childhood. Will it hold up?
Have you read these two books? Have ideas for my next reads? Let’s talk below….