Subway by Christoph Niemann

Take a trip through the tunnels with two children and a father on a rainy day.  Wait for the train to come, feel the breeze and the rumble.  Take the A train to all 44 stations.  Then the F train filled with interesting people.  You can take the 1 or 2 trains depending on whether you need the express.  7 heads to Times Square and you get a wonderful view on Q.  F and G run together, then apart, and then return together again.  When the day is done, you will still want to be riding the rails underground. 

Told in happy rhyme, this book plays with rhythm and internal rhyme.  It has the pace of trains, pauses at stations, rushes forward at times.  The illustrations are done in thick lines with bright colors on black backgrounds.  They evoke a feeling of looking at signs rather than illustrations.  At the same time, they have a jaunty sense of humor that works really well.

I’d grab this one in a New York minute to use in a transportation unit or storytime.  Children from New York will immediately recognize the places, while folks from around the country will enjoy this uniquely NY title.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The wonder of what this series has become is fabulous not only for the book industry itself but for the readers.  I am thinking not of the many adult women who I know that have read it and love it, but the teens who adore it, talk about it, and relate to it.  What a joy to have a book that we can all share on such a level.  Perfection for the after-Harry-Potter time.

But what to say about it?  Dark, disturbing, violent, wondrous, strong, memorable, striking, passionate, and dazzling.

Yes, I had issues with some of the deaths.  Yes, I had to take time after reading it to recover and see it from a different perspective because I was too wrapped up in it.  Which is a great thing.  It is a book about the corruption of power, the horrors of war, the pain of betrayal and the richness of love.  It is about so much more than I had expected. 

That said, being the very finicky and picky reader that I am, I do have some issues with the world building.  Issues that the other books strode past and I was able to ignore.  But here they became even more evident.  I know, they are quibbles, but they are also how I saw the book going.  I was so very certain that I knew where it was heading.  I didn’t.  And part of my great pleasure in the reading of the book was that I was wrong.  Isn’t it great to be surprised by books?

So that’s my disjointed view of Mockingjay without giving anything away.  It was a book I loved, a series I adored from the very start, and I can’t wait to see what the creator of Gregor and Katniss brings us next!

Reviewed from purchased copy because I couldn’t wait, but also received copy from Scholastic.

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