Tuesday, February 26, 2008

babbling, mostly about books

Just the other day, Max sat scratching his little legs and said to me, "I hate winter! It's itchy and I can't ride my bike."

While I'm right there with him on the whole issue of dry winter skin, I really couldn't disagree more about winter in general. I've always loved winter. Heck, I love each and every season. But dang, this winter has been a real let-down. We've just had so little of the beautiful white flakes this year. They're saying that the storm that's arriving now should leave us with 12-16" by tomorrow morning, but at this point I'm not holding my breath. Crossing my fingers, yes, but not holding my breath.

But snow is not supposed to be the subject of this post. Books are. Book reviews, specifically. I'd really like to get caught up. Ah, but first I must admit failure in Kailana's Four-Legged Friends Reading Challenge. But failure's relative, right? I did read two pretty darn enjoyable books because of this challenge (Charlotte's Web and The Tale of Despereaux). Oooh, if I stick in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM (which wasn't on my list, but I did read) for Ginger Pye (which was on my list, but I didn't read), I could really count this as a "win"...but I guess that's kinda cheating at this point, huh? Anyway, thank you Kailana for a wonderful challenge!

Hmmm...what can I ramble on about now to get out of these blasted book reviews? Yes, I'm pathetic. Truly pathetic.

Oh O.K.--I Was a Rat, by Philip Pullman. Loved this book! Loved, loved, loved it! It was so utterly charming! I knew that Annie and I had to read this one for our fairy tale exploration after reading Nymeth's wonderful review. Yes, it is a fairy tale retold. But no, I won't tell you which one. You really don't want the surprise ruined, do you?

The story begins with the arrival of a little boy to the door of Bob and Joan, an older childless couple. Bob, a cobbler, and Joan, a washerwoman, had always wanted a child, but it just never happened for them. The little boy knocked on their door and announced, "I was a rat." No explanation, just "I was a rat."

Roger, as the couple starts calling him, is a sweet, lovable fellow, but one who tends to gnaw the most unusual things. And he has a knack for landing himself in trouble, though really through no fault of his own. When Roger first shows up on their doorstep, Bob and Joan try to do the right thing and find out where this little guy belongs. They try the police and the hospital, but really get nowhere with a host of very unhelpful people. The dear couple without openly discussing it, just take Roger in as their own. But then trouble strikes and Roger is lost. He encounters a host of quite unscrupulous characters, before Bob and Joan once again find him. And even then Roger isn't safe...it takes a princess to come to the rescue (this is a fairy tale, after all).

As I said, it is an utterly charming book. Perfectly delightful.

Though not my original choice, this book is filling in the animal category for Annie's What's In a Name Challenge. It also fulfills another slot in Ariel's Unread Authors Challenge...can you believe this is the first Philip Pullman book I've read (shame on me!). And last but not least, this will fill in the "I title" slot in Joy's A-Z Challenge.

Well, damn. Once again, I really wanted to get caught up on my reviews, and once again, I just can't seem to do it. Guess I'm only good for one at a time. There's always tomorrow, right?


incitefulmama said...

Well, you know how I feel about our lovely winter in NY but I can't help but admit how pretty it looks outside right now.

I rode my bike the other day! Boy,was that fun. Ha!

Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed I Was a Rat as much as I did :D Isn't the surprise a wonderful one? I really did not see it coming. I just love how he uses a completely original angle to approach a fairy tale that has been retold so many times.

About the Four-Legged Friends challenge, well, failure really is relative. I read those two books too and I agree that they are definitely worth reading...so a challenge that made you pick them up can only be a win!

DesLily said...

oh man....... back to amazon and my wish list!

Jean said...

Winter has been pretty bleak here as well, and in Maine, according to my brother. Global warming in action? Or merely fluctuation over time? Keep the reviews coming! Unless, of course, writing them is taking away from your reading time. :-)

Chris said...

OK, you don't know how tempted I am to go get I Was a Rat NOW...luckily though I have my TBR bookshelf sitting right in front of me and it tells me "No Chris!! You can't buy anymore books!!" But it has been added to the top of my wishlist. I can't wait to read it!

Chris said...

Oh and I would most definitely substitute Rats of NIMH and call Four Legged Friends a success if I were you! You succeeded in the challenge...the goal was to read 3 books about animals and you did! So there you go!

Becky said...

I've just tagged you for a meme, the 6 word memoir meme.

Melody said...

Debi, I think you've done a good job in writing the review for the book. I enjoyed it, and guess what, I almost picked up this book during a visit to the bookstore some time ago. Looks like I've to pick it up next!!! ;P

kreed said...

Hope you get some snow to enjoy - we have been getting just enough to make things slimy and nasty. I love winter, too, but this year I have definitely had enough.

Gonna have to try this book, too. Drat - you better stop reviewing books or I may never be able to whittle my TBR pile down!

Dawn said...

Your post reminded me of the my mother reading to me when I was a little girl. I think the first chapter book she read to me was Charlotte's Web. Oh I love that story.

I admire your reading schedule. As I have said before, most of my reading happens in the summer.

take care,

Kim L said...

Dry winter skin is no fun! MN is an okay place for winter if you don't have to be outside much during the really cold days. I like when it is snowy and sunny.

Even though you only got to one review, I think thats just fine! Exactly what you said, there's time tomorrow. Its nice to know you have a ready made blog topic for tomorrow!