rambling through a few books…

Over the last few weeks, I know I was in Barnes & Noble and the Target book section, several times. So, I think there should be several good books I could share about. But I’m grasping after clouds, it seems, because I can’t think of more than a couple. I shall have to remedy that and visit another book store, soon. The only reason my brain seems to be remembering one or two of them is because I was in Walmart, today, and looked at the books there.

I keep tripping over Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. If you haven’t come across these adorable board books, yet, then you should go looking for them. Written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Jill McElmurry, both the rhyming story and the precious illustrations just drag you in.

Little Blue Truck follows the friendly Blue around in the country, where he makes friends with all the animals, and then the proud Dump Truck comes along, and ignores them all. It’s a lesson on how taking the time to be kind and talk to people can have amazing results. Though I didn’t see a copy of Little Blue Truck Leads the Way today, I recall it being a story of Blue visiting the city and all the vehicles that he meets. Again, the whole story is in rhyme, and any child or grownup would enjoy the story.

While in the kids’ book section, I keep coming across a number of books in the Pinkalicious series, which until now, I didn’t know was a series. Written and illustrated by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann, the original story is about a girl who loves wearing pink, living in pink, and eating in pink. And then, one day, she goes too far and eats way too many pink cupcakes, with surprising results. While in Australia, my dear Sadie was a big fan of the color pink, and she had me read this book to her, again and again. Not only are the memories of reading this book sweet to me because of my Aussie girls, but the first one was fun and beautifully illustrated, so I think the others are all worth looking into.

Oh, I finally remembered another book that I came across in the children’s illustrated book section! It’s called Plant a Kiss, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and it’s illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. The story is short, but such quality in the tale and artwork! The tale of Little Miss who planted a kiss, when who had ever thought to plant one in the ground before? She watered it and looked after it, and then what happened? Something magical. And the design of the book involved glitter mixed into the magic, which creates sparkle and texture… something that any child will love. If I was expecting a child, or knew someone who was having a baby soon, that book would have been purchased, then and there. You see, I’m trying to be good, when it comes to book expenditures.

And if you’re ready to be free of the children’s book section, I just finished reading Caroline Bingley (A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice), by Jennifer Becton. You may remember that I read Becton’s Charlotte Collins, not too long ago, and enjoyed that tremendously. Of course, I have always been more sympathetic to Charlotte, because even if she made a mistake in marrying Mr. Collins, you can’t help but take pity on her for having to live with him.

But to somehow make Caroline Bingley interesting enough to care about? She has never been a favorite character of mine, so I felt completely unsympathetic, but also, I was curious. As I began to read, the author is not quick to make Caroline more likeable, either, because who can change their stripes quickly? I liked how Caroline does change, but not quite how I expected her to. And as I read, I kept trying to picture her, either from the BBC adaptation or from the newer movie version of Pride and Prejudice. I found that the latter image of her was a little better, but the BBC Miss Bingley has always seemed too old and too unlike her brother, in any form (looks or personality). Perhaps I should read it again, sometime, and see how Austen describes her, because I’ve forgotten.

If you are interested in sequels to Austen novels, then you will really enjoy this book. Jennifer Becton does an excellent job of describing the Regency world, with occasional visits or mentions of the original characters of Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, Charles Bingley, or Jane. But she doesn’t depend on them, and creates a wonderfully descriptive world that makes you believe this is what Jane Austen might have written, had she ever though to continue the story. And if you’re interested in the G-rated sequels, this one is definitely in that category, as well.

I hope you’ve been enjoying some good books, this summer (ok, winter, if you’re in AUS). If you’ve read something new and entertaining, do feel free to comment and let the rest of us know!

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