Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

"This is a story of a cook-- a quiet, diligent cook who kept to herself. Her specialty was homemade ice cream topped with fresh peaches, which she served on hot summer days. She worked for some of the wealthiest families in New York, who spoke highly of her skills.

But when six members of one household nearly died, the cook mysteriously disappeared-- and the hunt for Typhoid Mary began." (inside cover)

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan  Campbell Bartoletti is considered to be a biography on Mary Mallon, the woman who would become Typhoid Mary. I disagree. I think this book would be much better suited for the 616s or in a section dedicated to medical mysteries. Very little of what is in this book is actually about Mary Mallon as a person.

There are 15 chapters in this book and maybe collectively, 1 chapter could be considered a bio on Mary. The rest is about George Soper's investigation to find Mary, and the information on how infectious diseases are spread, and the insane civil rights/liberties of the working class poor that were frequently squashed.

Terrible Typhoid Mary is a fascinating book, though. Bartoletti's portrayal of George Soper makes him seem like a dirty detective-- a man who had absolutely no issue with stomping on someone's rights to get the results he wanted.   I couldn't help but feel bad for Mary Mallon with the horrible witch hunt to get her. All of her rights were stripped away when she was essentially kidnapped by the Health Department.

I know this post seems like I hated the book, however, I really liked the book. I found the facts to be fascinating and learned a few new vocab words as I read it. I just don't think it should be classified as a biography.

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
by Susan  Campbell Bartoletti
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
240 pages (after addition materials)
Ages 10-14

Friday, September 4, 2015

George by Alex Gino

" BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl." (inside cover)

Alex Gino's George is a book that makes you think. Gender Identity is an issue that has been brought to the forefront of our society these past couple of years. From actresses like Laverne Cox, celebrities, like Caitlyn Jenner and Chaz Bono,  and children like Jazz Jennings have put real face to the transgender community. With people coming forward and sharing their journey, I believe more children will be willing to talk about the journey they are on and Alex Gino's George is a great book for them to read.

One thing I found amazing with this book is from the very first pages, George is always referred to by the pronouns "she" or "her" when not being talked to by another character in the book. From the first pages George knows her identity, and you the reader know it as well. From the very beginning of the book, you know George and you go through her struggle to let others know who she is.

I don't understand the struggle of not being able to identify as who you are based on gender ( I fully understand the struggle of not being able to convince everyone of who I am racially-- joys of being bi-racial), but I appreciate Alex Gino's novel. I appreciate the look at what a child who is transgendered or trying to figure out their gender identity may be going through.
George is a great book to hand kids who may come looking for someone to sympathize with. Excellent job, Alex Gino.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

"On Legacy Day each year, the students at the Ever After High boarding school sign the Storybook of Legends and pledge to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings, and Evil Queens. Everyone believes that refusing to sign their names means both you and your story will vanish forever after. Poof!
   Raven Queen, however, is having doubts. As the daughter of the Evil Queen, it is her destiny to give the poisoned apple to Snow White's daughter. But Raven has a spark of rebellion in her heart, and she knows one thing for sure: Evil is so not her style.
   On the other hand, the royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, cannot wait for Legacy Day! It will be the day she shuts the book on getting her Happily Ever After. But her destiny is intertwined with Raven's, and if rebel Raven doesn't sign the Storybook of Legends, it could mean a Happily Never After for them both.

(back cover of book)

I absolutely love fairy tale retellings. I love twists on fairy tales. I LOVED reading The Storybook of Legends. I found the book to be absolutely hilarious and really felt drawn to Raven Queen and rooting for her. I will say that Apple White annoyed me to no end in the very beginning of the book. Apple just seemed to be a whiny little princess who wanted everything her own way-- determined to do whatever she good to ensure her Happily Ever After without caring that it would make Raven be a villain.
My absolute favorite character has to be Madeline Hatter, the daughter of the Mad Hatter of Wonderland. Maddie is quirky, loves a good cup of tea and is fiercely loyal to her friends. Raven Queen is a very close second to favorite characters, with her desire to not become evil like her Mother, the ultimate Evil Queen.

The Storybook of Legends is a fantastic way to start a series of fairy tale retellings and I can't image a better start to the series. LOVE LOVE LOVE.