Eleanor Estes/Moffat Books

Monday, February 07, 2005

Some recent additions

Five Little Peppers Midway
The Adventures of Joel Pepper
Five Little Peppers Grown Up
Stories Polly Pepper Told
Four more books in the Five Little Peppers series.

101 Dalmatians
The basis for the Disney movie, but a real book --- and a better story.

The Mitchells
A WWII-era domestic novel, reminiscent of the Moffats books --- not as good, but still worth reading.

The Little Bookroom
Short stories, fairy tales --- "Good!" says our 8 year old.

Freddy the Magician
Freddy and the Flying Saucer Plans
Just a couple more of these fun Freddy stories.

Return of the Twelves by Pauline Clarke
I think our 8-year old read this literally 12 times in row. Similar in concept to the (later) Indian in the Cupboard books.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Pinky Pye

This is sort of a sequel to Ginger Pye, and is almost as good. The Pye family, because of Mr. Pye's status as favorite birdman of the U. S. government, takes a working summer vacation on Fire Island. The prospect of leaving Cranbury for the entire summer is not at first attractive to Rachel and Jerry:

but . . . go to Fire Island for the whole summer! Just throw away the whole wonderful summer in Cranbury when there was no school and no Sunday school, only church to go to? They had a beach here, didn't they? Sandy Beach, dear Sandy Beach. Why go to another beach just because it had a different name? And they had woods here, didn't they, and brooks and fields and daisies and summer, long and wonderful summer. Just throw it all away. waste it. It would be like skipping a chapter in a book; or like having a chapter, the best one probably in the whole book, either torn out or so blurrily printed that it could not be read. (p. 5-6)
But they come around. The adventures involve all the Pye pets, old and new, and little Uncle Bennie, who is just as funny here as in Ginger Pye. Mr. Pye is important in this story, too. Pinky Pye, and any other Pye or Moffat books, would make wonderful read-alouds. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

We happened to find this book at a library sale. This original, non-Disney version is really pretty good. The description on the cover calls it "A comedy -- a mystery -- a thriller!" And it's exactly right. The characters are more interesting than in the Disney movie, and Cruella de Vil might be a bit more evil (though she's pretty scary in both). We enjoyed this, and will add it to our list.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Hilda van Stockum

(1945, 236 pages)

We just read The Mitchells (also called The Mitchells: Five for Victory) by Hilda van Stockum. Reminded us very much of The Moffets books by Eleanor Estes. Both are set during WW2, describe lives of large families, father not present (Mr. Mitchell is in the Navy, Mr. Moffet is deceased). Eleanor Estes' style worked better for me - I love her humor, and the way she gets inside the heads of her young characters. But The Mitchells is well worth reading, especially for the smallest eager reader in our house, who doesn't find something new to read everyday, since she's already read everything she can get her hands on. We will certainly read the two sequels, Friendly Gables and Canadian Summer.

I read another van Stockum book a few years back that I didn't care for as much, called The Borrowed House. Another wartime book. It was not dull, but I couldn't recommend it to my younger kids because of a subplot that dealt with the marital problems of the parents of the main character, a young girl. I don't remember it clearly, but did remember that part of it struck me as not quite suitable for the 12 and under crowd.

You can read Amazon comments on that book here.