New feature! Midweek book club

So I was pondering a new feature for the blog last week and decided to run a book review – two a week, one for parents, one for children.

Parents first.

Tim Lott – Under the Same Stars

Previously I had only read Tim Lott as a columnist in the Saturday Guardian and I rather liked him there so when I stumbled across this in the library I checked it out. It’s the story of two estranged brothers, Salinger and Carson, (both named after authors – so I’m not the only person with literary references in naming children) who set out on a road trip across America to find their dying father, who walked out on the family years ago. Lott uses the road trip to make some culture clash references and observations, none of them particularly new or ground breaking, but the main emphasis of the novel is on the brothers’ relationship. And this works – it’s a good depiction of the difficult, sometimes stumbling efforts of both men to get on with the other and to come to terms with an incident in the past. (I guessed what this was – I don’t know if this was supposed to be a big reveal when the truth came out but I suspect it was. Anyway, I guessed it.) They talk about fathers and sons relationships as being special, but I found lots in the final emotionally complicated scenes to identify with from my own relationship with my father. There is a lot of humour in the book, even in the distressing dog scene, and Lott’s writing gave me a strong visual as I read – the cars, the description of the landscape and the buddy style all seemed familiar from movies. In short, this is an enjoyable although not really engrossing read.

Frog on a Log – Usborne Phonics series

I’ll admit I don’t know much about phonics but I think the idea is to do with sound. So a lot of this book has similar sounding words in it. (“I’m a jogging frog from the log by the bog!”)  It’s a funny story that children and adults will find amusing, never mind the learning part, and the illustrations are simple but strong. E loved it purely because it had pictures of animals in it, especially her current favourite, a dog. She waited as I told her the story, knowing when the dog would appear and knowing where to find him under flaps. We had it out of the library for two weeks and it went back today – she has spent some of this afternoon looking for it as she’s too little to get the concept of the library yet. I may have to go back and get it out again.

So there you go. Wednesday book club on the blog. More next week.

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