Friday, November 26, 2010

The Autobiography of the Queen: a novel by Emma Tennant

Book Information
Tennant, Emma. The Autobiography of the Queen. London: Arcadia Books Ltd, 2007.

My Summary and Review
The Queen escapes palace life and finds a seemingly restful getaway in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, her passport, money and luggage soon disappear. What should an undercover royal do in such circumstances, especially when her "rescuer" is a dubious neighbourhood rum shop owner?

The book is a must for anyone who enjoys reading about the royal family. Though the villain is obvious and the situations are outlandish, it is fun to see how the Queen faces each escalating problem with an aloof dignity and grace. Also enjoyable are the many miscommunications between the Queen and the rum shop owner, who thinks that she is just a "crazy old lady."

Read This Book?

Try The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.

If you were Queen for a day, what would you do? Travel the world? Make a large donation to the charity of your choice? Take a trip to... the library? The LIBRARY! For a Queen, after all, reading is a luxury as she always busy with public duties...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fast Food (Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints series)

Book Information
Friedman, Lauri S., ed. Fast Food (Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints). Missouri: Greenhaven Press, 2010.

My Review
Readers who enjoy a well-rounded discussion about current issues should open any book in the series Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints. Fast Food  covers almost every issue imaginable on the subject of fast food. Is fast food making Americans fat, or is obesity a question of lack of self-care? Should fast food be regulated, with restrictions on its marketing? Can fast food ever be considered healthy?

The essays included in Fast Food are drawn from a variety of sources, from the New York Times website to, an independent news website whose aim is to "inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more" ( Fast Food presents information in a way that is simple and clear, with thought-provoking questions at the end of each essay.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Faces of Opportunity by Opportunity International Canada

Book Information
Opportunity International Canada. Faces of Opportunity. Canada: Opportunity International Canada, 2009.

My Review
In Faces of Opportunity, readers meet 20 successful entrepreneurs. These business owners funded their organizations using microloans from Opportunity International, a nonprofit organization that aids the working poor in 27 developing countries

The stories of the business owners in this small, thin book are very clear, concise, simple and powerful. Through their successes, some of these individuals have become leaders within their own communities. Facts on loans, international poverty and small businesses are sprinkled throughout the book. The beautiful pictures of the business owners deepen the links of understanding between the reader and the book. The stories are inspirational and encouraging.

My Notes
As part of a new work project, I have been updating a local tourism directory. Daily, I encounter news of small business closures. I am constantly reminded of the many needs and difficulties that challenge small businesses today. Reading this book was quite a morale boost for me. These successful entrepreneurs are more than faces of opportunity. They are faces of hope.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Little Bear and the Marco Polo

Book Information
Minarik, Else Holmelund. Little Bear and the Marco Polo. New York: Harper, 2010.

My Review
Little Bear is full of themes that children in primary grades will love, including adventures and sailing. Parents will like the book's informative/educational aspects. Note: even though this book identifies itself as a level one book for beginning readers, it is not an introductory reader. There is no rhyme or repetition of words. Sentences do not follow a clear pattern. Some of the vocabulary is quite challenging. Depending on the child's reading abilities, Little Bear would be an enjoyable read for a student in Grade Two (or nearing the end of Grade One).