Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hamsters review Humphrey!

Hi, we're the new Library hamsters, but we're visiting with Princess until we go there.  First she tried to eat us, but then she said we could review a book!  We can't wait.  We don't have names yet, so I'll be H1.  And I'll be H2 (I'm the cute one).

H1 - I'll start.  We are going to review "The World According to Humphrey" by Betty G. Birney.
H2 - We know, you've probably already read it.  But it's perfect for us!
H1 - Humphrey is a hamster who goes from a pet store to a school and then
H2 - Just like us!
H1 - Hey, I wasn't done.  Then he meets all the kids in the classroom and they all
H2 -Just like we're going to!
H1 - I wasn't done!  They all have funny names, and they all love
H2 - Us!  They all will love us!
H1 - Stop it!!  Stop interrupting, I'm talking about the book, not you!  You're driving me crazy!
H2 - Oops, sorry.
H1 - Princess says we're getting sidetracked, and she's thinking about how tasty we look.
H2 - We'd better finish up fast.  I'll take it from here.  So Humphrey loves living in the classroom.
H1 - Back to me!  And he gets to go home on weekends until a different teacher takes over, and she does not like rodents!
H2 - Can you believe it?  So Humphrey has to get used to nights at the school, but he meets a nice janitor, and then the Principal takes him home to meet his kids.
H1 - The Principal has no control over his own kids!
H2 - Just like Miss Kitty!  Don't tell her I said that.
H1 - And that's as far as we got.  We're not very fast readers.  But it's so funny, and we just know Humphrey is going to have all sorts of adventures.
H2 - Just like us!
H1 - Soon we'll have names, but until then
H2 - Remember that I'm the cute one!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hilary McKay, English writer and crumpet eater

Do you like English humour?  I do, and I also like English food, like Shepherd's Pie!  Yum, the soft potato topping. Mmmmm, the delicious shepherds inside.  Oh, mom says it's just beef.
Anyway, I have recently discovered Hilary McKay, but I guess mom and her non-furry friend Susan discovered her a long time ago, when they first read "The Exiles".  They laughed and laughed, and have been reading her books ever since.  That's what she told me, and I believe her because she's a librarian and they never lie.
So, there are a few picture books, one about a pirate adventure in the backyard and another about a dragon downstairs.  I was scared about the dragon one because it takes place at night, but guess what!  The dragon is really just a three letter word beginning with "c" and ending with "t".  I don't want to spoil it for the children.
Then there's the first book of the Exiles series, about four sisters who get sent off to spend the summer with their eccentric grandmother.  Their stay is like a visit to the dog park when the wind is blowing and the dogs are feisty and snappish, and keep running into each other.  Then they are all tired out and find special friends and rest happily against their humans' legs.  Except it's a lot funnier.
"Saffy's Angel" is the first book in the Casson family series, and that Casson family is something else!  I would like to live with them because they're the kind of family who would always be dropping food on the floor.  The oldest daughter loves rodents, although not in the same way I love rodents. Everyone is named after paint colors, which I don't really get, but with a name like "Princess" I can't really complain.
"Dog Friday" is the first in another series about two families that live next to each other, and there's a dog in it, in case you couldn't tell from the title.  Also, there's one of the funniest scenes in a children's book ever, and it involves a turkey. 
Her new series is for younger children, and the first book ("Lulu and the Dog from the Sea') also has a dog in it!  It's about a girl, and a dog who needs a family, just like I needed a family!  You can tell from the cover that it ends happily, but I haven't gotten that far because my dad told me it was time for bed and took the book away.  I'll finish it tomorrow.
Time for lights out!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Peeing on the rug, not on the books!

Well, I couldn't help it...  that rug with the chicken picture on it was just asking for it.  But then daddy found out and I felt badly, so this book review is about my favorite potty training book.  Mylo Freeman is a genius!  His book is simply called "Potty!" and it is bright and funny.  There is a potty in the jungle.  All the animals try it out, which is so silly!  They are so big, it is so little.  It gets stuck, they get stuck, and then a little boy wanders by.  Guess what, it is just the right size for him!  Warning to sensitive parents:  that boy has no underwear on, just like me, but his bottom is NOT covered in fur for modesty.  Your little one will laugh, and just maybe will see if the potty in your bathroom is just the right size.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Love, literature and Catching Fire

My human mother says true love is not minding when your dog licks you even when you know she's just eaten her dog food and quite possibly has also been cleaning her own bottom.  She also tells me that sometimes people need extra love. Like The Little One, who didn't get enough when she was really little, so I have to be extra patient when she is doing silly things with my ears, and sometimes she needs to get all the attention and I have to wait for my walk.  She also tells me that sometimes loving yourself is the hardest thing.  Humans are complicated.  For me it's easy!  I give love, I get love.  I have boundless love, and I get boundless love in return.  No words are needed.
We are reading "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins together.  It is a little hard for me, so I lie on her legs and she explains the hard parts.  There's a lot of action, but also a lot of questions about love.  Katniss (why couldn't it have been Dogniss????) is back from the Games, and there's two guys, Peeta and Gale.  She's known Gale ever since they were puppies, and she feels closer to him than to most others.  But Peeta loves her with a dog-like devotion, and she said she loved him in front of her whole world, and she is expected to love him forever.  I'm still confused about this, but bad things will happen to her and other people if she doesn't marry him.  She is really confused, too!  She doesn't even know what she's really feeling about those two guys, and sometimes she has a lot of trouble loving herself.  Like when she thinks about the poison berries, and about why she did certain things, and whether she's a good person.  Now I'm confused again!
In my world love is simple, at least for me.  In her's there's danger in love, bigger danger than hurting those closest to her.  There's also danger for her whole world!  I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the book.  In the meantime I will lie on my back and someone will rub my tummy.
Here I am looking for love!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Literary Standoff over Katie Woo!

That cat-who-shall-not-be-named had the nerve to come into my territory and state her opinion about the Katie Woo book I was reading in the kitchen, where I was hoping for food droppage.  She says Katie Woo is a pain in the "tail area" but I say she always shows her true heart by the end of the book.  She can be bossy, and sometimes she makes mistakes, but she knows when to do the right thing.  What about the time she helped Pedro out when he wouldn't kiss the princess in the school play?  Sure, her methods were unorthodox, but they worked and saved the show!  That happened in "Star of the Show" when Katie got cast as the worm.  In "The Big Lie" she takes Jake's little toy airplane when he drops it, and she wants it SO BADLY that she lies about having it.  Does she come clean at the end?  Read the book and find out, I can't tell you everything.  "Goodbye to Goldie" was almost more sad than a dog could bear - I whined and whined while I read it.  Katie was a really good human in that one.  So keep your opinions to yourself, Miss Cat Smarty-pants, and stay out of my kitchen!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Four Asian books and too many cats!

I pulled some picture books off the lower shelves with my paws this morning, hoping one of them would be the right size to clean the kibble out from between my teeth.  None of them were, but everyone had left me all alone so I decided to read them to pass the time.   They all had Japanese or Chinese themes and two of them were about cats!  What is it with all the cats in the books in this house?  I should demand equal time - more dog books!!!!  Anyway, here are the titles in case you are interested:
"Yoko" by Rosemary Wells
"Three Samurai Cats" retold by Eric A. Kimmel
"The Ugly Vegetables" by Grace Lin (It should be "The Ugly Cats")
"Daisy Comes Home" by Jan Brett
Yoko is a Japanese cat who's having trouble fitting in at her obedience school, and no one wants to eat her food.  I liked this book mostly because there was SO MUCH food in it, but I thought it was very unfair that the dogs in the book were not very nice or smart.  This book was really good, but I would have liked it better if Yoko were a dog.
"Three Samurai Cats" has a fat and ugly rat in it who takes over a castle.  The daimyo, or lord, of the castle (a dog) gets the help of three different samurai cats.  The first two fight the rat and lose, the third is old and sleeps all the time.  How does that old lazy cat beat the rat?  You'll never believe it!  It has something to do with a rice ball - danged if I could figure it out, maybe you will.
"The Ugly Vegetables" doesn't have any good food in it.  It's all about gardens, and vegetables with Chinese names, and a little girl who looks like my little girl who is upset that her garden is ugly.  But somehow everything comes out all right when her mother makes a soup with the ugly vegetables that all the humans think is delicious.  At the end they say it was the best dinner ever, but obviously they've never tasted Alpo and Purina, or they wouldn't say that!
"Daisy Comes Home" has great pictures, and there were animals hidden in the mountains, even a dog!  Also, there were chickens.  I like chickens.  I like to chase chickens.  I had trouble paying attention to what was happening in the story because there were so many chickens.  Especially one, Daisy, who took a long trip and had many adventures, some of them scary.  The little girl, Mei Mei, is very brave and loves her chicken, not for the same reasons I loved her chicken.  There is a happy ending. 
Then my humans came home and made popcorn, and my day's story had a happy ending, too!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Books for my littlest human, age 7 - "Fly Guy" and "Hey Jack"

The small loud one in the house likes to be read to, and is doing much better at reading to herself lately.  I'd like to read to her, but she doesn't seem to understand dog, and she's constantly playing with my ears in a crazy way, so frankly I keep a little distance between us.  She seems to like "Fly Guy" books a lot,  which don't have too many words, but are sparkly on the outside and kind of gross on the inside.  I'd like to get my nose into some of that garbage Fly Guy eats!  
She and our mom just discovered the "Hey Jack" series by Sally Rippin.  They were reading "The New Friend" while I tried to bite my own tail, and it was about a boy and a puppy, so I was sort of listening.  Our mom kept going on about how it was so good because it was like a chapter book, but easier than some of the others, blah blah blah.  That was boring, but the story was good.  I pretended the story was about me, and then I went to sleep.

When she's not playing with my ears she's arranging my legs!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Story of Little Babaji

This book is great!  It is a little square book, perfect for holding with your paws, and it's full of tigers who turn into butter!  I love butter!  Also, the tigers wear clothes, which look very silly on them, especially the slippers on the ears.  You already know how I feel about cats, so tigers looking ridiculous make me wag my tail.  Helen Bannerman wrote the words a long time ago, and Fred Marcellino did the pictures not quite as long ago.  This is a perfect little book, and would make a nice gift for someone special.    

This story reminds me of a story called "The Spiffiest Giant in Town" because it is so funny and the giant gives away all his clothes, just like in the story when little Babaji gave away all his clothes to the tigers.  The difference is that the giant was doing it to be kind and helpful, but Little Babaji was going to be eaten by the TIGERS! -

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gerald and Piggie are the best!

If you are just learning to read, or just like funny pictures, you will love the "Elephant and Piggie" books by Mo Willems!  I just discovered them while I was trying to retrieve a big piece of pita bread from a book bag on the floor.

My first book review!

I decided to make a blog because the cats won't run away from me anymore, so I have time on my hands.  My female person left a book called "Beswitched" out on the couch, so I decided to give it a try.  It was really good, even though there weren't really any dogs in it.  It is by Kate Saunders, and is for ages 9 and up.  It turns out that this spoiled girl is getting sent to private school, whatever that is, and she is very mad because it is all because of her difficult grandmother having broken a hip.  On the train to the new school something very strange happens, she is whisked into the past, to a boarding school in 1935!  Boy, she is confused and lost, and her attitude is  pretty crumby (just found some on the floor...).  By the end of the book, though, she has changed a lot, and made friends she will never forget -and changed the life of one very important person.  My fur stood on end with emotion at the end, when she goes back to her own time, and something very special happens.  When I shared my feelings with my female person she told me about another book with a great time travel theme and (had to stop for a moment to try to scare the cat) she said that it had a terrific ending that gave her the same feeling.  Her book was "Tom's Midnight Garden", by Philippa Pearce.