Posts Tagged ‘Alison’

Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Can We Save The Tiger?

Martin Jenkins and Vicky White (illustrator)

Tigers are big, beautiful and fierce. But, like many other animals, they are in danger of becoming extinct. With breathtaking illustrations this large-format picture book tells us about the threats to the many endangered species on our planet and the need to prevent their extinction.

This is a bit different to all the other reviews I’ve done as this isn’t a fiction book, but a non-fiction book. It’s a book that gives you facts and information rather than telling a story. But then that doesn’t quite sum it up either. The style of writing in this book does make it sound like the author is telling a story; it’s just in this case it’s true. I struggled to work out what age group this book is aimed at. There is quite a lot of writing and some of the words are quite complex, it’s not an early reader. The style however does seem to be aiming towards educating quite young children. I know if I read it to my pre schooler he would ask masses of questions (we are really going through the ‘why?’ stage at the moment), but then that could well be what the author intended.

That all being said this is a lovely book and I do think the style of writing makes it. It takes a difficult subject for little ones to understand and makes it interesting and fun. There are masses of facts held within the book and I know that I did learn at lot from it. The illustrations really complimented the words. Largely line drawn, they had fantastic detail whilst at the same time appeared very simple. Perfect for little ones and a great starting point for conversations about animals nearing extinction, it certainly made me want to go out and learn more, and as a librarian anything that may make children want to learn more about a subject definitely has the thumbs up from me. I found this a rare book, an information book that I actually enjoyed reading, one that I would turn to read for enjoyment rather than research.

Verdict: A lovely fact book on animals for young children that should really start the questions going.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: February 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 56
Genre: Non Fiction
Age: Early Reader, Middle Grade
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Due to family and work commitments Jane has had to take a step back from the blog. While Jane will continue to contribute her photography skills and the occasional review, she needs to focus her energy on the running of her two new businesses: Cheeky Mouse Memories and Phoenix Trading.

We are delighted to introduce a new member of the Big Book Little Book team…
Alison is Mum to two children, one at Primary School and one preschooler. She juggles day to day life with full time work is a school librarian. A career that fits very well with her obsessive reading habit. Life is very busy, but lots of fun.

Not a day goes by with at least a few pages being read. Alison can often be found reading teen and young adult fiction, all in the name of work, honest! An urban fantasy addict, both grown up and teen, she is currently reading the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, and loving every second. Alison also permanently seems to be reading books from the long and shortlists of children’s book awards.

When she takes the occasional step into the territory of books for grown ups Alison loves to read crime and fantasy.
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Around The Table: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

AROUND THE TABLE: We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects.The following facebook thread took place over six days.
As Karen hasn’t read The Hunger Games Trilogy (yet!) and Lesley is enjoying a family holiday we are delighted to be joined, by Alison aka augustwilliow, blog follower and school librarian.

Please be aware that this post contains spoilers and we advise not reading any further unless you have already read Mockingjay.

Caroline: I don’t need to tell you ladies that I really LOVE this trilogy. I think that my insistence that everyone read it speaks for itself!  What elements did you enjoy?

Jane: I really enjoyed this trilogy, more than I thought I would, especially as I found the whole idea of ‘The Games’ a particularly gruesome thing to get my head around! I found it interesting that Katniss, after much persuasion, should become the Mockingjay symbol (something created by the Capitol), creating the uprising that becomes its downfall. Hence the Capitol is ultimately brought down by its own creation.

Caroline: I, too, loved the notion that Katniss, like the Mockingjay, is a product of the Capitols rule, and how both of their creations backfire on them.

Helen: I was also intrigued by the amount President Snow knew about Katniss. Where did he get some of that information?

Caroline: I really enjoyed the end of the Mockingjay. The choice Katniss makes, initially appearing to agree to further games, allowing her up on to the stage, to then assassinate President Coin rather than President Snow.Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)

After so much time being used as a pawn, initially by the capitol, in the games, and then by District 13, as a part of the resistance, she exerts her free will and chooses the future. Preventing anymore horrific games, rather than extracting revenge for the past.

Helen: I was horrified, initially, when she agreed to another hunger games, I agree she used it to look like she was playing along, but I wasn’t completely convinced that she wouldn’t have had chance to do the assassination anyway. We don’t know whether that act did actually prevent another hunger games anyway.

Caroline: I disagree; I think that if she had openly disagreed with the new regime she would have been whisked away. We already know (from the brain washing of Peeta) that the technology exists to manipulate people’s images for propaganda. I think she needed to play along to allow herself access to the public stage, making an undeniable public statement, with no possibility of cover up or opportunity for actions to be taken in her name.

Helen: But all the others had a say too, she wasn’t the only one, if Haymitch had voted the other way then there would not have been a vote for more games anyway.  I’m sure that what you say is what Collins wants us to think, but I just didn’t feel that Katniss saying no to a games would have been the end of everything for her.

Alison: I think that it was fitting that it ended the way it did. Not only was Kat making a point on how wrong the hunger games were and how they were possibly moving from one dictatorship to another, she was regaining a measure of control over her own life. Whilst the ending was not what I wished for, it felt right.

Helen: I was really frustrated by the complete lack of information at the end. I would have liked to know about what happened at Katniss trial and whether there really was any change in society as a result of what happened

Jane: Although tying up loose ends (to a degree), we were left with a lot of questions about the characters and the state of Panem after the uprising. I would have liked more definitive answers as to how the future of Panem changed after the uprising. However, through information such as Gale working in television to help create entertainment programs for the city, I guess we are led to believe that life must have been somewhat better if television was being used in this way for its people rather than just the previous years of compulsory ‘Games’ viewing!

Caroline: In relation to the trial think that it is quite fitting that it took place without her, that the powers that be didn’t allow her to represent herself and that they decided to “retire” her. After all Katniss was a pawn for them from the start.
It was important for Suzanne to focus on Katniss’ breakdown and eventual recovery; you can’t put a character through all of that without some consequences! As the trilogy is written in first person she would have had to either swapped protagonists or included it after Kat’s recovery.  I think that as a reader I would have resented that, she’d already been through so much, and following her recovery I was ready for a “happy” ending.

Helen: Yes, Caz, I agree, would have been odd, but I still want to know what happened!

Helen: Great idea to have an out-take. On that front I would like one about Cinna! He was a great character and we could piece together a lot about him but I would love to know his back story, which we never really found out.

Caroline: Suzanne if you’re reading we want more Cinna!

Helen: On the whole I preferred the first two books. I did like the third, but I felt that the first two were particularly well plotted and paceier. Collins was really clever in her writing of The Games and all the little twists and turns that came together at the end of both books. As the third was more about the war, propaganda etc it wasn’t quite the same in these respects. Which books did everyone else prefer?

Jane: The first two books were real pages turners that I couldn’t put down, and although I read the third with the same urgency I felt it lacked the same punch! I was gearing myself up for this big war that just never really seemed to happen for me as Katniss was constantly pushed ‘on the back burner’ by those around her!

Alison: I think I preferred the first two more than Mockingjay as the focus changed so much. In the arena Kat is strong and has more control over her own destiny, whereas in Mockingjay the fact she is used as a pawn is much more apparent.

Jane: On the whole, a superb set of books with a unique and extremely imaginative plot, full of twists and turns – some of which I certainly didn’t expect! It will certainly be very interesting to see how they put this on the Big Screen!

We welcome your comments and would love to read your thoughts on the topics discussed.

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