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Molly Grue "Renaissance Woman" RSS Feed (SF Bay Area, CA USA)

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Martha Ann and the Mother Store
Martha Ann and the Mother Store
by Nathaniel Charnley
Edition: Library Binding
16 used & new from $3.23

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A young child rebels against her mother's discipline, September 24, 2007
Martha Ann hates putting her toys away, wiping her shoes on the mat, and going to bed early at night. Her mother insists that she do all these things, so she takes her mother to The Mother Store and trades her in for a new mother.

Mrs. Harris doesn't care if Martha Ann tidies her room. Unfortunately, Mrs. Harris is just as casual about her own room, which is soon buried under a heap of clutter. Martha Ann swaps Mrs. Harris for Mrs. Dunne, who lets Martha Ann stay up late. When Martha Ann is completely exhausted, she wants to be tucked in, but Mrs. Harris is still watching television. Martha Ann exchanges Mrs. Harris for Mrs. Allen, who doesn't mind when Martha Ann doesn't wipe her feet. Mrs. Allen is careless and messy, so when the house becomes dirty, Martha Ann switches her for Mrs. Clemington, who picks up after Martha Ann, cleans up her messes, and lets her stay up late. Although Mrs. Clemington initially seems like an ideal parent, she has neither the time or nor the inclination to mother Martha Ann.

Martha Ann finally begins to appreciate her mother's loving ways, and the two reach an affectionate understanding when Martha Ann retrieves her mother from The Mother Store.

This memorable picture book is profusely illustrated with large, detailed black and white line drawings on each page. While the plot is very similar to that of the chapter book The Mommy Market by Nancy Brelis (UK title The Mummy Market), the text is much shorter and the plot easier for a young child to comprehend, particularly since there is no magic involved.

This amusing little fantasy teaches youngsters a fine lesson without being heavy handed, and it's a shame that it is no longer in print.


Landslide!
Landslide!
by Veronique Day
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from $8.40

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nearly perfect juvenile adventure!, August 31, 2007
This review is from: Landslide! (Hardcover)
Monsieur and Madame Colson send their children, Laurent, Bertille and Daniel, to spend their Christmas holidays with their friends the Gunthers, who own a hotel in Montpierre. Laurent, who is fourteen, is placed in charge of his siblings as well as the two Berthier children, Véronique and Alexis, who are vacationing while their mother recovers from surgery.

An introspective and bookish boy, Laurent is overwhelmed by his new responsibilities, especially the care of his naughty and disobedient sister, and decides to take his charges back to Paris after only two days. As the little group is waiting for the train that will take them home, Bertille apologizes for her misbehavior, and Laurent decides they will return to the hotel. During the long, chilly, and wet walk back, Alexis falls and strikes his head, so the children seek refuge in the isolated home shared by Monsieur Nortier, a local inventor, and his sister. The elderly siblings have gone to the village for the day, and the children fall asleep while waiting for them to return.

While they sleep, the rain-soaked hillside collapses on the house, and the children are trapped. Unfortunately, no one is looking for them. When their vacation began, the mischievous Bertille wrote happy messages on a stack of postcards and bribed a little girl in Montpierre to mail one to the Colsons every day. While they are puzzled by the lack of mail from Laurent and Daniel, Bertille's daily postcard assures the Colsons that the children are enjoying their vacation in Montpierre. Because the Gunthers believe the children have returned to Paris, they travel to visit relatives and never see Mrs. Colson's letter about the scarlet fever epidemic that has closed the children's school and extended their vacation by a week.

The children finally figure out a way to send a Morse code message that is seen by a young boy who is bedridden with a sprained ankle, but because Bertille has mixed up the letters of the Morse alphabet, the schoolmaster must help decipher the message. Laurent, who has truly lived up to his responsibilities during this emergency, is becoming sicker and weaker from an infected wound on his arm. Will he die before help arrives?

This wonderful book is very nearly a perfect juvenile adventure. The characters are well defined and resourceful, and the plot exciting and suspenseful. Unfortunately, Laurent's explanations of various scientific phenomena, while considered accurate fifty years ago when the book was written, are now known to be incorrect. Still, this is a minor matter that should not impair the enjoyment of this fine book.


No Title Available

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nearly perfect juvenile adventure!, August 31, 2007
Monsieur and Madame Colson send their children, Laurent, Bertille and Daniel, to spend their Christmas holidays with their friends the Gunthers, who own a hotel in Montpierre. Laurent, who is fourteen, is placed in charge of his siblings as well as the two Berthier children, Véronique and Alexis, who are vacationing while their mother recovers from surgery.

An introspective and bookish boy, Laurent is overwhelmed by his new responsibilities, especially the care of his naughty and disobedient sister, and decides to take his charges back to Paris after only two days. As the little group is waiting for the train that will take them home, Bertille apologizes for her misbehavior, and Laurent decides they will return to the hotel. During the long, chilly, and wet walk back, Alexis falls and strikes his head, so the children seek refuge in the isolated home shared by Monsieur Nortier, a local inventor, and his sister. The elderly siblings have gone to the village for the day, and the children fall asleep while waiting for them to return.

While they sleep, the rain-soaked hillside collapses on the house, and the children are trapped. Unfortunately, no one is looking for them. When their vacation began, the mischievous Bertille wrote happy messages on a stack of postcards and bribed a little girl in Montpierre to mail one to the Colsons every day. While they are puzzled by the lack of mail from Laurent and Daniel, Bertille's daily postcard assures the Colsons that the children are enjoying their vacation in Montpierre. Because the Gunthers believe the children have returned to Paris, they travel to visit relatives and never see Mrs. Colson's letter about the scarlet fever epidemic that has closed the children's school and extended their vacation by a week.

The children finally figure out a way to send a Morse code message that is seen by a young boy who is bedridden with a sprained ankle, but because Bertille has mixed up the letters of the Morse alphabet, the schoolmaster must help decipher the message. Laurent, who has truly lived up to his responsibilities during this emergency, is becoming sicker and weaker from an infected wound on his arm. Will he die before help arrives?

This wonderful book is very nearly a perfect juvenile adventure. The characters are well defined and resourceful, and the plot exciting and suspenseful. Unfortunately, Laurent's explanations of various scientific phenomena, while considered accurate fifty years ago when the book was written, are now known to be incorrect. Still, this is a minor matter that should not impair the enjoyment of this fine book.
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Landslide
Landslide
by Veronique Day
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from $11.22

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nearly perfect juvenile adventure!, August 31, 2007
This review is from: Landslide (Paperback)
Monsieur and Madame Colson send their children, Laurent, Bertille and Daniel, to spend their Christmas holidays with their friends the Gunthers, who own a hotel in Montpierre. Laurent, who is fourteen, is placed in charge of his siblings as well as the two Berthier children, Véronique and Alexis, who are vacationing while their mother recovers from surgery.

An introspective and bookish boy, Laurent is overwhelmed by his new responsibilities, especially the care of his naughty and disobedient sister, and decides to take his charges back to Paris after only two days. As the little group is waiting for the train that will take them home, Bertille apologizes for her misbehavior, and Laurent decides they will return to the hotel. During the long, chilly, and wet walk back, Alexis falls and strikes his head, so the children seek refuge in the isolated home shared by Monsieur Nortier, a local inventor, and his sister. The elderly siblings have gone to the village for the day, and the children fall asleep while waiting for them to return.

While they sleep, the rain-soaked hillside collapses on the house, and the children are trapped. Unfortunately, no one is looking for them. When their vacation began, the mischievous Bertille wrote happy messages on a stack of postcards and bribed a little girl in Montpierre to mail one to the Colsons every day. While they are puzzled by the lack of mail from Laurent and Daniel, Bertille's daily postcard assures the Colsons that the children are enjoying their vacation in Montpierre. Because the Gunthers believe the children have returned to Paris, they travel to visit relatives and never see Mrs. Colson's letter about the scarlet fever epidemic that has closed the children's school and extended their vacation by a week.

The children finally figure out a way to send a Morse code message that is seen by a young boy who is bedridden with a sprained ankle, but because Bertille has mixed up the letters of the Morse alphabet, the schoolmaster must help decipher the message. Laurent, who has truly lived up to his responsibilities during this emergency, is becoming sicker and weaker from an infected wound on his arm. Will he die before help arrives?

This wonderful book is very nearly a perfect juvenile adventure. The characters are well defined and resourceful, and the plot exciting and suspenseful. Unfortunately, Laurent's explanations of various scientific phenomena, while considered accurate fifty years ago when the book was written, are now known to be incorrect. Still, this is a minor matter that should not impair the enjoyment of this fine book.


The Mummy Market
The Mummy Market
by Nancy Burns Brelis
Edition: Library Binding
6 used & new from $275.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light hearted fun!, August 30, 2007
This review is from: The Mummy Market (Library Binding)
Elizabeth, Jenny and Harry Martin live with their efficient but unsympathetic housekeeper, Mrs. Hinchley, nicknamed The Gloom. When The Gloom flushes Harry's tadpoles down the toilet, the children visit their neighbor, Mrs. Cavour, to ask for advice. The elderly woman tells the children about the Mummy Market, a place where children can find new mothers.

While the idea of finding a mother is appealing, the children discover that selecting the correct mother is quite difficult. Their first selection, Mimsy, the Home-Type Mummy, is sickeningly sweet and smotheringly overprotective. Their next choice, Mom, is a outdoor lover, amateur taxidermist, and sports enthusiast who exhausts the children and angers them with her competitive behavior. Their third mother, Babs, a child psychologist, is so serene and understanding that the children feel compelled to behave like psychotic demons while under her care.

With so many different women to choose from, how will the Martins find the right mother?

It's a shame that this delightful book is no longer in print!


Silky : An Incredible Tale
Silky : An Incredible Tale
by Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from $7.49

2.0 out of 5 stars A promising start but disappointing conclusion, August 19, 2007
Cephas Hewes is a desperate farmer whose family home is falling to ruin. His ancestors had occupied the same piece of land for many generations, and their once grand mansion reminds Cephas of how their fortunes ebbed until he was left in possession of a structure he can no longer afford to maintain. His once pretty wife has grown stout and discouraged, and he is ashamed of her and his gawky and unattractive eldest daughter. Cephas is in the grip of such a powerful depression that he cannot see that his wife is starved for a kind word or affectionate glance from her husband, and his child has sterling qualities despite her plain exterior. When he passes by the family burial ground and finds that the gate has swung open, he wonders if this omen portends a death in his family. Perhaps his wife, who is heavy with child, will not survive the birth of the new baby. Or perhaps his failure-ridden life will culminate in his premature death.

A beautiful young stranger suddenly appears, singing and dressed inappropriately for the chilly weather. She is graceful and beautiful, and Cephas's children dub her Silky. The new arrival irritates Cephas, who tries to chase her away. Finally, the family's fortunes change, and Silky disappears.

This story is initially promising, as Coatsworth does an excellent job of describing Cephas's joyless existence and inability to find satisfaction in his family and surroundings. Unfortunately, Cephas is so grouchy and unpleasant that it is difficult to feel sympathy for his plight. Then Silky appears, and I expected the author to establish a connection between Silky's presence, Cephas's change of heart, and his family's newfound wealth. Unfortunately, the evidence provided is tenuous, at best, and the tale's conclusion is disappointingly flat.


Granny's Wonderful Chair and the Tales it Told
Granny's Wonderful Chair and the Tales it Told
by Frances Browne
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from $2.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of creative and pleasing stories, August 11, 2007
Young Snowflower lives with her grandmother, Dame Frostyface, in a little cottage at the edge of a forest. The two are very poor, and own only a cat, two hens, a bed of dried grass, and one good piece of furniture: "a great armchair with wheels on its feet, a black velvet cushion, and many curious carvings of flowers and fawns on its dark oaken back."

One day, Dame Frostyface leaves to visit her aunt, and asks Snowflower to remain behind. She tells the girl that the fancy armchair was made by a cunning fairy, and that it is enchanted. If Snowflower should feel lonely, she should lay her head gently on the cushion of the armchair and say, "Chair of my grandmother, tell me a story. Should Snowflower have the occasion to travel, she should sit in the chair and say, "Chair of my grandmother, take me such a way."

After an interval of solitude, Snowflower's food stores are nearly depleted, so she decides to travel in the armchair along the same path her grandmother took. While journeying, she hears that King Winwealth plans to give a seven day feast to celebrate the birth of his only daughter, Princess Greedalind. Snowflower, who is quite hungry, wishes to share in the feast, and travels to the palace in the enchanted armchair.

Since the disappearance of his brother, Prince Wisewit, King Winwealth has been an unhappy ruler, especially since his marriage to the covetous and disagreeable Queen Wantall and the birth of their unpleasant child. The King's low spirits prompt his favorite page to suggest that Snowflower's chair might provide some diversion, so she and the chair are summoned to the banquet each evening to entertain the king.

Each evening, the chair tells a different story until a total of seven stories are told: "The Christmas Cuckoo", "The Lords of the White and Grey Castles", "The Greedy Shepard", "The Story of Fairyfoot", "The Story of Childe Charity", "Sour and Civil", and "The Story of Merrymind". As each consecutive evening passes, the king's depression lifts and Snowflower's situation improves, until all of the stories end happily together.

This wonderful collection of creative and pleasing stories will entertain fairytale enthusiasts of all ages.


Granny's Wonderful Chair
Granny's Wonderful Chair
by Frances Browne
Edition: Hardcover
47 used & new from $0.01

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of creative and pleasing stories, August 11, 2007
Young Snowflower lives with her grandmother, Dame Frostyface, in a little cottage at the edge of a forest. The two are very poor, and own only a cat, two hens, a bed of dried grass, and one good piece of furniture: "a great armchair with wheels on its feet, a black velvet cushion, and many curious carvings of flowers and fawns on its dark oaken back."

One day, Dame Frostyface leaves to visit her aunt, and asks Snowflower to remain behind. She tells the girl that the fancy armchair was made by a cunning fairy, and that it is enchanted. If Snowflower should feel lonely, she should lay her head gently on the cushion of the armchair and say, "Chair of my grandmother, tell me a story. Should Snowflower have the occasion to travel, she should sit in the chair and say, "Chair of my grandmother, take me such a way."

After an interval of solitude, Snowflower's food stores are nearly depleted, so she decides to travel in the armchair along the same path her grandmother took. While journeying, she hears that King Winwealth plans to give a seven day feast to celebrate the birth of his only daughter, Princess Greedalind. Snowflower, who is quite hungry, wishes to share in the feast, and travels to the palace in the enchanted armchair.

Since the disappearance of his brother, Prince Wisewit, King Winwealth has been an unhappy ruler, especially since his marriage to the covetous and disagreeable Queen Wantall and the birth of their unpleasant child. The King's low spirits prompt his favorite page to suggest that Snowflower's chair might provide some diversion, so she and the chair are summoned to the banquet each evening to entertain the king.

Each evening, the chair tells a different story until a total of seven stories are told: "The Christmas Cuckoo", "The Lords of the White and Grey Castles", "The Greedy Shepard", "The Story of Fairyfoot", "The Story of Childe Charity", "Sour and Civil", and "The Story of Merrymind". As each consecutive evening passes, the king's depression lifts and Snowflower's situation improves, until all of the stories end happily together.

This wonderful collection of creative and pleasing stories will entertain fairytale enthusiasts of all ages.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A young girl turns crisis into opportunity, August 3, 2007
Priscilla Newell is a ten year old girl whose parents died when she was an infant. Her legal guardian, Uncle Roger, is a bachelor living in a club, so Priscilla lives with overprotective Aunt Millicent in an apartment house in the city. Aunt Millicent schedules and controls every moment of young Priscilla's life, while Mattie the housekeeper, Elsie the maid, and Bertha the cook take care of the domestic details for the little family. Priscilla is resigned to her life, but longs for an opportunity to make her own choices, no matter how small.

When Aunt Millicent's doctor abruptly decides that she needs to take a rest cure in California, Priscilla is sent to stay with her second cousin, Susan Newell, a writer who lives in a small cabin in the Connecticut woods. During her month long stay, Priscilla doesn't attend school, and is surprised to discover that she has been acquiring knowledge and skills despite her vacation from formal learning. She develops friendships with her closest neighbors, the Prescotts, and with the help of Uncle Roger, Priscilla identifies, befriends, and feeds wild birds. She also build fires, cooks, darns stockings, and sews on buttons. This self-sufficiency pays off when four year old Ann Prescott is lost in the woods during a snow storm, and the two girls must take refuge in the empty cabin.

Finally, Priscilla's sojourn ends. Will she be forced to return to a life she has outgrown?

While this is a charming book, the characters are two dimensional and with the exception of Ann's rescue by Priscilla, the plot is uneventful. A similar, and (in my opinion) better book with an identical theme is Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, which was written in 1917.


The invisible island
The invisible island
by Dean Marshall
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four children and a week of adventure, August 2, 2007
This review is from: The invisible island (Hardcover)
The four Guthrie children, Edith (Dit), Alan, David and Winnifred (Winkie), live in a cramped city apartment with an irritable landlord who dislikes noise. When one of the children's uproarious games goes awry, a downstairs visitor agrees to help their parents locate a more suitable home.

A little over one month later, the family arrives at their new home in a remote village in the middle of a measles epidemic. Since all of the local children are ill or in quarantine, the four siblings decide to amuse themselves by exploring the surrounding countryside. The children are surprised and delighted to find an invisible island in the middle of a field---a large piece of land completely surrounded by brooks and a pond. The children, who enjoy reading stories about shipwrecks and deserted islands, decide to play castaways for a week. They establish a campsite and arrange for the regular delivery of "rations" from the "wreck"---the house inhabited by their mother, father, and family cook, Hester.

The following week is full of interesting experiences, as the children swim, discover a spring, pick luscious wild strawberries, build a stone hut, find a cave, and have two close encounters with skunks. Their pleasant sojourn is then punctuated by a series of strange mysteries. Who replaces Winkie's lost pink soap on a rope? Who sends a waterproof crate of books floating into the waters surrounding the island? Who leaves a pail full of domestic strawberries in the campsite's icebox? Is Winkie suffering from an overactive imagination, or did she really see a dryad? Finally, where does the enormous, six-toed footprint on the beach come from?

This engaging tale has a very satisfying plot that would appeal to children who dream of adventure with minimal adult interference.
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