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C. J. Reno's Profile

Customer Reviews: 26
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C. J. Reno "bibliophile" RSS Feed (Grafton, MD)

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Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye Found It !
Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye Found It !
Price: $19.99
72 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great game for families with both little kids and bigger ones!, December 27, 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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My 4-year-old daughter thinks this game is absolutely great. I got it for her for Christmas since she is a big fan of the TV series Busytown Mysteries. Although it is easy enough for preschool children to play, the 'Eye See It!' searches make it challenging for older siblings and parents as well. A MUCH better first board game than Candyland!

I also love that the play is cooperative, not competitive. Helping each other find the mystery items makes the game fun and minimizes temper tantrums and taunting.

Busytown is best played with two or three players--four can play, but the more players there are, the greater the chance that the pig brothers will have eaten all the picnic before your 'team' gets there.

The Green Glass Sea
The Green Glass Sea
by Ellen Klages
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.89
157 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Coming of Age tale, for two girls...and a nation!, March 2, 2012
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This review is from: The Green Glass Sea (Paperback)
I grew up in the era of Mutual Assured Destruction--before the wall fell...when SALT and SALT2 were talks not treaties...when Star Wars was the latest movie, not a defense strategy. Although we weren't holding 'duck and cover' drills under our school desks or building fall-out shelters in our back yards any more, kids of my generation were aware that the US and the Soviet each had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over. And we'd seen pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so we understood the kind of devastation that was possible.

Ellen Klages takes the reader back to a time before all that. Back to when the scientists were still saying, "Can we do it?" "The science looks good." and "We should be able to!" Woven around the story of two girls, Dewey and Suze, whose personalities and talents make them misfits at school and in their neighborhood until they find they are a perfect fit for each other is a wonderful picture of determination and a great sense of anticipation as their scientist parents work to turn "Can we do it?" into "Yes! We did it!" It had never occurred to me just how much of a sense of accomplishment the scientists must have felt when the test worked, but it is well-depicted here. The somewhat surprising final scene of the novel hints at what we as a nation would be saying later, "My God, what have we done?"

I highly recommend this book for girls who don't quite fit in and girls who are interested in science. As an educator, I will be using it as part of a middle school American History/Literature course.

Price: $1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A way to while away a snowy afternoon, January 21, 2012
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This review is from: Breathless (Kindle Edition)
Breathless is a story about friendship through adversity, boarding school, and the dangers of trying to cover up your past. An easy read, it is primarily set in a WV boarding school in the early-mid 90s where the protagonist, Katie, has been sent by her parents in the hopes that she can use her swimming talent make something of her future, free from the influence of her schizophrenic brother.

Things don't always work out exactly as planned, but Katie's travails make her a stronger person.

This book is not for all audiences--it has frequent and blatant use of marijuana and alcohol and (mostly off-screen) sexual activity.

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Price: $8.30

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for an audience in sales and/or management, January 12, 2012
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Eat That Frog! (like many other motivational books) contains several good ideas--make that big important scary project ('Big Ugly Frog') your priority; list all the steps to your BUF and which steps depend on which other steps; use daily planning lists to prioritize your day; write things down; etc.... Unfortunately, it suffers from the old adage, "What is novel isn't necessarily good, and what is good isn't necessarily novel."

For someone in the business world with underlings to take over all the 'low value' jobs you'll discover you are 'wasting time' doing, what Brian Tracy has to say might be motivational and inspiring--for someone who is is currently in the position of BEING the underling the upward moving boss is pawning off the 'low value' jobs on (or someone not in the business world at all) this book is likely to be depressing at best or angering at worst.

The Boys Upstairs
The Boys Upstairs
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tries hard to be a heart-warming Christmas Story, January 1, 2012
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This review is from: The Boys Upstairs (Kindle Edition)
I really wanted to like The Boys Upstairs, however, it requires a major suspension of disbelief for anyone who knows anything about the priestly formation process. It also contains some unfortunate and completely unnecessary class stereotypes with regards to the parents of the 'boys'.

Other than that it's a nice heartwarming Christmas story.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2015 7:34 AM PST

Life of Pi
Life of Pi

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A 95% good novel, December 31, 2011
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This review is from: Life of Pi (Kindle Edition)
I honestly cannot understand why this novel is supposed to be a better book WITH the final five chapters than it would have been without it.

The Dragon and the Turtle
The Dragon and the Turtle
by Donita K. Paul
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.02
55 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story or sermon?, September 22, 2010
The story in this book is charming, and the illustration is whimsical and well suited to the target audience. The moral of the story--that giving of yourself to help others is the right choice, even though it may sometimes involve making sacrifices yourself--is splendidly demonstrated in the interaction of the characters Dragon and Turtle.

The somewhat heavy-handed scripture lesson at the end would be better left out or included as a separate leaflet for the parents. Without it, this is a joyful tale that could be enjoyed by any family. With it, not so much.

Ready, Steady, Spaghetti: Cooking For Kids and With Kids
Ready, Steady, Spaghetti: Cooking For Kids and With Kids
by Lucy Broadhurst
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.39
73 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Pictures, Delicious Food, March 18, 2009
What this book is:

A beautifully photographed and laid-out cookbook, chock-full of recipes that kids will love to eat.
A wonderful cookbook for a parent with moderate cooking skills to use with their child/children to introduce them to the joys of cooking.

What this book is not:

A child's first cookbook.
A cookbook for a novice young cook to use alone.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading through the recipes in this cookbook, and am looking forward to trying them with my team of young sous-chefs (5 and 10 years old). This book includes recipes for things I've been making for years, only in slightly simpler variations, which will save time and steps. Aside from a few oddly-named recipes (a recipe entitled 'pumpkin soup' which contains no pumpkin, a leek and cheese tart with zucchini as the primary ingredient, and a decidedly non-traditional 'bubble and squeak') I thought all the recipes were well thought through and presented. The photography is amazing.

The only thing this book is missing is a brief introductory section where cooking terms are defined and presented and cooking tools are depicted.

This cookbook is definitely a good addition to my shelf.

There Are Cats in This Book
There Are Cats in This Book
by Viviane Schwarz
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from $4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun for the whole family!, March 7, 2009
This book is a riot! As my cat-obsessed new reader and I were sitting reading and giggling our way through this hilarious book, the ten-year-old was begging from across to the room to know why were laughing so hard. Later, my husband enjoyed it as well. We have cats, and Viviane Schwartz has exactly captured what we think they'd say to us if they could talk.

The text is simple enough that my daughter, who is only at the sounding out short-vowel one-syllable words stage, could read over half the words, and the non-stop action made her WANT to keep reading it, unlike many of controlled vocabulary readers she's been slogging through.

Four thumbs (and two paws) up for this book from our family.

Grimm's & Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
Grimm's & Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
9 used & new from $49.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Kaye is as enjoyable as ever., February 28, 2009
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Back 'in the olden days' when I was a child we had Grimm's Fairy Tales as read by Danny Kaye on LP, which I listened to hundreds of times. I still have the LP, but have no way to play it, so I was thrilled to discover that the album had been published on CD. Now my children can enjoy it as well.

Mr. Kaye gives brilliant performances of the fairy tales on this album. I would warn anyone new to the real Grimm's fairy tales (as opposed to the Disneyfied versions) that they are somewhat darker and more violent than what is commonly thought of when the word fairy tale is mentioned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2011 1:13 AM PDT

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