Sunday, December 8, 2013

Books For Kids--for Xmas!

                                               by Laura Crum

            Every year I have given my child books for Xmas (other things, sure, but always books). He really likes to read, and at 13 years old, currently devours at least a couple of books a week. I usually read the books he’s reading—for fun, because I like to read, and to see what it is he’s taking in. And so I have gotten the pleasure of re-discovering children’s books and YA books.
            Now I am going to admit something here. I am not an adult who would normally seek out YA books to read. I know many adults do, and many YA books are fantastic reads for any age. It just hasn’t been my habit. Most of my adult life I loved mysteries, and lately I’ve been obsessed with memoirs. But I read (and loved) the Harry Potter books when everyone raved about them, long before I read them to my child. And this, in particular, opened my eyes to how delightful “YA” books can be.
            I rediscovered some great favorites from my own childhood when my son read them (the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Treasure Island, for instance), and I discovered some new delights (the Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart was one). And today I am here to share my own and my son’s impressions of a book written by one of our Equestrian Ink authors…Alison Hart.
            My son has read and reviewed a few of Alison’s books on this site previously; I am going to post his review of her latest book, “Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I.” This was a book that we both enjoyed very much. I particularly appreciated all the background information that Alison wove so skillfully into the story. I learned a lot that I hadn’t known before about WWI—I hadn’t even known that “mercy dogs” existed.
            “Darling” is written from the dog’s point of view, and like “Black Beauty” and “War Horse” this provides a very engaging approach to what, in many ways, is a pretty grim subject. And yet, it’s necessary, I think, for our children to grasp these dark truths, in order for our world to change for the better. There is much heroism in “Darling,” both human and canine, and it s a very inspiring book in many ways.
            And so, without further ado, here is my 13 year old son’s review of “Darling:”

            Star rating: 4 and 1/2

            I recently finished Alison Hart’s book: “Darling, Mercy Dog of WWI.” It’s about a dog who enjoys life in England with Robert and Katie Rine, the kids of her family, and her friend Rags (another dog). But when she is called away to WWI everything changes. As a mercy dog, Darling must “find the wounded” but she also must face dangerous things such as gas bombs, barbed wire, and of course, enemies to her side.
            This book was good, really made me feel how it might have been during WWI and had a hopeful ending.
            I would recommend this book to kids my age (13) or younger. The book says that it’s part of a dog lovers series, but I think anyone would like this book.

Click on "Darling" to find the book on Amazon.


Alison said...

Gracias Laura and son for your great reviews. It's gratifying to hear from readers (something I don't get to do much)

I am also hoping that Cindy D, who entered my give-a-way contest for "Darling" and WON will read this and please email me for a copy of the book!


Thank you both!

Linda Benson said...

I read "Darling" also and I loved it. It's perfect for kids, and as an adult, I also enjoyed learning about a part of history involving animals that I previously knew nothing about. And the ending, which was good but not perfect, caused me to shed a tear. (The mark of a good writer, in my opinion.)

AareneX said...

great review! and YA lit is the BEST (of course, I am tremendously biased, since I'm a teen services librarian)

Hey, if you're looking for a follow-up book, get your hands on *Dogs of War* by Sheila Keenan. This is a graphic novel (i.e. comic book) that tells the story of three military dogs: Boots in the trenches of WWI, Loki doing rescue work in Greenland during WWII, and Sheba in the fetid swamps of 'Nam. The book focus is really on the relationship between dog & handler. Illustrations portray blood, wartime violence and sadness, and the overall story is deeply compassionate. Maybe a little too intense, but maybe not--the book is extremely well done. Take a look, anyhow!

Laura Crum said...

Alison--My son's review was/is entirely is own work and not "censored" by me in any way (!) I think he's getting the hang of it...

Linda--Next up is your "The Girl Who Remembered Horses."

Aarene--Thanks for the suggestions. We've followed your suggestions in the past and always enjoyed them.