Tag: Children’s

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Author: Katherine Paterson
172 Pages
Published: March 3, 2009

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

This Newbery Honor Book from bestselling author Katherine Paterson will simultaneously tug on the heartstrings and cause laugh-out-loud laughter. Eleven-year-old Gilly has been stuck in more foster families than she can remember, and she’s disliked them all. She has a reputation for being brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable, and that’s the way she likes it. So when she’s sent to live with the Trotters-by far the strangest family yet-she knows it’s only a temporary problem. Gilly decides to put her sharp mind to work and get out of there fast. She’s determined to no longer be a foster kid. Before long she’s devised an elaborate scheme to get her real mother to come rescue her. Unfortunately, the plan doesn’t work out quite as she hoped it would…

Kim’s Review:

I started out this book, hating Gilly Hopkins. No wonder she changes foster homes so fast, she’s a nasty little girl! And I know, she’s had a hard life, the foster care system is hardest on the kids, and I should probably have more compassion . . . if it makes it any better, I did kinda, sorta like her by the end of the book. She thinks she’s smarter than everyone else in the world. She behaves in horrible ways just to get a rise out of people. And she has to have her own way or she throws a fit. If I behaved like that, my mom would have tanned my hide and I wouldn’t have been able to sit down for a week! Yes, I know, compassion. She was abandoned by her mother, shipped from one house to another.

Thankfully, she begins to learn important lessons throughout the story. And the person who I loved more than anyone in this book is Miss Harris, Gilly’s teacher. Miss Harris found a way to relate to Gilly in a way that makes Gilly think she’s still in control, but is willing to learn and make changes. I’d love to think that I had, at the very least, a good impact on my students when I taught. My kids were a little older and not as troubled as Gilly, but being the one that the girls came to when they needed advice about boys, being the one that the boys felt comfortable enough with to come eat lunch in my room everyday . . . I’d like to think that I was somewhat successful. And Trotter was a saint, with such patience, showing Gilly and W.E. love, no matter what the situation. And dear old Mr. Randolph. I’d love to have a blind little old man coming to my house every night for dinner, if he was like Mr. Randolph. Even though this is classified as a kids’ book, I wouldn’t recommend this to kids. I would absolutely recommend this to teachers, but also to anyone else who wants a good, heartwarming read.

My Dad the Magician

Author: Damian Powell
68 pages in Paperback

Published: 09/05/2016
Date Read: December 27, 2016

My Rating: 5 stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Have you ever lost someone you really loved? Did you wish the news could have been delivered in a softer way? Now imagine you were 7 years old like the star of this short story, Eric Jones. His Dad is his best friend, and the journey they take together from July to Xmas day is an adventure no family should ever have to face. The bond between father and son is immeasurable, and this is put to the test when Eric’s dad starts to share his incredible interest in magic with his son, leading to him revealing that he has developed the ultimate disappearing trick. Eric, throughout the next few months, learns some facts about his father’s health through a magical and cleverly told tale, instead of the harsh truth that would be too much for any child to take on board, or even to understand. This precious time they spend together in those 6 months turns into something magical and heart-warming. It is a story that will touch many hearts and without doubt strike a chord with most people. The story has it’s climaxes and although explores life’s realities, does finish with a positive note reminding all who read it that life is short and has to be lived now and with love. A must read for any family member.

My Review:

I don’t usually read children’s books as I don’t have children and feel I can’t give a proper review because of that reason. I made an exception for My Dad the Magician when I found out what the book was about. Eric is seven years old and his dad has cancer. Instead of Eric’s parents telling him this, Eric’s dad introduces him to magic and tells Eric that he will be able to what the best magicians can’t do: Disappear forever.

What follows is a heartbreaking cancer journey that dad experiences while trying to spend as much time as possible with Eric. Eric picks up that something is wrong with dad by seeing and hearing things that are going on around him. I couldn’t help but wonder why mom and dad did not tell Eric what was going on even when Eric directly asked what’s wrong with dad.

The ending is uplifting. It is meant to be read at Christmas time, and fittingly I received it as a Christmas gift. I wasn’t able to read it on Christmas Day, but was able to read two days after Christmas.

Get your tissues ready because you won’t have a dry eye by the end of this short children’s book.

My Dad the Magician is recommended.