Author: Ray Bradbury
Published: October 19, 1953
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Holy cow. This is the most terrifying read since 1984! Bradbury understands humanity like Orwell and Golding do. He’s not afraid to show man in his most gritty and ugly and realistic. Fahrenheit 451 is one that every high school student should be required to read before graduating. I spend the entire book either reading quotes aloud to Ivan or underlining every page. It’s actually easier to read than Lord of the Flies and 1984 and just as poignant. It should be experienced so if you haven’t read it, go do it right now!
Author: Roald Dahl
Published: October 1, 1988
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Miss (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.
She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.
What a cute book! Obviously, it’s not based in common reality, but it’s told from a kid’s perspective that other imaginative kids would appreciate. It’s a book filled with extremes but done in such a great way. Good always defeats evil, kids are smart and adults are dumb, Miss Trunchbull hates all kids yet runs an elementary school. They all work without being overbearing or annoying. Matilda manages to outsmart most of the adults in her life without being an obnoxious kid. Miss Trunchbull is terrifying! I think this fits in with the Ramona books as being the perfect one for any and all kids. I really loved reading it!
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Series: Island of the Blue Dolphins #1
Author: Scott O’Dell
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 20-24, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.
This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.
While reading the Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen, I decided to listen to another book that I listened to in school: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. I remember enjoying it when I was younger and watching a long movie version at what seemed like 2am while my family was asleep. Other than an individual living by themselves and working to survive, these are very different books. Island of the Blue Dolphins is loosely based off of a true story, and our story is about Karana who is left to fend for herself on the island where her tribe lived. The rest of the tribe was taken away by boat, and Karana maintained hope that they would return for her someday. Over time she comes to terms of being alone and learning to fend for herself. Part of that is going against what she was taught: that women should not make weapons. Well if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have survived on her own! She makes friends with a dog that she names Rontu. (If I ever have another dog, I will be tempted to name him Rontu as I just loved that name! And it’s a literary name!)
Eventually Karana is rescued after many years and learns what happened to her tribe. For me, after the more intense young adult novels of the Hatchet series with Brian constantly struggling to survive, Island was less intense. Maybe down the road I will read it again. Maybe it was the narrator as I listened to the novel, or maybe I just lost something by listening versus actually reading it myself. It could also be that this is written for the middle grades age group and I am far from that group. I would definitely recommend it for younger girls so they can see that girls can do what they need to do to survive a challenging situation. It is a girl empowerment book in that way.[Top]