Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

Books to Consider

on March 3, 2013

Here are a couple of books I read this week.

One disclosure: Audrey is a friend, but I wouldn’t say anything I didn’t mean. I try very hard to look for the positive anyway.


Not Exactly a Love Story
Written by Audrey CouloumbisNot Exactly a Love Story

What happens when a teenage boy finds himself in possession of the unlisted number of the beautiful girl next door? Of course he calls her, but the way he calls and the eventual results will have the reader waiting for the next development. Vinnie and his Mom move from Queens to Long island after a divorce and remarriage. His mother marries Vinnie’s gym teacher, who flunked Vinnie the previous year. Luckily, the teacher turns out not to be such a bad guy. Still, Vinnie needs to make a lot of adjustments. He stumbles on his neighbor Patsy’s phone number when her very large boyfriend drops the paper it’s written on. On the phone, Vinnie is Vincenzo, the polite and understanding obscene caller. The progression of Vinnie and Patsy’s friendship and Vinnie’s progression toward a wonderful human being make for a great story. The writer’s gentle wit rings true and keeps the reader on her toes.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska
Random House, 2012
Young adult, friendship.
Hardcover, 278 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-86783-5



Verdi for Kids: His Life and Music with 21 Activities
Written by Helen BauerVerdi for Kids

Packed with information, this would make an excellent resource for a music or history classroom. The title suggests to me that there is more information about individual works than is provided. But there is plenty of information about Verdi’s life, about the history of the area, and about music in general. The choices of photographs and illustrations add a great deal to the readability. The introduction is a very thorough treatment of Italian history. The main text is a chronological treatment of Verdi’s life. The many sidebars include activities such as playing bocce and designing costumes and masks. The twenty-one activities presented are great for bringing home many of the points made by the author. As a reference, the book has numerous notes, a thorough bibliography, other resources, table of contents, timeline, glossary and index.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska
Chicago Review, April 2013 release
Nonfiction, biography.
E-book, 145 pages
ISBN: 978-1-61374-500-7

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