Friday, 27 September 2013

Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows is a great book for anyone aged 8 to 80. It would also be a great read aloud for those under 8, however, it might be better to wait as there are so many other amazing childhood classics that you might miss out on. For example A.A. Miles' Winnie the Pooh. This is one of those books that you definitely shouldn't judge by the title (or the first few chapters). The basic premise is all about a boy who wants two hounds. That doesn't sound like a great story, but persevere because you will be rewarded.

Billy is a persistent boy and he isn't giving up, even if it takes him years. He wants a dog and not just any dog, a hound dog and on top of that he wants two of them. The problem is his family can't afford it. So Billy has to find a way.

I like the character of Billy because he is determined, faithful and hard-working. No matter what, he tries his best even if it seems impossible.

Boy by Roald Dahl

Boy is about Roald Dahl's childhood and it includes everything about his life from birth right up until his first job. Nothing important is missed out, even the first time he was whipped is included in this book.

I like this book because, despite the sometimes unhappy content, Dahl has a humorous way of putting things and making his life story interesting and he certainly didn't need to add anything. From the time of the goat droppings tobacco and all the various beatings he ever experienced he manages to keep the reader engaged. 

As you'd expect from Roald Dahl this autobiography isn't like your average autobiography - and much more of an easy read like reading fiction.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Black Harvest by Ann Pilling

This is the first horror I have ever read and if you want to try something light from this genre then this is a good choice as it isn't too gruesome.

The Blakemans are extremely poor so when offered a free holiday in Ireland they can hardly wait. When they get there everything seems perfect, a modern bungalow, lovely beach and gorgeous surroundings the only obvious problem is Oliver and he is easy to deal with. But when other things start happening they aren't so sure.

The character I find most easy to sympathise with is Colin because he is often left in charge, unlike Oliver he isn't all brains but then he isn't imaginative like Prill. He likes to clime and swim and when he hears of Prills dreams he laughs but then he starts seeing things too. Colin also has a temper which makes him a more interesting character because he can make mistakes because of anger.

Overall the thing I like best about Ann Pilling's book is the way she makes it so real, nothing seems unrealistic and unbelievable, it all feels true.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Anderson's Fairy Tales byHans Cristian Anderson

Hans Christian Anderson tells many well know tales such as the Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid and Thumbelina but unlike many other fairy tales not everything always ends with a happy ever after. Some stories have morals and some are just pretty fairy stories but each shows that the 'good guys' don't always win and although good the Disney interpretations are not the same.

There are a lot of different characters in Hans Christian Anderson' book but I have found they are all easy to sympathise with because he describes them all so well. Each one becomes so vivid that you feel you know them personally.

The only story I feel different about is the stories of the moon where the moon tells a little boy stories I find some of the stories quite dull and because of the speed and shortness of the story I don't have time to sympathise with the characters.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Anne of Green Gabels Series by L. M. Montgomery (including Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson)

This is a series of nine books, Anne of Green Gables being the most well known and loved.  This and the other eight books (Anne of Avonlea; Anne of the Island; Anne of Windy Willows; Anne's House of Dreams; Anne of Ingleside; Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside) follow the story of Anne an orphan girl who turns up at the Cuthbert's home instead of a boy. Anne is an amusing friendly aspirational girl that I can personally relate to. Whether dying her hair green or getting stuck under a bridge Anne has a great laugh but she has her faults too and has to learn to work through her temper and pride to achieve the best.

Anne of Green Gables is set on Prince Edward Island north of the Nova Scotia peninsular.  Anne was not always from there she is a Nova Scotia and was born in a little yellow house. Before Green Gables, penned by Budge Wilson, is the prequel to Montgomery's books about Anne and describes Anne's neglected childhood and pleasant moments. Wilson has succeeded in joining the books well so that it feels like they link and has remembered to include all the details given in any of the other books by L.M. Montgomery and including some of his own.

As there are quite a few books in this series you might not be able to read them all. If not I would definitely suggest skipping to Rilla of Ingleside because it is amazing and I cried bucket loads. Even though the story is no longer based on Anne, Rilla, her youngest daughter shares the same passionate love of life and even through the horror of the Great War and the various tragedies she has to face Rilla has to learn to keep a smiling face.

Personally I love them all and feel I can really sympathize with Anne and her children because they are realistic characters in a realistic setting where not everything goes right.