The Bookworm: Gone, but not forgotten

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“The Snatchabook”

By Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty

c. 2013, Sourcebooks

$16.99/$19.99 Canada

32 pages

The other night at bedtime, there was big trouble. You went to grab your favorite storybook and it was gone! You looked under the bed. You searched in your toybox. You peeked into the closet, the kitchen, beneath the sofa, in the laundry, and in your brother’s bedroom. Where could it be?

You’re not sure, but if you read “The Snatchabook” by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty, I think you’ll know.

It’s late at night and little Eliza Brown has chosen a book to read before bedtime. That happened every night in every house all over Burrow Down because, well, who doesn’t love a good story before they go to sleep? Who doesn’t love a fantastic pirate yarn, or a tale of dragons or princesses or little rabbits?

So Eliza and her neighbors were all in their quiet houses, all in their quiet beds, getting ready for a quiet night. But what they didn’t know was that something strange was just outside their windows

Eliza noticed it first. A breeze moved the curtains in her bedroom just a bit, and when she grabbed for her storybook, it was gone!

The book that Mommy Owl was reading poof!

The story that Papa Squirrel was reading zip!

The book that the Badger Family was reading zap! Just like that. And it happened again and again until every single book in Burrow Down was off the shelves and had disappeared. Everyone was convinced that “book thieves” were hiding in their houses. They were sure it was bad. They were missing their books.

But Eliza Brown wasn’t going to take this lying down and besides, she loved a good mystery, so she set a trap. She wasn’t sure what she’d find or who but she wanted that stealing to end and she wanted it to happen “right now!”

Then Eliza Brown heard a tiny voice that seemed quite sad. It seemed to be apologizing, like it needed to make things better, but there was just one problem. Could Eliza Brown and the residents of Burrow Down fix what was very wrong?

You might think you’ve read your child’s favorite book so many times that you could probably recite it backwards. You’re not sure you can read it again and still retain your sanity. So maybe it’s time to replace it with something you both can love.

With a lighthearted and oh-so-clever rhyme, and illustrations that are absolutely beyond charming, “The Snatchabook” is very likely going to be your child’s new bedtime BFF. In this story of someone who loves books so much, he can’t help but take them, author Helen Docherty builds excitement by adding a very gentle scare but don’t worry. When your kids see the reason for the scare, thanks to Tom Docherty’s artwork, they’ll be too delighted to do anything but laugh.

While toddlers will adore this book, I also think early gradeschoolers will love it, and so will you. If a brand-new bedtime book is just what your family needs, then “The Snatchabook” is a steal.

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“One Summer: America 1927”

By Bill Bryson

c. 2013, Doubleday

$28.95/$34.95 Canada

528 pages

Your summer wasn’t long enough. For starters, May graduations spilled into June. There were reunions, a July vacation, cookouts in August, work and yard work, ball games, kids’ activities, conferences and yikes, your summer was over before you had a chance to enjoy it.

Yep, it was too short but just how meaningful was it? In the new book “One Summer: America 1927” by Bill Bryson, you’ll read about five warm, highly influential months in history.

In the spring of 1927, the biggest rivalry since World War I waged over the Atlantic: France and the U.S. vied to see who could cross the ocean in an airplane first. Daredevils lined up to attempt it; some died trying.

There was good news for more staid individuals, however: the Literary Guild started their by-mail bookclub in May of 1927, it was newspaper’s “golden age,” and faux-news tabloids were all the rage. It was a good time to be a reader especially since TV transmission wasn’t accomplished until later that year.

Certainly, baseball was America’s Game then, and the friendly competition between Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig was on every sports fan’s mind that summer of 1927. People debated over who was the better batter but Harry Stevens, an Englishman, made more money from baseball than did either of them.

Money was a big consideration when four bankers met in New York “under a cloak of secrecy” in July 1927. Nobody knows exactly what they discussed, but it’s believed that their decisions led to the Great Depression. President Calvin Coolidge was warned about the crisis to come but because he’d decided, that summer of 1927, not to run again for president, he passed the proverbial buck - though not before taking time to dedicate the new Mount Rushmore.

Trials were speedy in the summer of 1927 but the majority of murders went unsolved (including ones committed by the U.S. government). Henry Ford enjoyed good ideas in Detroit , but made bad ones in Brazil . Boxing and “speakies” attracted crowds, Prohibition made them break laws, and a thin, gangly young man named Charles Lindbergh flew into history

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for wondering why author Bill Bryson chose to write a book about a few weeks in 1927. No wars occurred. No charters were signed. It was just another year, almost 90 years ago.

But bite into this brick of a book, and you’ll see that “One Summer” is no ordinary story because that was no ordinary season. Bryson, who is a master of humorously wry understatements, takes readers on a meaningful meander through April-to-September when, it seemed, everything happened. We’re given a lively history in perspective, tickled with sneaky observations and small asides, and presented with a little pop-culture something for everyone. I loved every paragraph.

Don’t let the almost-500-page size of this book scare you because, once you start it, you’ll have a hard time putting it down. Once you start it, you’ll see that, like most of them, this is “One Summer” that just isn’t long enough.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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