The Night Fairy: Review Haiku

High drama in
miniature -- and oh, how I love
the way Flory looks!

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick, 2010, 128 pages.


Scarlett Fever: Review Haiku

The theatrical
Martins outdo themselves, but --
but -- it doesn't END!

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson. Point, 2010, 352 pages.


The Hive Detectives: Review Haiku

Gorgeous photographs,
winning prose, great mystery --
but no answer. Buzzzz.

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns. Scientist in the Field series. Houghton Mifflin, 2010, 66 pages.


The Checklist Manifesto: Review Haiku

So simple, yet makes
such a difference. Did you do
it right? Check this box.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Metropolitan Books, 2009, 209 pages.


The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook: Review Haiku

Baby nerdfighters!
Three unlikely friends use their
super-smarts, solve crime.

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis. Bloomsbury, 2009, 154 pages.


Once Was Lost: Review Haiku

Faith and doubt are two
sides of the same coin, as Sam
quickly discovers.

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr. Little Brown, 2009, 217 pages.


How the Mighty Fall: Review Haiku

Twenty pages of
worthwhile insight, two hundred
pages of filler.

How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins. Harper, 2009, 222 pages.


School of Fear: Review Haiku

Better in concept
than execution, but a
fun read nonetheless.

School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari. Little Brown, 2009, 352 pages.


Tangled: Review Haiku

Four characters seeking
connection: A study
in misperception.

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. Harper, 2010, 308 pages.


Emily's take on the Kindle

Continuing in my tradition of being on the right-hand side of the Technology Adoption bell curve: I borrowed a Kindle from the Bedford Free Public Library not too long ago. They have one the circulates for seven days, loaded up with various adult books -- new ones, bestsellers, and classics.

And it was . . . okay. Honestly, after having an affair with my iPhone for the past 9+ months, I found the Kindle slightly underwhelming, but it has its bright spots, too.

  • Size is nice. Feels like a slim book (especially the library copy, which came with a snazzy leather case).
  • Screen is easy on the eyes.
  • Interface is mostly intuitive (but see below).
  • Capacity is good.

  • Black and white screen seems low-rent compared to full-color iPhone (and iPad).
  • While not hard to figure out, the interface does have some funky elements. The little five-way button doesn't always do what you want or what you expect. Again, suffers in comparison to the finger-swipe goodness of the Magical Phone.
  • Can't easily tell where I am within a chapter. The Kindle gives you a little counter on the bottom of the screen to show you that you're 43% of the way done, for example. There's also a progress bar with little dots to indicate a chapter shift. But the distance to and from dots isn't clear, so if it's late at night and my husband is nagging me to stop reading and turn out the light already, I can't easily tell him, "I just have two more pages."
  • The screen gives a big flickery shudder every time you turn a page. Wicked annoying.

And I'm not even getting into how and where you can get books on it, and where you can't.

So would I buy one? Probably not. I love me some ink and paper, and I feel like there are better options coming soon (iPad, sure, but also full-color dedicated readers, I would think). But did I hate it? No.

I don't believe print will ever really die, and I think in my industry -- children's books -- print will live and last and be profitable longer than in other genres. But I'm not afraid of the digital revolution that we're in. My kids know how to use my phone as well as I do. They love physical books, but they love other media, too, and they're already well-versed in computer games. I fully expect they'll do a good portion of their reading for school on a screen.

Overall I give the Kindle a B-. I'm glad I had a chance to check one out (literally).


Superfreakonomics: Review Haiku

Full of good stuff to
impress your uncle Bob at
next year's Christmas bash.

Read on a Kindle.


8th Grade Superzero: Review Haiku

It preaches without
preachiness: a feel-good story
that still feels real.

8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. Levine/Scholastic, 2010, 324 pages.


Ivy and Bean, Doomed to Dance: Review Haiku

Didn't think I could
love Ivy and Bean more than
I already do.

Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows. Chronicle, 2009, 129 pages.


This World We Live In: Review Haiku

And once again I'm
moved to wrap my arms around
my woodstove and pray.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Harcourt, (April) 2010, 258 pages.