Burgher had been able to get rid of Johnny Gold once by tricking the fairies into thinking that Johnny Gold's treasure was gold. The fairies were very tempted by gold and dug around all the trees in search of the treasure. They dug until the trees fell over. But even the fairies knew that it would be too tragic to dig up the Queen Tree, the base of all the forest life. So, except for the Queen Tree, the forest was left in ruins - tree's fallen and birds flying from their trees, all was in distress. There was no green. The forest was just how Burgher thought he wanted it.
Has Johnny Gold played the last tune on his flute? Is spring gone for good? Will Johnny Gold come back? Will Burgher find happiness again? The fate of Burgher and Johnny Gold is your hands! There are lots of different choices to make. Some lead to somewhat unhappy endings and some lead to happy endings. It is all up to you.
I think lots of people would enjoy "Burgher and the Woebegone." It might be an especially good book for kids who miss a friend. I kept reading it until I had read all the different parts and endings. It was a very fun book. There were a handful of black and white sketches that added a good feel to the book.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Gordon W. Fredrickson
Madeline: This is a funny book about farming from a kid's point of view. I learned that tractors can be very expensive and that farming takes a lot of work! The drawings are good and they are fun too. My favorite picture is the little girl driving the hay tractor. My favorite part is when the little boy and his dog ride on the small tractor and the dog is riding on the back off it! This is a really nice book; it's very fun to read. I have read the first book by this author and I think they're both really good books. I think I would rather work on the farm with the animals than in the field. The "If I Were a Farmer" series has really fun books to read. If you liked this book you might like the others too!
Sophia and Madeline: We both highly recommend this fun book, "If I Were a Farmer: Field Work."
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Monday, August 23, 2010
Mr. Warren states many issues in public education clearly and concisely, with plenty of humor thrown in the mix. I laughed out loud often, starting with the first page. He mentions the troubles with teacher shortages, and how the current evaluation system is utterly useless. He accurately portrays the struggles that arise when policy that "looks and sounds good" on paper are so horrendously executed in reality. Merit pay for teachers is one particular plan that sounds good, but is nearly impossible to implement fairly. Mr. Warren writes about the problems associated with special education and simply states that all children are worthy to receive the attention that a few are afforded currently. As a former special education teacher, I cannot agree more with his stand. All students require special attention, and it looks different for each individual.
Mr. Warren has several suggestions for improving public education, including doubling teacher salaries, reducing class size to ten students, having all administrators continue to teach in the classroom, and many other ideas. He states that most often, within one year of being removed from the classroom, administrators "forget" what it's like to teach. After just finishing my first year as an assistant principal, I can testify that this is true. I taught summer school for our middle school students this year so I could reconnect with students in the classroom. It was a powerful wake up call and I highly recommend continuing the teaching experience.
"It Simply Must Be Said" needs to be distributed to everyone remotely involved in education, from teachers, to administrators, policy makers, parents, and tax payers who wonder where their money is going. Education is such a critical piece of our future and it is handled so poorly. Mr. Warren does a fantastic job of bring that to light along with powerful considerations for improving education for everyone. Well done!
Mark L. Fox
For the purpose of this review, I will cover two "lenses" (principles) of TRIZ and the relationship to a business. One is "Peel the Onion." This particular lens made me stop in my tracks when I read Fox's sub-title of "Everything You Know is Wrong." Further reading explained that if we rely on conventional wisdom as the key source for making decisions failure is imminent. If we aren't willing to look at other options we stifle our own creativity. Challenging ourselves is of utmost importance if our goal is growth in our business and our personal lives.
Another lens is "Brainstorming." To me, this is one of the most important aspects of managing a business. However, as Fox explains in "Da Vinci and the 40 Answers," on many occasions the brainstorming sessions don't produce effective results. According to Fox the ineffectiveness is a result of not setting rules for the brainstorming session. One rule is "Generate as many ideas as possible. Go for quantity, not quality." I've been in many sessions when the brainstorming stops when everyone agrees on one idea but this always isn't the best result. On a personal note, when in Fox's class, I was chosen to have my goal for the business brainstormed. I acquired twenty-seven new ideas that can be implemented and this was as a result of the rule "Encourage Wild and Exaggerated Ideas, No Matter How Crazy, Ridiculous, or Far-fetched the Idea Might Be."
Fox comes from an engineering background with accomplishments such as Chief Engineer on the Space Shuttle program and Chairman of the "orbital debris" committee. With that comes his creative side from which he draws extensively in his book and business consulting. "Da Vinci and the 40 Answers" is concise, written in lay language, and provides a diverse list of lenses that can be used in any business or personal advancement. The examples and ideas can transform or update a business to become the forerunner in the industry. And, I can personally attest to that.
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Monday, August 16, 2010
Diane Wing, MA
She has a very interesting discussion on how the use of tarot cards has been associated with evil. Personally, I was raised with this idea, however, my experience with tarot card readers who had integrity taught me otherwise. The intent of the card reader determines whether or not the use of the cards is good or bad. If the reader wants to try to control or manipulate the person being read for, then their intent is bad. This idea also applies to other areas of our lives where we place our trust in someone to give us guidance. Wing offers ideas on to how to tell if a card reader is legitimate. She makes it very clear that if the reader predicts something bad will happen, that they can fix for a price, they do not have the right intent. As spiritual beings, if we do learn something that we are not comfortable with, we can use that knowledge to make choices to change this.
Having had some incredible experience with Tarot card readings, I have been very interested in how the process works. "The True Nature of Tarot," lays everything out for both the card reader and the person being read for. From beginning to end, Wing offers advice in how to prepare for the reading, do the reading, and gain insight into interpreting the cards. She also does an extensive review of the meaning of each card. From my experience, "The True Nature of Tarot" provides the most extensive, yet easy to understand review of the tarot card reading experience. I also feel that the author's explanation of how the cards should be used will help the reader gain understanding into how they can empower their lives by using the cards. Whether you are a novice or an experienced card reader, "The True Nature of Tarot" is a must read for people who have an interest in tarot cards.
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Arthur M. Mills, Jr.
But this story is much more than a ghost story. It is also a story of the desperation, the pain and the helplessness experienced by children whose parents work long hours away from home, necessarily leaving them to fend for themselves against both real and imagined evils. It's about sibling abuse, and the scars that such abuse leaves on the victim as well as the abuser. And this is the story of the intense struggle of a child to make sense of the world without communicating his fears and thoughts to the adults in his life since he doesn't want to add to the family's problems.
I began to read this book at my usual reading time, right before bed. After the first night of sleeping with the light on, I ended up taking off two afternoons from work to finish it which is all it took because I couldn't put this book down. The story is related in such a way that I could truly felt the author's fear, pain and anxiety. As a mother of two teenage boys, I could so hear the eleven-year-old heart and mind in these pages. There are some places where the information is a little jumbled but it even furthers the style to that of a story told by an eleven-year-old. "The Empty Lot Next Door" is gripping, frightening and well-paced. After the last page I cried; not only because the book was over, but because I was so moved by the emotional experience this little boy had to go through.
I would so like to see "The Empty Lot Next Door" become a movie. It's a thrilling ghost story, but it is also so much more. Since I live in Austin, I have decided to make a trip to the setting to see it for myself, and wonder if I will see Candle Face. I'm taking a friend, just in case.
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Monday, August 9, 2010
How to UnBreak Your Health: Your Map to the World of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, Second Edition
Alan E. Smith
"How to UnBreak Your Health" is a comprehensive collection of the various complementary and alternative therapies available to the ailing. From well known practices such as massage, yoga, chiropractic, and acupuncture to lesser-known yet rather surprisingly effective techniques like Applied Kinesiology and Cold Laser Therapy. Author Alan E. Smith breaks down each and every method and gives just enough information to explain the concept without getting 'bogged down in the weeds.' The information he gives includes the background of each therapy, what they involve, who came up with the theory and technique, and what type of health issues they seem to work on best. Websites and other reference information are also presented for further research.
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Written with artistic touches added to the pages, it is really pleasing to both my eyes and my soul. The first time I read "Transformations" was in one sitting. I now plan on reading it one page a day at a time and journaling my thoughts. I do not want to forget the gems of wisdom that are found in these pages! By taking them one day at a time, I can apply them to my life.
Anybody who does not have time to read a book will find time to read this one. "Transformations" by Renee Wiggins would also make a perfect gift for a friend who is ready to transform his or her life. It would definitely be well received with gratitude. I highly recommend it!
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Monday, August 2, 2010
If I had to classify David Gelber's "Joshua and Aaron," I would venture to say that it probably fit best in the category of religious sci-fi, if such a category does indeed exist. While I have to admit that the story does not get overly preachy, the constant undercurrent of religious righteousness permeates the book thoroughly. This was one of my least favorite components of the book, as were the very fragmented plot, the profusion of choppy chapters (well over a hundred, and if the author wants to know how well I paid attention to that, he should take a look at the wrong Roman numeral in the last-but-one chapter…), the two-dimensional characters and slightly stilted narrative. Also, while I definitely understand that this is a work of fiction, for me the best fiction stays close enough to reality to make it even more scarily believable, and Little Bit channeling Laika was a bit much to take. I remain intentionally vague here, so as not to give away the plot too much…
On the positive side, the story itself was intriguing and it moved quickly enough to keep my attention. I have also greatly enjoyed the author's imagination, as displayed in the descriptions of the world in the 22nd century. My absolutely most favorite was chapter 13, talking about "modern mental health," which left me chuckling for a good long while. In general, I found the author's observations on medicine, food and human interactions very insightful and quite memorable.
Overall, I believe that "Joshua and Aaron" shows promise, and I do hope that Mr. Gelber keeps on writing. Getting some professional advice and streamlining his stories a bit more would definitely be beneficial for his future work, but even as is, "Joshua and Aaron" is an interesting read and a good way to spend a couple of afternoons or evenings.
Unfortunately, she had to grow up way too fast. Being raised in poverty, by a mother who suffered from insanity and a father who put his sexual needs before the needs of his daughter, she had no choice. Ms. Lund's story is very painful to read. In addition to the abuse by her mother and father, she also had to deal with a perverted uncle, an incestuous cousin and an abusive husband. She holds nothing back as she tells her story.
Ms. Lund grew up on a farm that her father barely was able to hold on to. At school, she was ridiculed for being poor. During daylight hours, she helped her father out and was able to enjoy being close to him. At night time, he would become a different person and sexually abuse her. Having a teenage brother that was an alcoholic and a mentally ill mother who verbally abused her left her with no one to turn to for help.
In addition to the incest, as she progressed into adulthood, Ms. Lund found herself dealing with some very painful issues, especially with regards to her mother. Things worsened when she fell in love with a man who was horribly abusive. Not having a way to live on her own and not being helped by the authorities forced her to stay on in the relationship longer than she should have. This tore her down both physically and mentally. As I read, I felt so frustrated that when she finally did ask for help, no one would help her.
After finally getting out, she ended up in other relationships that were not good for her as well, but somewhere along the way, she had three children and she got a college degree. Maintaining a positive attitude about her faith in God and her ability to overcome what she went through, Ms. Lund left me with the feeling that readers who are dealing with abuse will be given hope that they can overcome their circumstance and also learn not to continue to destroy their lives by hanging on to the anger and bitterness of what they went through. I appreciate her need to convey the importance of letting go and moving on to her readers. By hanging on to the anger, the victimizer still holds control over the victim's life.
There is a child abuse prevention group that has a saying that, "Children should be seen and heard." However, what is a child supposed to do when there is no one there to listen? I think that "The Normal Side of Insanity" should be read not only by victims of abuse, but also by mental health professionals, medical professionals and people who are in law enforcement. It will give them a better understanding of what the abused person is experiencing. It will also make them think twice about not doing anything to help them, because they sure will not want to be mentioned in a book like this!
This book would benefit from tighter editing. However, I truly appreciate the author for sharing her story with us. By writing about her experiences in "The Normal Side of Insanity" and sharing the incredible amount of wisdom that she gained from them, Marynell will help and inspire so many people to get help and move on with their lives.
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