Picture Book Saturday: A Bed for Fred

A Bed for FredReady for a nap, young Fred the Basset Hound goes to his room after a morning of play and the unthinkable happens: his comfy, red bed has disappeared! After a search through his house with a less-than-helpful mouse, Fred sets out on a journey outside to find his bed. Along the way he meets a sedentary frog, an enthusiastic cricket, and a sympathetic owl. The dilemma of his lost bed intensifies as Fred realizes he has strayed too far from home without telling his father that he left. A Bed for Fred is a delightful journey that any young child can relate to. Changing beds from cribs to toddler beds and toddler beds to "big boy" or "big girl" beds are huge steps. Discover how Fred handles this experience of complication and change with good communication and a willingness to explore Help your child figure out the world they live in!




In a word: cute. Who doesn't like books about animals? Always a hit with the little ones. A Bed for Fred was a bit long for my youngest child's short attention span, but he enjoyed the story. 

Just as the synopsis says, this is a great book to use to ease a young child's fears of moving to a new bed. Fred loves his old bed and is frightened when it disappears. His quest to find the comfort of his old bed leads him to a new discovery and a pleasant surprise.  


Review: Popping the Cherry (Aurelia B. Rowl)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 250
Publisher: September 19th 2013 by Carina (Harlequin UK)
ISBN: 9781472018052
Genre: contemporary 
Source: my own copy


Popping the CherryYou only get one first time . . .

From driving tests to relationships, Valentina Bell thinks she’s a failure, with a big fat capital F. At this rate, she’s certain she’ll be a virgin for ever. So Lena’s friends plan Operation: Popping the Cherry to help her find the perfect man first time.

Yet somehow disastrous dates with bad-boy musicians and fabulous evenings with secretly in-the-closet guys aren’t quite working out how Lena planned.

Soon Lena’s avoiding Operation: Popping the Cherry to spend time with comforting, aloof Jake, her best friend’s older brother, who doesn’t make her feel self-conscious about still clinging to her V card. But could Jake show Lena that sometimes what you’re looking for most is right by your side?





It's not what you think. Sort of. It kind of what you think-- the title is obvious-- but it's not teenage smut. There is actually very little of that in the book (and it was handled tastefully). 

One of the major hangups I had with Popping the Cherry was the lack of good editing. I found so many punctuation and grammar errors throughout that it started to get on my nerves.

Then there is the matter of the characters themselves. Valentina is a major wuss. I just could not believe how spineless she was when it came to standing up to her friends' stupid ideas for her life. If you can't put your own needs first, you really can't expect anyone else to do it. It took an entire book of screw-ups for Valentina to finally decide she had had enough trouble and heartache. That's the only point in the story where so becomes assertive and tells the idiots to bug off.

If it's not clear yet, I have some issues with the "friends". Pains in the arse are a better term. They do a good job of depicting high school stupidity, I'll give them that. But they were also so horribly selfish without even realizing it. They practically forced Valentina into agreeing to a crazy scheme. They never said if she didn't comply they would end the friendship, but I certainly got that feeling.

The characters weren't a total loss though. Jake and Nathan are probably the saving grace of the book, and thank goodness for that. Jake had a sense of mystery which made me keep reading. I really wanted to learn more about him, and that was about it. Nathan was a fun addition. I certainly enjoyed his perspective on things too. 

I picked Popping the Cherry up for a few bucks on Amazon. I'm a bit disappointed I paid for it, but it wasn't a whole lot. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you're in the  market for a quick, slightly irritating read with good male characters.  The girls in this book will make you want to jump up and slap someone.


Review: Love Letters to the Dead (Ava Dellaira)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 323
Publisher:  April 1st 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374346676
Genre: contemporary, mystery, coming of age
Source: eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Love Letters to the DeadIt begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path. 



I have conflicting feelings for this book. Love Letters to the Dead was great while I was reading it, but now that some time has passed it has faded from my mind.This is going to be one of those books that either blows you away, or blows right passed you. 

One thing that did impress me was the amount of research that went into the content of the letters. I am a product of the 90s. I remember River Pheonix and Kurt Cobain. I remember my crushes on them both, and how crushed I felt to learn of their deaths. But because I was young in the 90s, I don't remember much about the mysteries surrounding those events. The author did a great job of digging around to find those details (like Cobain's suicide letter and Pheonix's very troubling childhood). Most of the "characters" Laurel writes to has a troubling past that is explored. 

Along the way, Laurel learns a good bit about herself and her new friends as well. The letters become very therapeutic. If you ever kept a diary when you were young, you'll know what I mean. Laurel's deepest thoughts and fears start pouring out onto the pages. Eventually, the pages cannot contain everything and she opens up to the world. There are so many things going on in this book that make it hard to sum up in a few short paragraphs. If I tried to box it in, I would not be doing this book justice. 

Even though I felt very passionately about this book while reading it, it didn't linger in my mind. There are some books that you just cannot move beyond. They echo in your soul. Love Letters to the Dead was not one of those books. I thought it would be. I went into this book expecting it to be the next "big thing" for me-- the book I would tell everyone about. But I have to be honest. I haven't given it much thought since finishing it. 

Do I think it's worth reading? Sure. It's a pretty good coming of age story. The plot is full of layers that slowly peel away. Laurel learns some tough life lessons too. Love Letters to the Dead really deals with the heavy hitters of YA fiction: divorce, suicide, relationships, depression.









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