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Posts Tagged ‘book review’

First of all, if you need a mile-long title to hook a reader, that’s a bit suspect. Secondly, the Kennedys? Really? Aren’t they done to death at this point? But hey, both the mile-long title and the K-word intrigued me enough to give this book a shot. 

I had never heard of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, and the blurb made her out to be ahead of her time in terms of political savvy and ambition. Unfortunately for a feminist reader like me, her ambition seems to have been mostly focused on bagging the man with the biggest fortune and wheedling favors out of her well connected father. And unfortunately for a picky reader like me, the author’s voice was alternately breathless and ham-fisted. I prefer a more neutral, journalistic tone in my biographies, thanks. 

On the plus side, the detailed account of Kick’s adventures among the upper-crust set of pre- and post-WWII Britain appealed to my love of English-accented costume drama. While I skimmed a lot of the sections describing who attended this or that fabulous house party,the machinations of the blue-blooded kept me intrigued enough that I stuck with the book to the end.

So if you’re looking for a true story about an ambitious/manipulative debutante written by someone who is unabashedly in her corner, this is the book for you. But if stories of the self-obsessed rich and famous leave you cold, leave this one on the shelf. 

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I am lucky enough to belong to the kind of book club that is more concerned with food and wine and friendship than books and the intense discussion thereof. We’ve been meeting for long enough that we’ve developed our own traditions, one of which is the baby book shower.

When it was my turn, I was delighted to receive a small library’s worth of road-tested baby and children’s books. Many of them have become favorites (of both Baboo and mine), and Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton is currently in heavy rotation at nap times.

The concept is simple:

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The theme continues apace on the next spread:

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It goes on from there, the turkey reliably providing comic relief to the earnestness of the elephant, moose and bear. In the middle, the rhythm is broken so that the parent doing the reading doesn’t fall asleep. Conveniently, this switch-up also keeps the baby engaged. “What will come next?” the baby thinks. “Will we return to the 1-2-3 oops form, or move on to something even more exciting?”

Both, little reader. Both. After a spread discussing the various colors of shoes favored by plump animals, we get the big payoff:

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Baboo likes to hear about the bathing costumes of the animals watching from the side of the pool, so we discuss that before noting how silly that turkey is. And that’s what I really love about this book: Despite the simplicity of the idea, there’s quite a bit to discuss beyond colors and items of clothing. Also, it’s just funny — a definite parental bonus when you’re reading to an overtired toddler.

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I'm over 40. I'm at home with a preschooler. Hear me roar.

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