Tag Archives: Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

My favorite books of 2012

I read a lot of books this year, adult and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction, memorable books and others I’d rather forget (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorite and of course, my choices are very subjective and personal. These are books that grabbed my attention from the first few pages, made me laugh or cry or both, made me think, or made me dream by taking me to faraway places. These are all great books in one way or another.

My favorite adult fiction books of 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

1) The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry
This series includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. I’ll be reviewing the last three books later this week, and in the meantime, you can read my review of The Giver here. Wonderful, wonderful futuristic stories, full of shocking discoveries, adventure, courage, survival and hope. Lois Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and I love the worlds she created. These books are great for young adults (probably age 12 and up), as well as adults, and you can read them again and again and enjoy them just as much. I think that next Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for these four books so they become part of my personal book collection.

The book thief by Markus Zusack

The book thief by Markus Zusack

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another young adult book that is perfect for adults too. This is the only book I’ve ever read on World War II that was told from a German citizen’s perspective. This book really touched me in many ways and will stay with me forever. Just like The Giver quartet, I think it deserves its own spot on my bookshelf. You can read my review of The Book Thief here.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I also read Catching Fire and Mockinjay but The Hunger Games was my favorite. I found the novels very dark and gruesome, but well told. Suzanne Collins is not as hopeful about the human race as Lois Lowry but she might be more realistic. Who knows what’s in our future, right? Read my review of The Hunger Games. By the way, I do have The Hunger Games trilogy on my bookcase already.

A dog's purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog’s purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

4) A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Alright, technically I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose last December, but since I read the next book in 2012, I’m including both on this list. I loved these books and I’m not even a dog person. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and I cried some more. If you’re looking for a feel good story, these two books are perfect. Read my reviews of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey.

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

5) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Yet another book that deserves a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I have never read such an imaginative book when it comes to the way the story is told. Zelznick tells Hugo’s story by alternating between words and pencil illustrations. Unlike picture books, these detailed illustrations tell a specific part of the story instead of using words, giving a full meaning to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Selznick is a pure genius at illustrating and storytelling. Read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

My favorite adult non-fiction books of 2012

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

1) Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re an extravert, you’ll want to read it too so you give us introverts a break and realize we’re not a bunch of anti-social people. ;-) Read my review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts here.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

2) Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you want to learn more about PTSD (post-trauma syndrome disorder) specifically in U.S. soldiers, this story is it. Told in the first person, it explains the various symptoms, the possible treatments (and how our soldiers are taken care of, for better or worse) and how Tuesday, the golden retriever who was about to fail his training as a service dog, helped Montalvan when he himself was on the verge of giving up. The 5 stars by almost 1000 reviewers on Amazon say it all: this is a must read (read my review of Until Tuesday). And yes, this is the REAL Tuesday on the book cover.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

3) The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Miller has been a 6th-grade teacher for about 20 years and has discovered, implemented and refined ways to ignite the love of reading in her students. This book is not just a great tool for teachers but for parents too. Read my review of The Book Whisperer.

My favorite children’s books of 2012

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

1) The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
Well, don’t you know? There’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Or, is there? These brilliantly rhyming books are meant to become children’s book classics. Read my reviews of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

2) Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
I loved, loved, loved this book (and damn it, it made my choke up!). This is a beautiful story of loneliness and friendship children and adults will love and cherish. Read my review of Pete & Pickles.

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

3) The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story by Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed may be known for his comic strip Opus, but The Last Basselope is a wonderful story about searching for the unknown, finding it, discovering its priceless value and keeping it safe from the rest of the world. Read my review of The Last Basselope.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

4) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
This has to be one of the funniest children’s books we’ve read this year. When Oliver’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he throws everything up there, including the kitchen’s sink. My kids and I loved the silliness of this book and we laughed about it for weeks. Read my review of Stuck.

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

5) Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen
“I’m going to eat you for my dinner” says the big wolf to the big moose. But that’s before he realizes that Mucky Moose really, really stinks. My four-year old couldn’t get enough of this story and months later, my kids still quote the book. Read my review of Mucky Moose.

Ricky Ricotta's mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

6) Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey
This series gave my eldest his first taste of independent reading of chapter books before he reached the end of kindergarten. He’s since graduated to much longer and intense books but I’ll never forget that this series of books gave him the motivation to read on his own (I wasn’t allowed to read him the books so I read them with his brother). Read my review of Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot here.

Zen ties by Jon Muth

Zen ties by Jon Muth

7) Zen Ties and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Muth’s watercolors are simply beautiful and his stories teach children about the principles of Zen Buddhism in a very simple way. Stillwater the giant panda is a wonderful teacher. Read my review of Zen Ties.

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

8) The Rotten Ralph books by Jack Bantos
Rotten Ralph is everything you don’t want your kids to be and so, kids love him! Rotten Ralph is a really rotten cat and you wonder if he’ll ever show kindness and consideration for others. Deep underneath that rotten attitude, Rotten Ralph may actually have a heart and a conscience. This is a very funny series that will make you laugh out loud. Read my reviews of several Rotten Ralph books here.

What books have you read this year that turned out to be your favorite? Anything I should put on my to-read list for 2013?

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WWW Wednesdays – June 20, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

Oops, my WWW Wedsnesdays is one day late! What can I say? Work projects and my kids interfered with my blogging time. At least I have my priorities straight, right?

My bookshelf

 The Enchantress by Michael Scott– What I’m currently reading
I’m finishing up The Enchantress by Michael Scott, paying my 25-cent-per-day fine because I couldn’t finish it by the time it was due. But it’s all worth it and I’ll review it next week. 
 
– What I recently finished reading
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. This book is garbage, absolute garbage. Erotica is not one of my genres, so I’d never read it if it weren’t for my book club. Even though I skimmed the last 3/4 of the book, those are a few hours of my life I’ll never get back. Reading this book is like watching porn: lots of bad sex scenes, and no substance in between. With better writing and editing, the story would have been 100 pages. This book looks like it was written by a teenage girl who can’t write and has limited vocabulary. I have no idea how many times I read roll her eyes, smirked, muttered, mumbled, bit my lip, cocked his head, and so on, but I’m sure someone has kept a tally. The 22-year old female character is more naive and gullible than a 12-year old. The 27-year old character is perfect: billionaire, the most beautiful man in the world, he speaks fluent French, and is working on solving world hunger. Pleeeeeaaaase. The sex scenes would have been the best part of the book if they hadn’t been so repetitive and laughable. Anastasia has orgasms by just hearing her name and have Christian look at her. Right. If you haven’t read this book but still want to, do it at your own risk. I bet any other book in that genre will be better than this one.
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Perfect summer read, I hope.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley BreathedWhat they’re currently reading
Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed, the author of the Bloom County comic strip. This book will have to go on my 2012 list of favorites! It is funny, heartwrenching and inspiring all at once. I think I heard my kids say wow, and I know I did too. This is the story of Pete the pig is lonely and sad but doesn’t know he is. When Pickles the elephant turns his life upside down, Pete eventually realizes that a perfectly predictable, practical, and uncomplicated life is not always better, and he finds a new friend along the way. A MUST READ!
Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff. You can try as much as you can but it’s very hard making friends with wild boars because they’re dirty and smelly, bad-tempered, and rude. Spoiler alert: the end is quite shocking, and smelly. My boys loved this book.
Spuds by Karen Hesse. Maybelle, Jack, and Eddie want to help their mom by putting something extra on the table, so they decide to go out at night and take potatoes from a nearby field. But it’s hard to pick potatoes out of the dirt in the dark. When they get home and empty their sacks, they’re shocked to realize they only harvested rocks. But a kind and caring farmer may end up helping the thieves after all… This is a wonderful story about kids trying to help out a parent, facing disappointment after hard work and how something negative  can turn into something positive.

A bad case of stripes by David ShannonWhat they recently finished reading
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak but we read it in French as Max et les Maximonstres. You can’t go wrong with a classic, which we’ve read in English many times. I’m glad my library has the French version and the kids enjoyed it.
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. To remain popular at school, Camilla Cream always does what the other kids expect her to do, even pretend she dislikes lima beans when she loves then, until the day she ends up covered in stripes. A great book on peer pressure and the importance of self-identity.

– What I think they’ll read next
I have no idea! What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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