Monday, August 27, 2012

Blog Update

I have not completely abandoned this blog.  I will continue to maintain it in the sense that I created it--that is, to clarify the order to read certain series of books.

I had included some other categories on here (such as a complete list of Dick Francis' books).  I am not making an effort to expand it in that area.

What I HAVE done is to create a new blog entitled, "The List Maker's Obsession", where I have included a list of books I particularly like, a big section where I have read a lot of young people's books and made notes as to age-appropriateness and other things.  There's a rather heavy emphasis on books for 8-9 year old kids (especially boys right now, but there are many girl books as well) and the list will expand as our grandchildren grow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Clive Cussler for Kids - fantasy, fiction, beginner adventure/thriller

Clive Cussler (yes, the same one who writes adult books) - 

The Adventures of Vin Fiz - a magical plane and two kids fly across the country; good guys, bad guys, etc.

The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy - a magical boat and the two kids go on an adventure

(I am hoping he will write more of these as it is a market with a great deficiency for very early readers. I have included the label "children" as there are many 5-7 year olds who read quite well, but are not sufficiently emotionally mature to handle much of what is written for 8-12 year olds.  My 7-year old grandson LOVES them.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ralph Moody: Little Britches series and concise histories

Ralph Moody: (autobiography and history)

When the author was twenty-one, he wrote in a diary that he would work as hard as he could to save $50,000 by the time he was fifty, and then write a book. He began Little Britches on his 50th birthday. Touching saga--great account of growing up in the early 1900's.


· Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers [1906 - 1910 - Colorado]

· Man of the Family [1910-1912, Colorado]

· The Home Ranch [summer of 1911 - amplifies his story as ranch hand from "Man of the Family", Colorado]

· Mary Emma and Company [1912 - Massachusetts]

· The Fields of Home [1914 -1915 - grandfather's farm, Maine]

· Shaking the Nickel Bush [1918, Arizona]

· The Dry Divide [19_, Nebraska]

· Horse of a Different Color: Reminiscences of a Kansas Drover [19__ in his early twenties]

History - by Moody include:

(I have read all except the one I have not yet found. They are as gripping as his autobiographies, very well researched and presented. It is clear that research for the individuals books was preparatory to the "Old Trails" and "Stagecoach West" which are detailed history books)

  • Kit Carson and the Wild Frontier (1955)
  • Geronimo, Wolf of the Warpath (1958)
  • Riders of the Pony Express (1958)
  • Wells Fargo (1961)
  • Silver and Lead: The Birth and Death of a Mining Town (1961) - juvenile book format; story of "Silver City" with explanations of how minerals came to be there in the first place, etc.
  • America Horses (1962)
  • Come on Seabiscuit (1963) - this book is not credited as telling the "real story" in the way the much more recent book and movie, "Seabiscuit" are credited. However, it is a more succinct, very engrossing, accurate (as far as I can tell) representation of the facts in the recent version.
  • The Old Trails West - Vol. 1 - The Gila Trail, El Camino Real, Old Spanish Trail" - The Great Legendary Routes that Bound a Wild Land into a Nation - 4538-1880 (1963)
  • "Gateways to the Northwest - The Old Trails West - Vol. 2 - The Santa Fe Trail, Big Medicine Trail, The Oregon Trail, The California Trail" (1963)
  • Stagecoach West (1967) - (this is truly "pure history" with a great deal of carefully researched history. You will pick up most of the interesting parts if you read all of the other histories.)
  • Knife is Not Enough (can't find this one yet)
  • The Wild Country (hard to find -- this is NOT a different book; it was originally published as Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers. I have included it in this list for informational purposes only, as you may find it listed in some places. It was made into a Disney movie, but the movie is not much recognizable from the book. It is, however, a good family movie and manages to maintain the "flavor" of the books in an acceptable manner.)

Historical Fiction - Giles

Janice Holt Giles:
[Some of her books loosely follow a couple of familes to Kentucky and beyond. I have grouped these together insofar as is possible.]

The following are suitable for as young as pre-teen IF the child is an advanced reader and emotionally mature:
  • The Kentuckians - earliest settling of Kentucky
  • Hannah Fowler - Kentucky
  • Run Me a River - Civil War
  • The Believers - story of a couple's conversion to the Shaker faith - I would not give this one to a pre-teen.  I need to re-do the post.
  • The Land Beyond the Mountains - struggle for statehood
  • Johnny Osage - Oklahoma Territory
(This list is very incomplete while I attempt to compile the stories in historical order.)

Some of her books are not at ALL suitable for pre-teens, and one or two are truly adult books.  I will eventually get them all sorted out and on here.  It's very hard to get some of them, so it's taking me a long time.

1930's teacher in Alaska, (Hobbs) - Specht

Robert Specht:

Tisha (autobiographical)

True story of young teacher (Anne Hobbs) in the Alaskan wilderness as told to Specht

The No. 1 Detective Agency Series - McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith:
[No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series: featuring Precious Ramotswe -- Botswana's leading, and only, female private detective.]
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
  • Tears of the Giraffe
  • Morality For Beautiful Girls
  • The Kalahari Typing School For Men
  • The Full Cupboard of Life
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
  • The Double Comfort Safari Club
  • The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
There is nothing objectionable for a pre-teen, but I do not think they would find them very interesting.

McCall Smith has several other series; none of them are anything like these.

Mitford and Father Tim Series - Karon

The "Mitford" series revolves around the lives of people living in a fictional North Carolina town with the central character being Father Tim, the local Episcopalian priest.  

The author chose to begin a new series revolving around the life of Father Tim some time after he retires.  She calls it the "Father Tim" series.  Perhaps she changed the name of the series as she chose to depart from some of the basic tenants of the earlier stories.  She takes him in to what may be termed more unsettling areas in the first Father Tim novel.

Not for pre-teens, despite the largely wholesome life of Christians in a small town; throughout the series there "life events" (such as fires, child abuse, alcoholism, minor unwanted advances by a parishioner, etc.).  These are handled in a very matter-of-fact manner, not as a sensation, but they do occur.

Jan Karon:

The Mitford Series:  
  • At Home in Mitford
  • A Light in the Window
  • These High, Green Hills
  • Out to Canaan
  • A New Song
  • A Common Life
  • In This Mountain
  • Shepherds Abiding
  • Light from Heaven
Father Tim Series:  (definitely a more adult series)
  • Home to Holly Springs
  • Party of Four (waiting for paperback)