Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

In honor of National Library Week, a review of I Believe in Unicorns.

 Michael Murpugo is one of my favorite writers. His books are written for children, but adults will find that his stories have something for them as well. The stories make you pause, and think. They explore issues that are far-reaching and universal. 
   When I review a book that really touches me, I keep it and put it on my 'favorites' book shelf. Most of Michael Murpurgo's books are there. His book War Horse was turned into a film and a play.

I believe in Unicorns
Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator:  Gary Blythe 
For ages 7 to 10
Candlewick Press, 2005, 978-0763630508
Tomas is eight years old and more than anything he loves to roam the countryside having adventures and helping his father tend the beehives. He hates having to go to school and he despises books and stories. Books and stories belong in the school room and they certainly aren't any fun. So when his mother makes him go to the story hour at the library, Tomas is very annoyed and not in the least bit interested in listening to the librarian tell her stories.
   Tomas only has to listen to a little bit of the library lady's first story and he is completely entranced by her words. She sits on a lovely wooden unicorn reading to the children and telling them stories that she has made up. She tells them about her father who long ago, during a war, did his best to prevent evil people from burning books. Tomas finally begins to see that books are more than just pages of words and that they have a great deal to offer everyone, even him.
   When war arrives in Tomas' own peaceful valley Tomas and all the people in his village are suddenly faced with a terrible calamity - their library is set on fire by a falling bomb. Something has to be done to save the books and their beloved wooden unicorn. Soon everyone, even the children, are working hard to save the most valuable thing in the village.
   Many of us take books for granted, forgetting the many hours of pleasure that they have given us. In this book Michael Morpurgo reminds us that books and libraries are a treasure which should be fought for and defended. No one should be allowed to take away our books, for without our stories, poems, histories, biographies and scientific accounts our lives would be very empty indeed.

Monday, April 5, 2021

The April Bookish Calendar and National Library Week

Happy Monday everyone. I hope that you had a wonderful weekend. I'm a little late, but here is the Bookish Calendar for April. Click on the links and they will take you feature pages where you will find books that are relevant to they event or birthdays.

by Chris Dunn. www.chris-dunn.co.uk
In addition to the events, holidays, and birthdays on this calendar, April also has many additional national and international days, some of which I will be blogging about. 

National Library week (US): This event started yesterday on April 4th and will end on the 10th. You can find a collection of reviews about books that are about Books and Libraries on the website. For books that are specifically about libraries you can take a look at these titles, which I found on the site by using the search function to look for books about this subject. 

National Library Week allows us to promote our local libraries and their workers. From Harry Potter and Matilda, to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, I'm sure at some point that you’ve dashed to the library to borrow your favorite book, or perhaps you have borrowed an ebbok or audio from your library by going online. Haven’t we all spent endless hours in our university or college library revising for our exams, borrowing textbooks, free journals and using their online resources? Do you remember that feeling of getting a brand-new library card – of whipping it out when you borrowed a mountain of DVDs? Of course, times have changed since the millennium, but aren’t the staff always so professional and kind? 

Libraries are pivotal to society. Celebrating them, means celebrating silent reading, our communities, and getting into an institution of higher learning. This National Library Week, let’s look back on our days spent in libraries, and wholeheartedly thank our local public libraries.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.
The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.
Albert Einstein

           This wonderful piece of art was created by Brian Paterson. Brian Paterson was born in Ayrshire in 1949. At the age of 12 his family moved to Somerset. He met a local girl, Cynthia, and they married in 1973. The couple initially moved to London where Brian worked as a designer by day and on developing his own style of illustrating by night. They then moved to Henley-on-Thames where they conceived Foxwood Tales, Cynthia writing and Brian illustrating. I love the Foxwood Tales and I just bought a used copy of The Foxwood Treasury on Ebay.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Memories of spring and a review of: Beautiful Eggs: A journey through decorative traditions from around the world

Where I grew up, on the island of Cyprus, Easter is a very big celebration. 
Special Baked treats are made, families get together to celebrate, and they decorate eggs. Two families lived in our building, mine, and one other. We were very close to the Protopapas family and I often spent time with Yiayia, the grandmother. She did not speak any English, and in the beginning I spoke no Greek, but we always found a way to communicate. Yiayia taught me how to make flaounes, a sweet and savory bread, and she also showed me how to decorate eggs using the water from boiled onion peels. Often we would use the leaves of plants to create an image on the eggs. We would polish our decorations by rubbing wax all over them, and then Yiayia would place the eggs in a basket lined with bright green leaves,

Beautiful Eggs: A journey through decorative traditions from around the world
Illustrated by Alice Lindstrom
Nonfiction Board Book
For ages 4 to 6
Scribble, 2021, 978-1-95035-4436
When we think of egg decorating, we usually think of Easter festivities. Many people in countries around the world decorate boiled or blown eggs for this spring celebration. However, in some cultures they decorate eggs for other celebrations. In Mexico pretty eggs also appear on Cinco de Mayo and other festive days.
   People have been decorating eggs for centuries, and they have developed all kinds of ways of making eggs beautiful. A great deal of time and effort can be spent on decorating eggs, and some of these creations are so prized that they are put in museums or art galleries.
   In the Ukraine they have been creating extremely colorful eggs that are covered with fine and delicate designs for a long time. Red and green dyes are commonly used, and the designs are drawn on using beeswax.
   In the Czech Republic Easter eggs are decorated using many dye colors, and straw. When the eggs are complete, there are “Shiny kaleidoscope patterns” all over them.
   In Japan they use washi paper to decorate their eggs. The colorful printed papers, that are also use to make origami, are used to cover the eggs.
   With gorgeous collage illustrations and informative pieces of text, the illustrator of this board book introduces children to seven different eggs decorating traditions. At the back of the book young readers will find a fold out page that children can use as a stencil to make their own drawing of a decorated egg.

Easter is only a few days away. You can find more reviews of books about Easter on the TTLG Easter Books Page.

Bookmark and Share