Sunday, 4 March 2018

Where's Bunny?

Finished February 28
Where's Bunny by Theo Heras, illustrations by Renné Benoit

This picture book is a bedtime book for the very young. The baby pictured on the cover with help from his big sister goes through the steps in a bedtime ritual. They begin with cleaning up their toys, then have a bath, dry off, and brush their teeth. This is followed by putting on cozy pajamas, a storytime, and a goodnight kiss and hug.
At various points in the book, the question "Where's bunny?" is asked, and each time this is asked, there is an opportunity to look for the bunny in the drawing on that page. Most children have a stuffy of some kind that is a favourite bedtime pal, and this let's that be part of the ritual as well.
There is a bedtime checklist in the front of the book that reinforces the routine the children go through in the book, and a teeth cleaning checklist in the back of the book.
Bedtime books are a great way to introduce routine to children, and make getting ready for bed a pleasant time. The drawings here show happy and content children at each point in the routine to help with this message. I really think the drawings are so cute. I also liked that the book showed diversity without being about diversity.
This book is a great choice for little ones.

Don't Tempt Me

Finished February 25
Don't Tempt Me by Lori Foster

This romance also has a little bit of mystery and a bit of danger to add to the interest.
Honor Brown has recently bought her first house and the book begins with her and her best friend Lexie moving her stuff into the house. As they arrive, they draw the attention of the next-door neighbours, who Honor hadn't seen when she'd bought the house, or did the clean-up and minor repairs prior to moving in. They consist of Jason Guthrie, a wood craftsman, his older divorced brother Hogan and Hogan's teenage son Colt. Hogan and Colt are living with Jason while Hogan finds a job and gets back on his feet.
Honor has family, but isn't close to any of them except her grandfather, who raised her. She is a very private person and doesn't like to share her problems with people. She just works hard and gets on with things. Lexie has been friends with her since they were kids, and knows her situation and her bent towards not sharing information.
Jason is drawn to Honor, but wonders at her odd hours away from the house, and her resistance to any help others might offer.
To add to the mix are a couple of other young single male neighbours, one directly across from Honor who runs a martial arts studio, and the other the local sheriff, only a year into his first term. The neighbourhood is one that is only beginning to recover from it's crime-ridden past, and all the men worry about a young woman living alone there. The house that Honor lives in sat empty for years before she purchased it.
With the reader only learning about Honor's life gradually, and with not only Honor's romance with Jason, but also Lexie's love life, there is lots going on here. The messages are positive, about good neighbours making a community, and how accepting help sometimes is the best way forward. 

A Vicarage in the Blitz

Finished February 22
A Vicarage in the Blitz: The Wartime Letters of Molly Rich 1940-1944 will illustrations by Anthea Craigmyle

This collection of letters was written to Otto a refugee from Austria, who came to live at the vicarage in Chiswick with Molly and her family in early 1939. A little more than a year after arriving, Otto, like many young men from Germany and Austria was interned as an enemy alien. At first Otto was interned in England, but then in Australia, and finally back in England again. Eventually, he was released an joined first the Pioneer Corps, and then the Army and fought in the war.
To Molly, he was like another son, and she corresponded with him in that manner. She tried to keep him focused on the future in a positive way, and used what means she could to find out where he was and advocate for him.
Otto saved the letters and it was only in 1974, after Molly's death that he mentioned them to Anthea, Molly's youngest child. The letters numbered over 600, most of them typed. Only some of them are included in this book. Molly was aware of the censorship of letters during the war and tried to avoid including anything that might cause an issue in that regard, telling Otto of goings on in the household, with friends and neighbours, and general news. As a vicar's wife, Molly was very involved in her community, and housed a number of other war refugees, both domestic and foreign, during the war. She worked for a variety of charitable causes, kept a victory garden, did fire-watching, and worried about her children who were either away at boarding school, or evacuated to the country where Molly's mother lived.
The letters are chatty, with lots of everyday information, war worries, and concern for Otto's wellbeing.
The book includes photographs, a map of Chiswick, and a list of the various people mentioned in the letters, with a little about them, along with wonderful drawings by Anthea related to the letters' content. At the back of the book are two appendices, the first listing incidents in Chiswick caused by enemy actions. The second is a timeline of the war, with events that affected Molly and her family.
Anthea enlisted a friend with editing experience to go through the letters and help decide what to include in this book. Other than correcting spelling, the letters are unaltered.