Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal December 23, 2010

Filed under: adult biography — Bethany @ 1:23 am
Tags: , ,

“I have not survived against all odds.  I have not lived to tell.  I have not witnessed the extraordinary.  This is my story.”  These words lay it all out from the very beginning.  Amy’s life is ordinary; her writing style is not.  This is a biography of sorts, formatted like an encyclopedia.  Entries are in the form of charts, lists, and short paragraphs and are categorized by headings such as Famous, How You Know You Are and Stupid Slow Driver.  A peculiar but entertaining read.


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen December 8, 2010

Filed under: adult adventure,adult fiction,adult historical fiction — Bethany @ 5:24 am

As Jacob Jankowski prepares to graduate from Cornell’s prestigious veterinary school, he receives news that turns his life inside out.  Reeling from the news of his parents’ deaths, he jumps a train and sets forth on an adventure that will change the course of his life.  Jacob joins Benzini Bros. Most Spectacular Show on Earth to discover the danger and excitement circus life has to offer.

Water for Elephants will leave readers breathless with anticipation, balling their fists with anger, and tearing up with sympathy at the ruthless management, the grossly mistreated animals, and the rough but empathetic workers.  The plot and descriptions constantly reinforce the fact that the Depression-era circus was an entirely different animal than anything we know today.


So B. It by Sarah Weeks December 3, 2010

Soof.  Out of the 23 words Heidi’s mama could say, soof was the most perplexing, the word that inspired Heidi’s journey.  It all started when Bernadette opened her door one February day to find a woman in a raincoat holding a baby.   The mentally handicapped woman’s name, according to her, was So B. It.  Her baby was Heidi.  Soon Bernadette, So B. It, and Heidi were one happy family.  Because Bernadette was agoraphobic, Heidi and Mama were the only ones to go outside of the apartment.  Despite a safe, comfortable life, Heidi cannot stop wondering about soof.  When she finds some old pictures of her mother, she knows she can’t live her life without knowing where she came from.  Once she gets the answers to her questions, she realizes life will never quite be the same again.

So B. It was a sweet and gentle story about a girl’s quest to find out who she is, even if it means leaving the sanctuary of the only family she’s ever known.  While somewhat unrealistic in parts, overall it is an enjoyable read for upper elementary students to adults.


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