Book Review: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
Book Reviews / September 29, 2004

The 1964 winner of the Newbery Medal is a loose, light-hearted story that shows us a slice out of an ordinary kid’s life in Manhattan in the 1960’s. Written in the present tense and first person singular, it seems to capture effortlessly the way of speaking of a city youth at a point in his life when many changes are taking place.

Book Review: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
Book Reviews / September 23, 2004

This is a 1972 Newbery Medal winner about a misfit farm boy in Virginia who befriends the tomboyish city girl who moves in next door, and how they invent an imaginary kingdom together. The one complaint I have about this book is that there could have been so much more of it; it seems to go way too fast. It is a breathlessly lyrical moment of beauty where one would like to linger for a while, but it’s over so soon.

Book Review: Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
Book Reviews / September 11, 2004

The third book in the series that began with The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and continued with Runaway Ralph, takes off when Ralph befriends the son of the hotel’s new housekeeper. Ryan agrees to take Ralph to school with him, but things turn out as neither of them planned.

Book Review: Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
Book Reviews / September 11, 2004

The sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle finds Ralph the mouse growing discontented in his hotel lobby home. His younger brothers, sisters, and cousins keep pestering him to let them ride his toy motorcycle, and his mother and uncle won’t leave him alone. Finally Ralph decides to runaway to a camp whose bugle calls he can hear every morning and evening.

Book Review: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Book Reviews / September 11, 2004

I should have read this book 20 years ago. This story about a lonely boy, learning to live with his parents’ divorce, going to a new school where he has no friends, and making his first efforts as a writer, won the Newbery Medal in 1984–the year my parents split up. In lots of ways, it’s like reading the story of my life; but obviously it isn’t about me, and the poignancy of the story isn’t just in my head, or it wouldn’t have earned the recognition it did.

Book Review: Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
Book Reviews / September 3, 2004

I know a Christian man–I am not sure I would call him a good Christian man, but I won’t deny that he is a sincere one–who raised his sons forbidding them to own or read books about magic, mythology, or science fiction. He was so strict about it that when one of his sons (who rather liked sci-fi and fantasy) went out of town for the summer, he raided the boy’s bedroom and threw out all his books. The same son later turned down a dying uncle’s offer to inherit a large library of imaginative fiction, because he knew his father wouldn’’t let him keep it in the house. And it may be the same son again who, later in life, would only read non-fiction because he had developed an aversion to any book that wasn’’t “true.”