Book Review: Mary Poppins in the Park

Mary Poppins in the Park by P.L. Travers
Mary Poppins in the Park (Mary Poppins, #4) 
by P.L. TraversMary Shepard (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars


Mary Poppins is back again with Jane and Michael for adventures in the Park! An ordinary outing in the park turns into a magical and extraordinary adventure when you go for a walk with Mary Poppins.

I love how Mary Poppins can be stern with the children, but is also kind and loving. She has a no nonsense attitude, but secretly loves to take the children on nonsensical and silly outings!

The writing is enchanting, and has a beautiful charm in its simplicity! I love all the Mary Poppins books! Continue reading

Book Review: The Big Six

The Big Six by Arthur Ransome
The Big Six (Swallows and Amazons, #9) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars

Joe, Bill, and Pete are fixing up their boat, the Death and Glory, with bunks, cupboards, and a little stove, so that they can camp out on the river all winter long. When someone starts casting off boats in the middle of the night, it gets blamed on the boys, and they have to prove their innocence. With the help of Coot Club members, Tom, Dick, and Dorothea, they start their own detective agency to track down the real culprits.

As always, I adore this interesting story, full of nautical knowledge and adorable characters. The plot really keeps the mystery moving as each clue comes to light, and the desperation and anxiety of the characters keeps the tension high, even if some of the plot points are a little predictable. The story is not so much about the mystery, as it is about how the characters follow the mystery. Continue reading

Book Review: Pinocchio

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
The Adventures of Pinocchio 
by Carlo Collodi

1 out of 5 stars

This is NOT Disney’s Pinocchio. It’s all violence, disaster, cut-throat assassins, hangings, imprisonment, thieves, bullies, greed, murder, more violence, and one ungrateful little puppet. Pinocchio really is a heartless scoundrel. He steals and lies and cheats, and then cries “Woe is me!” when someone steals from him, or lies to him, or cheats him. Well, you got what you deserved, puppet! Continue reading

Book Review: Strawberry Girl

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
Strawberry Girl 
by Lois Lenski

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

I liked this book about a family who moves to a new farm in Florida, during the pioneer days, determined to make the farm a success with a beautiful orchard and strawberry grove.
Birdie is excited to become a Strawberry Girl, but is worried that the disgruntled neighbors will make trouble for her family. When the neighbor’s pigs and cows trample over the new strawberry plants, Birdie’s father is outraged and vows to fence in his property to keep them out. This begins a feud between the two farmers, but the farmer’s children are eager to make friends. Only Birdie and her forgiving mother can make peace between the warring neighbors, and make both farms a success! Continue reading

Book Review: Marvelous Land of Oz

The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Marvelous Land of Oz (Oz, #2) 
by L. Frank Baum

2 out of 5 stars on GoodREads
 Tip is a young boy living in Oz, servant to a nasty witch. He fashions a pumpkin head that comes to life, and they travel to the Emerald City to meet the Scarecrow and Tin Man, falling into the middle of a revolution along the way.
I didn’t really enjoy this book, maybe because I listened to it as an audiobook, and I didn’t like the narrator. Usually I love the Oz books, but this one fell flat. The characters are so dry, the jokes aren’t funny, and even the imaginative setting of Oz felt like a rehash of the same old things from every Oz book. Maybe it was the narrator. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this book. Maybe because I’ve been reading the Oz books out of order, so I already knew some of the plot points. It’s a good story, but I somehow couldn’t enjoy reading it.

Book Review: Nurse Matilda

Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand
4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


The Brown children are the most ill-behaved, mischievous, naughty little children in all the world, and the only nanny who can possibly control them or teach them any manners is Nurse Matilda. With her magical walking stick, Nurse Matilda teaches important lessons like going to bed when you’re told, not chomping your food, closing doors after yourself, and putting on your best clothes when you’re told. Only the insane magical situations the children find themselves in could possibly teach them to say please and thank you!

I started rereading this one as a way to de-stress and help me fall asleep at night, but then I got so interested in the story that I stayed up late reading it!

Continue reading

Book Review: On the Far Side of the Mountain

On the Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
On the Far Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #2) 
by Jean Craighead George

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Sam and his sister Alice are living alone on the mountain, away from the turmoil of civilization. They hike and fish and forage for forest berries and roots, and of course Sam has his falcon, Frightful, to do the hunting. But their peaceful life is thrown into chaos when Frightful is confiscated by government conservation authorities, and Alice disappears into the forest with her pet pig. Sam, heartbroken over the loss of his bird, must lay aside his grief in order to track down his little sister through the treacherous Catskill Mountains.

I loved reading about how Sam and Alice build a plumping mill to make acorn flour, and how they built a dam by watching the beavers. All the little details of their forest life are so interesting and well-described! Continue reading

Book Review: Granny’s Wonderful Chair

Granny's Wonderful Chair by Frances Browne
Granny’s Wonderful Chair 
by Frances Browne

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This is one of my favorite books from when I was a young girl. Fairy tales at their best!

Young Snowflower’s grandmother leaves her alone in the cottage with only an enchanted chair for company. The chair tells wonderful stories and takes Snowflower on a journey to the court of King Winwealth. Each evening Snowflower is called to the court after their feasting, and she asks her magical chair to tell the company a story. The King rewards Snowflower for each story that is told.

In each chapter a different fairytale story is told, and although they follow the classic fairytale structure, they are not common or well-known. Each one is a delight to read!

Book Review: Pigeon Post

Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome
Pigeon Post (Swallows and Amazons, #6) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Swallows, Amazons, and “the D’s” (Dick and Dorothea) are determined to find gold in the hills above their lake before Captain Flint returns from South America. The young mining company begin camping up in the fells and searching old caves for gold, while a severe drought has the locals worried about potential fires. The children have three homing pigeons that are trained to take messages from their camp back to Mrs. Blackett, letting her know the progress of the fledgling mining company. The Swallows are dismayed to discover that a rival miner, dubbed “Squashy Hat”, is creeping about the fells, spying on their expedition and generally being a nuisance. It becomes a race to find the gold and stake their claim before Squashy Hat can ruin all their plans! But in the end, it will be the pigeons that make all the difference. Continue reading

Book Review: Coot Club

Coot Club by Arthur Ransome
Coot Club (Swallows and Amazons, #5) 
by Arthur Ransome


5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
Dick and Dorothea are determined to learn how to sail on the Norfolk Broads while they are visiting a family friend with a small yacht. Since local boy Tom is getting into trouble with a shipful of rude “Hullabaloos”, they invite him to join them on a journey to southern rivers and teach them to sail on the way. The friends are kept busy dodging the Hullabaloos, racing against the tides, exploring through the broads and rivers, and protecting the delicate birds’ nests that the Hullabaloos are threatening.

Even better the second time (or third time) you read it! Somehow I always come back to this book as one of my favorites; although in this series, they are ALL my favorite really. Every time I read it, I can barely put it down, because there’s always something interesting happening in the plot.

I just adore Dick and Dorothea, and the addition of the intrepid Tom makes for an exciting adventure, along with the redoubtable twin girls, Port and Starboard, and a host of young Coot Club members dedicated to protecting the local bird population. I love every character so much! They are each so original and likeable, and I enjoy seeing how they meet and make friends and immediately plunge into adventures together.