Book Review – The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets by Tom Seaver

It was a busy week in the writing house with marketing tasks for The Hard Way, but with a weekend off from work, I decided to squeeze in a little reading. With the Little League World Series Regional Finals on the TVs at our house, I was pretty excited to find a baseball book to read this time.

An autobiography is a book written by a person about themselves. I remember doing a writing unit in grade school and we wrote one. I’ll have to find it in the school papers my mom gave to me. I haven’t read very many autobiographies, but thought it would be fun to read this one. The book was published in 1970 and it was kind of cool to have an almost 50 year old in my hands.

There are many life lessons to be learned from the game of baseball. I’m glad that our kids get to play the game and experience some of those lessons first hand.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets

Author

Tom Seaver

Type of Book

Autobiography about Tom Seaver’s baseball career focusing on game four of the 1969 World Series when the New York Mets played the Baltimore Orioles.

Background

Tom Seaver was a professional baseball pitcher. Most people remember him and his time playing for the New York Mets. He played in the Major Leagues for 19 years, 10 years for the Mets and 9 with multiple other teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Summary of the story

George Thomas Seaver (Tom) was a kid who always played baseball. He started in Little League and worked his way into high school and onto college ball. He played with legion and town teams until he was picked to play for the Mets on April 2, 1966. It wasn’t an easy path, but he worked hard to get there. One of the ultimate goals for a pitcher is to pitch the perfect game. Meaning they don’t give up any runs or hits to the other team throughout an entire game. This story talks about his drive to pitch the perfect game in that game four and the events that led up to that World Series game.

Reactions to the book

The references to other players and historical events of the time helped me to really enjoy the book. I collected baseball cards when I was a kid (to keep up with my brother and the other boys in the neighborhood) so I have heard of the players Seaver talks about. The references he makes to Vietnam and strained racial relations will help a reader understand the time when Seaver played baseball.

I struggled a little bit with how he told his story. Going back in the past and coming back to where his was in the game seemed to confuse the timeline for me sometimes. However, the tidbits from his past did help me to understand the life path he took to be pitching in that game.

The story showed me how much passion Seaver has for the game of baseball. I was also impressed at how he instilled confidence in his players, something which brought a team from the bottom of the division the previous year to a World Series Champion the next. Very inspirational story. I would definitely recommend it.

If you are interested in learning more about the author/baseball player, here is a link about him Tom Seaver – Hall of Fame

The book itself is out of print, but I did find a couple of copies on Amazon.com The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets . Our copy had been given to us from a friend for the boys. It looks like it used to be a library copy taken out of circulation. Just like the one pictured above.

 

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Book Review – The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Happy Monday! Hope you were all able to enjoy your weekend. I took a three days off from work for some down time. Well, I did get some down time, but it seemed to be a weekend to catch up on home things. Errands on Friday, some spring house cleaning on Saturday and some home projects on Sunday.

With all of the things I got done, one big accomplishment happened on Sunday evening, the paperback version of The Hard Way was published on CreateSpace. It should be available on Amazon.com later this week. So excited! Now, with both versions available, I’ll start learning what it takes to get the word out and get working on marketing.

In the meantime, while I was looking at the bookcase with the boys books in it again,  The Call of the Wild was calling to me. I remember reading this book in middle school. Ok, so it has been awhile. The version we have for the boys and the one I read was an adapted version of the story, so I didn’t have all of the story development as London originally wrote it.

 

The Call of the Wild

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Call of the Wild

Author

Jack London

Type of Book

Middle Grade (adapted version)

Background

Jack London spent almost a year in the Yukon collecting material for this book. This story was first published in serialized sections in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903 and was published a month later in book form. Call of the Wild was published in 1903 set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush.

Summary of the Story

During the gold rush, there was a need for sled dogs. Men would go and steal dogs from people and sell them into sled dog teams. This is the story about a dog named Buck who this very thing happened to. 

Reactions to the book

I like the story. It brought be me back to when I originally read it in middle school. It was fun to read the adapted version to get the main points of the story. It would be fun to read the full version again.

The book can be found on Amazon Call of the Wild

If you are interested in learning more about the author, check out his web page Jack London


I have reserved The Sea-wolf from our local library. It is another popular story London wrote after The Call of the Wild. Since I haven’t read this one yet, I think I’ll read an unadapted version.

Book Review – The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

This was a book that I didn’t take the time to read as a kid. I saw it on our book shelf at home as another book I bought for the boys to read and jumped right in. This version of Lofting’s story was Condensed and Adapted by Kathryn Knight. I did a little research into what that really means. According to Yahoo! Answers, condensed means that the story has been shortened. It has left all the important plot points in, but may have taken a lot of the sub plots out. Adapted means that it takes a more adult story and makes it readable for children. It removes the big words and simplies the story to make it easier to understand.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Author

Hugh Lofting

Condensed and Adapted by Kathryn Knight

Type of Book

Middle Grade

Background

Hugh Lofting created the character of Doctor Dolittle during the time he served in the British Army during World War I. He wrote letters home to his children telling them stories based on the character of Doctor Dolittle to protect them from the evils of what was happening in the war. When he arrived home, he started writing those stories into chapter books for children. The series of ten stories about Dolittle won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 and the story The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle won a Newberry Medal in 1923. Two more Dolittle stories were published after he passed away and his stories have  been made into movies.

Summary of the story

Doctor John Dolittle, M.D. was just a normal everyday doctor. He started his practice in England treating people, but figured out that he had a way with animals, so he started treating animals at his home. Since animals can’t pay for his services, he needed to find a way to bring some money in to pay the bills. At the same time he received news that some monkeys needed medical help in Africa. So, he took all of the money he had left and set sail for Africa to help them.

Reactions to the book

I enjoyed the story. Dolittle’s interaction with the animals makes it a fun read for kids and adults. It is a very engaging story.

This edition of Lofting’s story has been condensed and adapted from the original story. It makes me want to read the original to see what I’m missing. In a note at the beginning of the book, Knight writes,

The Story of Doctor Dolittle has been carefully condensed and adapted from the original version (which you must read when you are ready for every detail). We kept the well-known phrases for you. We kept the important imagery and heart of the tale.

It is a great thing that these classic stories are condensed and adapted for younger readers to enjoy. I like the fact that she points out that there is another version that kids can read when they are ready. Since I liked the story, it is something that I’m going to check out.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out this posting about him on Encyclopedia Britannica Hugh Lofting

If you would like to purchase a copy for your kids or a kid who is special to you here is the link to in on Amazon.com. The Story of Doctor Dolittle

 

 

 

Book Review – Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton

 

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Our oldest son, Max, was assigned The Outsiders to read for his high school English class. Soon after, that prompted us to buy the movie and watch it as a family. Since he enjoyed the book, the following Christmas, I bought the book Rumble Fish for him. As I was laying in bed, I saw the book sitting on the bookshelf next to all of the other books we have bought for the kids over the years. I remember reading The Outsiders when I was in high school, but I don’t remember reading Rumble Fish. Decided it was a good time to read it. Like The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton writes another powerful YA coming of age story from the perspective of kids growing up in a small south western town in gangs.

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Rumble Fish

Author

S.E. Hinton

Type of Book

YA

Background

S.E (Susan Eloise) Hinton wrote her first book, The Outsiders when she was in high school. She based it on the division of her classmates into two social groups. This book was published when she was a freshman in college and it became an immediate hit. She wrote her books from the kids’ perspective and it made it very relatable to the YA audiences. This book along with Rumble Fish were both made into movies.

Summary of the story

Rusty-James is the toughest kid in junior high. His older brother, Motorcycle Boy, used to be a well-known gang leader. Rusty-James longs to be like Motorcycle Boy while Motorcycle Boy is trying to back out of the whole gang thing. While living with his alcoholic father, Rusty-James gets into a lot of fights and trouble while trying to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Little does he know that this path may not lead to as a great of place as it seemed to with his brother.

Reactions to the book

Hinton writes another powerful YA book. For being a quick read, the story itself was a little hard for me to understand. There were things in the story that I had to put together as I was reading it, so a little more connecting detail may have helped me to enjoy the story more. There was a lot of violent activity with Rusty-James wanting to be the tough guy. This may be an issue for a more sensitive reader. I did like how Hinton took a different look at teenagers growing up in a more on the street type setting. I did enjoy the book.

If you interested in learning more about the author, you can check out her website S.E. Hinton

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.com Rumble Fish

Book Review – Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Fantasy by Lorilyn Roberts

Special Message: Check this book review for a special giveaway!

Now we are onto a YA Fantasy novel review. Fantasy writers create alternative worlds where their characters either go on a personal journey to learn about themselves or to be a hero in the other world. There are many fantasy types of novels out there. Some are dystopian in nature and others are apocalyptic take overs of what we know our world to be now. Like the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, this book is a great start for this series with the main character, Shale Snyder, being led to the door of the parallel universe by a stray dog.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Seventh Dimension: The Door

Author

Lorilyn Roberts

Type of Book

YA Fantasy

Background

Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian author who writes for the young and young at heart. The Door is the first of four published books in the Seventh Dimension Series. Roberts is currently working on the last book of her five-book series. It has been the finalist of four different book awards and was the winner of the 2014 Book Goodies Best Cover Contest Winner, YA category

Summary of the story

Shale Snyder is a fourteen-year-old girl who feels all alone in the world. Due to an event that happened when she was twelve, she continues to be shunned by the kids she calls friends. One day, she meets a stray dog, Much-Afraid, who leads her to a door in the woods. After she goes through it, she is in a whole other world, the seventh dimension.

It is a coming of age story. When Shale arrives in the seventh dimension along with the stray dog Much-Afraid, she meets Cherios the rabbit, Baruch the donkey, Lowly the pig and Worldly Crow who all help her on the journey where they meet Shale’s dad and the King.

Reactions to the book

Shale’s journey to the seventh dimension happens so she can deal with her demons and learn about the power of faith to help her forgive herself. She’s introduced to the idea of a king who I believe represents a higher spiritual power. Roberts does a great job of weaving the Christian themes into the book and not make it feel like a religious book. I would recommend this book for middle grade and YA readers, but it could also be enjoyed by adults as well.

If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out her website Lorilyn Roberts

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.com The Door

The author, Lorilyn Roberts, has offered a free copy of the book we just reviewed, The Door. I would like to do a giveaway to one of my followers on social media who comment on this review. I will randomly pick a winner from all that comment and will announce the winner on next Monday Morning’s Blog. Be sure to check out the author and Amazon links to learn more about the author and the book! 

Book Review – The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This was the first one of James Dashner’s books I have read. It just happened to be sitting on our coffee table because our high school sophomore had it as an assigned reading for his English class. It has been on my reading list for a while, but my to-do list had a couple of things left to finish before I could start it. As I finished up those tasks, I kept seeing the book and longed to sit down in my comfy chair and read it. When I was finally able to pick it up from the coffee table, I had a hard time putting it down.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Maze Runner

Author

James Dashner

Type of Book

YA – High School level reading – dystopian science fiction

Background

20th Century Fox released a film adaptation of the book in September of 2014

Summary of the story

Thomas is brought to a place called the Glade with his memories of the past wiped clean from his mind. It was a place where a group of teenagers, all brought to the Glade the same way Thomas was, already lived. Where they lived is found in the middle of a maze the teens have been trying to find their way out of. The story is of the group coming together to figure out the puzzle and to fight off creatures called the Grievers who lived in the maze and kept them from getting out.

Reactions to the book

I really enjoyed the book. I had a hard time putting it down. The characters were engaging and I found Dashner’s writing style easy to read.

The story is like The Hunger Games trilogy in the survival of the fittest and dystopian themes found in both books. I liked the premise of the teens being challenged to find their way out and were forced to when their world started to change. They didn’t sit around like a lot of teens have done if they were faced with challenging circumstances. It was inspiring.

Being a writer myself, I understood the ending was written the way it was to set up the sequel, The Scorch Trials which I added to my reading list. I think the way it was written took away from the punch that the actual story gives you at the end. Many books have done cliffhanger endings to provide suspense for their next book. In this case, the ending seemed to be the beginning of book two, where I think it could have been written as the beginning of book two instead. Probably just his style and a different way of doing it. I would recommend the book as a good teen read.

If you are looking for more information abut the writer, here is his website James Dashner .

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is the link to it on Amazon The Maze Runner

Book Review – Race for the Sky by Dan Gutman

After years of planning and experimenting, Wilber and Orville Wright finally got the powered Wright Flyer off the ground on December 17, 1903. Look where we are one hundred and thirteen years later. According to Wikipedia, in 2016, an average of ninety three thousand commercial flights originate from nine thousand airports daily. And Boeing has a 787 Dreamliner which seats up to 335 passengers.

Race for the Sky is told to us through the diaries of fourteen year old Johnny Moore, a kid who lived in Kill Devil Hills at the turn of the twentieth century. He watched the Wright brothers create the Wright Flyer and he wrote about it in a journal that his mom gave him.

As a pilot myself, I love to read books about aviation. I visited Kill Devil Hills with my aunt and saw the place where powered flight began. I love going to the places where these things actually take place and imagine how it really happened. Reading this book added to my knowledge of Wright Brothers and how the Flyer took flight that day.

 

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Race for the Sky

Author

Dan Gutman

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

The book was published November 1, 2003 just in time for the one hundredth anniversary of the first flight.

Summary of the story

Fourteen year old Johnny Moore is given a journal as a gift from his mom to ring in the new century (1900). She said he didn’t have to go school if he wrote in this book every day. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon for kids to not go to school. They would stay home and help with things around the house or go to work and earn money for their families. While he did fish to earn some money, Johnny wound up getting his education in a little different way, he spent time watching the Wright Brothers build the Wright Flyer.

The Wrights weren’t the only ones trying to build an airplane. The race to put a flying machine into the sky was being attempted by men all over the world. The Wrights even had visitors come to see what they were doing. Some were truly curious, but others acted as spies and were trying to steal ideas so they could be the first to built one.

Reactions to the book

Just like Dear Mr. Henshaw, this book is written in epistolary style, from the main character Johnny Moore’s point of view through the use of his personal diary. This style makes the story more personal by showing how Johnny feels and what happened through his eyes. I really enjoy that for middle grade reads.

Gutman does a great job of writing an engaging novel to describe one of the great moments in history. Reading stories like these are a fun way for kids to learn about these significant historical events. Having been to the site and reading this book brings the significance of the event full circle for me. I would definitely recommend this book.

To find out a little more information about the author, Dan Gutman, here is a link to his website Dan Gutman’s website

If you are interested in purchasing the book, here is the link to it on Amazon Race for the Sky