Book H00t #32 Pippi Longstocking

Happy Book Week to you all! As you can see from this post, Book Week is a particularly big one at my school, culminating in dress up day. Now we teachers always find this a source of much discussion, if not angst.

This year the theme is "Across The Story Bridge." What does that suggest to you? We went through characters that are associated with bridges but trolls and billy goats didn't really appeal. So we decided to choose characters that have crossed the bridge from print to film.

All this is leading up to my re-reading of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking. For costume inspiration, I bought the lovely new edition illustrated by Lauren Child. And I am enjoying reading it so much. It reminded me how much I loved her sassiness.

Pippi is an excellent example of a strong girl who knows her mind, is independent and has fun at the same time. She also has a pet monkey!

If you haven't read Pippi Longstocking, or need a refresher, this edition is a lovely read.

5 Hoots out of 5

Happy tales,
Barking Owl

Book Hoot #31 The Ask And The Answer

The second in the Chaos Walking trilogy, The Ask And The Answer is a story of dictatorship and rebellion. It picks up moments after The Knife Of Never Letting Go left off. Viola and Todd are being kept apart by the Mayor of New Prentisstown, formally Haven.

For a lot of the story, each believes that they are fighting on the right side of the conflict. Todd is a part of The Ask and Viola The Answer. And this is one of the book's main themes; in war, is there a 'right side'? I imagine this would quite a challenging idea for some readers. But there are other themes here that show Patrick Ness is certainly not talking down to his readers.

The Spackle, an alien race who make a small appearance in Chaos #1, are more central to the plot in this book. The Mayor puts his son, Davy, and Todd in charge of using the Spackle as slave labour. They even brand them in an eerily similar way to the Jewish race being tattooed in the Holocaust. There are also moments of torture and ethnic cleansing in this story line. And as Todd struggles with his conscience; the old excuse of 'just doing my job' works for a while.

Meanwhile Viola finds herself in a group of terrorists. Just as The Ask is primarily made up of men, The Answer is primarily women and so there are themes of female emancipation in her sections. Mistress Coyle the leader of The Answer carries out a series of bombings and the book asks the reader to consider 'collateral damage'. Viola struggles with the actions of the rebels, but like Todd is blinded by the charisma of her leader and what seems at first to be their just cause.

I would highly recommend this series. I'm about to start Monsters of Men and can't wait to see how the series is concluded.

Five out of five Hoots!

Happy Tales,
Barking Owl