Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rainy Sunday

Doesn't fail, does it? Friday and Sunday, when I'm home, it's rainy out. On Saturday, when I was at work? Super sunny! Well, last night I enjoyed the weather at any rate.

And my flowers and herbs are loving the rain. The cilantro bush is threatening to eat my house it's gotten so huge. My peonies are blooming and they're lovely. My favorite flower. So I've been doing indoor things-- like reading and napping and occasionally watching TV. Today I baked-- Devil's Food cupcakes with a mocha butter cream frosting. (Recipe in How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food)

Anyway, some books...

First Daughter: White House Rules Mitali Perkins

This is one of the Fusion Stories that I'm reading my way through this month.

This one picks up with Sparrow and her family moving into the White House. Her mom needs to find a domestic cause to champion. Her cousin is sensitive to the grand income divide between the two of them and looking for a way to help support herself. And Bobby isn't calling-- because his parents think his sick grandfather won't approve of him dating someone who's biological parents were probably Muslim. To top it off, one of her commenters on her blog has called Sparrow rich and privileged and pointed out she wouldn't be able to "make it" in the real world. Sparrow isn't sure how to respond-- the criticism has more than a ring of truth.

If you liked First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, you're sure to enjoy Sparrow's continuing adventures. Perkins manages to tackle some big issues while still having a fun book. The issues don't get in the way of a light-hearted story, but she still manages to do justice to them.

My complaints are minor--it's always hard to read fiction that's set in the place you live when large parts of the scenery are realistic but still, well... fiction. And Perkins choses the issues she wants to tackle-- such as racism, underfunded schools, and the Hindu/Muslim divide. She doesn't tackle other things-- I find it hard to believe that every member of the junior class in a DC public school could pass a background security check to be let into the residence of the White House. On the other hand, Sparrow is determined enough she might have pulled a few strings with the Secret Service.

Throughout it all, Sparrow remains assured, focused and determined, while at the same time being likeable and seems like a real girl that I'd like to hang out with. (Especially if she can get her cousin to make me some of those cookies!)

Superstar Babes Narinder Dhami

Ok, so... this isn't out in the US yet. BUT! Amber, Jazz, and Geena (of Bindi Babes fame) are back! (Also, you can buy it here with free world wide shipping! I buy from the Book Depository all the time when I can't wait for British books to come across the pond-- sometimes it's even cheaper than the American version will be! Fast delivery, too-- I highly recommend them!)

The girls have been bickering a lot lately and Amber decides it's because they need a project. Coppergate's new building has several rooms named after companies that donated large amounts of money--why not name the library after their mum? The sisters all over it, except it means raising 10,000 pounds. In 6 weeks. Nothing the Dhillon sisters can't handle, right?

Of course, there are other things going on as well. Their spoiled cousin Baby has moved in. Auntie and Uncle Jai seem to be having marital issues and they JUST got married! Plus, Dad's never home anymore and Geena has a secret. About a boy. But what is it?

Can Amber solve all these problems and raise the money in time? Maybe it will all happen when she gets her most brilliant stroke of genius-- a real live Big Brother-type reality show, right in Coppergate, staring her family. What could go wrong?

This series deserves a higher readership. Every time I have a 5th/6th grade girl come in looking for a "funny" book, this is what I hand them. We need more funny for girls. These books hasve fashion, big plans, friendship, girls making their own way in the world, and a healthy dose of literary slapstick. The latest installment doesn't disappoint and continues the wacky and endearing adventures of the Dhillon Sisters.

1 comment:

Tarie said...

Hi! It's me again. Hehehe. :o) I love how you said this:

"Perkins manages to tackle some big issues while still having a fun book. The issues don't get in the way of a light-hearted story, but she still manages to do justice to them."

I completely agree, and I think you put it perfectly!