The Mapmaker’s Children

  

The Mapmaker’s Children. Sarah McCoy. 336 pages. 2016. 

Disclaimer – I’m a total nut for historical fiction, HOWEVER, Sarah McCoy’s The Mapmaker’s Children was easily one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. Whether or not historical fiction is your go-to genre, this book will prove to be an entertaining, intelligently written piece of literature. 

After years of research, McCoy masterfully paints the lives of two women separated by more than 150 years. Yet as the chapters alternate back and forth between the two characters, you’ll find yourself in excited anticipation of discovering how these two lives are connected. When talking with my reading buddies, I often hear people say they either love stories with multiple characters through shifting chapters or they hate them and find them difficult to follow. This couldn’t be farther from the truth in The Mapmaker’s Children. Both characters progress evenly through the novel and McCoy dictates their stories in such a calculated manner, you’ll never think twice about the characters’ stories alternating along. 

As I read more and more of the novel I found myself torn between wanting to finish the book in one sitting and not wanting to read more to avoid having the book ever reach its end. Needless to say, I’ve finished the book and my husband is probably already tired of hearing me complain about it being over. I guess I’ll just need to pick up all of Sarah McCoy’s other novels. 🙂

Have you read any of McCoy’s other works? If not, what are your favorite historical fiction novels that I should add to my “to read” list? I’d love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this post you may want to check out some of the links below about The Mapmaker’s Children. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

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It’s Spring, Dear Dragon

  
It’s Spring, Dear Dragon. Margaret Hillert. 2015. 32 pages. 

It’s Spring, Dear Dragon is a cute story about a boy and his dragon muddling over the changing weather we experience so often during springtime. 

As an elementary school librarian, it is hard to find books that interest struggling and beginning readers that are appropriate for their limited skill sets. This book uses only 76 basic words, giving our beginning readers a sense of confidence and accomplishment as they will likely be able to read the text with minimal assistance. 

The resources as the end of the book (activities for enhancing phonemic awareness, phonics, word work, fluency and comprehension) add to the value of this short story. I often have educators ask for book recommendations that do not contain contractions and with the exception of the book’s title, this would be a great title to consider. 

This would be a wonderful addition to any library or collection for young readers. Unfortunately, I won’t be purchasing it for my library as it references the Easter bunny, which does not align with my school’s belief of the celebration of Easter. 

I received a digital copy of this book through NetGalley for this review. 

Riot Most Uncouth

  
Riot Most Uncoth. Daniel Friedman. 304 pages. 2015. 

I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about Riot Most Uncouth by Daniel Friedman. While I enjoyed the novel and perhaps simply had too high of expectations, I had hoped for a pragmatic conclusion. 

The main character, Lord Bryon, is arrogant, odd, and narcissistic; making it difficult to feel connected to the story as it begins. Since taking a detective fiction literature class in college, sleuth stories have always been my favorite. Perhaps my natural affinity for a good, classic mystery created unrealistically high expectations, but I had certainly hoped for more. Fairly far into the storyline, (I’ll avoid spoilers by intentionally speaking in very vague terms) the plot takes a drastic and unexpected turn away from conventional detective story characteristics to more of a new age fantasy feel. I could see bits of this being foreshadowed and spent the rest of the novel hoping the author wouldn’t take the story in the direction it continued to follow. 

Putting my disappointments with the solution to the mystery aside, this is clearly a marvelously written piece of literature. Although I didn’t really care for the main character and I could see a less than ideal ending coming down the road, I found that I still couldn’t put the book down and finished it in just a few days. The word choice is spectacular and I found myself really enjoying Daniel Friedman’s overall writing style. I do plan on reading Friedman’s first novel Don’t Ever Get Old in the near future. I just hope it follows more realistic elements of classic mysteries. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. 

The Cat on the Mat is Flat

  

The Cat on the Mat is Flat. Andy Griffiths. 2007. 166 pages. 

This collection of humorous rhyming stories is sure to capture the attention of your young ones. There are nine short stories together in this book all of which have a heavy emphasis on rhyming words. Some of the stories even feel a little like tongue twisters with all the rhyming words. 

This would be a great text to use with early elementary students to practice identifying and recognizing rhyming words and patterns. 

Do you have a struggling reader who desperately wants to read chapter books but find it difficult to find books at their level? With 166 pages this book looks like a decent size chapter book but with few words on each page, your child is less likely to be overwhelmed or frustrated with large amounts of text. The rhyming words will also help struggling readers as they sound out new words.