"Life's Not Perfect," Theme of July Book Buzz Picks - The Missourian: Mo Books

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"Life's Not Perfect," Theme of July Book Buzz Picks

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Posted: Saturday, July 5, 2014 11:19 am | Updated: 1:42 pm, Sat Jul 5, 2014.

Though Newsbee would like it to bee, “Life’s Not Perfect.” Bet you hear that from your parents and grandparents too. Some days are a drag, there’s no milk for breakfast, your best friend’s away at camp, and you have a zit where a freckle used to be.

When we’re disillusioned and upset, it helps to know others are in the same boat, like the characters in this month’s Book Buzz Picks.

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Natural born enemies, who’d expect a canine and feline to see eye to eye? The archenemies are thrown together with hysterical results in “Dog Vs. Cat,” written and illustrated by Chris Gall.

Things are chipper for a lop-eared dog when Mr. Button adopts him from the pound. But when Mrs. Button picks out a cat from the pet shop on the very same day, pandemonium reigns. There’s not a lot of space in the Button home, so rather than giving up one of their pets, Dog and Cat are forced to share space. Roommates they aren’t!

Dog’s a slob, and Cat’s a neat freak. Dog enjoys active romps, while cat relishes quiet time. Dog and Cat get on one another’s last nerve. There’s only one solution — section off their room — and do their best to get each other in trouble with the Buttons.

Before long, the room becomes “TOO quiet.” Just as Dog and Cat resolve their issues, another is introduced in a book with pictures that are as funny as the story.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Based on the true tale of an elephant seal from New Zealand, “Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas,” by Lynne Cox, is entertaining and features gorgeous pastel paintings by Brian Floca.

While most elephant seals live in the ocean, Elizabeth is citified and has discovered the ideal place to relax and sunbathe. Though she’s an ocean-going vessel of an animal, she prefers to swim in the Avon River at Christchurch and nap along the roadside. That proves to be a problem when Elizabeth is nearly hit by one car, then another and other.

For her safety and others, the seal is relocated, taken far away to frolic with friends of her own kind. But Elizabeth just won’t stay put. She returns again and again to Christchurch, and another fix has to be found, one that’s simply perfect for her.

Kids and parents will flip over this engaging story.

* * * * * * * * * * *

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry, first published in 1993, is on many required reading lists for upper elementary students. Next month, the disturbingly beautiful book opens in movie theaters.

Set in an alternative universe where “sameness” and obedience are expected, where families each have one boy and one girl, and feelings like anger and happiness are only felt minimally, Jonas faces his special December when he’ll be 12, an adult, and begin pursuing the career his community has chosen for him.

Jonas’ father is a nurturer, helps care for children, and his mother is a higher-up in the Department of Justice. But what will the future hold for Jonas? That’s what he has concern about as one day after another unfolds in a society that appears placid and perfect.

Imagine Jonas’ surprise when he’s named “Receiver of Memory,” assigned to be the protégé of a wise, elderly man, the Giver. So begins a journey of discovery, of recall, of pain and pleasure that changes the boy’s life forever in a book that touches you to your core.

/blogs/mo_books

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