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Upstairs The Peasants Are Revolting
Well-known blogger and newspaper columnist, Smucker, once again writes so vividly in this collection of essays about life with her six kids, that you'll be convinced you have a place at their table, your own seat in their van, a list of chores with your name at the top, and a small hankering for trouble -- just like one of the family.
Get ready for another rollicking reading ride -- when you can't tell if the tears you suddenly find on your cheeks are from laughing or from crying. Dorcas Smucker once again writes so vividly about life with her six kids that you'll be convinced you have a place at their table, your own seat in their van, a list of chores with your name at the top, and a small hankering for trouble -- just like one of the family. She and her kids are innocently funny and usually well-meaning, trying hard to manage all their energy and their peculiar points of view.
Jenny asks questions endlessly like, "What's inside your lips?" Matt has serial obsessions -- animals to astronomy. Ben drops caterpillars down the gaps in the porch floor and has a 12-year collection of scars. Emily moves effortlessly from being a whirling Queen of the Smuckers to posing as a pompous science lecturer. Amy phones home to report that, "New York City is not dangerous," and "We girls walk outside at night." And 9-year-old Steven from Kenya joins the family, soon demonstrating the same compulsion as his new brothers by throwing balls in the living room.
What makes this collection a stand-out is Dorcas' "Mother voice." With each new development, she's clear about the outcome she's hoping for, less certain about how she'll accomplish it, willing to confess the way things unfold. Dorcas Smucker, writer and mom, is bravely honest and hilariously humble. She never fails to give courage to any parent who reads these joyride chapters, while relentlessly entertaining.
A Gate At The Stairs
With America quietly gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, a 'half-Jewish' farmer's daughter from the plains of the Midwest, has come to university - escaping her provincial home to encounter the complex world of culture and politics. When she takes a job as a part-time nanny to a couple who seem at once mysterious and glamorous, Tassie is drawn into the life of their newly-adopted child and increasingly complicated household. As her past becomes increasingly alien to her - her parents seem older when she visits; her disillusioned brother ever more fixed on joining the military - Tassie finds herself becoming a stranger to herself. As the year unfolds, love leads her to new and formative experiences - but it is then that the past and the future burst forth in dramatic and shocking ways. Refracted through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a lyrical, beguiling and wise novel of our times.
Upstairs Dragon, The
"This humorous story features a grumpy old man and an eccentric old woman. Both refuse to take advice from their friends. Eventually, their stubborn behaviour causes all kinds of confusion.Genre: HumourReading Age: 8.8 - 9.2 years
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