Sunday 6 September 2009

Sunday Salon - two mini reviews

I don't normally do reviews on a Sunday for Sunday Salon, but I am a little bit behind on my reviews. I am actually reading faster than I have time to review. So I thought I would do two quick mini reviews today which are about books from the same series.

Both of the books are from the My Story range of books which are aimed at children and teenagers and are all in diary format dealing with different events through different periods of history.

Indian Mutiny - The Story of Hanuman Singh, India, 1857 -1858. Out of the two I read I would have to say this one was the least enjoyable. I now realise it was written as part of the boys series, which might be why it was a boring read for me. It tells the story of Hanuman as he leaves his family to go and work for the Rani (Queen) Lakshmibai, looking after her son. Whilst working for her, the Indian rebellion against the British begins, causing the Rani, a former ally of the British to go into battle against them.

I found it interesting to learn a little about the history of the events that occurred in 1857, but I found the book annoying to read. There were lots of words written in the book in Indian without the proper English translation, so I often felt I didn't understand what I was reading. There was a glossary at the back, but it did not show half the words used in the book. A rather disappointing read for me.

Mayflower - The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, 1620. Now this book was completely different and easy to read. This is one of the books aimed at girls. It tells the story of the boat, the Mayflower which took the Pilgrims to America to escape persecution and to establish a settlement to live in. Remember writes in her diary, details of the months at sea, where many of the travellers developed sickness and scurvy. The story shows how the boat landed at Plymouth and the settlers quickly worked together to build houses for them all. During their time on land, many of the settlers fell ill and died, leaving just under half of the original settlers left alive on the island. Life was hard and they suffered immensely, though over the years, things got better for them.

I really enjoyed learning about the pilgrims journey to Plymouth. I would ask that all my American readers forgive me as I didn't realise that the Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving holiday after reaping the rewards from their first harvest. I would definitely like to read more about this period of time, so if anyone can recommend any books about the Pilgrims journey to Plymouth, then please let me know in the comments.

I am interested in reading more books from the My Story range, as I see them as a short introduction into historical events, an area that I don't usually venture into. If I find the historical event interesting in short format, then I am more likely to read longer books about it. These books are definitely a good read for teenagers and children as they are written in a diary format from a young person's perspective, so the children would find it easier to relate to them. They are quite short reads, so I imagine they would even hold the attention of a begrudging reader.

Here is a link to the My Story website, where you can check out other books in the series. There is a section on boys books as well as girls books. Scholastic seem to be in the process of changing the book covers and I would have to say that the new ones will probably appeal to children more than the originals.

Have you read any of the My Story books?


  1. Just visiting via Sherries books, where I was also given the zombie chicken award.

    Re: My story books? No I haven't read any of this series of books, to be honest I can't remeber even seeing any - perhaps they are not easily available here in England.

  2. Mini reviews sounds like something we should all consider. Writing a review really takes time away from other books...LOL

  3. I must admit that these books are not my taste. I don't think I would read them, but I am glad you enjoyed them:)

  4. The Discovery Channel aired Desperate Crossings: The Untold Story of the Mayflower. Through my father's side, I am a 14th generation descendant of John and Priscilla Alden so anything to do with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower interests me. I try to stress to my children and grandchildren the hardships the pilgrims suffered and how they persevered for th sake of freedom. If you ever make a trip to the states and visit Plymouth, MA there is a replica of the Mayflower you can tour. When you see how dark and cramped the ship was, you will be amazed to think that they survived at all.
    We are going up in November for our annual visit to see family. I'll try to get some pictures of the ship and Plymouth Rock for you if you think you might have some interest in seeing them.

    Have a great week and happy reading.

  5. I've never read any of the My Story range but I really like the sound of The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple. We didn't really do too much about the mayflower and what not in school so I'm always quite curious about American history. :)

  6. If the first one was difficult for you, I can't imagine kids reading it. It sounds like it wasn't written with the target audience in mind.

  7. I haven't heard of the My Story books before. I can't think of any books that I've read about the pilgrims. I think that's because we spent so much time in school learning about them every fall that it seemed kind of boring after a while (at least when I was a kid). I'm sure there probably are some great books out there though dealing with that segment of history.

    My first memory of performing in a school choir (in kindergarten) is of dressing up as a pilgrim.

  8. I've not heard of those "My Story" books. Those sound worth a look, though I'm thinking they're a little too young for my youngest. On the other hand, it sounds like they're good for kind of skimming the surface, and then you can decide if you want to delve deeper. I guess the format struck me particularly right now, because I'm current "visiting" 19th century China through the book "My Splendid Concubine," by LloydLofthouse. It's about Sir Robert Hart as he struggles with his cultural background as it clashes with China's culture (he finds a middle ground and adapts). The book takes place during the Taiping Revolution -- and is dramatic and romantic, even if you can't tell from my brief description! It provides me a way to get out of my everyday American life for a bit.

  9. I'm not sure if its those specifically, but my 5-year-old likes the old diary-like historical fiction.

  10. Diane - you are definitely right about mini reviews. They are a lot quicker.

    Passionatebooklover - don't worry, they won't suit everyone.

    Kaye - sent you an email.

    Ceri - I am quite fascinated by American history. I prefer it to English History. I think that is because it was pushed down my throat at school.

    Bermudaonion - I thought exactly the same thing. I wouldn't want my childrent to read it, as they wouldn't get anything out of it other than boredom.

    Alyce - I feel the same about English history, so I know what you mean.

    Liz - My Splendid Concubine sounds really good.

  11. I'm getting behind on reviews too, so I might borrow your idea one of these Sundays :P

    The books sound like a nice and accessible way of reading about history!

  12. I've never heard of the My Story books, but they sound very much like the Dear America and Dear Canada books my daughter used to devour...I wonder if they're related.

  13. Nymeth - go ahead, use my idea. I don't get many ideas, so they need to be utilised.LOL.

    Debi - I will have to check that out.

  14. I've never read these, but I'm glad you enjoyed them.

  15. Love your mini reviews idea.

    I agree w/ Diane about reviews taking away from our reading time!

  16. Hope you enjoy it. If you're like me, there will never be enough time in this life to read all the great book suggestions we get from other readers!

    But what fun to try...

    This is completley off-topic, but I picked up (and had no business doing so, because it's a 7-day book and I'm already reading 2 or 3 others) the latest Janet Eavanovich. You know, Stephanie Plum -- I've gotten to the point where she drives me crazy, because nothing ever changes, and I think characters need to grow and change in a series as long-lasting as this one.

    is it worth my time? I probably am going to end up taking it back unread, simply in order to finish what I've already started.

  17. I keep putting off some reviews because they take up so much time. I think I'll do more mini-reviews in future!

    Also, keep seeing the My Story books in the library, still not sure if they'll be my sort of thing!


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.