The Kid Dictionary

The grand twins have always communicated in their own language.  Since they were tiny babies sitting in the bumbo chairs giggling and jabbering away at each other.  It has been fascinating to watch over the years.  Now that they are 3 and speaking in not only sentences but paragraphs and with emphasis and emotion they use their own language less.

Sometimes there is no other way to describe something kids say or do other than to make up a word of your own for it.  That’s exactly what author Eric Ruhalter did.

Couple of examples:

SPONGEBOGGED: Unable to record a movie because your DVR is filled with kid’s shows.

NOPEN: To witness your kid pulling the car door handle just as you’re trying to automatically unlock the doors, such that her door remains locked, forcing you to lock and unlock again (and repeat).

KINTERPRET: To feel compelled to repeat or translate everything your kids say when you talk to other grownups.

NAPFUSION: The dilemma of whether to wake a toddler who falls asleep at 4pm.

Have you ever run into any of these situations?  If you have a child I’m sure you have.

This book would make a great shower gift for first time parents.

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The Hunger Games

I have vacillated many times on whether or not to read this book. I have heard good things from most but am just a bit leery of the fact that children die from starvation. My cousin’s son Sean read the book and readily agreed to write a review for me. He did request that in return I read it. Sigh. I am now on the waiting list at the library. We’ll see.

The Hunger Games

I’m not really one to follow the fads of the day. That’s not to say that I’m not technologically savvy or closed-minded to the effects of pop culture. In general, however, I don’t like people telling me what I should wear, what gadgets I should buy, what I should believe about this or that, and how I should spend my time. The more someone tells me to do something, like see a certain blockbuster movie, the less I want to do it. The one exception to this rule that I have found is when someone suggests that I should read a certain book. This is what led me to read The Hunger Games, and was I glad I took my co-workers’ advice.

The Hunger Games is the first novel in a three-novel series written by Suzanne Collins, and is targeted primarily to teenagers and young adults. However, as someone who is rapidly leaving the “young adult” demographic (well, not so rapidly; I just turned 25 today), I can say that adults will enjoy this piece of literature, too.

First, a little background is in order to understand the premise. North America as we know it now does not exist; instead a new country that encompasses most of the continent has sprung up in the future, and it is called Panem. The country is divided into twelve districts and the Capitol, and each district has its own industry and its own challenges. As a way of keeping all the districts in line, the Capitol places many restrictions on them and requires a yearly contest called the Hunger Games. This is a fight to the death competition in which one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district is chosen to compete. The obstacles are unknown to everyone but those who make the Games, and require a great deal of resourcefulness, daring, and courage to overcome. The winner of the Games is the last person standing, and he or she is rewarded with wealth and prosperity. Their district is also rewarded, most notably with an increased food supply, which can mean the difference between life and death to the impoverished and starving districts around the country. However, the main motivation of the Games is to be entertainment for those living in the Capitol, and to continue to show the Capitol’s domination over the districts.

The main protagonist and narrator, Katniss Everdeen, is a resident of District 12, known for its poverty and specialization in the coal industry. She is basically the head of her household and is the main source of food for her family, which she obtains by illegally hunting with her best friend, Gale. When the time comes for the annual Hunger Games, Katniss’ 12-year-old sister Prim is chosen to be the female “tribute” from District 12, until Katniss takes her place in the competition. Then along with the male tribute, Peeta, she travels to the Capitol to be a part in the Games. They are trained, made over, and paraded around on television to the entire country, whose viewership is mandatory, before being placed in the arena that will mean death for 23 of the 24 participants.

The challenges are exhausting and the deaths are gruesome. The lengths that some of the tributes will go to survive are incredible. Alliances are made and plots to destroy each other are brought about as well. Katniss, as the narrator and main protagonist, naturally progresses well in the Games, but nonetheless overcomes many obstacles, as well as the numerous twists and turns in the Games. One major twist in the Games makes them take on a new meaning for Katniss in particular, and she is forced to deal with emotions and problems that were seemingly unforeseen at the time. Her fight for survival is no longer just about herself and she must deal with decisions that could affect her life, the lives of her loved ones, and even the entire country.

The Hunger Games was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down, no matter how hard I tried. I found myself taking time to read during meals, before bed when I should have been asleep, and even during the commercials of my favorite television shows. While the beginning was slower, and really the setup and back story usually slow things down for any novel, the rest of the novel was fast-paced, interesting, and above all well-written. The constant up and down of emotions during the course of the novel was overwhelming at times, but that’s one thing I look for in a good story. I couldn’t recommend this novel more to anyone who is looking for a good read. Some may find the content to be a bit much to deal with, but it is well worth getting through it, in my opinion. The idea that this could even happen to children, the idea of a government with so much control, and the idea that you must kill other people to survive just shocked, astounded, and amazed me at every turn in this novel. Personally, I will be hanging in and reading the last two novels in the series, and hopefully people who read this review will find themselves drawn to the series, too.

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Guinness World Records 2012

The best-selling copyright book of all time is back with a brand-new edition completely updated with new records and pictures, including amazing sections on the human body, the International Space Station, fun trivia, engaging factoids and more. For the first time, augmented reality  has been integrated into the new edition, bringing the book to life with additional video content featuring iconic record breakers and achievements.

When I saw that in a press release last week, it brought tears to my eyes.

Sounds silly but it really did.  You see, Adam used to buy the Guinness Book every year from the school Book Fair.  he would pour over that book and read it from cover to cover.

Now he is old enough to be drinking Guinness.

Sigh, I miss that kid.


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Cooper and Me

I received a new book to review recently, but this time it was a little different.  This time is was a children’s book.

Cooper and Me is a bout a little girl going to school for the first time.  She is sad that her dog (and best friend) Cooper can not go with her.  She laments about all the things she and Cooper do together and how much she will miss Cooper, so her parents give her a stuffed dog that looks like Cooper to take to school with her.


Caitlyn was not fooled for a minute, she said “She can’t bring that toy to school”.  “She must be going to day care school like the babies (her twin siblings) because you can bring toys to real school”.

I love that the book is writte and  illustrated by an 11 year old and her mother.  The words are written in a large font and are easy for Caitlyn to read with a little help.


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The Help

I first heard about this book a year or so ago and thought it wouldn’t be of any interest to me.  A friend convinced me recently to give it a try.

I was SO wrong.  I enjoyed it immensely.

Now, Dreamworks has made a movie that will be released in August.  I am so very excited about this.  It is starring Emma Stone (Easy A) and Viola Davis (Doubt).  I can’t wait!

Here is a sneak peek at the trailer that was just released!

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That Devil Moon and Ain’t Love Grand

Let me start by saying the author is a co-worker of mine, she gave me a copy of her books and asked me to review them.  If any of you think this influences my opinion you may as well just click that little x in the corner right now.

I did not read Ain’t Love Grand, for one simple reason.  Based upon the synopsis on the back of the book, I didn’t need to.  It is a letter from who I presume is the lead character to her mother and it tells the entire story of the book in 3 paragraphs.  Is it a good story anyways?  I have no idea.  I am someone who does not like knowing the ending as opposed to my sister who reads the last few pages of a book before she starts it (Hi Gretchen!).

The back of That Devil Moon did almost the same but it left enough out that I was intrigued enough to read it.

A mysterious one night stand, an unexpected (well only to the character, the rest of us knew from page 8 that she would end up pregnant) pregnancy, and a boy meets girl boy loses girl girl is a freak boy is a jerk boy and girl fall madly in love.

The twists and turns in this book kept me interested, when I thought one thing was going to happen something else did instead.  When I thought ok this is going to wrap up and be the end, something else happened, and I was glad.  More happened than I expected but I didn’t think it went on too long.

In other words, G and E, I am including this in the next box of books I ship out to you.  If you read Ain’t Love Grand let me know what you think.

By the way, all of Dana’s books are available on Kindle, most for only 99 cents!

PS.  I don’t put affiliate links in my book reviews, well, because I don’t know how.  But if you search and then buy from the Amazon widget over there on the sidebar I get a couple of pennies.


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Deep Down True

It took me a little while to appreciate this book.  A recently single mother of two finding her way on her own and most importantly discovering herself.

Throughout the first half of the book I thought she was insipid and spineless and wanted to just smack her.

You see, I am an Amazon Van Houten Woman.  My mother and sisters and I all are.  We are strong, we persevere, we can do anything.  Or so she raised us to think.

So when I see/read about someone who is spineless and can’t/won’t stand up for herself, it is hard for me to process.

As I got deeper in to the book, I realized this poor woman did not have the strong woman influence I did.  She had no clue how to fend for herself.  But it didn’t stop her from evolving and becoming that influence for her daughter and her niece.

Juliette Fay is being added to my favorite authors list.

From the Press Release:

Recently divorced and running low on funds, Dana has her hands full as the shock waves from her husband’s departure reverberate through her family.  Seven year-old happy-go-lucky Grady suddenly develops anger management problems, and twelve year-old Morgan struggles with an eating disorder as she tries to keep her head above the shark-infested waters of middle school.  Then Dana’s sixteen year-old niece, Alder, comes crashing into their lives – literally – carrying with her a mysterious sorrow, yet also bringing an unexpected element of maturity and insight to their tightly-knit circle.

The publishers of this book sent me an advance reader’s copy to review, and they would like to share a copy with one of you.

Leave a comment telling me of a strong female influence on your life.  I will pick a winner on February 21, 2011.

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Bags Out at Seven

Bags Out at Seven

Anyone who has traveled on a tour bus recognizes that statement.

This is a book that was given to me by Uncle Marcel, when he read it, he said, he thought of mom.  So did I.

It is a book containing vignettes by a tour operator covering her travels throughout a 20 year span.

Some are happy some are very sad, but all are memories.  Some of my happiest memories have been traveling with mom.  From singing Girl Scout songs in the car, to camping with a great campfire (and more songs of course), to later in life taking cruises, our last together was to Northern Europe.  Through rain and cold Erika and I pushed her wheelchair around Norway laughing the whole time.

I will be passing this book on to Erika next, I hope it too brings her good memories of mom.

Thanks Uncle Marcel.

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Going Rogue

Going Rogue
Image by adriennevh via Flickr

Surprised?  I know some who first found out I would be reading and reviewing this book were.  But why are they surprised?  I enjoy biographies, especially auto-biographies.  Why should I not read this one?  Because we differ in most of our political views?  Sorry, my life does not revolve around my political views.  Heck one of my favorite books ever is The Reagan Diaries (also one of the biggest, which I mistakenly travelled around Europe carrying with me).

While I think Sarah Palin is an interesting person, you can’t actually get a feel for that through her writing.  And yes, you can tell she wrote it and it isn’t just ghosted.  Not just because of the vernacular but because of the style and because of my main problem with it.

The entire book all the way up until the actual VP announcement by John Mc Cain seems to be riddled with justifications.  Some stories are quite interesting until you get the words, and that’s why “during the VP campaign” so and so said this or that.

My definition of an auto-biography is a way to tell the story of your life, not to justify yourself to others.  Most people who will read this book are either her supporters or people intelligent enough to make up there own minds without punditry interfering.  Those who “need” the justifications more than likely will not be reading this book and if they did they probably wouldn’t believe or care to believe the justifications anyways.

Perhaps an unofficial biography would have been a better read; perhaps it would have stuck more to just her life and not her reasons.  I would have enjoyed more anecdotes about her and her family, her time growing up in Alaska, her college years went by in the book in just a page or two.  I would have enjoyed more information on raising her kids and her “hockey mom” experiences.

Be that as it may, I hope one day her “life” story is published.  Heck she still has a lot more living to do yet.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was not asked to review this book by anyone.  So there!

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A Very Monkey Christmas – updated with winner

georgeI was asked to host a preview party for this adorable new Christmas cartoon.  I jumped at the chance if for no other reason than to get Erika and Jackson to come up a day early to Detroit, lol.

I put out the invites on Facebook but we had some last minute cancellations.  The movie premieres TODAY on PBS KIDS, and finds George and The Man with the Yellow Hat having a very merry time counting down the days until Christmas. There’s only one puzzle: neither of them can figure out what to give the other for a present. The Man is having trouble reading George’s wish list and George doesn’t have a clue about what to get for The Man who has everything.  Maybe you can help!

Below is a Whrrl story of all the fun that was had. Make sure you watch the whole thing for a giveaway at the end!

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Contest deadline December 6, 2009. TO win leave a comment telling me what you want for Christmas or Hannukah or Solsitce or just for the heck of it.

For extra entries you can do any of the below choices but be sure to leave a comment letting me know which ones you did.
Become a subscriber to Adrienne’s House
Follow me on Twitter
Tweet about this giveaway

Full disclosure: I was provided a preview copy of the DVD along with popcorn and a cd soundtrack. The prize is also being provided by the PR agency.

monkey winner

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