Born with a crippled leg, Kira has spent her whole life trying to prove she is of value. Her world is tough and unforgiving, filled with people who can’t see past their own needs and wants. When her mother dies, no one wants Kira. She is crippled. She is useless.
But she has a gift.
The threads seem to weave themselves in Kira’s hand, as if magic takes hold and does all the work. And everyone says her work is ever better than her mother’s. Surely that’s enough to save her from being tossed out in the Field to die.
Unless Vandra has her way and Kira is pronounced by the council — useless.
Then she’ll die.
Author: Lois Lowry
Having loved the first book, The Giver, I couldn’t wait to start reading Gathering Blue. Besides the author has a spectacular writing style. She manages to draw you into a completely different world in a matter of chapters, never wastes words, and wraps up stories with infuriatingly unsatisfying endings. What more could you want in a book?
Well, Gathering Blue, didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t quite meet the high-mark of The Giver. While The Giver was impossibly different, unreal and fascinating, Gathering Blue had more relatable circumstances in it. Instead of being a “perfect world”, it’s a future world still locked in the misery of today’s society. The people are quite primitive. Unhappiness is a way of life. It didn’t feel as new and fresh as The Giver.
The characters had lives of their own thought! Matt is an obvious favourite. He is a mischievous “tyke”, who never washes and is always followed by a bent-tailed little dog called, Branch. Each of the characters manages to carve out life, a past, and a special uniqueness in only a few words. While there aren’t any massive transformations in the characters themselves, you do get to see how their thinking changes.
Gathering Blue is a full, rich book, sparse with boring details and loaded with character and meaning. There’s so much packed into the thin novel. While, when I compare it to The Giver, I obviously favour the latter, I still enjoyed this book for what it was. I love imagination. I love seeing other people’s imaginations. I think the author quite successfully let us into her world and made us see it for what it was.
An excellent book by Newberry-award winner author, Lois Lowry.
The blue was gathered in her hand, and she could feel it quiver, as if it had been given breath and was beginning to live.
1. Measure and cut a square piece of paper.
You can make the square out of music (like I did) or an old book or a plain paper or newspaper or magazines or an electricity bill… Anything. Just as long as it’s square.
Size depends on you. My range is from 4 inches to 1 inch (which is extremely fiddly!).
2. Fold the paper into a triangle.
3. Fold the right corner to the top, making sure the points match.
4. Using that same point, fold it to the right. Crease it. The folded edges will line up.
5. Open the fold up and smooth it down.
6. On that same flap, fold the top triangle so that you’re top right side is smooth.
7. Then, usuing the already present crease, fold that side in half.
8. Congragulate your fingers! They’ve just done one side. Not hard is it?
9. Repeat with the other side.
10. Take both of the fancy sides you just folded and put them together. Usuing glue, double-sided tape, or hot glue, run a bit of sticky-stuff along the outside line. Stick the two sides together and you’ve got one petal.
5 petals make a flower.
12 fowers make a circular ball.
All in all, you’ll need 60 little squares all folded as shown above.
11. Once you have a collection of folded and glued petals, stick the folded edges together. Side to side.
12. Glue 6 flowers together to make half a ball. Put some ribbon or twine down the middle if you plan on hanging it somewhere.
13. Stick the remaining 6 flowers to your completed half. You have a Kusudama Ball!
14. Hang somewhere and admire.
15. Make sure everyone else admires it too.
The McCallister family are off for a Christmas in France.
But they forgot one thing….
Kevin is 8 years old and home alone. It’s not such a big deal…except a pair of house burgulars are planning on hitting the neighbourhood. And they really want the McCallister house. What’s one little boy going to do to stop them?
But they haven’t met Kevin.
In My Opinion…
It’s an old family Christmas favourite, still good, even after all these years, for a laugh. It’s entertaining and good for a family evening of chuckles. And it lets us in on that strange thought of being Home Alone.
Eight-year-old Kevin is undoubtedly the baby of his family. With the reletives over, the hype of Christmas, and the stress of packing up for a vacation in another country, Kevin ends up the annoying “family baby”. Disgusted by his family, he makes the dreaded wish: I wish I didn’t have a family. The next morning, he is all alone.
There’s hardly a dull moment in the movie, the characters are a laugh all the way, and the badies couldn’t get any dumber. There is, of course, the dash of “Hollywood unrealism” — like the house (including wallpaper and furniture) being a dashing red and green. The movie itself is very dated. It lacks the easy flowing dialouge and scenes that films have today. But, if you don’t mind the “old stuff”, this is certainly a movie to watch.
“Once a jolly swagman…”
They’d stolen her most painful, most precious memory and made it theirs. The billabong, the sheep. Her father’s unspoken challenge as he sprang into the water…
“‘Waltzing Matilda?’? It’s good, ain’t it? Some bloke sang it last week an’ now the whole town’s crazy for it.”
Slums. Fourteen hour days in a jam factory. Little food. Sickness. Poverty. Fear… And the story of the Golden Man. Her father. One day, her mother said, he would come back and get them and their life of poverty would change forever. One day…
Her mother dies.
And no golden man comes back to rescue her.
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled,
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
Matilda takes herself to the Outback, to find the Golden Man, to find the house with the sheep that her father has built for them. And there, despite the harshness of the Outback, she must learn to love the land.
Or it will kill her.
In My Opinion…
Author: Jackie French
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars
This is another masterpiece from Jackie French, packed with adventure, the beauty of Australia’s Outback, reality, romance, heartbreak, bushfires, drought and sheep. It may ring of 20th Century Fox’s The Man From Snowy River at times and most of the plot turns are predictable, but it truly is worth the read. Here is our sunburnt Australia at its most real.
The characters are portrayed with depth and understanding, though we don’t get a chance to know Matilda’s dad very well. I thought the book would be all about “Waltzing Matilda”. But it turned out, seeing the poem itself wrapped up after a few chapters into the story, that the book was about Matilda — a slum girl who desperately wanted a better life. She took her father’s homestead. She listened to the natives of the land. And she worked with the Outback, not against it.
The likeness to The Man From Snowy River is sometimes a bit much. Rags to riches. Proving their worth. A forbidden romance. Just less horses and more sheep. Matilda starts off her venture at the age of twelve, though the book ends when she’s well into her thirties. But she does a lot for a twelve-year-old who’s never lived in the bush before…sometimes a questionably unrealistic amount. Still, she has many friends who, with few words, are willing to help her. Although, it seems, at the end everyone is actually related.
It’s written in third person, with a spattering of letters to and from Matilda’s acquantinces during the book. The style is engaging. The prose flows. The chapters regularly end with a hook, and even if they don’t, you feel sort of compelled to keep reading, to find out what happens next in Matilda’s life. It’s not a thriller. But, with the well-crafted words, the thickness isn’t even daunting.
Matilda had a dream. That was all she needed.