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Month in review

An Acquaintance with Darkness by Ann Rinaldi
Animal Kisses by Barney Saltzberg
The Bunnies' Counting Book by Elizabeth B. Rogers
California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker
Daddy and Me by Neil Ricklen
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems
Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace by Donald Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Strikes Again by Donald Sobol
The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey
The Little Green Caterpillar by Yvonne Hooker
Little Lost Puppy by Margaret Glover Otto
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel
My Little Opposites Book by Bob Staake
Number 9 by Wallace Wadsworth
On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt
Picture Me Colors by Deborah D'Andrea and Kaycee Hoffman
Picture Me Numbers by Deborah D'Andrea and Kaycee Hoffman
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems
Pokémon 2000 by Tracey West
Russell and the Lost Treasure by Rob Scotton
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
Slide 'N' Seek Shapes by Chuck Murphy
The Spider King by Lawrence Schoonover
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
The Straw Men by Michael Marshall
The Tokaido Road by Lucia St Clair Robson
The Top of the World by Ethel M. Dell
Watch Me Grow Kitten by DK Books

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4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Comments for The Bunnies' Counting Book

The Bunnies' Counting BookThe Bunnies' Counting Book: 12/10/06

I picked up The Bunnies' Counting Book for Sean over the summer, probably at BookCrossing but now that Sean's starting to read and is learning large numbers at preschool, this book is back in our rotation of books to read.

The book follows a baby bunny and her family as they meet for a family reunion picnic. The protagonist is the baby of the family (one little bunny). From there her siblings are introduced until her entire immediate family comes into the story (numbers one through ten). On their way to the picnic the story introduces numbers eleven through fifteen. From there the rest of the family arrives and the book moves from counting by ones to counting first by fives and then by tens until there are 50 bunnies present for the picnic.

I like this story for a number of reasons. First it does a good job of introducing counting small numbers and large numbers along with the concept of counting by multiples in a way that is neither too difficult nor heavy handed. It also introduces the concept of the extended family (brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandmother, grandfather, cousins) thus giving Sean and me something to talk about just before he will be seeing his aunts, uncles and grandparents for the holidays. Finally, the illustrations are cute and colorful.

Gratitude #10: BookCrossing:

I have made more friends through BookCrossing and I really look forward to our monthly meetings at the Starbuck's in Dublin. I should add that I'm grateful to Judy (aka JDT) who roped me into these local meetings after we moved from Pacifica to Hayward. She and I had been exchanging books via the Book Relay site and she suggested that I come in person to meet her and get my books. I of course accepted! I'm now coming up on my second year of attending these monthly meetings.

Last night our local chapter of BookCrossing met for the annual holiday dinner and gift exchange. Last year I didn't get a chance to go because Ian's parents were visiting but this year we had the dinner a week early. Dinner was in Pleasanton at Garlic di Pasta (corner of Valley and Hopyard). Dinner ran form six to eight when we were politely asked to leave because the restaurant needed the tables for the next big party with reservations.

Anyway, it was lovely to spend a couple of hours with my friends having adult conversations (although things did digress into the land of cat butts thanks to one of the white elephant gifts). The meal was lovely (the second best restaurant Italian food I've had; first place still goes to that restaurant in Little Italy whose name escapes me at the moment). I had pesto chicken and shared some desserts (chocolate cake and cheese cake) with my friends.

Although I was only away for a couple hours, I came home feeling refreshed and renewed. It really is nice to sometimes get away from my family even though I would never want to leave them permanently.

Divided by a Common Language:

The American Automobile (page 11)

The next section in Divided by a Common Language has "practical information" on a variety of things, the first one being differences in automobiles. The author describes what driving a car is like in the United States but what he doesn't state is that he's only describing a small subset of the possible cars, namely the American designed ones.

Here is what the author gets right:

  • all cars drive on the right hand side of the road (although you will see some freeways where traffic ends up on opposite sides of each other because of the lay of the land (the I5 on the grapevine into Los Angeles has a section like this).
  • petrol is called gasoline. Gasoline is either diesel or unleaded. There is no leaded gasoline and hasn't been any since the mid 1980s.
  • rental cars will have automatic transmission and the steering wheel will be on the left.

There are, however, some omissions in his descriptions of renting a car. The major rental companies (Avis, Hertz and Alamo) will use fleets of American cars. These will work as described in the book (with the gear sift being part of the steering column and the parking brake release being on the left hand side of the dashboard and brake itself being a foot petal at the far left of the floor near where the trunk (boot) release is.

If you're like me and hate driving American cars because of their crappy layout and poor handling, then you can go with a company like Enterprise. The problem with Enterprise is you can't guarantee what make and model of car you will get. You can only request a certain size (sub compact, for instance). Some of these cars might be American but some of them might also be an import.

When you're driving around in the United States you'll notice a lot of import cars, most of which are either Japanese or Korean. Among the automatic transmission versions, the gear shift will be in the middle of the car between the two seats. Behind it will be the parking brake (also known as the emergency brake). For these cars, the parking brake release is built into the brake as a button at the top. Push in, pull up a little on the brake and then it can be pushed down to release the brake.

One term not included in the book that probably should be is "riding shot gun" or "calling shot gun." The person who calls shot gun wants to sit in the passenger's side of the car rather than in the backseat. When riding as a passenger, remember to go the right side of the car. I know, it will be a hard thing to do. I was constantly going to the right side of the car when I should have been going to left during my stay in Australia.

Oh, and when crossing the street, remember to look both ways. The traffic will be coming from the opposite direction from what you're used to.


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