Michelle Isenhoff

Month: July 2011

Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary, Book Review

Dear Mr. Henshaw is Beverly Cleary’s highest award-winner, capturing the Newbery and Christopher Awards in the early 80’s, yet it is one of my least favorites. Written as a series of letters and journal entries, with absolutely no narration, Mrs. Cleary somehow, miraculously, weaves together a plot, a central-California setting and a well-rounded character. This accomplishment […]

Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog, by Eileen Beha, 2009, Book Review

Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog is a cute story that will appeal to dog lovers. Tango is a Yorkshire terrier accustomed to the good life. But when he’s swept off his yacht and washed ashore on Prince Edward Island, he finds himself in need of a friend. Fortunately, he finds lots of them. Miss […]

The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite deAngeli, 1949, Book Review

I love a story with a wealth of meaning behind its words. This one is exemplary. Within, young Robyn’s father has left for the Scottish wars, his mother has gone to wait on the ailing queen, and Robyn awaits John-the-Fletcher who will escort him to the manor of Sir Peter where Robyn will serve as squire. […]

The Farewell Season, by Ann Herrick, 2011, eBook Review

Eric has always loved football. It’s his senior year, scouts are making phone calls, a college scholarship seems secure. So why can’t he work up any enthusiasm? Because his dad has always been so closely entwined with his game, and three months ago a drunk driver unraveled everything. His dad is gone. Ann Herrick does […]

The Outside of a Horse, by Ginny Rorby, 2010, Book Review

“There’s nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” The Outside of a Horse is an emotional, eye-opening novel that has pushed me into some new areas of thinking. I’m afraid my review may grow rather controversial before I’m done. Hannah’s mother died of cancer five years ago, and […]

Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus, 2010, Book Review

A storm, a shipwreck, and five stranded Japanese fishermen picked up by an American whaler. The problem?  They can never go home. Because of Japan’s strict isolationist policy and fear of outsiders, those who leave Japan can never return. The year is 1841. Young Manjiro, like the other fishermen, is suspicious of his blue-eyed rescuers. […]

Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool, 2010, Book Review

I loved, loved, LOVED this book! Recommended to me by a sixth grade literature teacher, I gobbled it up in a two sittings. A few days later, I learned it won this year’s Newbery. Well-earned, I say! Following an illness, twelve-year-old Abilene’s father, Gideon, sends her away to friends in Manifest, Kansas, a town that […]

The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells, 1898, Book Review

reading I am Number Four by Pitticus Lore recently, I thought I’d go back to where alien sci-fi all began. Actually, I don’t know if that statement is entirely correct. There may have been earlier extra-terrestrial stories, but this is the big one, the one that has lasted and inspired scads of films and other books. The […]

Ramona and her Father, by Beverly Cleary, 1977, Book Review

Ramona and Her Father is another installment in the life of the Quimbys. Within, Mrs. Cleary maintains her characteristic anecdotal style, but she’s tied her chapters more fully together to give us a glimpse inside the mind of this precocious child. And to our surprise, we find a regular girl with logical reasons for her outlandish behavior. Ramona is […]

How to Self-Publish on Smashwords

This spring I decided to publish some of my manuscripts on the Smashwords website.  It will never make me rich, mostly because I’m a terrible marketer, but I’ve made a little fun money at it.  And it’s rewarding – extremely rewarding – to see my stories finally find an audience.  I recently encouraged a fellow […]

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