This is a collection of all short stories by Beatrix Potter, including her tales of Peter Rabbit. The stories are geared towards children and often feature personified animals. Occasionally the stories also feature children. If there are adults in the stories they seem to be the villain.
These stories were first published over a hundred years and you can tell. Some stories seem to withstand time, these do not. While I read some Beatrix Potter to my children, it never was something that I found enjoyable. Neither did my children seem to attach to the stories. However, when I read them all the way through as an adult I decided that I honestly do not enjoy them.
The stories are of animals who wear clothes, talk, and smoke. Yet, they are also treated as animals by the humans at the same time. It was an awkward distinction for me. Also, the stories never really seemed to go anware. The topics are awkward, one rabbit went to save his children from a fox who planned on eating them. Maybe if there was a point at the end it would be less weird. Yet, there is not. It is just tales of weird interactions.
I may be in the minority on my views of this book. Many others seem to treasure the tales. They are even being made into a movie. For me, these stories were not what I would pick to have still been around a hundred years later.
I have read plenty of Roald Dahl's books in the past. He is the author of one of my favorite books as a child - Matilda. I do not object to his writing. However, this book is not one of his bests. For some reason, I never read James and the Giant Peach as a child. I am uncertain how that happened. It is one of the few chapter books that my middle child has read from cover to cover. Reading it I understand why. My daughter does not like books with conflict in them. I mean any kind of conflict. This book really fits that description. There are a few scenes that describe the group getting out of tricky situations, but it was not really conflict. No one really grew and developed in this book.
I am a pretty easy going reader. I am not a huge fan of a lot of things, but if it has a place in a novel then I will not knock a book down for it. This book had a lot of things that just were not needed. I would blame the time it was written or the author, but none of this has been a concern in any of the other Dahl books I have read. James's aunts are shamed for being both too fat and too skinny. Yes, they are deplorable human beings, but what does shaming their weight have to do with that? There is a completely inappropriate remark about the grasshopper and Mexicans. The cloud men are all men, the women are tucked up in the giant cloud city with all of the cloud children. To top it off there is no growth in any of the characters.
The dialogue was boring, the adventure not all that entertaining, and the ending had me facepalming myself. This is, obviously, not my favorite book. However, there are some really good facts about insects in the book.
Gather 'Round the Sound is an audio book production that was released by Audible for the 2017 holiday season. It is a short book at about 36 "pages" and contains four sections.
The first section is an audio interview with the GE office that handles letters from Santa Clause. It was an interesting piece that tried to capture a little bit about what happens to letters that go to the 12345 zip code. It was a little off putting that letters of a more serious nature are shoved in a box labeled adoption and seemingly forgotten. While answering letters is a great service it was not very in the spirit of the holiday to hear how the letters dampened the festivity of the office.
The second section was an Australian version of The Night Before Christmas. I found it short, and humorous. It put a Australian twist on the favorite classic.
The third section was a short story by Charles Dickens. Dickens is one of my favorite authors and it was a delight to hear one of his stories that I had not experienced before. The story was amazing, even if it was probably more appropriate for a Halloween production then a Christmas one.
Lastly, there is an improve caroling skit about a party that was not doing so well. I am not a huge fan of improve, but I think I would have enjoyed seeing the production much more than listening to it. It seemed forced and fake more then spontaneous. I do not feel like it translated well.
Overall, it was an interesting collection that I enjoyed listening to. It was worth the hour of time that I invested. Also, it is free.
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