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All reviews - Movies (14) - TV Shows (4) - Books (3)

Not a Cheesy Book!

Posted : 7 years, 5 months ago on 4 February 2011 04:02 (A review of A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar)

Review: (K-Grade 5) - It’s 1801 and the good people of Cheshire, Massachusetts are proud of one thing; “Cheshire Cheese, the best you can serve at your table.” When the townsfolk hear that their cheese mongering title is threatened, Elder John convinces his fellow citizens to pull together to make a gigantic cheese and deliver it to President Thomas Jefferson for his New Year’s Day banquet. Everyone, the ladies, little children and the good gentlemen of the town pull together in a massive effort to turn a river of milk into curds and press those curds into delicious cheese. Everyone, except the cynical Phineas Dobbs is working hard while he simply states that it can’t be done. In the end, Elder John recruits Dobbs and they escort the twelve hundred and thirty-five pound cheese by sleigh and boat and until they reach Washington, D. C. Using a combination of watercolor and pen and ink, Schindler makes each scene come alive and the reader can feel the excitement as a group of nine men wrestle with a the apple press to make the cheese or experience the pageantry through a double page spread featuring an Army band, waving citizens and a triumphant Elder John standing in front of a giant cheese straining against its ropes. Fleming provides a nice final word about the background of the story on the last page. His attention to historical detail through dialogue and the storyline should help to inspire further study on the time period, which would make this a safe selection for any educator hoping to incorporate a little humor into a history lesson.

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Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War review

Posted : 7 years, 5 months ago on 4 February 2011 03:56 (A review of Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War)

This was exactly the book I needed. It took a while to finish thanks to some distractions over the holiday season, but under better circumstances, I would have been able to zip through it.

Written before our current economic downturn, the author gives us an insider's view of a sizable segment of our population. It was helpful for me to have this information as I'm sorting out why we are where we are at this very moment. Why are so many people apoplectic and calling for a "throw the bums out!" moment? How did the Tea Party become such a dramatic element in the recent elections? And are there bigger issues involved that are not even on the radar.

I may have to take the time to review some of the elements that caused the most internal struggle with me. Most notably, the impact of the deep seeded religious beliefs mixed with a Scots-Irish genetic makeup and a wholesale acceptance of capitalism without asking the difficult question - Is this in my best interests?

I try to keep an open mind on political, religious and economic issues. It's important to do one's homework and see the issues from different sides to come up with a conclusion. I think what may be happening, on both sides, is an inability to step in the shoes of another and see why an individual makes the decisions or has the world view that they do. It is frustrating for people when someone can't see something the same way they do. However, Deer Hunting with Jesus was another piece of the puzzle in my understanding of our world.

**On a side note, I recently heard the author, Joe Bageant, is battling cancer and is unable to write. I wish him the best with his recovery.

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