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J B (Willamette Valley, OR)

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Follow My Leader
Follow My Leader
by James B. Garfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 6.64
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for children, Oct. 13 2002
This review is from: Follow My Leader (Paperback)
I enjoy reading good children's books even though technically I've "outgrown" them. This one was very absorbing and a wonderful story that every child should read - or have read to them by a parent or relative or somebody, because adults can enjoy it and benefit from it as well.
I won't say anything about the story, but the characters are all very nice. Jimmy's sister is helpful, his teacher and friends are kind, and Jimmy is ultimately forgiving and goes on bravely - very good role-models for young readers to acquaint themselves with.
I don't know exactly what else to say except that I recommend this book very highly.

Titanic 97
Titanic 97
VHS
Offered by ShopWins
Price: CDN$ 9.95
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.75

3.0 out of 5 stars What to say, Oct. 12 2002
This review is from: Titanic 97 (VHS Tape)
When this movie came out I was sixteen. I didn't see the movie because I didn't go to theatres and we didn't have a TV. But that didn't stop my friend and I (especially I, because I had a crush on the Leo guy) from finding pictures on the Internet, reading books about the movie, so forth and so on. Later on we found the movie in my grandma's stuff after she died and brought it home.
I've seen it now two times all the way through - once last year, once just last night.
No longer being sixteen and swayed by baby-faced leading men, I look at this movie with more mature and calm eyes and my honest opinion is, it just isn't that great. For one thing, there is too much bad language/swearing, which I don't want to hear. Everyone knows about the nude scene and the car scene. One of the officers shoots himself in the head near the end. And this movie is rated PG? Some Shirley Temple movies are rated PG and there's not a thing wrong with them! I mean get a grip - this should be R!
As for the characters - Rose's hair (something my mother pointed out and which really bugged me this time) is far too red. I know that's not her natural colour because it did not look like that in Sense and Sensibility. She also wore far too much makeup. A more natural look, with her hair neatly up, would have given me a much more "period" feeling about her. Also she didn't have much power to me as a character because she's such a tramp. She's disrespectful, can't make up her mind what she wants. I couldn't feel much sympathy at all for her.
I couldn't really feel anything for Leo's character either. It's funny the things that appeal to you as a young weird teenager, because I see nothing now in Leo that's particularly wonderful, in looks or in acting. He didn't have what it took to make it worth Rose's running after him.
The dialogue between Rose and Jack seemed particularly strange to me as well. Except for Molly Brown, the other characters in general seemed to have a quieter, more refined way of speaking, while Jack and Rose just talked like 90's Americans. Totally wrecked the feeling.
Cal had a lot of potential as a character, but like most of the others, was sadly undeveloped. Interesting how his voice sounds a lot like James Mason's (Mason played in "North by Northwest", "A Star Is Born" with Judy Garland), something I did not notice before.
The only one of the set of main characters that evoked any feeling in me was the Thomas Andrews guy. He talked like a decent, respectable Irishman and outshone everyone else in the cast for the simple reason that he, obviously, knows how to ACT. I remember the first time I saw the movie particularly, I cried for him - not for any of the other leading characters.
Let's see what else should I say... Oh, yes, the special effects. At times I thought the moving water was no better than the old method of rear projection - it looked incredibly fake. But the sinking scenes I felt were done as well as could be done. I would agree that it was a great achievement on James Cameron's part, but it did seem like the movie was built around special effects, and everything else took second fiddle, really. Perhaps that's why the actors were so bad and the script so poor.
The music is very nice too. I still enjoy listening to my soundtrack CD sometimes, and I fell in love with I Salonisti - the group who played the first class music. (They did an excellent recording called "And the Band Played On" which you should listen to if you want some good music that is Titanic-related.)
I give this three stars because it isn't utterly AWFUL. I just think there is so much that this movie had the potential to be and wasn't.

Woodshed Mystery
Woodshed Mystery
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 5.95
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favourite Boxcar Children adventures, Sept. 28 2002
This review is from: Woodshed Mystery (Paperback)
Like "Mike's Mystery", this is a mystery with a solid foundation and never once drags.
I first read it when I was about eight and learnt several things I didn't know before. I learned what ammunition meant. It also was my first introduction to any information about the Revolutionary War.
The story takes place primarily on a farm in New England that dates back to the 1700's. Grandfather and Aunt Jane grew up there, and he buys it back for her to live in. But everyone seems to think something is wrong with the house, and the children set out to find out what it is and clear the air of all secrets. And they are pretty sure the woodshed holds an important clue.
Read this book to your children - I am sure they will like it.

Blue Bay Mystery
Blue Bay Mystery
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 5.95
89 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Another one of my favourites, Sept. 28 2002
This review is from: Blue Bay Mystery (Paperback)
I used to read this and think it would be so fun to go to a tropical island with Lars and the Boxcar Children and live on sea biscuits.
I still find it a very good book. I'm not sure what the other reviewers mean about its being slow at the beginning - every story has to have a beginning. You can't jump into the action without a bit of setting or you fall flat. Anyway. I didn't find it slow.
I recommend it greatly, especially if you like stories of survival on remote islands.

Mike's Mystery
Mike's Mystery
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 5.95
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Mike, Sept. 28 2002
This review is from: Mike's Mystery (Paperback)
This, along with The Woodshed Mystery, was my favourite book (not just Boxcar Children, but books in general) for some time. It brings back to life the definite promise of adventure from the third book that slumbered through the fourth, and is one of the most well-laid-out and realistic of the series. At least I've always thought so. :)
We met Mike in "Surprise Island", and here he is back again in the little town that has sprung up around the Aldens' uranium mines. But when his house burns down suspiciously, a mystery follows. I think much of the reason I liked this so much was because the two youngest children, Benny and Mike, were really the main ones solving the mystery, with a bit of help here and there from the elder ones.
Definitely give your children this book. I know they will love it.

Mystery Ranch
Mystery Ranch
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 5.95
101 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not so mysterious, Sept. 28 2002
This review is from: Mystery Ranch (Paperback)
Why isn't this book as good as the rest? I hated it when i was little, much as I loved the rest of the original series. Years have passed since then and I read it again and it's not so bad. But the other reviewers are correct in the fact that this is no mystery, really.
As for the purpose of this book in the scheme of the entire series, it's actually very important. This book is the important link between books 3 and the rest of the series. This book introduces Aunt Jane, a very important role in the future of the children, and it sets the groundwork for book 5, "Mike's Mystery", which takes place on the same ranch some time later. And book 5 is the springboard for Mike to be more important in later adventures. So there is a purpose to this book.
I can't really recommend it though. But any child who wants to read the whole series should not skip this book - it's still part of the experience, no matter how dull it may seem, and it's really not THAT bad.

Last Dinner On the Titanic Menus and Recipes From the Great Liner
Last Dinner On the Titanic Menus and Recipes From the Great Liner
by Rick Archbold
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 18.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious look into the culinary side of Titanic!, Sept. 20 2002
We got this book from the library when Titanic items were the rage and easy to get to. I've always been interested in the ship. This was a fascinating book. Trying to pronounce some of the elaborate first-class items on the menu was fun.
There are plenty of photographs and nice illustrations in this book. It's a joy to look at, and the third-class soup spoons were huge. Personally I thought the saltine and veggie soup diet of the third class looked the most appetising. : )
You should get this book if you like Titanic, giving parties, exotic cookbooks, or just something different for fun.

Yellow House Mystery
Yellow House Mystery
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 11.64
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery for children, Sept. 20 2002
This review is from: Yellow House Mystery (Hardcover)
This was the first real mystery story I ever read, when I was about eight or nine years old, and I madly adored it, except that for some reason the part about the grating brick freaked me out. It has never scared any other child I know who read the book, but for some reason after reading that I couldn't go to sleep for a long time many nights! It really is a well-thought-out mystery - I always thought it was, but after it scared me I didn't dare to read it again for years!
But last week I read it again, and enjoyed it very much again. Of course nothing is as exciting to the adult mind in such a book as it is to a child, but I can still see the appeal in the story and get pleasure from reading it all the same.
Basically the story is... Grandfather's "Surprise Island" has a little yellow house on it. The children sense there is a mystery about it, so they ask Grandfather to tell them about it. He says that a man named Bill lived there with his wife. He disappeared one day, presumably with a large amount of money, and no one was ever able to find where he went. But the Boxcar children are always ready for a challenge and they set off to look for Bill.
Excellent story that all boys and girls should read or have read to them.

High Society
High Society
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 1.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good movie. End of title, beginning of review., Sept. 20 2002
This review is from: High Society (VHS Tape)
I can say nothing positive about this musical mishmash except that it was positively senseless and I would never watch it again. Get Bing, Armstrong and Frank all in a movie and you know there's going to be thrice the interruptive crooning (or jamming). Perhaps you have gathered by now that I am not much of a musical fan. For a good musical, watch Mary Poppins, the Sound of Music, or White Christmas. They have good strong stories with songs as accents. This High Society bit has good strong songs with random dialogue as accents.
End of review.

Now, Voyager [Import]
Now, Voyager [Import]

5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss me through my veil and let me go, Sept. 19 2002
This review is from: Now, Voyager [Import] (VHS Tape)
I have tried to concisely write a review several times for this wonderful movie and it always becomes far too long. In the world of Bette Davis movies, this ranks up there in the Excellent category with "Mr Skeffington". Perhaps there is something in the presence of Claude Rains? His first moment in the film is him tapping his pipe on one of Mrs Vale's ornate vases. There was something so natural and funny about it somehow that my interest was caught immediately. I don't know why.
Other good moments: The way Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale entered the picture. First there is a shot of her hands carving on a little box; then the butler calls her, and she furtively disposes of a few half-smoked cigarettes before we watch her sensibly shod feet moving down the stairs with slow, deliberate steps. Besides her shoes, all we can see is the hem of a highly unbecoming skirt. And all we can hear is Mother downstairs, speaking to Dr Jaquith about Charlotte.
And after Charlotte's sojourn at the sanitarium (which is neither surrounded by barbed wire nor filled with howling inmates, as Mother had threatened it would be) it is amazing to see the transformation that has taken place in her when you see her on the ship going on a pleasure cruise. Because she has taken the cabin of the relative lady's classy friend Renée Beauchamp, who cancelled her ticket at the last minute, the people on the ship all assume she is Miss Beauchamp, and treat her accordingly. Within five minutes the Man in Charge (who looks curiously similar to the Cowardly Lion) comes up to Charlotte with a man, an Ordinary American Tourist who is travelling alone, and the Man in Charge asks if they would be willing to share a carriage. Remembering her mother's negative attitudes towards Ordinary American Tourists, and Dr Jaquith's advice to mingle with people and get involved in the lives of others, Charlotte smiles and says she would be happy to accompany him. "Splendid," says the Man in Charge. "Splendid, splendid." Somehow he sounds curiously similar to the Cowardly Lion as well.
Then in Rio, she and Jerry hire an "English-spoking" chauffeur to take them around the countryside. Unfortunately, about the only English this man can spoke is, "Yes, Senhor, banana-trees!" And Senhor Banana-Trees leaves the main road for a definitely less-travelled byway which snakes precariously over cliffs and clings to its mother-hill so closely that there is scarcely width enough to drive - much less turn around. I have been on roads such as these, and roads such as these have one other particular characteristic. There is never a guardrail. When they crash into a ditch trying to turn around, Senhor Banana-Trees exits the car first, frantically calling heavenward for help, a-weepin' and a-wailin' over the demise of his car. Jerry and Charlotte come out next, but their efforts to communicate with the dear Senhor are fruitless, and they are left behind to find a place to sleep in some rural Brasilian shack.
I thought Tina was a very sweet little girl, genuinely grateful for all that Charlotte was doing for her, and to see her so happy at the end was very nice. I also thought it was nice that Jerry stayed with his wife like a good husband should rather than divorce her and marry Charlotte. Mother was genuinely vicious - a villain in every sense of the word, her true character masked to the outside world by her social status, civility, and money. And Dr Jaquith was a very nice understanding doctor. Why can't there be characters like this in movies today? Why can't there be ACTORS like this in movies today? Oh well. To use one of the most corny parting shots ever - let's not reach for the moon we have the stars. Even if they are all in the past, they're well-preserved on the screen for us forever.

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