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Reviews Written by
Thomas Robertson (Hapcheon, Gyeongnam, South Korea)

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Puccini's Turandot: The End of the Great Tradition
Puccini's Turandot: The End of the Great Tradition
by William Ashbrook
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 36.55
23 used & new from CDN$ 5.60

4.0 out of 5 stars a good book--if you're smart enough, June 5 2004
The book begins with a philosophical discussion of different styles of opera--comedy, tragedy, melodrama, verismo. I was completely lost during that chapter.
The bulk of the book goes over the opera with a fine-tooth comb. I thought I knew the opera well, but through much of this discussion, I could not understand which passage in the opera the author was referring to. He gives musical examples, but not often enough.
The discussion on the last 59 pages of the opera is interesting, however. He points out which contributions were from Puccini and which were from Alfano.
If you don't know every word and every note of the opera, be prepared to hold this book in one hand and a score of the opera in the other hand.

Bet You Can't
Bet You Can't
by Penny Dale
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars good for a musical activity, May 19 2004
This review is from: Bet You Can't (Hardcover)
The story concerns a brother and sister who must pick up their toys at bedtime, but are hindered by the usual sibling animosity.
In American spoken English, admonition is expressed by the half-sung pattern do-mi-la-so. Such utterances appear 10 times in this book. ("Bet you can't." "Bet I can." "Bet we can't." "Bet we can.") Children will enjoy taking turns playing C-E-A-G on a musical instrument.
Oh, one more thing: The entire text is written in comic strip balloons--just in case you disapprove of that sort of thing.

Bet You Cant
Bet You Cant
by Penny Dale
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars good for a musical activity, May 19 2004
This review is from: Bet You Cant (Paperback)
The story concerns a brother and sister who must pick up their toys at bedtime, but are hindered by the usual sibling animosity.
In American spoken English, admonition is expressed by the half-sung pattern do-mi-la-so. Such utterances appear 10 times in this book. ("Bet you can't." "Bet I can." "Bet we can't." "Bet we can.") Children will enjoy taking turns playing C-E-A-G on a musical instrument.
Oh, one more thing: The entire text is written in comic strip balloons--just in case you disapprove of that sort of thing.

You Can Speak Korean/Book and 2 Cassettes
You Can Speak Korean/Book and 2 Cassettes
by Choowon Kang
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 13.50

4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good, what there is of it, April 12 2004
This package offers pronunciation, grammar, useful phrases, reading exercises, listening exercises, and Korean customs--all in a weak dose.
However, it's an enjoyable book because the pages are attractively typeset and illustrated.
If you're on a tight budget, buy a heftier tome than this one. If you have enough money, buy this one also and use it for review.

You Can Speak Korean
You Can Speak Korean
by Choowon Kang
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from CDN$ 19.16

4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good, what there is of it, April 12 2004
This review is from: You Can Speak Korean (Paperback)
This package offers pronunciation, grammar, useful phrases, reading exercises, listening exercises, and Korean customs--all in a weak dose.
However, it's an enjoyable book because the pages are attractively typeset and illustrated.
If you are serious about learning Korean, you need a heftier tome than this one. However, this book is good for review. I would say that it is well worth 5 dollars.

You Can Speak Korean
You Can Speak Korean
by Choonwon Kang
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 35.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 35.95

4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good, what there is of it, April 12 2004
This review is from: You Can Speak Korean (Paperback)
This package offers pronunciation, grammar, useful phrases, reading exercises, listening exercises, and Korean customs--all in a weak dose.
However, it's an enjoyable book because the pages are attractively typeset and illustrated.
If you're on a tight budget, buy a heftier tome than this one. If you have enough money, buy this one also and use it for review.

Opera Anecdotes
Opera Anecdotes
by Ethan Mordden
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.03

5.0 out of 5 stars light, easy reading, March 31 2004
This review is from: Opera Anecdotes (Hardcover)
Don't pick up this book at bedtime if you have to get up early next morning. You might not be able to put it down until you finish it.
The book is not a historical source, but nor does it purport to be. He tells of an organ-grinder who was playing the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana. Mascagni passes by and advises him to play it at a different tempo. The next day, the organ-grinder is seen wearing a sign saying "Student of Mascagni." In other anecdote collections, the organ-grinder is either a "Student of Verdi" playing an excerpt from Il Trovatore or a "Student of Puccini" playing Musetta's Waltz from La Boheme. Could this be a true story which happened three times?
The author occasionally strays from the assigned topic of anecdotes to discuss individual composers and performers. He makes value judgments with which the reader may or may not agree. He certainly does not esteem Puccini as highly as I do.
Just one grievance: the author assumes that every reader knows every well-known opera ever written. He refers to operatic characters and operatic highlights without telling the reader which opera he is referring to. I felt like I was the only opera-lover in the world who was too stupid to know that Kundry is a character in Parsifal.

The Little ABC Coloring Book
The Little ABC Coloring Book
by Anna Pomaska
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 2.00
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars B is for bird, C is for clown, March 30 2004
On the left-hand page is a capital letter. On the right-hand page is a picture of an item with a name starting with that letter.
My only grievance is the binding on the book. I have had to mend several pages which came loose.
(...)

The Little Animal ABC Coloring Book
The Little Animal ABC Coloring Book
by Nina Barbaresi
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 2.00
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars kicking kangaroo, lazy lion, March 30 2004
On each left-hand page, we see a capital letter and an alliteration consisting of an adjective and an animal name.
(H, hungry hippo).
On each right-hand page, we see an appropriate illustration.
The book is small, but the illustrations are large. The book might be large enough to show to a group of children.

Richie Rich
Richie Rich
by Jordan Horowitz
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars a good adaptation of the movie, March 19 2004
This review is from: Richie Rich (Paperback)
This movie is a novelization of the movie starring Macaulay Culkin. The movie has a good plot and the novelization offers a few hours of enjoyable reading.
However, I could not get not get used to the character changes. The scientist on the Rich estate is changed to an overeating endomorph. Richie's girlfriend is given a Polish surname and moved to a single-parent home. Nor did I like the cryptic advertising for McDonald's, Radio Shack, and a few other corporations.
However, these defects are not the fault of Horowitz. On the contrary, Horowitz does a fine job.
You might find it interesting to compare this novelization with the one by Strasser (0590250922). Why one publisher would commission two novelizations of one movie is a mystery, but it doubles our reading pleasure.

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