Berry Book Review - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the December 1998 Juniper Berry Magazine

Berry Book Review

This September, my nephew Joey, started kindergarten. I told him that once he could write his name, he could get a library card and take books out of the public library. My sister and I took him to the Middle Village Branch of the Public Library and filled out the application for his first library card. My nephew will be five in a few weeks and he is well on his way to discovering the world of books and the joy of reading. In this issue, I've reviewed two adult books and one children's book. As winter approaches, snuggle under a blanket with a good book and read!

The Door Through Washington Square

Elaine Bergstrom

Ace Brooks/Penguin Putnam Inc.

1998; 360 pages

An old house in Washington Square, an aged matriarch, a cat named Buddha. Put these together, add a little magick and take everything back into the past, and you have the makings of a terrific book.

Diedre is called to New York City by her aging grandmum, Bridget. It is time for Diedre to learn the family secret. What follows is a mix of different genres, in a style that is reminiscent of Anne Rice: Romance, History, Fantasy, Time Travel. When Diedre travels back through time, she meets her grandmother as a young woman and sees first hand the effects of the family secret.

I don't want to give away the story, because this book is well worth reading. If you're looking for something a little different, and not a typical genre book, or typical hocus-pocus book, The Door Through Washington Square is it. Enjoy!

A Cup of Tea

Amy Ephron

BallantinePublishing Group/Random House, 1997; 200 pages

Amy Ephron has packed a stunning novel into 200 pages. Ms. Ephron derived this novel from a short story of the same name written in 1950 by Katherine Mansfield. A Cup of Tea is a simple story of a young Rosemary; wealthy, debutante, well-connected, a bit shallow, her fiancÈ Philip, a man born poor, but who has worked his way into a comfortable life, and Eleanor, a poor, jobless, homeless street woman.

It is the story of what happens when Rosemary, in a moment of compassion, brings Eleanor out of the cold and into her well-bred world of money for a cup of tea. The moment Philip meets Eleanor, Rosemary's perfect world slowly begins to shatter.

A Cup of Tea takes us into the effects of World War I on its survivors and shows us what love and life are capable of.

A wonderful tale akin to A Little Princess by Burnett. I highly recommend this book.

Afternoon of the Elves

Janet Taylor Lisle

Scholastic Inc./Orchard Books

1989; 122 pages

Meet Sara-Kate and Hillary, two very different girls who form an unlikely and unique friendship.

Sara-Kate lives in an old, run down house with a backyard full of junk, wild grass, and fallen twigs and branches. Hillary's house, across the yard, is pristine, well manicured and well tended by her father. Sara-Kate dresses in old clothes and work boots, while Hillary has the most modern and pretty clothes.

But in Sara-Kate's backyard, something magical and wonderful has appeared out of nowhere, in the middle of the bramble and garbage. An Elf-Village! Hillary is skeptical at first, but as the story progresses, Hillary learns about the magic of believing from the ragamuffin girl that lives across the yard. Their journey, both through Sara-Kate's yard and their friendship, teaches Hillary that appearances are quite often deceiving and that a person must look beyond the exterior to appreciate what is within.

This book is best suited for third and fourth graders. It is a magical journey into friendship!