Purdie Magee Book Club

    I am not sure why I continually do this to myself, but I cannot help myself.  Rhonda Tibbs’ written works are addicting even though they cause me much anxiety during the reading and much sorrow after the reading of her novels.  With the release of her third novel Purdie Magee, I, in essence, had no choice but to immediately download the e-version.  Yes, my name is Courtney, and I am a Tibbsaholic. . .
     Intrigued by the backstory of the main character, Purdie Magee, there was no turning back once I turned the page to chapter six and met Gabe Austin, the green-eyed, Camel-smoking man with a “cat-like walk”  (33).   Not simply due to the “va va voom” effect of this character description does Tibbs entice the reader, but because of Tibbs’ ability to create in the reader a true empathy for her characters.  Two souls literally and metaphorically abandoned by their families cross paths, and what evolves are two complex histories interwoven with plot twists which keep the reader on the edge of her seat throughout Purdie Magee’s entirety.
     For the purposes of book club, a field trip to a local pottery studio would be ideal.  An English teacher’s dream, Purdie Magee revolves around the theme of creating beauty from what was once deemed ordinary or imperfect.  Thus, The Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, Illinois, offers such classes where one may manipulate clay into an object with aesthetic value.

Rhonda Tibbs

Hello Baby!

     Mem Fox’s Hello Baby! offers a simple, yet effective first look at animals through colorful illustrations set against a clean, white backdrop.  Direct questions to the reader are followed by rhyming responses on adjacent pages.  Without a doubt, the cadence of this story engages the young reader.
     Initially, the zoo comes to mind as a means of experiencing this children’s book.  However, with 91 degree weather looming outside, Momma decides to come up with a cool plan B.  Thus, The Painted Zebra, an air-conditioned pottery studio, works since the striped zebra is one of the animals discussed in Hello Baby!.  Here, each squirt including Momma picks a piece of pottery in the shape of an animal of her choosing and then paints the piece to her heart’s desire.  In a week’s time, we pick up our fired objets d’art creating the perfect opportunity to revisit Fox’s Hello Baby! for reading reinforcement.  For snack, animal crackers appease rumbling tummies after an intense painting session.  Mem Fox