MINI-REVIEWS: Walt Disney’s Way, The Boxcar Children’s Mysteries #1, Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny

04. Walt Disney’s Way by New Word City
Publication: FT Press (February 1, 2010), ebook, 139kb / ISBN
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography

Rating: Bin it
Read: January 14, 2011

Source: Downloaded (when it was free)

Review

So, yeah: this isn’t really a “book,” it’s more like a short pamphlet or something. Also, it’s boring as hell. Good primer for Walt Disney’s life, and if you’re a business person you might be interested by the end where it details how to emulate the good bits of Disney’s business sense, but if you’re looking for an actual biography or, like, anything more detailed than a Wikipedia page, look elsewhere.

05. The Boxcar Children’s Mysteries #1 by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Publication: Albert Whitman & Company (December 14, 2010), ebook, 1552kb / ISBN
Genre: Children’s Fiction

Rating: Borrow it
Read: January 14-15, 2011

Source: Bought

Review

Hey, it’s a reread! Yay! On the other hand, I probably could have picked a better book to reread. My favorite thing about the Boxcar books when I was younger– the last time I read this– was that it’s about kids who live on their own in a boxcar, and they’re all self-sufficient and stuff. That’s good stuff! It’s exciting, and when you’re a kid you might not notice the…er…other stuff. The stuff where all the girls are super happy to do household stuff, know how to make fabulous dinners, and can sew whatever the hell they get their hands on. And the boys (well, the oldest boy, at least), are the providers who get jobs and bring home the bacon and stuff.

WOW. I mean, yes– it’s an old book. It was written originally in 1924, before women’s lib and before people generally started wanting their kids to be kids instead of little versions of adults. But still. How could I not have noticed that when I was younger? I guess I was too busy thinking about how much I wanted to live in a boxcar to worry about the job I’d be stuck with if I actually did live in one with my stupid brother.

Ms Chandler Warner did seem like a sweet lady, though, just one that was stuck in the so-called standard roles for women and men. This bit from the Boxcar Children Wikipedia page is so sweet and cute, I can’t feel overly angry towards her:

As she wrote the story, Warner read it to her classes and rewrote it many times so the words were easy to understand. Some of her pupils spoke other languages at home and were just learning English, so The Boxcar Children gave them a fun story that was easy to read. Warner once wrote that the original book “raised a storm of protest from librarians who thought the children were having too good a time without any parental control! That is exactly why children like it!”

10. Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny by Ichiro Sakaki (translated by Paul Kotta)
Publication: TokyoPop (October 3, 2006), Paperback, 200pp / ISBN 1595329846
Genre: Light Novel, Fantasy/Sci-fi

Rating: Borrow it
Read: January 23, 2011

Source: Bought

Review

This book has a PRINCESS in it, and it’s so awesome. Don’t take too much heart into the fact that I rated it “borrow,” because I’m pretty much going to rate all light novels “borrow.” They’re fun to read and very enjoyable (for the most part) but they aren’t the best written things out there.

Anyway, what I really liked about Scrapped Princess is that though it’s got the “hidden princess who is secretly the thing upon which the future of the world resides” trope in it, it does some unusual things in the actual story. For instance, Pacifica (that’s the princess) was adopted by some ex-soldiers and raised as there own. When she finds out she’s a princess? She does not immediately abandon her adopted family, nor do they abandon her! In fact, one of the main themes is how even if you’re adopted your adopted family is still your FAMILY, your family who loves you and wants to protect you from insane assassins and the king who wants you dead! I thought that was really wonderful, and pretty unusual in a story where the more standard thing would have been for Pacifica to wander off alone somewhere.

I also liked the blending of fake historical past with almost steampunkish technology– a thing that’s not overly unusual in anime– and I liked the characters, and the action was great! It was a lot of fun, for real.

Unfortunately, there’s 13 volumes in the series (plus some short stories), and TokyoPop only licensed the first three. I’m going to Google around and see if anybody else has licensed (or translated) the rest– but I’m very annoyed by this! Just FYI.

4 Comments

  1. My sister loved the Boxcar Children books, but I went off them after the first one, because the kids stopped having to be self-sufficient. It was boring when Violet wasn’t dying of consumption, or whatever sickness she had. Or was Benny the one that got sick?

    I also don’t remember the gender stuff. Doesn’t the older girl (Jessie?) get a job? I feel like I remember her going off to get a job at some point.

    • Anastasia

      It was Violet who nearly died from some sort of fever, though Benny was a whiny little five year old or whatever he was the whole way through the book. And yeah, after the first book it wasn’t “real” any longer and even if they DID solve mysteries it was kind of boring.

      There’s one part where the eldest kid gets a job picking cherries and the rest of them tag along as well, but no, none of the girls got a job. At least not in the first book.

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