Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Children's Books Book Review

This book was okay.  I mean, it was charming.  I loved the main illustrations but . .  .
many of the pages have these side notes and these are set off in sidebars.  The background is light blue and there are images of snowflakes at the top and bottom of the bar. So as your child is reading along with the main text, there is some more information about Bentley and how he came to take photographs of snowflakes.

Unfortunately, the same images for the snowflakes are used in these sidebars page after page.  Ironic given that the main content talks about how Bentley never found two identical snowflakes and marveled at how each one was unique.  Under the circumstances, wouldn't it have made sense to actually change the drawn snowflakes each and every time a sidebar is used?  Better yet, why not use some actual images Bentley took?  I don't know.  It's not a bad book, interesting enough, but I wasn't thrilled.

(It should be noted that the book Bentley published is still available and would probably be fun to share along with this book.)

This book is for the older child, in my opinion.  The story is very sad and that alone suggests a somewhat older child, one who is reading independently.  Also, the illustrations are gorgeously done in paper cutting, a tradition in Judaism so apropos to this text.

Another reason the reader should probably be somewhat older is because the content of this picture book focuses on antisemitism.  To adequately understand the story, the child should have some questions about the story explained--the history of the Jews, particularly Prague's long history of antisemitism which seems to be ongoing even to today.

And a perfect compliment to the above is this charming book inspired by a traditional folk song.  There are some cut out pages which, when turned, show what happens to Joseph's overcoat over time.

The book ends with the music and lyrics of the traditional song so if you know how to play a musical instrument and/or can read music, you can really enjoy this book further still.  Or you can look online, as I did, to see if you can find the music . . . and maybe you'll succeed.  I know I did.

Obviously this book and the previous book could both be part of a child's personal library and compliment one another very nicely.

This book is lush in appearance, the illustrations drawing heavily on Renaissance inspiration (no pun intended).  Zelinsky even goes so far as to restore the original story to its fullness with the sort of archetypical nuances that have been lost in the retelling of so many of these stories.

For anyone who believes in the psychological power and meaning of fairy tales, this book is a must have, deeply rooted as it is in the symbolism that informed the story on Freudian and Jungian levels.

And oooh . . . pretty pictures.

This book is cute.  Really cute.

How cute is it?

I felt like I needed to take some insulin after reading it and I'm not even diabetic.

Yep.  It's really really cute.  If you like "cute" you'll like this book.  Me . . . well, not so much but I begrudgingly can see where and how children would find it amusing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Diabetes DTOUR Diet by Barbara Quinn

The Diabetes DTOURDiet:  The Revolutionary New Food Cure by Barbara Quinn and the editors of Prevention magazine is a diet and exercise program which is designed to encourage those who pre-diabetes to turn their health and life around.  Hence, the odd choice to misspell detour in the title. 

In spite of this titular insult to the reader’s intelligence, the book is full of good advice and inspirational stories.  Because this book is mostly designed for the pre-diabetic, there are no numbers.  In other words, when discussing exercise, there are no specific precautionary recommendations beyond “consult with your doctor.”  If you have diabetes and do not know what your glucose levels should be before you exercise, it behooves you to have this information before you begin.  And I actually want to commend the author and editors for not putting the numbers out there because ongoing research changes.  Better to go to the American Diabetes Association for the most updated guidelines than risk putting into print numbers that may not hold up over time. 

The recipes in the book are good.  The ones we tried we found to be both tasty and good.  What’s more the menu plan is very well designed.  My husband has diabetes and has a diabetic team that includes a nutritionist.  His meal plan is not very different from the one recommended in this book (although is daily caloric intake is higher because he is trying to gain weight).  We found the food fulfilling and definitely wanted to enjoy some of the recipes a second and even a third time. 

Before I began reading this book I was already doing about 2 hours of exercise a day so the recommendations in this book to “increase” activity made me chuckle.  However, a I realize that many people do not exercise at all and the exercise plan outlined in this book is good.  It may be a bit aggressive for someone who is leading a very sedentary life and lifestyle.  Of course, the book recommends seeing a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. 

And, the truth is, the book is full of basic advice.  There’s not much new here at all.  Portion control.  More fiber.  Omega-3.  Walking is a good cardio exercise.  Don’t forget to build muscle.  Drink water.  Get enough sleep.  It’s all here and nicely laid out but nothing really new under the sun.  If you haven’t heard all of this before, you must be living under a rock somewhere.   

Still, I think this is the best diet book—whether you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or not—that I have come across.  Because of the way in which the menu plan spreads out the carbohydrates throughout the day, the person following this plan is definitely less likely to experience the roller coaster ride that the typical American diet causes to the glucose levels.  The sugar highs will be gone but so will the energy crashes that inevitably follow.  And don’t think for a moment that this diet is about deprivation.  There is no food denied so long as you choose to eat portions that are healthy rather then indulgent.   

Ultimately, when I read a “diet” book I figure I am going to lose weight or eat better or something.  And let’s face it, the typical person diagnosed as pre-diabetic is far less active than I am and probably more overweight.  I definitely ate more while following this diet.  I exercised as much and occasionally more, not because of the recommendations in the book but because . . . I want to lose weight.  So did I?  Did I lose weight during the weeks of following the DTOUR diet?


Oh well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Breast Cancer Topic: Reiki

Breast Cancer Topic: Reiki:

"Yesterday I had my first reiki session...a simple laying of hands on my body. I thought I was awake but when it was over, it took me a while to get my wits together, so apparently I was more out of it than I thought. Today, I have felt drained but in no pain. Also, my trips to the bathroom have been quite unusual....I will spare the details. Have any of you ever had reiki before???"

This woman who is a breast cancer survivor discusses how Reiki is helping with her pain.