Book Review: Walk the Blue Fields: Stories by Claire Keegan

Author: Claire Keegan
Title:Walk the Blue Fields: Stories
Publication Info: Grove Press, Black Cat (2008)

This is a collection of stories set in Ireland.  They are contemporary tales but set in rural settings so there are lots of traditional gender roles, repressed emotions, and outcomes that are rather depressing.  Fortunately, there is some humor in this stories that otherwise can be dour.  These stories are well-crafted but I can’t say that they moved me much.
Recommended booksValues, three one act plays by John B. Keane
Rating: ***

Book Review: Attack of the Cheetah by Jane B. Mason

Author: Jane B. Mason
Title: Attack of the Cheetah
Publication Info: Mankato, Minn. : Stone Arch Books, 2010.

This Wonder Woman story for kids is about cheetahs.  And a villain named the Cheetah.  And a zoo with cheetahs who are kidnapped by Cheetah and replaced with Cheetah’s cheetahs.  What a cheetah, er cheater!  I think I liked this more than my daughter.

Rating: ***

Podcast of the Week: “Pass/Fail: An American History of Testing” from BackStory

Testing is a big topic of debate in education circles these days.  Tests are increasingly been used not just evaluate what students are learning in class but to make high-stake decisions such as a student advancing in school, whether teachers are given rewards or are fired, and even to justify closing entire schools!  With tests being given so important, a lot of classroom time is being given over to test preparation,  and a lot of money is being given over to the publishers of the tests and test prep materials.

The American History Guys at the BackStory podcast provide an interesting historical background to testing in the United States.  The first written tests in American schools only date to the 1840s.  But there are other types of tests, and podcast examines the tests of faith for early Puritans, the civil services tests, and the questionable scholarship behind the IQ test and the Myers Briggs test.  It’s a fascinating hour of history.