Books Dusty Bookshelves and Library Loot Picture Book Challenge 2012 Reading Themes

Kindle Fire Issues and a Review of The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres

Several weeks ago, I bought a Kindle Fire while I was in the States. I thought that I might as well purchase one since it is atrociously expensive here in Singapore. Before I succumbed to buying an e-reader, I asked fellow bloggers (Honey from Coffeespoons and Flipside Publishing, Blooey of Bookmarked! SumthinBlu and Tarie from Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind) on Facebook what their thoughts are about a Kindle versus a Nook Tablet and an iPad (the latter I already have). The consensus was that the iPad is still the best e-reader for picture books – but since I had a lot of issues about that (as could be seen in my post here alongside a few screenshots), I really thought long and hard about it. I figured though that now is a good time as any to own this little e-reader especially since we have a languishing Netgalley account.

First thing I did after purchasing the e-reader was to request a number of ‘galleys’ from our Netgalley account. I was happy that most of my requests have been approved. I was a bit surprised though that my request to view the new Goosebumps book from Scholastic Inc (Goosebumps Most Wanted #1: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes) was denied (after all my daughter’s goosebumps book-hunting post, I was a tad dismayed about that). Regardless, I also requested for The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres as written and illustrated by Marie Le Tourneau with Danielle Reed Baty.

I deliberately didn’t rotate the image because this is how I viewed the entire story, with my head tilted to the side. If I rotate the e-reader to a different position, the same thing happens as could be seen below:

It seems like it does not matter whether my e-reader orientation is in portrait or landscape mode, I still need to tilt my head sideways to read the book – not a very pleasant experience, I must tell you (exasperating and extremely frustrating are the two words that come to mind). Thus, it is to this book’s credit that it had a pretty good storyline that made me want to read regardless of these ‘issues.’

Meet Chef Marcel and his Seven Sons (and a daughter). The French have always been renowned for their culinary expertise – they have elevated food-making to both science and art. Chef Marcel is one such amazing artist with his Bistro known to be the hippest place in all of France, and he is likewise famous for his soupe au fromage or cheese soup – touted to be the best in the country. Truth be told, I requested for this e-book because it reminded me of the film Ratatouille with the main characters being mice.

Chef Marcel is said to have a special secret ingredient which makes his cheese soup special. The seven brothers would dutifully recite the recipe in chorus: “Butter, cheese, stock, cream, onion, pepper, thyme, and the secret ingredient.”

Amazing Male Chefs and a Ballerina who is Le Maître D’hôtel. The movie Julie and Julia shows how difficult it is for women to penetrate this exclusive men-only-club, especially so in France.

This may be the reason why Chef Marcel’s youngest child and only daughter, Petite Michelle is relegated to helping out “here and there.” Yet while the brothers are portrayed to be a tad clumsy and easily-flustered, Petite Michelle is always calm and collected with her pointed toes, quiet disposition, seeming-discretion and efficiency.

The plot thickens when Chef Marcel received a telegram informing him that French Culinary Judge Alfred Le Whisk would be arriving at his bistro to taste his famous cheese soup within the hour. The problem was he is out of the ‘secret ingredient!’ As he rushed forth to some undisclosed place to retrieve the highly-secret ingredient, he left specific instructions: “While I am gone, everyone must help to make the soup.” How our pointy-toed ballerina managed to save the day, I shall leave for you to discover. It is truly an empowering book in all its subtlety, distinct charm, and playful irony.

The only page in the screen that looked remotely nice.

More Issues with Kindlefire. While I would like to claim that I lovelove my Kindlefire with unabashed affection, I have to say that I still am in the ‘wait-and-see’ mode. It is extremely difficult to take screenshots using the Kindlefire that I gave it up entirely and just took photos of the screen using my iPhone – it just isn’t worth the effort and the time to learn something so technical and dreadfully elaborate. While I like the fact that I can surf the net using the kindle, access my email, and such – it does not really do anything that my iPad can’t already do for me, aside from the e-books perhaps. I still find the iPad too unwieldy and too big to read on, thus, I think the Kindle Fire would be ideal for full-length novels. I’m crossing my fingers that in time, like blue cheese, an acquired taste, I would get to enjoy this new little toy.

The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres as written and illustrated by Marie Le Tourneau with Danielle Reed Baty. Tanglewood Press, Inc. September 2008. Galley provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Picture Book Challenge Update: 75 of 120

3 comments on “Kindle Fire Issues and a Review of The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres

  1. Oh, no! Who wouldn’t tremble at the impending arrival of Alfred le Whisk? I know I would fall in love with this one and the triumph of Petite Michelle in the kitchen!

    Mmm, I am still in the debating what do I buy stage. I had pretty much decided I would buy just an Ipad when I get to the US, not wanting two extra items of luggage! While not really created to read picture books, I am still surprised at the e-reader orientation option (or lack thereof)!


  2. That seems like a good book! I have a regular Kindle that doesn’t do as much, but it works really fine.


  3. Pingback: August Round Up and the Winner for the AWB Reading Challenge «

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