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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Sleepy Kittens (Despicable Me Series) - Cinco Paul,  Ken Daurio,  Eric Guillon (Illustrator) As seen in Despicable Me. I had to order a copy. My inner Gru is telling me incredulously that this is garbage. I like reading it?!

To which, all I can reply is: awwwww! It's so cute! Though I do have a more serious criticism. The finger puppets are stiffer than they appear in the movie, and I can't make them drink their milk. Does anyone know how to fix this problem?

OK, I have a solution to the stiff-kitten problem. You just bend them. I didn't really want to do it, since I suspect the card will break after a while, but then I guess I bring out the tape.

Anyway, I can now make the kittens drink, and anyone who's seen the movie will know how important that is.

I am so stupid. But in case other potential readers are equally stupid, let me share my embarrassing discovery. The card that made the kittens so annoyingly stiff, and which had to be bent, should simply be removed. It looks like the back cover of the book, but it isn't! When you take it off, the real back cover is revealed. Though, confusingly, it looks exactly like the fake one. Anyway, without the card inside, the finger puppets are most satisfying. I put on a fake Russian accent and read the book to my test audience, who said I was quite adequately despicable.

With the mechanics solved, I can now give my attention to the more abstract question that has been tormenting me ever since I saw the movie. The book is clearly intended ironically, as a parody of this particular genre. But how old do you have to be to get the irony? I'm guessing that a bright four year old would probably appreciate the joke, but a three year old would take it literally... though maybe I'm underestimating today's sophisticated kids. Please let me know if your small children have seen Despicable Me, and how they reacted!