Monday, July 18, 2005

kline's white house nannies

After struggling to find good childcare in the Washington, D.C., area, Barbara Kline decided to open her own nanny business, White House Nannies. White House Nannies caters to the nation’s most influential people – those that run the country and still find the time to have a family. Over the twenty years that her agency has been in business, Kline has managed to garner a collection of anecdotes and stories that are not only funny, but also serve as a lesson to anyone with a baby, considering having a baby, or taking care of a baby. Even those considering opening their own small business can benefit from this book, as they can read the trials and tribulations that Kline herself has endured in running her nanny agency. Over the years, Kline has become an expert on the state of the childcare crisis in America and how difficult – and important – it is to find quality childcare. Not only does she give vignettes of good and bad childcare experiences, Kline also offers a practical guide on looking for childcare, from giving advice about how to get along with your nanny to how to deal tactfully with outrageously demanding customers. Kline delves into the childcare crisis that came to the nation’s attention after the "Nannygate" scandal in the 80s and explains that many parents view their nannies as "somewhere between a pet and an invisible life form,"” all the while seeming to forget that this is a person that they have entrusted to take care of their child for 10 or 12 hours a day. The book’s pace takes a little getting used to, but it’s still an overall good and fast read.

barlow's star wars visionaries

J. W. Rinzler writes in the introduction to this collection about the weekly Friday meetings with George Lucas and the concept artists of the movie The Revenge of the Sith. In those preproduction meetings, Lucas would toss around ideas and the artists would come up with visual representations. Although Lucas liked many of the ideas, he did not believe that all of them fit into his movie, so ten of the movie’s artists use these pages to show off their own artistic styles and imaginative Star Wars scenarios, providing readers with “intimate views by some of the key creators of a galaxy far, far away.” The artists were given free reign to explore all aspects of the Star Wars universe; each tale in the collection offers a glimpse or a new twist into that galaxy. The emphasis is on art and character origins, not on stories leading into The Revenge of the Sith. The artwork ranges from dark and gothic looking watercolors to bright and dazzling paintings. The collection is in full color, but there is a tendency toward dark, muddy colors and bright red highlights. Not just for fans of the movies, this compilation is an excellent resource for readers interested in how ideas, artwork, and printed material come together to create a movie through shared narrative connections.

(This book is currently nominated as a "Best of 2005")