Saturday, November 21, 2009

Magyk and Alcatraz

I don't know why I continually start books that are in a series. I tire myself out. I usually can't leave it at just one book. Yet, in the past few weeks, I've started two.

Magyk by Angie Sage is your pretty standard good magic vs. evil magic, mixed up identity fantasy. Although you'd think I'd get tired of these sorts of stories, I enjoyed this book. I'll probably read more of the series. It was a solid start to a series with good character development and enough of the mystery revealed at the end to satisfy, with more promise of story to come.

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson is a state award nominee for next year. For the first part of the book, I was rather annoyed and irritated with the book. It was so forced, so desperate to be witty and "shocking", it constantly detracted from the story. I kept thinking if Sanderson would just write the story, it would be so much better. Instead, he was channeling Lemony Snickett, trying to convince the reader that Alcatraz isn't a good person and "foreshadowing" bizarre events that he claims are normal. About the end of chapter 11, Sanderson starts focusing more on our main character as he comes to terms with some serious issues in his life. This part was so poignant and engrossing. Chapter 12 continued in that vein and as the story continued, the sarcasm became less and less annoying too. It gave me hope for the future books of the series and made me wonder less why this book was selected for the state award.

I did give in and get a membership to Audible. With the amount of travel time I have, it's been very nice. I actually listened to the last two books rather than read them. And I have another few books that I have to actually read when I'm at home. I've spent far less than if I had purchased those books on iTunes. I saved almost $15 purchasing the membership and the then discounted book. The next question is, do I bite the bullet for the one year membership? It saves a whole lot of money compared to the month by month membership, but if I don't get the month by month during the summer, when I'm less likely to listen to audio books, will that be worth it? Hmmm....

I'm highly enjoying a little bit of useless trivia book at night to relax before bed time. Mental Floss's "In the Beginning" has nice sized bites of stories/trivia that "knowledge junkies" like me adore. I'm thinking about giving up the library copy of it and getting my very own to keep. And some others of the Mental Floss library. If you haven't ever seen the magazine...check it out. It's wonderful!

I'm off to cheer on my beloved college football team who is playing well at the moment! Hopefully, they'll keep it up!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

AASL and good books

I got the privilege to attend the American Association of School Librarians conference in Charlotte, NC. I have had a wonderful time. I'm so excited and jazzed up to take so many things back to my library. It's incredible to dedicate so much time to people who do exactly what you do. My brain is full and I'm a bit on the tired side. But I have read a couple of books recently.

Tallahassee Higgins by Mary Downing Hahn is one that I read when I was a kid. I remember loving that book when I was a kid. (I also remember one about a girl who thought that Hitler had fled to Florida and now lived next door to her...but I was getting that one mixed up with this one.) I still enjoy this book today. Tallahassee is such a real little girl and you are rooting for her throughout the whole story. I did have one student stop in the hall and point at it when I was reading it and say, "That's a good book." What better endorsement can you get?

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the follow up book to Found. I think this series will be very good. It's easy to see how they are going to turned this into multiple books. We understand a little bit more about what's going on with the time traveler's and the mystery isn't as looming in this story. But when the kids, Chip, Alex, Jonah, and Katherine, end up in the 1400's they have to try and save their friends and repair time...all without causing any more difficulties in history. The book had good flow, good action, and transitions easily into a series where the books can focus on where each child came from and include history with a good story.

I also read the book Masterpiece by Elise Broach. It is a state award winner for next year and I downloaded it from Audible. It was entertaining and could get some students interested in art. It doesn't have a lot of depth, but it held my interest and probably will be fairly enjoyable for the kids. I've also downloaded and started Magyk, Septimus Heap book 1. It's my cup of tea...your typical fantasy book with a little bit of humor. I'm enjoying it.

I also have picked up a copy of Born Digital, which was the book that was selected for One Book, One Conference. It peeks my interest, but my brain hurts too much right now to actually read it. =) I have a lot of handouts to read from conference and websites to pour over. They created a wonderful online conference site that you could sign up for that gave you access to every session's handouts. In addition to the wealth of information I gained from the Twitter feed....It will take me forever to comb through it all!

I'm sure I will have more good stuff in the coming weeks. Between everything I've picked up here at conference and everything that will come in for book fair, I'll be picking up a lot of reading. As my brain has officially shut down and we are at the end of the conference, I'm leaving the Blogger's Cafe and moving my body. =) See you all soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lots of books read

I haven't been very good about blogging. I know...shocker. But I have gotten a lot of reading done. =)

Here what I've read in list form:

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Paper, Scissors, Death
The Black Circle by Patrick Carmen (39 Clues)
Tales from the Hood by Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm)
The Ever After War by Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm)
Nightmare at the Book Fair by Dan Gutman
The New Policeman by Kat Thompson
Real Pirates: The untold story of the Whydah from slave ship to pirate ship by Barry Clifford
The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket
Courage by Bernard Waber
Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski
The Great Texas Hamster Drive by Eric Kimmel
The Perfect Next by Catherine Friend
The Gentleman Outlaw and Me by Mary Downing Hahn

Sooo...summaries now. The Lost Symbol is another good Dan Brown novel. I don't think quite as gripping as Angels and Demons or DaVinci Code, but still good. Paper, Scissors, Death is a scrapbooking mystery that was just a fun light-hearted read. Despite the whole "death" part of it. The Black Circle brought the 39 Clues closer to its interesting conclusion. I actually had to remind myself what this one is about after reading it weeks ago. So it wasn't terribly memorable to me. The Sisters Grimm books were good, but for some reason I really thought that #7 was the last one. So I was slightly disappointed when I realized there is at least one more book in the series.

Nightmare at the Book Fair is not the best book Gutman has ever written. An attempt to cover multiple genres, it doesn't have good exposition or flow to the can't when your main character is time jumping through every genre ever created. However, I might recommend it to my students as we are studying genre right now.

The New Policeman was bizarre. I think I was expecting a serious book and plenty of the parts of the book were along those lines. However parts of it had quirky details...want to know where all the lost socks in the world go?? The book was also clearly written for Irish audiences and there was plenty of lingo in it that I didn't get. Of course, I didn't realize until the end of the book that there was a glossary at the end. I'm not quite sure if students will be able to follow this book well.

I might have already mentioned Real Pirates and the Composer is Dead. I did get those this summer. The Real Pirates book was perfect for my students about the pirate ship exhibit I saw this summer in Chicago. The exhibit was fabulous and fascinating. And this book brings all of that to the kids. The Composer is Dead is, frankly, a disappointment. I expected wit and a dark sense of humor, but this book is just weird, doesn't explain symphonies well and delivers a poor message. If you don't play music well, you are murdering it. (So give up all you kids learning to play instruments.)

Courage is a sweet little book about all the different kinds of courage we experience in our lives, from the big kinds like jumping off the high dive to the little kinds like wearing a shirt that's different. I immediately showed it to my guidance counselor and he loved it.

Woolbur is going to be a classic "beat of your own drummer" kind of book and my teachers already love it. The Great Texas Hamster Drive is cute. And the Perfect Nest is a simple story that could be used as a curriculum tie in about eggs and nests.

I honestly haven't finished the Gentleman Outlaw and Me, but I'm really enjoying it. There was a slight concern about a little bit of the content in the book. And the teacher who read it also read another Mary Downing Hahn book that was not appropriate for our grade level...Look for Me by Moonlight. I somehow missed the YA level on that book. So I've pulled the Mary Downing Hahn books I haven't read to double check them. I'm not concerned about the Gentleman Outlaw and Me yet, but we'll see what I think when I'm done.

Next on my "To Read" list: Erratum, Masterpiece, Swindle, and the Journal of Curious Letters, along with probably some of the state nominees for next year. (Masterpiece and Swindle are on the list.)

On a side note, I had considered joining Audible because I had been spending so much on audiobooks through iTunes. I was a little frustrated with their site. You can't seem to read much about them without at least signing up for a free account. Even then, you still can't seem to find a lot of information. I actually had forgotten I had an account and was searching their inventory without logging in and I had seen The New Policeman on there. There were a few other books I wanted too. So I went through a lot of rigmarole and discovered I had an account. I logged in and The New Policeman didn't show up anywhere anymore. After a long conversation with customer service, here's what I discovered. #1) Audible has no care at all for decent customer service. #2) They are a world-wide company and publishers sometimes only purchase rights to books in their own territory. Understandable. This means that some of the Audible's inventory is "restricted by geographic location". #3) Books that are potentially restricted by geographic location are not labeled as such in any way, shape, or form. #4) The reps solution was log in. Then you won't see what's not available to you. My point is that it was false advertising. #5) Audible advertises that they have 60,000 titles available. However, that's a lie because a portion of those are not available in geographic locations. But they won't tell me how many titles could be affected. They claim they don't have those numbers, but it's a business for goodness sake. You can't tell me they don't have those numbers somewhere. All that said, Audible still has the biggest selection of any audiobook deliverer that I can find. And if my understanding is correct, the price isn't that bad if you listen to a couple of audiobooks a month.

Ok...marathon post over. Perhaps in a couple of weeks I'll get sick again and have plenty of time to blog. =) I am headed to our state conference and then to AASL in North Carolina, so I'm sure I will come away with a lot of good ideas from those conferences. Until then...happy reading!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Poor neglected blog...

It has been over a month since I've blogged, but I have been reading. The start of school slowed me down quite a bit, but finished several books. I read the remaining Children's Choice nominees for this year, both the Intermediate and Primary levels. I read The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes, The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, and How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor. All fairly enjoyable, but I think The Lemonade War was the best one of the three.

The Road to Paris is about a brother and sister, mainly the sister, who are in the foster care system. Our heroine Paris finally seems to be in a place where she might learn to grow. But there is a chance that her birth mother will come back into her life and A poignant story, the book deals sensitively with what could be a very difficult topic for some children. I have a feeling that some teachers/librarians will critique it as not having enough grit or depth, but every once in a while it's nice to see a more even take on the dramas that might face our students.

Another "realistic" take on suburban life, The Lemonade War pits brother and sister against each other in the race to earn the most money from their lemonade stands. Interweaving financial concepts with sibling relationships, this book entertains while providing ample opportunity to educate.

The predictability of How to Steal a Dog is probably its biggest drawback. Once again dealing with drama and difficulty in the lives of a younger kids, the book progresses as you would expect with the peaks and valleys of a story and redemption at the end. Not at all a bad story, just predictable.

I also finally gave in and started the Twilight series. I've had it on my iPod since January, but I kept holding off because I knew I would get totally sucked in. I did. I read all four books in about two weeks. I did get a little sick of the helpless victim thing, but overall, they're my kind of book. I now have to watch the movie and compare it.

I do have to read the newest 39 Clues quickly and get it back into my library, as there is a wait list starting for it. But I'm also going to indulge a bit. I'm an avid digital scrapbooker and occasionally enjoy reverting back to my paper scrapping days. A fellow colleague and scrapbooker gave me "Paper, Scissors, Death" to read. It's a "Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-n-Craft Mystery". It's started off decently, we'll see where it goes.

In case anyone cares, Valerie Hobbs read the post about Sheep. I was totally stoked to have an author read my blog post and comment on it. That's going to go on my bulletin board next to my pictures of Jon Scieszka, Mo Willems, and me!

I promise to not be such a always seems like I'm saying that. =)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At the Movies

I went and saw Harry Potter today. I thought it was very good. I had meant to jog my memory before I went and read the Spark Notes or something, but I didn't get to it. I know the movie diverged from the book to some degree, but I couldn't tell you for sure how at this point, it's been far too long since I've read it. It did make me want to re-read the Deathly Hallows before the final two movies come out for that.

I have to say, I was perturbed that there were so many commercials on before the movie previews. The first ten minutes was commercials for cars, video games, lemonade, and more. At least it used to be just ads on the screen that you could ignore. (I know...I know....the point is to get you not ignoring them anymore...I get it.) Then the previews finally started. By the time the actual Movie got underway, it was twenty-five minutes past the starting time. And I just think that stinks to add a half hour on to your movie experience. If the movie time says it starts at 10 a.m., I don't begrudge five...even ten...minutes to to watch some previews, but twenty-five minutes is sincerely pushing it. (O.k. End of that rant.)

What I really wanted to talk about are the previews that I saw. Bearing in mind that I was at a movie that was based on a book, I'd like you to examine this list:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Where the Wild Things Are
Sherlock Holmes
The Frog Prince
Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief
G.I. Joe
Despicable Me

*Cue Sesame Street Music* One of these things is not like the others....

Only one preview that I saw today was NOT a book or t.v. show first. That was Despicable Me, and I have to tell you, I wasn't that thrilled by that preview. So I couldn't decide whether to jump up and down that so many good books seem to be made into good movies, or be sad that some kids won't have a unique and original experience with these books, or be disappointed in the general lack of creativity that apparently has hit Hollywood writers, or be suspicious that there is some audience manipulation going on in an advertising sense. What do you think? (Hmmm...they're at a movie about a book, let's show mostly book related previews....)

On the definite plus side, several of these look very, very good. Where the Wild Things Are is a big stand out. It looks like it will have adventure, heart, and all the right sentiments on top of amazing CGI integrated with real actors. I was relieved to see Percy Jackson as a live action film, instead of the cartoon I expected after receiving the cartoon trading cards as a promo. Sherlock Holmes looks like it might just be pretty darn good...of course, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law help that cause a little. The Frog Prince introduces Disney's first African-American princess and I'm sure will become a smash hit like Disney movies usually are. GI Joe and Fame are what they are. Didn't really get my interest piqued too much, but I did get a few giggles out of the GI Joe preview.

In the end, we'll see how they stand up against their original versions. As we all know, the movie is never as good as the book!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sheep by Valerie Hobbs

It's been a month since I last posted and I'd love to say that I read more, but unless you count college assignments, a couple hundred page program for a national conference, and my Facebook updates, I've only read one thing. I think I'm on a bit of a downward swing now. Still have some big assignments coming to grade, but I don't have board meetings and national conferences to go to now either!

"Sheep" by Valerie Hobbs is another state children's choice award nominee. It was a quick and easy read and I enjoyed it for some not too heavy, not too light kind of reading. In many ways, it reminds me of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (by the way, I met Kate DiCamillo and got her autograph on several items). Our main character, however, starts off as a much nicer creature than Edward. After being separated from his family, our collie travels the open road experiencing some of the joy and pain that is life. The question for the reader is, will he finally find both love and a home in the end? A perfect book to put in the hands of kids who love dogs, and especially reluctant readers who love dogs, I'm willing to bet that "Sheep" will be at the top of the voting results in May.

I've started reading "How to Steal a Dog" and still have a couple other children's choice nominees to plug through before I get to read the fun stuff I brought home from the new arrivals at school. Hopefully, I'll also get Overdrive to cooperate with me and I'll be able to listen to one on my iPod in the car. Say a quick prayer to the technology gods for me. =)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

O.k. This one I'm doing from memory. I read this book in May of 2007. It had been talked about on t.v. and even Al Roker had endorsed it. I listed to a lot of it on CD on a 16 hour bus trip. It was great entertainment then and I've recommended it to several students since then. A good blend of mystery, adventure, kid-power, coincidence and heart, The Mysterious Benedict Society is the type of book that I would have devoured when I was a kid. The story centers around a group of gifted kids who all have issues on their plate. With their intelligence and special talents, they become part of a mysterious society that has a goal of fighting evil. With creative characters and many ups and downs, the story propels the reader to the end. The only complaint (not from me) is that the story is very long. To that end, I'm disappointed that the book is on the State Awards nominee lists simply because many students won't even try to read a book that long. But if students do attempt the read, they will be rewarded with a great story and even little extra mysteries for them to solve.

To read about the second book in the series, see this entry on my blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last Olympian and Beyond the Grave

I finished The Last Olympian. It was an enjoyable, satisfying ending. There's plenty of room for Riordan to bring back the series if he so desires. I can't imagine that those five books are going to satisfy the fans of the series, but we'll see.

I also read the newest 39 Clues: Beyond the Grave. It was much stronger than the last two books and I really enjoyed it. I do have an affinity to the topic of Egypt, so perhaps that is why it struck me as so interesting. But I do think that it was better paced and had a stronger storyline than the last one. There are glimpses of real heart in characters we maybe weren't expecting. I'm very intrigued to see how this series is going to progress. Just how are we going to end up with 39 Clues in 10 books? We have about a year left to find out!

I also picked up The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket. For some reason, my book company said the publisher was out of stock indefinitely, but I had been seeing it on the shelves in the stores. So I bought it at a book store. I sort of wish I had read it first. While I think the way the information about each instrument is presented is neat and enjoyable the message in the last several pages just kills the whole book for me. I guess for a children's book I would prefer a message about enjoying playing music even if you are not very good. This seemed to say that butchering music is not o.k. (even though we have to put up with it to get to good music). I'm not quite sure....I was left pretty underwhelmed by it.

I still have several state awards books to read, so look for more updates soon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

13 Cemetery Road & The Homework Machine

I was lucky enough to have Kate Klise come and visit our school this year. She is smart and fun and very down to earth. I really enjoyed our time together. I was lucky enough to receive an autographed copy of her next new book. Klise has a new series called "13 Cemetery Road". It's very cute and follows Klise's typical epistolary style. While I think the story in some of her other series are a little stronger, I think this one is cute and fun and has the potential to really develop. If you enjoy her other stories, this one will certainly be enjoyable as well.

Dan Gutman is a perennial favorite for our state children's choice award. I think this year will be no different. This year, Gutman was nominated for "The Homework Machine". Certainly appealing to intermediate school students, the variety of characters and realistic story line drives the book all the way to the end. When a group of students ends up together and shares a secret about an unbelievable machine, events start to happen that no one sees coming. An enjoyable and quick read, "The Homework Machine" will, I'm sure, receive lots of votes from our students this year.

I'm also reading the last in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, "The Last Olympian". It's a good read so far. Of course, I've loved the series since it first came out. Before it started getting a lot of press, I found "The Lightning Thief" on the shelf at Borders. I'm sad that it will be ending, but enjoying the final book so far.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blissful Summertime....

Well...tomorrow is my first official day of summer vacation. I have been unbelievably swamped lately and done very little reading of books for my library. (What I have been reading has been library reports, college lesson plans, and subject matter related blogs and articles...terribly exciting stuff.) I finished "Elijah of Buxton" and it was a very powerful read for a children's book. I highly recommend it, like just about anyone else who has read the book.

I did also read another state award nominee for next year. "Eleven" by Patricia Reilly Giff is not the most stellar nominee for this year. A book that tries to be too cryptic and mysterious for it's own good, "Eleven" jumps right into the story, skipping over any exposition that might help the reader place things in context. On about page twenty, I was still trying to remind myself what the main character's name was. That's a bad sign. "Eleven" isn't a bad story, it's just trying too hard to be something it's not. After reading the back of the book to my students and summing up in one sentence what I had learned half-way through the book, they all wanted to compare it to "Found" by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Unfortunately, there's not much of a mystery and certainly not any adventure in "Eleven". It's a solid story of a boy trying to find exactly where his roots are and how he ended up where he is, but Giff tries too hard to make the number eleven be some mysterious clue and insists that we wonder if the main character is even related to the man he lives with. All of this is an attempt to build up to an ending that is less than climactic. There's no real drama to what actually happened to our protaganist, so why try to build up the whole book that way? Just approach it more like a realistic fiction book and cut out the cryptic poetry at the beginning of each chapter, the story would be better served by it.

Next up on the list is the rest of the state awards and a few personal choices of reading material. Once I make it through those, I have to decide if I truly feel ready to take on the Twilight series. (I know, I know...I can hear the shouts of "Do it!" right now...)

I'm sure that my next post will not be too far away...TGFSummer!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Holy Mackerel

It's been a very long time since I've posted. And sadly, I haven't read too much in the interim. At least, not literature-wise. I've been reading a lot of professional items: blogs, web pages, lesson plans, industry-related magazines. And I've been very busy. I have started on a few items though. I started Elijah of Buxton, which I am enjoying. I can easily see why this has won so many awards. I'm anxious to get further in it, but I've kept it at school for the 15 minutes a day I have silent reading duty.

I did pick up the third book in the 39 Clues, The Sword Thief. It was o.k. I felt that the book didn't really have much of a good storyline this time. It felt like one of those episodes of your favorite shows that occurs simply to set up the good action for the next episode. We'll see what happens when book four comes out in June. I can't imagine all 10 books holding as much interest, but then again...look at A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I also read The Demigod Files, an "in between" book for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It was a quick few stories to tide over readers until the next book comes out. And there is an excellent teaser for the next book at the end. I'll be anxious to read that. A teacher at school has some students who have become very interested in of my favorite topics...and I wonder if it's at all related to this series. I'm going to have fun digging out some of my old materials from when I taught mythology and bringing it to school.

I am going to pick up the rest of our State Awards soon, so hopefully, I'll get a jump on those for next year. I've read three already, so I'm a little ahead! Expect more postings soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Savvy by Ingrid Law and On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck

I have a couple of books that I started reviews on, but for some reason, didn't publish. So here are two back entries...

Savvy by Ingrid Law - I can see why this book is winning awards. I really enjoyed the original voice that this novel exudes. It many ways, it reminds me of Each Little Bird that Sings, so if you didn't care for that book, you probably won't care too much for this book. Mibs is a young girl facing many changes in her life, not the least of which is getting her "savvy", a talent that all Beaumonts get at age 13. When her savvy isn't what she expected, she and her siblings, along with two of the local preacher's kids, need to learn to manage in order to save Mibs's father. I am probably one of only a handful of people who watched the show "Wonderfalls" from start to finish. (You can watch the unaired episodes on DVD!). Right off the bat, Mibs's savvy reminds me quite a bit of that show. It has good heart and is a well-told tale. I will recommend this one to my students.

On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck - On the Wings of Heroes seemed like the kind of story my boys would love. It got starred reviews from School Library Journal and rave reviews from other sources. It's about two boys and set during World War II. Maybe I just am not a historical fiction buff, but I didn't love this book. I anticipate that my boys may be let down by the lack of action in the story. Seeming much more like a memoir, Peck shares what goes on in the small town that the boys live in and how the war affects them. However, collecting scrap metal and a need for a new classroom teacher just aren't very lively stories. Things pick up a little when Miss Titus comes into the story, but her portion of the story is too little and almost too late. Students expecting to hear about battles, airplanes, and recounts of the war will not get it in this book. While not a bad read, Heroes left me wanting a little bit more than what I got.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

I smell another series coming on. This book has been sitting in my house for quite a while. I finally picked it up the day I came home sick and couldn't really stand to do much else. When I was in junior high, there was a series called, "Friday the 13th". It had nothing to do with the horror flick of the same name. It was actually about some characters that ran an antique shop and had to chase down cursed items. I got a little of that feeling from this book. Theodosia has the special ability to sense curses on items, especially those of Egyptian origin. Since her parents run a museum that focuses on Ancient artifacts, Theodosia's knowledge and abilities develop from self-educating herself with what exists in the museum. Mom and Dad are not aware of her abilities or the curses and, of course, danger and adventure ensue after mom sends home some very cursed items. I think this could be a decent series if developed correctly. My students all seem to be into the scary spooky stuff right now, so this might be right up their alley. A little magic and a little spooky stuff make a decent combination. The book didn't specifically indicate a sequel, but the plot certainly left room to create more stories with this adventurous character.

I also reread The Westing Game this weekend. I highly recommended the book to one of our teachers and she came back in a little later and said she had been told there was something controversial about it. I couldn't remember anything too bad, except maybe a little stereotyping. So I reread it. I still love it. Yes, there is some stereotyping, but the character that makes the stereotypes is regarding poorly by the other characters. There are "bombs" and a mention of a suicide. But I wouldn't even venture so far as to call it violence compared to what goes on in most cartoons and upper level books that kids read today. The mystery is well-written and heartfelt and the novel is quite complete in its circle. It's a classic and I will always recommend it. =)

Monday, February 2, 2009

If You're Reading This It's Too Late

This book is the sequel to "The Name of This Book is Secret". Pretty lighthearted reading, I spent my time covering "silent reading duty" reading this book. It has bad guys, magic, adventurous kids saving the world, and a sarcastic author that tries to convince his readers they're better off not reading the book. What all kids books are like nowadays. Nothing special, but not necessarily a bad book either.

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

The first half of this book was very slow. I listened to most of this on CD and I bet it wasn't until CD 7 that it really started to get interesting. In the end, the story had a satisfying resolution, even if the character you're indebted to for saving the story is less than likable. A satisfying end to a trilogy that sucked me in right away. Now...I just can't decide if I want to embark on the Twilight saga. I know that I will love it, but it's four big books. And so many for me to read that are actually in my library. I'm a little torn. So for the moment, I've moved on to one that's been sitting around my house for quite a while. It's called Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos. I'm enjoying it and it's a faster read than I expected. I'll probably update soon on it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Aurora County All-Stars

A state award nominee for next year, this book includes many characters that we have met in Deborah Wiles's other books. Ruby Lavender, the Snowbergers, and others join a new character, House Jackson, in the quest to find meaning in a small town. House loves baseball, but the death of the town "old coot" leaves him struggling to keep a secret from his friends and struggling to find meaning in life. Baseball is House's true love, but the town insists on putting on a pageant on the one day of the year when the team plays it's only real ball-game. House has to try and figure out a way to save the day, and that's a lot of pressure for a 13-year-old. The style of writing here is just like Wiles's other books and if you didn't care for Each Little Bird or Love Ruby Lavender, than you won't care for this. The baseball theme and the Walt Whitman poetry are nice additions for me, but they won't overcome the style of writing for those that don't enjoy it.