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!

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