Monday, November 29, 2010

The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham

Teddy has moved into a new house in a new town and since school doesn't start for a month his mother sends him out to make new friends. As he meets boys his age he realizes something creepy is going on. The boys are not actually alive or living in the present day. A tree, suffering from the effects of nuclear waste is using the boys for energy and it wants Teddy as it's next victim. This is an adventure, fantasy and mystery all rolled into one scary book perfect for boys and reluctant readers. Fans of DEMONKEEPER and GOBLINS! will devour this one up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan illustrated by Peter Sis

From a young age Neftali Reyes loved to read and write and would see and hear words everywhere. He was a collector of objects of nature and a daydreamer and when caught by his father would be ridiculed and verbally abused. After his father burned Neftali's entire spectrum of written words he relized in order to be a writer he'd need to change his name and so gave birth to Pablo Neruda. This is a fictionalized biography of one of the world's best known poets and it is a beautiful book with lovely illustrations.

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

Set in England this book is about the three Hardscrabble children who lost their mother 5 years ago when she disappeared. One sibling narrates the story although he/she never admits to which one it is. The dad sends the kids to visit with a cousin in London but she is not there. And so begins an adventure in which they travel to a seaside town, stay in a castle, face a dragon and try to solve a mystery as it unwinds right before them. While I did enjoy it I did not love THE KNEEBONE BOY. However, it will appeal to fans of Lemony Snicket and other eclectic fantasy or adventure books.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Reading BINK & GOLLIE made me smile. When I sat down to read it I didn't know what to expect. The book is a graphic novel and easy chapter book rolled into one and yet so much more. Bink & Gollie show that with compromise true friendship survives. I loved the b & w illustrations with splashes of color and the humorous text filled with luscious vocabulary. Children will want to use their gray matter for adventures of their own.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

Bless This MouseI am afraid of mice. Reading books about mice is not my favorite thing. So when I started reading BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry I had one eye closed. However, while reading this book I actually found myself smiling and laughing. Hildegarde, the mistress mouse is an intelligent leader of the 200+ mice that live in the church. When the Great X is planned (extermination) she works out a plan to save every last mouse. At moments it is possible to forget these are mice in the story as their vocabulary is exemplary, their bravery is commendable and their story is charming. Lois Lowry never ceases to amaze me. Eric Rohmann's illustrations bring Lowry's words to life. Read as an e-book arc courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley so artwork was not final. Book will be published March 21, 2011.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Long Walk to Water : Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park is based on a true story and what an incredible story it is. In 1985, Salva, an 11 year-old boy in Sudan fleas his home village when it is attacked and walks through desert and lion country, crosses a crocodile filled river and spends years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Laced between Salva's travels is Nya's story set in Sudan in 2008. Just as riveting we see Nya walk each day for 8 hours to bring water back to her home. Both stories are haunting and beautiful and I could not put this (e)book down. Both Salva and Nya are strong and resilient. It is amazing to me how much I can learn from a children's historical fiction book. Read as an advanced readers copy from netgalley I have ordered 2 copies for my school library.

View video with author and Salva.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins

In THE YEAR MONEY GREW ON TREES by Aaron Hawkins Jackson accomplishes more than most teens could ever imagine possible. Jackson is challenged by his next door neighbor to monetize the apple orchard which has been ignored since her husband passed away and prove he is the true heir. Although she has swindled him before Jackson is determined to make the $8000 she wants plus a profit to share with his sisters and cousins for helping him. With a little help from a library book, a Sunday school teacher, a charge card at the local supply store, his dad and uncle, Jackson and his work crew spend a year pruning, fertilizing, spraying, picking and selling. Will Jackson succeed and inherit the orchard? You'll have to read this book to find out. Hawkins has written a wonderful book where kids really shine while adults take a back seat. Read as an e-book arc through (without illustrations).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth by Sandra Dutton

It's 1988 in Ohio and Mary Mae is an elementary school student who is curious about everything. She enjoys studying the fossils she and her classmates dig up around town. She loves playing the guitar with her great-grandmother and she enjoys asking questions about the Bible. However, her Christian mom believes the Bible is all a good Christian girl needs to learn and so pulls Mary Mae out of school to homeschool, throws away the fossil collection and takes the guitar away. In MARY MAE AND THE GOSPEL TRUTH two worlds collide but with the help of granny and the clergy there just may be a blending of the two. A thought provoking read.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just Grace and the Terrible Tutu by Charise Mericle Harper

Just Grace is back in JUST GRACE AND THE TERRIBLE TUTU and I hope she never goes away. Charise Mericle Harper knows young girls and it shows beautifully. Mimi, Grace's best friend is going to be getting a sister. Lily, a 4 year-old moves in next door and immediately takes to Grace but is shy around Mimi. Grace comes up with a plan to get Lily to like Mimi. Grace is a strong personality and I would have liked her as my friend growing up. This is a wonderful read for young girls and it will be made part of my library collection in January, 2011. Read as an e-book courtesy of Netgalley and it will be published by Houghton Mifflin.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman has written another fantastic book in ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN Meggy is summoned to London by her father who abandoned her before she was even born. She grew up with an unloving mother but loving and caring grandmother. He is an alchemist searching for the elixir of life and barely pays attention to Meggy disappointed that she is crippled and not a boy. Cushman makes London sound like a horrible place to be as trash and chamber pots are dumped in the streets. People yell at Meggy assuming she is cursed by the devil because she needs walking sticks. However, Meggy is a strong and resourceful girl and manages to earn pennies to feed herself and makes new friends. Another gem from Cushman. I read this as an ebook courtesy of netgalley and have purchased it for my library. It will be highly recommended.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

THE LYING GAME introduces Emma, an almost 18 year old who was abandoned by her mother and grew up in many different foster homes. Emma finds out she has an identical twin named Sutton and sets out to meet her in hopes that she can become part of her adopted family. However Sutton's family thinks she's Sutton and doesn't believe Emma when she claims differently. Meanwhile, Emma decides to try to figure out what happened to Sutton. Sutton and her friends are not nice people and are involved in lying games which include pranks to humiliate others. Possibly my all time favorite line comes from this book. At Sutton's 18th birthday party "Three laptops sat on a table near the door: each had USB cords to upload photos to Facebook and Twitter. I still smile when I read that. But please note this is not a funny book and the author requests readers to not try any of the pranks in the book. I like Emma (and Sutton's spirit who occasionally appears and Ethan the cute boy next store) and will cheer her on. Teens will gobble this book up and will anxiously await the sequel. I read it as an e-book arc from netgalley.