Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rees, Douglas. Vampire High

Rees, Douglas. Vampire High. Delacorte, 2003 [0-385-90143-7]
Cody and his family move to Massachusetts and he does not work out in school so his father puts him in a private school. It turns out to be a special school for vampires (or jenti as they preferred to be called.) The school maintains some non-vampire (or gadje) students so they can keep their water volleyball team - you see jenti can't go in water. The community has learned to live with the to kinds of residents.. until Cody stirs things up. This 226 page book is not the usual dark and evil vampire story. It is more like a cross between "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Sneetches" The two groups learned to live segregated in the same town until Cody arrives.

Taylor, Theodore. Lord of the kill

Taylor, Theodore. Lord of the Kill. Scholastic, 2002 [0-439-33725-9]
Sixteen-year-old Ben lives on a big cat preserve. His father who runs the place is a controversial animal rights defender who has angered a lot of people. One of the things Ben's father campaigns against is canned hunts. Where rich people pay big bucks to shoot a caged wild animal for a trophy. The story opens with Ben running the preserve in the absence of his parents who have gone on a National Geographic expedition. One morning a young lady's body is found in one of the compounds of jaguars. This is the just the start of problems Ben has to deal with.. including the disappearance of his parents, and the kidnapping of their largest tiger, a Siberian. There is plenty of mystery and suspense in this 246 page book along with the reader learning about "canned hunts."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Guinn, Jeff. The autobiography of Santa Claus

Guinn, Jeff. The autobiography of Santa Claus. Penguin, 2003 [1-58542-265-7]
In this 287 page book Santa tells his life story from his initial gift giving in 280 A.D. Then he moves through history making friends and gathering people who travel with him (and gain his immortality.) (Some of these people include King Arthur, Leonardo DaVinci, Ben Franklin, and Teddy Roosevelt.) Because he is a Bishop there is talk of Christianity. He travels through the world and time expanding his idea of gift-giving to the point where he finally is only giving gifts on Christmas Eve and moves his whole operation up to the North Pole. Santa has a way of running into all the most famous and important people in the history of the world. So not only does that reader get a wonderful background on the history and folklore of Santa Claus but also a trip through world history meeting the world shakers. I found the book in total, interesting but at times was tedious, waiting to see which famous person he would meet next. There is a helpful bibliography at the end of the book.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Llewellyn, Sam. Little Darlings

Llewellyn, Sam. Little Darlings. Razor Bill, 2004 [1-59514-066-2]
The Darlings are three children from a very rich family. Their parents don't want to deal with their evil antics so the children are raised by nannies. A new nanny arrives only to case out the home and rob it and the kids decide to steal her Jaguar. Unfortunately she comes out while the kids are still in the back seat and end up going away with her. The nanny is part of an criminal organization involved in a crazy scheme which is contrary to another criminal group. There are all kinds of antics and the children, fed up with their home end up helping the nanny and her group. This 284 page book has a "Series of Unfortunate Events" feel. The author is British so there are a lot of "Britishisms." If the reader can get past that, it is an enjoyable read.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963

Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963. Laurel-Leaf, 1995 [0-440-2280-x]
Kenny and his African-Amercian live in Detroit in the 1960s. He, his brother and sister have their usual struggles of family life. His older brother is getting into a lot of trouble so the parents decide to take him to live with his grandmother in Birmingham for the summer. While they are there, the sister goes to Sunday School on the day and at the place of the infamous Birmingham bombing. The family leaves Birmingham the next day and go home to Detroit where they all deal with the bombing in their own way. This is a touching picture of family life in the 1960s. The historical bombing part of the book only takes a few pages so don't select it as a piece of historical fiction about the bombing. This 210 page book is a multiple award winner.

Bellairs, John. The eyes of the killer robot

Bellairs, John. The eyes of the killer robot. Penguin, 1986 [0-14-130062-0]
In another Johnny Dixon mystery, Johnny does not at first believe the story of his friend Professor Childermass about the insane inventor who invented an evil baseball-pitching robot. But soon Johnny keeps seeing things and the Professor wants to find the original robot so they are off on an adventure looking for robot. Of course they find the old robot and put it together. Little did they know when they inserted the robot's eyes, it would start an evil chain of events. This 167 page book is an upper elementary suspense story, not as "evil" as some of his other books.

Pinkwater, Daniel. Looking for Bobowicz

Pinkwater, Daniel. Looking for Bobowicz. HarperCollins, 2004 [0-06-053554-7]
Once again we enter the strange world of Daniel Pinkwater's mind (I would love to meet him over a drink sometime.) Nick and his family move from the suburbs to urban Hobokan. There his bike is quickly stolen by a mysterious Phantom (who no one will talk about), he meets two friends, a diskjockey at a independent radio station, and reads of Bobowicz in old newspaper clippings. Bobowicz had a 6 foot chicken who once terrorized the neighborhood. Nick sets out to find the mysterious Phantom (and his bike) and this Mr. Bobowicz and his strange chicken. This 200 page book is a fun read with Pinkwater's zany sense of humor.