Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rinaldi, Ann. Mutiny's daughter

Rinaldi, Ann. Mutiny's daughter. HarperCollins, 2004 [0-06-029638-0]
This is historical fiction with the emphasis on the fiction. Rinaldi paints a "what-if" tale after the Mutiny on the Bounty. Fletcher Christian has returned on England in hiding and has brought his half Polynesian daughter who is masquerading as his brother's (her Uncle) daughter. The daughter (Mary) ends up attending an exclusive private school for girls and one girl finds out who Mary really is and begins blackmailing her. Meanwhile Mary is trying to find her father who is in hiding. The opening of this 218 page book is slow but the story picks up considerably near the end. It is not one of Rinaldi's best works.

Burchac, Joseph. Skeleton man

Bruchac, Joseph. Skeleton man. HaperCollins, 2001 [0-06-029075-7]
Molly begins having dreams about a Mohawk legend with a gruesome skeleton man. One day her parents disappear and she is put in the care of an "Uncle" who she never knew she had. She begins finding strange things at her "Uncle's" home. A teacher realized how upset she is and tries to help. Can the dreams of the Skeleton man help Molly. Who is this "Uncle" and what happened to her parents? This 114 page book is a great suspenseful tale.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fusco, Kimberly Newton. Tending Grace

Fusco, Kimberly Newton. Tending Grace. Knopf, 2004 [0-375--82862-1]
Fourteen-year-old Cornelia's mother is a free spirit and one day drops her off at her Aunt's ramshackle farm so the mother and her boyfriend can find better things in Arizona. The Aunt is a rough and tumble lady who lives on a farm. Cornelia rarely speaks because of her stuttering. This 167 page book is the story of Cornelia and her Aunt learning to get along while Cornelia continually waits for her mother to return. Aunt Agatha's no-nonsense approach to Cornelia's stuttering also makes Agatha face some troubles in her life. This book has a great deal of white space on the pages between the chapters, so is easy to read with short chapters. It might be a good read aloud. That being said, it is not a topic that an elementary student might like or follow. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am sure many kids in my middle school will also.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Paolini, Christopher. Eldest

Paolini, Christopher. Eldest. Knopf, 2005 [0-375-82670-x]
In book two of this series Eragon, the young rider and his dragon go north for training. Meanwhile his cousin, still in their hometown tries to defend the village against the Empire and the dreaded Ra'zac. They end up leaving the village heading south we the entire village along with Eragon, his dragon Saphria, the dwarfs and other characters try to fight off the terrible King Galbatorix. Will the king be able to stop the resistance? Will Eragon and Saphira escape? This is a VERY meaty fantasy..680 pages of difficult reading. I had to stop and look up words in the dictionary. For your high level readers who like high fantasy, this trilogy is for them! Thank God it has a defined number of books. I hate endless series. (After another series of big books.. kids will pick up thick books now.) By the way.. a movie is under production as we speak. I always like to see how dragons are visualized in book illustrations and movies.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harrison, Mette Ivie. The monster in me.

Harrison, Mette Ivie. The monster in me. Holiday House, 2003 [0-82341713-1]
Natalie is sent to another foster home. She has frequent nightmares. There are two children in the foster home who don't get along and of course neither likes having Natalie around. These new foster parents try to keep things calm. Meanwhile the reader slowly finds out that Natalie's mom is still alive and is in a drug treatment center. One day the counselor shows up and tells Natalie that her mom wants to visit with her. Now that Natalie has finally found a family she fits in with, does she want to go back to her mom eventually? This 156 page book is full of problems and choices for Natalie.

Philbrick, Rodman. The young man and the sea

Philbrick, Rodman. The young man and the sea. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2004 [0-439-36829-4]
Skiff lives alone with his drunken father since his mother died. His father's drinking began when his mother died. His father once was a great fisherman and harpooner. Now their boat has sunk from lack of maintenance. Skiff is teased at school by one of the rich kids at school. When he hears of a contest to catch the biggest fish, Skiff takes their small boat to sea to catch the winning fish. It is a major trial at sea (hence the book title.) Will he catch the fish? With the money to fix the boat will his father face his problems? This 191 page book is a good read.