Saturday, November 26, 2005

Alexander, Lloyd. The Gawgon and the Boy

Alexander, Lloyd. The Gawgon and the Boy. Puffin, 2001 [0-14-250000-3]
We are in Philadelphia in the late 1920s. David becomes too sick to go to school so his elderly aunt (whom he nicknames Gawgon after the Gargon) volunteers to tutor him. The Gawgon mixes all his lessons into one and makes education interesting to David. David's eleven-year-old imagination takes him on journeys in his mind which intermingle his lessons and his interesting family. Of course the depression hits too! This 199 page book is a wonderful story intermingled with creative glimpses at the past.

Hiaasen, Carl. Flush

Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. Knopf, 2005 [0-375-82182-1]
Noah's father is an idealist who has a problem with anger. He figures out that a local casino boat is dumping it's sewage in the marina, polluting the marina, beach, and a wildlife sanctuary soooooooo he pulls the plugs on the boat and it sinks. The story opens with dad in jail (not the first time.) Years before Noah's grandfather was reported dead in Columbia. Now the reader is entangled in a web of mystery and plots to prove Dad innocent, and foil the casino operator. This 263 books is a fun adventure/mystery book in which we meet, two wise-guy kids, a drunk, his girlfriend, corrupt local officials, and a tough casino operator. I think I enjoyed this one even more than Hoot.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Salisbury, Graham. Lord of the deep

Salisbury, Graham. Lord of the deep. Laurel-Leaf, 2003 [0-440-22911-1]
Mikey lives with his mom and his step-dad, Bill, who he greatly admires. He is now 13 and can go out with Bill on his charter boat. Bill is known as the best charter boat skipper on the islands. The first trip Mikey goes on Bill has two high-roller clients who want to catch big fish. Mikey sees how his beloved step father is treated by these high-paying clients. Can teenager Mikey understand what the pressures luring more clients lead Bill to do? This 182 page book explores youthful idealism and how it may clash with honesty, reality and money.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Snicket, Lemony. The penultimate peril [#12]

Snicket, Lemony.The penultimate peril [#12]. HarperCollins, 2005 [0-06-441015-3]
We are now on book #12 and I am officially tired of this series! It looks like it will end with #13. This adventure takes the orphans go to Hotel Denoument where they can spy on the villains in concierge disguises. The hotel is arranged according to the Dewey Decimal system. For example educators go to room 371 and Indians are in 954. Here the Baudelaire orphans run into many characters from the previous books and of course Count Olaf appears. This 353 page book was a good recap of all the characters in the previous books before the (hopefully) last and 13th volume.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Heuston, Kimberley. Dante's daughter

Heuston, Kimberley. Dante's daughter. Front Street, 2003 [1-886910-97-9]

Here we have a piece of historical fiction taking place in Italy during the 14th century. The story is centered around Dante's daughter (of which little is known.) The reader learns of life during these early times of the Italian city-states. We see Florence attacked several times. Dante has to flee frequently because of his outspoken political views. Once he takes his daughter to Paris for several years. We learn the ups and downs of the Dante family and what it took out of him to write his major works. This 302 page book is not only a work of historical fiction about a period and place I knew little, but also the tale of the artistic process (both literature and painting.)

Sleator, William. The boy who couldn't die

Sleator, William. The boy who couldn't die. Harry Abrams, 2004 [0-8109-4284-9]

After his best friend Ken dies in a plane crash, Ken decides that he will not die. He goes to a lady who performs black magic on him so he will not die. To test it out he travels to the Caribbean where he swims with sharks. There he meets a girl who understands him and the voodoo magic and convinces him he has to get the spell uncast. Ken realizes that while he sleeps, the lady who cast the spell has control over him and has him kill people. On the trip to recover his soul, they begin an adventure where they run travel to get back Ken's soul and run into other undead people. This is a great suspense tale and also a discussion starter but you must beware that there is discussion of black magic in this 162 page book.