Sunday, June 24, 2007

Taylor, Theodore. Billy the Kid

Taylor, Theodore. Billy the Kid. Harcourt, 2005 [0-15-204930-4]
Billy "the Kid" Bonny was sitting outside a saloon one day and he gets involved in a argument with a father and two sons, one of which Billy wounds. Before long they are teamed together to rob a train. After the train robbery the sheriff goes after them and the sheriff happens to be a childhood friend of Billy. This 208 page book is a good wild west story but I am not sure how many students want to read wild west stories these days. Unfortunately the story is totally made up and not based on anything that happened to Billy the Kid. The author explains in the end notes that he did make up the story because he liked the character of Billy the Kid. I am not sure why an author would call a character by a historical figure's name and then precede to use no facts.... other than to sell books.

Higson, Charlie. SilverFin [Young Bond #1]

Higson, Charlie. SilverFin [Young Bond #1]. Hyperion/Miramax, 2005 [0-7868-3866-3]
This is a series about the growing up of James Bond. (Text is copyrighted by Ian Fleming Publications.) In the first book, James is an orphan who is going to school at Eton and runs into a bully rich kid. On his vacation, James goes to Scotland and again runs into the rich kid an his father who has fixed up an old castle and is doing something strange there. James and a friend investigate the disappearance of a local boy and end up at the castle where the rich kid's father appears to be a maniacal scientist with a horrible plan. This 335 page book is a great and thrilling adventure story which takes place in that calm period between World War I and II. There is at least another book in the series and I can't wait to read it. I had not hear of this book until one of my students asked me to purchase it. I always listen to recommendations.

Lubar, David. Dog days

Lubar, David. Dog days. Darby Creek, 2004 [1-58196-025-5]
Larry loves baseball and also stray dogs. This summer he currently has three that he is trying to find a home for but the cost of dog food keeps going up. He has to pay for it because his parents cn barely pay the bills. Larry is always looking for ways to earn money with chores, etc. One day Paul,. his little brother, pulls Larry off the baseball field because he found a dog in an alley with "blood on the wall." When they arrive, there is red stuff on the wall and the dog growls at Larry which is weird because most dogs love him. Over the next few days while Larry is looking for new ways to pay for dog food, they go by the alley and sometimes find the growling dog with fresh spots on the wall and sometimes he is not there. What is with the dog? What are the reoccurring stains on the wall? Will Larry end up taking in a new dog? If so, how can he pay for the food? I only purchased this easy 78 page book because I like the author's writing. It could be used for high interest/low level reading since Larry's age is not mentioned.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies

Westerfeld, Scott. Pretties [Uglies #2] Simon Pulse, 2005 [0-689-86539-2//978-0-689-86539-8]
In the second of this trilogy, Tally has had the pretty operation along with Shay. They are now living in the city world of pretties. David and his parents are still free and living with some other people outside the city. Tally has fallen in love with a new pretty, Zane. One of David's gang smuggle in the double-pill "cure" which the plan all along. In a rush to prevent capture, Tally and Zane each swallow one pill. They have fun becoming bubbly and finally escaping from the city (and Dr. Cable's gang of Specials.) Will Zane's headache's stop? Will Zane and Tally find David? What about Shay? This 370 page book once again has its high and low points. It took me a while to get into the story for a while..but then again I had read other books in between. This is a adventuresome sci-fi trilogy which appears to be REALLY a trilogy with the final book, "Specials." Several kids in my school are already into it and mostly because they got the books on their own. Next year I will promote it more.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Rennison, Louise. Startled by his furry shorts

Rennison, Louise. Startled by his furry shorts [#7 Confessions of Georgia Nicolson]. HarperTempest, 2006 [0-06-085385-3//0-06-085385-9]
The girls in your library who have been loving this series will just eat up this one also. Once again Georgia is falling in and out of love the Dave the Laugh, and two other love gods. Her fascination with the opposite sex and snogging continues as she continues to gossip about her and her friends escapades with her girl friends. Rennison continues to write in the fun and inventive way which has a way of hooking her readers. This book 278 page book though, I was about to say amounted to nothing until the l reached the last five pages. The largest bulk of the book is the silly rambling of Georgia and her wacky mind until the reader reaches the last few pages and the plot suddenly twists in several directions making you die for the next book. Louise Rennison has me (and I imagine all her readers) wrapped around her finger with her inventive writing.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Booth, Martin. Doctor Illuminatus [The Alchemist's son #1]

Booth, Martin. Doctor Illuminatus [The Alchemist's Son #1] Little Brown, 2004 [0-316-01285-8]
Pip and his brother Tim move into an old English estate with their family and run into a strange boy, Sebastian. He turns out to be the son of a alchemist from the Middle Ages and has been asleep for many years. It is his job to stop an evil alchemist from making a homunculs (artificial human.) Of course Sebastian enlists the help of Pip and Tim to fight the evil madman. This 183 page book is evil and dark. It reminded me of a cross between Harry Potter and John Bellair's books.

Friedman, D. Dina. Escaping into the night

Friedman, D. Dina. Escaping into the night. Simon & Schuster, 2006 [1-4769-0258-9/978-1-4169-0258-4]
Halina, a 13 year-old-girl lives in the Polish ghetto and barely is able to get smuggled out of town before the German come to round everyone up. She and her friend make it to an underground forest encampment were a group of Jews struggle to stay alive. This 199 page book is the harsh tale of a scared and confused people struggling to survive. The story is based on actual historical events which happened in the many underground forest encampments which saved many Jews from the Nazis during World War II.

Codell, Eme Raji. Diary of a fairy godmother

Codell, Esme Raji. Diary of a fairy godmother. Hyperion, 2005 [0-7868-0965-5]
Hunky Dory (yes that's her name) comes from a long, proud family of witches. She goes to Harbings Charm School for Young Witches because the family could not afford to send her to a school like Hogwarts. Unfortunately likes doing nice things for people and "fairy godmother" is a bad word in her school. Eventually she get throw out of school for casting good charms and tries to become a fairy godmother. This 170 page book is a very entertaining read with a lot of humor along with little snippets of well-know fairy tales throughout. This is a good something-like-Harry-Potter-book although nowhere not as meaty a read.

Crutcher, Chris. Whale talk

Crutcher, Chris. Whale talk. Laurel-Leaf, 2001 [0-440-22938-3]
T.J. is one of a group of odd athletes put together to form a HS swim team. To top it off, he is an adopted African American crack baby who has spent many years in counseling. This is a book of people dealing with adversity. T.J.'s father accidentally killed a child, T.J. is a great athlete who does not like organized sports, the HS feels T.J. feels he has let the school down by not participating in sports. Some of the usual jocks in the football team do not like T.J. and by a quirk, he and his family ends up becoming the foster family for the family of one of these abusive jocks. This 220 page book is a heart-wrenching tale of a large, colorful cast of characters all dealing with their problems in different ways. The swim team has a great collection of members. This is a powerful and harsh book.. maybe too many of the characters have to struggle with adversities, but it is great read. Be aware that there is some harsh language (including the f-word), but not overdone in my mind.