Sunday, October 21, 2007

Peck, Richard. Here lies the librarian

Peck, Richard. Here lies the librarian. Penguin, 2006 [978-0-14-240908-4]
Richard Peck has once again crafted a humorous tale of that time just before World War I (as he did in "A year down yonder", and "Along way from Chicago".) This story opens with a tornado upearthing some people in a graveyard so the graveyard is mentioned throughout the story. The 142 page book is mainly about a brother a sister having a garage at the start of the car era and as usual, is full of humor and interesting characters. Four girls rich girls come right out of library school to revive the town's closed library. This colorful story involves a rivalry between the two garages in town, a car race, and these girls setting up and promoting their newly reopened library. It is a colorful and enjoyable piece of historical writing.

Larbalestier, Justine. Magic or madness

Larbalestier, Justine. Magic or madness. RozorBill, 2005 [1-59514-022-0]
Ever since Reason has been born, she and her mother have been on the run in , staying away from her grandmother, who her mother called a witch. When her mother goes crazy, Reason is sent to her only living releative, her grandmother. Reason is very suspicious of everything about her grandmother so from the first day, she makes plans to run away when she can. She finds a strange key which opens a door in her grandmother's house (in Sydney) to New York city. There she finds out about the magic which runs her family and the people have a choice to either use the magic and die early or go mad from using the magic. When Reason finally gets back to Australia, she understands about her mother and grandmother. This 271 page book has a glossary of Australian words. I liked this story.. it is not just about magic and/or witchcraft, but it makes you think also.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Luupica, Mike. Travel team

Lupica, Mike. Travel team. Philomel, 2004 [0-399-24150-7]
Danny is short, but one of the best basketball players in town and his father was also short who became a basketball celebrity until a car accident. When Danny reaches 7th grade he tries out for the travel basketball team and he (along with others) is shocked when he does not make the team. His father, since divorced from his mom, has become a kind of drifter and decides to start his own team with Danny as the star. This 274 is a complex sports story, not one full of accounts of games.If you don't have them, you have to have Lupica's sports books for your library. The kids love them.

Canales, Viola. The tequila worm

Canales, Viola. The tequila worm. Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2005 [0-385-74674-1]
The is the coming of age story of Sofia, a young Mexican-American girl. The story talks much of the culture and life style of Mexican-Americans and I feel is a most likely a partially autobiographical work. This is 199 page is a good experiential book although I would have preferred it more if there were a glossary to define the many Spanish language terms used.

Weeks, Sarah. Jumping the scratch

Weeks, Sarah. Jumping the scratch. Harper/Collins, 2006 [978-0-06-054109-5 // 0-06-054109-1]
After his aunt has a brain injury, his mom and Jaimie move into the Aunt's trailer to help her get along until as the doctors say, her memory can "jump the scratch." While there, Jaime meets a friend, Audrey who helps him find his own "scratch" in his memory. This 167 page book is a powerful story which is a good read.

Avi. Crispin, at the edge of the world

Avi. Crispin, at the edge of the world. Hyperion, 2006 [0-7868-5152-x]
In the tradition of the first Crispin story, Avi has written another exciting adventure tale in Middle Ages Great Britain. In continuation of the first story, Crispin and Bear are wandering around not wanting to be captured again. Soon after Bear is seriously wounded, they meet up with deformed girl who helps them and they eventually take under their wing. This 234 page book is another strong story written in the style of the first book. It stands alone as a book of its own, but it does mention the first book so the reader would have a more full experience if they do read both in order.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Riordan, Rick. The lighning thief. #1

Riordan, Rick. The lightning thief [Olympians #1] Hyperion, 2005 [0-7876-5629-7]
WOW this is an incredible mixing of current fiction with myth. The story opens with Percy being thrown out of yet another private school because of strange thing happening around him. He slowly realized that his non-present father is someone special. He ends up in a camp for children of Greek Gods and his father is one of the three major Greek gods who are about to have a war with each other. It is Percy's quest to return a stolen treasure and stop the war. This 375 page book is the first of a page-turning trilogy. And yes, it is a trilogy, only three books are planned (and I think already written.) OOPS - just found out book 4 is in the works. This book may grab your Harry Potter fans. It also may start a real interest in Green Mythology so hopefully you have the materials to support it. Don't miss this one!

Koss, Amy Goldman. Poison Ivy

Koss, Amy Goldman. Poison Ivy. Roaring Brook, 2006 [1-59643-118-0]
Ms. Gold decides to run a mock trial for her HS American government class. Unfortunately the subject of the trial is not "mock" but rather the bullying by three girls of one girl in the class since they were in fourth grade. The story is told by all the participants of the trial. It is a heart-wrenching story which demonstrates the long-reaching and subtle effects of bullying. Initially I did not like the ending of this 166 page book, but looking back, it is really the only possible ending. Mrs. Koss really knows how to get into the heads of kids and their perspectives.