Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stewart, Paul and Chris Riddell. Clash of the Sky Galleons [Edge Chronicles #9]

Stewart, Paul and Chris Riddell. Clash of the Sky Galleons [Edge Chronicles #9]. David Fickling, 2007 [978-0-375-83742-5]
Quint's father, the great Sky Pirate goes out on a mission to find and kill the person who burnt his estate, thus killing his whole family. The leagues have been planning for years to get rid of the sky pirates and when Quint and his father are away with his crew, the leagues make their final plans. This 412 page book ends with the big battle. Will the Wind Jackal (Quint's father) kill his enemy? Who will win the massive sky batter between the sky pirates and the leagues? Will Quint have to forget his studies and spend the rest of his life as a sky pirate? This is what appears to be a great wrap-up of the series (although it is not stated as such.) There is an epilogue at the end of the book which follows up on things years later which makes me think this is the end of this series. This series is an interesting and creative group of stories that has thoroughly engages a group of my students. I just LOVE the illustrations.

Prose, Francine. Bullyville

Prose, Francine. Bullyville. HarperCollins, 2007 [978-0-06-057497-0]
Although they work in the same office, Bart's parents are separated in their marriage. One day Bart is sick so his mom stays home from work. That day is 9-11 and his dad dies in attack on the World Trade Center. Not only do Bart and his mom have to deal with the death of his father, they also have to deal with that his parents had separated. A local, exclusive private school offers a scholarship for Bart to attend. Around town the kids know Baileywell School as Bullyville. Bart does'nt want to go but his mom thinks it is a great opportunity. Sure enough Bart gets secretly bullied. How much can Bart take? If he acts out against the Bully, who will the school punish? When Bart volunteers at a hospital he gets very friendly with a young girl. Who is this girl? I had thought this 260 page novel would be a simple story of bullying but it is so much more. This is a wonderfully written, multi-dimensional novel.

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a wimpy kid [#2]: Rodrick rules

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a wimpy kid [#2]: Rodrick rules. Amulet, 2008 [978-08109-9473-7]
This is the second Diary of Greg in this series. In fun or silly story, Greg enters Middle School and has to deal with his older brother Rodrick and his baby Manny. He makes friends with Rowley at school (or rather Rowley makes friends with him.) This is a funny story printed on lined pages in handwriting like a diary with many simple line drawings. It is just a fun 216 page book and I can see why the first book diary (which I have on order) was such a big hit. We all need fun and silly books sometimes and this is one.

Lowry, Lois. Gossamer

Lowry, Lois. Gossamer. Yearling, 2006 [[978-0-385-73416-5]
This 154 page book is a very comforting story. It tells the story of little creatures who provide nice dreams to people. They go around at night gathering memories from objects in the person's house by touching them. Then while the person is sleeping, they flutter up and bestow these memories on the sleeping person who then has pleasant dreams. This story centers around an elderly lady who takes in a foster child from a family with an abusive father. Of course there are also creatures which bestow bad memories to bestow on the people. The good dream creatures are always trying to outdo the nightmare-creating creatures. Although the beginning of the story is a little confusing until the reader figures out what is happening and who these creatures are, I found this story very pleasant.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wukesm Deborah. Each little bird that sings.

Wiles, Deborah. Each little bird that sings. Harcourt, 2005 [0-15-205113-9]
As as 10-year-old, Comfort Snowberger knows a lot about death because her family runs the only funeral home in her small southern town. First her grandfather dies, then her beloved great-great aunt dies soon after. Everyone loved Aunt Florentine so a big gathering is expected. Even though Comfort usually handles things well (she even write obituaries for the local paper), things aren't looking good Aunt Florentine's funeral. First she finds out she has to babysit her pain-in-the neck relative, Peach. Then her best friend starts acting weird and they have a fight. Then there is the big flood where her dog goes missing. This 247 page book is a heart-warming story about friendship and life in a small town. While it sounds depressing, the story is written in a lighthearted, friendly way. An enjoyable read.

Ibbotson, Eva. Not just a witch

Ibbotson, Eva. Not just a witch. Puffin, 2003 [0-14-240232-x]
Once again Ibbotson has written a wonderfully enjoyable book about witches. Here we a an "Animal Witch" who can turn people into animals and a "Stone Witch" who can turn people into stone. They are the best of friends until one day they both show up wearing the same snake hat. This causes a riff which drives them apart and each is waiting to for the other to apologize. Meanwhile they are both seeking out evil people to turn into animals or stone respectively. One day a furrier show up who finds out about the "Animal Witch's" power and he need fur to make a fortune but the " "Animal Witch" is protective about the animals she creates. Eventually he finds out about the "Stone Witch" and pretend to court them both to help him with a diabolical plan. Will the two witches see through him? Will he succeed in getting his snow leopards? This enjoyable 185 page book also has cute black and which illustrations.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Collard, Sneed B. God sense

Collard, Sneed B. God sense. Peachtree, 2005 [1-56145-351-x]
Guy is 13 when he and his mom move to Montana to move in with his Grandfather. Talk about culture shock.. Montana to California. Luke, a loner in school befriends Guy who eventually accepts his friendship. Meanwhile, the school bully, Brad is picking on them both, especially Luke. While Guy's grandfather is a little forgetful and is hard to get along with sometimes, he has lived in this town his whole life and he reads Guy well... giving him some advice. The who battle between Guy and Brad finally comes down to a Frisbee contest where there dog catches the Frisbee. Can Guy win the contest? Will Brad stop bullying them? This 176 page book is a tale about a school bully, friendship, grandparents, and single parent families, all wrapped in one.. it is also a good read.

Joseph, Frank S. To love mercy.

Joseph, Frank S. To love mercy. Mid-Atlantic Highlands, 2006 [0-9744785-3-9]
This is a tale of two boys (one white and one African American) in the years following World War II in Chicago. Steve (a Jewish white boy from Hyde Park) and his family go to the ball park and get hassled by some African American kids and one of them (Sass) accidentally gets hurt and Steve's family drops him off at the hospital. Steve and Sass end up going on an adventure trying to find something Steve's grandfather lost. This 290 page book illustrates the racism of the late 1940's in Chicago. It is nice to see how the boys eventually become friends (although very reluctantly at first.) Sass never has left the black section of towns and knows his boundaries in society and he keeps having to remind Steve of this. I found the book difficult to read because the author did not use any quotation marks when people are speaking. This being said, it is a good period piece to read. I purchased this because a parent recommended it to me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Westerfeld, Scott. Extras [Uglies #4]

Westerfeld, Scott. Extras [Uglies #4]. Simon Pulse, 2007 [1-4169-5117-2//978-1-4169-5117-9]
After book 3 we skip ahead a few years to begin book four. Now the people live in a community where the economy is based on prestige. Everyone has a rank which changes constantly with cameras and everyone spying on everyone, especially the more famous people. (In today's terms.. the more people who watch videos of you on Youtube, the better rank you have.) The better rank you have the better place you have to live in and so on. Well Aya's rank is low until she meets a group of girls who do risky stunts. While secretly filming them she comes across a bigger story which has huge implications for the world. Suddenly Aya shoots the group of highest ranks. Just as this all happens, Tally, from the last book appears to "save the world" again. Aya, Tally, and the risk-taking girls all have different ideas about what is happening. Can any of them trust anyone? Who is right? Is anyone right? This 417 page book is a great addition to this popular series. I am not sure if it is the end. The author is about to publish a "Guide to the Uglies" which also might be a good purchase if this series is popular with your students.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Heldring, Thatcher. Toby Wheeler: Eighth-grade benchwarmer

Heldring, Thatcher. Toby Wheeler: Eighth-grade benchwarmer. Delacorte, 2007 [978-0-385-73390-8]
Toby has always been happy (and pretty good at) picking up basketball games at the local rec center while his friend, JJ is on the school team. JJ says that Toby is not good enough to play "real" ball on a regular team with a coach. For a long time Toby resists these comments but finally decides to join the school team to become a better friend with JJ. Well, a tryouts Toby doesn't do too well and he ends up on the bench.. but he wants to stick it out to prove the to hard-nosed coach what he can do. After a while he feels the coach doesn't like him.. and to top it off...Toby has eyes on a girl at school. Before long he finds out that the girl is the coach's daughter. Can Toby get off the bench? Is it stupid to give his attentions to the coach's daughter? Will he ever get off the bench and prove to JJ and the coach what a good player he is? Read this 211 page book to find out. The story deals with friendship, sports, and coming of age.. something every boy at this age can relate to.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Meyer, Stephanie. New Moon

Meyer, Stephanie. New Moon [#2].Little Brown, 2006 [0-316-16019-9//978-0-316-16019-3]
Book two of this series starts off with Edward and his family of vampires have moved away for various reasons and Bella, who is head-over-heels in love with Edward is crushed. The first third of this 563 page book is slow with Bella trying to deal with her loss and begins to get closer to a long-time friend from the reservation. Jake, this friend, has started hanging out with a strange group and is changing himself. Slowly she figures out that they have become a band of werewolves. These werewolves are committed to clearing the area of vampires.... one of which from book one has come back to kill Bella. The action suddenly picks up as Edward misunderstands that Bella has died and he can't live without her. The last part of a book involves Edward's family and Bella from rescuing him from getting himself killed. After that situation is resolved they come back to Washington and Bella realizes that there is major conflict between Edward (and the vampires) and Jake (and the werewolves. This is a good continuation of the series but some readers of the first book may put it down during the slow initial part of this story.

Horowitz, Anthony. Snakehead

Horowitz, Anthony. Snakehead [Alex Rider #7],Philomel, 2007 [978-0-399-24161-1]
Once again we return to Alex Rider... falling out of the sky from his last adventure (in space) and the Australians pick him up and convince him to go on a mission for them. The bargaining chip that convinces Alex is that he will be working with a friend of his parents and the last person to see them alive. This adventure has them posing as a Pakistani man trying to sell his son into the underground. As you may imagine Alex runs in the British M6 and some old acquaintances. At this point Alex also gets involved is trying to stop a madman who wants to explode a mega bomb in a fault of the Pacific to create a major tsunami, thus killing 10s of thousands of people. The first part of the book is the usual Alex Rider stuff.. him running around.. in danger, blowing up things.. getting away, etc. In fact I was starting to get tired of it all... too much like the others.. but the second half of this 385 page book gets more exciting and very different, so as a whole I enjoyed the book. Horowitz is doing a good job of keeping these stories fresh.