Monday, October 27, 2008

Rennison, Louise. Love is a many trousered thing [#8]

Rennison, Louise. Love is a many trousered thing [Georgia Nicolson #8] HarperCollins, 2007 [978-0-06-085389-1]

Georgia (now in 10th grade) continues in her hilarious romantic adventures. In this book she has “gone to the bakery of love” and can’t decide between two cakes (possibly three.) She has once again gotten entangled with both Robbie and Masimo. And why is “Dave the Laugh”, her long-time friend always in her mind? Of there is the adventure of the camping trip with her German teacher. In this 265 page book Rennison has, for the 8th time, gotten her readers all enwrapped in the love antics of this silly British girl. The readers of this series will not be disappointed. Rennison has a gold mine here… where is the movie?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a wimpy kid: Do-it-yourself book

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a wimpy kid : Do-it-yourself book. Amulet Books, 2008 978-0-8109-7977-2]
I was excited when I saw another "Wimpy Kid" book and did not read about it. This book is an activity book. It has games, fill-in-the-blank activities, blank pages to be written in, and a few cartoons. It will be problematic for a library… it is crying out to be written in. I will not put it on my shelf, but will give it out as some kind of prize. It would be a great present.

Haig. Matt. The dead fathers club

Haig. Matt. The dead fathers club. Penguin, 2006 [978-0-14-311294-5]
Not long after eleven-year-old Philip’s father dies in an accident, his ghost appears and asks him to avenge his death. The ghost tells Philip to watch out for his Uncle who plans to take over his Dad’s bar and marry his wife. This Uncle Alan comforts Philip’ s mom, revitalizes the bar, and moves in wanting to marry her. Meanwhile Alan hates him and is trying to kill him so his dead father can rest in peace. As as if this is not enough, Philip has to deal with school bullies, a girl friend, and wondering if his father’s ghost is telling the truth. This 328 page book is a suspenseful ghost story that makes the reader want to keep reading but it has one problem. The author writes without using quotation marks. That, combined with the British accent makes this great ghost story a struggle to read. It totally turned me off to an excellent story.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hannigan, Katherine. Ida B.

Hannigan, Katherine. Ida B. Harper Trophy, 2004 [978-0-06-0732026-0 // 0-06-073026-9]
Nine or ten-year-old Ida has a wonderful life being home schooled on a farm in Wisconsin. She is full of spirit, a colorful character. When her mother gets cancer, Ida can no longer be home schooled and she is sent to the public school. To top that off the family must sell off part of her beloved orchard to pay for medical expenses. Ida becomes bitter but with the help of an understanding teacher and a caring family, she learns to deal with all the changes. This 246 page book is an emotional story of a colorful girl, full of full of spirit who has her life suddenly change. It is told in a beautiful style.. a must read. This one was recommended to me by a student.

Korman, Gordon. Schooled

Korman. Gordon. Schooled. Hyperion, 2007 [978-078685692-3 // 078685692-0]
Cap has grown up on a commune with his grandmother and has been home schooled there. He has had no contact with other children or the ways of the world. When his grandmother falls out of a tree Cap has to move into the home of a guidance counselor and her irritable daughter. Now he has to survive in public school. As a joke, he gets nominated and then elected President of the eighth grade class. Is this going to be a major disaster for caring, loving, and naïve Cap? Can he run the dance? Will he be able to handle the money for the dance? The reader soon gets totally wrapped around the character of this boy who doesn’t understand the world. You can’t help but love this 208 page book. This is Korman at his best… reminded me of his “A semester in the life of a garbage bag” and “Son of Interflux.”

Hershey, Mary. The on where the kid nearly jumps to his death and lands in California

Hershey, Mary. The one where the kid nearly jumps to his death and lands in California. RazorBill, 2007 [978-1-59514-150-7]
Alastair is bitter since his dad walked out and divorced his mom only to marry a rich woman in California. He is also mad because of the accident that left him with an artificial leg. Mom is in AA and her sponsor is a colorful woman who Alastair likes and respects. She is a lesbian. (This is only mentioned “as a matter of fact” – like the color of her hair - and there is no talk of partner or her life away from Alastair.) Mom sends Alastair to live with his dad and step-mom one summer for an eventful time where he meets a colorful swim coach and a gorgeous girl who acts in the Soaps. This 275 page book tells of the eventful summer with a very angry young man as he interacts with very colorful characters. Alastair tells this story and his perceptions of the situations are great to read.

Holmes, Sara Lewis. Letters from Rapunzel

Holmes, Sara Lewis. Letters from Rapunzel. HarperCollins, 2006 [978-0-06-078074-6 // 0-06-078074-6]
Cadence (who feels like Rapunzel, trapped in a tower) has a rough life trying to deal with her father’s illness and periodic treatments. This time her dad is away for a long time being treated for depression. When he was home, the father was a struggling writer and a loving father. After the father is sent away, Cadence finds part of a letter written by her father to a mysterious P.O. Box 5667. Cadence starts writing to this person, not knowing who it is. She never gets replies, but keeps writing. The 184 page book is mostly told through these letters. Cadence begins to deal with her life, but writing these letters (like a journal.) The story is slow at times but does have a satisfying ending. It is not a happy story. I think the cover and the title can be confusing and misleading. I am not sure how I feel about this book.

Hart, Alison. Gabriel's horses [Race to Freedom #1]

Hart. Alison. Gabriel’s horses [Race to Freedom Series #1] Peachtree, 2007 [978-1-56145-398-6 // 1-56145-398-6]
Gabriel is a 12 year-old slave on a Kentucky horse farm who dreams of becoming a jockey. When his father, a free man, enlists in the Civil War Army to earn money to purchase the freedom of his family, Gabriel is left to deal with the cruel horse trainer who took his fathers place on the farm. I luckily read this first book in the series, last because I am not sure I would continued with the others books – which are great. I don’t this the author found the voice of the characters until near the end of this 518 page book. Give this series a chance. It tells a side of the Civil War period that is not usually heard and also deals with the universal story of a young man fighting for his dreams and aspirations.

Jocelyn, Marthe. How it happened in Peach Hill

Jocely, Marthe. How it happened in Peach Hill. Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2007 [9780-375-83701-2]
Annie’s mother tells fortunes and can predict the future. Annie helps her with her “presentations.” They have left the carnival and now have broken out on their own, moving to Peach Hill. The truant officer notices that Annie is not going to HS so she forces her to go. Annie is becoming a young lady with her own mind and is upset how her participation with her mother affects her at school and around town. She can’t figure out how to separate herself from what her mother does. When her mother tries to scam a rich man in town, Annie sees that she has made a big mistake. This 232 page book tells the story of a young lady trying to bread away from the influence of her mother. It is full of colorful and interesting characters.

Hopkinson, Doborah. Into the Firestorm

Hopkinson, Deborah. Into the firestorm. Knopf, 2006 [0-375-93652-1]
Nicholas is an eleven-year-old orphan who runs away to San Francisco in 1906 ... poor timing! He just gets settled in a job when the earthquake hits. This 200 page book tells how Nicholas joins with his neighbors as they try to survive the terrible destruction. The earthquake isn’t as bad as the fires that follow afterward. Everyone is trying to move away from the fires which are spreading fast throughout the city. The reader gets wrapped up in the emotions of Nicholas helping others and his confused loyalty towards his new friends. This is a great historical, survival, action story.

Kadohata, Cynthia. Cracker

Kadohata, Cynthia. Cracker: the best dog in Vietnam. Atheneum, 2007 [978-1-4169-0637-7 // 1-4169-0637-1]
Rick is a soldier headed for Vietnam and wants to be in the dog corps. He is assigned to Cracker, a smart, independent and sometimes troublesome German Shepard. What follows is the touching story of a dog and his handler, told both by the soldier and the dog. The 312 book tells what it must have been like to be stationed in Vietnam as a dog handler. There are some historical notes at the end of the book. It is interesting that the does were considered by the military as equipment and at the end, surplus military equipment. Cracker supposedly has a vocabulary of 90 words and when the dog narrates the story, he only understands those 90 words as he understands them. This is a wonderful story, telling the harshness of war, and the devotion of a dog. The one thing I did not like was when one of the other dogs died, Cracker thought about how the other dog was going to a better place. I wish the author had stuck to the 90 word understanding instead of getting the dog to ponder theology. Overall it is a great book, telling of the war and devotion.