Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Griffiths, Andy. Just Wacky!

Griffiths, Andy. Just Wacky! Scholastic, 2000 [0-439-42473-9]
This book is one of several that tell of the funny adventures of Andy at home, school, and with his friends. It is episodic and silly, but is fun to read. For example the first chapter covers Andy trying to get a band aid off his face for picture day. He tries everything including a vacuum cleaner. He eventually gets it off but ends up cutting his face doing so and has to put on another band aid. There little silly drawings in the margins. This 204 page book reminded me of a kids' "I Love Lucy".. I almost was waiting to hear "waaaaaaaaa Ricky."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rifkin, L. The nine lives of Romeo Crumb: Life four

Rifkin, L. The nine lives of Romeo Crumb: Life four. Stratford Road, 2008 [978-0-9743221-9-3]
Now that that the Sticks (Domestics) have won their battle against the Alleys with the help of the mutants everything should be fine but they are not. Romeo runs into some mutant rats which blackmail him into getting some food for them. It messes with his head and he gets stranger.. no one likes him any more. Meanwhile a new cat, Vincent, arrives and some Alleys are teasing him. He goes through his nine lives in this one book. I liked the first book in this series but when the mutant animals started appearing, the series just started getting too weird for me. This 201 page book is once again weird. None of my students have been asking for the continuation of this series I doubt if I will be purchasing any more of this series when they come out (and they are being written slowly.) There are much better places to spend your money.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gaiman, Neil. The graveyard book

Gaiman, Neil. The graveyard book. Harper Collins, 2008 [978-0-06-053092-1]
WOW I have not been so totally wrapped up in a Newbery book since "The Giver." This book has the cerebral thrill of a great suspense book along with the lighthearted ghost story of Ibbotson. The book opens with a family being murdered by someone with a large knife and the baby gets away and crawls to a cemetery where the ghosts and ghouls raise him. We don't know who murdered the family or why. At the cemetery, the ghosts get a person to bring the child and deal with the physical things a ghost can not do. The reader soon finds out that this person is not usual person (we don't really find out about him to the very end.) The boy grows up to 14 in the cemetery when he starts to want revenge for the death of his family. I don't want to say what happens at the end of this 312 book. As I said before I got totally wrapped up in this story and it completely freaked me out one night. The illustrations are weird and freaky such as ones in "Stories to tell in the dark." Except for the initial knife murders there is nothing "inappropriate" for younger kids in this book, I recommend you elementary people should read the book before you purchase it. While there is a light-hearted ghost story aspect to it, this book is a cerebral thriller... like I say.. I was totally freaked out by it one night and had to stop reading it for that night. Hooray for the Newbery Committee for choosing a spectacularly memorable book!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Grey, Christopher. Leonardo's shadow.

Grey, Christopher. Leonardo's shadow. Atheneum, 2006 [978-1-4169-0543-1 // 1-4169-0543-X]
This is the story of Giacomo, Leonardo's servant (he really had a servant by this name.) The story takes place in Milan during the time when Leonardo was painting "The Last Supper." Not only does the reader get some fascinating facts and insights about Leonardo, he/she also learns what it was like to be a servant during that time. It was interesting to read how in debt Leonardo was and now his servant got people to pay to be painted in "The Last Supper." The reader gets some insight as to the personality of Leonardo in this 390 page book. It is a good piece of historical fiction along with being a good story. It was interesting to me how I had confused some things about Leonardo and Michelangelo. They were competing artists in the same time period. There are some historical notes at the end of the book.