Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Napoli, Donna Jo. The king of Mulberry Street

Napoli, Donna Jo. The king of Mulberry Street. Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2005 [0-385-75653-9]

It is 1892 and things are bad in Ireland so Dom’s mother smuggles him on a ship to America and tells him to make his way to Mulberry Street and to always listen.. learn by listening. After making his way through Ellis Island, he finds the hard life of an immigrant. One day he hears that people up-town will pay good money for a sandwich at lunch time so he starts a little empire in the street sandwich business. This 245 page book shows the harsh realities of being an immigrant in New York at the turn of the century.

Sheldon, Dyan. Confessions of a Hollywood star

Sheldon, Dyan. Confessions of a Hollywood star. Candlewick Press, 2006 [978-0-7636-3075-1]
In this follow-up to “Confessions of a teenage drama queen”, Lola has now graduated from High School, happy to finally be away from her competition in HS, Carla. A movie is going to be filmed in town and Carla will do anything to get into it. To top off everything, Carla is going to Europe for the summer (well at least until she hears about the movie.) This 202 page book is a collection of fun adventures as Lola and her friend try to get into the movie and outdo Carla. It reminded me a lot of the Lucy show on television (I know I am showing my age.) It is a fun read.

Peck, Richard. On the wings of heroes

Peck, Richard. On the wings of heroes. Dial, 2007 [978-0-8037-3081-6]
World War II engulfs the life and town in which Davy lives in Illinois. He brother joins the air force and his father served in the previous war. Everything is getting rationed. Richard Peck has once again written a pleasant narrative with his usual clever and funny anecdotes threaded throughout serious overlay of the war affecting a family and community. This 148 page book allows the reader to experience life during World War II rather than experience a complex plot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hiasen, Carl. Scat.

Hiaasen, Carl. Scat. Knopf, 2009 [978-0-375-837486-8]
Nick and his friend Marta go on a field trip to the swamp with the dreaded science teacher, Ms. Starch who disappears during a wildfire in the swamp on the trip. The school receives a notes saying that Ms. Starch has to attend to a family emergency and will be absent for a while. This starts a big adventure for Nick and Marta as the try to figure out what happened to their science teacher. They cross paths with an interesting cast of characters while trying to figure out what is going on. This 371 page book is a fun Florida ecology based mystery, similar to Hiaasen’s other books. This one involves the Florida panther.. and tracking it through it’s droppings (or scat.) I am sure this book will be as popular as he other ones.

Starmer, Aaron. DWEEB

Starmer, Aaron. DWEEB. Random House, 2009 [978-0-385-73705-0] Advanced reader’s copy
Denton, Wendell, Eddie, Elijah,and Bijay, all nerds, have noticed strange things happening at their Junior HS – everyone’s personality is changing. Besides these unusual happenings, the whole school is tense in expectation of the coming Idaho tests. One day the Vice Principal frames these kids and locks them in the basement of the school making them promise to study and get high scores on the test. This “team” begins to realize something strange is happening… and it has something to do with burgers. Will they solve the mystery? Who can they trust. This 229 page book is a silly adventure in an implausible situation. There are definitely some funny spots in the book but overall, I did not enjoy the book. I am sure kids will pick it up because of the title but the nerdy kids who are the heroes of the may not be the for audience for which the book is aimed. It will be interesting to hear the comments of the kids who read it. This is an advanced reader’s copy with an expected release in October 2009.

Yohalem, Eve. Escape under the forever sky

Yohalem, Eve. Escape under the forever sky. Chronicle Books, 2009 [978-8118-6653-8] Advanced reader’s copy
This book takes place in Ethiopia. Lucy’s mom has been appointed US Abassador to Ethiopia and is very involved in her job. Lucy is annoyed about how restrictive her mom is regarding, saying it is for her own good. Well… Lucy gets kidnapped and taken out into the wilds of Ethiopia. Lucy eventually escapes and has to use her experience and knowledge from reading of Ethopia to help her survive and hopefully get back to her family. This 220 page book is a great survival story in an unusual setting also involving an struggling relationship between a mom and her daughter. It was a good read. This was an advance reader’s copy, not yet published.

Poblocki, Dan. The stone child

Poblocki, Dan. The stone child. Random House, 2009 [978-0-375-84254-2] Advanced reader's copy
Eddie’s family moves to the town of his favorite author. The town is dark, strange and creepy with an evil presence and the author appears to be missing. The people in the town hold the author responsible for the strange things happening in town. Eddie and his friends investigate. After his mother gives him a journal written in code by the author, he realizes that this journal might hold the clues to save the town from the evil. Eddie and his friends try to break the code and get more and more involved in the evil enwrapping the town. This 274 page book is a great suspense book dealing with evil. It reminded me a great deal of John Bellair’s early books, although it is a little more evil. There are large blocks of text written in a handwritten font which I found VERY difficult to read. This was a advanced reader's book so hopefully they will have changed that for the final edition. Expected publication date is August 2009.

Wells,Rosemary. Red moon at Sharpsburg.

Wells, Rosemary. Red moon at Sharpsburg. Viking, 20097 [978-0-670-03638-7]
It is at the start of the Civil War and India’s school closes. Because she is a smart girl, her family gets her a tutor. Eventually her father turns up missing so India goes to find him. She eventually finds herself in the midst of the Battle of Antietam. This book is very descriptive in telling about the horrors the Civil war, the medical practices and how it divides the people. It is not for the light-hearted. This 236 page book is great historical fiction for middle school. It includes a bibliography and author notes at the end.