Saturday, February 27, 2010

Williams, Suzanne Morgan. Bull Rider

Williams, Suzanne Morgan.Bull rider. Margaret McElderry Books, 2009 [1+4169-6130-5 / 978-1-4169-6130-7]
Cam lives for his skateboard and his older brother, Ben, is championship bull rider. Ben goes of to war in Iraq and comes back after being terrible wounded by an I.E.D. The family pulls together to try and help Ben. Although he is too young, Cam hatches a plan to secretly ride a nasty bull in a contest (while being underage) to help his brother. His mother will get very mad if she finds out he is riding bulls. This 241 page book is the story of a family sticking together to help one of its own. The reader learns what it is like to be a wounded war vet. I liked most of the the ending, all except one part, which I will let you read to find out. This is a good book.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bauer, A.C.E. No castles here.

Bauer, A.C.E. No castles here. Random House, 2007 [978-0-375-83921-4]
Augie is eleven years old and lives in rough, and run down Camden, NJ. There he daily has to face the harsh realities of drug dealers and s school with constant budget cuts and is falling appart. His life is not easy when his mom finds him a big brother. He likes Walter until he finds out that Walter has a male partner. He eventually gets around to accepting Walter for the nice person he is. (This is a VERY small part of the story but needs to be mentioned.) One day Augie travels to Philadelphia a finds a magical book. The story of this book is interwoven with the story of his life in Camden. During the winter, the pipes break in his school and there is much damage. Can Augie and Walter get the run-down community to care enough about the school to save it? This 210 page book is the story of a boy facing a harsh life in a tough city which is intermingled with a magical fairy story. It is a interesting read.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cooney, Caroline B. Code Orange

Cooney, Caroline B. Code orange. LaurelLeaf, 2007 [978-0-385-73260-4]
Ms. Cooney has done it again with the book of a current topic that grabs the reader. Mitty's class is doing reports on diseases and he chooses small pox. His mom is a decorator and she buys old books that people can display in the rooms she designs. Instead of going to the library one day Mitty decides to go through a pile of these old book and he finds one of. Not only does it have good information but it contains an old envelope with a handwritten label. "Scabs from 1905 outbreak." (I am not sure of the year.) He opens the envelope and removes some of the old dried scabs which crumble in his hand. Thinking he may have infected himself he goes on the Internet asking if old Small Pox scabs could infect you. Well.. two groups suddenly become interested in his postings: the Federal Government, and terrorist who may want to spread small pox. This 200 page book is a GREAT read. It also has a study guide at the end.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Henderson, J.A. Bunker 10

Henderson, J.A. Bunker 10. Harcourt, 2007 978-0-15-206240-8]
The book takes place in a secret military installation which the author states from the start that no one will get out alive. At this facility are a group of genius kids who are being watched by the military and aided by other scientists to work on whatever projects they wish. Obviously something goes terribly wrong since the author starts out saying that no one gets out alive. The reader is thrown into a volatile situation for which the author gives two different premises. One is.. that everyone in the installation is really just a character in a extremely advanced computer training installation. The other is that some people in the installation are involved in time travel. This 253 page book keeps the reader guessing (and confused) right to the end. There are some sophisticated concepts in the so I am not sure how elementary students will hand it. I did not like most of the book but I have to admit the ending was interesting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Stead, Rebecca. When you reach me

Stead, Rebecca. When you reach me. Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2009 [978-0385-73742-5]
It is the 1970's and a twelve-year-old girl helps prepare her mom to appear on the show, $20,000 Pyramid. The girl starts getting mysterious notes from someone who appears to know what will happen in the future. Meanwhile her best childhood friend gets up by a strange neighborhood boy and suddenly they are no longer best of friends. Then there is a strange homeless man on the street which she tries to avoid every day on the way home from school. This 197 page book multi-dimensional book which actually centers around time travel. It is not your usual, "hop in a time machine" type book but a sophisticated discussion of time travel and its implications. I am not sure what the audience is for this book. I was not enthused while reading it but everything kind of wrapped up nicely at the end. Kids will read it because it won the Newbery Medal but will they like it? We will see.