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Showing posts from September, 2011

13 Curses

I read Michelle Harrison's 13 Treasures (my review) this summer and enjoyed the way it gave a different spin on old Faerie lore and for the main characters of Tanya and Fabian. I was interested to see where the story would go next and when our library received its copies of 13 Curses I was eager to get a hold of one. I didn't enjoy it as much as the first.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The 13 Treasures have become the 13 Curses. When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Now trapped in the fairy realm, she begs to be seen before the fairy court where she strikes a bargain: Her brother in exchange for all thirteen charms from Tanya's bracelet. Back at Elvesden Manor, Red, Tanya, and Fabian begin a desperate hunt, but as they soon find out, the fairies have done more than hide the charms; they've enchanted them with twisted qualities of the thirteen treasures they represent. And the longer the charms are missing, the more dangerous they become. Can Re…

Ultraviolet

I became a fan of R.J. Anderson's books when I read her Faerie series earlier this year. (my reviews here and here) I was very excited about the release of Ultraviolet, particularly as it was going to be a different sort of book. I was eager to see what Anderson would do with a different concept. This book did not disappoint. It was an engrossing, thought provoking, and entertaining read. When I write reviews I like them to be somewhat substantive and not just, "Wow this book was great, I loved it, go read it." It is going to be more of a challenge to do that for this book because saying much about the book is difficult without mentioning spoilers. I shall try my best though.

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful with deft fingers, a quick mind, and a charm that impressed everyone she met. Her parents adored her, her teachers praised her, and her schoolmates admi…

A True Princess

A True Princess by Diane Zahler combines several tales and Faerie lore to tell the story of a princess and a quest. It is not one I found particularly enjoyable but is a book that would probably find a home in the hands of young princess and fairy tale enthusiasts.

Synopsis: (From Goodreads):
Twelve-year-old Lilia is not a very good servant. In fact, she's terrible! She daydreams, she breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee. With her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina, beside her, Lilia heads north to find the family she's never known. But danger awaits. . . .As their quest leads the threesome through the mysterious and sinister Bitra Forest, they suddenly realize they are lost in the elves' domain. To Lilia's horror, Kai falls under an enchantment cast by the Elf King's beautiful daughter. The only way fo…

Banned Book Week

It is that time of year again. The one where we celebrate our freedom to read what we choose and for other people to do the same even if we don't like or agree with their choices. It begins tomorrow on September 24 and runs until October 1. Over the year the American Library Association compiles data on books that have been challenged and the reasons given for wanting their removal from libraries. You can find information and some rather troubling lists here.Check your local library to see if they are doing anything special.

Here is the Top 10 list of banned/challenged book of 2010 with their reasons :
And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age groupThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violenceBrave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive la…

Wonderstruck

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (my review) was a paradigm shattering book. Especially once it won the Caldecott. I admit that I had my doubts about Wonderstruck. I thought it highly possible it was going to just be another Hugo without the innovative edge. Which would still have made it a good book because Selznick is a talented man. Then the hype around it grew and grew and so did my wariness. I was excited, but it was a qualified excitement. Betsy at Fuse 8 said in her review before the book's release that it was a book that lived up to its hype which abated my wariness some. Now that I've read it, I completely agree with her. Wonderstruck is not just another Hugo. It has a similar style but is a different concept. And in my opinion it is a better book.

Synopsis(from Goodreads):
Set fifty years apart, two independent stories—Ben's told in words and Rose's in pictures—weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surpri…

The Running Dream

I would probably not have know of the existence of The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen if it were not for Emily at Lirbrarified. She presented the book at a workshop I attended over the summer and sung its praises so highly I had to read it. With the books less than flashy cover and fairly innocuous title I can see how many might overlook it. Which is sad because it really is a lovely story and an engrossing. read.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run? As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a…

Sean Griswold's Head

Remember that person who was always seated in front of you in class because your names were next to each other in the alphabet? You knew each other vaguely, borrowed pencils, handed papers between you, maybe signed each others yearbooks, but that was the extent of the relationship. Did you ever sit in class staring at the back of that person's head wondering about them or were they just there, part of the scenery of your day? Well, Lindsy Leavitt took this question and turned it into part of a lovely story in Sean Griswold's Head.

Synopsis (from the author's website):
Payton Gritas needs a focus object—something to focus her emotions on after discovering that her father’s been hiding his multiple sclerosis. Her guidance counselor suggested something inanimate but Payton chooses the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas, it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really noticed him before. …

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

A review featuring Bit, age 7

Yeah, it's been a while since Bit and I posted our review on the first Penderwick book. The beginning of second grade slowed us way down. School is taking up more portions of our day than ever, mostly because Bit slows way down when it is a subject she is not crazy about (Math, Grammar). I don't think we are going to get through as many read alouds this year as we did last year, but I think we have gotten into a rhythm that will allow us move faster than we have been.

The Story
The Penderwicks are back in their home on Gardam Street in Cameron, Massachusetts after their eventful summer with Jeffrey at Arundel. Rosalind is happy to have her routine back and is excited by the new responsibilities her father is allowing her to have at home. Everything is perfect until their Aunt Claire comes to visit with a letter in an envelope that Rosalind remembers seeing her mom give her  aunt shortly before she died. The letter is for their father and changes eve…

Facebook

I have created a facebook page for this blog. It has links, not only to my reviews here, but also to other thing I have found interesting in the kidlit world during the week. I will also be posting a picture book of the week and a Bit book rec every week on there. If you are a facebook user stop on by and "like" it if you want updates.

Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations

I was inspired to write this by the series of posts Redeemed Reader did a couple of weeks ago on making movies from books. It got me thinking and my thoughts led me to decide that it would make a wonderful installment of My Favorite Things. Turning books into movies is a tricky business because there is already a loyal fan base that will have firm opinions on what is being done. Most of the time my reaction is somewhere along the lines of "that was good but the book is better". Sometimes I become enraged by what they have done to a beloved book. (See the  most recent The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables. Actually don't see them, but those are examples.) There are times when I actually like the movie better than the book, where the movie becomes what I want to experience again. These are my absolute favorite adaptations.

How to Train Your Dragon, also one of my favorite animated movies in recent memory, is just wonderful. The writing is top notch and rhythmic, ther…

Juniper Berry

Juniper Berryby M.P. Kozlowsky is a modern day fairy tale. Now that is a phrase that gets bandied about a lot, so let me explain. It is a fairy tale because it has much in common with old school fairy tales. It is dark, creepy, and has a moral. Modern day is pretty self explanatory. This fairy tale deals with modern day temptations and preoccupations, namely the preoccupation with celebrity, never ending quest for success, and a desire to maintain one's youthful appearance.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Juniper's parents have not been themselves lately. In fact, they have been cold, disinterested and cruel. And lonely Juniper Berry, and her equally beset friend, Giles, are determined to figure out why. On a cold and rainy night Juniper follows her parents as they sneak out of the house and enter the woods. What she discovers is an underworld filled with contradictions: one that is terrifying and enticing, lorded over by a creature both sinister and seductive, who can sell…

13 Little Blue Envelopes

I have been interested in reading 13 Little Blue Envelopesby Maureen Johnson for quite sometime, but everyone talked so much about how frustrating the end was that I decided to wait until the sequel was out too and then read both of the books together.

In 13 Little Blue Envelopes Ginny receives a letter with instructions from her recently deceased Aunt Peg along with $1,000 to buy a plane ticket to London. She is only allowed to bring one bag, no guidebooks, no maps, and she is unable to communicate with US in any fashion. Along the way Ginny is to retrieve a package. This package contains 13 envelopes that she is to open one at a time. Each contains a task she is to complete before she can open the next. The envelopes take her from one place, and one adventure, to the next. (I hate the cover of this first book. They did a much better job with the sequel's cover.)

I was able to sympathize and relate with Ginny right from the start. She is a socially awkward organized girl who alway…

Darth Paper Strikes Back

Origami Yoda returns. He was first introduced to the world in The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (my review) wherein he wowed the sixth graders of McQuarrie Middle School with his sage advice causing them to actually have fun at a school Fun Night. Except all the students weren't having fun. Harvey was angry. Harvey was bitter. If he had asked Origami Yoda for advice he might have heard, "Let go of your anger you must. Lead to the Dark Side it will." But Harvey didn't ask Origami Yoda for advice and Darth Paper was born just in time to throw a wrench into the awesomeness that should have been seventh grade.

When I learned Tom Angleberger was writing Darth Paper Strikes Back I was nervous. The first book was so unique and inventive I couldn't imagine that a sequel would live up to it. I grew more concerned as I read the first few chapters which repeated the same information. Also Harvey was annoying me by the end of chapter one. Score for Angleberger on that count. …

The Dragon's Tooth

"North of Mexico, south of Canada, and not too far west of the freshwater sea called Lake Michigan, in a place where cows polka-dot hills and men are serious about cheese, there is a lady on a pole." N.D. Wilson is the King of First Sentences as far as I'm concerned. He has yet to write one that hasn't made me smile. He is also one of my favorite authors and his books are auto buys. Always. The Dragon's Toothwas one of my most anticipated reads of 2011 and it did not disappoint.

Summary (From Author's Website):
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run an sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room. Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world’…