Thursday, September 20, 2007

Faith and the Electric Dogs by Patrick Jennings

Faith and the Electric Dogs by Patrick Jennings

A fun, quick, read (I'd recommend for third to fifth grade) told from the point of view of the main dog character in the story, Edison or Eddy.

At the beginning of the story, we meet Edison on the street where he runs into a little girl (Faith). From there the story takes off, we learn that Faith has moved to San Cristobal de las Casas with her Mom, who just married her step-dad, Hector. Faith doesn't like it and doesn like having to learn Spanish. Instead of trying to fit in, she gets the idea to build a rocket ship to try to go back to her old home in San Francisco, CA.

On the way, there's a big storm and Faith and Eddie crash on a bone-shaped island somewhere in between Mexico and California. Eddie makes friends with the wild island dogs who lead them to an old man who has been marooned on the island for over 50 years. From him, Faith learns a valuable lesson that home will always be where you are.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Title Alert!!

Calling all Artemis Fowl fans (and those of you who like graphic novels)!

Keep an eye out for the new book by popular author Eoin Colfer titled, Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel.

Release date is set for October 2nd.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Ms. Rowling is truly amazing. I am happy with how the series ends and think that she did an excellent job tying up the loose ends and generally making the story make sense.

I'm not going to go into much detail, because I don't want it to be a 'spoiler' but this is a truly remarkable series about good vs. evil. If you like fantasy stories involving magic then this one is for you! Check out Harry Potter today! :)

Cheers! Happy reading!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Operation Typhoon Shore by Joshua Mowll

The sequel to Operation Red Jericho, the story picks up right where it leaves off. School Library Journal gives a good briefing saying, "Becca and her brother, Doug, have escaped Wenzi Island, but find themselves right back in the action. Their ship is struck by a powerful typhoon and is driven ashore on a group of islands. There the two teens; their uncle, Captain MacKenzie; and his brave crew find themselves once again facing their nemesis, Pembleton-Crozier, and his army of Kalaxx warriors. It takes all of their ingenuity, bravery, and wit to figure out his intent and why the islands are so very important to these enemies of the Guild of Specialists."

Beware however if you have not read the first book!! You will be totally lost as this book does not stand alone. You will have to read Operation Red Jericho first to get any kind of clue as to the background and events that happen in this story. I have read book 1, but it's been quite a while and even I was a little lost at times because it had been so long.

However, that aside it is a nice fast read with lots of high-stakes adventure! Also it is peppered with fold-outs, diagrams, pictures, and more that help to enhance the story for the reader. I also like how it has the elastic strap on the side like a mole-skin journal...hello, built in bookmark! Yay! :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret takes the idea of a 'graphic novel' to a whole new level. There isn't a genre for this to fit in, it is a partially fictional graphically enhanced book. Words can't even begin to describe it or the amazement I felt upon 'reading' it. Mr. Selznick has long been one of my favorite illustrators, but he stands alone in his own medium as an author and illustrator with this book.

A good Q & A about the book with Mr. Selznick, also bear in mind as you read it that it's based upon a real person, not the boy in the story, but the older much more interesting reading it when you know that's a real person.

This is a must read for those of you who enjoy graphic novels, those of you who are interested in film, or those of you thinking about illustrating's truly amazing. I look for this book to win awards next year.

Friday, March 02, 2007

2007-2008 Texas Bluebonnet List

Here is the link to the currant nominees for the Texas Bluebonnet Award:

A little bit about the award...taken from their site:

"The Texas Bluebonnet Award (TBA) reading program was established in 1979 to encourage Texas children to read more books, explore a variety of current books, develop powers of discrimination, and identify their favorite books."

Basically students grades 3rd through 5th throughout the state of Texas (correct me if I'm wrong in that) read the books throughout the school year and then cast their vote for their favorite by January 30th. (Here at our school, to be eligible to vote a student has to have read at least 3 books from the list.) Librarians round up the votes at their school and submit the votes to their district coordinator who compiles the local results and then passes that info on to the state, who compiles everyones vote to pick the winner. It is truly an award given by the more awsome could that be? What a great way for students to take ownership of their reading!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ghost Fever by Joe Hayes

Ok, so I'm a little slow posting the 2006-2007 Texas Bluebonnet Winner Ghost Fever / Mal de Fantasmo by Joe Hayes.

Also, I must confess...I have not read this one yet. It has remained perpetually checked out here at the library I am substituting in and one copy is lost. So, I dare not check it out for those students who are wanting to read it. I'll have to put it on my summer reading list.

But here is a short synopsis taken from the Bluebonnet site:
"Set in the railroad town of Duston, Arizona, this dual language story begins when Frank Padilla and his two daughters move into a rundown house rumored to be haunted. There, fourteen-year-old Elena learns the truth as she and her abuletia try and solve an old, supernatural mystery."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I was happy to see The Lightning Thief make it on to this years (2006-2007) Bluebonnet list because I first picked up the book in galley form from the AASL convention in 2005 and loved the story.

The Lightning Thief is a story about a boy, Percy Jackson, who learns that he is not only a son of an Olympic god, but he is also embroiled in a mystery surrounding Zeus's stolen lightning bolt. It's a superb story chock-full of mythical monsters from Greek Mythology set in modern day America.

If you love Greek Mythology then this is a great fiction series for you! Personally I've always found the stories fascinating, so it's really interesting to read about those types of characters (the muses, Zeus, Aphrodite, minotaurs, etc.) out of their own stories and in a fresh format. I really must catch up and read the next two!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

A National Book Award Winner, The Penderwicks was also chosen for the Texas Bluebonnet award for 2006-2007.

A sweet story about 'four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy.' The Penderwick sisters (along with their father and ever-faithful dog Hound) find themselves staying for the summer holiday in a guest house on the grounds of a posh mansion occupied by a very snooty woman named Mrs. Tifton and her not-so-snooty son Jeffery.

Once the girls and Jeffery become friends, then the summer hijinks begin! From an encounter with a bull to escaped rabbits...the five become fast friends.

Like I said, it's a sweet story, kinda fluffy, adventurous without being scary, and not too hefty on the issues it deals with...I'd recommend for grades 3-5. It reminds me of the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner somewhat...the Penderwicks might make a nice series.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Wrede, Patricia C. and Stevermer, Caroline. 2006. The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.

The sequel to The Grand Tour (which follows Sorcery and Cecilia) this third novel offers another adventure of cousins Kate and Cecy (and by now their families) ten years later. The story is told through letters to each other and is about how England is being transformed by the new railway system. James and Cecy must track down a missing German railway engineer (and magician) who disappeared quite suddenly (and rather suspiciously). While they are looking into it, they notice that the new railways are disturbing the natural magic in the area, which if not fixed could spell disaster for England!

Meanwhile, Kate is busy looking after all of their children...until one is kidnapped and when she and her husband Thomas find him they find another missing child who they take under their wing. Who is she they don't know and neither will the child talk to tell them and yet somehow all of these strange events are tied together...

A very satisfying read from two well known YA authors, Ms. Wrede (pronounced REE-dee, and here I've been saying it wrong all this time!) is known for the Enchanted Forest Chronicles while Ms. Stevermer is more known for her novel River Rats as well as other fantasy novels. The book is a nice blend of magic, adventure, and mystery - although I don't know if I'd try to keep them going since they've aged their characters so much now. I think it would have made a nicer series if they had continued with their characters a bit closer together where they'd left them off at in the last book.