Thursday, October 31, 2013

Contaminated by Em Garner

I took a break from MSBA and Cybils reading to read a book a got from NetGalley.  Wow, I really enjoyed it.  Velvet's whole world has been turned upside down.  Her parents have both become zombie like as a result of a tainted diet drink.  Her dad was killed in the first wave.  Her mom has been fitted with a collar that is supposed to prevent her symptoms.  The government says it has everything under control but do they really?  

This was a great story.  I am looking forward to reading the sequel which I assume there will be.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Love, love , love!!!  I so loved this book with all it's allusions to famous children's books!!  And a great mystery with multiple problems to solve. 

Mr. Lemoncello, a very famous, very eccentric inventor has invested a lot of money in a local library.  As a prize he offered the winners of an essay contest the chance to spend the night in the library before it opened.  Then the game got even better.  He offered the children the chance to star in commercials if they could be the first to figure a way to get out of the library.  Filled with puzzles, book references, and teamwork this story was filled with adventure.  

You gotta readit readit readit!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


I have heard a lot about this book so I purchased it about a month ago but just finally started...and finished it today.  What a great book...

Willow is a bit quirky...some might and do call her a genius.  She finds it hard to fit in and make friends and instead surrounds herself with her plants.  Her life, however, is totally uprooted when both her parents die in a car accident.  With no relatives or even close family friends she has no place to go.  But, she is taken in by a Vietnamese family in cahoots with her school guidance counselor.  Can Willow ever find herself again?  Can she ever feel that she belongs?

This was a really good story.  I enjoyed it a lot!!


My Homework Ate My Homework by Patrick Jennings


Can I tell you first that the cover annoys me?  The girl is far too young looking and the boy???  If it is Wain, he was hardly at the house at all and certainly not when the ferret was stealing the homework.  The cover doesn't do the story justice.

Okay...on to the book.  This has been nominated for the Cybils and I had already purchased it for my library.  It was very cute.  Zaritza is a drama queen and fully expects to be cast in the role of Calamity Jane in a school production.  Problem is she has gotten behind in math.  She promises to watch the class ferret and make up her work over break but then the ferret eats her homework (what little she had done).  The first half of the book is all about how she struggles to finally get caught up in math.  Thr second half is about how she deals with the disappointment of not getting cast as Calamity Jane,  

It was an easy, fun read.  Not overly deep or anything.  The friendship message was good although maybe rushed a bit...Overall though I liked it.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

City of the Dead by T. Neill Anderson


Wow!  I had heard about the Galveston hurricane but this book really made it come alive.  To me it was like Blizzard of Glass.  I actually thought it was nonfiction when I brought it home and was then pleasantly surprised that is was fiction and nominated for Cybils.  

It was a quick read for me and I think students will be fascinated by it.  The book followed several real characters who survived the devastation but the author also invented a few characters as well.  The story alternated between different points of view as the events unfolded.  It was sad and tragic and very interesting.


Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg


In the last blog I wrote I mentioned how overwhelmed I have been.  So, I actually said, "yes" out loud when I opened this up and saw it was a poetic narrative.  It was much quicker to read.  I have noticed in a lot of books I've read lately that they are just too long.  Maybe it's the Harry Potter thing.  Kids will read long books - if they are good.  Unfortunately some of these books need some tightening...they tend to lag in the middle.  Anyway, I digress.  I really enjoyed this book and the length was not a problem.

Serafina lives in Haiti with her mom and dad.  She has a lot of chores because she is an only child.  Her mom is expecting and Serafina hopes that this baby will live.  Serafina's dream and promise to herself is that she will become a doctor so she can prevent babies from dying and help her people.  In order to go to school Serafina needs to get money for books and a uniform and convince her mom.  When a flood hits their town and then the massive earthquake hits can Serfina keep her promise alive?

This was really very good.  They were some great gems of writing and hope.  With the earthquake in Haiti and the rebuilding there still a relevant issue I think students will find this a good read.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard


Wow, October is almost done.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There are so many books out there to be read.  My TBR pile is quite high and the Cybils list is long.  Plus I am taking a class towards my SLIS degree.  I really just want to read a great book and I don't want to miss something fabulous.  For the first time while reading for both committees I didn't finish a book.  Just couldn't force myself.

Now about this book.  When Travis runs away from home to his grandmother's house he finds a lot more than he bargained for.  Sure he knows his dad disappeared before he was even born and is presumed dead.  What he didn't know was that he had been involved in a bank robbery right before he disappeared.  To make matters worse the money was never found but  all of a sudden some of the cash shows up when Travis gets to town.  Everyone suspects Travis knows where the money is and someone is desperate to find it.  With the help of Kenny and Iz Travis searches for the money.

This is another case of a little too long for me.  It got bogged down a bit in the middle but I enjoyed the ending...didn't figure it out which is always good :)  I liked the book - I don't think it rises to the very top but it was good.


You know, I'm thinking of changing that to Readit...maybe a certain number of Readits to indicate how well I liked the book?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cooper and the Enchanted Metal Detector by Adam Osterweil

Wow...this was one strange book.  I am not sure what to think really.  I plodded my way through it but I didn't really enjoy it.  Part of me appreciated the setting - Elmira, NY because I am originally from the area but....

I struggled with the layout of the book.  The font was too small and too crowded...very off putting for middle school readers who like white space.  Cooper was such a strange character...not sure if any of my students will relate.

Overall this was really a dud for me...sorry.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine


I got this book on NetGalley after seeing that it was nominated for a Cybils award.  To me this is another case of a book that is a little too long.  There is a lot going on in this book...racial tensions, loss of a father, women's liberation, dealing with the death of a father, abuse, and righting a wrong from over 100 years ago.  I really enjoyed the book...especially the last 100 pages or so.  I just felt that it dragged a bit in the middle and could have been tightened up some.  There is a lot to mull over in this book though and I felt it was a good read.

As a librarian in a grade 1-5 school I am not sure if I will purchase the book for the library - mainly because of the length...hmmm