Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scrap City

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Covers can be deceptive can't they?  From the cover I imagined a light hearted, short romp - almost cartoonish.  That is not what I got.  Don't get my wrong - in the end I enjoyed it but it was 352 pages and the was arson, theft, heartbreak, and more.  Not what I was expecting.

While Jerome is at the town junkyard with his father and uncle he discovers Arkie - a Scrapper - a living, sentient being made of - well - junk.  Arkie takes Jerome underground to his city but along the way they discover oil.  Oil and water don't mix.  Jerome soon becomes embroiled in a race to save Smithytown and an evil developer bent on taking the land at any cost.  When Jerome learns of this developer's past it gets personal.

So I did like it in the end but it took over 1/2 the book for me to really get into it.  Not sure my students would stick with it that long. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked

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Okay - the cover though.  I don't think it matches the book at all.  It makes Gilly the main character look all girly and she isn't really.  A wand - she doesn't use one.  Grr...and the cover makes the book look like it would only appeal to girls and I think with the right "selling" you could get boys to read it too.

Anyway - the book is about Gilly who is sent to Fairy Tale Reform School after being caught pickpocketing for the third time.  She has a good reason - ever since the fairy god mother started making glass slippers her father's shoemaking business has gone downhill.  FTRS is run by Ella's stepmother who has reformed.  The other teachers include Snow White's stepmother, the wolf, and the sea witch.  But, have they really reformed?  And what about the villains who are still out there - Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel's captor, and the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty?  

Gilly and her friends set out to discover the truth and save the princesses.

I liked the book - it was a clever take on the fairy tales with some action and a little bit of a mystery.  Gilly and her friends were fun and learned some leassons about themselves.  There will be more books but the story itself ended satisfactorily.  The cover though...

Friday, April 24, 2015


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This book is described as an alternate version of "The Brave Little Tailor",  Not being familiar with that tale makes it harder to relate to this one - and I think my students would feel the same way.

Saville's father is a tailor but when he moves them to the city and then becomes ill Saville does what she feels she needs to in order to survive - she disguises herself as a boy and starts to work as a tailor herself.  Meanwhile there are rumblings of giants in the land and a mysterious Duke who want to be king.  With the help of some new friends Saville outwits some giants and eventually figures out a way to defeat the Duke and save the town.  

I liked the character of Saville and her relationship with the homeless boy she helps is good.  The book to me seemed a bit long and the romance at the end seemed a bit forced...it didn't really seem that she was old enough for most of the book.  I don't feel that some of the other characters were fleshed out enough - especially the Duke.  

This wasn't a bad book - just wasn't my favorite...

Tiger Boy

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Neel loves his home in West Bengal's Sunderbans.  So much so that he doesn't really want to try hard for the scholarship because that would mean leaving his home to go to school.  When a baby tiger escapes from a nearby reserve Neel sets out to find it before a local rich man finds the cub and sells it on the Black Market.  Along the way Neel learns more about himself, his family, and his home.

So overall...it was a quiet story and while I did end up liking it, it wasn't my favorite.  The illustrations make it have a younger feel but I would really have to work to "sell" it to my readers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Blood of Olympus

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I finally got the chance to read The Blood of Olympus and I loved it.  Seriously - Rick Riordan is a great author.  I love his snarkiness and how he gets his audience.  I can't wait until the new series about the Norse Gods comes out.  Hoo-rah!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


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Coop has always been drawn to underground things but when he almost gets himself and his brother killed in a tunnel he dug he decides he needs to leave.  Pat starts receiving recorded messages from his brothers and follows his process but then the messages stop.  Pat decides to travel to NYC and search for his brother.  That is where things get interesting...Pat finds out that his brother has not only gone Beneath but has traveled down into the Pod where strange things are afoot.

I felt that the style of writing was engaging...sparse text, lots of white space.  It did take awhile for the story to get going but then it was action all the way.  The book ended in a decent place while leaving room for a continuation - since LOD (Lord of the Deep) escaped and the 3 main characters are on the run.  

As a reviewer for MSBA publication and copyright dates are important.  My copy of the book has a date of 2015 but I found a reference to a 2009 edition.  Anyone have any answers to that???

Sisterhood of the Spectrum

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I requested this book from NetGalley primarily because of the social workers in my school who work with students on the Spectrum.  I thought the book sounded interesting and was curious if I should buy it for the library or recommend it for them to use.  My thoughts are primarily that it is too mature for my particular age group - grades 1 - 5 although the 5th grade girls are probably starting to be curious - and that overall the book is better suited to the jr. high and high school.  I also found that much of the information was valuable for all girls - not just those on the Spectrum.  I found the writing style to be a bit difficult for me to read - too wordy in some cases.  Overall I found the book to be interesting and as i have said I would likely recommend it to the jr. high and high school librarians and/or social workers/counselors.