Sunday, May 31, 2015
I read a lot of books both for MSBA and just for myself. Honestly I plod through a lot of duds or books that just don't appeal to me but I know will appeal to kids. So it is a breath of fresh air when I come across a gem like this one. I was about 1/2 way through the book when I already had to rave about it on Facebook and was checking the website and saw that one of the ARCs of the book is hidden in Winslow, ME. Can I skip work tomorrow to find it ? No, guess not. Maybe it will still be there next Saturday when I am up that way...but maybe not since I alerted fellow MSBA members.
Anyway the book is about a fictional Book Scavenger game started by Willy Wonkish Garrison Griswold. The object is to hide books and enter in clues to find them on the website. At the beginning of the book Mr. Griswold is on his way to reveal a new game when he is attacked at the BART station. Enter Emily, a Book Scavenger fanatic who has just moved to San Francisco. Emily finds a mysterious book at the scene of the attack and soon realizes that it is part of the new game. What follows is a delightful romp filled with ciphers, codes, friendship, and mystery.
I loved this!!! There were great allusions to books old and new (including the most recent MSBA winner). I can not wait to get this for the library!!! Than you so much Jennifer Chambliss Bertman for a delightful book.
This selection of poems is by Nick Cannon who gives credit to Shel Silverstein for inspiration. While I thought some of the poems were good - inspirational or clever I found many of them to be hoo-hum. Most followed an ab ab rhyme scheme which can get quite monotonous over time. I wasn't overly impressed. That being said...I did purchase the book and it will be in the library. The kids may like it more than I did.
This book follows the lives of 3 girls who are connected by a bottle that is thrown into the sea and carried adrift. The story starts with Agnes May or "Bones" who is a slave in Virginia who is whipped for learning to read and write. When she finds a ledger with her name and birthdate she rips it out and puts it and a heart made from a peach pit into a bottle and sets it adrift. The bottle is found by Lady Bess who is the daughter of the Duke of Kent. Lady Bess has her own troubles - one of which is a stepmother who is selling off her family's heirlooms. Bess rescues a beloved necklace and puts that in the bottle along with Bess's paper and casts it adrift. The bottle is finally found by Mary Margaret in Boston who is able to sell the necklace to pay for medical services.
Each girl's potion of the book is about 90 - 100 pages long which sections the book quite nicely. Each girl has adventures, friends, and problems that eventually intertwine. How realistic is it that the bottle would travel such great distances and be found? Probably not very but the story was enjoyable with good information about the time period. I also liked the Maine connection with an author who grew up in Cape Elizabeth and lives part of the year in Scarborough.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Graphic novels are really not my thing but I know the kids enjoy them. I think the problem is that I tend to be a speed reader and I focus solely on the text and don't slow down enough to linger with the pictures and find the nuances to the plot that are found in the images.
I thought this book was clever. There is obviously more to come and it did end at a bit of a cliffhanger... who is Herk? Is he actually Zerk? What does that mean? I think kids will enjoy the book.
I am a huge fan of Scholastic's multi-platform series such as the 39 Clues and Spirit Animals. This book and new series was no exception.
In these books Alex Sennefer has always been a sickly child. So much so, that he almost dies. Actually he does die but his mom, an Egyptologist, uses the newly discovered Lost Spells and her mysterious amulet to bring him back to life. Problem is the spell also cause other things to happen including the rejuvenation of Stung Man. When Alex's mom disappears it is up to him, his friend Ren, and Dr. Todtman to take care of Stung Man, repair some of the damage, and find Alex's mom.
As a 1st book in a series one knows there is going to be an inconclusive ending but I felt this wrapped up well. The Egyptian lore will appeal to readers who like the mythology. The book was relatively short and full of action. This will be a series I will have in the library.