September 25, 2009
The Day-Glo Brothers (AR 6.0)
by Chris Barton
When I think of colors, I don’t think of them as being invented. How could they be? Don’t they exist in nature, just waiting to be named?
Most of them do but Day-Glo colors didn’t. Day-Glo colors are the shocking red, orange, yellow and green that are used on reflective clothing. Think anti-collision yellow.
These colors are the brainchild of brothers Bob and Joe Switzer — one of whom wanted to be a magician while the other wanted to be a doctor. Neither of them got their way, but they did invent a series of colors used by the military for high-visibility rescue gear but also within the entertainment industry.
This book will appeal to boys and girls who love to ask questions and are into science or magic or theater. After I read it, I passed it down the sofa to my husband and he read it too. I’ll catch my son when he gets home from school. This is a book that will soon have the gears in your mind spinning.
September 23, 2009
Bones of Faerie (AR 4 . 4 )
by Janni Lee Simner
It may take a while for those of you who live in the St. Louis area to recognize your home turf the way Simner describes it – buckled highways, rampaging plants, and potentially explosive geology. But this is the world humans live in, at least the humans that are left after the war with the faeries.
It is the world Liza has grown up in and she knows just how unforgiving it is. Children born with any hint of faerie magic are left outside for the animals and any child who shows tendencies later on will be “dealt with.” For their part, the plants take no prisoners and even shadow plants can inflict damage. She doesn’t like it but it is the only world Liza knows.
When the dreams Liza has expand into waking visions, she realizes that she too has been touched by magic. To keep her village safe, Liza ventures into the forest with no plans to return before nightfall comes with all its dangers. Only then does she begin to discover that there might be much more to the world and that in other places there may be space for those who are magically gifted.
Post-apocalyptic, the book does carry some mature themes but it is an excellent choice for the reader who is ready for some mature content but not the weighty length in terms of page numbers (this book weighs in at just under 250 pages). Suitable for both older grade school readers as well as middle schoolers. Probably more of a girl book than a boy book, but the principal sidekick is a boy so there will be some appeal. Keep your eyes open for more from this author!
September 18, 2009
Melvin Beederman, Superhero: The Case of the Bologna Sandwich
by Greg Trine
art by Rhode Montijo
Author Greg Trine has a slightly different take on super powers. Sure, they’re great in many ways, but there’s a down side too. Think about it — x-ray vision. Seeing any negatives? No? Then squint and try again.
We meet Melvin just as he is graduating and being assigned his own city. Melvin gets the big prize — Los Angeles.
Melvin will give it his best shot but we’re talking about a real kid here. He may be able to fly, run faster than a speeding bullet and stop a train, but some skills come more easily than others judging by the fact that he always takes five or more tries to launch himself into the air.
Before long Melvin has his special hid out set up and he’s busting criminals left and right. He’s so busy that he’s actually a little relieved when he has to send his cape to the dry cleaners, but when he gets it back it is way too small and where have his super powers gone?
Melvin has to solve the cape mystery, earning a side kick in the process, and capture a pair of escaped criminals. Will he succeed or will this be the end of Melvin Beederman?
A great book for reluctant readers — lots of action, lots of humor and fun word play. The book will appeal to boys and girls alike since Melvin’s peppy sidekick is a girl named Candace.
Look out criminals and ho hum readers! There’s a new crime fighting duo in town!
September 16, 2009
The Castle of Llyr
by Lloyd Alexander
This is a book in the Chronicles Prydain series. The characters are Taran of Caer Dallben, an assistant pig keeper, Gurgi, Fflewddur Fflam and Eilonwy.
In this book, Taran has to take Eilonwy to a ship that will take her back to her homeland, the House of Llyr. There they meet adventure, troubles and action which include a bumbling prince who still saves the day, a giant, and a giant mountain cat.
My favorite part was when the giant mountain cat, Llyan, rescues them when someone floods the castle.
This is a good book for people who like Medieval times and Welsh mythology and mostly it would be good for kids who are willing to read longer books and like unusual words.
–Guest Reviewer (10 years old), son of SueBE
September 8, 2009
What Really Happened to Humpty? (from the files of a Hard-Boiled Detective) (AR 3 . 2)
by Jeanie Franz Ransom
illustrated by Stephen Axelsen
Sure, you’ve heard of Humpty Dumpty, but what about his brother, the private eye? Joe Dumpty is as hard-boiled as they come, complete with a crew cut and a chiseled chin. Fortunately, he’s here to tell the tale of what really happened the day that Humpty fell off the wall. Accident? Hardly! But you’ll have to read the book to get the inside scoop.
Younger kids will love the references to nursery rhymes ranging from Jack and Jill to Mother Goose as much as they will want to solve the case. Older kids will be seeking out the puns, including many that are egg-related. They may guess who the culprit is, but the motive behind the crime is harder to come by.
Ransom does a great job of creating a book that will hold the interest of both the young book lover and the adult who has to read it a baker’s dozen times. Common wisdom may be that older readers shun picture books, but my ten-year-old helped himself to the book and had to find me to let me know he had solved the case.
Stephen Axelsen brings the gang to life through a combination of pen and ink (think black line) and watercolor. The brightly colored illustrations add a level of detail to the story that will have reader and listener pouring over the pages, on the hunt for clues.
Why not see if you and a young book lover can crack the case before Joe does? You’ll have an egg-selent time doing it.