October 26, 2011
“Ella and Gus have been friends for a long, long time.” But Ella promises Gus that she will always be with him. When Gus questions how this is possible, Ella has a very simple answer. “Promises made under a full moon cannot be broken.”
The story quickly moves through Gus loosing Ella and trying slowly but surely to do the things that people expect him to do. Come Halloween, Gus goes trick-or-treating and, when his bag is full, heads home. But his skeleton costume is so good that a group of real skeletons surround him and try to get him involved in their frolicking games. That is until they discover that he’s really a boy.
Things don’t look at all good for Gus when a shimmering figure makes her way to Gus. Ella, as a bone dog, doesn’t pack much fear for the skeletons until she lets out a baying call and summons the neighborhood dogs to the rescue.
I know, I know. It sounds really maudlin and I normally would have avoided it (I hate dead pet books), but I love Eric Rohmann’s art work. Heavy black lines combine with varied colors for a stained glass effect that isn’t as much high art as it is simple and expressive. Even the skeletons in the story have facial expressions and that’s not easy to pull off.
And it really is funny. Think about it. What are skeletons made of? Big dogs, little dogs, they all like what? And this is where the illustrations get really, really funny.
Two parts funny, one part sad, this book might not be the best choice for a super sensitive child. I wouldn’t read it to my niece, but my son? You bet. Humor and love combine in a tale that sets out to prove that a boy and his dog are never really very far apart.
October 21, 2011
When the Monsignor Renault brings a note to Bridget Liu, her classmates wonder what’s up. Could she be in trouble? Bridget only wishes it was that easy. All the note has written on it is an address and a time. Her next assignment.
In recent months, Bridgett has developed a gift. She can hear voices. Sometimes she sees shadowy figures. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does, it means trouble. Bridgett not only sees and hears demons, she can banish them as well.
There are five basic rules when it comes to banishing demons (exorcism is such an ugly word):
- Do not show fear.
- Do not show pity.
- Do not engage.
- Do not let your guard down.
- They lie.
October 11, 2011
In Search of Sasquatch
by Kelly Milner Halls
First of all, a disclosure. Kelly and I are friends. The community of nonfiction writers is cohesive enough that not only have we met, but we exchange messages and cheer each other on.
That said, I did not almost forget to leave the house Sunday because Kelly is my friend. Fortunately, I had set a timer to remind me that I needed to be on time. When the timer went off, I distinctly remember thinking that I must have more time. Surely.
But the book had pulled me in just that fast.
In Search of Sasquatch is a compilation of evidence for the existence of Sasquatch. The researchers that Kelly interviewed are largely scientists and academics including anthropologists and a linguist. The evidence itself consists of eye witness accounts, the Patterson-Gimlin film, footprints, audio tapes, and more.
Like many of the middle school readers who will dive into this book, I want to believe that Sasquatch it out there. I hate the idea that everything is already known, and that there are no new discoveries to be made.
Kelly’s presentation is respectful both of the “believers” and the “skeptics.” That said, she spends a lot more time on the believers — it is the topic of the book, after all.
This text would make an excellent point of discussion concerning scientific method, scientific exploration and more. I loved the parts about anthropology and the physical differences between man and ape –excellent discussion points for the curious who want to explore the ideas contained in this book.
I would recommend this to anyone who is fascinated by Sasquatch specifically or cryptids in general. But do yourself a huge favor. Set a timer if you have anywhere else you need to be. Otherwise, you too will fall victim of In Search of Sasquatch.