Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

This book was so interesting! The main character, Jack, starts out as a whiny oh -whoa -is- me kid who is very annoying. As the story progresses though, Jack finally gets it and understands his role in life.
This story is full of magic, friendship, love and some evil. The evil in this story is best described as, creepy. The She is the evil half of a lady who split herself in two, She and the Other. The She half steals souls of people in order to get more powerful. The Other half was wielded into a house where the professor and his wife live. Throughout the story, I thought that Mabel was the good half but then it became clear that the house, with its pulsing of heat, its fondness for Jack was indeed the Other.
While the story is a tad confusing overall, it is a great story of finding who your really are and accepting yourself. Jack was a lonely boy who finds out he's not who he thought he was. He finds out that he's been invisible most of his life because in fact, he's not human.
One of the best characters in the story is Wendy. She should get her own book! She witty, strong and independent. She is a great contender for a co-star in the book.
A great read for 6th graders and up. Adults who like fantasy/magic will enjoy this read.
4.5 out of 5 stars! Slow beginning that warms up fast.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Juvenile Books Part 1

Frindle by Andrew Clements (sound recording): I had to listen to a book on disc for an assignment and it had to be for 4-6th graders. This books is perfect. It was cute, short and it made a great point about the English language and how words are created. The story is about a 5th grader who likes to pull pranks on teachers. His best prank ever is in 5th grade in his language class where he tests his teacher's patience and teaching when he creates the word 'frindle' to replace the word 'pen' to describe that writing tool. The story ends happily for everyone - Nick becomes rich off his new word. I admit it, it brought tears to my eyes.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman: Creepy, creppy, creepy. Both the book and movie (had to compare)  are creepy and sinister in ways. Black button eyes for the people in the other world. Coraline would be great for Halloween to scare the bejeezus out of kids.

Picture Books

The Three Pigs by David Weisner: LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. This is telling of the 3 little pigs tells the story then takes you on ride through some of the other popular fairy tales too. The pigs come out of their story and fly around to the other tales. It's very cute. Toddlers will love this book!

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen: A little girl and her dad set out on a walk at night and she sees an owl. The illustrations really capture this story. The details are amazing.

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds: Cute book that is great for Halloween and Fall. I think older kids (K-2nd) would love this story of the bunny being followed around by carrots so he won't eat them any more. It made me laugh!

Children's Literature Class- Board Books

So this Fall (August-December) I am taking a Children's Literature class for my Master's in Library and Information Science. I have read SO many that I don't want to do separate posts for each but I am going to start doing posts each week about the books I read for my reader's to see and know about.

This post will be the first of about 7 about the Children's books I've read since the middle of August when school started.

We started with Board Books:

The Going To Bed Book by Boynton: It's very cute board book about what you do before going to bed. Taking a bath, hanging your towel, brushing your teeth, etc. The pictures are cute and the animals are precious. My daughter enjoyed this book a lot!

Moo Ba La La La by Boynton: It's cute and tells you what animals say..The cow says Moo...etc. My daughter just tried to chew on the book the whole time.

Where is Baby's Belly Button by Katz: This is a cute interactive board book for kids. You flip up the parts of the baby in it to find different body parts. My daughter enjoyed it.

No No, Yes Yes by Patricelli:  I hated this book. It's the same words (no no and yes yes) on each page showing what's good and bad. Dumbest thing ever...and there's more like them.

Unnatural Acts: Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. by Kevin J. Anderson

This second book in the Zombie P.I. series focuses a bit on politics this time. In the Big Uneasy (where Dan lives and works) Senator Balfour is someone who detests unnaturals. He writes a bill titled the Unnatural Acts Act- which bans basically everything from unnaturals. Along with this there is a man who is doing good deeds- or so it seems. His name is Goodfellow ( I love the irony in this book). Goodfellow and his sister Missy are from a very wealthy family (mobsters) and they are evil. One day Goodfellow is almost killed by a piano falling on him so he decides to change his ways. What no one realizes is that he is buying heart and soul combo packs from a little troll to become nice-since evil is in his blood. Dan finds out and he is arrested. Their Smile Syndicate business (Missy runs) is reported for tax evasion and shut down also. We also meet the ghost of William Shakespear or so the ghost claims. A fire destroys the set in the graveyard where Shakespear in the Dark is held. Shakespear hires Dan to find out if Balfour's goons are responsible. Dan finds out that it was in fact Shakespear who set the fire so he could bring MORE interest to his shows. Wow!
Also, Robin takes on a case of discrimination (werewolf and vampire couple) who want to live outside the Big Uneasy but are being told No by everyone because they are unnaturals. We meet a succubus and a Madam of a brothel who is mummy. A witch and her swine sister (literally) who Dan helped in the previous book. They are interviewing him for a book series about a Zombie P.I. (get it?)
I like these books because there is always so much going on but it all ties together some how which is great and genius on Anderson's part.
I can't wait to get my hands on the third book!

5 out of 5 stars! Never a dull moment and always something different.

Death Warmed Over: Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. by Kevin J Anderson

So I actually read half of the second book in the series before reading this one (oops!). Death Warmed Over introduces us to Dan Shamble- a Zombie P.I. He wasn't always a zombie. He was once alive until someone shot him in the head for getting too close to something. You meet his ghost girlfriend, Sheyanne (real name Anne but she was shy when she was alive so her stage name as a singer was Sheyanne). Also, their friend and co-worker Robin Deyer- a lawyer with lots of smarts. Together they all make up Chambeaux and Deyer business (P.I and lawyer and Sheyenne as the receptionist plus a ton of other jobs.) There is also McGoo- a human cop who also happens to be Dan's BHF- Best Human Friend. So how did all this happen? A book was brought to life by a virgins blood and some planets alined and BOOM! The Big Uneasy happened. Now all unnatural and natural beings live together. I think it's awesome and fun. Dan's sense of humor is great and there are some great cases he works on. We meet vampires, werewolves, goblins, zombies, evil humans who have a vendetta and more.
Death Warmed Over focuses on the beginning. Solving cases- mostly who killed Dan and Sheyenne. Which happens to be the bad guy who sells a unnatural cosmetic line and someone who turns into a zombie at the end after being electrocuted. Ironic, no?

I highly recommend this series if you like: zombies, humor, mysteries, and are looking for something fun to read.

5 out of 5 stars!