Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John

"It was Mr. Grice from Social Services who told Martine that she would be moving to Africa. Cape Town, South Africa, to be precise.
'South Africa!' cried Martine. 'Why South Africa?'
'Well,' said Mr. Grice, 'it seems that your only surviving relative is, in fact, living on a game reserve in South Africa. A Mrs. Gwyn Thomas, who, I'm told, is your grandmother.'
Martine was stunned. 'I don't have a grandmother,' she said slowly. (8)

Martine's parents are both killed in an overnight fire on her eleventh birthday, and she suddenly finds herself traveling from England to South Africa. She's going to live with a grandmother who Martine didn't know existed and who apparently isn't enthusiastic about Martine's arrival. However, things become more intriguing when Martine hears rumors about the arrival of a white giraffe at her grandmother's game reserve who no one can track or catch. In Lauren St. John's The White Giraffe, Martine must find out who is more dangerous; her grandmother when she finds out Martine has snuck into the game reserve, or the poachers who think Martine knows more than she actually knows.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

"And then I saw her. At lunch. She wore an off-white dress so long it covered her shoes. It had ruffles around the neck and cuffs and looked like it could have been her great-grandmother's wedding gown. Her hair was the color of sand. It fell to her shoulders. Something was strapped across her back, but it wasn't a book bag. At first I thought it was a miniature guitar. I found out later it was a ukulele." (4)

Leo doesn't know what to make of the new student at high school. Stargirl Caraway comes to school in weird outfits. She sings happy birthday to everyone while accompanying herself with her ukulele. She makes up songs about isocles triangles. She asks questions about trolls in U.S. History. She cheers for both teams at basketball games, and she pledges allegiance to the United Turtles of America and the fruit bats of Borneo. As the school year continues, Leo has difficulty with the repercussions of his friendship with Stargirl as her popularity fades and her weirdness becomes too overwhelming for their classmates to ignore. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a pitch perfect portrayal at the extremes we go to to become popular, and what it means when someone questions that conformity.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis

"The two strangers were wrapped in full-length black trench coats with collars obscuring their faces. One of them wore expensive black dress shoes; the other, jewel-encrusted sneakers. ...
An airline official shouted at them, too, sprinting to head them off. The two politely stopped and handed over their boarding passes. He examined the passes quickly, nodded, and pulled back the barrier. 'Enjoy your flight, Amy and Dan,' he said. ...
'Sayonara, suckers!' sang Ian and Natalie Kabra." (8)
The third book in the 39 Clues series, written by Peter Lerangis, begins with a scheduled flight to Japan for Dan and Amy Cahill, their au paire Nellie, and their Egyptian mau cat. However, a run-in with their cousins, the Kabras, makes the Cahill siblings miss their flight, with Nellie sitting next to the Kabras! Dan and Amy are picked up by their uncle Allistair and taken to Japan, where all three teams are forced to make an alliance to get to the next clue. An explosion underground results in one of them dying -- or does it? Join Dan and Amy as they race to be the first to find the next clue while fighting off family and Samuri ninjas in The Sword Thief.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Firegirl by Tony Abbot

"As horrible as I thought the girl would look, when I imagined what burned people looked like, it was nothing compared to what stepped into the room.
Jessica Feeney's face, the first thing everyone looked at, was like a mask. I looked at her, then away, and then back at her. I couldn't believe I was looking at the face of someone alive. ...
Her lips were swollen. They nearly filled the space between her nose and chin. Her eyes peeked out from behind skin that looked melted. Her hair was mostly short. Her arms were covered, except that the forearms were bare and blotchy. Her fingers were bent as if she were trying to grab something." (33)

Tom Bender's seventh grade class has a new student named Jessica Fenney. While anyone would be curious about a new student, Jessica's burned appearance is anything but ordinary, and speculation flies as to why she's here and what happened. Tom, who is experiencing difficulties with his only friend Jeff, finds himself interacting with Jessica more than anyone else. Does that make them friends, or will the rumors ruin any chance at friendship? From the author of Secrets of Droon series, Tony Abbott brings us Firegirl, a completely different book about overcoming obstacles.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

I don't want to
because boys
don't write poetry.

Girls do. (1)
What do you mean --
Why does so much depend
a blue car?

You didn't say before
that I had to tell why.

The wheelbarrow guy
didn't tell why. (5)

Jack, a student in Miss Stretchberry's class, does not like poetry. He does not understand poetry, and does not want to write poetry. But in this book written entirely as a collection of poems, we begin to see Jack find an appreciation of poetry. We learn about his dog, his life, and the poet Mr. Walter Dean Meyers. On the last pages of Love That Dog, Sharon Creech even publishes some of the poems that Miss Stretchberry uses in her class. It's a great way to kick off National Poetry Month this April!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet the Gecko by Wendelin Van Draanen

"He's got nine hundred twent-seven messages!" she whispered into the phone. "Steven, this is totally out of control!" Her eyes were enormous. ...
That night they talked about Shredderman on CNN, ABC, CBS, and Fox News. And in the morning we ate breakfast and listened while a group of morning-show anchors talked about it over coffee. (154-157)

Nolan Byrd has a chance to meet Chase Morton, the actor who plays his favorite television show superhero. But Nolan's own superhero alter ego ends up being pulled into an investigation of a tabloid reporter known as the Mole. The Mole makes up news stories about celeberties and pulls tricks to get fake stories. Well, Shredderman is going to put a stop to this, once and for all! But when the news goes national, is Nolan's cover blown? And Nolan gets his own suprise when Bubba shows up on the television set in Meet the Gecko by Wendelin Van Draanen.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Attack of the Tagger by Wendelin Van Draanen

"I don't think Mr. Green believed I could help him. He wouldn't even talk about it. He just wanted to scour the school. He wanted to call the police. He wanted to do things his way. His way? Sheez. Some sidekick." (26)

In Attack of the Tagger by Wendelin Van Draanen, Nolan Byrd (aka Shredderman) is back, protecting the world with truth and justice. His sidekick/teacher Mr. Green has fallen victim to a grafitti artist on the loose in Cedar Valley. Now the playground and downtown areas are also getting spray-painted bright red. This sounds like a job for Shredderman! But when his tips to the police backfire and throw suspicion on Shredderman, Nolan needs more than just a sidekick for help. And when Nolan's reporter dad starts getting to close to the truth of who is Shredderman, will Nolan's superhero days be over for good?


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer

"Don't make us join the library," Marty begged. "It's too dangerous."
"Dangerous? How could a library be dangerous?" Dad asked.
"It's no the library," Marty whispered. "It's the librarian."
"Mrs. Murphy?" said Mom. "She's a lovely old lady."...
"She has a spud gun under her desk," added Marty. "A gas-powered one that takes an entire potato in the barrel. She shoots kids with it if they make a noise in the library. That's why we call her Spud Murphy." (8-12)

Eoin Colfer presents us with the story of Will and Marty Woodman, the oldest of five brothers. When their parents get tired of the yelling and the war paint, they send Marty and Will to the library for a more educational use of their time. While there, they get banished to the children's carpet, where one step off sends Mrs. Murphy to their side. Eventually they start to enjoy the books that they find, but what happens when they've read all the books in the small children's section? How will they pass the six hours every week, without facing The Legend of Spud Murphy?


Monday, April 06, 2009

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford

"Moxy was going places all right. She was going to her room. And she was going to stay there until she read every word of Stuart Little. Mr. Flamingo, who was going to be Moxy's fourth-grade teacher this fall, had assigned the book for summer reading. They were going to have a quiz on it too--on the very first day of school. And tomorrow was the very first day of school."

Moxy Maxwell is a precocious nine year old who likes to read, just not what she's told to read. As she tells her mother, she's just been waiting for the perfect time to read the book. Her summer's been busy, with trying to train her dog to come when called, and practicing for her part in the water-ballet. But Moxy's mother isn't buying that excuse, and tells Moxy that she will have to miss the water ballet if Stuart Little isn't finished by six o'clock. Will Moxy be able to finish the book in time to participate in the water ballet, or will a flooded dahlia garden water down her chances? Obviously you don't have to read Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford, but you just might find the perfect time where you're looking for something to read. Just like Moxy.