Friday, October 23, 2009

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Martin threw Edward.
And Edward sailed naked through the air. Only a moment ago, the rabbit had thought that being naked in front of a shipload of strangers was the worst thing that could happen to him. But he was wrong. It was much worse being tossed, in the same naked state, from the hands of one grubby, laughing boy to another.
Amos caught Edward and held him up, displaying him triumphantly.
"Throw him back," called Martin.
Amos raised his arm, but just as he was getting ready to throw Edward, Abilene tackled him, shoving her head into his stomach, and upsetting the boy's aim.
So it was that Edward did not go flying back into the dirty hands of Martin.
Instead, Edward Tulane went overboard. (44)

Edward Tulane is a tiny China rabbit. Do not under any circumstances, call him a doll. He belongs to Abilene and lives in a house on Egypt Street. Well, at least that was the case until he was thrown overboard while on a cruise. Now he's on a marvelous adventure where is drowned, thrown, burried, and almost eaten by a dog. With pictures by Bagram Ibatoulline that remind me of The Runaway Bunny, fans of the Velveteen Rabbit who have grown up should read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen

The apparition grasped his hand in return, pumping it frenetically. "At last, at last!" he exclaimed. "So happy to make your acquaintance, John, my dear, dear boy. And what better place than here at Sir Arthur's home-away-from, eh? So grand, so grand. Yes..."
Jack and Charles exchanged skeptical glances and Jack twirled a finger at his temple.
The little man continued undeterred. "I trust you can take it from her, correct?" he said, thrusting the oilskin-wrapped parcel in John's direction. "You know what must be done. The professor would not have left you unprepared for this."
John waved the parcel away. "I haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about. We've only just ourselves come from the professor's house, and I haven't known of his death for but the last day."(17)

John, Jack, and Charles all find themselves at the apartment of a recently murdered professor on a cold and stormy night. Although they've never met eachother before, they become entangled in an adventure when Bert presents them with the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of imaginary worlds. The Winter King however, is after the book, and all three are sent fleeing on one of seven Dragon ships. In a story that weaves mythology with recognizable classic fantasy, James Owen's Here, There Be Dragons presents a journey to the ends of the world with the tales of King Arthur, elves, and Captain Nemo assisting the three unlikely heroes.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Korgi Book 2 by Christian Slade

If you liked the first one, you're sure to enjoy Korgi Book 2: The Cosmic Collector by Christian Slade. Ivy and Sprout are back with more mysterious visitors. This time however, they're stealing the wings off the Mollies, the people who live in Korgi Hollow. Ivy and Sprout head off to reclaim their wings in an adventure that leads to some speculation about the old ruins outside of town. Christian Slade's line drawings are fabulous and readers of all ages will delight in the expressive nature of the illustrations.


Korgi: Sprouting Wings by Christian Slade

I bet you didn't realize that corgis, those cute little round dogs that look like oversized daschounds, could be the star of a new graphic novel series. But Christian Slade does just that with Korgi Book One: Sprouting Wings. In this book, the action is conveyed not through words, but through beautiful pencil drawn pictures. The story begins by introducing Ivy and her corgi dog Sprout, who live in the magical world of Korgi Hollow. It's a peaceful woodland world, until visitors come and lead to some startling discoveries for both Sprout and Ivy.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

All day long, I get comments on: (a) how awful my hair looks, and, (b) how hot my sister is. I don't get it. Do people not consider the possibility that maybe they're being the tiniest bit insensitive, saying things like, "Omigod, you must have wanted to kill your stylist," and then informing me how incredibly gorgeous Anna is? (45)

Fans of Lauren Myracle will want to read her newest book, Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks. After being gone for the entire summer, sophomore Carly returns to find her freshman sister Anna has grown, and the boys at their ultra-exclusive Catholic high school are noticing. While Carly tries not to be jealous, it's hard to ignore everyone's comments. Tension rises when Carly tries to distinguish herself from the rest of the rich Barbies, which she feels Anna is trying to become. Add in a hot exchange student who every girl desires and an unsupervised party, and the girls come to realize what is really important.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes by Peggy Gifford

Numbers 1 through 12 on Moxy's List of 13 Things to Do Before Tomorrow were to write twelve thank-you notes. Last year she hadn't finished writing the thank-you notes for her Christmas presents until the day before Easter. This year, she promised her mother, they'd all be finished by the day after Christmas. And today was the day after Christmas. (3)

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes. Moxy's mom has said that if she doesn't finish writing her thank you notes TODAY, she won't be allowed to visit her father in fabulous Hollywood, who she hasn't seen for almost three years. In an effort to speed things up, she decides to use her stepdad's new copier. With her twin brother Mark documenting the procedure with his camera, nothing goes as planned. Especially when Moxy's mom and stepdad arrive home. Fans of Peggy Gifford's first book starring the procrastinating 10-year-old will not be disappointed by this sequel.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

Everyone does it. Dies, I mean. I found this out for myself on my seventeenth birthday when I was killed in a freak car accident on my prom night. But it was no accident. It was a carefully planned scything, just a small moment in the battle between light reapers and dark, heaven and hell, choice and fate. Only I didn't check out of my life like most dead people do. Thanks to a mistake, I'm stuck, dead on earth. The angel who failed to protect me and the amulet I stole from my killer are the only things keeping me from ending up where the dark reapers wanted me to be. Dead, that is.
My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm seeing it, hearing it, touching it, living it. (vii)

Kim Harrison's Once Dead, Twice Shy doesn't waste time with an introduction. Seventeen-year-old Madison Avery now lives with her dad, who has no knowledge of the night his daughter died. She's being trained by a light reaper to try to extend her "life", with little success after four months. The killer is still trying to find Madison, finish the job, and reclaim his amulet to restore his full power. But when her body guard is called away and she finds herself under the watchful eye of an inexperienced guardian angel, Madison finds it necessary to tell the only other person who was there that night what really happened. On a race to save their lives, or in Madison's case restore it, Madison is left wondering who she can really trust.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus by Kristen Tracy

Even with my eyes open, things were still pretty dark. I brushed my hair off my face and expected to see some light. But there wasn't any. That's when I realized that I was no longer underneath the bright Idaho sky. Somehow, I had fallen and slipped underneath Mrs. Spittle's bus. The underbelly of the bus was filthy. Dirty chunks of melting ice dripped onto me.
To the right and left of my head were big black tires. Snow was pressed deep into their treads. I growned. Then I heard one of the worst sounds of my life. It was the one sound you never want to hear if you've slipped and fallen under your own school bus. I heard teh sound of Mrs. Spittle shutting the bus door. Sssspt. Then, from somewhere deep in my own brain, I heard my father's words: "Don't expect life to be fair." (9)

Camille McPhee is having a rough time as a fourth grader. After her best friend moved from their Idaho town to Japan over the summer, she's been keeping a low profile at school, convinced that she shouldn't make any new friends who are going to leave or forget important promises. It's kind of hard sometimes, not talking or making eye contact with anyone. Not talking about her hypoglycemia, a weird blood sugar thing that sets her apart by being the only student allowed to eat during class. Not talking about her missing pet cat, who she still looks for after three years. And certainly not talking about her parents, who are arguing about finances and taking a break from each other. Especially when her mother is experiencing a "mid-life crisis" and painting the whole house "Eggplant" and her father is going on an extended business trip to Alaska for a month. Oh, and as if things can't get any worse, she's a drowning cat in the school play. The fact that Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus is the least of Camille's problems in this first novel by Kristan Tracy.


Just Another Hero by Sharon Draper

"So what makes a person a hero?" asked the teacher.
"He saves the world," Susan suggested.
"What if he just saves a kid from drowning?" Arielle wondered.
"He's gotta be strong," Kofi added.
"Who says it's gotta be a dude?" asked Dana.
"Women back then just served the wine,and then they served the men," Cleveland said with a laugh, "like they're s'posed to do!" Dana threw a notebook at him, but he ducked.
"Can't a woman be a hero?" Dana asked again.
"Heroine," November corrected.
"Changing the name makes her sound weaker," Dana argued. "I think if a lady saves a baby from a burning house, she ought to be called a hero, not a wussy-sounding heroine."
"Good point," Mrs. Witherspoon said, encouraging the students to talk. But do you have to save somebody to be a hero?" (98)

The senior class of this Ohio high school could sure use a hero. Arielle has had enough with her stepfather, who is emotionally abusing her and her mother by witholding his love and his money. Kofi has finally recovered from his broken arm, but he still finds himself needing to take the pain meds to navigate the day and his increasing stress about college and home life. November has finally returned after giving birth to her pre-mature child Sunshine. Unfortunately, Eddie is also back after serving some time in juvenille detention. With fire alarms being pulled on almost a weekly basis and personal items being stolen, everyone suspects Eddie is up to his old tricks. But things take a drastic turn when one final fire alarm sounds, and not everyone can leave the building. Even if you're like me and haven't read the first two books in Sharon Draper's trilogy, you'll still become engrossed in Just Another Hero and will probably go searching for the two previous novels.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

Maybe Mommers and I shouldn't have been surprised; Dwight had told us it was a trailer even before we'd packed our bags. But I had pictured one of those parks--like up on Route 50. I thought trailers were always in trailer parks. I expected a little grass patch out front, daisy-shaped pinwheels stuck into the ground, one of those white shorty fences and a garden gnome. [...]
I stood next to Mommers, both of us looking at the trailer. The thing was dingy and faded. But I could tell that it'd once been the color of sunshine. It was plunked down on a few stacks of cinder blocks at the corner of Freeman's Bridge Road and Nott Street in the city of Schenectady--in the state of New York. It was a busy corner--medium busy, I'd say. The only patch out our front was the tarry blacktop bubbling up in the heat of the late summer afternoon. No pinwheels. No garden gnome. (1-5)

Twelve year old Addison "Addie" Schmeeter has just moved into a trailer with her mom. Her mom has just gotten divorced from the best step-dad she could ever have asked for, and he's taken her two half-sisters with him after his mom left the three of them for a few days to fend for themselves. Addie hopes things are improving when her mom becomes excited about a new job and Addie begins a new school year. But the second half of her family has moved farther away, preventing her from seeing them except for holidays. Her mom though, keeps disappearing -- first for a few hours, then for a night, then for a whole day. When Addie's mom drops a bombshell of news, things take a turn for the worst and the bad spreads like fire. Leslie Connor portrays the story of a girl whose Waiting for Normal and on a search to define it.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

There is a man wearing a turban ringing our doorbell. I walk slowly up the driveway and stop a safe, short distance from him as he rings again.
"Yes?" I as, cautiously. Is this guy a salesman? Lost, asking for directions? Strange, weirdo lunatic? We're not expecting anyone, as far as I know, and all of Mom's clients use the separate entrance to her basement office.
The man jerks around. "Samar . . . ?" he says, hi eyes widening. He steps roward me.
Okay, strange, weirdo lunatic--who knows my name! (1)

The weirdo lunatic who appears at seventeen-year-old Samar Ahluwahlia's door step turns out to be her uncle. Her mom fled her family after her divorce from Samar's father, but after 9/11, her Uncle Sandeep wants to reunite with the family. His appearance causes tension however between Samar and her mother, who does not want Samar to learn about her heritage or past. Samar is also encountering racism and prejudice from classmates, even after she has worked so hard to be accepted by them and hide her heritage. But is Samar really a coconut "brown on the outside, white on the inside"? Or is she one of the most resiliant plants on earth? Neesha Meminger presents one girl's struggle to accept who she is along with everyone else in Shine Coconut Moon.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel by Robert B. Parker

I was hanging outside the variety store with Pearl and some guys when Luke Haden's car pulled up at the stoplight, with Jeannie in the front seat. I had never seen her riding with her father before. She saw me through the rolled-up window and mouthed the word HELP at me. HELP. HELP. I started toward the car and the light changed and the car moved forward. (33)

Fans of Robert Parker can now have a glipse at the childhood of his well-known private-eye Spenser in Chasing the Bear. Spenser flashes back to when he was 14 years old, and his classmate Jeannie has been taken by her abusive father into the woods. Rather than go for help from his father and two uncles, Spenser sets off with his dog Pearl to rescue her. He also has to deal with a racial war brewing in his home town between the Mexican and American students. Bouncing back and forth between Spenser and his wife and Spenser's past, it's an great introduction for people who have never read the Spenser series.