Joe Sherlock's first official case is full of misadventures and hangups, from getting stuck with his sister's girly backpack stuffed with detecting suJoe Sherlock's first official case is full of misadventures and hangups, from getting stuck with his sister's girly backpack stuffed with detecting supplies to accidental beheadings of innocent cement rabbits. Joe ends up tangled up with a mysterious van, a police officer looking for him and sprints through the night that leave him looking like something a truck ran over. There's plenty of sibling conflict and parental mayhem on the side. (Don't answer the phone thinking it is your sister and asking 'where's dad' when it is actually mom on the line). I think kids at my school would enjoy this early mystery series....more
I enjoyed Moxy's way of relating her life at the beginning of this book. The style wore on me by the end but maybe that was because I was listening whI enjoyed Moxy's way of relating her life at the beginning of this book. The style wore on me by the end but maybe that was because I was listening when I was in the wrong mood....more
Have you ever wondered how Peter Pan came to fly or what adventures he had before meeting Wendy? Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson explore these in PeterHave you ever wondered how Peter Pan came to fly or what adventures he had before meeting Wendy? Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson explore these in Peter and the Star Catchers, the first installment in a series taking place before the events of Peter Pan.
Peter and four other orphans from St. Norbert's Home for Wayward Boys are forced to board the Never Land, a shady ship, on their way to service in Rundoon. As the claimed eldest of the boys and the best spitter, Peter is their leader. At first, all he is concerned with is getting off the boat before it sets sail. He narrowly misses a beating and time in the brig when Molly, a passenger on the Never Land, prevents him from trying to escape during castoff. Peter and the boys are under the strict command of cruel first mate Slade.
Sickened at the thought of eating the broth wriggling with maggots brought to them once a day, the boys are eager for something else to eat. While Peter is rummaging one night for food alone, he finds a guarded room in the hold. He slips past the sleeping guard to find a canvas wrapped trunk. Any thought of investigating the trunk is put on hold when a rat floats overhead. Stunned, Peter is driven out of the room by Molly, who was also night wandering, before they can be caught in the wrong place.
As the voyage continues, Peter repeatedly tries to discover what is in the trunk, especially after hearing one of the Never Land sailors discussing it. After a number of arguments and encounters, Molly reveals what she knows of the trunk's treasure--a substance known as starstuff. A whole order of people strive to protect the world from the amount of power starstuff can convey; that group is known as the Starcatchers. Molly's father is one and Molly is in training herself. The trunk should be on the Wasp with her father and not on the Never Land at all. Meanwhile, the vile Black Stache and his ship the Sea Devil are out to track down the "greatest treasure to ever sail the seas." The Sea Devil is the fastest vessel on the water and he is determined to get the trunk when he does not even know what is in it.
This book is filled with magic and adventure. Porpoises serve as message barriers, children (and a crocodile) fly, and a shipwreck on a hostile island keep this story moving along. Young readers will enjoy Peter's narrow escapes from danger and his tendency to plunge ahead. I appreciated Peter's recognition of the consequences of what befalls him as he tries to keep the trunk from falling into the hands of the pirates. This Peter is more responsible than his classical equivalent, but he is no less fun.
I listened to the audio version of this book, which is narrated by the incomparable Jim Dale. I was in need of a new read to listen to while commuting and picked this because of the narrator. Then the story unveiled and I was 'hooked' to the point that I brought the audiobook inside to finish listening to at one am. I have since started listening to the second installment. ...more
Meggy is sent to London because her father, who she knows nothing about, summoned her. When he discovers Meggy is both a girl andYe toads and vipers!
Meggy is sent to London because her father, who she knows nothing about, summoned her. When he discovers Meggy is both a girl and a cripple, he wants nothing to do with her. Meggy's mother had been only too glad to send the girl away from being underfoot since the death of her Gran two years back. She is given a few coins and a tiny bit of food by Roger, her father's old serving boy who is now off to make his living as a player. Meggy is alone in the world, friendless save for the goose Louise.
Scorned, jeered at and tormented for all her short life, it is difficult to tell if it is Meggy's temper or her tongue that is sharper. Her stubbornness is matched only by that of her eccentric alchemist father. That stubbornness is what makes Meggy challenge herself. Though walking (or wabbling as she calls it) pains her legs and her arms, Meggy finds herself taking to the city streets more and more over the course of the book. At first she ventures out in search of food sellers and to find grass where Louise can eat. Later, she sets out on errands to find things necessary to her father's great work.
Meggy's father is absorbed in trying to find the Philospher's Stone, to combine the correct ingredients to change the base essence of things. It takes almost all his income and all his attention. It seems as if he cannot even remember his daughter's name. When an incident with Louise in his laboratory leads to the breaking of a glass vessel, he orders the bird out of his tiny home to be roasted. Meggy delivers the goose instead to the house of players Roger now calls home. Some of the father's errands seem pointless. At other times Meggy hears strange comings and goings in the night. When it becomes clear that her father is involved in less than savory dealings to get the coin to fund his experiments, Meggy is forced to make a decision to look after herself or after others.
I listened to the audio version of this book. The narration is masterfully done. Meggy's many insults and insights left me laughing. I loved how the fights with Roger changed from Meggy's explosive anger to the banter of friends. The cast of supporting characters made this story. There was the adorable Nicholas, the Cooper's son, and the printer who let Meggy sell his broadsides. There was Mistress Grim and all the children at the printer's house who added a level of merriment. There is the cloth seller who sees only demons and witches when he sees Meggy, convinced her ailment is due to devilry.
The end of the book wraps up neatly, maybe a little too neatly. I enjoyed it because it showed how much the characters rely on one another and can work together. There was a hint of danger when one act was misinterpreted as treasonous rather than helpful. I also enjoyed the genuineness of the characters. Meggy and the others were allowed to be angry without cause, to misinterpret the actions of others, to want to hang on to being upset and to be ridiculous at times.
The book's afterword is a wealth of information about the time period in which this book takes place. Make sure to read it as well!...more
I listened to the audio version of this book. The narrator also did Cory Doctorow's Little Brother so it took me awhile to pull myself back into the 1I listened to the audio version of this book. The narrator also did Cory Doctorow's Little Brother so it took me awhile to pull myself back into the 1930s.
This is a well done historical fiction book about a boy named Moose and his family living on Alcatraz, where his dad works as one of the guards in 1935. Moose begins finding notes in his laundry, notes he believes are coming from Al Capone. The first note says Done. It comes about the same time as Moose's family discovers his sister Natalie can once again go to the Esther P. Marinoff school. His mom hopes the school will help make Natalie better. Moose believes Capone had a hand in getting her in. When the second note comes in the laundry, one that says Your Turn, Moose starts worrying what he'll have to do in return for the favor.
Natalie has something that might be diagnoses as autism today, but that label did not exist yet in 1935. She has trouble communicating, dislikes being touched and gets 'stuck' focusing on different things. Moose is very protective of her and has helped a lot with her. When she goes off to school, Moose finds himself at a loss as his mom starts focusing more on him. He likes the attention, but he feels guilty about it as well. There are those on the island, like Officer Darby, who don't like or understand Natalie at all.
Moose's life gets turned upside down in this book. All his friendships are challenged and strained. The girl he has a crush on, the warden's daughter, is hot tempered. She wields power in a pique, getting Moose's dad and his best friend's dad put on probation with accusations of drinking on duty when Moose got to see the inside of the prison and Al Capone (because he ran a choking baby up to the doctor). He's wrapped up in event after event he feels he can't tell the adults about safely without getting his parents or Natalie in trouble. He even has to find a way to sneak roses to Al Capone's wife when she visits.
I enjoyed the dynamics behind the different characters and their motivations. Everything is not as it seems at first glance on the island. ...more