I'd loved Heart of a Samurai, so I was excited to read The Bamboo Sword. The book opens in Japan in the 1850s. Although Nakahama Manjiro returns to JaI'd loved Heart of a Samurai, so I was excited to read The Bamboo Sword. The book opens in Japan in the 1850s. Although Nakahama Manjiro returns to Japan in The Bamboo Sword, this time, Its hero is thirteen-year-old Yoshi, a peasant who dreams of fighting like a samurai, who is the main protagonist. Yoshi was orphaned and given employment by the local samurai family. He does errands and cares for the son of the house, and as he does so, he watches their lessons in martial arts, bushido and sword play. Though Yoshi knows his position will never change, he loves practicing the sword moves with his own "bamboo sword". Things change drastically when the barbarian sailors come to the port and his young master decides to flee. Yoshi helps him but doesn't expect his own life to be so much worsened in the bargain. Yoshi and his friend Jun run away to the harbor where they observe the "hairy ones" aboard their ship.
Another young hero from America is thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan, who works as a cabin boy and a powder monkey on the Black Ship that's sailed into Japan's harbors. Their captain and crew have gun powder and cannons and are preparing to make their mark and their fortune in the heathen East under the command of Commodore Perry. Though the language and attitudes are historically accurate, I couldn't help but wince when they talk about killing slant-eyes, and the like. Being Asian myself, I couldn't help hoping that they'll get their comeuppance.
I loved The Bamboo Sword, but it is hard to share what I loved about it without revealing plot points. It's helpful to note that much of the story is rooted in research. So, what did I particularly enjoy? The two boys, Yoshi and Jack, both on their own and the story of their friendship. I appreciated how Preus masterfully wove in details about samurai weapons, armor, skills and training as well as the social and political restrictions under the political regime in Japan at the time of the Tokagawa Shogunate. The wood block prints depicting scenes of Japan, its people and the events. The description of the Shogun's castle from the perspective of a young first time visitor. The adventure that she gives to young Yoshi and Jack is both entertaining and plausible. The Bamboo Sword is a keeper!...more
Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures begins with Career Day and an incident with unicorns. It turns out that Pip is the one person who can communPip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures begins with Career Day and an incident with unicorns. It turns out that Pip is the one person who can communicate with magical creatures. After the unicorn incident, nine-year old Pip is sent to assist her veterinarian aunt in her practice of magical creatures and her unique ability results in all sorts of complications and misadventures.
We follow Pip as she makes friends with an allergy prone boy her age and charms all sorts of magical creatures. While there Pip doesn't go on a quest or big adventure, she brings fun to an otherwise quiet suburban town. Fun read!...more
Nightbird starts off as the story of Teresa, nicknamed Twig, who believes herself to be as inconsequential and forgettable as a twig. She's got a liveNightbird starts off as the story of Teresa, nicknamed Twig, who believes herself to be as inconsequential and forgettable as a twig. She's got a lively imagination, a big heart, and pluck. But she's been told to keep her light hidden, not to make friends, to stay apart from the other children. Her mother doesn't let her socialise and doesn't allow any of the neighbours to visit. It's largely because of a curse that was put on their family hundreds of years ago by the Sidwell witch. This curse and avoiding further damage has ruled the lives of Twig and her family members.
When a young family moves in next door, Twig finally finds a friend of her own. It changes everything for her but she's terrified of disappointing her mother and impact of the curse. She tries to avoid her new friend and it's heartbreaking to read her loneliness - the new friendship brings so much to the story.
There's strange graffiti, a possible curse and witch, a possible monster all mixed in with the young folks in a small town in the Berkshires. Friendship, finding one's way, and growing into one's self are all key themes in this delightful book. ...more
Defy introduces us to a brave, proud warrior who is forced to hide her true identity for her own safety. She's proved her fighting ability and won a pDefy introduces us to a brave, proud warrior who is forced to hide her true identity for her own safety. She's proved her fighting ability and won a position among the Prince's Guard and is known to be one of the best swords person in the kingdom.
Unfortunately, the Kingdom is suffering great upheaval and considerable uncertainty as the King becomes progressively more despotic as he forces young women into brothels and arrests those with magical powers. The King is aided by a dangerous advisor with magical abilities.
When the Prince is kidnapped by the rebels, our heroine is taken with him. She learns that the Prince is working with the rebels against his father, with the purpose of ridding the Kingdom of inequality and to allow magic to be accepted and used. In order to survive and to help her Prince, our heroine must learn to use her skills and develop whatever magic she might have - and to return to the Kingdom, use her new skills for the young Prince.
Defy is a fun, witty, adventure story - a real delight!...more
The Red-Headed Demon by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler 7th in Series: Samurai Detective ISBN-10: 149477089X - Paperback $7.99 Publisher: CreateSpace IndepenThe Red-Headed Demon by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler 7th in Series: Samurai Detective ISBN-10: 149477089X - Paperback $7.99 Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 3, 2014), 264 pages.
Like other reviewers of The Red-Headed Demon, I'm a longtime reader of Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler's Samurai Detective series which is set during the time of Ancient/Samurai Japan.
Seikei was born the son of a prosperous tea merchant but he'd always dreamed of being a samurai. As the classes in Japan are set by birth, Seikei wasn't likely to become part of Japan's warrior class. But Seikei's curiosity and intelligence draw the attention of Judge Ooka, a well respected samurai also known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Japan". When Seikei assists Judge Ooka in an investigation, he asks and undertakes to adopt the young Seikei.
While not everyone is excited to have a former merchant become samurai, Seikei works hard to show his worth and loyalty. The Red-Headed Demon is the seventh book in the series and marks Seikei's first encounter with a young foreign visitor. Over a century ago, the Shogun's ancestor had banned foreigners from entering Japan. Now, foreigners only allowed in small carefully monitored and guarded areas. So, when the Shogun invites a Dutch trader/physician and his young nephew named Hans to the palace, Seikei is excited to meet these unusual characters. Also invited to the meeting is a Kirishitan priest, a Jesuit and rival of the Dutch traders. When the Dutch trader/physician is poisoned, Judge Ito and Seikei try to ensure the young red headed visitor's safety - but without disobeying the Shogun's orders - which requires Seikei to sneak out of the palace and to the port where young Hans's compatriots are docked. They must avoid the rival traders, unexpected dangers, and overcome their own prejudices.
The Red-Headed Demon is both incredibly funny and an engaging adventure. There aren't that many middle grade books that deliver the same interesting and complex characters in this unique setting. ...more
Age Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 7 ISBN-10: 0544238338 Hardcover $16.99 Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2014), 256 pages. ReviewAge Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 7 ISBN-10: 0544238338 Hardcover $16.99 Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2014), 256 pages. Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Program.
Review: I loved Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile! I was hooked with the "Mystery on Museum Mile, but I'm having a hard time breaking down what exactly makes it such a fun and memorable read. It's clear that sixth grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot is precocious, brilliant, and funny. His best friend is supposed to be even smarter than Edmund and suffers from ADHD and OCD. They're clearly targets for bullies and, sure enough, the boys suffer through all sorts of awful encounters. But even though they're scared, the two friends don't adjust their personalities - they stay their quirky and smart selves.
The book is told from Edmund's point of view and since he's unusually perceptive and witty, I was chuckling out loud. I haven't loved a character as much since I read Al Capone Does My Shirts. Plus, we find that Edmund is facing a real problem. He needs to use his unique talents to help identify and catch the mastermind art thief - if he does so, he'll be able to stay at his private school and with his friends. A lot of time is spent in the Metropolitan Museum, the Neue Gallery, and the Guggenheim Museum which adds another dimension to the book.
I'm trying not to give any spoilers - let me just say, buy this book for your child or your niece or nephew. I loved it and am pretty sure that they'll love it too.
I also liked that Eddie Red/Edmund Xavier Lonnrot is African American - race isn't an issue in the story, it's just part of their personality and background....more
Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab by Science Bob Pfugfelder and Steve Hockensmith Age Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 7 Series: Nick and TeslNick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab by Science Bob Pfugfelder and Steve Hockensmith Age Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 7 Series: Nick and Tesla (Book 1) ISBN-10: 1594746486 - Hardcover $12.95 Publisher: Quirk Books (November 5, 2013), 240 pages. Review copy courtesy of Quirk Books.
Eleven-year old twins Nick and Tesla were looking forward to a trip to Disneyland with their parents but a work emergency (soybean irrigation issues in Uzbekistan in the far reaches of the former Soviet Union) forces them to stay with their scientist and absentminded uncle Newt. They arrive at Half Moon Bay, California to find a suburban house with a self mowing lawn. The inside of the house is just as strange: full of inventions in different stages of development, various lab equipment, a Christmas tree, a polar bear, and strange food combinations. Their Uncle Newt is sprawled on the floor, made immobile by strange orange foam. The judicious use of a specific purple spray destroys the sticky bond of the orange substance - and the twins are welcomed.
Nicke and Telsa find unprecedented personal freedom which they exploit fully. It starts innocently enough - with the low-tech bottle launcher that they make one afternoon. Science Bob includes instructions on how to make the bottle launcher, so it's possible for readers to try the experiment on their own - with adult supervision.
The rocket launcher leads Nick and Tesla to the abandoned large estate at the end of their block where they find a mysterious young girl in an upstairs window, protected by a pack of frighteningly angry dogs and suspicious characters.
Nick, Tesla and their young neighbors decide to investigate further but they don't do it like regular kids. Their special interests and skills lead them to make and to teach us how to make a mints-and-soda robocat dog distractor. Remember the YouTube videos of menthos and coke explosions? Nick and Tesla take the idea behind those explosions and put it to good use. Science Bob, Nick and Tesla incorporate science and engineering in coming up with solutions and they do so in ways that make science fun. Think of Invisible ink trackers and electromagnetic answers to locked doors and home alarm systems.
The science and experiments are tools to help Nick and Tesla solve problems, save a young girl and make sense of the strange goings on in their new neighborhood. Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab is an unusual adventure story that introduces us to fun new detective heroes. ...more
Just Grace and the Super Sleepover is the latest in third grader Grace's adventures. Things are still going well between Grace and her best friend MimJust Grace and the Super Sleepover is the latest in third grader Grace's adventures. Things are still going well between Grace and her best friend Mimi. They're in the same class, walk to and from school together, and are both invited to their first sleepover party.
While Mimi is extremely excited to spend the night in a tent and stay up much of the night, Grace is apprehensive. It's hard for Grace to admit her fears and she finds herself hiding more and more things from her friends. There are quite a few funny passages as Grace debates with herself the extent to which hiding her feelings should be considered lying. As Grace avoids speaking her mind, she comes up with an unlikely story - which spreads and gets away from her.
Friendship, quick thinking, and belated honesty help to make everything come right in the end. Along the way, we learn about the continents, geography, bugs, and about learning to speak up, even if you don't think your friends, teachers and family are going to like what you have to say. The book is told from Grace's point of view with her characteristic funny, honest, and likable voice. Highly recommended!...more
I'd ordered Gooney Bird and All Her Charms with my 6 year old niece in mind. I've been collecting books to send her and I expect that this will go oveI'd ordered Gooney Bird and All Her Charms with my 6 year old niece in mind. I've been collecting books to send her and I expect that this will go over well. It's my first time to read a Lois Lowry Gooney Bird adventure and it's an easy series to enjoy.
Gooney Bird loves hats, glasses, dressing up, but in a way that reminded me a bit of Pippi Longstocking because she chooses her accessories with a sense of fun and purpose. She has a serious hat that she wears for important meetings - such as her meetings with the librarian, the school principal, etc. She's not shy but she's not pushy either. She speaks her mind but listens to her classmates. She's comfortable with the limelight but doesn't have to always be the star. She's the active, self assured, funny girl that I imagine young girls would love to spend time with, befriend, emulate.
In this particular story, Gooney Bird's second grade class is studying the human body. Gooney Bird's great uncle lends the class a skeleton as a teaching aid and the students gradually adjust to having a skeleton and are excited to share what they learn about the different systems of the body. The book mixes the biology lessons with humor - and does this very well. There are opponents to this new teaching tool and a disaster of sorts that requires teamwork from all the classmates to resolve.
The one thing that I didn't enjoy was how the Keiko, the young Japanese American girl, was always scared, worried, easily upset. I'd much rather have a Japanese girl with a samurai spirit instead of a scared nervous and hyper feminine type.
I look forward to reading the other books in the series and sharing this with my niece Sofia....more
Matthew Cody's Will in Scarlet is a wonderfully done retelling of the story of Robin Hood. We're transported to England at the time of Richard the LioMatthew Cody's Will in Scarlet is a wonderfully done retelling of the story of Robin Hood. We're transported to England at the time of Richard the Lionhearted and the Crusades. Will's father accompanied King Richard to the Middle East and his wife, son, castle and lands under his brother's control. These are good times for Will - he gets into all sorts of mischief, exploring, hunting, and growing up very slowly. But the nation's politics come even to the slower, quieter areas and Will's castle is not exempt.
Richard's brother John sends his men to test where Will's family's loyalties lie. Tragedy ensues and Will finds himself on the run. He comes across the Merry Men in Sherwood Forrest and somehow thieves become local heroes of sorts.
Full of humor, adventure and unforgettable characters, Will in Scarlet is an engaging story. Highly recommended!...more
I'd come across Heat, one of Mike Lupica's earlier novels purely by chance. I'm not much of a sports fan but the story of this young boy and his olderI'd come across Heat, one of Mike Lupica's earlier novels purely by chance. I'm not much of a sports fan but the story of this young boy and his older brother trying to get by after the death of their father was about much more than just baseball. Somehow, Lupica wove in the problems facing a young illegal immigrant - the fear, the need to hide and the desire to fit in - into the story of this amazing athlete who has a chance to bring his little league team to victory as long as he isn't outed and deported first. It's hard to explain exactly, but after reading Heat, I started reading as much of Mike Lupica's young adult novels that I could find. Needless to say, I was excited to review his latest young adult novel, Game Changers.
Like Heat, Game Changers introduces us to a hero so likable, that you find yourself in his corner early in the book. Ben McBain is a born quarterback: he loves football, he's understands the game, sees the entire field when he plays, he's quick, he's strong, and he brings his teammates together. Unfortunately, Ben is also much smaller than the usual quarterback, which means that few of the coaches or grownups see him as a natural for that position. Instead of whining about his luck, Ben plays smarter and he works harder than everyone else. Fortunately, he lives right next to a field which he and his three closest friends have dubbed McBain Field for all the hours they've spent there over the years.
The book opens with a new football season starting. Ben McBain is better than ever and he's excited for tryouts. Their new coach O'Brien is a superstar in his own right - he played for the NFL and cares about the kids. Unfortunately for Ben, the coach's son Shawn O'Brien is trying out for quarterback too. Shawn is bigger, stronger, and is a shoe-in for the position.
Invariably, Shawn becomes the starting quarterback. When Shawn plays well, he excels. But in tough times, Shawn gets nervous, he worries too much, and somehow he loses his game. Ben's friends see this as an opportunity for Ben to take over. But Shawn reaches out to Ben for his help and Ben soon finds himself spending his free time helping Shawn become a better quarterback. Shawn's sworn Ben to secrecy about their extra sessions. How much of a good guy does Ben have to be?
When can Ben finally tell his good friends what's going on? And can Ben ever use what he's learned to win the quarterback position for himself?
In Game Changers, Lupica puts Ben McBain through the wringer. Somehow, hard work, decency, and friends make things work out for the team, for Ben and even for Shawn. Game Changers combines football, friendship, loyalty, and a good story. I recommend it!
ISBN-10: 0545381827 - Hardcover $16.99 Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 8, 2012), 224 pages. Review copy courtesy of Amazon Vine and the publisher. ...more
Heirs of Prophecy is a well developed quest novel for middle grade and young adult readers. Rothman introduces us to the Riverton family with sons RyaHeirs of Prophecy is a well developed quest novel for middle grade and young adult readers. Rothman introduces us to the Riverton family with sons Ryan and Aaron. Their father Jared has a love for the simple (rough!) outdoor life. He takes the family to the wilderness of southern Arizona to camp, canoe, fish, and forage. The two boys share their father's fondness for survival skills, which proves useful when through some freak accident the Rivertons suddenly find themselves in a strange and different world.
As the family makes sense of their surroundings, the boys discover that they have new abilities. Ryan discovers that he can channel magic while his younger brother Aaron has incredible physical strength. While thrilled with these developments, the Rivertons are careful not to show their new abilities. The new world is less technologically advanced and their survival skills serve them in good stead.
The family chances upon a powerful stranger named Throll who serves as a ranger and mayor of sorts for the district. Somehow Throll senses their difference but is willing to help the Rivertons adapt to the new world, find their bearings, and hide their "otherness". We learn that despite living in very different worlds, Throll's family and the Rivertons share much in common - such as a sense of fairness, a desire for individual freedom, and a willingness to risk everything for the chance of a better place.
Ryan and Aaron seem to have a special place in Trimoria - their arrival and future are foretold in prophecies and in dreams. It's with humor, excitement, and grace that they accept their unique strengths, the allies that they make, and the responsibilities that fall to them.
Michael Rothman is careful to explore the points of view of the two brothers as they learn about their new powers and explore the strange world of Trimoria. Reading Heirs of Prophecy, I was acutely aware of the wholesomeness of the story and the language. This didn't detract from the power of the story or likability of the characters. I would recommend Heirs of Prophecy to younger readers that are developing a taste for fantasy novels and stories of quests and knights.
ISBN-10: 0985169702 - Paperback $9.99 Publisher: M & S Publishing, L.L.C. (April 3, 2012), 380 pages. Review copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours....more
I'd read every book that I could find of Dave Duncan's King's Blades series and was excited to see another Dave Duncan adventure novel. Like his earliI'd read every book that I could find of Dave Duncan's King's Blades series and was excited to see another Dave Duncan adventure novel. Like his earlier novels, Against the Light has quite a lot of magic woven into the plot but this time the ability to use magic and belief in magic that divides political factions.
The extent of the bitterness and acrimony between the sides becomes clear early in the novel. The magic divide is reminiscent of the religious divide between the Catholics and the Church of England under Henry VIII, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. There are a number of violent scenes, but they fit into the plot, so they worked for me.
I particularly liked how Duncan tracked the three family members after the attack on their estate. He carefully plotted their career paths and their eventual reunion to give the reader a suspenseful and satisfying story. I devoured Against the Light and am looking forward to the next Dave Duncan novel.
ISBN-10: 1612182038 - Paperback $14.95 Publisher: 47North (January 24, 2012), 484 pages. Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher....more
I remember reading John Grisham years ago - when he first wrote The Firm. More than anything, he draws you in with his stories. I'd very much enjoyedI remember reading John Grisham years ago - when he first wrote The Firm. More than anything, he draws you in with his stories. I'd very much enjoyed his Theodore Boone books and had been looking forward to reading Calico Joe, his latest novel.
I'm not that knowledgeable about baseball, so the baseball stats in Calico Joe didn't register with me, the way that I expect they will for more baseball savvy readers. But the real story and its drama was easy to follow.
The story is told by eleven-year old Paul Tracey, the son of New York Mets pitcher Warren Tracey. As a boy, admires his father but has a healthy fear of him as well.
"Baseball was my world, and little else mattered. My father pitched for the New York Mets, and I lived and died with each game. I pitched too, for the Scrappers in the White Plains Little League, and because my father was who he was, great things were expected of me. I rarely met those expectations, but there were moments of promise."
The baseball season of 1973 is marked by the sudden appearance of young Joe Castle. Castle was sharing a cheap apartment with four other minor league players when the first baseman of the Chicago Cubs was injured. Joe was called up and found himself "starting at first and hitting seventh". Joe hit a home run on his first pitch and made baseball history. Joe Castle captured the hearts and imagination of baseball fans all around the country - and our narrator shares his own excitement and admiration of the young player.
Grisham's description of young Calico Joe and the spontaneous surge of affection from baseball fans everywhere sort of reminded me of Jeremy Lin - although I admit that many things remind me of Jeremy Lin nowadays - because of the unexpected show of talent and graciousness. Calico Joe clearly loves the game, is excited by the opportunities opening up for him, and his consistently gracious and likeable. Calico Joe is a great role model -"cocky but not the least bit arrogant" - "a fresh-faced kid who looked all of twenty-one and was on top of the world.
While "everyone was falling in love with Calico Joe", Warren Tracy was jealous of Joe's popularity, success and skill. When the New York Mets face off against the Chicago Cubs, Warren Tracy somehow hits Calico Joe. The action destroys both their professional and personal lives. Decades later, when Paul learns that his father Warren Tracy is dying of cancer, Paul tries to arrange for the men to meet. John Grisham's Calico Joe digs into the what happened that fateful day in 1973 and in the years following. Calico Joe is an engrossing story of rivalry, jealousy, vengeance, forgiveness - and baseball.
ISBN-10: 0385536070 - Hardcover $24.95 Publisher: Doubleday (April 10, 2012), 208 pages. Review copy courtesy of the publisher....more
The Diary of Piper Davis tells us the story of a young girl growing up in Seattle during World War II. Her mother died when she was a baby, so Piper wThe Diary of Piper Davis tells us the story of a young girl growing up in Seattle during World War II. Her mother died when she was a baby, so Piper was largely raised by her father, older sister Margaret, and her big brother Hank. When we first encounter Piper, she's very much a regular teenager. She and her best friend share secrets, go on double dates, and worry about Piper's brother Hank when he enlists in the Navy.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor brings out unexpected hostility against the Japanese American students and those that speak out in their defense. Piper's father is not afraid to defend Japanese Americans and Piper soon finds herself in the strange position of having being disparaged as Pro-Japanese just as her brother is fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Piper goes from being uncomfortable at the meanness directed towards her Japanese classmates to slowly seeing just how the Japanese are isolated and taken advantage of. Piper's empathy and sense of fairness lead her to some unpopular actions - and unforgettable experiences during one of the most difficult times in US history.
The Diary of Piper Davis: The Fences Between Us captures a young girl's point of view - her concerns, her sense of fairness, and her growing awareness of the world around her. In her gentle way, Piper makes a big difference in the lives of the Japanese Americans that she befriends. We read how seemingly small things make a difference. Historically accurate and deeply compelling, The Diary of Piper Davis will supplement a young person's understanding of the impact of World War II in America. Kirby Larson tackles the unconstitutional incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II with exceptional sensitivity and humor.
Ages 8 and up. ISBN-10: 0545224187 - Hardcover $12.99 Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 Reprint edition (September 1, 2010), 320 pages. Review copy courtesy of the publisher....more
I'd loved John Flanagan's Ranger Apprentice series and had high hopes for the first book in his new series, The Outcasts. This time, Flanagan tells thI'd loved John Flanagan's Ranger Apprentice series and had high hopes for the first book in his new series, The Outcasts. This time, Flanagan tells the story of Skanians, a race and culture similar to the Vikings, through the point of view of Hal. Hal's father, Mikkel, was a renowned warrior who had traveled with Erak and was killed in battle while Hal was a very young child. Mikkel's best friend Thorn promises to look after Mikkel's son and wife. Hal grew up with his Araluen mother, always a bit of a stranger in his home. Until he somehow saves the life of Stig, another outsider of sorts.
Stig and Hal become fast friends. Stig is hotheaded, loyal, and natural athlete. Hal is innovative, meticulous, and a careful planner. Together, they make a strong team. They make friends with other boys. By the time that the boys are of age for the Brotherband training, they're excited and eager to prove themselves.
For Skanians, Brotherband training is a rite of passage and a chance to make a name for themselves. The year that Hal and Stig participate, there is an unusual number of boys. Instead of two teams, Erak agrees to create three teams. The last team is made up of the boys that we're selected by the other leaders - much like those last chosen during gym class but with much higher stakes. Stig is Hal's loyal lieutenant and Hal agrees to lead the group. It becomes clear through his carefully thought out decisions that Hal has both the mind and personality to lead by example. Though their group, the Herons, face groups with greater strength and skill, the competition teaches the boys the power of teamwork and loyalty.
In The Outcasts, John Flanagan gives us another set of heroes to root for and adventures to enjoy. I loved The Outcasts and am looking forward to the next in the series. It's a book I'd recommend for young readers and something I think even reluctant reader of a nephew would enjoy.
When I heard about Icefall, I very much wanted to read it. A story set with magic and Vikings and a brave young protagonist, discovering her strengthsWhen I heard about Icefall, I very much wanted to read it. A story set with magic and Vikings and a brave young protagonist, discovering her strengths.
When I actually started the book, it drew me in so quickly that I ended up reading through the night. It's hard to pinpoint what I like best about the book. It's a book that I'd share with young readers - as I read it, it struck me that the language and style were so well crafted that you could read the book aloud to a younger reader, a chapter a night, and they would be captivated for weeks, if not months. The writing, the characters, and the story draw you in that even as you close the book, you know that you will want to read it again.
Kat, Incorrigible is a book to share with young readers. It's the sort that can keep a young reader reading after "lights out" - enjoyable, funny, andKat, Incorrigible is a book to share with young readers. It's the sort that can keep a young reader reading after "lights out" - enjoyable, funny, and so hard to put down.
The heroine is twelve-year-old Katherine who lives in Regency England with her two older sisters, father and stepmother. Since women of their class didn't work at this time, marriage is the only way open to the Stephenson sisters. Katherine's eldest sister is a romantic and lover of Gothic romances - and she's willing to marry to advance the family fortune. But fortunately, Kat is much more adventurous and sensible. She searches for more creative ways to help improve their situation. This leads to magic and adventures for Kat and a wonderful read for the rest of us.
I don't want to spoil the suspense - but readers can expect snubs, snobbery, social rivals, highway men, disinherited young men, seemingly star-crossed lovers, dangerous misunderstandings, magic, tutors, and a persistent and endearing heroine.
I love Regency novels, Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen and I very much enjoyed Kat, Incorrigible. I'm definitely sharing this book with friends.
Reading level: 9 to 12 years ISBN-10: 9781416994473 - Hardcover $16.99 Publisher: Atheneum (April 5, 2011) 304 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher....more