After getting a request for this book from a kid who has proven to have excellent taste (she's a regular at the library, and we've done a lot of bookAfter getting a request for this book from a kid who has proven to have excellent taste (she's a regular at the library, and we've done a lot of book talking!), I finally picked up May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I was kind of impressed with the book. May is a friendless 10-year-old girl who has a vivid imagination...and the threat of being sent to boarding school looming over her shoulder. One day while walking in the woods near her home, she falls into a lake and is sucked into the "Ever After," home of ghosts, specters, and ghouls. May finds herself instantly hunted by Bo Clevil, who has outlawed the living from remaining in the Ever After. Teamed up with Pumpkin (the ghost who has haunted May's house for years) and trailed by May's pet Somber Kitty, the two set out to find the Book of the Dead, which will hopefully tell May how she can return home.
This engaging story is perhaps a little slow to set up, but May's adventures in Ever After are exciting and fraught with danger. The characters that May meets up with along the way are diverse and well-drawn, each with their own distinct and endearing personalities. There are lots of interesting dead spirits to be found here, but is not a scary book. It would, however, be a good tone-setting for those looking to get into the Halloween spirit but who don't necessarily want to have their pants scared off. ...more
In My Dad's a Birdman, author David Almond's first book for young readers, we meet a young girl named Lizzie whose very eccentric father is building wIn My Dad's a Birdman, author David Almond's first book for young readers, we meet a young girl named Lizzie whose very eccentric father is building wings so that he can fly like a bird. Everyone, including Lizzie's dumpling-obsessed Aunt Doreen, is sure that Lizzie's father is off his rocker is will only get himself and Lizzie into trouble or even seriously hurt. Lizzie, however, ultimately joins her father on his quest to enter the Great Human Bird Competition and discover a way to make his dreams really take flight.
The wacky characterizations are very reminiscent of Roald Dahl's writing, while the bright illustrations by Polly Dunbar remind us of Quentin Blake. Readers will realize that while Aunt Doreen may be logically correct - that flying is best left to the birds - in the end it is really more important that Lizzie and her dad try their best. After all:
"It doesn't matter if we fly of if we fall. We've got each other. We're doing it together. That's all that matters." ...more
This episodic tale describes one girl's series of adventures at her grandmother's house throughout the year. Becca's grandmother lives on an island ofThis episodic tale describes one girl's series of adventures at her grandmother's house throughout the year. Becca's grandmother lives on an island off of the Canadian coast, lending to the story a very cozy and unique environment filled with midnight swims, oysters, and seals. In every adventure, Becca is able to come out on top and save the day. By the book's end, Becca has come to realize just how capable of a person she really is and just how much she has grown in the past year.
While the book is beautifully written, the episodic nature may be problematic for very young readers. Some elements, such as the impending arrival of Becca's new baby sibling and Becca's aunt's budding yet troubled romance with the local plumber, weave their way in and out of each story, but as a general rule a new adventure begins with each chapter with much time sometimes passing between events. Whether or not readers view this as a pro or con is a matter of personal preference. What all readers will certainly agree on is that author Deirdre Baker has created a beautifully inviting setting for Becca's story, one that will make this book stand out from other coming-of-age or new-sibling stories for this age group. ...more
This was one of my favorite reads for the summer! A tale of action and suspense, this book documents an ordinary 7th grader's introduction to a secretThis was one of my favorite reads for the summer! A tale of action and suspense, this book documents an ordinary 7th grader's introduction to a secret city hidden underneath the streets of New York. She soon teams up with Kiki Strike, a girl of mystery who also seems to have an interest in this Shadow City. The two go on to recruit a team of delinquent Girl Scouts, each with their own special talents. This group, known as the Irregulars, seeks to map out and control the Shadow City - as well as protect it from those who would use it for evil. Filled with advice on how to kick butt, enough intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat, and some beautifully drawn characters who are each strong in their own way, this book is high on my list of all-time favorites. A sequel is also available: Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb. ...more