This book was just as good as the first! Claudette is such a wonderful character! She breaks gender barriers and kicks some butt! In general, the persThis book was just as good as the first! Claudette is such a wonderful character! She breaks gender barriers and kicks some butt! In general, the personalities found in Dragons Beware are well crafted and fit the purpose they have (I especially liked the comic relief of the princes, though some were a bit whiny). It has a great theme and is truly a fun adventure. I'll definitely be buying this for my classroom (already have Giants Beware!). ...more
In the world of anthropomorphic books, Trevor Pryce's and Joel Naftali's Army of Frogs is definitely holding its own. This action-packed adventure aboIn the world of anthropomorphic books, Trevor Pryce's and Joel Naftali's Army of Frogs is definitely holding its own. This action-packed adventure about Darel, a not-so-ordinary frog, and the war he finds himself in the middle of is going to be a huge hit for fans of Warriors, Seekers, Guardians of Ga'hoole, Wolves of the Beyond, Silverwing, and Redwall. What does make this series stand out even more, though, is the AMAZING illustrations! You should read it for the story, but you HAVE to read it for the illustrations. *3.5 stars*...more
Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimble Witch is a Coraline-esque tone/mood with a mix of Wizard of Oz and Miyazaki. The illustrations were a bit mMaddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimble Witch is a Coraline-esque tone/mood with a mix of Wizard of Oz and Miyazaki. The illustrations were a bit messy, but in a purposeful way that made everything feel urgent. I am looking forward to the sequel....more
Can't decide between 4 & 5 stars--such a great book!
This is a book that keeps you reading. I couldn’t put it down. I found myself reading whenever I could (including times when I was holding my sleeping son or when I should have been sleeping). When you find out how Marina and Em are connected, it just blew my mind! I then had to find out how everything was going to turn out. I was just so impressed with everything:
First, the plot. It is so complex and intricate. You have to pay attention to keep up with the timeline, but it isn’t so bad that you’ll get lost. It is so admirable that the author was able to craft such intense timelines and intertwine them seamlessly.
Second, the language. I loved how Cristin Terrill wrote. The imagery throughout transported you into the story.
Third, the suspense. I just HAD to know what was going to happen!
Fourth, the characters. In a way that I’ve never experience before, Cristin Terrill truly gets you into the minds and hearts of the characters. You understand their motives, who they used to be, who they’ll become, all because of the way that Terrill tells the story and crafts her characters. You feel their heartbreak with them (and one particular realization that you find out in the very end just broke my heart and blew my mind), and you are so invested in everything they do.
Finally, the themes. The discussions that would come from this novel would be so interesting. Just the idea of power and corruption that is dealt with would lead to quite a debate.
Ricki also pointed out in her review how fun it would be to have students imagine what they would change if time travel existed.
This text would be a wonderful mentor text to discuss plot and character development, theme, and style. And most importantly, it will be a text that students will be intrigued with, not want to put down, and share with everyone....more
What I found most intriguing about this book is that Wilson was able to allude to Beowulf in a middle grade book without completely scaring away the reader. Although I have read in multiple reviews that this book will grab reluctant readers’ attention, I think that some of the allusions are hard to grasp without prior knowledge, so reluctant readers may need some assistance understanding thus making the book a great read aloud as it will grab attention and start deep discussion (see Tools for Navigation). In addition to the allusions, there are opportunities to discuss hero’s quest, abuse, and loyalty.
You will also find some beautiful writing in this novel. Wilson has a way with words that made this novel lyrical yet easy to read. From the very first line: “When the sugarcane’s burning and the rabbits are running, look for the boys who are quicker than flame.” I was impressed with how literary the novel was. ...more
I am a huge fan of Kazu Kibuishi. His artwork and his stories are so beautiful, so I know when he pulls together an anthology it is going to be phenomenal and this one does not disappoint. Each story revolves around an island although every story is very different. And I’ll be honest for a second, most of the time when I read short story anthologies, there is at least one story that is just “EH” for me, but I really liked each of these and they all fit a different purpose: Rabbit Island by Jake Parker was fun but had a great message, Loah by Michel Gagne was an artistic masterpiece, Radio Adrift by Katie and Steven Shanahan is so different from the others, etc....more
4.5 stars Wow. I am very reluctant to read “scary” books because I too often find that they rely too much on the scary and not enough on the writing. However, with Doll Bones, Holly Black was able to write a well-written middle grade novel with a good plot arc and characterization mixed with a lot of creepy. Within her “scary” book, Holly Black is able to capture a very awkward time in one’s life– middle school! –in a very realistic way. Her characters are believable, completely filled with the internal debate of growing up or staying a child a bit longer. Then, on top of her great middle grade story, she has included a completely creepy aspect of the story that I even had to put down a couple of times because I knew I was reading some creepy stuff too close to bedtime. ...more
his was such an amazing short story anthology. Usually when you read a collection of short stories there are a few winners and a bunch of losers, but with this one there are a tone of winners and a couple runners-up.
Let’s talk about how awesome it is to read a new Ray Bradbury story and a phenomenal story at that. It is an amazing story about survival, life, and love. It is such an interesting concept (a world where you only live 8 days) and is executed so well (you wouldn’t expect any less from Bradbury). And it is just one of the amazing stories. The amazing list of authors in this book would impress anyone: Rick Riordan, Shannon Hale, DJ Machale, Tom Angleberger, Neal Shusterman, Rebecca Stead, Shaun Tan, Kenneth Oppel, Eric Nylund, and Ray Bradbury. I also love the variety of stories. There are fantasy and science fiction stories – Percy Jackson right next to a story about aliens – and there are serious and funny stories – Tom Angleberger’s hilarious Rise of the Roboshoes alongside The Klack Bros. Museum by Kenneth Oppel.
Even though I don’t want to pick favorites, I would say if you are going to pick and choose go with the stories by Hale, Angleberger, Shusterman, Tan, Oppel, and Bradbury....more
I am always impressed when an author can not only make an entire new world, but also new mythology. That is exactly what Paul Pope does in his new graphic novel (will be a series). Arcopolis is a terrifying apocalyptic-esque town where you cannot walk around at night and you are always being watched by monsters. The setting is what makes this story really able to happen.
When reading, I could tell that Paul Pope is a “comic mastermind” because this story is set up very much like a traditional comic (good vs. evil, superheroes); however, there is a new twist on it because our hero is an underdog. This makes the reader root for him even more.
Warning: Cliffhanger ending! Battling Boy better be the first in a series, because I am dying to know what happens!...more
Andrew Bean was born with amazing abilities to sense things (hear, see, taste, touch and smell) better than anyone else on the planet. No wonder that he was recruited to be part of H.E.R.O. program at the middle school: an extracurricular “club” to prep students with super-powers to become the city’s superhero’s sidekicks. Andrew, along with five other extraordinary middle schoolers including Andrew’s best friend Jenna, join Mr. Martin three times a week to work on their powers and to prepare to be the best sidekick possible. Andrew’s only problem is that his superhero is MIA not even showing up to save him when he is hanging over a pool of acid. However, Andrew’s problem seems like nothing when supervillains escape from high security prison and begin rampaging their town–throwing the sidekicks right in the middle of a super-big problem.
What a super fun book! I love the concept of H.E.R.O. and how starting in middle school sidekicks are trained to be help to their superhero–talk about career track! This concepts lends to a great story because not only do you have the sidekicks/superhero aspect of the story, but you also are throwing these kids in the middle of middle school- major drama!
Right in the middle of this drama and action is Andrew. What a funny kid! I love his voice and his story. He is a perfect protagonist for this novel (I cannot even imagine the story being told from any of the other sidekick’s POV). He is a bit nerdy, a sweet boy, pretty sarcastic, friends with the the star sidekick, and has some seriously awesome powers (even if they aren’t physical). The nerdy/sweet/sarcastic part gives us a pretty snarky, fun narrator that many people will connect with. Being friends with the star sidekick gives us some insight into her life which is pretty darn exciting and also adds the strong female and a tiny bit of romance. Finally, his type of superpowers lends to the story being told because the whole book is about Andrew figuring out his spot in the mess around him and that includes empowering his superpowers.
OH, and just you wait for the last quarter. Holy plot twist Batman! I was very shocked about part of what transpires at the end and I think you and our students will be as well....more
*A wonderful follow-up to the first Hero's Guide. I was worried that it wouldn't be as good (sequel-syndrome), but the characters grew, the story moved along nicely, and it made me even more excited for book 3. Everyone's place in the group is questioned in this book, including their place within their relationships.
I read this book for a different purpose than just to review, I wanted to really look at the princesses in the book for our girl power series we'll be doing at the end of the month and I am so impressed at the different personalities and how each princess is so unique.
Mentor text for: Making connections (like fractured fairy tales), Characterization, Multiple Story Lines, Humor, Rhyming Poetry/Songs (p. 4 et al.), Foreshadowing, Letter Writing (p. 208), Grammar (Princes Charming, Dwarves), Idioms (p. 311), Synonyms (p. 361), Oral Tradition (the bards) ...more
I randomly picked up this graphic novel at my library to find out that the author/illustrator is the illustrator for one of my students' favorite seriI randomly picked up this graphic novel at my library to find out that the author/illustrator is the illustrator for one of my students' favorite series- the Graphic Guide Adventures by Liam O'Donnell. What a pleasant surprise! That automatically made me excited to read it and I will say that this fun little adventure filled graphic novel did not disappoint. I need to get my hands on a copy for my classroom because there will be some big fans of it. ...more
A student who is in my yearbook class was so excited when he saw my classroom library that he came bounding over to me the first week and asked me, "You have so many books! So you read a lot, right? Have you read Wolves of the Beyond?!" He was so excited. And how can a teacher kill a kid's excitement in 2 seconds? By answering, "No. I'm not sure what that is..." Well, he was so flabbergasted by my lack of knowledge that he brought me the book to read, pretty much commanding me to. And I have to say, I am pretty glad he did.
Lone Wolf is obviously the beginning of what is going to be a majorly epic animal fantasy series similar to Erin Hunter's books and Redwall. This series is a spin-off of Lasky's Ga'Hoole series yet I never found that not reading Ga'Hoole hindered the story in the least. Though it takes place in the same land as the other series, it is new characters and still includes description and a map to help with the setting.
While reading, there were 3 things that really impressed me. 1st, like most fantasy animal fiction, I am always amazed by how an author can get into the head of animals. Lasky describes the animal instincts, aggression and emotions in such a beautiful way as if she can read their minds. 2nd, the world building in phenomenal. It amazes me when an author can build such a high fantasy world for their animals to live in. Finally, the immense plot development that is required to make these epic series and ones that intertwine like Wolves of the Beyond and Ga'Hoole astonish me even more.
Mentor text for: Setting, Characterization, Plot Development, Descriptive, World Building (Mapping)
Snatch of Text: "In the Cave Before Time, he had seen two constellations of wolves. One was the starry one on the rock ceiling. The other "constellation" was not stars but the hunting and traveling formation of wolves running together. In that formation he had sensed a common feeling, a spirit of fellowship. It made him fell all the more lonely. He had wanted to run with those wolves, to be part of that "constellation," ever since he had first seen the picture." (p. 145)...more