Every night Minli's father tells her stories full of fabulous adventures and mythical characters like the Old Man of the Moon, who reads the book of d...moreEvery night Minli's father tells her stories full of fabulous adventures and mythical characters like the Old Man of the Moon, who reads the book of destiny and ties people's fates together with red string. One day Minli decides to set off on her own adventure to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how to change her family's fortune. Along the way she meets a dragon, a king, and the fearsome Green Tiger. Everyone she meets has a story to tell, and each story leads her closer to her goal. Minli's quick wit gets her out of many tough situations, but it gets her into many as well.
When Grace Lin rejected her Asian heritage as a child her mother left a few books of Chinese folklore to tempt her on the shelves. Lin loved the tales despite their often sparse translations and wound up filling in the details in her head. That experience along with her travels in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan inspired this novel. Her love of the material is evident throughout and I love the way she wove stories into the narrative, setting them aside in a different font and bold, bright headings. I also love the illustrations Lin peppers throughout. There's nothing terribly deep to consider and it's definitely juvenile fiction but the stories and illustrations are so charming that I thoroughly enjoyed it anyways. This would definitely be a great book to read aloud.
One summer twelve-year old Jane decides that she is ready for some adventure in her life, so she decides to pray for adventures to come--one hundred o...moreOne summer twelve-year old Jane decides that she is ready for some adventure in her life, so she decides to pray for adventures to come--one hundred of them to be precise. What follows is an unforgettable summer that changes her life forever. From hot-air-balloon rides to all-night car rides Adventure follows her wherever she goes. Unfortunately, so does Trouble.
This charming novel seems the embodiment of the old Oscar Wilde quote: "When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." Jane lives in a small town in a house on the beach with her poet mother and her three younger siblings. Over the course of the summer her mother's ex-boyfriends show up making her question how they live and who her father is and the local pastor takes her on bible-spreading missions that make her question religion as well. She learns a lot of serious lessons for a girl her age, and while she is a bit precocious her narrative is believable throughout and perfect in its childhood logic. A great book to read aloud to a child this summer or for a child to read themselves, although I'd say this book is definitely geared towards girls more than boys.
Cat is an orphan, but she considers herself to be one of the luckiest people alive. You see, when her parents abandoned her she was left on the steps...moreCat is an orphan, but she considers herself to be one of the luckiest people alive. You see, when her parents abandoned her she was left on the steps of the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, and that's where she has lived ever since. Life in the theatre is never boring, but it becomes even more exciting with the arrival of a diamond and two new friends--all of which seem to bring nothing but trouble into her life. With dodging gang members on the street and nearly dying on wayward set pieces nowhere seems to be safe for Cat. It's a good thing cats have nine lives because she'll need every one!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I'm admittedly more than a bit biased due to the book's setting in a theatre in 1790 England. Cat's narration does get on my nerves at times when she decides to address her audience directly, but that doesn't happen very often and overall I like her spirit. I also, of course, enjoyed the peek into theatre life at the end of the 18th century. Cat curses a lot in her narration and she spends a lot of time interacting with gang members or attending boxing matches or other less-than-respectable activities but there's nothing really that bad about it and I think it would be fine for younger readers. Especially because none of her cursing would be really recognizable to a child today and if there's anything I've learned it's that people seem to find cursing cute if it's from another time or place and this is from another time AND place so I don't anticipate parents having any problem with it. The book is fun and has a strong female lead so I'd recommend it as a nice bit of light reading, especially to those with any interest in theatre.
If you're stuck in your room or you're stuck in a rut, If your life needs adventure no if, and, or but, If you love magical creatures and mysteries too,...moreIf you're stuck in your room or you're stuck in a rut, If your life needs adventure no if, and, or but, If you love magical creatures and mysteries too, I've got just the right thing: read Zorgamazoo!
If you want to read rhymes much better than mine: Pick up Zorgamazoo, don't waste any time! Okay, I'm done. I promise. Sorry about that. Zorgamazoo is a delightful rhyming romp that reminded me strongly of Dr. Seuss, except in long form. It's apparently Weston's first novel and I'm eager for the next. In addition to rhyming the novel does a lot of fun things with typography and has illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and all I could think of while I was reading it was how much fun it would be to read aloud. I even imagined how I'd vary my voice to match each character and different typographic effects. Another strong heroine in this one, although I think this book could easily be enjoyed by both sexes. The book is fairly bursting with an exuberant spirit that is infectious and while not terribly deep it's certainly clever and I support its message whole-heartedly.
In the classic tradition of juvenile fantasy novels this story revolves around a young boy who sees something odd in the woods around his house one da...moreIn the classic tradition of juvenile fantasy novels this story revolves around a young boy who sees something odd in the woods around his house one day and decides to follow it. This opens up a new reality to him and soon everything that he knows and loves is gone and in danger of disappearing forever if he can't rise master the rules of this strange new world and save the day. The world is a pretty interesting one; there's a lot of good, creative details although apparently not particularly memorable ones because I read these back in April and the details are already pretty foggy. The book was a good quick-read, but it was almost too quick. I remember thinking that it had the start of a lot of good ideas and characters but the book was so fast-paced that we never got to spend time on any long enough to thoroughly explore it, which was frustrating. The same was true of the sequel. Still, a pretty enjoyable juvenile fantasy novel aimed more at boys but enjoyable to anyone looking for a quick-read with a fantasy war twist.
This is a great juvenile fiction book for all those young boys into super hero comics or just looking for a good, humorous read. Ordinary boy is the o...moreThis is a great juvenile fiction book for all those young boys into super hero comics or just looking for a good, humorous read. Ordinary boy is the only person in Superopolis without a super power, but that doesn't stop him from forming a junior crime-fighting league with his friends. What I love about this book is that even though he's the only one without super-powers he ends up being the de-facto leader of the group and gets them out of many sticky situations by using his intelligence. They also spend a lot of the story trying to collect an entire set of hero collector cards which leads to a valuable lesson about supply and demand and the whole collecting craze (particularly relevant to the comic/super hero crowd that the series is aimed at). We only had the first book at my library, so I haven't read the rest yet, but I am interested to see what direction the rest of the series goes in and if it continues to have little morals like this for each book.