Hokey Pokey: a dreamscape populated entirely by children, from diaper-clad Newbies to Big Kids. A place where the sun always shines, and herds of wildHokey Pokey: a dreamscape populated entirely by children, from diaper-clad Newbies to Big Kids. A place where the sun always shines, and herds of wild bicycles roam the plains. A place where a giant screen plays classic cartoons all day long. A place where children drop off to sleep while their monsters gleam above them. A place where boys and girls are divided into separate camps, as unknowable to each other as different species. A place with train tracks but no train and an island with a hut that no one can enter.
Hokey Pokey is all Jack has ever known, roaming with his Amigos on their bicycles, playing catch with little Kiki, endlessly battling the girl named Jubilee. But something is changing. He is not himself. And he is not sure what that means.
I have mixed feelings about this book. The writing is beautiful, smooth and dreamy. Hokey Pokey is clearly a magical place, separate from the real world, but it has an internal consistency. Well, mostly. The trouble comes when that consistency breaks down.
(view spoiler)[ It's even more confusing in the final chapters, when the reader sees Jack in "the real world". We see Kiki, Lopez, and Jubilee, too. When I closed the book, I was just left with questions with no satisfying answers, like:
Why does Jubilee have a brother in Hokey Pokey when no one else does? How is it that none of the kids have never noticed anyone else leaving? Since the catcher's mitt is evidently real, does that mean Jack's bike was also really stolen by Jubilee? What, exactly, was the point of this book?
I'm left wondering what the point of the book was because very little happens. While this is clearly a book about childhood - with the feel of an elegy for a type of childhood that no longer exists in this digital age - it does not really seem like a book for children. Which leaves me in that uncomfortable spot of appreciating the craft that went into the book, but unsure who the intended audience is. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Stealing a car had been much more fun than stealing a credit card. But stealing a toddler!
Janie Johnson was 15 when she recognized the photo of herStealing a car had been much more fun than stealing a credit card. But stealing a toddler!
Janie Johnson was 15 when she recognized the photo of her three-year-old self on a milk carton and discovered she was really Jennie Spring, whose family had been hoping she would come home ever since she was kidnapped from a mall. Now in college, Janie just wants to put the past behind her, stop being known as "the kidnap kid", and move on with her life. But as her friends and family are pestered by a true crime writer and his researchers to turn her story into a best-seller, she realizes that someone out there does not want to let things go.
When The Face on the Milk Carton was first published, in 1990, it was a different world. It was a world without the Internet in every home, or a cell phone in every teenager's pocket, or, for that matter, the Internet on a cell phone in a teenager's pocket. Even when the fourth book in the series - What Janie Found - hit shelves in 2000, cancelled checks could still play a major part in the story. While 13 years have passed since that book was published, only a few years have passed for the characters when Janie Face to Face begins, with the action of the novel spread over the next several years. Because of this, Cooney spends some time allowing Janie and her friends and family to catch up, pondering the rapid changes since the day Janie used a public pay phone during her search for answers. The tendency to tell, rather than show, what is happening bogs down the pace a bit, already an issue with characters mentally recapping the first four books.
Janie's story is only part of this fifth (and final) installment of the series. Before each chapter - where the third-person narration is squarely focused on the perspective of Janie or one of her friends or family members - is a vignette from Hannah's perspective (though still third-person), beginning with "THE FIRST PIECE OF THE KIDNAPPER'S PUZZLE" and counting upward. This is the first time readers get inside Hannah's mind and find out what really happened that day in the mall. Of course, Hannah's recollections are neither unbiased nor, perhaps, wholly reliable, although Cooney gives no reason to doubt the sequence of events. Fans of the original series should find satisfying closure.
The first four books in the series have remained popular with a new generation of teens, and they were re-released in 2012 with new coordinating cover art.
Recommend to: Teens looking for suspense without gore, and adults who fondly remember the original series and always wondered about Hannah
But how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?
Three stories weave together here, all of them fascinating in their own right: the stBut how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?
Three stories weave together here, all of them fascinating in their own right: the story of the scientists at Los Alamos, including Robert Oppenheimer, the man who would become known as the father of the atomic bomb; the story of the Russian spies, including the unassuming Harry Gold, who were hard at work attempting to steal the secrets to building the atomic bomb, and the efforts of Allied forces, including Knut Haukelid and a few other dedicated Norwegian resistance fighters, to prevent the Germans from building an atomic bomb themselves. The names are important, because what Sheinkin does so splendidly is put human faces to the historic events. Literally, in fact, since each section of the book begins with a scrapbook-style double-page spread of photographs. This is an epic story, and Sheinkin lists a number of consulted sources in the back matter, but he picks out details sure to capture and hold interest all the way through.
This is a fascinating read, with appeal for older kids and teens as well as adults. It has great potential for classroom use, perhaps paired with Ellen Klages' The Green Glass Sea. MacMillan even has a Teacher's Guide (.pdf) already prepared with pointers to the Common Core State Standards. Also check out the post at Reading to the Core, which says of Bomb, "This is the kind of book you could build an entire curriculum around." Suggestions for how to begin to do so are included, of course. Don't limit this book to the classroom, though. After all, who could resist a true story of international spies and "the World's Most Dangerous Weapon"?
Recommend to: Older kids and teens (and adults) who would like a "true story" that reads like a spy thriller.
There are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do.
SynoThere are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do.
Synopsis: Chelsea Glaser has spent every summer since she was six years old acting the part of Elizabeth Connelly, Virginia colonist eternally stuck in 1774. This summer, all Chelsea wants is to get a job at an air conditioned shop at the mall, but her best friend talks her into another summer at Essex. Unfortunately for Chelsea, the boy who broke her heart has also joined up. A crush on a new guy would be the perfect distraction, if only she hadn't fallen for someone she can't be with. Chelsea soon realizes she is going to have to come to terms with her past or be doomed to keep reliving it.
Review: From the first page of this contemporary teen romance, the reader is brought into Chelsea's world. From her daily duties as a Colonial reenactor to her not-quite-comfortable leadership role in the battles with the Civil War reenactors across the road, little details bring the scenes to life. Her interactions with her parents are laugh-out-loud funny and oh-so-familiar. Her heartbreak is painfully apparent early on, although the facts of her recent relationship are left vague until well into the book. Sales works in some serious thoughts about memory, history, and "what really happened" in a way that feels completely natural. This is a sweet tale perfect for summer vacation.
Which is why I find the cover so completely odd. It has nothing at all to do with the book. And it looks like she's trying to catch bits of chalk on her tongue, which just sets my teeth on edge.
Final Word: Laugh-out-loud funny contemporary teen romance with a little bit of historical trivia tucked inside - a just about perfect summer read.