It all starts with a bet--Hermes and Apollo decide to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs at a Toronto vet clinic. Will this makIt all starts with a bet--Hermes and Apollo decide to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs at a Toronto vet clinic. Will this make the dogs happy? The author does an interesting job following the different dogs stories, as the gods watch from above. A strange book but interesting in contrasting canine and human behavior. ...more
Percy Jackson fights the Norse gods in this newest middle-grade adventure/humor novel from Rick Riordan, master of the genre. It's not really Percy JaPercy Jackson fights the Norse gods in this newest middle-grade adventure/humor novel from Rick Riordan, master of the genre. It's not really Percy Jackson, just seems like it, as our hero Magnus Chase is also a demi-god, and doesn't discover this until he's a teenager. Like the Percy Jackson series, there's a female counterpart and two comic sidekicks. In a touch of multiculturalism/political correctness, there's a deaf character and a Muslim character who wears a magic hijab. Sure to please Riordan's legions of fans, this book provides a nice introduction to the Norse gods and their legends, not as well known in the US as the Greek and Roman myths which Riordan reinvigorated for a new generation. First in a new series. Great on audiobook....more
I can't stop thinking about this book, which really touched me deeply. The story revolves around a young boy whose mother is dying of cancer. A yew trI can't stop thinking about this book, which really touched me deeply. The story revolves around a young boy whose mother is dying of cancer. A yew tree outside his home turns into a monster--one which tells him stories, and insists that he tell his own story at the end. Through the stories the boy confronts his anger, sadness, and hopelessness at his mother's impending death, and then confronts his most frightening feelings of all. This is one of those "children's" books that seems more appropriate for adults--a fable told in simple language, but with profound truths. And added to the power of the story are the outstanding black and white illustrations, which perfectly capture the terrifying emotions that the protagonist is experiencing. Don't miss this one....more
Loved this re-telling of one of my favorite fairy tales, The Snow Queen. Not as well known as some of the other standards, The Snow Queen is one of thLoved this re-telling of one of my favorite fairy tales, The Snow Queen. Not as well known as some of the other standards, The Snow Queen is one of the darkest fairy tales around. What could be scarier than a heart turned to ice? Ursu resets the tale in present day, and instead of the brother/sister pair in the original, the main characters are best friends and neighbors. Interestingly, our protagonist is also adopted, with divorced parents, and from India (dark skinned), adding additional dramatic situations to the original story. Ursu sprinkles many references to other stories--not only fairy tales like The Little Match Girl, the Red Shoes, but also references to Narnia, Harry Potter, Rebecca Stead's Newbery winning novel, and more. Children's book fans will have fun picking out the many references, as will avid readers of all ages. It's a story I couldn't put down, despite knowing how it would come out in the end. A beautifully dark and creepy story of a white world of ice, witches, mysterious wolves, and more. ...more
This is a great book for kids who like fantasy/adventure mixed with some laugh-out-loud humor. In this book we have an unlikely hero, 12-year old MackThis is a great book for kids who like fantasy/adventure mixed with some laugh-out-loud humor. In this book we have an unlikely hero, 12-year old Mack, who suffers from "a severe case of mediumness." Except for his phobias--he has so many of them that he even has a phobia of phobias. But one day, Mack is called upon by a funny-looking old man who appears in his middle-school bathroom to join The Magnificent 12, whose mission is to save the world from the evil force of the "Pale Queen." The book alternates between Mack's story and flashbacks to the story of Grimluk, who originally fought the evil Pale Queen and imprisoned her forever, or 3,000 years. The 3,000 years are up....can Mack help save the world? Highly recommended for boys and girls ages 10 and up. There's also an interactive website attached to the books (www.themag12.com). The slapstick style of this book bears pretty much no resemblance to Grant's YA dystopian series that starts with Gone. In fact, I would never have realized it's by the same author if it weren't for the name on the cover! ...more
I'm hoping this one makes the short list for the Newbery...This is one of the most beautifully written children's novels I've read in some time. Our hI'm hoping this one makes the short list for the Newbery...This is one of the most beautifully written children's novels I've read in some time. Our heroine, called by everyone Keeper, is a 10-year old girl whose mother left her when she was 3 in the care of her roommate, Signe. Born literally in the sea, Keeper believes her mother is a mermaid, and that her mother literally swam away from her to join the other mermaids. Keeper has made a life for herself in a tiny community on the Texas coast with her dog, BD (best dog), and neighbors who comprise her untraditional family. But when Keeper frees some crabs that were caught for crab gumbo, she sets into play a sequence of events that make her believe that only her mother, the mermaid, can help her. In the middle of the night she sets out to sea in a small boat belonging to her neighbor with only her dog and a remarkably tame seagull to help her. When a riptide pulls the small boat deep into the ocean, will Keeper's mother rescue her, or will other forms of magic come to her aid?
Appelt writes with such an original, poetic style in this "keeper" of a book--the story is filled with heartbreak, abandonment, magic, and finally the realization of love, which doesn't need to come from traditional sources. The story is told in a non-linear style, with the author interspersing the narration of Keeper's story with that of the other characters that live in her tiny world--using flashbacks to fill in the stories of all her neighbors, all of whom are well-realized and lovingly drawn characters. Even the dog, the seagull, and the neighbor's one-eyed pirate cat, Sinbad, are wonderfully realized characters. The beautiful black and white illustrations by August Hall add an air of mystery to the story.
Highly recommended for children 8 and up and adults who love children's literature....more
This novel, written by a real-life toy inventor, focuses on Vincent Shadow, a nerdy, 11-year-old kid who is bullied at school but who secretly is a brThis novel, written by a real-life toy inventor, focuses on Vincent Shadow, a nerdy, 11-year-old kid who is bullied at school but who secretly is a brilliant toy inventor. His inspiration comes to him in blinding flashes that seem like migraines but are really visions of fantastic new toys. When Vincent has an opportunity to compete in a world-wide toy invention competition for kids, it’s his dream come true. But when an opponent destroys his fabulous kite that flies without wind, can Vincent still come out on top?
This is a delightfully imaginative middle reader that will appeal to fans of fantasy fiction, especially kids who like underdogs as heroes. And the book comes with a removable top-secret invention book, that includes such wacky ideas as “biting beast balls,” and “bounce n’ bubbles.” The cut-out cover, which allows the reader to see into Vincent’s invention laboratory, is also very clever and will grab children’s interest. ...more
A little gem of a book. I had heard excellent things about this one, and I wasn't disappointed. Librarian/author Laura Amy Schlitz has her pulse on whA little gem of a book. I had heard excellent things about this one, and I wasn't disappointed. Librarian/author Laura Amy Schlitz has her pulse on what girl readers like--fairies with moxie. This heroine, Flory, is a night fairy who is injured at the beginning of the story and has no more wings, forcing her to live in a human's garden in a birdhouse and learn new ways to survive by befriending various gigantic animals in the garden. Hans Christian Anderson fans won't be able to help comparing this fable with Thumbelina--a tiny girl who gets her wings at the end of the story after interacting with all sorts of gigantic animals. However, this is a 21st century fairy--much less meek than Thumbelina, one who is not afraid to rumble with giant spiders and other creatures who want to eat her. The illustrations and design of this book are extraordinary--the whole book reminds me of a medieval book of hours, with the beautifully detailed illustrations that are integral to the story. A perfect book for lovers of fairy tales......more
An interesting combination of historical fiction/fantasy/paranormal romance begins in the stone age, with a triangle relationship between two men andAn interesting combination of historical fiction/fantasy/paranormal romance begins in the stone age, with a triangle relationship between two men and a woman...the woman and her love interest die tragically, their fates tied to a mysterious emerald-like green stone. This same triangle repeats itself in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, the Civil War, WWII Paris, the 1960's, and finally in the present day, resolves itself when the two souls are finally reunited. Corny? Yes...predictable? yes...repetitive...yes (tragedy repeats itself, the lovers always separated, until the happy ending). Nonetheless an entertaining and imaginative read for teens or even adults looking for a light historical romance. ...more