Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jump review


Jump. That is what P.K. has done. A totally wild, crazy jump from a restrictive life with her family into a life of total adventure—rock-climbing out west with a guy she barely knows. At first, everything's amazing. Not only are they climbing in awesomely beautiful national parks like Yosemite but they seem awesomely made for one another. P.K. is in heaven. And then the cops show up . . . with an arrest warrant. And P.K. has to decide who to believe: this amazing guy whom she trusts with her life—or the cops, who want her to believe that he may take her life.  (GoodReads description)

P.K. is a high school student misunderstood by her parents and is being sent away to a boarding school in the fall. P.K. is not at all happy about this decision. She loves the thrill of rock climbing and devises a plan to run away on a climbing adventure.  Critter escapes from a psychiatric hospital after being placed there by his parents because of his attempted suicide and the lack of support and understanding from them. The two characters meet up accidentally at a local climbing gym and plan to run away together as strangers to Red Rock for the climb of their lives.  The book is told in alternating voices between P.K. and Critter. I liked how the author wrote through their thoughts and point-of-view individually.  The chapters are short and some have just a few sentances.  Anyone who is into rock climbing would understand the lingo between the climbers. (I found myself learning alot about rock climbing that I did not know). P.K. and Critter hitchhike their way to Las Vegas, meet other climbers, run from the cops and some romantic feelings develop along the way between the two. I did feel though that the book made running away with a stranger to easy a choice for a teenager. The idea of meeting a teenage boy that you know nothing about and go on the road with  made me a little uneasy. The author did have a couple of  situations that showed the dangers and consequences of being a runaway which I liked. Also, the thoughts of wanting to be back home came up more than once.   Critter has some unusual life philosophies and is looking for accceptance from P.K.  Along the way, P.K. is trying to figure him out.  Some parts were dragging and I found myself wanting to get past them faster than I was.  I did understand an underlying message that we need to listen to our kids and be more accepting of who they are.  I think this book would be appropriate  and a "just right book" for ages 15 and up.  I would like to read other titles by this author.~

Title: Jump
Author: Elisa Carbone
Genre: Realistic Fiction, young adult

Pub. Date: June 2010, Penguin Group
Hardcover, 255 pgs.
book source: local library

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today it feels like Winter ......

When I looked outside this morning, I realized that winter was in full force. The early morning sky was clear and the winds were calm. As the moon and stars were shining so brightly, it was a sure sign that it was going to be a chilly one.  When I was a kid, the cold and snow never bothered me. I would play outside until I was soaking wet. I remember coming in and there would be a hot cocoa with marshmallows waiting to give me warmth back in my fingers and toes.   I found a cute book today that reminded me of exploring the snowy outdoors and how kids never want it to end.  It would go great with a cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows. ~


Chaucer's First Winter by Stephen Krensky
Chaucer knows that bears are suppose to sleep through winter. But it's much more fun to stay up and play! (jacket description)

A really cute and sweet story. I loved the friendships between the animals and how they wanted to show bear what winter was. The illustrations were colorful and drawn beautifully. ~

Chaucer's First Winter
Author: Stephen Krensky
Genre: children's fiction
Pub. Date: 2008, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Hardcover,  30 pgs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Recommendations for Girls - Grades 2-5

I was in the library this morning and I chatted with a mom who was looking for books for her daughter. She has two sons and her daughter is in the 4th grade. She said there were alot of series for boys that she knew of, but was wondering if I knew of any good series for girls? (I was just by the American Girl section looking for a mystery title). That sparked some thinking about book series that we've enjoyed these past couple of years. So, I spent the rest of my afternoon compiling a list of a few my favorites.......they are in no particular order, just some fun reads.

 Molly Moon's incredible book of hypnotism- Georgia Byng. -  Molly Moon has spent her entire life in an orphanage. When she finds a mysterious book, Molly discovers an extraordinary talent -- she can hypnotize anyone!  (middle grade 4-8)  pages 371

There are a total of 6 in the series.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap- Liz Kessler.  A young 12 year old girl learns that she is half mermaid and plunges into a scheme to reunite with her father.  Her mother has seemed anxious to keep Emily away from the water. But when she agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery about her own identity, the mysterious father she has never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils below the water.  (middle grade 4-8) pages

There are 4 in this series.


 Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister- Liz KesslerThis is first of a three-part series about a girl and her reluctant fairy guardian--a story  that sparkles with magic and charm. (middle grade 4-8) pages 271

CoverJunie B. Jones and the stupid smelly bus-  Park, Barbara. Junie B. is a kindergartener that has her own mind about alot of things. Especially her first day of school. These books grow with your child as Junie grows through her school years.  Great first chapter book.  (lower grade K-3) pages 69.


Clues in the shadows : a Molly mystery - Ernst, Kathleen.  These mysteries are based on the American Girl series of dolls. Each one is by various authors. If you love the American Girl Dolls and books you will enjoy these mysteries too.  (middle grades 4-8) pages 179


Moving Day - Meg Cabot.  When nine-year-old Allie Finkle's parents announce that they are moving her and her brothers from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian in town, Allie's sure her life is over.  (middle grade 4-8) pages 228


Judy Moody-Megan Mcdonald.  A funny first chapter book for every kid who has ever felt a little out of sorts. (lower grades 2-4) pages 160

Many books in this series.

Just Grace- Charise Mericle Harper.  Grace (whose harried teacher nicknames her Just Grace to distinguish her from the three other Graces she has in her class) deals with the usual trials and tribulations of third grade in this hilarious first chapter book. (grade 2-5)  pages 138

There are 6 books in this series.


Amber, the orange fairy- Daisy Meadows.   Two friends, Rachel and Kirsty arrive at Rainspell Island for vacation. They have no idea what magical adventures they find! Seven Rainbow Fairies have been banished from Fairyland by wicked Jack Frost and if they don't return soon, Fairyland is doomed to be colorless and gray. The girls have already found one Rainbow Fairy, Ruby the Red Fairy (1st book of series) and  now Amber the Orange Fairy is trapped in a seashell! Will the friends be able to help rescue Amber too?  (lower grade 1-3) pages 62

The Rainbow series eventually moves into many more fairies.  For example, the weather fairies, pet fairies, music fairies, sport fairies.  Great books for young girls that love fairies.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is it Night or Day review

Is It Night or Day?

Twelve-year-old Edith Westerfeld has lived a protected life in the tiny German town of Stockstadt am Rhein. Now, as brutal acts of anti-semitism explode in Hitler's Germany, she is about to travel thousands of miles over land and sea to a place that seems as foreign as the moon: Chicago, Illinois. And because her parents can't get permission to leave Germany, she is traveling alone.      (jacket desciption)

I have always enjoyed reading historical fiction and this one is right up there with the best ones.  Based on true events and inspired by the experiences of the author's mother, I found this book hard to put down once I started it.  We learn about the history of WWII in school but not the effects on the children of the war until it is written from their point-of-view.  Leaving her family behind and coming to an unknown country is a struggle within itself.  Edith truly feels alone in this great big new world and she has no one to help her understand it. Her english is very limited and must learn fast to adapt to American ways. She lives with an Uncle and Aunt, but the Aunt treats her like a burden. She is a servant instead of family and lets Edith know it.  While attending American school, she faces more challenges, lonliness and ridicule from classmates.  The wonderful writing of this book placed me in Edith's shoes. It made me realize how fortunate I am that neither myself nor my children ever have to endure the hardships these children had to face.  It is a sad read, but one that awakens a part of history we have never been told. I think it is a "just right book" for 6th grade and up. ~

Title: Is it Night or Day?
Author: Fern Schumer Chapman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 2010, Farrar Straus Girous
Hardcover, 205 pgs.
book source: local library

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fat Vampire review

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story

Doug Lee is undead quite by accident - attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it's just not the same.

Well, I heard alot of reviews on this one about how funny and hilarious it was going to be. I guess it is a spoof of the recent vampire rage going on.  The first thing I will say is that it disappointed me in more ways than one. I felt the author has a great concept, a 15 year old overweight, unpopular awkward teen turned into a vampire by accident and trying to yet fit it into another skin. It could have gone in alot of directions. Unfortunately, I lacked a connection or any feeling with the main character Doug. I thought when the other characters were introduced it was going somewhere but that also eventually fell flat.  I ended up losing track of the plot halfway (if there is any). I was getting lost with the back and forth narratives between different characters like Stephin the Vampire Mentor for Doug, Sejal the Foreign Exchange Student and the Vampire Hunter TV Show host Alan.  One thing that surprised me most was the offensive language and sexual subject matter. Too much of it and it did nothing for the book or character developments. I wonder if authors feel this attracts young adults instead of a just writing a good story.   I saw that a recommended age group was 14 and up or grade 10 and up. I would not want my 14 or 15 year old reading this book.~

Title: Fat Vampire
Author: Adam Rex
Genre: Fiction-Young Adult
Pub. Date: July 2010, Balzer & Bray
Hardcover, 324 pgs.
BookSource: Local Library