Tuesday, January 29, 2013

dramatic irony

What books have you read that used Dramatic Irony?

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Newbery Award

And the Newbery goes to... (dramatic pause)...

The One and Only Ivan !

Hooray for Ivan! 
Hooray for Katherine Applegate!

That sticker looks so good!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

the strangest of boys

I just read Navigating Early by Claire Vanderpool. I picked it up because I liked Moon Over Manifest, Claire Vanderpool's Newbery Medal novel... but I mostly picked it up because another blog compared Navigating Early to A Prayer For Owen Meany, and I loved Owen Meany!

It's historical fiction, at the end of World War II; Jack Baker's mother has passed away.

Jack is a 13 year old boy from Kansas who is uprooted to a boarding school in Maine. At school, Jack meets Early Auden, the strangest of boys. Jack and Early embark on an adventure down the Kennebec River... and it's quite an adventure. Their quest includes pirates, a great white whale, a lost hero, a secret cave, treasure, a great bear, a hundred-year-old woman, and a timber rattlesnake... to name just a few.

The story is woven together over the ongoing story of the never ending number pi, 3.14159...

Early Auden is a special character; he will stay with you long after you finish the book... just like Owen Meany :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Crash Course: Catcher in the Rye

From my favorite:
“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.” 
― J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye

Monday, January 7, 2013

an adventure trilogy

One of the books I read over the holiday break was Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey. It was full of pirates and adventure and mystery and treasure!

Deadweather is the story of thirteen year-old Egbert "Egg" Masterson who lives on an awful island, growing awful fruit, with his equally awful father and siblings... that's a lot of awful.

Rick Riordan said of Deadweather :

"The best way I can describe it is Lemony Snicket meets Pirates of the Caribbean, with a sprinkling of Tom Sawyer for good measure."

With the Pirates of the Caribbean in mind, Egg reminded me of a young Will Turner. His partner, Guts, could be a bit Jack Sparrow-ish. And the lovely Millicent Pembroke has all the courage of Elizabeth Swann.

My favorite quotes from the book:
"Of course, I'd eventually learn that the truth is much more complicated - that not everyone who lives on a pretty street is a good person, and that in even the rottenest places you might find someone you can trust with your life."

"No one had ever been nice to me like that before. And I'd long since learned never to cry over pain or cruelty, but I didn't know what to do with kindness. I was pretty sure you weren't supposed to cry about it, but the tears just started leaking out and I didn't know how to stop them."

"Except for Millicent and her mother. They fought constantly, not in the normal way, but in their own odd style - with words that seemed pleasant on the surface, but had ugly meanings stuck to their undersides."

Deadweather and Sunrise is the first book in a new series called The Chronicles of Egg. I can't wait for the next book, New Lands coming out May 14, 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

You know what that feels like?

I just read Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt. It's - sort of - a companion book to the Newberry Honor book, The Wednesday Wars... but it stands on its own just fine.

Okay For Now is a heartbreaking story of friendship, family, art, and reading. It's a rollercoaster of emotions as you follow Doug Swieteck through eighth grade in a new town. There's moments of joy and despair... you'll keep hoping for the best, but dreading the worst.

Doug tells his own story in a wonderful, conversational narration. "You know what that feels like?", he frequently asks the reader. “OKAY. So I was going to the library every Saturday. So what? So what? It's not like I was reading books or anything.”  Kids will love it; I loved it. “By the way, in case you weren't paying attention or something, did you catch what Mr. Powell called me? "Young artist." I bet you missed that.” 

Read Okay For Now. Buy it for kids who love realistic fiction, or historical fiction, or books about quests, or the telling of a great story through the observations of an awesome young boy.