Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle

Book description from Amazon.com:
Imagine a wonderfully rude, children's version of "It's a Wonderful Life." At the beginning of the tale we have a good man, a caring man, heading for his job as a cookie-taster but also heading for a terrible fate (he's about to step in something smelly). Is this an accident? Who's responsible? (The Gigglers, elfen creatures whose pranks punish wayward adults.) What did he do to deserve this? (He yelled at his children unfairly, but actually this was a bit of a misunderstanding.) Can the impending mess be avoided? Working backward, Roddy Doyle spins the hilarious tale of Mr. Mack, his wife Billy Jean, his three children Robbie, Jimmy, and Kayla, their dog Rover and, of course, the irrepressible, sometimes hasty, but well-meaning Gigglers.

My 25 cents....
This book cracked me up.  It's gross, it's all about a man stepping (or not?) in dog poop.  But the way it is told keeps reader going!  Some of the "chapters" are only half of a page, and are called crazy things--for example: THE CHAPTER BEFORE THE NEXT ONE and THIS CHAPTER IS NAMED AFTER MY MOTHER BECAUSE SHE SAID I COULD STAY UP LATE IF I NAMED IT AFTER HER: CHAPTER MOMMY DOYLE.  The fact that the story is told going backwards it a hoot too!  The author also takes the time to explain  the Irish vocabulary and culture in a fun, friendly way.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Back to School!
It's not that I haven't been reading...it's just that I have been reading MY textbooks and articles for my UNI graduate classes! Right now though, for fun--I have working on Ruined by Paula Morris, another

Ruined by Paula Morris 
Iowa Teen award nominee for 2012-2013.  (I am more than halfway through it so I will wait to give my "25 cents" on it.)

Here though, is a look at the complete list of nominees for 2012-2013.   Remember, if you read at least two books on the Iowa Children's Choice list (ICCA) or the Iowa Teen Award list (ITA) you can cast your vote in April for your favorite.  Votes from students all across Iowa are tallied and one book from each list will be declared a winner--by students just like you.  (Grades 3-6 can vote in Children's Choice and Grades 5-8 can vote for Iowa Teen award.)

Finished it!  
Book description from Amazon.com:
A gripping supernatural mystery and romance set in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans. She's staying in a creepy house with her aunt, who reads tarot cards. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey gives Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda.  Then one night, among the oak trees in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to show Rebecca the nooks and crannies of New Orleans. There's just one catch.  Lisette is a ghost.

My 25 cents...
Okay, I am going to be honest...I had a difficult time getting into this story, in the beginning.  
Then, I was drawn in and couldn't stop reading.  Also, I am not normally a fan of historical fiction, I did enjoy learning more about the famous Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans. This was not in my opinion a scary ghost story either, more...intriguing I would say.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Runaway Twin by Peg Kerhet
This title is another nominee for Children's Choice 2012-2013.

Review from School Library Journal...

Sunny Skyland has missed her twin sister ever since they were separated at age three after their mother and grandmother were killed in an automobile accident. Sunny has kept her memories of Starr alive over the past decade and in seven foster homes. Then, the discovery of a canvas bag containing $800, with no claimant, spurs Sunny to travel from Nebraska to her old neighborhood in Enumclaw, WA. Sunny is an experienced runaway who plans carefully and tells no one. She boards a bus for the first leg of her journey but then complicates her life by adopting a stray dog. Her trip is thwarted by a group of teenage boys, and she survives a tornado. She does reach her destination, but not with the expected ending. At times the plot twists, although possible, are improbable. Nonetheless, Sunny is a compelling and resourceful character whose adventures will keep readers turning the pages to see how things turn out.—Kathryn Kosiorek, formerly at Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
My 25 cents....
This book was nothing like I thought it would be from reading the back of the book.  The author is fantastic and known for her suspenseful stories that "could happen".  This book falls under that category for sure! When Sunny decides to go and find her twin sister that she hasn't seen since she was three years old, she encounters way more adventure than she'd anticipated.  Also, after all of the work to find her, she is shocked to find out that her sister isn't happy to be "found".   I really had a hard time putting this title down.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Wish Master by Betty Ren Wright

Book description from Booklist (November 1, 2000 (Vol. 97, No. 5):
Gr. 3-6. 
Veteran author Wright offers the story of a boy who finds his life turned upside down when he must spend the summer in Wisconsin. His grandmother has suffered a heart attack, so Corby and his mom go to the Midwest to help Grandpa care for her. Corby, something of a scaredy-cat, is intimidated by his gruff grandfather, but he almost immediately becomes involved in doing dangerous things he shouldn't, thanks to a neighbor boy, Buck. One of the first things Corby does is sneak out at midnight to visit a scary-looking pile of rocks known as the Wish Master. Corby wishes for a dog --and a way out of Wisconsin. When his grandmother seemingly suffers a relapse, Corby is worried that his wish might be coming true in a way he doesn't like. This is a solid story, with no gimmicks or frills, and there is some good action mixed with emotion. A choice for boys who aren't usually readers.

My 25 cents...
I love this author and I picked this up when I was looking for chapter books to share with 3rd & 4th graders.  There is suspense and a little bit of mystery that makes this book one that once you start reading it you won't believe how quickly you read it. What would YOU wish for if you made the journey to the Wish Master??

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

(I promise I have been reading since June 16th, I just haven't posted!!)

Mississippi Bridge by Mildred D. Taylor 

Book Description from Amazon.com

Jeremy Simms watches from the porch of the general store as the passengers board the weekly bus from Jackson. When several white passengers arrive late, the driver roughly orders the black passengers off to make room. Then, in the driving rain, disaster strikes, and Jeremy witnesses a shocking end to the day's drama. Set in Mississippi in the 1930s, this is a gripping story of racial injustice.
My 25 cents...I picked this book off the shelf because I had to read a historical fiction book for one of my college classes...and it was short.  (Not normally how I chose a title, but I had to read 8 chapter books in a week!!)  it is only 62 pages, but a fantastically written story about a difficult time in history.  Written for young readers to learn about racial injustice in a gentle way.  One that makes the reader think "what would I do?".

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Getting Air by Dan Gutman.  
This is another Children's Choice 2012-2013 nominee.

Book Description from Amazon.com:

They can rule the half-pipe, but can they survive this?
Jimmy, David, and Henry are psyched. It's summer, school's out, and they are on their way to California, where they will be able to do some major skating. But on the plane, the unthinkable happens: They are hijacked by terrorists. As frightened as they may be, they take action and they succeed. Sort of. They may have beaten the terrorists, but now their plane has crashed in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden, their summer vacation is about finding food, shelter, and a rescue. Can three normal twelve-year-old boys find a way to get by without fast food and skate parks?

My 25 cents:
I picked this up because I thought it was time for an "adventure" type book next.  It definitely fits that label.  It reminded me of the story Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (which coincidently the younger sister in this story was reading!).  The description above mentions three 12 year old boys, but does not mention there are also 3 "girls" very important in the story as well.  The story is action packed, one of those that you say "just let me finish this chapter"...but you sneakily start the next one because you want to know what happens next!  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Here's a double whammy!...

The book Because of Anya is by Margaret Peterson Haddix, well known author of The Shadow Children series.  What caught my eye was the first line of jacket same as the Amazon description:  Ten-year-old girls don't wear wigs...

Book Description from Amazon.com: 
Ten-year-old girls don't wear wigs. So why is Anya wearing one? That's what Keely wants to know. But when Anya's wig falls off in front of the whole class, Keely realizes what she really wants is to help Anya, even though she's not sure how -- and even though it means she'll have to do something she's afraid of: stand up to her friends.  As for Anya, she just wants her hair to grow back, but no one can tell her whether it ever will. How can she learn to accept her disease when she can't even look in the mirror?

My 25 cents:
I knew this was a good author, all of the books of hers that I have read I have liked. This one though is realistic fiction and it's SHORT (114 pages!) too!  While the description makes it sound like a real downer, the story actually is a great lesson for all ages. You just never know what a person's "story" is and what they are going through, so be kind!  A great friendship story-maybe even a good "read together" for parent and child.

Book Description from Amazon.com
Imagine a world where families are allowed only two children. Illegal third children -- shadow children -- must live in hiding. If they are discovered, there is only one punishment: Death.
My 25 cents...
While this series has been around for awhile (2004), the story is timeless because of it's fantasy storyline.  This is one of those series that you have to keep reading because you can't stop wondering what is going to happen next. They are stories of survival and suspense.  Was named An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Here's a book I just finished, by the author of Sarah Plain and Tall-Patricia MacLachlan.  Her latest book, Word After Word After Word is a nominee for the 2012-2013 Iowa Children's Choice award and just might convince you to put some words to paper! (Psst....it's really short too!)

Book Description from Amazon.com:

Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.  From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes an honest, inspiring story about what is real and what is unreal, and about the ways that writing can change our lives and connect us to our own stories—word after word after word.

My 25 cents:  
The fourth graders in this story are not so sure about this visiting writer who dresses kind of weird and talks about "words whispering to you"?  But she is able to teach them about writing without them even realizing it.  This is a really short (128 pages), fast reading chapter book, which may appeal to someone who doesn't like to read!!! 

I recently read Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee,
another nominee for the Iowa Teen Award 2012-2013.

Book Description from Amazon.com:                             
It's not so easy being Rosemary Goode and tipping the scales at almost two hundred pounds- especially when your mother runs the most successful (and gossipiest!) beauty shop in town. After a spectacularly disastrous Christmas break when the scale reaches an all-time high?Rosemary realizes that things need to change. (A certain basketball player, Kyle Cox, might have something to do with it.) So begins a powerful year of transformation and a journey toward self-discovery that surprisingly has little to do with the physical, and more to do with an honest look at how Rosemary feels about herself.

My 25 cents:
I was a little weary to pick this up, but I am glad that I did and that I read it.  When the reader meets the main character, Rosemary-she is at her all time heaviest weight and decides to take some drastic (not smart!) measures to lose weight.  Luckily she realizes that she is making dangerous choices and decides to go about it in a better way.  The story is more than about her physical change though, it shows the reader how Rosemary learns she can cope with her life by leaning on those that love her and things will be okay.  There is plenty of humor in this story to keep it fun to read, despite the serious topics it covers.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Truth about Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler.     Nominee for the 2012-13 Iowa Teen Award.

Book description from Amazon.com:

When Zebby and Amr create the website thetruthabouttruman.com, they want it to be honest. They want it to be about the real Truman Middle School, to say things that the school newspaper would never say, and to give everyone a chance to say what they want to say, too. But given the chance, some people will say anything--anything to hurt someone else. And when rumors about one popular student escalate to cruel new levels, it's clear the truth about Truman School is more harrowing than anyone ever imagined.

My 25 cents:
This book is a page turner! It is told in posts by several students (so it reads fast!) and is easy to follow.  The students seem real and is written just how students talk. It makes you really think about how quickly information travels via the web and what damage can happen!  Think before you click--no matter what your age is!!    

Summer is HERE!
Even though school is officially out, that doesn't mean
you shouldn't continue to read!  Check back frequently for
book suggestions you might want to read over the summer!