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September 2008 Reviews

First Thursday Book Review Center

Sept. 2008 Reviews—J.C

Picture books:

Stein, Mathilde, and Mies van Hout. The child cruncher. Lemniscaat, 2008, c2007.  Unpaged : col. ill. ISBN 978-1-59078-635-2 $16.95 Ages 4-7. P8Q9
When a big, ugly villain kidnaps a bored, lonely little girl, she asks her father for permission, and goes off with him.  But, when she finds out that he is merely an ordinary child cruncher, wanting her for food and not adventure, she takes his horse, and returns home.  With illustrations in a style similar to that of Quentin Blake and Tony Ross, this is a fable about a girl who is clearly in control of her own life.  Recommended for kindergarten, elementary school, and public libraries. 

Nonfiction picturebooks:

Krull, Kathleen. Illustrated by Amy June Bates. Hillary Rodham Clinton : dreams taking flight. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2008. 38 p. : col. ill. ISBN 978-1-4169-7129-0 / 1-4169-7129-7 $16.99 Ages 7-9. P8Q7
This picturebook biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton reviews the highlights of her life, but leaves the details—dates and places—to the back matter of the book.  Each two-page spread includes an affirmation.  Recommended for elementary and public library collections. 

Juvenile fiction:

Barrett, Tracy. The 100 year-old secret. “The Sherlock files.” Henry Holt, c2008. 157 p. ISBN 978-0-8050-8340-8 / 0-8050-8340-5 $15.95 Ages 8-12. P7Q6
American twins visiting London with their parents, Xena and Xander Holmes discover that they are descendents of Sherlock Holmes and set about to solve one of the unsolved problems that their famous ancestor described in his notebooks.  The first case is to locate a famous painting, missing for 100 years.  With the help of a descendent of Dr. Watson, the twins seek out clues, matching notes left by Sherlock Holmes with people and places in modern London.  Obviously the beginning of a series, this book is a more than adequate mystery, and the somewhat undeveloped characters have room to grow.  An additional purchase for elementary school and public libraries.

Daley, Michael J. Rat trap. Holiday House, c2008. 212 p. ISBN 978-0-8234-2093-3 / 0-8234-2093-0 $16.95 Ages 11-14. Sequel to: Space station rat. P7Q8

Lavender haired, intelligent, genetically engineered Rat is hiding with her boy, Jeff, recovering from injuries sustained in the fight against Nanny, Jeff’s wicked robotic caretaker.  The space station personnel believe Rat to be dead, but the scientist who created her is on the way to the station to retrieve his creation equipped with hordes of robot sniffers and the recommissioned Nanny.  Although this is clearly a sequel, the dialogue and action pull the reader into the story.  High quality science fiction, recommended for elementary and public library collections. 

DiTerlizzi, Tony. Kenny & the dragon. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2008. 151 p : ill. ISBN 978-1-4169-3977-1 / 1-4169-39776 $15.99 Ages 8-12. P8Q8

Kenny Rabbit’s new friend Grahame—a dragon, though a peaceful one--has been designated a scourge and the king has sent word that his knight George (currently running a bookshop)—another of Kenny’s friends—is to exterminate him.  A pleasant tale with occasional bookish references and wonderful pencil illustrations. Highly recommended for elementary, junior high, and public library collections.

YA fiction:

Greenland, Shannon. Native tongue. “The specialists.” (Speak, c2008. 237 p. ISBN 978-0-14-241160-5 $7.99  Ages 14-up. P8Q7
The specialists: a secret school, a group of youngsters with no family ties, each individual possessing some highly developed talent—computer programming, language acquisition, physical prowess.  When a South American Indian girl walks out of the jungle bearing the mythical vase, rumored to control nature, the many tribes in the region gather to decide who among them actually owns it.  One can only hope this series will continue.  More fun than James Bond any day.  Recommended for high school and public library collections.

Halam, Ann. Snakehead. “Wendy Lamb Books.” Random House Children’s Books, c2008. 289 p. : map. ISBN 978-0-375-84108-8 $16.99 Ages 12-16. P8Q8

Perseus, god-touched son of the Greek princess Danae, offers a sanctuary on the island of Serifos to Andromeda—she will work in his patron’s inn.  Andromeda, in turn, offers Perseus the gift of writing, but knows that she is fated to be the sacrifice to save her own people.  However, Serifos’ tyrant king brings unrest to the island, and both Perseus and Andromeda must leave to pursue their destinies.  The voice of the book is by turns modern and mythic.  The author’s note reminds us that Perseus and Andromeda are the only lovers in Greek mythology who lived happily after their adventures.  Highly recommended for junior high, high school, and public libraries.  

Hale, Shannon, and Dean Hale. Illustrated by Nathan Hale. Rapunzel’s revenge. Bloomsbury, c2008. 144 p., col. ill.  ISBN 1-59990-288-5 / 978-1-59990-288-3 $14.99 Ages 8-14. P8Q7

A comic book retelling of the story of Rapunzel, set in a Western mining region, and when she escapes, Rapunzel uses her long, luxurious locks as tools in her quest to defeat the witch, Gothel.

Hardinge, Frances. Well witched. HarperCollins, c2007. 390 p. ISBN 978-0-06-088038-5 $16.99

Ages 12-16. P7Q8
Three teens needing bus money to get home after a night out, steal coins from a wishing well—and the well witch curses them to fulfill each wish paid for by each coin. She gives them special powers.  Unfortunately, many wishes turn out to be unkind or malicious, and the three must find a way out before they join in the witch’s madness.  Well-written, with a brush of horror.  Recommended for high school and public library collections.

Kostick, Conor. Saga. Viking, c2008. 367 p. ISBN 978-0-670-06280-5 $18.99 Ages 14-up.

Sequel to: Epic.  P7Q8
Ghost, member of an anarcho-punk airboarding gang, rebels against the strict class system of the world of Saga, ruled by a corrupt monarchy enforced by high-tech electronics and armed guards.  When strangers begin to appear and disappear from the streets, though, Ghost and her friends discover that Saga is a sentient computer game, which inserts itself virus-like into the computer systems of entire worlds, enslaving the inhabitants as they become addicted to playing the game.  Combining the appeal of virtual gaming and skateboarding taken to new levels, Saga will appeal to science fiction readers.  Highly recommended for high school and public libraries.  Oh, and find a copy of Epic for the collection as well.

Pratchett, Terry. Nation. “Advance reader’s edition. (New York : Harper, 2008): 332 p. ISBN 978-0-06-1433016 $16.99 “Ages: 12 up.” P7Q8

A tsunami following a volcanic eruption brings together Mau, an islander at the border between boyhood and manhood, and Daphne, the daughter of an heir to the throne of the Empire. Together they work to save the other refugees and fight off the attacks of a cannibal tribe led by a sadistic sailor. An adventure in the style of Victorian South Sea tales, with a twist of science fiction at the end.  It would be fun to pair this with The Swiss Family Robinson.  Recommended for junior high, high school and public libraries.

Thompson, Kate. The last of the high kings. “Greenwillow Books.” HarperCollins, 2008, c2007. 323 p. Includes glossary and bibliography (p.[324]) ISBN 978-0-06-117595-4 $16.99 Ages 14-up. P7Q8

In J.J. Liddy’s boisterous, musical family, eleven-year-old daughter Jenny, who skips school to roam the hillsides barefoot, poses a problem.  When she discovers her heritage, she makes a deal with a mysterious white goat, and persuades a ghost to leave his lonely post, nearly destroying all of humanity, only to be saved by the last descendent of the High Kings.  Lyrical prose, neatly grafted onto Irish fairy lore makes this a fit sequel to Thompson’s The New Policeman.  Highly recommended for fantasy collections in high schools and public libraries.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers

May-Sept 2008 Reviews by M.D. NHS ASPIRE

Vincent, Erin. Grief Girl: My true story. Delacort Press. New York. 2007. 306 pgs. 9780385733533. $15.99. P/8 Q/8. Ages 9-12 grade.

Each chapter starts with a date to give the reader a time line for this true story. The author is fourteen when both of her parents are killed in a car accident. She blames herself because she has already killed them in her thoughts. Her older sister and her boyfriend move back home so she and her brother can be a family. Her uncle who is the executer of the will never gives them any of the money when they need it for a broken refrigerator. She has to work hard just to eat. She hates her sister who resents them both. She thinks she may be going crazy, not dealing with her grief. She wants to be institutionalized so she can just lie around. She lives threw high school, becomes a journalist, her uncle has stolen all of the insurance money from her parents, she hired a lawyer and got most of the money back. This is a sad story but she prevails in the end. I really like the fact that the book has an afterward section so you know how they all made out. This book is well written and would appeal to many different age groups, adults and teens.

Cheva, Cherry. She’s So Money. Harper teen. New York. 2008. 290 pages. 9780061288524. $17.89. ages 7 and up. P/8 2,8.

The inside book jacket sleeve has a question and upside down answer that make a fun intro to this book. The author writes for the animated series Family Guy, and the book does have a humorous outlook. Maya is a young Thai girl who works alongside her younger brother in their family restaurant. She has to make lots of money quick when her parents leave her in charge for the weekend and she does a bad job of cleaning the restaurant and the health inspector slaps her with a $10,000 fine. Rather than tell her hard working parents of the problem she works up a homework cheating ring at school. She falls in love with her co-conspirator/client but realizes he’s just a man-whore. She almost looses her scholarship, parents restaurant her best friend and her sanity.  In the end she has to come clean with everyone and pay the price for cheating.  The book was a quick fun read with romance, conflict and resolution.

Gallagher, Liz. The Opposite of Invisible. Wendy Lamb Books. New York. 2008. 153 pgs. 9780375841521. $15.99. P7/ Q 6 ages 14 and up.

Alice is a young girl who talks to her poster “Dove Girl” rather than write in a journal.  Her best friend is a boy she calls Jewel.  She wants a real boyfriend and a date for the upcoming Halloween Bloodbath.  She falls for Simon he’s not the most popular guy but he will get her noticed.  Jewel kisses Alice and now she wishes she never would have kissed Simon.  Alice has remade herself  into a cute popular girl but at what expense?  Will she be able to keep her best friend Jewel & have a boyfriend or is he both to her.  The dialogue and story line is sometimes shallow but a young teen would enjoy reading this quick story.

Stevenson, Robin.  Out of Order.  Orca Book Publishers. Custer, WA 2007. 221 pgs. 9781551436937. $8.95 P7/Q7 ages 14-16

The book starts with a prologue that tells about how Sophie has moved from Ontario to Victoria and shi is different and no one in her new town will find out she was once fat, ugly and picked on.  She is skinny now and will keep herself that way if it kills her.  She makes friends with Zelia who gets her to do things even her grandmother is embarrassed of.  She rides horses with her friend Max and falls for Tavish the guy who works at the barns.  Her friend Zelia tries to kill herself and she has a hard time supporting her threw this difficult time.  She learns it is ok to change and for others to find out about it and grows from the experience.  Older teens would enjoy this book as some of the things the girls go threw are for a more mature audience.   

Cross, Shauna Derby Girl. Henry Hold and Company. New York. 2007. 234 pgs.  9780805080230. $16.95 P7/Q7 ages 14 and up

Bliss is only 16 but pretends to be 18 so she can join the roller derby group.  She lives in Texas and her mom wants her to be a pageant queen but Bliss wants something different “blue hair” Bliss falls for a guy from a band and looses her virginity to him and her favorite t-shirt.  He of course cheats on her and she has to learn that she can be her own person not who her mom or that boy want.  It’s an enjoyable story that moves along quickly. 

McElligott, Matthew. The Hairiest Pirate Who Ever Lived Backbeard Pirate for Hire. Walker & Company. New York. 2007. -16.95. ages 2nd-4th grade. 978-6-8027-9632-5. P7/Q7

The pictures are beautiful and engaging.  It seems to have a lot of words on several of the pages.  I had a hard time with his name "Backbeard" I kept wanting to call him Blackbeard.  It is a funny sotry but uses the word "idot" and may encourage younger children to use such language.  The author has several books in his series of "Backbeard" adventures and even has a radio show, games & activiites at his web site www.mattmcelligott.com

Cassels, Jean. A Dr. David Harleyson Adventure - Bre'r Rabbit Captured! Walker & Company .New York. $17.95 ages 3-5th grade/ 978-0-8027-9556-4. P 6/ Q6

This is a long told folktale told by letters written to a father who is back home while an Uncle & son go on a trip to capture portraits.  It is a little confusing as the letters switch back & forth.  When it gets to the folktales it is more enjoyable. Beautiful pictures but a long confusing read.

Kruusval, Catarina. translated by Joan Sandin. Franny's Friends. R & S Books. New York. 2008. $16.00 ages k-2nd grade. 9-12966-836-0. P6/ Q 5

A very simple story with many repetative words as it says the characters names over and over again in each phrase.  It is a translated story so some of the names are not familiar to the English reader.  Cute pictures but a little boring.

Emberley, Rebecca. My Big Book of Spanish Words Little Brown & Company. Hachatte Brook Group. New York. 2008. 978-0316-11803-3.$ 8.99 ages pre-k-1st grade.  P7 /Q 7

This is a card board book so very young readers can also enjoy this book.  It has very simple paper type pictures that have both English and Spanish words.  No story just a picture book that helps children learn the opposite word for daily items such as clock, teddy bear.  Bright and colorful words and pictures.

Oregon Coast Preview Book Center for Young Readers Summer 2008  Reviews by N.W.


Bishop, Nic.  Frogs.  Scholastic Nonfiction, 2008.  $17.99.  978-0-439-87755-8.  48p.  Ages 6-9:  From the largest frog, the Goliath, to the tiny strawberry dart poison frog, spectacular close-up photography of this species is combined with minimalist descriptions of each type.  The author includes information about the frogs’ anatomy, survival techniques, movements, development, parenting, and much more.  At the end, Bishop explains he managed to photograph these shy creatures through his exploration as he even trained some of them to pose for the camera.   P8Q8

Crowe, Chris.  Up Close:  Thurgood Marshall.  Viking, 2008.  $16.99.  978-0-670-06228-7.  248p.  Ages 11-15:  Growing up in a world of  “Jim Crowe” laws which made African Americans second-class citizens, Marshall ascended to the highest court in the country, becoming an integral part of Brown v. Board of Education which ended segregation in the U.S. schools.  This very human look at Marshall shows his development from a school troublemaker to a passionate lawyer and first African American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  P5Q8

Fleischman, Sid.  The Trouble Begins at 8:  A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West.  Greenwillow, 2008.  $18.99.  978-0-06-134431-2.  224p.  Ages 10-14:  With its wit, humor, and illustrations of both photographs and drawings, this biography is a true delight.  Most of the narrative covers Twain’s younger life from childhood through his first thirty years (his “birth” when he changes his name from Samuel Clemens) showing his travels from place to place, either running to or from something.   No matter how many books a library has about Twain, this one is a must!  P7Q9

Jarrow, Gail.  Robert H. Jackson:  New Deal Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice, Nuremberg Prosecutor.   Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press, 2008.  $18.95.  978-0-59078-511-9.  127p.  Ages 11-15:   Jackson’s journey from self-taught lawyer in rural New York to the U.S. Supreme Court and assignment to be the judge in the trials against the Nazi leadership at the end of World War II shows the value of having friends in high places.  His meeting with a first-term senator in 1911, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, led Jackson into the president’s inner circle during the 1930s which resulted in his becoming attorney general. Jackson’s oppostive to the Japanese American internment during World War II and his belief in the importance of citizens’ rights despite the need for national security gives this detailed biography a contemporary feel.  Also valuable to readers is Jackson’s hard work to become a lawyer and the extensive information about the history and workings of the Supreme Court.   P5Q8

Lang, Lang with Michael French.  Lang Lang  Playing with Flying Keys.  Delacorte, 2008.  $16.99.  978-0-385-73578-0.  215p.  Ages 12-15:  Born in Shenyang, China,  in 1982, Lang began to play the piano at age 3.  Today he is celebrated in the musical capitals of the world, demonstrating an extraordinary level of musicianship.  This autobiography tells of his parents’ sacrifice for him, his father’s sometimes cruel treatment, and his feelings about failure as he fought to be the best.  A rags-to-riches story, this book also presents an inside look at the Chinese culture.  Another recent book by Lang is Journey of a Thousand Miles:  My Story.  P6Q8

Swain, Ruth Freeman.  Underwear:  What We Wear under There.  Il. John O’Brien.  Holiday House, 2008.  $16.95.  978-0-8234-1920-3.  unp. Ages 6-10:  Sure to be a delight to young readers, the humorous illustrations and text of this book teach them to understand transitions in clothing and culture.  P10Q8

Picture Books

Bee, William.  Beware of the Frog.  Candlewick, 2008.  $15.99.  978-0-7636-3920-4.   unp.  Ages 4-7:  Mrs. Collywobbles lives next to a big, dark, scary wood, but she has great protection—a little pet frog that gobbles up anything that comes on her property including the Giant Hungry Ogre.  In a surprise ending, however, the frog finds his comeuppance when he turns Mrs. Collywobbles into another frog.   Colorful Macintosh illustrations highlight the different villains that invade the little old lady’s space and the grand full-page illustrations of the frog.  A delight for all.  P9Q9

Lehman, Barbara.  Trainstop.  Houghton, 2008.  $16.00.  978-0-618-756407-7.  unp. Ages 4-8:  A young girl’s train ride with her parents leads her briefly into a fantastical world.  Boldly outlined gouache illustrations tell the story with no words, providing a delightful stretch of the imagination.   P8Q8

Ljungkvist, Laura.  Follow the Line around the World.  Viking, 2008.  $16.99.  978-0-670-06334-5.  up.  Ages 4-8:  In a “sequel” to her Follow the Line, the author/illustrator uses one continuous line against multi-colored backdrops to take the reader from Australia to the Amazon, from Sri Lanka to the Sahara.  The view of different habitats extends the vocabulary as well as highlighting the great variety on our planet.  A fun book for both geography and art.   P9Q9

Rinck, Maranke.  I Feel a Foot.  Il. Martijn van der Linden.  Lemniscaat/Boyds Mills, 2008.  978-1-59078-638-3.  unp.  Ages 3-6:  When Turtle, Bat, Octopus, Bird, and Goat try to identify the creature by feeling it, each one thinks that it is just like them, “a whopper of a Tur-Bat-Octo-Bird-Goat!”  In reality, the brightly-colored illustrations that seem to pop off the black background show that it is an elephant.  This classic tale about different perceptions makes a good real-aloud with lots of scary moments and laughter.    P9Q9

Yum, Hyewon.  Last Night.  Farrar, 2008.  $15.95.  978-0-374-34358-3.  unp.  Ages 3-6:  Sent to her room because she will not eat her dinner, a little girl finds a wonderful adventure, dreaming about an adventure with her bear friend as they voyage deep into the forest, dancing and playing all night.  The linocut illustrations then show her return when she makes up with her mother in the morning.  With no words to break the spell of the little girl’s experiences, Last Night is an American debut for the South Korean illustrator.   

Graphic Novel

Cammuso, Frank.  Knights of the Lunch Table.  [The Dodgeball Chronicles]  Graphix/Scholastic, 2008.  $9.99.  978-0-439-90322-6.  141p.  Ages 7-10:  Artie, he new kid at school, doesn’t want to attract attention, but he’s made enemies before lunch on his first day.  His attempt to save himself is to take a challenge at dodgeball—a sport at which he claims to excel.  Wrong!  This fast-paced twist on King Arthur’s tales shows how people find allies in unexpected places and that the game’s not over until you’ve pushed all the limits.  A laugh outloud graphic novel in the first of a series.  P8Q8

Holm, Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm.  Babymouse:  Monster MashRandom House, 2008.  $5.99.  978-0-375-84387-7.  91p.  Ages 5-8:  The familiar pink accents of this beloved series have disappeared in order to bring out the orange, black, and white for Babymouse’s Halloween experiences.  This time her dilemma starts when her mother lets her have a party, and Babymouse’s nemesis, Felicia, lays down the rules for Babymouse and then leads her into lots of trouble with her pranks.  Kids love this series!  P9Q8

Bauer, Joan.  Peeled.  Putnam, 2008.  $16.99.  978-0-399-23475-0.  248p.  Ages 13-16:   High school reporter Hildy Biddle uses her curiosity to investigate what’s behind all the ghost stories popping up in town only to find herself in great danger.  Bauer has another strong-willed hero who discovers that developers are trying to buy up the apple orchards that the community depends on.  Good plotting and characterization fit with the witty writing to make this a fun read.  P8Q8 

Jones, Diana Wynne.  House of Many Ways.  Greenwillow, 2008.  $17.99.  978-0-06-147795-9.  404p.  Ages 12+:  Howl’s moving castle is back, this time with young Charmian Baker in charge because Great-Uncle William, aka Royal Wizard Norland, is dangerously ill.  Although the cottage appears small, the single door leads to vast spaces, including the caves under the mountain and the Royal Mansion.  In addition, Charmian finds herself responsible for a magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king’s treasured documents.  Absolutely delightful and just in time to read after seeing the movie Howl’s Moving Castle.  P8Q10

McDonald, Megan.  Judy Moody Goes to College.  Il. Peter H. Reynolds.  Candlewick, 2008.  $15.99.  978-0-7636-2833-8.  133p.  Ages 7-9:  The irrepressible third-grader is back and funnier than ever.  With a substitute teacher in math, Judy is sent to a tutor, a swinging college student, Chloe, who introduces Judy to all sorts of grown-up things: clothes, mood nail polish, coffee houses (where Judy gets hot chocolate), art classes, and a new attitude toward mathematics.  Judy Moody rocks!  P8Q8

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.  Almost Alice.  Atheneum, 2008.  $16.99.  978-0-689-87096-5.  272p.  Ages 13-15:  In this 23rd book, tales about Alice, now a second-semester high school junior, seem to be wearing thin.  Most of the occurrences are vignettes, probably of interest to a far younger audience who have followed Alice through her father’s remarriage and her relationship with older brother Lester and a series of boyfriends.  Now she’s back with Patrick, her crush on Scott is over, and the focus is on college and pregnancy (Pamela, Alice’s friend).  Everything seems so easy for everyone, even Pamela’s spontaneous miscarriage after some worry.  For libraries with a strong Alice following.  P6Q5

Parker, Robert B.  The Boxer and the Spy.  Philomel, 2008.  $17.99.  978-0-399-24775-0.  210p.  Agse 12-15:  After decades of writing books for adults, including the popular Spenser novels, Parker has published a second book for young adults.  Rich in dialog, almost a tv script, this one features Terry Novak, a 15-year-old wannabe boxer, and his smart friend Abby who solve the mystery of who killed young nerdy Jason Green.  The allusion to Jason’s possibly being gay doesn’t go anywhere, and the solution to the killing doesn’t appear to be plausible.  But young readers interested in boxing will find this a good read.  P7Q6 

Venkatraman, Padma.  Climbing the Stairs.  Putnam, 2008.  $16.99.  978-0-399-24746-0.  247p.  Ages 14+:   Dreaming of going to college should not be unusual for a 15-year-old girl, but Vidya lives in British-occupied India during World War II.  Her activist father supports her in this desire, but her dreams come to an abrupt end when she mistakenly gets him involved in a protest where he is severely beaten and loses his ability to function.  Instead belonging to a well-off middle-class family headed by a doctor, Vidya finds herself in a traditional Indian family ruled by oppressive relatives.  Even her new boyfriend, who she meets clandestinely, has the same view toward women as a lesser class.  Although rich in culture and history, the book is not over-whelmed by the setting; the characters stand out in great relief, both individually and through their interactions.  The author covers issues of personal pride, struggle, and choice in the face of disaster while telling a compelling story.   P8Q9

September Book Reviews by C.B.

Campbell Bartoletti, Susan, The boy who dared, Scholastic Press, New York, 2008, 202 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0439680131, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 9,

The author Susan Bartoletti has selected 16-year-old Helmuth Hubner from one of her previous books, Hitler youth. This is a historical fictionalized account of the life of Helmuth Hubner. The story starts with the imprisonment of Helmuth in a jail cell after he has been sentenced to death by the courts of Nazi Germany. Helmuth has a series a flash backs that retell his story of illegally listening to the BBC broadcast on a short-wave radio and then distributing the information in Germany. This book will capture the attention of middle and high school students.

Carman, Patrick, Rivers of fire, Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, New York, 2008, 303 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0316166723, Gr. 5+, P8, Q8,

This is the second book in the Atherton series, where Atherton is a three-tiered world and is in actual fact a huge man-made satellite that is man kinds only refuge from a dying Earth. The three-tiered world, three different lands which had been separated before are now collapsing into each other and the inhabitants of this strange world must work together to survive. Edgar one of the main characters is determined to save the world and to discover the truth about Atherton too.

Paver, Michelle, Outcast, Katherine Tegen Books, New York, 2008, 319 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0060728345, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 9,

This Michelle Paver’s fourth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, you now find Torak has been keeping a secret from the rest of his clan. He had been infected by one of soul-eaters in the previous book, the mark he has hidden is discovered and he is cast out of his clan and all other clans will not recognize him either. This book deal with an ancient world where Torak’s friendship is tested, he must survive on his own, deal with magic and earn his place back, if he can, in his clan. This adventure story will appeal to all who have read the rest of this series.

Scott, Michael, The alchemist : the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel, Delacorte Press, New York, 2007, 375 pgs., $16.99, ISBN:0385733577, Gr. 7+, P 8, Q 8,

Sophie and Josh Newman, each 15 years old, are excited about their jobs in San Francisco and the money they can earn. The jobs are situated right across the street from each other. Sophie is working in a coffee shop and Josh in a book store. All is going well until the day that black magical beings enter the book store, to steal the Codex  (a ancient magical book). Josh rips two crucial pages out before they leave with the stolen book. Josh and his sister find out that Nick and Peggy Fleming, Nicks employers, are really 14th century alchemists and are the guardians of the book. This fantasy adventure will grab both middle and high school student attention.

Walden, Mark, The overlord protocol, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2007, 376 pgs., $19.99, ISBN:1416935738, Gr. 5+, P 8, Q 8,

This is the second book in the H.I.V.E. series and from the first page it is packed with adventure and danger. The characters in them first book again save the day and with it the Higher Institute of Villainous Education. While attending Wing’s father’s funeral he is kidnapped by Cyper, a true villain who wants to take over the world and destroy H.I.V.E.
Wing finds that Cyper is mass producing Ninja robots who can outfight any other Ninja warrior and that they cannot be destroyed by bullets either. This fast paced adventure will appeal to all.

Non Fiction:

Curlee, Lynn, Mythological creatures : a classical bestiary, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 2008, 35 pgs., $17.99, ISBN:1416914536, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 7,

Lynn Curlee presents the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology by using his own bright paintings to illustrate each of them as he brings their tales alive in this collection.

The creatures and beasts of Greek Mythology are also found in the pages of this book.

DiPucchio, Kelly, Sipping spiders through a straw : campfire songs for monsters, illustrated by Gris Grimly, Scholastic Press, New York, 2008, unp, $15.99, ISBN:0439584019, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 8,

Using familiar songs DiPucchio, has created a mixture of ghastly and witty lyrics that will appeal to all who read the pages of this book. Using supercilious lyrics he replaced worlds from “To take me out to the ballgame” with “Take me out to the graveyard, take me out to the tombs.” Using black and brown watercolors he uses stretched out and really drawn out illustrations to reveal the figures of the characters in this collection.

Fitzgerald, Dawn, Vinnie and Abraham, illustrated by Catherine Stock, Charlesbridge, China, 2007, unp, $15.95, ISBN:1570916586, Gr. 2+, P 7, Q 8,

This book show cases the life of Vinnie Ream who was a sculpture and has a marble statue of Abraham Lincoln that now stands in the Capitol Rotunda. This statue is marble and was unveiled when Vinnie was 23 years-old in 1871. This book brings home to a younger audience the life of this remarkable artist. The author begins with her life in Wisconsin, and then to her becoming one of the youngest women, 14 years-old, hired by the U.S. Post Office and concluding with President Lincoln sitting for her. The water colors by Stock are soft but capture the vitality of this extraordinary young woman.

Hansen, Rosanna, Caring for Cheetahs : my African adventure, Boyds Mills Press, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, 2007, 32 pgs., index, glossary, $16.95, ISBN:1590783875,

Gr. 2+, P 8, Q 8,

The Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, Africa is featured in the pages of this book as Chewbaaka is the main Cheeta featured too. Chewbaaka was rescued and then raised by the members of the conservation. Using photos the relationship of this cheetah to Dr. Laurie Marker are shown. The research between Chewbaaka and Dr. Marker has enabled the world to get a better perspective on the growth, eating habits, size and lifespan of the Cheetah. Elementary students will love this book as they discover how one small area of the world is working to save this endangered animal.

Matthews, John & Caitlin, Trick of the tale : a collection of trickster tales, illustrated by Tomislav Tomic, Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008, 85 pgs., $18.99, ISBN:0763636460, Gr. 3+, P 8, Q 9,

The gorgeous black and white engravings by Tomic Tomislav invite the reader into this book to discover the world of the tricksters as they lie and cheat their way out of trouble and to success. This collection features stories from all over the world and will appeal to all audiences.

Michelson, Richard, As good as anybody : Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s amazing march toward freedom, illustrated by Raul Colon, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2008, unp, $16.99, ISBN:0375833358, Gr. 4+, P 7, Q 8,

Two men are featured in this book Rabbi Abraham Heshel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Rabbi Heshel was a Jewish man who escaped from Nazi Germany to America and was drawn in the civil rights movements of the 60’s. He became a good friend of Dr. King. and marched with him from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. These two men were vastly different and came from different cultures and religions but they proved through their friendships and respect prejudices can be over come. The illustrator of this book uses two colors schemes, brown hues for King and blue hues for Heshel to illustrate theses two different men’s lives. This book should be included in all school libraries.

Rapport, Doreen, Lady Liberty : a biography, illustrated by Matt Tavares, Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008, unp, $17.99, ISBN:0763625302, Gr. 3+, P 8,
Q 9,

The Statue of Liberty has greeted many people to the shores of America and in the pages of this book we are treated to her creation from the financial aspect to those in France who dreamed of giving her as gift to America. Professor Edourd de Laboulaye, a French man wished to honor our struggle during the American Revolution and to celebrate the friendship between our two countries. It is however the creator French sculptor, Auguste Barthodi who made Laboulaye dream come true. The illustrator Matt Tavares uses bright colors to depict the models and building and story of this famous statue.

Ironside, by Holly Black
Reader: H.I. WHS Student
Date Read:4-30-08
Ironside is the sequel to Holly Black’s first book, Tithe.  It’s really well done and interesting because, along with taking up where Tithe left off, Ironside also wraps up Valiant.  Characters from both books are intermingled and fit together perfectly.  Kaye, from Tithe and Louis, from Valiant meet and together work to save the Roiban the Fairy king, soon to be, of both courts and also Kaye’s boyfriend.  Everybody in “Ironside” have unique, fragile and yet strong relationships and work together amazingly.  I read this book in one sitting, it’s that good.
Recommendation: YES

Title: Valiant by Holly Black

Reader H.I. WHS Student
Date Read:4-29-08
Summary: Valiant is about fairies and their “courts.”  Their courts are actually kingdoms of which there are two major ones, they are constantly at war and nobody wants to get caught in the middle of that.  The main characters consist of a run away and three already homeless kids, they get into fairy drugs, involved with fairy murders and wrapped up in their own human lives.  In the end things get resolved, and end rather happily.  It was a delicious book, which I would definitely recommend.

September 2008 Book Review

K.J. NHS Student

Meehl, Brian. Suck it Up. Random House, New York, 2008.  $15.99   ISBN:9780385733007 323 p.  Gr. 9-12   The story is told in third person point of view, and starts off a bit slow when we¹re introduced to Morning McCobb, a vampire graduating from a vampire academy.   He¹s awkward and out of place, but becomes easier to love as the reader learns his attitude, history, and sense of humor.  Morning loves superheroes and drinks blood substitutes, unlike any other vampire.  He is given the chance to become a modern kind of superhero by revealing to the human race (a.k.a. "lifers") that vampires do actually exist, and that they are peaceful. The "vampire president" of the IVL (International Vampire League) takes a personal interest in Morning, and pays a woman back in NYC (Morning¹s hometown) to make his name known. Morning breaks a lot of ancient "laws" convincing everyone he¹s the real thing.  The hired publicist is Penny Dredful, and her daughter is Portia, an aspiring filmmaker.  They develop a quick and obvious relationship.  An elderly vampire very set in the old ways makes it his mission to destroy Morning.

           The characters were realistic for the most part, but the relationship between Portia and Morning was expected and not very exciting. The time frame of the entire story happens in about  a week, so things seem
a bit rushed.  It¹s therefore a lot of action, but very descriptive. Good dialogue, slow plot, but excellent past set up (in the explanation of ancient vampire culture.)  Boys would probably enjoy this book, but it took me some strain to sit through, even as a vampire lover.  P4 Q5

Jenkins, A.M. Night Road. HarperCollins, New York, 2008.  $16.99   ISBN:9780060546045 362 p.  Gr. 9-12  The main character in this book is Cole, a

"hemovore" (not quite the "painted picture" vampire) who isolates himself and takes photos.  Over time, taking photos loses its meaning to him.  He has to return to "the Building",  the colony of hemovores in NYC.  His friend, Sandor, had an accident, and created a new hemovore named Gordon. The "head heme" asks Cole and Sandor to take Gordon on the road and teach him the vampire ways.  Most of the story takes place while they are on the road.  
           Reading this book was difficult for me to enjoy. I had to force myself to finish it, although the second half of the book is easier on the stomach.  The characters faced a lot of struggles, which is pretty much what fuels the story.   The most interesting ideas that the author presented were short-lived, and I would¹ve liked him to elaborate more on those.
           My favorite part was a chapter that was about a page long.  It¹s when Cole "dies", and the way he sees heaven is intriguing and beautiful. I didn¹t really like this book because it was so hard to keep reading.  All the main characters were male, and the female ones were either prey or bitchy.  There really wasn¹t much of a story.  P3 Q3

Oregon Coast Preview Center for

Young Readers September 2008
By S.E. (grand parent volunteer)


Tracy, Kristen.  Lost It.  Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Division, NY.  2007.  276p. ISBN 10: 1-416934758. $7.00.  Ages 13-16.  After meeting the cutest guy, Ben, Tess blows it by melting her locker shut and telling him it was probably because of her low blood sugar and having him believe she was diabetic.  He was super nice to her and very attentive and the longer she pretended to have diabetes, the more she wanted to tell him but after losing her virginity to him, she couldn’t find the right time to tell him.  Ben, it turns out, has leukemia, but is in remission and Tess finds this out a long way into their “relationship”  Her folks are always off at some retreat or climbing adventure so she has no parents to speak of and lives with her grandma when the folks are out of town.  When Ben finds out that she doesn’t have diabetis, he leaves and doesn’t see her anymore. This book has a good moral and hopefully the persons who read this will take away a sense of honesty. Q7P7

Friedman, Aimee.  The Year My Sister Got Lucky.  Scholastic Inc. NY.  2008. 370p.  ISBN 0439922272.  $17.00.  Ages 13-18.  Two young ballerina sisters, one of which has been invited to Julliard, are uprooted and moved to the country, away from their beloved NY City, 14 year old Katie isn’t fitting in as readily as her older sister Michaela is.  Katie keeps the secret of her sister dating a new boyfriend from her parents.  She finally tells her folks what her sister is up to and all hell breaks loose.  The sisters have been invited to see the Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center in NY City where they would have been performing had they not moved from the city.  Katie thinks her sister dances wonderfully and is in awe of that, even seeing how her sister’s toe shoes were always bloody after practicing.  The girls get home and realize on the way home, that their home is in the upstate country now.  This was an easy read and the lesson learned by Katie was that all her anger toward her sister was born of jealousy.  Q7P7.

Shearer, Alex.  Canned.  Scholastic Inc. NY. 2006. 237p.  ISBN 0439903092.  $17.00. Ages 9-12.   Fergal is a young man who, when he goes to the store with his mom, always digs in the “label missing” bin and takes one of them home each time.  He finally had so many, his folks told him he had to get rid of some in order for him to get any more.  He opens a can and finds a mystery in it. While at the market another time, he finds a girl who likes to collect unlabeled cans too and together they unravel the mystery of the lost, put into slave labor, kids.  This is a farfetched story but it is a cute story and one that a kid of those ages would like to read.  Q7P8

Cooney, Caroline B. Hit the Road.  Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House NY.  183p.  ISBN 038572944(trade)  0385901747 (glb)  $16.00.  Ages 13-17.  Brit has had her license for 11 days but rather than leave their car home for Brit to drive, her folks take it to the airport parking lot to sit while they are gone, leaving Brit off at her grandma “Nannies” house.  Because the grandma couldn’t see very well, Brits mom had sold her grandma’s old Cadillac .  Nannie had planned a reunion with three of her close friends as they had done every year for ages but with no transportation Brit thought it would be of her grandma’s mind.  Nannie rents a car to take to pick up two of her old buddies and rescue another of the trio who was sent to an old age home because her son wanted the money.  Brit learns a lot on this funny journey,  mostly about herself but also about what it is like to be an old person.  I liked this book.  Q8P8

O’leary Burningham, Saras, Il. Bella Pilar.  How To Raise Your Parents, a teen girl’s survival guide.  Chronicle Books SF, Ca.  2008.  144p.  ISBN 9780811856966. $13.00.  Ages 13-18.  This is a wonderfully enlightening book for teens.  It teaches “parent speak” and tells what the parents or guardians fear about certain things like dating or the internet and why such things like dying your hair and tattooing are such a fear to the “old folks”.  I would like to see this book put in all the schools.  My grand daughter loved it and it explained a lot of things she goes through with her folks and helps her to understand why they are what they are. It encourages homework and study groups and why you should care about getting good grades.  It is a funny comprehensive book on how to raise your parents.  It is also a good book for the parents to read.   Q10P10

McMullan, Kate and Jim.  I’m Bad.  Harper Collins children’s books. NY.  2008. ISBN 9780061229718.   Ages 4-8.  $17.00.   A cute read aloud book about a dinosaur trying to catch his dinner and a wonderful ending page that folds up to reveal his momma watching him act like a baby.  Primitively drawn, but I liked the ending.  Q7P9

McNaughton, Colin, We’re Off to Look For Aliens.  Candlewick Press, Ma. 2008 . ISBN 9780763636364.  $16.00.  Ages 5-8.  This is a book within a book, literally.  The book opens with the dad getting his newly published book in the mail and showing it to his kids. (His children think that their dad doesn’t really work, all he does is write stories).  The dad gives his new book to his kids to read and leaves the house.  The book he has written is smaller than the book  itself and tells a great rhyming story about building a space ship and traveling the universe and finding an alien and taking her back to his planet and he and the alien marry and have kids.  The end of the book is great...I know kids will love reading this book and the book inside the book as well.  Q9P9

Morgan, Mary.  Dragon Pizzeria .  Alfred A Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, NY.  2008. $17.00  ISBN 9780375823091.   This is a story about a dragon who delivers pizza’s to people like Hansel and Gretel, Thumbelina, and the three bears among others.  It is brightly illustrated and can be used in classrooms for read aloud or for rhyming.  The author also wrote Little Mouse and Sleep Tight.  Q7P8


Owen&Mzee. Knut, the Baby Polar Bear.  Turtle Pond Publications, Scholastic Books, 2008.  ISBN 100545061571.  $7.00  Age 5-6.  A cute read aloud story with very thick pages.  It is a twelve page non fiction child’s book about a baby polar bear born in a zoo.  A very cute book but very small.  Q8P9

Hatcoff, Craig & Isabella & Juliana and Dr. Gerald R Ulich.  Knut, How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World.  Scholastic Press. NY. 2007.  ISBN 0545047161.  $17.00.  Ages 6-10.  A wonderful story about a Polar bear twin who’s sibling died shortly after birth.  Knut’s mother was in a zoo when she gave birth and the zoo keepers didnt know if the mom would take care of the cubs.  Knut’s mom was one of the kind that didn't, so shortly after birth, the zookeeper took the twins into a private room and nursed him and fed him and took care of him and taught him how to do bear things until Knot was old enough to do it on his own.  This is a wonderful story and I know the kids will love it.  Q9P9


Fredricks, Mariah, In The Cards Life. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon And Schuster, NY. 2008. 262p. ISBN9780689876585. $17.00. Ages 11-13. A great addition to the other two books of the series, In the Cards, Love and In the Cards, Fame, and, as in each of the other two books, is written from the perspective of one of the other two girls involved in the friendship. ( Each book is from a different girl’s perspective.) Three talented teenage girls have an ongoing friendship in which they have bonded with not only each other but with the cats that were given to them in a will from an old lady who lives in the same building as two of them. The old lady also willed them the deck of Tarot cards and they find that the cards usually ring true. This story actually made me cry and I would like to recommend it to the middle schools in LCSD. It covers teen crushes and jealousy and death and how each girl handles each situation that arises. Q8P8


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