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Search tags: ages-9-12
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review 2017-10-07 06:31
Shadows of Sherwood
Shadows of Sherwood (Robyn Hoodlum) - Kekla Magoon

 

The sing on the fence said BEWARE OF DOGS.

- first sentence

 

Robyn was the sort of girl who knew not only how many teeth a bulldog had, but also exactly what to do to get a bulldog on her good side.

Chapter 2

 

Robyn had always been the sort of girl who enjoyed breaking the rules. She was almost never where she was supposed to be.

- Chapter 4

 

When Robyn's parents are taken, she is thrust into a world she didn't even know existed. People are suffering and the government is corrupt. Robyn tries to find ways to help people and to thwart the government when she can. She is a strong girl and yet terrified of what happened to her parents. She finds friends, learns how to trust people, and tries to make a difference.

 

This a reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Robyn lives in Nott City in her home, Loxley Manor. The counties that surround her home are Sherwood, Nottingham, Excelsior, and Block Six. Robyn and her friends form a band that steals medicine and food from the government and distributes it to the poor.

 

The story is fun, imaginative, and full of adventure. Even though Robyn is strong-willed and independent, she also has doubts about herself and the wisdom of what she is doing.  This a great book for middle readers. I am definitely going to read the sequels. :)

 

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review 2017-10-07 05:40
Randoms
Randoms - David Liss

 

This is a book written for science fiction fans, in more ways than one.

 

Zeke (the mc) is selected, along with three of Earth's most talented young people, by the Confederation of United Planets to live on their space station for a year. When the Confederation evaluates a species, they always choose four, including one Random. Zeke is Earth's Random.

 

During the journey to the station, the ship is attacked. Zeke manages to destroy the attacking vessel, saving the lives of every being on their ship. But, instead of being hailed as a hero, Zeke is treated as a war criminal by almost everyone. And he is rejected by his own group, including their chaperone, a representative of the state department. Zeke gets together with the alien Randoms, who were also rejected by their own species, and they form a loyal bond.

 

This book is filled with science fiction references that will delight fans: Captain Kirk, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Ender's Game to name a few. Zeke is a sci-fi superfan and he enjoys making connections between his current situation and various shows, movies, and books. 

 

This a great book for middle grade. Zeke faces issues of fitting in, making friends, and having feelings for an alien girl. There are also conspiracies, friendship issues, hidden secrets, and politics. For example, some influential people in the confederation are more interested in saving face than in saving lives. There are a few twists I didn't see coming and a big one that I sort of did, but it's all fun.

 

I enjoyed this one and there are two sequels that I hope to get around to eventually. 

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review 2017-09-15 20:59
So You Want to be a Jedi?
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back So You Want to Be a Jedi? - Adam Gidwitz

 

This book is a retelling of The Empire Strikes Back and a guide to becoming a Jedi. It is told through Luke Skywalker's point of view, and follows the original book's story line very closely. In between chapters Gidwitz talks directly to the reader giving lessons on meditation and self-control. Gidwitz tells the reader that he (or she) is Luke, so when he tells some parts of the story he says, "but you know this because you are Luke" (or something like that).

 

If you read my other review of A Tale Dark and Grimm by Gidwitz, then you might remember he was scheduled to visit our school on September 12th. Well, Irma had other plans for that week. I'm not sure when or if his visit will be rescheduled. But, I really hope it works out; it would be fun to meet him.

 

Our librarian has been reading the meditation lessons to the students. It is interesting to see how the different children respond. The first lesson involves closing your eyes and counting to 10, while trying to keep your mind blank. It is funny how many students either miss the instructions or can't sit still long enough to even count. And then there are the students who take it so seriously - very cute.

 

The librarian is not a fan of Star Wars, but she enjoyed the book anyway. (I am a huge fan.) When she tells the students that this book is about the most famous jedi, they almost always guess Yoda, and some of them say they would rather be a sith lord.

 

I loved the book. I remember reading The Empire Strikes Back (many years ago), and reading this version brought back so many memories. There are three books in this series. I am going to go back and read the first book (A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farmboy) and then the third (Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side) which are both written by different authors.

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review 2017-08-28 03:46
A Tale Dark & Grimm - Review
A Tale Dark & Grimm - Adam Gidwitz

Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

- Opening Sentence

 

 

I read this book because the author, Adam Gidwitz, is coming to visit our school in September and I wanted to be familiar with his works. I'm reading Star Wars: So You Want to be a Jedi also written by Gidwitz. 

 

I enjoyed this book. Be warned, he talks to the reader, often. So, if meta-fiction isn't your thing, then I would skip this one. He talks about how the next part is scary, and you should make young children leave the room, or about how the reader (supposedly children) might be scared and might want to stop reading. Are you sure you want to keep reading? Ok, don't say I didn't warn you...

 

It's cute actually, and I think the intended audience (children) will enjoy it. Also, it's a great opening to introducing the concept of meta-fiction and "breaking the fourth wall" to students.

 

The book doesn't shy away from the scarier parts of fairy tales. Gidwitz actually points out that he was inspired to write these books (this is the first in a trilogy) by a group of second graders. He says that the stories are awesome and "children can handle it." 

 

This book is based on Hansel and Gretel and includes different aspects of many Grimm fairy tales, including Gretel cutting off her finger (from The Seven Ravens) and Hansel going to Hell and tricking the Devil. I'm not sure which fairy tale that came from. It's a fast-paced story and a fairly quick read. I found myself worrying about Hansel and Gretel, even though I was pretty sure they would end up ok. I like Gidwitz's style and highly recommend this book, with a caveat to consider the specific reader and what they can handle.

 

I found myself wondering how this would play in a room full of second graders (or even third graders). I guess I will find out since our librarian will be promoting the books to our students.

 

Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of Grimm fairy tales or enjoy retellings, give this one a chance. :)

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review 2017-08-20 03:40
Artemis Fowl Graphic Novel
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel - Eoin Colfer,Andrew Donkin,Giovanni Rigano,Paolo Lamanna

 

 

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan. I never read the original books, so I don't have any background knowledge. Maybe I would have liked the story better if I read it in the traditional format first.

 

As a first-time reader, I found Artemis to be cocky (although as a 12-year old genius, I guess he has the right to be) and irritating. All he cared about was money, it seemed. And his evil plan was to steal the money by kidnapping a fairy and holding him for ransom. I can see this story appealing to kids, with characters like Mulch Diggums, a dwarf criminal who digs tunnels by eating the dirt and then ejecting it from his rear end. And the technology Artemis and the fairy people use, like the time-stopper and the bio-bomb.

 

Cool elements, but I just didn't enjoy the story. And I couldn't root for Artemis - I thought he was a jerk. I don't think I'll be reading any more of this series, in graphic or traditional format...

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