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review 2017-06-27 15:58
Artemis Fowl / Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius, and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.

Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them...but then they stop playing by the rules.

 

Artemis Fowl (or should that be Foul?) is an interesting mix of Lex Luthor and Encyclopedia Brown. He’s a boy genius with designs on leprechaun gold and he is willing to kidnap and deceive his way to his goal. But the fairy world is not going to just roll over and submit to Artemis’ demands, especially not Captain Holly Short, who is being held captive in Fowl Manor.

It’s a quick read, well written. If I was part of the intended demographic, I would probably be more impressed, but it’s a bit tame for adult tastes. Very appropriate for the children’s market, however. I would have no hesitation buying it for a school library. There are explosions, near-death-experiences, monsters, and evil plans, but no one loses their life. Colfer gives amusing names to his characters, like a butler named Butler and a centaur named Foaly.

Looking for summer reading for your 10 year old? Consider Artemis Fowl!

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review 2016-11-01 20:02
Halloween Unit
The Haunted Hayride (Ready, Freddy! 2nd Grade #5) - Abby Klein,John McKinley

This was a great 2nd grade story, and the class really enjoyed reading it throughout the month of October. This story could be used to teach a unit on Halloween. There is a packet handout that goes along with this story that teaches students how to recall, go over vocabulary, and write about different prompts.

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review 2016-10-28 03:50
Amazing Grace - Mary Hoffman,Caroline Binch

This story could be used to teach about diversity in the classroom. It could also be used to help students learn about self-esteem. Using the story in this way will help students learn that it is okay to be different.

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review 2016-09-08 16:07
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving,Gris Grimly

Are all the lights on?  Is there a parent in the house?  Are the windows shut and locked? Double-check!  They HAVE to be if you are going to read this book, which is undoubtedly the scariest rendition of one of the greatest ghost stories ever told: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  While you may have heard of Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel, and the Headless Horseman, you've never SEEN them quite like this -- through the macabre imagination of the inimitable Gris Grimly.  So, take a deep breath and take a long look. And you may want to bring a flashlight to bed with you tonight....

 

I have come to realize over the last several months that I owned an impressive stack of comic books as a child, and that they were a very eclectic mix of super heroes, fairy tales, and Classics Illustrated. I’m reasonably comfortable in asserting that it was from one of these comics that I originally became acquainted with Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman.

 

So for the Pumpkin square on my Hallowe’en Bingo card, I decided to read Washington Irving’s ghostly tale. Imagine my surprise to find it nearly impossible to find the unaltered original story in either my public library or university library!  They were all either illustrated children’s versions (one of which I ended up with), simple versions for ESL students, or scripts for plays.  Both libraries had copies of the original at one time or another, but they have all gone missing.  I’m starting to feel like there was a ghostly conspiracy to keep the original story out of my hands!

 

As it turns out, I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations of Gris Grimly. His horses were especially delightful.  Ichabod Crane was as gangly and long-nosed as you could imagine and Brom Bones was the bulky bully that I expected.  Katrina Van Tassel was a trifle disappointing to me, not really inhabiting much space in the artwork—I’d be interested to read the original to see how much stage-time she received in it.

 

A charming story, well illustrated. Someday, I will get my hands on the real deal and be able to contrast and compare.

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review 2016-09-06 20:57
The Golden Compass / Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the alethiometer. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

 

The Golden Compass was the last hurrah in my 2016 Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature.  It just squeaked in under the wire, as I read it during the Labour Day weekend.

 

I rate it at 4.5 stars.  I found it completely engrossing and hard to put down.  Published about 15 years too late for me to read as a child—but how I would have loved it!  It is a dark novel, full of mysterious daemons, a threatening Church, plots of uncertain origin, sinister disappearances, and duplicitous adults. 

 

All the stuff that I still enjoy!  Unfortunately for me, this first of the series came out just as my own life was imploding and I have only recently recovered enough to get seriously reading again.  Twenty years delay in discovering this marvelous introduction to His Dark Materials.

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