Friday, February 24, 2006

If they like Darren Shan

Well, I don't know that I like Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak series, but it has been extremely popular, and it's not half bad. The author also wrote me a lovely letter (see the My Weird Hobby post), and admitted that Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes was a little bit of an inspiration for him. That gets SWTWC (1962)off the shelves more frequently!

When the students finish all ten books and are crushed to know there aren't more, I steer them to Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' In the Forest of the Night(1999), Demon in My View (2000)and Shattered Mirror(2001) Midnight Predator (2002). They are short books, but fairly well-done, and not as gruesome as could be. This is what I look for in horror, although the children are often just as happy with the slash-'em-up R.L. Stine books.

Warning: Shan's Lord Loss (2005)is gory in the extreme, and parents could be upset about the demons murdering the boy's family. However, I bought a copy. It's no more gory than R.L. Stine, however, and much, much more clever. The ending persuaded me that I should get it-- the boy challenges the demon to a chess game. I'm almost looking forward to the next one.

Anthony Horowitz's Raven's Gate (2005) is a departure from his usual work, but keeps to his high standards in both writing and interest. Just more fantastical than I am used to seeing from him.

I've been handing out Neil Shusterman's Full Tilt (2003) with great success, and it encouraged me to look at his new Dark Fusion series. Red Rider's Hood combined werewolves with inner city gangs (to hook the boys who want yet another book just like The Outsiders) and was fun, but Dread Locks was superb. Goldilocks meets Medusa. A phenomenal ending that just put a shiver right down my spine. I'm also going to recommend this series to our 6th grade teachers, to use as a high interest read aloud to go along with their folk tale unit.

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