Thursday, November 06, 2008

Storm: The Ghost Machine and assorted AR books

E.L. Young is to be commended for integrating science and technology into great action/adventure books. The group from STORM is back, as technologically savvy and slightly geeky as ever, but the really cool thing about them is that even though they are young, they can go to Venice at a moment's notice to help an Italian girl whose family heirloom has been stolen... by a ghost. With the help of a semi-robotic rat, lots of money, and fearless spirit, they uncover a criminal mastermind and save the day. Like Storm: The Infinity Code, the plot is tight and fast-paced, the characters are likable (and other than their freakishly good technological capabilities, don't seem geeky to me) and the writing is exciting, but the best part is really the gadgets. A student asked me if this was science fiction, and I had to reply that is was fiction with science, but not really futuristic, because Young uses technology that is either around or almost around. Great fun, and Alex Rider fans are liking these.

One of our teachers is challenging students to an Accelerated Reader points contest, which is a great idea, and it's such a fabulous thing that the students see adults reading, but it makes me want to sob gently into my sleeve. I do take AR tests, but they aren't my favorite thing, because the new books I read don't have tests. Back to the "S" and "T" authors in my own library.

Thomas, Jane Resh. The Comeback Dog (1981) (level 6, 1 point)--Daniel is still grieving his dog Captain when Lady shows up hurt in a ditch. He nurses her back to life, but she has been so abused that she doesn't trust him and runs away. When she runs into trouble, however, she comes back. This is a very, very short book. Fans of animal fiction will like it.

Taylor, Mildred. Mississippi Bridge (1987)(Level 4.8, 1 point)-- It's a rainy day, and people are catching the bus at the general store. Racial tensions run high-- Josiah claims to have a job, and the white men at the store don't think that black people should earn more money than they do, especially since the Depression is on. The bus driver makes the black people get off the bus in the rain to let more white people on, and then the bus plunges into the river, killing several of the passengers. Again, very short, but a good historical portrait of a time that has passed.

Thesman, Jean. When the Road Ends. (1992) (Level 6.9, 7 points) Horrible cover, but a good problem novel about foster children who are sent to a cabin for the summer with a woman who is recovering from a car accident. The woman hired to help them runs off, and they try to survive on their own so that the children are not sent to new foster homes. Now that I know about this one, I think it will circulate more.

Webster, Jean. Daddy-Long-Legs (1912)Level 7, 6 points). An orphan girl is sent to college by a college trustee and is instructed to write to him, although he doesn't write back. She joins the social whirl of college, makes friends, and becomes an accomplished writer. She also becomes acquainted with a wealthy young man, whom I suspected early on was in fact the trustee. The movie with Fred Astaire (age 56) and Leslie Caron(age 21) is creepy, but in the book the age difference seems to be less than ten years, and is just a good story about college 100 years ago.


Sean Ashby said...

See, knowing that boys love high-tech gadgets, and that they also like to read NF books about how stuff works, I've always thought that a series like this should publish some NF companion books. Something that had, for example, a big colorful spread on how the night vision goggles that so-and-so used in book 2 in chapter 4 actually work, and how they're used in real life. Well, I would've liked it as a boy, anyway. (Probably still would!)

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