Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Chris Lynch's Cyberia

Zane never sees his busy, famous parents, but they know all about what he's doing because his room spies on him. It takes his temperature, tracks his movements, and tells him when he needs to go to the bathroom. This is what the future is like. No one goes outside, because inside is nicer. Zane isn't all that crazy about his lifestyle, but it is made better by Hugo, his dog. When Zane's father drops off the latest gizmo to track Zane, it enables him to hear animals speak. When Hugo lets Zane know that their vet, Dr. Gristle, is behind a plan to microchip and enslave as many animals as possible, the two set out to free the animals and overthrow Gristle's evil plans.

Yes, this strained credulity at times, but it was enormous fun. There were lots of read-out-loud funny moments (Hugo: He even tastes like a jerk. Evil jerk flavor.), fast-paced action, and an underlying important message-- when do our personal identities become subsumed by machinery? Zane is a reluctant but capable hero, and Hugo is now my second favorite literary pet (the first being Gloria from No Flying in the House.) Add a healthy dose of technology and a perfect length (160 pages), and this is a must-buy for elementary and middle school libraries.

Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur is something I will buy if I have money to spare. Gwyna escapes from the wreckage of her master's home and is taken in by Myrddin, a bard who works for Arthur, doing his PR and arranging many of the fantastical events that stoke the mythology. Gwyna helps, while disguised as a boy. This was a nice spin on the Arthur legend, but was slightly Sutcliffe in the telling. This is more for hard core fantasy fans. There are already several good Arthur books in my library(Sword of the Rightful King, Arthur at the Crossing Places), and they aren't wildly popular.

Also sloggged through Warner's Blue Bay Mystery and Mike's Mystery. These are becoming a bit like Scooby-Doo meets Dick and Jane. The language is really stilted, the plots improbable, and yet for struggling readers, these serve a purpose.


Erin said...

Hey MS. Yingling! This is Erin the 6th grader!!!! Have you posted about GONE? I LOVE IT! Now I KNOW that the wall is keping the kids out not in out!!!!!!! hehe. i had sugar today can u tell??????

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