Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Testing, Day One

Would just like to say that while proctoring the OAA Reading Test, I scanned the room at the end of every page and walked about every chapter. Still, it's a lot of time.

Tooke, Wes. Lucky: Maris, Mantle and My Best Summer Ever.
Louis is a horrible stick ball player, but he knows more about baseball statistics than any of his friends in White Plains, New York, or his stepbrother. When this knowledge gets him a position as bat boy for the 1961 New York Yankees, he gets to know the men who were previously just statistics to him, and goes to great lengths to do his job well despite his shaky family situation. This had a lot of classic baseball and statistics, and so far has been popular in my library.

Shearer, Alex. Canned.
I wasn't going to buy this rather quirky tale until one of my reluctant readers told me I had to because it was his favorite book ever. It certainly has some gross, Roald Dahl appeal to it. Fergal collects unlabeled tins (this is a British book) from the grocery store; his parents think it makes him look smart. When he has to open some tins before he is allowed to buy more, he finds first an earring and then a finger in one of the cans. He then meets Charlotte, who has also found odd things in cans, and the two try to find the source of these macabre items, which gets them into trouble.

Higgins, Jack and Justin Richards. Sharp Shot (#3)
Jade and Rich Chance are just settling into a routine in their Cotswold cottage while their father is once again traveling, but their peace is shattered when an old coworker of their father shows up on their doorstep followed by men who are trying to kill them. Lots of running and smashing up cars ensues, as well as a very thrilling chase at an amusement park, after which Jade is in the clutches of a man aligned with a middle eastern dictatorship who is determined to blow up the president of the US. As always, this is a fast-paced spy romp that will go down easily with lovers of Alex Rider. The hand of Richards is clearly evident in this book-- I wish we had more of his solo work available in the US. (The Death Collector and The Chaos Code are both very good.)

Jinks, Catherine. Living Hell.
Cheney is a resident of Plexus, a space ship that is traveling the galaxy searching for an appropriate planet. Since Cheney, and many of the children his age, were born on the space ship, they don't know any other kind of life but one confined to the ship. When they pass through a band of radiation, though, the ship starts to treat all of its passengers as parasites. Systems malfunction and hunt people down, carts careen out of control, and Cheney and his family and friends struggle to survive the onslaught. I wish the title were different-- it sounds like demon-type horror book--and I always hate sci fi names like Caromy, Zennor, Tuddor, etc., but given the lack of good sci fi for teens, this is a great book. My favorite Jinks' title is still Pagan's Crusade, and the Evil Genius series does well, so I am impressed with Jinks ability to write in a variety of genres.

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