I've been cranky all week. Part of it is a cold with a lovely reverberating cough, but part of it is that there are not enough computers to go around my school. I have 15 total in the library; we keep two for catalogs and Accelerated Reader tests, so that makes 13 (on a good day) for classes. My school has four labs; two with 30 computers and two with 20. Most classrooms have just one teacher computer. There are two mobile labs of 20 netbooks each. There is such pressure on the teachers to incorporate technology and research, but we have about 150 computers for 750 students. And soon state testing will all be done on computer? And it seems to be requiring some computer skills-- and we no longer have a technology class, so many students don't even have keyboard skills? We're even looking into a fundraiser where students sell things to fund more computers. This makes my head hurt even more than whatever incipient crud is attacking my sinuses!
Korman, Gordon. Hideout (Swindle #5)
1 January 2013, Scholastic
EARC from Netgalley.com
the nasty Wendell Palomino, aka Swindle, appears at Savannah's house
with a paper saying that Luthor is really his, and he plans to take him
back, since Luthor came to national attention in the last book and
Swindle suspects he is a very valuable dog. The kids decide to hide
Luthor, but since all six of them are off to summer camp, this is a
problem. Why not bring a giant dog with them to the woods and hide him
at camp? Griffin takes him first, but when he's in danger of being found
out, the group manages to finagle delivery trucks to head over to Camp
TaDa! where Logan and Melissa are studying theater. It's not easy to
hide a dog there, but between Logan's acting and Melissa's technical
skill, they manage. Eventually, Luthor has to be sent on to Ben and
Pitch, and that's when Swindle and his hired lackeys close in on the
group. When all of the kids disappear from their respective camps so
that they can keep Luthor sout of his clutches, all of the parents end
up coming to the rescue while just trying to make sure their children
Strengths: This was a wild and completely
unrealistic romp-- but not so totally out of the realm of possibility!
Savannah calming Luthor down via iPod, hiding a giant dog in a theater,
even getting rides on the various delivery trucks are all things that
particularly clever kids could pull off. There is nonstop action and
humor in these books, and Korman is an expert at weaving middle grade
Weaknesses: While a wide variety of my students
likes these books, this series is not my favorite work by Korman. He
does stand alones so well.
Dahlquist, Gordon. The Different Girl
21 February 2013, Dutton Juvenile
ARC from Baker and Taylor
Veronika lives on an island under the care of Robbert and Irene, along with Caroline, Eleanor and Isobel. They differ only in the color of their hair-- even their thoughts are strictly regimented. When another girl, May, washes up on the shore, it makes them all question their existence. What was May's life like? Why was she under the care of her Uncle Will and his friend Kat on a boat? From whom are they hiding? What's different about her? What is the deal with Veronika and her companions? Why do they have off switches hidden behind their ears? Are they androids? When May shows up, why do Robbert and Irene run off?
Strengths: This was a compelling read that kept me turning the pages. So many questions!
Weaknesses: We never find out any of the answers! Argh! I have no patience for that! Is there a sequel? What's going on?
Charlotte, at Charlotte's Library, has a much better review of this. I was just so confused.