Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Joshua Dread: The Nameless Hero

Between Cybils reading and stuff in general, I got behind on stocking up with books, so I don't have a book with a cultural context to review today. Here are some books reviewed by others; it was gratifying to see that a large percentage were reviewed by members of the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction panel. I started World Wednesday because the panel last year was disappointed in how few multiculturally diverse books were nominated. Here's what I found; please add a comment if I missed something!

Becky's Book Reviews; Serafina's Promise by Ann Burg.
Buxton's Blog O'Books; Salt by Helen Frost
Buxton's Blog O'Books; The Other Side of Free by Krista Russell
Geo Librarian; Bo of Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Geo Librarian; The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
Kid Lit About Politics; Africa is My Home by Monica Edinger.
Kiss the Book; Growing Up Muslim by Sumbul Ali-Karamali
Kiss the Book; Imprisoned by Martin Sandler
MyRandSpace; Celebrating the World's Languages by Jue Isabella
Provo Library; Written in Stone by Rosanne Perry
TMC Guys Read Book Club; The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. 

17190375Bacon, Lee. The Nameless Hero (Joshua Dread #2)
September 24th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central.

When Joshua and Sophie get an invitation to attend the Gyfted and Talented summer program, they are so excited that Milton forges an invitation that gets him picked up by the bus and reluctantly admiteed even though he doesn't have any superpowers. The training involves having super hero uniforms designed for them (even though the kids think they look funny), training with gelatinous monsters, and learning to put up with celebrity super heroes like nFinity. Joshua goofs up constantly, but happens to be in the right place at the right time and becomes the new super hero flavor of the week. The celebrity is nice, but with the evil Phineas Vex still around, Joshua not only has to convince his evil villain parents that the path he is chosen is a good one, he has to improve his skills, deal with an adoring public AND fend off Vex.

The third book in the series, The Dominion Key, comes out May 13th 2014 from Delacorte Books for Young Reader.

Strengths: Lots of suprisingly funny lines and situations, engaging characters, and fun action and adventure. I have some kids who can't get enough super heroes, and Joshua is inept without being too annoying about it. He does triumph in the end, and having his parents be the Dread Duo adds even more fun.
Weaknesses: I didn't buy the first book last September-- the cover was bleah,(even though it's Brandon Dorman, who did Fablehaven) and there wasn't the interest in super heroes. Since then, I've had a lot of students ask for such books.  I ordered the first book and hope that the series doesn't pull an Alfred Kropp, with the second book being so much better than the first.


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