Tuesday, August 09, 2016
July 5th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by publisher
Things are looking grim for Team Alpha-- Piper almost dies when the Light Blade blows up, but luckily manages to not only escape but also to bring the Slither Pollen with her. Team Omega also manages to escape, and are forced by necessity to join forces, especially since Anna has figured out that Dash only has a few months to live. Colin has been contained, and Chris lets the groups know that they will be heading to Dargon at Gamma Speed, where they need to deal with elves, ogres, and dragons in order to get the sixth element, dragon cinder. The trip is much more fun with two teams, and while there are issues both on Dargon and with Colin, the element is secured and loaded into the Element Fuser. Unfortunately, there is still one element needed-- will the teens be able to make the Source and return safely to earth?
Strengths: This is a great action/adventure space travel mystery, and I've enjoyed the different planets, as well as the conflicts between the different teams and Colin and Chris. There is also an online presence that I haven't checked out very much.
Weaknesses: The elves and other medieval fantasy creatures, as well as the method by which the dragon cinder had to be created, were not my favorites. There are too many medieval fantasy books as it is, and the elements seemed out of place in a science fiction series. Students may not share this objection.
What I really think: It's really essential to read these in order. While I reviewed books 1 and 2, I haven't read books 3,4 and 5. I'm ordering them for my library and planned to read them when they arrived. I was able to get into the story after a couple of chapters but would recommend reading the books in order.
Martin, Ann M. Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure
September 6th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
When Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle feels compelled to go looking for her priate husband, she asks her great-niece to hold down the upside down fort during her absence. Missy settles in, makes friends with a shy new neighbor girl, and the children who regularly visit start to warm to her. There is a nice, light romance between Missy and the local bookstore owner which I enjoyed because I always wanted to know a little more about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle herself. Once again, some of the children have troublesome habits, unlike Lester the pig, Wag the dog, and Penelope the parrot, who are all delightful and well-behaved. The Freeforall family seems to have problems, in particular, so Missy steps in to babysit the three children while she effects her cures. In the end, and in a very modern way, Missy has to cure the Freeforall parents as well. There is a cryptic letter from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle at the end of the book that leaves room for a sequel.
Strengths: I do adore the original Betty MacDonald books, but they are VERY dated. If a reboot could get young readers interested in this, I'm all for it. Martin seems to have studied the original books and has remained true to the feel of the stories, while updating them nicely.
Weaknesses: This had more outright magic than I remembered the originals having. This sparked quite a conversation with my daughters, who read all of the books, and they pointed out that the "Tattle-Tale Cure" produced clouds of smoke, which was fairly magical. We came to the conclusion that while Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle WAS magic, we were always a tiny bit unsure whether that was really true or whether we were imagining it. Because of this, I preferred the cure utilized for a child who was always late (a loud alarm only she could hear) to the cure for greediness that involved whatever she grabbed shrinking visibly, where others could see it. That is certainly a personal preference, as is my intense love for the original Hilary Knight illustrations.
What I really think: The reissued Ruth Chew books have been insanely popular in my library, so I think I will give this one a try with my students.
Posted by Ms. Yingling at 8:00 AM