Friday, November 17, 2006

Rick Riordan is a Demi-god!

Finally, a copy of The Sea of Monsters was returned and there were no students who had it on reserve. I had it in my briefcase to take home and read, but I happened to talk to a student at lunch who had not known there was a sequel. He was right in the middle of McNab's Traitor, but he was practically jumping up and down with excitement, right there in the cafeteria, to find out there was a book after The Lightning Thief. (And remember, this is an 8th grade boy!)Made me promise to bring in SoM today, so I finished it at 5:00 a.m.

I didn't mind. THAT'S how good it is.

How can you not lot a book with chapter headings like "We Hail the Taxi of Eternal Torment"? From a pedagogical perspective, I love that Riordan weaves in so much Greek mythology; from a librarian's perspective, I'm glad that he makes the books fun so they check out quickly; from my own personal perspective as a former Latin teacher, I just enjoyed the books. 

Sooooo excited to hear there is a third, The Titan's Curse, coming out in May. (Check it out at

And no, I haven't read anything else. We have a Japanese teacher staying with us for three weeks, so it's been a bit hectic and I'm a bit behind.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

More Paulsen

The Cookcamp was an easy read-- a lot of people eating pie. A whole lot. Not a lot of a plot, but it has a whopping 6 AR points, so I'm sure boys will read it.

Call Me Francis Tucket was great! I haven't read the first in the series, but this could stand alone. Lots of adventure, eating raw meat-- I've recommended these even though I hadn't read them, and I think they are quite serviceable.

Nancy Werlin's Black Mirror I picked up again because her other titles are so popular, but it still didn't do anything for me. This is why I don't buy things just because I like the author. Another case in point-- Meg Cabot's Ready or Not.

Jean Ferris' Of Sound Mind was a good problem novel that handled the problems of deaf culture very deftly. Not something the children will ask for, but it was so good, and they do get assigned problem novels.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Monster-Blood Tattoo

Wow. Cornish needs to get out more. There are over 100 pages of accompanying maps, glossaries and diagrams with this book. It seemed good in theory-- monster killing being always popular-- but the boys looking for a quick read are not going to find it in this. I am checking with my hard core fans to see what they think, but I couldn't slog through it. Had to use the glossary too much.

Looking for gangs and abuse...

Well, not me personally, but for books involving these, but books that are still appropriate. Susan Shaw's Black-eyed Susan was very good and I will be ordering two copies. A young girl falls into mental illness to escape her mother's cruelty, snapping out of it only when her sister becomes the target in her absence. The author also did The Boy from the Basement, which is popular.

Martinez's The Parrot in the Oven did not have enough gang action, which is why I was reading it. Will pass.

Liked Joseph Bruchac's Jim Thorpe: Original All-American. A biography done in the first person was a little odd, but very effective. I already have one student waiting for it!

Fitch's Kicks seemed dated and while it dealt with drug abuse, just had too many inappropriate things in it, like Plum-Ucci's The Night My Sister Disappeared, which used the f-word five times. Really. A good mystery, but that and the pregnancy perhaps caused by incest were just too much.

Woodson's Lena just seemed insubstantial. It is also a sequel to a title I don't have.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scary and Funny

Two titles: Dean Vincent Carter's Hand of the Devil and Laurie Gwen Shapiro's Brand X: The Boyfriend Account.

The first was about a giant killer mosquito and its psychopathic handler who lures a reporter to a remote island. There's some blood and gore (the mosquito is toxic and dissolves is victims), lots of creeping about and stalking of prey, but it was also fairly clever. Wove in a Vietnamese folktale to excuse the mosquito's (aka the Devil's Hand) killer ways. Creepy. I think I'll buy it. The cover and title alone will insure circulation.

Also liked the second, a more intellectual pink book. Girl gets internship with ad agency, has some academic and business success (although not to an unrealistic degree), but is also concerned with her crush on a boy. Her cohorts at the ad agency help her "brand" herself to catch the guy. A little predictable (he turns out to be a jerk), but realistic. Fun.

See? I don't hate everything.