Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mel Odom, The Rover--- WOW!

This author came to my attention when I was reading reviews on, and his views aligned quite well with mine. When I found out that he wrote, I e mailed and asked which of his works he would recommend for middle school students, and he kindly replied that The Rover would be appropriate AND had an Accelerated Reader test. (fun that he knew that!)

Middle grade fantasy fans are voracious and picky. It's hard to keep them in books. Adult fantasy is a tricky business. On Mr. Odom's recommendation, I bought this book without reading it, which is rare for me, and was pleased that this book was exactly what my students and I wanted. Hefty, the first of four books, high fantasy but not inaccessible, Tolkein-ish but much fresher than Eragon, humorous, well-paced (explanations of history are always followed by a rollicking adventure, and yes, it is necessary to use rollicking!), and gently philosophical. I read it, gave it to a student after testing who devoured 30 pages and waited during his lunch for me to process the book, and have four other students (and our secretary) waiting for him to finish.

Well-balanced. So hard in YA stuff, but there was just not a misstep in this book. (Well, okay-- one. The Price is Right by Bahbarker? Groan, but forgiven.) Halfling librarian with penchant for adventure stories (which hamper his success in the library) is shanghaied by pirates, sold into slavery and welcomed into a band of thieves. The basis of his success??-- his vast knowledge acquired by reading. "I'm a librarian," Wick declared proudly. "It's my job to know something about everything."

These are a must-have in a middle school collection. I can't wait to read the rest. In fact, I am going to need more than one copy of the first book.

1. The Rover (2001)2. The Destruction of the Books (2004)3. Lord of the Libraries (2005)
4. The Quest for the Trilogy (2007)

For other titles and bio, check out:

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