Friday, January 09, 2009

Some good books, but hard sells

This Bill Wallace title from 1994, Blackwater Swamp, has a terrible cover. It's also a bit hard to get into-- Wallace spends a lot of time talking about how the main character moved around and has trouble making friends before jumping into a suspenseful mysteries with a number of nice twists. Ted and his family are living on the bayou in Louisiana, and there is a "witch" living nearby, as well as several local juvenile delinquents, one of whom befriends Ted and steals his autographed copy of Robert's Scared Stiff, which was sort of funny. I'd start students with something by this author like Trapped in Death Cave, and recommend this one without showing them the cover!

Received Karen Schwabach's The Hope Chest in my blogger exchange from I really liked the tale of a young girl in 1920 who travels to New York City in search of her sister, who is working as a Suffragist and has been ostracized by the family. Violet finds letters that her sister Chloe has sent her, but which her parents have hidden. When she gets to New York, she finds that Chloe has moved on, but with the help of Myrtle, an orphaned African-American girl, she finds her sister's coworkers and travels to Nashville where she is part of a Suffragist rally. A little written about period of history, and well done.

Erratum. The Other Book. Inkeheart. Endymion Spring. And now David Michael Slater's The Book of Nonsense. Sigh. I am so tired of evil books with controlling powers that I fear I will not do this one justice. Dex and Daphna's mother was killed shortly after their birth, while looking for unusual books. They are being raised by a family friend and their father, who continues their mother's work. Daphna has found a new antiquarian book store and spends a lot of time there-- before she visits with her father when he tries to sell a book he found and emerges from his encounter with the evil Mr. Rash not quite himself. Daphna must go and read for Mr. Rash, who is blind, and starts to uncover an evil plot that involving The First Tongue, a language which, if know in its entirety, can grant the speaker unlimited power. There's a lot of action and adventure; perfectly fine fantasy and I will look into obtaining the other four in the series. (For EFreak, the ISBNs for the book are
ISBN-13: 978-1-933767-00-0 ISBN-10: 1-933767-00-6)

Still, irked by two things. BAD LATIN ALERT: Page 123- Videre per alterum, which is translated as "to see through others". Per takes the accusative, but alterum is both neuter and singular. Alteros is what is needed. People, people. I know I am the only one who will find this error, but I haven't taught Latin for 15 years! Call up a university department of Latin, please. They will be thrilled to help you!

And really? The publisher is Children's Brains are Yummy, and their motto is "Creating the banned books of tomorrow." Okay. The name is disturbing, and the motto somehow ... just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But it's Friday, and I may just be tired and cranky.


  1. Anonymous5:44 PM EST

    I bike in the rain too! Oh, that is a different post...anyway, reading about these books that made you cranky (unless that was specifically a Friday problem) encouraged me to send this comment about the Top 20 Books of 2008 for Middle Grade Readers that I just posted over at Anokaberry. Take a look -- and drop me a comment...

  2. Can someone please post an ISBN number for Book of Nonsense so I can add it to my TBR pile? Amazon is my usal source for ISBNs, and it seems to be crashing my computer lately.

  3. I also pay close attention to Latin in books! My enjoyment of The Explosionist, by Jenny Davidson, was almost shaken by what I thought was a mistake, but after running it by a Latinist of my acquaintance the author was proved right. I was very glad to have my faith in the book restored!