Friday, October 29, 2010

More Cybils, and Some Blog Envy

Yeah, I know this blog is inexpertly titled, but changing it seems difficult because I might lose readers. And I could have named it something even worse, like Tissues Up My Cardigan Sleeve. Format-- meh, just changed it, but it's not like I have something cool with a pretty owl background. Even the book covers are not as beautifully presented as Nicole's at Booked Up. Today I tried to incorporate an item from daily life with the books like she does, but visit her site to see how it's done properly!

Sparkes, Ali. Frozen In Time.
Loved, loved, loved this book. Loved. Don't even know where I came across the description, but I knew I HAD to read it, and I was not disappointed.

Ben and Rachel are having a dreary, wet summer staying with their researcher uncle while their parents' magic show is touring. When the tv goes bust, they venture out into the yard and find an odd metal wheel. After much prying, they open it to find a bomb shelter... and two cryonically children, Freddy and Polly (and their dog!), whom they manage to wake up.

Polly and Freddy, who are the other children's great aunt and uncle, were put into the chamber in 1956 by their scientist father, who had been experimenting with cryonics. He went missing, and it was assumed that he had killed the children! Uncle (nephew!) Jerome goes to London to try to sort things out before reporting the children to the authorities, for fear that they will taken away and tested.

Left alone, all of the children go on long bike rides and bring Polly and Freddy up to date on new technology, food and social norms. They report to school, which is not terribly successful, since 1956 lingo and behavior makes the children the target of bullies. They research the events of 1956 at the local library... and that's what causes the trouble. The local librarian is a sleeper spy, planted in their community to watch for people interested in just that case. While Uncle Jerome has to deal with the government in London, the children have to outrun agents from the other side who are interested in them.

This had plenty of mystery, action and adventure, but what I loved were the glimpses into the British behavior of the past as contrasted with behavior today. Polly sets a lovely table and cooks; Rachel microwaves chicken tikka and macaroni and cheese! It just made me happy. The one weakness of this book is that I don't know how interested my students will be in reading it, but I allow myself to buy one or two books a year for the library just because I love them so much and want to be able to share them with the occasional reader who will appreciate them. This is my book for this year.

Cussler, Clive. The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy.
Nominated for the Cybils by Sarah Sammis.

This is a sequel to The Adventures of Vin Fiz (2006). Lacey, Casey and their dog Floopy use the magical pad and the mystery box left by Sucoh Sucop (a mysterious farm hand) to turn a model boat into a real one, head down the river, and work their way into the Gold Cup Grand National Boat Race. Because they are children and have not paid the substantial entrance fee, the officials don't want them in the race, and another participant, the Boss (along with his "evil henchmen") try to sabotage their efforts. Also impeding their progress in the race is the fact that they are Nicefolks (their last name) and stop to rescue several drowning people instead of focusing on winning. However, at the end, they get a large monetary award not for winning, but for getting the Boss put away. They return home to await another adventure.

Even on Puss Reboots, Ms. Sammis mentions that the writing is not quite adjusted properly for the audience. I will concur with that. In fact, I have to fall back on the "if you can't say something nice, don't say it" adage for this book, because I found the writing, the characters, the names, and the events all lacking.

1 comment:

  1. based on your review, i've asked our children's librarian to order _frozen in time_. i trust your judgment and appreciate your passion!