Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Troubletwisters (Troubletwisters, #1)Nix, Garth and Williams, Sean. Troubletwisters
1 May 2011, Scholastic Press

Jack and Jaide's house blows up after a weird series of events and an invitation from their previously unknown Grandma X, so of course their mother takes them off to live at her house while theirs is being rebuilt. Their father is off working, and their mother also gets a job that takes her away from home, leaving them to  find weird happenings at their grandmother's house. Why will no one tell them what "troubletwisters" are? Why can they see things others can't? Why does their grandmother's cat talk? And why, of why, didn't someone tell them about The Evil before Jack is carried off underground by throngs of vermin to meet his doom?
Strengths: This was available in hard cover from Scholastic, and I could use book fair Scholastic dollars to buy it. The covers are pretty, and it's decent adventure fantasy.
Weaknesses: Almost orphan children? Check. Powers arriving with adolescence? Check. Evil encroaching which only the children can defeat? Check. Talking animals, weird relatives, mysterious circumstances, and a creepy house? All check. This might possible be the most cliched fantasy book I've ever read. I'm very surprised at Nix for this one.

The Monster (Troubletwisters, #2)Nix, Garth and Williams, Sean. The Monster: Troubletwisters #2
1 June 2012, Scholastic Press.

From the publisher: "The second installment in the spectacular new middle-grade fantasy series from bestselling authors Garth Nix and Sean Williams.

Since moving to the town of Portland, many bizarre things have happened to Jaide and Jack Shield. The twins have discovered their own magical powers--and have seen how they can go horribly wrong. They have met cats who talk and humans who keep silent about deep, dark secrets. And they have begun their fight against a deadly force known only as The Evil.

Still, Jaide and Jack have yet to meet the strangest resident of Portland. It’s a creature that only comes out at night, a beast that defies human description. Jaide and Jack have never seen it . . . but they're about to. And when they do, destruction and disaster won’t be too far away."

Escape from Silver Street Farm by Nicola DaviesDavies, Nicola. Escape from Silver Street Farm
26 March 2013, Candlewick
Book recieved from YABC and reviewed there.

This is the sequel to Welcome to Silver Street Farm, and the second in a series of six books. With the help of farmer Flora, the children are getting ready to open their urban farm to the public, but find that the turkeys and two of the sheep have been set free. It takes some comical effort to track them down, and also to find out who deliberately removed fence board so the animals could escape. The children have quite the adventure saving the turkeys from going over a dam in a bouncy castle and finding the rampaging sheep.
Strengths: This is a fun series for beginning readers who like animals. The idea of setting up a farm in the city is an appealing one, and the children have a lot of responsibility. The way that the people who let the animals loose are dealt with is very kind. The adults are supportive. There is even a bit of multiculturalism, with Meera's family provided some yummy Indian sweets. The illustrations add to the fun.
Weaknesses: This is rather British, so younger children might need some explanation.

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