Saturday, April 05, 2008

Some, and some more.

Crispin: At the Edge of the World, by Avi. I've not been impressed with anything I've read by Avi, but I keep picking up new books, because I figure there must be something good out there, this author has written so damn much. The first Crispin won a Newbery, but it was hardly memorable; in fact, I totally misremembered the ending. That can't be a sign of very good writing.

Quite frequently in all Avi's books in general, and specifically in these two Crispin books, every single character who interacts with the main characters is described physically. Saying we met a man and he was this tall and his beard was this long and his hat was this color and his eyes were squinty and his shoes were dirty and he was holding a pitchfork doesn't tell anything about the character that matters.

Probuditi!, by Chris Van Allsburg. Most definitely not a fan.

My Swordhand is Singing, by Marcus Sedgwick. This was a good book, I think. I really appreciate how there is an author's note in the back, and how it talks about some of the older, pre-Dracula vampire legends. It's not just another crappy vampire novel trying to cash in on the magic-and-lore craze. Most excellent.

Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! by Stephen Manes; illustrated by Tom Huffman. This was a little bit silly, but it has a good message, which isn't so obvious that kids will turn up their noses at it. Not as funny as Captain Underpants, but this book will give you some things to think about.

The Midnight Library: End Game, by Damien Graves. I'm not a big fan of horror/suspense, but these stories are, individually, creepy yet appropriate for middle schoolers. I'm confused, however, why these three stories were grouped together: one is about an 11-year-old boy, and the others are about 17-year-old girls. One has a ghost or spirit, one has a freaky killer, and one has weird scary technology. They don't belong together as a set.

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley. This one is fun. I love retellings of older fairy tales, and this qualifies. I will be reading the sequels. Hurrah!

Viking Ships at Sunrise, by Mary Pope Osborn; illustrated by Sal Murdocca. I liked the premise of the first books-- just a tree house that takes you around in time, based on what book you're reading. But apparently that's too boring, and in the intervening books, the children have been on quests and met Morgan La Fey, who, hey, really is good witch trying to save the world, actually. I dislike it, enough that I wouldn't pick it for my library's shelves if given the choice.

Life as We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This was an amazing book! It was amazingly written and felt very real. I doubt the initial event-- an asteroid much denser than expected-- is truly plausible, since scientists can look at stellar phenomenon 57 different ways and figure it all out, but the rest of the book was extremely real and realistic. I think kids will love it.

Daddy's Roommate, by Michael Willhoite. This book is well done. It uses the word "gay" but doesn't explain it-- that's a parent's job. This book would be best for children who have friends with gay parents, or who are trying to deal with suddenly having a gay parent themselves. I was going to say that it's pro-homosexuality, but it's really pro-family. It presents homosexuality as an equally acceptable lifestyle, not a better or a lesser one.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

I feel the same way about Avi. His most popular title here is Wolfrider, which is a decent mystery. I am actually sort of suspicious of people who write tons and try to look at individual titles before I buy them. There are some truly awful early Avi titles that I have deaccessioned.