Thursday, April 03, 2008

Getting into an End-of-Semester Rush

Hula Lullaby, by Erin Eitter Kono. I love the vibrant colors, and the language is naturally rhythmic, but I'm concerned that some of the ideas don't flow as naturally-- it feels like the author is trying to squeeze in too many things. Also, while the art is quite beautiful, all the people are portrayed rather stereotypically. Surely not all Hawaiians look the same?

The Dust Bowl: Great Disasters: Reforms and Ramifications, by Theresa and Gina DeAngelis. While this book has a great deal of information, I can't recommend it. It doesn't have charts, graphs, maps, or really appropriate pictures, but it talks about soil erosion and stratification, states and large areas of the country, distances and regions, and other things that are hard to picture without, um, pictures. Even if properly illustrated, the language of this book is rather advanced for its intended age group. You could easily use this book and get relevant information out of it in high school, but its format proclaims it a "kiddie book;" no fourth grader is going to get much useful, understandable information out of this book, even though it is in the juvenile reference section.

Crime and Detection, by Brian Lane; photography by Andy Crawford. These Eyewitness Books are great for kids who are curious about a topic, but have no need to write a paper on it.

Goosebumps: My Best Friend is Invisible, by R.L. Stine. I'm not a big fan, but I'm not opposed to having these books in the library if it will get kids reading something.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants and Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, by Dav Pilkey. These books are so much fun. They do make fun of school staff, especially the principal, but it's light hearted; these are obviously caricatures. I seriously doubt any student reading these books would begin to see all teachers as evil, or whatever else it is that parents and teachers feel will happen.

Siberia, by Ann Halam. Not in love with this book, but the premise was pretty good. Books that start out with the character as a very young child and then try to span a large number of years until the character is a teenager often don't turn out too well.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue, by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Oh how fun! I want them all!

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Treehouse #1), by Mary Pope Osborne; illustrated by Sal Murdocca. I'm not sure how exciting children will find this, but this is, in nearly all ways, ideal for very young readers.

Nickaleer!: Shipwreck Survivors, by Susan Grohmann. Again, in theory, this was a good book, but it didn't feel like "real" historical fiction: it certainly didn't have much in the way of setting or historical details, although it is based on a true story.

The Five Ancestors: Tiger, by Jeff Stone. I'm not sure how younger readers will feel about this book. Personally, it was too fantastic to be historical fiction, but it isn't really historical fantasy either. It isn't about or isn't based on a true event, but it didn't give enough background to really create the setting and culture it's trying to display.

The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. I took time out of a weekend to read this book, because I had read a little blurb on it like a year ago or whenever it came out, and I was very curious about it. In short, I loved it. The author is in a similar position as I am in terms of spirituality. I loved how he was honest about his own biases, knowledge or lack thereof, and doubts. The book is part diary, part report. I learned more about religion in this book than I had in several years of religious study courses and church. I would love to talk about some of the things I read in this book, but everyone I know is either opposed/uninformed about religion, so can't really talk about it, or big on religion and thus mad at me for daring to stop going to church, so won't talk to me about it. Of course, some are both : ).

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

The Five Ancestors series is good for boys who like action and adventure. I don't really even say its historical. They have circulated well in my library just because the characters are always running around and fighting.