Tuesday, April 20, 2010

my busy week.

How to Make a Wave, by Lisa Hurst-Archer.  This book was similar in a few ways to Drawing the Ocean, but generally not as good.  I thought it was interesting how little dialogue there was (practically none, really), which is uncommon, in my experience, in a book for an audience this young (6th-8th grade or so). 
It was written in third person present tense, which really didn't work at all.  If an author is going to go with present tense, they need a much faster-moving book.   Also, there were very abrupt scene changes or random large gaps of time that threw off the reading.
I couldn't recommend this to a patron or as a library purchase, and I won't be using it in my booktalk.

The Little Secret by Kate Saunders.   This is an ARC I picked up ages ago (the book was published June 2009(!)) and finally got around to reading.  I feel like this book is all over the place.  The author/publisher says it's for ages 8 to 11, but that's not right.  The reading level is for maybe ages 11 to 13 or 14 even, but the story is for slightly younger readers, maybe ages 6 to 9.  I think the interest age is so low because 1) detail and description are not given for many things, so they are just kind of "then some magic happened and then it was this way" events, and 2) there's action, but it's not terribly daring or dangerous or fast-paced.  Middle school students would, I feel, be bored by this book.  The ideal audience would be one or two girls, pre-6th-grade, being read to.

Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett.  I'm really powering through these.  I liked this one.  It's very insightful, more so than the early ones.  Now I think we're getting to my favorite part of the series: now that the world is established and we know all the main characters, we can spend less time on those details and more time on things that matter.

Last week was so beautiful that, instead of Library Arcade, I dragged the kids outside to play zombie tag and duck-duck-goose.  We also played mother-may-I, light-saber wars, and a balance game with no name.  The kids had such a great time that they requested we do it again this week.  Hurrah!  Yeah, Oxygen and Vitamin D!  I promptly went out and bought us a kickball, but while I was out doing that, our maintenance guys put down fresh grass seed on our lawn.  I'm not complaining, since the lawn will look lovely in a few weeks, but, in the meantime, I am left looking for outdoor games we can play in a much smaller space.  So I'm going through some of our game books.  Our collection in this area is pretty old but toyless games are timeless.

Fun and Games for Family Gatherings (With a Focus on Family Reunions), by Adrienne Anderson.    Alot of the games in this book seem to require set up (marks on the ground, paraphernalia prepared, etc.)  There are some Tag variations that look like fun, but mostly the games aren't the kind of things I ever wanted to play, and I can't image having much success at cajoling my tweens into doing it.

100 Best Games, by Eulalia Perez; illustrated by Maria Rius.    A whole page devoted to explaining 20 Questions?  And another for Rock-Paper-Scissors? These aren't games.  Most of the games in here are suggested for kids as young as 4 or 5, so it's a no-go all around.

The Anit-Boredom Book: 133 Completely Unboring Things to Do!, by Marilyn Baillie and Catherine Ripley.    These are more like activities, and more appropriate for small groups of kids (like, fewer than 6), not the 18 I'll have this Wednesday.

100 Games for Summer, by J.M. Allue.    These games are also for younger children and also require stuffy stuff, mostly, to play.  Toyless games are harder to find than I thought they would be!

Boredom Blasters: Brain Bogglers, Awesome Activities, Cool Comics, Tasty Treats, and More..., by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Claudia Davila.    This is one of our newer books and obviously has a lot of stuff.  Again, these aren't big-group games, but there was alot of fun stuff in here for older kids/tweens.  A note: the binding on our copy is getting pretty loose, and it hasn't checked out that many times (for a Juvenile Nonfiction book in it's condition).  Look for something with better binding. 

The Games Book: How to Play the Games of Yesterday, by Huw Davies and illustrated by Lisa Jackson.    What a great book!  The games in here are simple, they generally don't need much (or any) equipment, and most kids know them, or at least games based on them.  Plus, it's a beautiful book.

The Kid's Summer Games Book, by Jane Drake and Ann Love; illustrated by Heather Collins.    There were some good ideas in here, but lots of water or messy games.
Alot of the games in here look like fun, but I can't do them at a library event.  Looking at games like Life raft and Spiderweb (the point of both games being to climb on top of other players to reach a team goal) makes me think of Free Range Kids.  These are the kind of games my siblings and I played, and kids today would think they are still fun, but if someone falls, a parent would probably get really upset and the library-- and me-- would be in trouble.  Parents would focus on the boo-boo and not the team-building game.  It makes it hard to plan programs.

Finally, we played manga-character-based video games at MS(Squared) last night.
Bleach: Shattered Blade, from Sega.    The multi-player part is mostly Mortal Kombat: use special moves to try to kill each other.  There is a single-player mode that has a story line, like with video clips and narration and stuff, but the action is still (player-vs.-computer) Mortal Kombat style fighting.  I couldn't see the big draw, but the kids thought it was awesome.

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