Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Half Upon a Time, James Riley

Half Upon a Time
by James Riley

I've been reading lots of fractured fairy tales this month.  I'm searching for stories that incorporate many different fairy tales, very humorous, and strong characters that you care about.  James Riley met all my needs in Half Upon a Time.  The story is told from James (no not the beanstalk guy- but his son!) viewpoint.  James failed hero training, AGAIN.  As his grandfather is scolding him, a princess from Punk falls out of the sky.  Now James and May are on a quest to find her grandmother.  Enjoy this tale soon,  it's perfect for SUMMER! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Princess Curse

The Princess Curse
Lexile Level: 790

I loved the take Merrie Haskell took with the fairytale "12 dancing princesses".  The main character, Reveka, works as an herbalist assistant.  The castle she works for has a secret.  Every night the 12 princesses go to bed, but in the morning- they awake tired with holes in their shoes.  Any person who tries to stay and watch the princesses, falls into a deep sleep.  Reveka is determined to break the curse.  What she finds instead is the leader of the Underworld.  (another twisted tale).  Can't wait till Haskell writes the sequel. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Humming Room,
Ellen Potter
Lexile Level: 800

  Ellen Potter delivers a delicate tale with haunted characters, strong personalities, and a setting that is as prominent as the characters.  The Humming Room is based on the classic The Secret Garden.  The main character, Roo, is tiny and forgotten.  She hides away from the tragedy that is her life.   When her father and step-mother can no longer "care" for her, she is sent to live with an unheard of uncle.  He lives on an island called Cough Rock.  Roo is uncomfortable living in an old hospital in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.  She finds that even in her clinical new home, Roo can find wild things.  Soon she fights to stay there and take care of a secret.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back and Deader Than Ever (Monster High Series #4)
Monster High 4, Back and Deader Than Ever
Lisi Harrison

This last book in the Monster High series (although I hear there may be a spin off) was disappointing.  Lisi Harrison's monster are finally out of hiding and are being accepted by the kids of Mertonson.  Problems arrise when Lala's father comes home to roost.  He causes all kinds of trouble for Lala and her friends.  The reason I wasn't crazy about this book is that Harrison doesn't seem to fully find resolution in this plot.  She cops out by fixing things in the epilogue, but you don't see how.  I only include it on the blog page because so many of my students have enjoyed this series so far. 

If you are crazy about the RADs of Monster High, check out the interactive web page to go with the book series.  www.monsterhigh.com

Friday, May 25, 2012

Well Witched

Well Witched   

Well Witched, Frances Mardinge

                                                            Lexile level: 930

Ryan loves hanging out with his friend Josh.  He is always so in control of everything.  He can get out of any jam and always knows what to do.  So when they missed the bus, instead of fessing up to their parents about where they have been spending their time, he just finds another way home.  First all they have to do is steal some coins from an old, forgotten wishing well.  After all, who's really going to miss a few tarnished coins?   The creppy, waterlogged, well witch does...and she demands payback: Now Ryan, Josh, and Chelle must serve her . . . and the wishes that lie rotting at the bottom of her well. Each takes on powers they didn't ask for and don't want. Ryan grows strange bumps—are they eyes?—between his knuckles; Chelle starts speaking the secrets of strangers, no matter how awful and bloody; and Josh can suddenly—inexplicably—grant even the darkest of wishes, the kind of wishes that should never come true.

Frances Mardinge wrote a spooky, weird fantasy that children love and are grossed out by.  Enjoy!

*teacher's note:  the story takes place in England, so beware that terms may be different than here in the States.  You can always Google if confused. 

Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

            Uglies, Scott Westerfeld 
                                                     Lexile Level: 770 

In the future, the human world will nearly become extinct.  Our future generation will refer to us as "rusties."  They will look back on our petty jealousies, destruction of wood, use of oil, and are love of war and think there has to be a better way to live.  Their solution:  become pretty.  If everyone surgically became the same size, same height, same symmetrical proportions, than no one could be jealous, petty, or cruel. 
     Tally Youngblood can not wait to become a pretty.  She is one of the last of her class waiting in Uglyville.  Her sixteenth birthday is keeping her exiled from her friends already in Prettytown.  In her loneliness, Tally finds comfort with another ugly waiting to turn sixteen.  Shay isn't as ready to leave her youthful adventures to join the pretties in the silly parties and glamours life.  Soon Shay's reluctance to turn pretty makes Tally's life unpredictable.  She will soon learn what it really means to be ugly- and pretty. 
       Scott Westerfeld writes a wonderful sci-fi tale that makes us think about beauty and the price we are willing to pay for it.  I enjoyed this post-apocalyptic novel and look forward to reading Pretties.

Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2) [Paperback]
Pretties, Scott Westerfeld
Lexile level: 860

Tally Youngblood awakens in her apartment completely Pretty.  She no longer cares about being in the Smoke- nor does she remember David.  Her life is now about parties, cliques, and feeling happy all the time.  Yet, Tally's life is never at peace.  One night at a party, she sees a person that changes her reality with just a glance.  Tally begins to chase after her old life, one that involves Uglies and freedom from the government.  Can she escape Pretty Town?  Can she cure herself of the pretty brain that comes with her new face and body?

Specials, Scott Westerfeld
 I raced to the library in Oshkosh to get my hands on this book.  I had to know what happened to Tally and Zane.  Would she escape yet again?  This book morphs Tally once again into another being.  Unfortunately, the Tally that I loved from the first two books was gone.  This book lacked heart.  I wish that the trilogy had ended differently- but, as readers we don't always get our wish.  I know if you love the first two, you will read this book whether I recommend it or not.  But.... I told you so...                         

Friday, May 11, 2012

Carl Hiaasen


Carl Hiaasen is an amazing author. He is the wonderful author of "HOOT," "FLUSH," SCAT," and "CHOMP." All of his books take you to a facinating world were the main character saves animals. These books all take place in Flordia and they are all about saving the animals. Hoot is about an owl, Flush is about a fish, Scat is about the Florida Panther, and Chomp is about an American Allagator.
But be warned these animals aren't your house pets.