Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Random Thoughts

As summer reading here at KHCPL has taken off, I find myself wondering why it seems the Garfield books fly off the shelves but I can't get someone to read The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls for love or money. I love comics, graphic novels and manga but I also love getting into a good book where my imagination fills in the blanks and pictures. So how do you get the kids to fall in love with these books too? How do you get them to understand that their imagination is as good, if not better, than the comic book illustrations? I guess it is just summer reading blues gettin' me down.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review - Murder At Midnight by Avi

Murder At Midnight Murder At Midnight by Avi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Fabrizio wants nothing more than to please his master, Magnus the Magician. But everything Fabrizio tries to do seems to be the wrong thing. Until Magnus is arrested by the Primo Magistrato Signor DeLaBina for doing magic. Now it is up to Fabrizio to save his master's life. But who can he trust? Prince Cosimo? Count Scarazoni? Or even King Claudio himself? As the clock on Magnus' life keeps ticking, Fabrizio must decide who is telling the truth and who is the traitor.

This is a "quick read" mystery for young readers who are confident in their reading comprehension. The world of Renaissance Italy is confusing in itself, it seems everyone wore a black robe. Then Avi gives us the added elements of magic, treason, and betrayal to deal with. In trying to keep the reader interested in the intrigue, Avi falls short on developing the characters fully. I did not gain connection to any of the primary characters, while the secondary were mere shadows. The progression of the story also slows somewhat due to trying to remember who is who; who is working for whom; and what they have said - between the prince and the count. While these characters in no way physically resemble each other, they seem to be interchangeable. Each claims to be helping Fabrizio and at some point seems to betray him. I am still not sure if I feel this helps the mystery or hinders it, making it too confusing. I would recommend this for readers ages 10 - 12 because it takes a good comprehension level to follow.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book Review - The Frog Scientist by Pamela Turner

The Frog Scientist (Scientist in the Field) The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tyrone Hayes loves frogs. He doesn’t just love frogs, he really loves frogs. He has taken his love for all things green and slimy and turned it into a way to help the declining frog population. Tyrone is a frog scientist. He conducts research as to why, across the whole world, the number of frogs is decreasing. In 1989, it was discovered that all around the globe, frogs were dying at an increased rate. Thankfully that was the same year and Tyrone graduated from Harvard University, and became The Frog Scientist.
I really liked this book. It was informative and interesting at the same time. It is well organized and laid out. The photographs enhance the storyline by adding information. I think the subject matter is one that would interest the middle grade reading levels and is pertinent to today.
I would recommend it to children from grade 4 to adult.

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