Monday, May 17, 2010

Big Nate: In a Class By Himself

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself
written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce
Juvenile Humor
214 pages
New York : Harper, c2010

Nate is destined for Greatness (despite his crazy hair)! At the moment, he is just your typical sixth-grader just floating through school trying to avoid the school bully and get the attention of a certain girl. Nate doodles his way through every class instead of taking notes and he is a master of creating nicknames for all of the teachers. One morning a friend gives him a fortune cookie that changes his life. "Today you will surpass all others" could mean anything. Nate spends the day trying to do something that will make the fortune come true. All I will say is that he succeeds in an entertaining and hilarious way!
Big Nate will appeal to all those fans of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The diary-type format with loads of illustrations are great for reluctant readers as well as those who just want a funny book. I must say that personally, I enjoyed Big Nate more than I did the Wimpy Kid books. But they all are great reads!

100% Pure Fake

100% Pure Fake: Gross Out Your Friends and Family with 25 Great Special  Effects!
by Lyn Thomas
Juvenile Non-Fiction
48 pages
Toronto : Kids Can Press, c2009

100% Pure Fake is 100% Pure Disgusting and 100% Pure Perfection! It is the perfect book for practical jokers, Halloween parties and reluctant readers who love anything with a huge gross factor.  You will learn how to make everything from fake blood to fake (and edible) poop. Many more lovely things can be made right in your own kitchen with just a little help from a grown-up.Warning: Do not read this while you are eating, just before you are going to eat, or right after eating. Some of the photos are that realistic!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm
juvenile historical fiction
191 pages
2010-05-11 Random House Childrens Books

Turtle's mom has a new housekeeping job for an older woman who can't tolerate children so the only solution is to send Turtle to the Florida Keys to stay with an Aunt and numerous other relatives that she has never met. Resilient and capable Turtle takes it in stride and is even pleasantly surprised to find a fairly comfortable place with boy-cousins Kermit, Beans, Buddy and their best friend Pork Chop. She knows that life is nothing like Hollywood portrays in their movies, Shirley Temple indeed! Turtle definitley feels more connected with Little Orphan Annie in the funny papers and wishes for a Daddy Warbucks to come and sweep her away to a life of riches. Living in Florida gives young Turtle many new experiences, yet she clings to her dreams and yearns for the perfect life with her somewhat fanciful mother. Two-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm has done it again! She shows us a particular moment in history perfectly through the eyes of a tough little girl. As I read Turtle in Paradise I was transported to Depression Era Key West, experiencing hurricanes, hunts for pirate treasure and diaper-changing right along with Turtle. I love how the author incorporates her family's history into her novels. It will be interesting to see if she will win yet another Newbery next year!

Thirteen Days to Midnight

Thirteen Days to Midnight
by Patrick Carman
young adult suspense/horror/science fiction
296 pages
New York : Little, Brown, 2010

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? If you asked Jacob he would probably tell you any but the power he already has! Jacob's foster-father tells him, "You are indestructible" and then dies in a car crash. Jacob walks away completely unharmed. Not sure what to make of this apparent super power, he keeps it  to himself and tries to move on with his life. New girl in school, Ophelia - Oh for short, is drawn to Jacob and gets tangled in his dark secret. Milo, Jacob's best friend, joins them in their search for control of this strange curse and to test its limits to the extreme. One of the big questions is can they use this force for good, to save people, or will that cause more chaos?
Intense, captivating, fairly clean - couple of minor swears, a little dark, thought-provoking, and a great read!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Daisy and the Trouble with Zoos

Daisy and the Trouble with Zoos
written and illustrated by Kes Gray
chapter book
207 pages
London : Red Fox, 2008

One of my favorite picture book characters is now the star of her own chapter book series. Daisy, of Eat Your Peas fame is celebrating her birthday by going to the zoo with her mom and her two best friends. The best part of the whole day is that her mother arranged so she could help the Zoo keeper feed the penguins! Who could ask for a better birthday? Daisy gets over-excited and hits a couple of snags throughout the day. Thanks to her ever-patient mother and great friends, she survives even if the zoo doesn't.
This is a fun read with great illustrations for 2nd grade and up. The only problem I had was the use of a lot of British slang yet no glossary to explain them to those of us not familiar with such terms. I had to google a few just to understand what kind of sandwich she chose for her birthday luncheon. But all-in-all a cute little chapter book and I definitley recommend the Daisy picture books as well.