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Greetings, fellow reader guys, and I hope you're enjoying these last few days of summer. Some of you may be back in school and some of you may be cramming in as much fun as you can before the school doors open. Our old and faithful friend Michael has been doing what all reader guys love and that is READING! He's here to tell us about something he read and liked this summer. Take it away, Michael:
Island of Thieves
by Josh Lacey
When his parents go on vacation, Tom Trelawney is left last minute with his uncle, Harvey. But when Tom gets mixed up with Harvey's search for treasure in Peru, and his trouble with super-criminal Otto Gonzalez, things get a little more hectic than Tom expected. This book was narrated in the first person, which I usually don't like, but it worked out pretty well for this book. The book isn't written like a movie, it's written like what would happen if this was a real event. Although searching for treasure and having an uncatchable criminal trying to kill you isn't exactly realistic, the choices the characters made are more realistic than dramatic, making the book more realistic and relatable than one written like a movie. Some of the events may seem stupid, but it's just realistic. Wouldn't you make stupid choices if you were running from a murderer and didn't have time to think? This book is also action-packed, so no need to worry about it being boring. It's very much worth reading, and it's highly enjoyable.
Thanks, Michael! You've always told us about good stuff. So how about it, guys--have any of YOU read this? Did you like it? Have you read anything else that we should know about? THEN TELL US ABOUT IT! We want to know! All the instructions are on the left-hand side of the page. HOP TO IT, men, before summer's over!
How's summer going, reader dudes?? This is a great time of year. A chance to relax and have fun. Here you see the Iron Guy chilling at a favorite spot.
Of course, he must still work out to maintain his MANLY physique.
Summer is also a great time for really fun reads. Here are some that the Iron Guy has enjoyed in the past. I'm going to avoid the obvious picks, like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter or The 39 Clues and focus on some that aren't as well known but still tremendously fun reads. (Some of these may be hard to find because they've been out for a while but the Charlotte Mecklenburg library has copies)
N.E. R. D. S. by Michael Buckley--Secret agents, flying school buses, world-destroying villains, laughs and action--what more could you want? I must confess that I've read only the first one but other guys have read and recommended them.
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell--Could you eat 15 worms? "Yeecchh!!" you say. Would you do it for $50.00? That's the idea behind this terrific book. It's been making guys laugh for almost 40 years and will make YOU laugh too.
The Island trilogy by Gordon Korman--a great survival story with thrills, thrills, thrills. Several troubled kids go on a boat for an extended rehab trip but end up stranded on a deserted island. This island isn't on any map--and for good reason! A really terrific read!
The Adventurrous Deed of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill--Yeehaa! Adventure in the Old West! Two brothers skeedaddle to Texas after the Civil War when some racists threaten them. They join a cattle drive and look for their father. Great fun but serious and sad parts, so you get get a little substance with your fun. Don't let that scare you off, though--still very fun and very highly recommended.
The Bone Graphic novels by Jeff Smith--What can I say about this epic graphic novel fantasy series that hundreds of others haven't already said? Probably the best fantasy series ever put into graphic form. Go get it NOW!!
The Tiger's Apprentice trilogy by Laurence Yep--Based on Chinese mythology, this fantasy trilogy starts in San Francisco but takes you through far-flung magical lands and into dangers with wild creatures. A great read!
The Hank the Cowdog audiobooks--Going on a car trip this summer? Then take along these very funny audiobooks. John R. Erickson wrote and narrated these and guys really enjoy them. I've seen kids beg for these in carpools!
Sluggers/Barnstormers series by Phil Bildner and Loren Long--Finally, one of my all-time favorite series. These books are perfect summer reads. An old-time baseball travels around the country in 1898 to raise for an uncle who's not only ill but in trouble with a very bad guy. And a lot of mysterious things happen around a magical baseball. Start one and you'll be hooked! (PS--the first few books came out under the Barnstormers name and the rest under Sluggers)
OK, guys, enjoy your summer! Keep reading and, if you want to find out what the Iron Guy and other people have said about these books, click on the tabs under this post. And if you want to add your $.02, send us a review! All the instructions are on the left-hand side of this page.
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Hey, reader guys everywhere! Summer is here at long last. School has been out for a couple of weeks now, swimming pools and theme parks are open and fun reigns supreme! And reading is king over the summer, Yeah, I know school is out and you may not think about reading but the Iron Guy believes that reading is fun and I intend to share some fun reading with you over the summer. And here are a couple of good reads to start off:
Here's a survival story along the lines of Island of the Blue Dolphins, except that it doesn't take place off the California Coast but in the frozen Arctic Sea. In the 1860's, two Inuit boys and their dog are hunting for seal when an iceberg hits their ice floe and sends it drifting into the Greenland Strait. They have no kayak and swimming to shore is impossible--even if they were close enough, the freezing water would kill them almost instantly. And it's October. They're about to go into the coldest and darkest part of the year when it can get to 40 below. And there are bears. And even if they survive the winter, what will happen in the spring when their ice floe thaws and breaks up? This is a good and suspenseful story, just the sort of thing for a guy to enjoy. You'll really wonder if survival is possible. This is one you're going to enjoy. Besides, it's good to read about the frozen Arctic when it gets so hot during the summer!
This is another terrific book in the Alvin Ho series. These books are funny, funny, funny and each one should come with a You-Will-Laugh-Out-Loud guarantee. All of them feature second-grader Alvin Ho, who is scared of everything. Lighting storms. Getting stuck in trees. Speaking up in class. Dead authors who give tours of their houses. He evesn carries a Personal Disaster Kit which contains like like Band-Aids, a whistle (in case you're so scared you lose your voice) and Garlic for "fending off vampires and teachers." In this one, Alvin's mom is expecting a baby. She shows him the ultrasound pictures but he says it looks like an alien. Then he notices that his tummy is getting big too. Oh, no--that must mean HE'S pregnant!! He doesn't want to have a baby! Not only THAT, there's also a burglar in the area. Now Alvin's got something ELSE to be scared of! Wait--he's home alone after he fell asleep in the closet and his mom had to go to the hospital. Who's that coming up the stairs?? Could it be the BURGLAR??!! Alvin's brother rigged up a trap for burglars--WILL IT WORK??? Oh, man, you'vegotto read this one!! You will laugh out loud when a TV reporter shows up at Alvin's school and a classmate says Alvin's pregnant! Or when the other boys in class learn that they're pregnant! Or when Alvin solves the baby-crying problem. Or when he eats six ice cream cones and a lick in a minute and a half. So get this and have some good summer fun.
This one gets the Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book!
And if you'd like to find out about more Alvin Ho or survival books, click on the "Alvin Ho" or "survival stories" tab under this post.
The Iron Guy loves sports, especially when it takes an epic turn like the 2013 NBA playoffs. I have no idea
who'll win tonight but you just gotta love the thrill of the game! Basketball is a high-speed, high-intensity game that is just right for GUYS. So, in the spirit of the roundball, here are basketball books that are just right for GUYS!
These are good, basic books about how to play the game. Fundamental Basketball covers everything from the history of the game to how to shoot jump shots to the size of the backboard! Basketball Step-By-Step also covers the basics of scoring, equipment, players and court and the different team positions. But, more importantly, it shows how the techniques of offensive and defensive play by giving multiple photographs that demonstrate each move step by step.Both would be useful for the novice player or the veteran looking to sharpen his (or her) skills. Really recommended.
Here's a story about one of the good guys of basketball. Nothing could keep Derrick away from the roundball as a boy, playing even after sundown when there were no lights or after breaking his arm climbing a tree. He went to the University of Memphis and helped the Tigers reach the 208 NCAA championship game. That was also the year the Chicago Bulls drafted him as the # 1 pick. But even with all his success, he remained humble and did good things, like helping kids in his old poverty-stricken Chicago neighborhood or donate money for earthquake victims in Haiti. (he once pledged to donate $1000 for each point he scored in a game and raised $32,000!) This is a good, quick and inspirational read and a good book for anyone who loves sports or stories of the good guys. (The only problem is that it came out in 2012 and doesn't mention the last year he's been out with his injury--but don't let that stop you. It's still a good read)
Matt Christopher wrote a lot of books about sports and every one I've read has been good. This one is about a middle school basketball team. Mel Jessen is new to the school. He's also one of the few African-American kids in the school. One of the other kids won't pass to him even when he's in the open. This team has a good chance to win the season--will this other guy get over it for the good of the team? And will the coach intervene or just ignore the situation? This is another good quick read. Matt Christopher makes every game exciting, especially the season's final game. And this book was written way back in the day when prejudice was more common. It's hard to believe now that it was such a problem--or is it still a problem? Have any of you reader guys encountered it? Or do you see it on your teams?
OK, guys(and Heat and Spurs), play hard and let me know what you think about these books!
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Must be brief today--busy day ahead. I'll recap what I said last night. I completed two books, Ice Drift by Theodore Taylor and The Basket Counts by Matt Christopher plus some some inspirational grownup reading (like Centuries of Meditations by Thomas Traherne, a wonderful book from a man iN the 1600's) for a total of seven and a half hours and about 380 pages. Not very impressive, you say? Well, not really--especially when you compare my effort to Ms. Yingling, who did 30 HOURS!! My MANLY hat is off to you! But I had many other things to do this weekend, so I read when I could. So remember, guys, give things your best shot, even when things get in the way, and you'll be a MANLY MAN like the IRON GUY!!
Hey, hello, and how-de-do, everyone in blogland. This is one tired Iron Guy, checking in briefly with my progress on the 48 Hour Book Challenge. I wish I could say I was worn our from reading but I'm actually tired out from the family obligations I mentioned in the last post. REAL MEN carry out their duties but they also get REAL TIRED! Anyway, I struggled on MANFULLY between my duties and actually read two books (plus some random grownup stuff that I didn't finish) in about seven and a half hours. One was Ice Drift by Theodore Taylor. Don't have the energy to give it a full review but it was good. A survival story about two Inuit boys adrift on an ice floe in the middle of the Arctic winter. The second was The Basket Counts by the terrific Matt Christopher. I don't think he's written a bad book. It's short, good and recommended for any boy who likes sports. And, guys, if you're what the grownups call a reluctant reader--a guy who doesn't like reading--then this could be the book for you. I read it in one sitting and it kept my interest the whole time. Besides, the Iron Guy doesn't believe there are guys who don't like reading--only guys who haven't found the right stuff yet!! Look for reviews of these books another time. And thanks to all of you who've sent comments. I'll try to send some back.
Hey, all fellow reading fans! Today marks the beginning of that annual test of the Iron Guy's endurance, determination, and ability to hold a book. Yes it's the 48 Hour Book Challenge, that yearly contest to see how many hours one person can read in a weekend. I've done this in the past and it tested my powers of strength and will to the max but I rose to the challenge and triumphed in true MANLY MAN fashion! In other years, the Iron Guy used the Book Challenge as an opportunity to raise money for the library but it didn't work out this year. Which is good because I have a lot of family obligations this weekend and, as we all know, REAL MEN take care of their family obligations! So, instead of finding long stretches of reading, I'll grab an hour here and a couple of hours there and see how many I can fit in. I could have just blown the whole Book Challenge off, saying I was too busy, but that's not the MANLY MAN way!
So why am I am taking up so much time writing? Time to get that book and start! Here are a few of the books I'd like to read this weekend:
Greetings, fellow reader guys!You may remember that the boys from the Read to Achieve club at Eastover Elementary School in Charlotte sent it a bunch of great book reviews. (See that post here) You may also remember that all boys can come to the Myers Park library and pick out a free book from our ultra-cool prize box after they send in their first reviews. Well, the awesome guys from the club came here last week to do just that. Here are a bunch of photos, showing off these great guys and their great prizes.
First, we have Jakobe C. He chose a book called Alien Detection.
Hotboy (also known as Giovanni) chose a Fantastic Four comic.
Nathaniel #F16 got this great book called How Football Works--see my review review here.
Zaire picked a t-shirt from our Novello reading festival.
Izaiah got a t-shirt featuring a terrific book called The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones--see my review here.
Chicken Master (aka Jalen) chose a Hiruku graphic novel.
Coco Bird (aka Freddy) found the book Future Wings--
--while Shark Boy (aka Shawn) got a yo-yo--
--and so did Jackson (aka Jestevie)!
Well done, men! Keep those reviews coming in, especially over the summer. And fell free to comment on this post or any others. You all are proof that--
Greetings, fellow reader guys. This is the Iron Guy and I'm really excited about this interview with the great Ms. Yingling. She's a school librarian in Ohio and one of the best book bloggers I know. I've heard about a lot of great books from her and am always hearing about more at her terrific blog, Ms. Yingling Reads. And, wow, does she ever read! She reviews two or three books almost every day and still runs a school library! How does she do it? Why, one year she read every fiction book in her library!! That's a feat that would make even a MANLY MAN like the Iron Guy quiver in his manly boots. But she has also been a friend to this blog for a very long time, making comments and sharing ideas. I think we may have influenced her because she started a Guy Friday every week in which she recommends books for boys--does that sound familiar? In fact, she has been such a good friend and done so much for guy reading that we once gave her our very highest honor and made her an Honorary Guy. But enough intrduction--let's get into the interview.
There's a nasty rumor out there that says it's uncool for boys to read. How do you think it got started?
I think that some boys find it hard to read, and it's easier to say it's not cool than to say it's hard. It's hard to sit still, the words are tiny, and their mother keeps handing them The Secret Garden. Their teachers are girls, their librarians are often girls, and there are just not enough MEN out there to make it cool.
That’s why you have the Iron Guy in blogland, making reading cool for boys. What would the boys at your school say to the answer to the first questtion? And why do you think it's cool for boys to read?
We have an awesome 6th grade teacher, Mr. Buxton (http://buxtolicious.blogspot.com/) who is very influential. If he book talks something, 50 students come in to request it. Reading is highly encouraged in our school, so the boys see each other reading. Also, we have a good selection of books with action, dog poop, robot decapitation, etc. that boys actually enjoy reading. I think it's cool for boys to read because it makes them smarter, and smart guys are THE coolest.
Yes, indeed. What are the favorite books of the boys at your school?
Notebook novels like Wimpy Kind, Big Nate, and Dragonbreath, any sports books that are about basketball or football, and the world record books.
If you became Queen of the Universe and could tell every librarian everywhere what the 5 best books for boys of all time are, what would you say?
Did someone take my crown away? I would have to say Horowitz's Stormbreaker, Riordan's The Lightning Thief, Korman's Ungifted, Darren Shan's Cirque du Freakand Mack's Mathlete vs. Athlete.
You used to be a Latin teacher. What made you choose to be school librarian? What are the best and hardest parts of it?
I didn't exactly choose to leave the field-- there were just no jobs. I have always loved to read, and I could get an MLS and not have to get another bachelor's degree. The best part of my job is when I am riding my bike home and a student who is hauling garbage cans back to the garage runs out to say "Ms. Yingling! The book you gave me is AWESOME!!" (happened just last night!), or when I am describing a book to a student, and another student pipes up "That book is great. You have to read it!" I also like my little slice of internet "fame" and all the interesting authors, librarians and teachers I have met.
The hardest part is that it's a ton of work. It's a 24/7 kind of job. I'm at school for ten hours a day, and do another 3-5 hours of work at home, which leaves very little time for other things. I even dream about overdues. I wouldn't spend the time if I didn't enjoy it, though, so I can't complain!
Ms Yingling believes that a librarian should LOOK like a librarian!
How would you say, "Boys are awesome" in Latin? "Pueri optissimi sunt" would be "Boys are the very best!"
How about "The Iron Guy is king of MANLY MEN”? "Vir ferri Carolus rex viri virilissimi est." (Man of iron Carl the king of the manly men is! The Romans used a slightly different order. I'd drop the "est" and use "Ave" at the beginning so you have "Hail, Iron Guy Carl!")
That said, it's been 20 years since I have taught Latin; I just ripped Ned Vizzini about the Latin in House of Secrets, so feel I should be careful!
Because of your excellent blog and your great work for guy reading, we gave you the highest honor we could possibly bestow and made you an Honorary Guy. Have you ever gotten over the shock of receiving such a great award?
I have never gotten over the shock, but I attribute my current reading tastes (romance and dog poop? Fantastic!) to this award. I feel honored every day when boys trust me to get them a book they will enjoy.
I ask these final questions of everyone I interview--Which do you prefer, cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them? Girly answer to this one: I don't care for either! Also, I'm an old person, so I eat more grilled vegetables and hummus!
The Iron Guy is putting on a few years too (as well as trying to keep from putting on a few pounds), so I'm trying to eat more veggies as well. But I still like GUY food of no nutritional value, like cheeseburgers and pizza. And be proud of your girly answer. We're proud of our MANLINESS--be proud of your GIRLYNESS!!
Well, all kidding aside, we really appreciate your taking time for your hectic schedule and answering all our questions. You are truly one of the coolest librarians I know and I wish you and your boys (and girls) the best. Check out her blog, guys, and be especially sure to read her Guy Fridays! (Same thing for all the grownups who are looking for good books for your boys)
Here's another one of my Blasts From the Past--in other words, a book that I've reviewed before but still think is terrific. This one is The2000 Year Old Man Goes to School by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. It was funny when it came out in 2005 and it's funny today. And I know because this book has been tested by fire. I took some kids on a road trip and put the disc in the cd player and showed them the book and they laughed themselves silly.
It's based on an old comedy routine by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, two of the funniest guys ever to live. The idea is that a 2000-year-old man came to a school so kids could ask the oldest man in the world what life was like way back then. And the answers he gave!!! Wait until you find out why kids hated lunchtime (and what you got for snacks), why homework was HOME work, and the words to the first song. (HINT--it's the title to this post) The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has plenty of copies of this terrific book and you'll find it in the Read-Along section--that means the books have cd's in them so you can listen as well as read. Listen to the cd but read the book also because there's more material in the book than on the cd. And don't be surprised that this book looks like a picture book because it is!! So don't be embarrassed to get it--REAL MEN enjoy stuff like this because it's HILARIOUS!! And it's a Good Quick Read.
And, as a bonus, he's a clip from an animated 2000 Year Old Man special that aired on TV in the '70's. It talks about why Shakespeare was not a great writer. (and, yes, that part is in the book too)
So don't sit around already--go to the library and check it out!
If you'd like to find more Good Quick Reads, or more books of humor or the original review of this book, click on of the tabs under this post.
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Hello, everyone in the blogoverse! The Iron Guy, that truly MANLY MAN, is always on the lookout for guys who love reading. Imagine how happy he was when he came in contact recently with a whole group of rocking and reading boys in the Read to Achieve club at Eastover Elementary School in Charlotte. They are lead by the terrific Mr. Merritt, who let me come over and talk about this blog. And when I was done, guess what--they handed me a bunch of reviews of their favorite books! Whooppee! The Iron Guy is always thrilled when boys tell me about their favorite reads and let me share them with all the other boys out there. So let me stop talking and let you see what these have guys read and liked.
My favorite book was The Third Wheel because I like when he was in his mom stomach it looks funny and it’s by Jeff Kinney and they had funny words. The Main Idea was about chicken pop’s and Greg was trying to impress this girl.
It is about a boy name Gregory Heffley and he wrote the diary in the movies and also he is in middle school. When he was a little Boy he didn’tknow what Hecla mean. When he met his brother brother Rodrick a few days after he was born he also figured out how to remove the batteries from the remote. When he was 4 or 5 years old his parents took him out of preschool to skip a grade to kindergarten and he write about when his mom pretty much let him watch whatever he want. That’s all I got bye!
Nathaniel # F16
My favorite book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
This book is good because they have funny words in the book. And some time the book look funny. The book is so funny because they have funny words in the Book.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid the third wheel by Jeff Kinney
I like this book because it was funny. When Greg was little he had to share everything with Rodirek
Thanks, guys! All guys like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. And you just proved it! All right, let's hear what the other guys liked:
Guiness World Record 2013
Hello my name is Trenton (or Banana Man) and the book I want is Guinness World Record 13 by Scholastics.
It’s really about how a person can learn more information on how beating a record and how it’s jaw dropping. I really want this book because it has a lot of pages and there world records which is really awesome.
Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama
It is about Barack Obama telling kids who they are. And I like this book because it has some nice pictures.
Captain Underpants has a lot of action and excitement. It is also funny. I enjoy Captain underpants. It’s so awesome.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Snow Ball
This reminds me last winter that I had a snow cone and a snow ball hit my top snow cone and the snow ball drop down my throat and I froze to death and the old lady swallowed all the animal in the seas and all the crab.
The book that I like is The Cat in the Hat. I like It because he is my favorite and I wanted to be Dr. Seuss.
My favorite book is Chima. This book is about animals who drink from a lake called chi. I like this book because it is Adventurous and courages lots of battled. Lots of sword clashing electric motorcycles. There is also explosions.
My presentation about my favorite book is diary of a wimpy kid: dog days. I think it is funny and entertaining. I never read your books, but least I have a favorite book. I guess I will see you tomorrow, bye!
THE SECRET SCIENCE ALLIANCE
Its about three person that Were a Sciencetest. They make Cool thing. When it were thire first day at School.People were bullying them. They didn’t know each other. Then they were going to School a lot. They know each other a lot now. They were Good at Science. The tall man play basketball and the girl was the Smartest girl at Schooland the little boy was the Smartest boy at School too. So they Teamup. They call them the Science Three because they are Good at Science. Thire favorite Subject is Science. They even fight bad guys. They look up for people. They make stuff to fight with. They live in a tree house. They always get A+ on thire Science test. They Study about Science. They make stuff to ride on. They work together with everything.
THANKS, men! Well done! It is SO good to hear from boys about their favorite books. And, as I always say, these books were not chosen by some boring old grownup but by real boys just like YOU!! That makes these books--
GUY TESTED--GUY APPROVED!!
So thanks once again, men,and let me hear from you again. Can't wait!
Hey, everyone, this is your friendly neighborhood Iron Guy, coming to you with a dual review of Day of Doom by David Baldacci, the last book in the Cahills vs. Vespers series. Our good friend Michael read the book before I did. He and I have slightly different perspectives on it, so let's hear what Michael says first:
Cahills Vs. Vespers, book 6 Day of Doom by David Baldacci This is it, guys! The final battle against the Vespers! As you may remember from the last book, the four friends had just discovered that the Vespers were planning on building Archimedes' doomsday device with which to take over the world. Well, this book is basically answer after answer to every question since Vespers Rising. What does Amy's gear/ring do? What does the Doomsday device do exactly? What's Isabel going to do? Is Pheonix still alive? Will the hostages escape? What will happen to the Wyomings? What does the serum do? Who is Vesper One? And one more thing... four important people will die. Alistair was just the beginning. Who will they be? Every single one of these questions is answered in this epic last book of the second series in The 39 Clues. By the way, unlike a lot of other series finales I've read, this one has an absolute perfect ending. But guess what guys? It's not over! A third series called Unstoppable will premiere in fall of this year with the first book being Nowhere to Run by Jude Watson. And, as I always say, don't miss the Steven Spielberg movie series starting in 2014!
Michael Lanier Pianist,guitarist,banjoist,autoharpist,jaw harpist,Ukeist,Mandolinist
Very good, Michael. Thanks! He's captured the book much better than I could have and he's right--the story is exciting and epic and a fitting conclusion to this terrific series. But I'm not quite as enthusiastic about this one as he is--and I'm not sure why. It was fun, just like all the other 39 Clues books have been, but it just wasn't as grand and glorious a conclusion as I had hoped it would be. Like Into the Gauntlet was. All the other books in this series were terrific but I thought this one was good. Even very good--but not truly and amazingly good, so good that it makes me miss my bus stop, so good that I can't wait for my lunch hour so I can run in and read a few more pages, like the others have been. Maybe it's because I'm a boring old grownup and have read a lot of books and it's harder to impress me. Maybe because I felt a little disappointed when I finally learned the secret behind those mysterious texts from AJT. Maybe because it became obvious to me who would save the day in the end (although I didn't see that coming at first--and neither will you!!) BUT, all that said, this is still a good, fun, thrilling read andyou should not miss it!
OK, all you 39 Clues fans out there, let me hear what YOU think. Do you agree more with Michael or me?? And are you excited about the upcoming movie series? I think Michael and I would agree that we can hardly wait!!!
Hey, all you cool reader guys. Our old friend Michael has sent TWOmore of his first-rate book reviews! Michael always finds the most interesting reads and always gives his straight-up thoughts on them. Let's see what he's read lately: Bone: Quest For the Spark, book 3 by Tom Sniegoski Tom, Percival, Lorimar, Abbey, Barclay, Randolf, Stinky, and Smelly are all back one last time for the fateful conclusion! The Nacht is incredibly close to his goal, Tom only has one piece of the Spark left to find, and Lorimar is ready to betray her friends in order to save her people, the First Folk. Plus, Rock Jaw (Master of the Eastern Border) returns! Isn't that guy just a boss? And for long-time Bone fans, the great cat performs an encore of his odd behavior back in Crown of Horns! Plus, this is one fantasy book that is 300 pages of non-stop action! No, I mean literally, someone is always engaged in action during this book. This book is really not just a step up, but like, a whole flight up from the previous Quest books. And although I considered this sequel trilogy just a way to make more money from Bone, it really has turned out so well. I can say with confidence once again that Bone is the best fantasy series I've ever read. Definitely a must-read for any fans of fantasy, supernatural, or action!
The Infinity Ring, book 3 The Trap Door by Lisa McMann The daring trio of Dak, Sera, and Riq are back again in their third book, but fifth adventure. They've landed in America again, but this time they're not in Washington, D.C., but they're in Maryland in 1850. What's stopping them this time? SQ disguised as slave traders disguised as abolitionists! Whew! While the three are in peril nearly the whole book, Riq is in the most danger, being an African-American. He is quickly sold into slavery, and Dak and Sera must help him out while dealing with problems of their own. And where is the Hystorian? This is a pretty decent book. It's slower than the previous two, because those two took place in battlefields, and this one is pre-Civil War, making the action more sparse and not as weapon-filled as one (meaning me) might like. I do think, however, that the author does a very nice job of explaining not only why slavery is wrong, but also why some people of the time thought it was OK, answering the oft-asked question, "How could one person treat another human being that way?" The climax was good, and there's a bit of a surprise ending. To join in the friends' next adventure, set in Japan, with samurai and ninjas, log onto infinityring.com and get in the game! And don't forget book 4, Curse of the Ancients, by Matt de la Pena, coming soon. And one more thing guys: Don't mess with the cards!
Michael Lanier Pianist,guitarist,banjoist,autoharpist,jaw harpist,Ukeist,Mandolinist Thanks, Michael! Once again, you've picked a couple of books that sound really good. I have not read any of the Tom Sniegoski Bone series but I really want to now. Keep up the good work! Can't wait to hear from you again.Add a Comment
Hey, all you reader guys out there. We survived yesterday. You what day I mean--the one devoted to all the stuff that makes MANLY MEN like us shudder in our manly boots. The day devoted to kissing and hugging and romance. In other words, Valentine's Day, the one devoted to looooove!!!
The MANLY MAN view of romance
So to get the thought of all that stuff out of our minds, let's ask ourselves--what do guys LOVE? And the answer to that is obvious--GRAPHIC NOVELS!! Yes, indeed, graphic novels are great! You've got exciting stories, laughs, heroes punching out villains, and sometimes whole planets blow up! So let me tell you about a few graphic novels that I and a regular contributor to this blog have read and enjoyed lately.
This was a great story. Jedi Master Mace Windu speeds to the planet Simocadia to stop a Separatist invasion but Yoda appears and tells him it's a mistake. Mace goes anyway and has to face the results of his decision. This one has lots of good Star Wars action, cool artwork and Mace Windu, one of the best Jedi Masters. How could you go wrong?
If you like cartoon series with whiz-bang action and goofball humor like Fairly Odd Parents or TUFF Puppy, you'd like this graphic novel series. Loud Boy is one of the five kids who've discovered they have super powers. In this one, Loud Boy and friends are charged by their Uncle Stanley to keep the Flooggget out of the hands of Old Fogey and his evil cohorts. But along the way, Loud get sucked into a video game--literally! Unless he can win the game and get out, every kid on earth will disappear into cyberspace.Can Loud Boy do it? Read and see--and have a really good time as you do!
Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarret J. Krosoczka I've been a fanof Lunch Lady, the cafeteria supervisor and crime fighter, for a long time. In this book, Lunch Lady and her sidekick Betty.are working a summer camp--which supposedly has a swamp monster in the lake. It couldn't be true--or could it? Lunch Lady will have to use all their high-tech school cafeteria crime-fighting equipment to save the camp! I really like these graphic novels--mystery, suspense, and good campy fun. CAMPY fun!!!! I just made a joke! Har, Har Har, Har!!!!!
And to prove that I'm not the only one who enjoys graphic novels, here's a review from our old friend Michael:
Lunch Lady, book 8 Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jarret J. Krosoczka Lunch Lady, Betty, Hector, Terrence, and Dee are all back! When a school photographer scams school kids out of thousands of dollars and then runs, it's up to Lunch Lady to find her, or the student council's fund will be ruined. I do think that the scene transitions are a bit jerky, but there's an action scene that I consider the best of the series so far. Plus, does the ending suggest the start of a serial? I guess book 9 will reveal that. But for comic book readers, this is a good one to check out!
And here's one more from Michael:
Mal and Chad, book 3 Belly Flop by Stephen McCraine Comic-book duo Mal and Chad are back for their third and longest adventure yet! When Mal learns that Megan is pushing him away, he wonders how cool he has to be to hang out with her. Also, a talent show is being held at Einstein Elementary, and Mal sees this as an opportunity to show his level of coolness. Plus you can expect plenty of episodes with his inventions. Comedy, romance, sci-fi, inspiration, and action all come into play in this book as well as the other books in this series. As far as graphic novels go, this is one of the best! I was a little bored during the first few chapters because this book focuses more on the romance and inspiration than anything else. The five elements I listed above did not blend together as well as it has in previous books. However, what action there was was very well-done, and this book is definitely worth reading! Michael Lanier Pianist,guitarist,banjoist,autoharpist,jaw harpist,Ukeist,Mandolinist
So you see, guys really do LOVE graphic novels! If you'd like to read about more graphic novels, click on the "graphic novels" tab under this post. And what about YOU? How you read a good graphic novel lately? One that you LOVED? Write in and let us know! And remember--these graphic novels are:
Greetings, all guys everywhere! This is Iron Guy Carl and I'm sorry I've been gone so long. Life has been busy and busier at the library but that's one of those good problems. It shows that people value their libraries and we're glad you do.
The Iron Guy had something truly extraordinary happen while I was so busy, however. Lenore Look, one of my favorite authors, read the December post--the one in which I said that if I could have any book for Christmas, I'd want a complete set of the Alvin Ho books. Well, guess what--that's what she actually sent me!! The Iron Guy is now the proud owner of all four volumes of the adventures of nervous little Alvin Ho. Oh, I am so totally and completely thrilled!!! THANK YOU so much, Lenore Look!! That was extremely generous of you. No wonder we made her an Honorary Guy!
If you'd like to see what I'm so excited about, click on the "Alvin Ho" tab underneath this post and you will see all the reviews of these hilarious books and the audiobook. Better yet,scurry on down to your local library and check one out. If they don't have any, make a giant sign that says, "Get the Alvin Ho Books" and march up and down the street until they do! Well, maybe you don't need to go that far, but find one and read it and you'll see what I mean. And if you have read them (or some of them) write in and let us know what you think.
Hey, ho, all you holiday-loving reader guys! Let me ask something--do you look forward to getting books for Christmas? Or is your attitude like this:
Well, I hope your attitude is NOT like this kid's! Let me put another question to you--what book would you WANT to get for Christmas? Good question! So write in and tell us what it would be!! If you had your wish of ANY book in the world, what would you like to see under your tree? And it could be a set of books. For instance, I'd love to get a set of the Alvin Ho books by the great Lenore Look. Or--I'm such a sly dog to make this segue--the complete set of the Brixton Bothers books by the outstanding Mac Barnett. That's because 1) I'm a big fan and 2) I've just read Danger Goes Beserk, the fourth and latest book in the series. Boy, was it ever a terrific read!! Each of the Brixton Brothers books gets better and better. This one has mystery and comedy and action and suspense--just what guys want in their books.
Here's a little background--12-year-old Steve Brixton is obsessed with the Bailey Brothers mysteries, a set of books published in the '50's. So when he stumbles into a mystery and becomes a private detective, he brings everything he learned from the Bailey Brothers to his cases. The only thing is--do these really help when Steve meets real-life bad guys? (BTW, Steve doesn't have a brother--he calls his agency The Brixton Brothers because it sounds cool)
In this book, Steve opens his own office--only it's in the big doghouse in his backyard. He gets hired by a surfer dude named Danimal to find retrieve a stolen surfboard. The problem? It's been taken by a dangerous surfing gang called the Beserkers. Not only that, there's a group of pirates stealing cargo ships off the coast of Steve's California town. On top of that, someone is stealing the gym shorts out a classmate's locker. Can Steve and his chum Dana solve these mysteries? Can Steve really trail a suspect by walking backwards? And what are the Beserkers really up to? The only way to find out is to read this terrific book! You will certainly enjoy yourself if you do. Mac Barnett is truly becoming a first-class mystery writer. The mysteries become more perplexing, the bad guys become more dangerous, and Steve becomes more heroic with each book. So go out and find it, guys!! Or ask your parents to get these books for you. Or run to the bookstore if you get Christmas money. Or head to your local library. Just find those Brixton Brothers! (If you want to find out more, click on the "Brixton Brothers" tab under this post)
So, how about it? Are there any Brixton Brothers fans out there? Write in and let us know. Or just write and tell us what books you'd like to get. We'd love to know.
And here's something to make your holidays merry and bright. It's Brian Setzer singing "Jingle Bells."
Greetings of the Season and Ho-Ho-Ho to all you reader guys out there. I know you can hardly contain the excitement of getting ready to be out of school for nearly two weeks!! Plus, add Christmas into the mix, and you all are probably about to burst. Well, our old and faithful friend Michael has gotten into the holiday spirit and is sharing three reviews of books that boys might like:
The Missing, book 5 Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix Something's wrong with time. It's frozen, and only time travelers can move in it. But how are Jonah and Katherine supposed to know that in frozen time, if four time travelers touch, they'll be sent to a random time period. Or maybe... not so random. This time the missing kid is Lieserl Einstein, daughter of Albert, if you haven't guessed. But this book focuses more on Albert's wife, Mileva. Jonah and Katherine must stay with her to find Lieserl, but being a scientist herself, is she smart enough to figure out the secrets to time travel? Unlike Sabotaged, this book has no action in it at all, which was a little disappointing. On the other hand, if you've ever wanted to pry into the life of Albert Einstein, but never had the attention span for a biography, then you'd probably like this book. And once again, Haddix introduces a new concept of time travel: frozen time in a time hollow. I must say this, though: the surprise at the end of book is worth all the somewhat-boring history facts building up to it. Basically, it's worth the read. Look for the next two titles of the Missing: Risked and Revealed.
Cahills Vs. Vespers, book 5 Trust No One by Linda Sue Park In this book, the Cahills will be betrayed by one of their own. In this book, the Vespers' master plan will be revealed. And in this book, someone will die. The Cahills, Rosenblooms, Starlings, Wizards, Holts, Kabras, and one Tolliver are at it again, either trying to rescue their family from bondage... or escape from it. This book's stolen item is the Voynich: an ancient manuscript that has never been translated. This book will see Dan, Amy, Jake, and Atticus all over the world. Plus, Amy is still mixed up about Evan and Jake. And the team finally takes a guess about who Vesper One is. Now, allow me to say something here: When The 39 Clues first started, it was for fourth graders. As the books progressed, the maturity level of the books kept rising. What started as a man in black showing up here and there is now a full-blown knife and gun show. And for people who have grown up with the series, like me, that's all fine and dandy. But for younger readers, this book in particular may prove to be a little too mature. Aside from the bloodiness and language, there are actually a few jokes about nudity. So if you're 10 or 11 and you're reading this, just be careful. But for 16 and 17-year-olds, like me, this is a great book that you won't want to miss. Look for book 6: Day of Doom by David Baldacci, the last book, coming in March 2013. And always remember: Steven Spielberg directs the 39 Clues movie saga, starting in 2014!
The Infinity Ring, book 2 Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan For all of you who read the books but don't play the game: The books start off where the online episode of the game ended, and vice versa. So although book 1 promised a trip to Paris 1792, this book starts in Paris 885, where Vikings are about to attack! Not knowing exactly what the Break is supposed to be, Riq uses his skills to do what he thinks will fix it. But has he really helped, or only made things worse? This whole book is pretty much a war, so it's much more action-packed than book 1. For 11-year-olds though, it may be a little bloody, and there's a scene where a Viking describes torture in great detail, which even made me shudder. All in all though, this book is a great read, and the action scenes are pretty good considering there are no guns. Look for book 3: The Trap Door by Lisa McMann.
Michael Lanier Pianist,guitarist,banjoist,autoharpist,jaw harpist,Ukeist,Mandolinist Thanks, Michael!! I've had to be very careful not to read your review of Trust NoOne because I just checked it out! Take a look at these books, guys, and tell me if you agree with Michael or not. I'll try to write something before Christmas but you know how the best-laid plans go. So have a great holiday season, Michael and all you reader guys!!Add a Comment
I've told you before that I'm probably Rick Riordan's # 1 fan in Charlotte and there's a very good reason. It's because he writes fan-tastic books.Actually, now there are TWO more very good reasons and they are THE DEMIGOD DIARIES and THE MARK OF ATHENA, two terrific books!! You want action? You got it! You want suspense that will make your pulse race like a Kentucky Derby horse? It's there. And you want the trademark goofball humor? It's all there! Take a look:
The Demigod Diaries--There are four stories, written by different demigods in their diaries. Luke Castellan and Thalia get trapped in a decrepit old mansion in Richmond, waiting for a monster to devour them. Percy and Annabeth have to get the cadeuceus, the symbol of Hermes, back from a giant who runs a flea market! Leo Valdez tries to track down his walking mechanical table while dodging the Maneads--the most frightening creatures I've seen yet in a Rick Riordan book. At the end is a story by a guest author--and wait until you find out who it is! All these stories move along and keep you laughing, gasping in suspense and reading, reading, reading. Plus there are cards, puzzles, etc. A true winner! If you haven't already read it, don't waste a minute--go find it at your library or bookstore or get it on your e-reader. The Mark of Athena--The seven demigods finally set off on their quest to keep Gaea from awakening and destroying the world. Of course, to do so, they must sail across the Atlantic and try to survive what awaits them. If they make it, then they must get past the Pillars of Hercules--and past Hercules himself! If they can do that, then the REAL danger begins in Rome! Annabeth must go on a quest alone to follow the Mark of Athena and recover the Pallas Athena. (what's that? I won't tell you! You gotta find out!) Percy and Jason and Piper must overcome two giants while Leo and Hazel and Frank make an unexpected discovery. Do you think they've faced danger before? Ha! Just wait until you see who Annabeth meets!! Or the underwater trap waiting for Percy, Jason and Piper. And, while this is going on, the demigods from Camp Jupiter are moving across the country to attack Camp Half-Blood. Whew! If you haven't noticed, there's a lot going on in this book! These are two of the best in the whole Percy Jackson series. There's enough adventure and excitement to satisfy the most enthusiastic or reluctant guy reader. But not only is there action, there's also laugh-out-loud humor. Like when Percy tries to save the quest from half-dolphin monsters by using a can of Diet Coke. Or when they face an evil giant wearing a tutu. And there are very touching scenes as well, like when Hazel finally figures out the connection between her and Leo and Sammy Valdez. And then there's the scene in which Annabeth starts to descend under Rome to find the Pallas Athena. She knows that the chances are coming back alive are extremely slim. She looks up and sees the blue sky framed in the doorway leading underground. She also knows that she can go back up those stairs into the sunshine and be safe. She has a choice to make.What will she do? THAT'Smasterful writing, guys!
These books get the Iron Guy Seal of Approval as Two Terrific Books!!
I have to warn you. There is--there is--well, the only way to warn you properly is to make aPublic Service Announcement:
Well, you've been warned but you've also been encouraged. Go and get these two fantastic reads!! You will not regret it. And if you've already read them, hit that "Comment" button below and send me a review. We love to hear what reader guys think!
Hey and how-de-do to all you fans of reading! The Iron Guy has been extremely busy lately. Life at the library gears up for summer and, after the big season hit, I went into hyperdrive.You've probably noticed that I haven't posted any of my own reviews for a while and that's because I've been so busy--which is good because that means so many kids are out there reading! (And I really appreciate reader guys like Michael and Sammer and mphuff who have taken up the slack) But, no matter how busy things getI always make time for a Rick Riordan book. I'm a HUGE fan of his stuff and was very excited whenThe Serpent's Shadow, the third and final volume of The Kane Chronicles series, fell into my eager hands. I finished it during the summer and enjoyed it. A lot of you have probably already read it, but some of you haven't. If you haven't, then pay attention. If you have, write and tell us how YOU liked it. In case you don't know what these books are about, here's the lowdown--Carter and Sadie Kane are the son and daughter of a famous Egyptologist, who just also happens to be a powerful magician. Through a series of adventures too complicated to relate briefly, Carter and Sadie find themselves as the only two humans to stop Apophhis, the giant Chaos Serpent from rising from his ancient prison and swallow the sun. In this book, they finally discover a way to banish Apophis, but it's a tremendous risky task--they must find his shadow and cast an execration spell right to his face! This book has all the Rick Riordan trademarks that we guys love so much--the action, the humor, and the vivid and believable otherworldly settings. This story moves right along, keeps your attention, and makes you laugh often along the way. I enjoyed it but, to tell the complete truth, I didn't feel the incredible suspense that I found in all the other Rick Riordan books. This is not a criticism because I enjoyed this book very much; it's just that I knew somehow that the characters would come out all right, even when the had to go face-to-face with Apophis. Maybe it's because I've read so many RR books that I just knew Carter and Sadie would make it.I didn't get that feeling in, for instance, The Last Olympian. There you really felt that Kronos might actually destroy the world and Percy along with it.But don't let me stop you from reading this book--like all of Rick Riordan's books, this is a good read. Maybe some of you have read it and disagree with me. If so, write in and tell me! I have one mild criticism, though. I love his humor, but there may have been a little too much here. That sounds weird, I know. I enjoyed the insults and the quick quips all through the book but it seemed that Sadie and Carter were always hurling witty insults at each other, even in the most dangerous moments. it got a bit annoying. BUT--criticizing Rick Riordan is like critiqueing Michael Jordan. Or Babe Ruth. Or the Beatles. Rick Riordan is still one of the giants of guy writing and I cannot wait until The Mark of Athena, the final book in the Heroes of Olympus trilogy. (PS--you can read the first chapter here!)
Hey everyone, it's Iron Guy Carl, blogging at you from the end of summer. Yes, summer's over. It's always a little tough getting back to the grindstone, but, mercifully, the grownups created something to make reentry less painful. And that is the Labor Day weekend!! A big three-day weekend to kick up some fun before settling back into the routine. Some guys like to go to the beach over this weekend, some play or watch sports and some like to hang out. But all the readers of this blog like READING. With that in mind, let me give you a few favorite reads from the past. These will be good for those car trips or the times spent chilling out around the homestead. These books are picked randomly but every one of them is great fun for a Labor Day weekend and all of them are guy-proven great reads. (If you want to find out any more about them, click on the tab under this post--for instance, click on the "Alvin Ho" tab if you want to learn more or read reviews)
Any of the Alvin Ho books Funny, funny, funny!!! The tales of a second-grader who's afraid of everything. Guaranteed to make you hold your sides--because, if you don't, you'll split them laughing!
The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld Walking war machines vs fabricated animals in an alternative history of World War I. Lots of adventure, action and things that blow up.Great reads!
The 39 Clues series
Most of you probably know about these books, but if not---go get one right away!! They pull you in and won't let go!
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell One of the great guy books of all time that asks the question, "Could you eat 15 worms in 15 days?"
The Brixton Brothers mysteries
Mystery, fun, and excitement as Steve Brixton (he has no brother--he just thinks it sounds cool) unravels criminal plots. Besides, where will you find out that all librarians know 9 forms of martial arts?
All right, guys, go out there and have a great weekend. And be sure to tell us what you read (or listened to, if you love audiobooks) when you get back!
My Wierder School, book 6 Mayor Hubble is in Trouble! by Dan Gutman Mayor Hubble, after the incident in Mr. Burke is Berserk!, has been released from jail and is running for mayor again, believe it or not. Meanwhile, A.J. decides to run against Andrea for president of the third grade at Ella Mentry School. But when Mayor Hubble offers to rig the competition in exchange for A.J.'s promotion of him as next mayor, A.J.'s unsure about the whole thing. Will he accept the mayor's tempting offer, or will he submit to an inevitable loss? This series is definitely getting better, but it could be even better than it is now! I wish it was just a little funnier, and nearly every paragraph has a running gag in it. It's still worth reading though.
The Infinity Ring, book 1 A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner Dak and his friend Seralive in a future America where a force called the SQ rules everything, and the world is going downhill fast. But when the two meet a secret society called the Hystorians, everything changes. Using an infinity-shaped time machine that Dak's parents made, the two, along with a young Hystorian named Riq, go back in time. Their goal is to fix things in history that never should have happened. In this case, it's saving Christopher Columbus from being thrown overboard in a mutiny. But the mutineers don't give up easily... and neither does the SQ. Now, although this book is original, it could be a lot more exciting, and it's obviously a copy of The 39 Clues. There's a blue bar on the front cover that says, "Read the book, follow the guide, play the game". The first page has a quote from the book on it. Book two will be written by a different author. And it's put out by Scholastic! The thing is, now that Cahills Vs. Vespers is declining in popularity, The Infinity Ring will surely take over as the most popular kids' series out there by the time Cahills Vs. Vespers is over. Now, which do I think is better? Personally, I'd stick with Cahills Vs. Vespers. But I'll still keep up with The Infinity Ring.
Reviews coming soon: Cahills Vs. Vespers, book 4: Shatterproof, by Roland Smith---- N.E.R.D.S., book 4: The Villain Virus, by Michael Buckley ----------- Amulet, book 4: Prince of the Elves, by Kazu Kibuishi
Cahills Vs. Vespers, book 4 Shatterproof by Roland Smith Amy, Dan, Jake, and Atticus are at it again when Vesper One tells them to steal the Jubilee Diamond right out of the Pergamon museum. But when things go wrong, the team finds out that the whole thing was a setup. What now? Milos Vanek is hot on their trail. And by hot I mean that he's never more than a few miles away from them. How will they shake him loose? Jonah, Hamilton, and Erasmus are still on Luna Amato's trail. Will she lead them to something valuable? Plus, the hostages attempt an escape. Will it work this time? This is definitely better than book 3 and is worth reading! Look for book 5, Trust No One by Linda Sue Park in November, and the movie series starts in 2014!
It's almost Thanksgiving, the day a lot of guys like to eat insane amounts of turkey and watch FOOTBALL! Of course the Iron Guy does too. (I guess that makes me the Gridiron Guy---ah hahahaha!!!) The season is halfway over and we in Charlotte have groaned all year, watching our beloved and frustrating Panthers lose some games that were going our way. Anyway, here are some good books about the pigskin sport:
Here's one that I've written about before and it's still terrific. Chock-full of useful information, this book is a must-read for the the novice or the long-time fan. You can see my original review here.here. Go ahead and take a look--not only does it tell you how terrific the book is, but it lets you see how hopeful we Panthers fans at this time last year. Well, we had Cam Newton tearing up the gridirons in his impressive rookie year, so we had good reason. But this year---Oh, will we ever learn????
Most reader guys know that the name "Matt Christopher" on a book guarantees a good read. Here's what I said in the original review:
Long-Arm Quarterback by Matt Christopher. I hope you know about him already. He writes sports books and I haven't read one yet that I didn't like. Cap Wadell is frustrated because his little Texas town is so small that they can't get enough guys together to make a football team. His grandfather Tully remembers when he was in high school and played with six-person teams; in fact, there was a high school league made of six-person teams. Tully suggests that all the small towns in that area get together and make such a league. Cap's friends get excited at the idea and, before long, there's a league going. Tully agrees to coach Cap's team but there's a problem--Cap's friend Jimmy joins the team. That's not so bad, but Jimmy's grandfather Sable comes along to help coach. Sable used to play on Tully's league on a different team and was a good player. Tully won the championship that year and Sable is still mad about it after all these years. Will that old rivalry tear the team apart? Will Sable ever put his anger away and think about the good of the team? I had to read all the way to the end to find out!
This is a good one if you want some quick facts about the teams in the NFC South Division: the Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers, the New Orleans Saints or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The whole book took me only 15 minutes to read. There a short history of each team (only a page long) plus info on the Home Field, Big Days, Superstars (Then and Now), and Stat Leaders for each team. Interesting reading.
And here's a video to make you laugh. It's based on an old Andy Griffith routine called "What It Was Was Football" about a young hillbilly boy who sees his first football game. It'a about 7 minutes long, so make yourselves comfortable.
If I don't see you before then, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.
Taking a break from all my sports talk, the Iron Guy is pleased to present the latest reviews from our good friend Michael:
Amulet, book 5 Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi I don't know about you, but after what Max did in The Last Council, I wasn't sure whose side he was on. This book reveals it all. Stonekeepers can use their amulets to travel back into their own memory, and when Trellis the elf prince decides to do so, things take a dangerous turn fast. I can't put much more without spoiling the book, but it's definitely worth reading. There aren't many fantasy series that I like, but this one is one of the few.
N.E.R.D.S., book 4 The Villain Virus by Michael Buckley Something's going around, and it's not your average flu. People globally are suddenly overcome with thoughts of revenge against people who never wronged them, building doomsday devices, and wanting to take over the world to show everyone their supreme power! Sound like someone familiar? Those are just the things that Heathcliff Hodges, aka Agent Choppers, aka Screwball, aka Brainstorm would say. But how could he be infecting the whole world? After the fiasco in The Cheerleaders of Doom, Heathcliff is sleeping under sedation, and he hasn't woken up. But there must be some explanation for the virus that may destroy the world. This is a decline from the books before, and the climax is worse than some of the other action scenes, which aren't great. I must say, though, there are some unbelievably amazing twists at the end. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be a flop ending to the series.
Michael Lanier Pianist,guitarist,banjoist,autoharpist,jaw harpist,Ukeist
Wow, I sure hope the same thing! The N.E.R.D.S. series have always gotten good write-ups, especially from you and I'd hate to see them end with a flop. And I must admit that I've never read the Amulet series. What about you reader guys out there? Have YOU read them? Did you like them? Shoot us a review and let us know! And don't forget--you're doing all your fellow reader guys a service when you tell us about terrific books. After all, when you write in, other guys know they're not hearing from some boring old grownup (though the Iron Guy defies ANYONE who calls him boring!), you're hearing from a boy, just like you. That means those books will be--
Hey, all you swinging dudes in blogland! (Baseball--bats--swinging----heh, heh, heh!!!!! Oh, me, how do I keep coming up with all those knee-slappers??!!??) I told you I'd write a post soon about baseball fiction and here it is. Actually, this post is a Blast From the Past because I'm recommending books that have been reviewed before. They were terrific then and they're still terrific now.
These books are about the early days of baseball. I just love reading about that period in the game because the stars were larger-than-life figures. They were more than heroes; they united the country by the great admiration and love people had for them. Baseball truly was the national pastime and everyone followed it. Here are some good reads about those days, with one contemporary story thrown in.
The first one isBill Penant, Babe Ruth, and Me by Timothy Tocher. You can read the original review here but it's halfway down that page. I'll reprint the relevant part for yout:
It's the 1920 baseball season. Young Hank Cobb spent the last summer working for John McGraw, manager of the New York Giants. After the season, McGraw sent Hank off to Anson Academy so the boy could get an education, but Hank absolutely hates school and doesn't see why he needs to be there. His great dream is to be a ball player; he can learn all he needs on the ballfield. Imagine his joy, then, when McGraw calls him out of school to work for the Giants again. But then imagine his surprise when he finds out his new job will be taking care of Bill Penant, the team mascot. And Bill Penant is a baby wildcat--a real wildcat, totally untamed! But that's not all; he also discovers that he must also "take care" of the Yankees' new player, Babe Ruth, who is rather untamed himself. (The Giants and Yankees shared a ball park back then) Can Hank work for both the Giants and Yankees? And what happens when this baby wildcat grows up? And will Hank ever go back to school or stay in the ballpark all his life? Want to know? Then you have to get this book and find out!
I tell you, if you get this one, you'll enjoy it for sure. It's funny, funny, funny--especially with all the scenes of Hank and the wildcat! But then, just as you think it'll be all fun and games, something serious happens that changes Hank's whole life. He has to face up to his fears and decide his future. Is he a coward? Or does he have what it takes? All guys have to answer that question at some point. Read it and see how Hank gets his answer.
The next one is the contemporary story. It's the terrific bookMudville by Kurtis Scaletta, first reviewed on 3-12-09. Let me reprint some things I wrote about it.
It's hard to believe that this is Mr. Scaletta's first book because it's so good. The basic idea is that these kids live in a town in which it has rained for 22 years!! Then, one day, it stops!! And it may have something to do with a baseball game 22 years ago, a foster brother, and Native American mysticism. I didn't talk about this book nearly enough when I reviewed it on 3-12-09. The characters act like real kids, the situation, strange as it is, iis totally believable, the story gets a big hold on you, and there's quite a twist at the end. You'll like it a lot!
It's 1961 and young Louis May lives with his father, stepmother, and stepbrother in White Plains, a suburb of New York City. Louis loves baseball and has a huge collection of baseball cards. In fact, he has memrozied all the information and statistics on all those cards. Imagine, then, his surprise when he gets to be a batboy for the Yankees! He gets to be friends with his two heroes, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and watches with anticipation as they try to break Babe Ruth's record for the most home runs in one season. Louis's stepbrother is jealous, however, and seems determine to ruin his life--even attempting a very low trick with Louis's baseball card collection. Will his stepbrother actually win? And do Maris and Mantle get to break the Babe's record? You can find out only by reading this terrific book!
And if you'd like to read my interview with Wes Tooke, click here.
Finally, we have the Sluggers series (some of the books were originally issued as the Barnstormers series) by Phil Bilden and Loren Long. This is still one of my all-time favorites. It would be hard to tell about all of them since there are six in the series but I'll repeat what I wrote about the third book on 4-25-08:
It's about the Payne family; the three kids Griffith, Ruby, Graham and their mom. Where's the father? He didn't come back from the Spanish-American War (the books are set in 1899) The father's friends from the war (they were all in Colonel Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders) formed a baseball team called the Travelin' Nine. They plan to go around the country and play exhibition games in order to raise money for the Payne family, who owes ten thousand dollars! The father left them his baseball, but when the kids put their hands on it, strange things, and I mean really strange things, happen during the games. Could the baseball be magic? And who is this creepy guy called The Chancellor and why does Uncle Owen tell the kids to beware of him? Why does Uncle Owen tell them that they are in very great danger, particularly young Graham? And, whatever they do, don't let the Chancellor know about the ball!!!You got to read these books!!! They'll suck you into the story and make you want to get the next one right away!!
If you want to find out more, click on the "Barnstormers" or "Sluggers" tabs under this post.
OK, guys, the World Series starts this week. Good time to find these books. And be sure to tell us what you think of them. Baseball and book fans are waiting to hear from you!
Yes, indeed, this is a great time of year because it's the month when the big three of sports converge--football, basketball and baseball. Football has been going on already; in fact, it's one-quarter of the way through the season. We in Charlotte have been watching our beloved Panthers struggle (pleeeaasseee don't get me started on last Sunday's game) but you'll find most of us glued to our sets every time they play. The Charlotte Bobcats start playing this month. OK--if you want to get technical, those are preseason games, but still, it's basketball! And it's hard to believe that, in this month of cool weather and falling leaves, there's still baseball. The World Series will be upon us in about three weeks. Now it seems to me that baseball is always associated with summer and should stop when things turn cold. But, doesn't matter--baseball is still the great iconic American sport. I just love reading about its colorful history and its larger-than-life characters. Here are a couple of really good books about the early days the official sport of summer.
You can watch baseball on TV but there's nothing like actually seeing a game in a real ballpark. This fascinating and beautifully-illustrated book gives a history of baseball parks from their very beginning. Find out why each ballpark is unique and why there is no standard way to build them. There's also a lot of interesting things to learn--the history of baseball, when New York was the "capital of baseball," how baseball invented Astroturf, and which pre-WWI ballparks are still around. This is a very interesting read.
Here's another great book about the history of baseball, full of stories of the giants of the game. And what stories they are! The chapters on Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson Mickey Mantle are terrific in themselves but there's a lot more. Find out why Ty Cobb was one the greatest players ever and why no one liked him,who was A. G. Spalding (and why we still see that name on sports equipment), who was "The Clown Prince of Baseball," which records will never be broken, and what Yogi Berra's real name is! This is one terrific book, guaranteed to keep you turning page after page. If you're a rabid fan or if you've never been to a game, this is one you should NOT pass up! In fact, this book gets--
The Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book!
That's some of the nonfiction about baseball. I'll write a post soon on baseball fiction and then some books on football and basketball. Stay tuned, sports and reading fans!