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1. #640 – Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10) by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

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Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10)

Written by Karla Oceanak
Illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press                   6/10/2014
978-1-934649-49-7
Age 7+           160 pages
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“Finding a dinosaur bone is like hitting the jackpot, right? Dino fossils are worth millions! Plus you get to b famous! You’re minding your own kid business when bam!—out of the mud pop fortune and glory. Ka-ching! That’s how I thought it would go, anyway, after my best friend, Jack, and I found a fossil in our neighborhood ditch. But as usual, grown-up rules made things way too complicated.”

Opening

“I wish we could play outside. This morning, I said that. I mean, I actually heard my own voice speak those exact words. Me. Aldo Zelnick.”

The Story

Aldo and his best friend, Jack, actually did go outside to play. It was cold and muddy causing the boys to slip and slid right into a neighborhood ditch. This is when Jack finds a big rock that, when cleaned, is much better than a rock. It is a fossil—a dinosaur fossil, right from their own backyard.

Aldo believes the fossil is worth millions of dollars and holds this hope out to the very end. Jack is thinking only of fame. A famous paleontologist, a famous middle grade paleontologist, would be cool, he thought. Jack holds out this hope to the very end. This is the only contention between Aldo and Jack: fame or fortune, but why not both!

The boys head to the natural history museum to find out what kind of fossil they found and, for Aldo, how much it is worth. Aldo thinks the museum will pay him on the spot—they do not. But, it is a dinosaur bone and the ditch might just have more bones. Now the boys must get the neighborhood to consent to digging up the ditch, and then find the rest of the dinosaur. Once done, Aldo and Jack will go on tour with their fame and fortunes. If only they can keep everyone out of the ditch until excavation day.

Jackpot_AldoZelnick_Denver_Museum

Review

When we last read about Aldo he was skiing in Ignoramus. Since then, Aldo and Jack have changed only incrementally, as they normally would. I like that the authors are not maturing the characters quickly. Of course, with twenty-six books, they have lots of room to let the characters blossom slowly. Still, Aldo may be in college by the time “Z” hits the shelves. Aldo is still using his diary to write about his life and then—oh, I meant his journal, so sorry. Sometimes a good character just sticks with you and Aldo is one of those characters. He also wants you to know he is an artist and draws some terrific scenes that help readers visualize his stories.

In “J,” for Jackpot, Aldo and his best friend Jack finally go outside to play. They do not pick the best day, as it is cold and the ground is muddy and slippery. Aldo and Jack slip and slide into a neighborhood ditch. In the ditch Jack loosens a great looking rock. The rock turns out to be a dinosaur bone and more could be in that ditch. Aldo thinks this is great fortune, as in money. Jack thinks this is fortunate, as in fame. He would love a dinosaur named after him. Aldo would probably like a bank, or at least the largest vault, named after him. They have hit the JACKPOT!

As in books A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I, J (for Jackpot) is crazy and funny with loads of mishaps, misunderstandings, and a girl interfering—or trying to—with Aldo and his journals. Jackpot is not a graphic novel. It contains enough text to keep the story on track and moving, but not so much as to crowd out the wonderful illustrations meant to be from Aldo. I love the detailed illustrations that greatly enhance the story. Aldo and Jack both sport Indiana Jones hats (fedoras). Kids will love the black and white “doodles” Aldo draws on nearly every page.

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I enjoyed Jackpot, reading it in one sitting. Middle grade kids—especially reluctant readers—will love this series. The characters are believable, multi-dimensional, likable and in many ways familiar to everyday life. Reluctant readers will appreciate the story staying on track and the short chapters. Kids can stop reading at any point, and when ready, easily reemerge back into the story. This is most terrific for reluctant readers who are at a distinct disadvantage with continuing a book midway through.

As far as the actual writing is concerned, the story stays on point even when Aldo goes off on a tangent. Aldo’s tangential thoughts are about money. In several illustrations, Aldo has made long lists of numbers needing added to project his coming wealth. The characters, especially Aldo and Jack, are easy to care about as the story progresses. If you have been reading the alphabet series known as Aldo Zelnick, you already care about Aldo and Jack, but the author makes no assumptions and brings new readers into the fan club.

Jackpot is the tenth book in Aldo’s series. I like that each of these books introduces new words that begin with that book’s letter. Jackpot, then, has words beginning with the letter “J.” Examples include jabbering, jack squat, jicama, and several French words like Joie de vivre and jugo de naranja. There is a glossary in the back, which defines each “J” word. In the text, the highlighted words are marked with an asterisk (*).

Jackpot_AldoZelnick_BaconBoy_IndianaJones

The Aldo Zelnick series is similar to The Wimpy Kid except that Jackpot, and every book thus far, have better defined illustrations. I like the “J” words in Jackpot. The glossary defines each of these words. I also like reading the comic Bacon Boy by Aldo Zelnick. How often do you get two books in one and both books are terrific? Aldo and Bacon Boy have a lot in common. I think Bacon Boy is Aldo and a safe, funny way for Aldo to document his childhood. Kids will laugh their hinnies off, no external exercise needed.

JACKPOT: AN ALDO ZELNICK COMIC NOVEL (#10). Text copyright © 2014 by by Karla Oceanak. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Kendra Spanjer. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bailiwick Press, Fort Collins, CO.

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Purchase Jackpot at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryBailiwick PressYour Favorite Bookstore.

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Learn more about Jackpot HERE.

Meet the author, Karla Oceanak, at her website:  http://www.karlaoceanak.com/

Meet the illustrator, Kendra Spanjer, at her website:   http://www.kendraspanjer.com/

Find more Aldo Zelnick books at the Bailiwick Press website:   http://www.bailiwickpress.com/

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Also by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

Ignoramus:  An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#9)

Ignoramus #9

Hotdogger  (#8)

Hotdogger (#8)

Read Hotdogger Review HERE.

Read Ignoramus Review HERE.

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: Aldo Zelnick, Bailiwick Press, children's book reviews, comics, Karla Oceanak, Kendra Soanjer, middle grade books

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2. Revolution: Review Haiku

Freedom Summer as
you haven't seen it before.
Pair this with Delphine.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles. Scholastic, 2014, 544 pages.

0 Comments on Revolution: Review Haiku as of 8/20/2014 7:51:00 AM
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3. MMGM Links (8/18/14)

Just got home from an AMAZING tour (if you came to one of the events--thank you sooooooooooo much. It was so fun getting to meet you!). So fair warning: after 5 events in 6 days, my brain is pretty much shot. I'm going to TRY to put together the MMGM links still, but if any of them are messed up, sorry!


- The Rad Reader is back to cheer for A SNICKER OF MAGIC Click HERE to see why.
- The B.O.B. is raving about COLOSSUS RISES. Click HERE to see their review.
- Jenni Enzor is curious about CURIOSITY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Reader Noir has chills for SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- Greg Pattridge is highlighting THE GIVER.  Click HERE to see why.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing and GIVING AWAY a copy of SAY IT AIN'T SO. Click HERE for details.  
- Mark Baker is riveted by THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Rcubed is captivated with FAITH, HOPE, AND IYY JUNE. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (8/18/14) as of 8/18/2014 7:45:00 AM
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4. West of the Moon: Review Haiku

Moody and odd, as
only Scandihoovians
can be. Quite a trip.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus. Amulet, 2014, 224 pages.

0 Comments on West of the Moon: Review Haiku as of 8/18/2014 7:13:00 AM
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5. Absolutely Almost: Review Haiku

Oh, Albie - let me
rescue you and Calista.
You can live with me.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. Philomel, 2014, 304 pages.

0 Comments on Absolutely Almost: Review Haiku as of 8/1/2014 6:40:00 PM
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6. Throwback Thursday: Ship of Souls

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott (2011, ARC) 
Amazon Publishing

Rating: 3.5/5

IQ "Kids on my block called 'reject'. Grown folks at church called me an 'old soul'. One girl at school told me I talked like a whiteboy. But when I ask Mom about it she just said, 'you are black. And nothing you say, or do, or pretend to be will ever change that fact. So just be yourself, Dmitri. Be who you are." pg. 3

Dmitri, known as D, is living with a foster family after his mother dies of breast cancer. D is used to having his foster mom all to himself, when she takes in Mercy, a crack-addicted baby he finds himself unable to cope. He is at a new school and while tutoring he becomes friend with Hakeem, a basketball star who needs extra math help and Nyla, a military brat both boys have crushes on. Sometimes after school D bird watches in Prospect Park and he discovers a mysterious bird, Nuru that can communicate with him. He enlists Hakeem and Nyla to help him help Nuru (who is injured) escape evil forces, the ghosts of soldiers that died during the Revolutionary War. They journey from Brooklyn to the African Burial Ground in Manhattan to assist Nuru in freeing the souls that reside there.

I wish some of the fantasy elements had been developed a bit further, such as Nuru's role, his dialogue also came across sounding a little ridiculous and heavy on the 'wise mentor' scale. The characters did come across as having a message. It is made very clear that Hakeem is Muslim and Nyla is 'different from the stereotype. I wish the individuality of the characters had come off in a more subtle way (for example when Hakeem describes how his older sister listed all Muslim basketball players to convince his dad to let him play. And then Hakim lists them all and weaves in tidbits about the hijab. It came across as stilted for middle school dialogue). But then again this book is intended for a younger audience who need it hammered in that it's dangerous to define people and put them in boxes. I also wish the book had been longer just by a few chapters, selfishly because I wanted more historical tidbits but also because I felt that the fantasy elements happened so fast as did the sudden strong friendship with Hakeem and Nyla. And the love triangle made me sad but that's not the author's fault! Although I would have been happy without it.

Yet again Zetta Elliott seamlessly blends together history and fantasy, Black American history that is often ignored in textbooks. Unlike the descriptions of the characters I found the historical tidbits woven in artfully. There are so many goodies in here about the importance of working with other people, that heroes need not go it alone. This is especially vital because the author makes it explicitly clear that D is unbearably lonely but he keeps himself isolated from other people because he doesn't want to be abandoned or disappointed or lose them in a tragic way as happened with his mother. The author does a great job of making you truly feel and understand D's loneliness and your heart aches for him. Also while I didn't think the friendship had enough time to really grow into the strong bonds that developed so quickly, it was a very genuine friendship (once you suspend your disbelief) in terms of doing anything and everything for your friends and believing the seemingly improbable. It is also clear that the author has a strong appreciation of nature and that makes the fantasy elements more interesting while also making it appear more realistic.

Ship of Souls is a great story that focuses on a portion and population of the American Revolution that is completely ignored by most history outlets. The fantasy world is well-thought out, I only wish the book had been longer to explain more about the world D and his friends get involved in as well as more time to believably develop their friendship. The characters are strong, but they were written with a heavy hand that tries hard to point out how they defy stereotypes.  I devoured the story not just because of the length but because it is so different from anything else out there and it's a lovely addition to the YA/MG fantasy world. I can't wait to see what the author does next and again I adored her first YA novel A Wish After Midnight. I recommend both books.

Disclosure: Received from the author, who I do consider a wonderful friend and mentor. Many thanks Zetta!

0 Comments on Throwback Thursday: Ship of Souls as of 8/14/2014 10:12:00 PM
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7. Review: Keeping Secrets by Maggie Dana

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I always have the urge to read a horsey book right before a horse show.  I kept seeing the Timber Ridge Riders series on Amazon, and wanted to check it out, so when I had the chance to do just that, I jumped at it.  I don’t ride hunt seat, so I always find depictions of hunter shows interesting.  The horse care details were spot on, and nothing made me cringe due to inaccuracies.  I’ll tell you what did make me cringe: the behavior of Kate’s rival, Angela.  What a spoiled, selfish girl!  If I was her coach, she would have been booted from my barn.  Her casual treatment of the animals and her teammates had me boiling mad!

Keeping Secrets is a middle grade book, but it will appeal to horse enthusiasts of all ages.  I felt so awful for protagonist Kate.  She has spent the last six months blaming herself for the death of  a horse at her old barn.  A convenient scape goat, she was kicked out, banished for allowing the horse to escape from his stall, get into the feed room, and colic.  What a crappy thing to do to a 14 year old girl.  The old trainer earned zero respect from me, and poor Kate, heartbroken over the loss of her favorite horse, decided that horses would no longer play a part in her life.  Kate’s disinterested father didn’t help her with her grief.  The guy, a professor, was never home, and he probably didn’t even know about the horrible experience Kate was struggling to deal with.  Instead, he traipsed around the planet research butterflies. 

With her father on a trip, she’s moved in with her aunt.  Kate wants a job, so when she hears about a babysitting job, she applies for it.  Her charge is actually her own age, and Holly has been confined to a wheelchair after an auto accident.  Kate’s job is to be her companion for the summer, so her mom can continue coaching riders at the barn behind their small house.  Barn?  Yes, barn!  So even though Kate wants nothing to do with horses, she is stuck having to deal with them every day.  Holly’s dream is to get back in the saddle again, and she drags Kate to the barn every day.  To hide her new discomfort around the animals, Kate lies and tells Holly that she’s terrified of them, and, oh, yeah, she’s allergic, too.  When her secret is outted, she has to earn back Holly’s trust, as well as help save Holly’s mom’s job.

This is a very fast paced read, and I couldn’t put it down.  Once Kate gets back in the saddle, things accelerate even more.  She has to help win a team competition, but guess what?  Angela is out to get her, because Kate rides better than she does, so Kate has to learn quickly to avoid Angela’s attempts to sabotage her.  I loved all of the conflict Angela started.  She’s the perfect girl you love to hate, but because her mother demands constant perfection from her, you feel a smidge, just a smidge!, of pity for her.  She’s afraid that Kate will show her up in front of her mother, and all her mother cares about is that Angela is the best.  Her mother also has a lot of control over whether or not Holly’s mother will keep her job, it turns out, so there’s even greater friction between the girls.  Add in the fact that Angela is a bully and likes to pick on what she considers weaker girls, and you really have the perfect villain.

I enjoyed Keeping Secrets, and I’m looking forward to more adventures with Kate and Holly.  I’m sure that Angela will continue to make trouble for the girls, making for more entertaining reading.

Grade:  B/B+  (I love the cover – that gets an A)

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A valuable horse is dead, and it’s all her fault, which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has banished horses and riding from her life … forever!

But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes her back to the barn—the last place Kate wants to be. 

Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who is fast becoming her best friend? And, more important, can she keep her secret from Angela Dean, a teenage bully who lives for only two things: winning ribbons and causing trouble? 

Kate manages to keep her secret hidden until an accident forces it into the open … and it’s just the moment Angela has been waiting for.

The post Review: Keeping Secrets by Maggie Dana appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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8. The Fourteenth Goldfish: Review Haiku

Deeper than it looks
and expertly wrought.
Give that fish a sticker, eh?

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. Random House, 2014, 208 pages.

0 Comments on The Fourteenth Goldfish: Review Haiku as of 8/13/2014 6:20:00 AM
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9. #634 – Double Reverse by Fred Bowen

         PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

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Double Reverse

by Fred Bowen
Peachtree Publishers               8/01/2014
978-1-56145-814-1
Age 7 to 12                 144 pages
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“READY . . . SET . . . HUT ONE!

“Jesse Wagner has run pass patterns with his older brother Jay since he was a little kid. Now Jay’s heading to college and Jesse’s a wide receiver for the high school freshman team, the Panthers. The season starts off badly, and things get even worse when the Panthers quarterback is injured. Jay suggests that Jesse try out as QB. Jesse knows the playbook backwards and forwards, but he feels that he’s too small for the role. He just doesn’t look the part. Can he play against type and help the Panthers become a winning team?”

Opening

“Ready . . . set . . . hut one!” Jesse Wagner and his older brother Jay were running pass patterns at Hobbs Park, just as they had a thousand times before.”

The Story

Jesse Wagner is finally in high school and the wide receiver for the freshman football team. Quinn (right tackle), and Langston (reserve wide receiver), two of Jesse’s best friends, also play on the Panther freshman football team. Jesse has been running pass patterns with his older brother, Jay and now knows all of the plays the Panthers use without referencing the playbook. Jay, last year’s All-Conference quarterback, is now off to Dartmouth College to play quarterback there.

Henry, the freshman quarterback for the freshman Panthers, poor kid, is confused about every play, cannot seem to remember any of them, and his throws are too short or too long, too high or too wide. Henry looks like an all-star quarterback and will scare the other team . . . until the first play. Jesse nearly suffers a concussion trying to go after a bad pass from Henry. The one who does get hurt is Henry. A Panther lineman stumbles into Henry causing a season ending injury.

Meanwhile, Jay is a good quarterback, but so are many other boys. He does not get the job. His coach wants him to play safety. Home for the weekend to decide if he will quit the team or play safety, Jay talks to Jesse while throwing around a football. Jay agrees to accept safety if Jesse agrees to try out for quarterback, now t hat Henry is gone the position is open. Deal made, Jay returns to Dartmouth and Jesse asks to try out. The assistant coach thinks the shorter than the average quarterback could work. The coach is not buying it. A few practice plays and Jesse has won the position and the nickname “Tark” after Fran Tarkington, a short quarterback that ruled the game in the NFL. Only problem is, with quarterback shored up, another game-busting problem becomes visible: the kicking game sucks. The Panthers sorely need a kicker that can kick beyond midfield.

Savannah, who happens to play the other football game (soccer), as the goalie, can kick the ball with a huge depth and a long hang-time impressing Jesse and his friends, and giving them an outrageous idea. Jesse suggests they ask Savannah to kick for their football team. Savannah is intrigued, but will the coaches? Will the freshman football coaches sign off on a girl football player? Will the girls soccer coach sign off on his best player leaving the team to play football? Can Savannah even make a difference to the plagued freshman Panther football team?

Review

Double Reverse highlights high school football, three stars of the game, and situations that place all three in odd positions. For Jay, a big man on a high school campus, he easily becomes a little man on a college campus, and Jay is having trouble accepting this. He thinks ending his football career is a better idea than taking his talent in another direction. He seriously considers quitting the team—and his Dartmouth education—rather than change his positions and play safety.

From Panther's Playbook

From Panther’s Playbook

Jesse is a great wide receiver, or he would be great if the quarterback could ever get the ball to him. Then injury takes Henry—the quarterback—out during the first game. The Panthers do not have a viable quarterback and Jay thinks Jesse can do it. Jesse believes he is too short to play quarterback—he just does not look the part as Henry did, but Henry couldn’t throw the ball or remember plays so what kind of help was his quarterback looks? The brothers make a pact to try the other positions. Turns out, both are great in their new spots and both are happy.

I enjoyed reading Double Reverse. It has a lot of football action and even gives away some of the panther’s playbook. Double Reverse is also about reinventing yourself when the need or opportunity arises. It is about diversifying yourself, rather than being one set thing all your life. I get how Jay feels, but I do not understand how he could risk his education. Jesse and Savannah both soon learn perception and reality do not always match when they are good at positions neither saw themselves at—Jesse as quarterback and Savannah as goalie (soccer) and then kicker (football).

Jesse's Inspired Change of Play

Jesse’s Inspired Change of Play

Girls will love the character of Savannah who does not want to be the goalie, yet turns out to be a killer goalie. When the boys need her, she reinvents herself as a football player and helps her friends finally win a game. Savanna reflects the change in football with more and more girls playing at the high school level and commend the author for inventing this character and making her so fresh and vibrant. There is a lot of ego in girl’s sports, and girls will enjoy that Savannah’s kicking game is the reason the football team wins a game.

Mainly, Double Reverse shows the importance of growth as children age and experience new things. Sometimes it is good to be the best. Other times it is good to be a team player and sacrifice your glory for the team’s glory. I am not interested in football, yet enjoyed Double Reverse very much, and understand the game better after reading this book. I actually loved all the action during the games. After the story are the true stories of two legends, Fran Tarkington and Cal Ripken, both thought to be wrong to play their respective positions in the pros and the inspiration for Double Reverse.

Dartmouth College "Big Green" Roster

Dartmouth College “Big Green” Roster

No one is expecting a winning season, but the Panthers find ways to overcome the odds against them, some by breaking stereotypes and putting the team before themselves—Henry does this upon his return. Boys and girls that like football, be it the American European, will love reading Double Reverse. The story is much more than a football story, making it appealing to both boys and girls, and it’s a story the reluctant reader can savor thanks to shorter sentences and an uncomplicated vocabulary. Double Reverse is an all-around winning story.

DOUBLE REVERSE. Text copyright © 2014 by Fred Bowen. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by XXXXXXXXX. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlantic, GA.

Purchase a copy of Double Reverse at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Publishersat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Double Reverse HERE.

Meet the author, Fred Bowen, at his website:   http://www.fredbowen.com/

Find other great books at the Peachtree Publishers website:  http://peachtree-online.com/

Also Writte by Fred Bowen

The Kid Coach

The Kid Coach

Winners Take All

Winners Take All

Soccer Team Upset

Soccer Team Upset

Off the Rim

Off the Rim

Perfect Game

Perfect Game

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Reviewed HERE.

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

Double Reverse

Monday 8/11
The Write Path     http://www.dorinewhite.blogspot.com/

Tuesday 8/12
Kid Lit Reviews     http://kid-lit-reviews.com/
Geo Librarian     http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 8/13
Librarian in Cute Shoes     http://www.librarianincuteshoes.blogspot.com/

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Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: chidren's book reviews, Dartmouth College Big Green, Fred Bowen, girls high school soccer, girls playing high school football, high shool football, middle grade book, Peachtree Publishers, transforming yourself in sports

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10. MMGM Links (8/11/14)

Things seem to keep getting crazier around here, so once again, I don't have an MMGM shoutout. But that's because I'm on tour this week. If you're in LA, Fresno, Reno, Portland, or Seattle here's where you can find me:

Hope to see some of you there--and now, on to the links!!!

- The Rad Reader joins the MMGM fun with a feature on THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY. Click HERE to welcome her to the group! 
- The B.O.B. has been swept away with OUT OF THE DUST. Click HERE to see their review.
- Samantha at Bookish Serendipity is spotlighting SAVING KABUL CORNER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Reader Noir is highlighting LOOT. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- Greg Pattridge is dishing about THE SHORT SELLER.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is gushing about WRITTEN IN STONE. Click HERE for his take. 
- Mark Baker is rooting for THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--COUSINS AND ROBBERS: TALES OF BLACK JACK JETTY. Click HERE for details.  
- Michelle Isenhoff is caught up in WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Katie Fitzgerald is loving TRUTH AND KISSES. Click HERE to see why.
- Jennifer at 5 Minutes for Books is raving about  TIME OF THE FIREFLIES. Click HERE to read her feature.
- Annie McMahon reveals her cover, and discusses her reasons for Indie-Publishing. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Suzanne Warr sees nothing ordinary about THE ORDINARY PRINCESS. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Rcubed thinks MAGYK is absolutely magical. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is interviewing author Nancy Castaldo and GIVING AWAY a copy of SNIFFER DOGS. Click HERE for details.  
- Roseanne Parry is drawn to THE ONE SUMMER. Click HERE to see why.  
 - Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (8/11/14) as of 8/11/2014 8:10:00 AM
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11. The Great Greene Heist: Review Haiku

Is it creepy that
I want Jackson to be my
boyfriend? Probably.

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson. Scholastic/Levine, 2014, 240 pages.

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12. The LIght in the Cellar (A Molly Mystery) by Sarah Masters Buckey

Everyone at school needs to sign up to do volunteer work for the war effort of some kind and Molly McIntire really wants to join the Junior Red Cross with her friends Susan and Linda.  But Emily Bennett, an evacuee from the London Blitz who has been staying with the McIntire's since she arrived in the U.S., wants to volunteer to be a magazine delivery girl at the Oak Knoll Convalescent Hospital.  That way, she can visit her Aunt Prim, recovering from pneumonia.  Emily was supposed to live with Aunt Prim for the duration of the war, but is living with the McIntire's instead until she recovers.

But before any magazines can be delivered, Emily needs to learn how to ride a bike, since that is their only means of transportation to Oak Knoll.  One evening, Molly, Susan and Linda take Emily to a deserted road by the old (haunted?) Greystone Manor.  While there, they notice a light in the cellar is on.

Shortly after this, Molly's mother discovers seven 10 pound bags of sugar are missing from the Red Cross office, where they are kept.  The supplies are used to bake cookies for the soldiers on the troop trains passing through.  Sugar is rationed and can't be replaced.  Oddly, Molly overhears a conversation at Oak Knoll that supplies there are missing as well.  Could someone be stealing these valuable supplies to sell on the black market?

Surprised, Molly finds she enjoys being a magazine delivery girl and meeting the different patients at Oak Knoll, especially Mrs. Currier, who lives in Greystone Manor.  When Mrs. Currier asks Molly to go get her reading glasses from the house, Molly agrees despite being more than a little creeped out.  While there with Emily the next day, a black truck pulls up to the house and two men start carrying in packages and putting them in the basement.  Trouble is, they forget to put the spare key to the Manor back where it belongs and must return again.

Bringing Linda and Susan with them, Molly and Emily return to the Manor with the key.  While there, they decide to look in the basement window and, sure enough, there are the missing bags of sugar from the Red Cross and Oak Knoll.

But who could be doing something like this?  Mr. Laurence, who delivers Oak Knoll's laundry, tells Molly to be careful are Marta, a Polish refuge with a young daughter, hinting that the missing items are because of her, but Molly refuses to believe that, especially not after what Auntie Prim says about her.

What to do?  Can Molly and her friends actually set a trap to catch the thief before all those supplies disappear on the black market?

The Light in the Cellar is a middle grade novel that is full of adventure and excitement, but of a kinder, gentler nature than many of the WWII books I've reviewed for young readers.  For today's readers, though, the amount of freedom 9 year old Molly enjoys to ride her bike and just hang out with her friends may surprise them.  I know it did my Kiddo when she read them.

However, there are a few plot holes.  How long has Mrs. Currier been at Oak Knoll if Molly and her friends have always thought of Greystone Manor as haunted and falling into disrepair and why didn't Mrs. Currier have her reading glasses already if it has been so long?

Still, the historical facts in the novel are well-researched story by an author who is very familiar with American Girl values and has written a number of books about the historical figures that were the original purpose of the Pleasant Company before it was sold to Mattel.

And my Kiddo learned a lot because American Girl books involving historical figures like Molly McIntire are always written so that they give young readers a good idea of what life might have been like for girls their age, and the mysteries are not different.  The Light in the Cellar introduces kids to rationing and ration books, and the black market, to the work of Red Cross volunteers, to plane spotting by kids like Molly's older brother Ricky, and, of course, to scrap collecting - all so much a part of life during WWII.

However, I did like that Molly and Emily got a little testy with each other, showing that sometimes friendships can be strained no matter what the circumstances and letting readers know that Molly, like themselves, isn't perfect.  Then again, sometimes the McIntires forgot that Emily wasn't one of them and treated her like another sister, which proved to please her very much.

All of the American Girl historical figures have a series of mystery stories like Molly's, so if your young reader is showing an interest in mysteries and/or history, these are great starter book (and a nice prelude to novels like Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy among others).

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was purchased for my Kiddo's personal library


0 Comments on The LIght in the Cellar (A Molly Mystery) by Sarah Masters Buckey as of 8/6/2014 9:52:00 PM
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13. Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done: Review Haiku

Better than its
predecessor, but still -- it
coulda been funnier.

Now Look What You've Done (Timmy Failure #2) by Stephen Patsis. Candlewick, 2014, 288 pages.

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14. #630 – Twice Told Tales: Cassie and the Woolf by Olivia Snowe & Michelle Lamoreaux

cover.

Twicetold Tales: Cassie and the Woolf

written by Olivia Snowe
illustrated by Michelle Lamoreaux
Stone Arch Books       8/01/2014
978-1-4342-6278-3
Age 8 to 12 128 pages

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“Once (or twice) upon a time, a girl named Cassie brought supper to her grandmother. But in this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Cassie doesn’t know that Caleb Woolf gets to her grandmother first. When Cassie finds out what Caleb has done, she is determined to get revenge. Whatever it takes, Cassie is ready. She will fight the Woolf . . . “

Opening

“Cassie Cloak held her red raincoat closed at the neck.”

The Story

Cassie Cloak stops at a deli after school then delivers supper to her grandmother. Caleb’s basketball game with friends breaks up leaving Caleb alone and hungry, but unwilling to go home. He can smell the chicken soup and sandwiches in Cassie’s deli containers as she dodges the rain. He also hears Cassie decline a ride from the deli man and the address of grandma’s apartment complex. Caleb times it so he “runs into” Cassie on the street, but is not the most cordial guy. Cassie is glad when he leaves.

At grandmother’s apartment complex, Cassie checks on grandma but collides with the bathroom door instead, falling unconscious to the floor. Later she unties grandma and realizes the black hoodie left in the bathroom belongs to Caleb. He had ambushed grandma, knocked out Cassie, and left with their supper. Cassie and grandma plan their revenge. Cassie invites Caleb to dinner. He accepts, planning to retrieve his hoodie before anyone else sees it. (He figures Cassie had not seen it else, she would not invite him to dinner. Or was it a trap.) Caleb went back and forth with this debate throughout the day.

Grandma opens up windows so the smell of her soup and roast will flow down the street, enticing Caleb. She knew Caleb could not resist the aroma of her cooking, just in case he was going to stand her up. Promptly buzzed past security, Caleb walks through grandma’s ajar apartment door, which shuts quickly behind him. Caleb announces his presence, but hears nothing in return. He is alone. With the doors are locked—from the outside—and the windows are sealed shut, no one can hear Caleb when he realizes the horror of his mistake.

Review

I read Cassie and the Woolf in one sitting. The story is a mere 128 pages but I couldn’t put it down if broccoli began to burn on my stove, again. It is that good. This modern retelling’s setting is an after-dark dangerous downtown. Most every shop has closed and Cassie and Caleb pass no one on the streets. Add in a fierce rainstorm and the elements are set for a horror showdown. Caleb is a brut of a boy with little manner or social skills. His claim to fame at the middle school he shares with Cassie is his basketball skills. When they meet, Cassie has no idea who Caleb is and it might have turned his anger ugly. He proceeds to bounce his basketball into a puddle, soaking Cassie. It is no secret what Caleb Woolf—the wolf—is going to do at Cassie—Little Red’s grandmother’s home. It is what happens after that will draw readers in the most.

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Both Cassie and her grandma are formidable foes, unlike the original story where the wolf eats them both. In this retelling, the woolf, I mean wolf, will get his due. What happens when Caleb finds himself trapped inside grandma’s apartment will not scare anyone. I quite enjoyed the scheme, not once figuring out what was happening until it happened. Even the ending threw me off. I can’t say much more or story spoils would fill the page. I will say the writing and potting are masterfully done, never letting the reader figure out the next step until Cassie and grandma take it..

The characters are believable and easy to care about, including Caleb Woolf. You have sympathy for him shortly after meeting him, alone, his stomach growling, and unable to go home. He slowly turns into the wolf. As he walks with Cassie, he slowly becomes more annoying. After he has eaten Red’s supper, Caleb’s stomach hurts from over ingestion and he actually feels a bit remorseful, though I think he is confusing gastritis with remorse. I felt bad for Caleb at that moment—a little—and hoped Cassie’s revenge would not hurt him. But then the following day Caleb treats Cassie unkindly and the sympathy waned. Caleb’s character is a rollercoaster between decent and awful.

2

Middle grade aged kids will enjoy Cassie and the Woolf. Nothing in the story will spark nightmares or upset kids in the least—unless they are a fan of the wolf. No one dies; no one is shot, knifed, or beat up. Violence is at a minimal level. Suspense rises as slow as possible once Caleb enters grandma’s apartment and finds he is alone. From the moment Caleb sees his washed and folded hoodie, he knows something bad is going to happen; that he had walked into a trap. Readers who open Cassie and the Woolf will find they love the build up, the suspense, the basketball-bouncing walk through downtown streets, and the dinner invite given at school. Cassie and the Woolf is a fun read and an excellent modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Middle grade and older kids will enjoy this fairy tale once more. I’d expect nothing less from an author whose last name is Snowe.

TWICETOLD TALES: CASSIE AND THE WOOLF. Text copyright © 2014 by Olivia Snowe. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Michelle Lamoreaux. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Stone Arch Books, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Cassie and the Woolf at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryStone Arch Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Twicetold Tales HERE.
Meet the author, Olivia Snowe, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Michelle Lamoreaux, at her website:
Find more stories at the Stone Arch Books website:    http://stonearchbooks.blogspot.com/

Stone Arch Books is a Capstone imprint.   http://www.capstonepub.com/

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Also in 2014 by Olivia Snowe & Michelle Lamoreaux.

A Home in the Sky (Twicetold Tales)

A Home in the Sky (Twicetold Tales)

Beauty and the Basement (Twicetold Tales)

Beauty and the Basement (Twicetold Tales)

Dandelion and the Witch (Twicetold Tales)

Dandelion and the Witch (Twicetold Tales)

Hansen and Gracie (Twicetold Tales)

Hansen and Gracie (Twicetold Tales)

The Girl and the Seven Thieves (Twicetold Tales)

The Girl and the Seven Thieves (Twicetold Tales)

The Sealed-Up House (Twicetold Tales)

The Sealed-Up House (Twicetold Tales)

casiie and the woolf

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Abigail Samoun, Capstone, Little Red Riding Hood retold, Michelle Lamoreaux, Olivia Snowe, retold tales, Stone Arch Books

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15.

LOT'S going on around here, between drafting, SCBWI LA this weekend, and the EXILE paperback coming out tomorrow (stop by for an awesome giveaway tomorrow to celebrate). Plus I'm touring all next week (click HERE to see where you can meet me). So I don't have an MMGM shoutout, but I do have links!

- Samantha at Bookish Serendipity joins the MMGM fun with three mini middle grade reviews. Click HERE to see what they are. 
- Birdie Reader is singing praises for LOKI'S WOLVES. Click HERE to see what she thought. Natalie 
- Alex at Randomly Reading is raving about THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Reader Noir is curious about CURIOSITY. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- Greg Pattridge is bugging about EVERYBODY BUGS OUT.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten has chills for THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES. Click HERE for his take. 
- Mark Baker is looking back at an old classic: THE HARDY BOYS: TOWER TREASURE. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--COUSINS AND ROBBERS: TALES OF BLACK JACK JETTY. Click HERE for details.  
- Michelle Isenhoff is glowing for FLORA AND ULYSSES. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Katie Fitzgerald is loving REVENGE OF THE FLOWER GIRLS. Click HERE to see why.
- Dorine White is smiling for SMILE. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Annie McMahon is fearing THE WRATH OF SIREN. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
 - Roseanne Parry is drawn to the illustrated version of WEE FREE MEN. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rcubed is talking about why she loves Andrew Clements. Click HERE to read more. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is featuring THE OTHER HALF OF MY HEART and GIVING AWAY a signed hardcover. Click HERE for details.  
- Jess at the Reading Nook is all whipped up for DASH. Click HERE to see why. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on as of 8/4/2014 8:16:00 AM
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16. Sisters: Review Haiku

Honest, heart-breaking,
totally funny. I gave it
to my sister.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. GRAPHIX/Scholastic, 2014, 208 pages.

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17. #628 – Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption by Mark Myers

virgil creech 1.

Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption

written by Mark Myers

published by Mark Myers                  12/19/2013

978-0-61587615-3

Age 8 to 13     222 pages

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“Welcome to the sleepy little town of Portsong, Georgia where there is a struggle a foot. Unbeknownst to the current owner, Virgil Creech has his selfish eyes set on taking back a dog he considers his. To be fair, as the youngest of nine bickering and bustling brothers, Virgil has always had to fight for the few things he could call his own. In this case, the property in question ran away from Virgil several months prior and now wants nothing to do with the boy, for he has found a happy home with the kindly Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle. Undetered, Virgil teams up with  reluctant friend, Henry Lee, to retrieve the dog.”

Opening

“That was a mark!” yelled Henry as he disappeared behind the row of elm trees to round up the ball.”

The Story

Four friends, Virgil, Henry, Willy, and Joe are playing in the town green (like a park) when Virgil kicks the ball hard and too high hitting Colonel Birdwhistle in the back of the head, knocking him out onto the pavement. The boys cautiously check to see if he is alive and Virgil accidentally causes Birdwhistle to hit his head again, knocking him cold. Later, at the hospital, Willy and Joe check on Birdwhistle and leave believing the boys have caused Birdwhistle to become blind. Willy, Joe, and Henry decide to find a dog, train it as a Seeing Eye dog, and give him to the Colonel.

At the city dump, the boys find a dirty, matted, and awful smelling mongrel. Henry gives the dog a half-hour session in leading the blind, and then takes the dog to the hospital, leaving it in Birdwhistle’s room. The Colonel takes the mutt home, cleans him up, and decides to keep him. The dog, now named Oscar, is now a happy dog.

Virgil realizes Oscar his is dog and is mad that Birdwhistle stole the dog from him. According to Virgil, Birdwhistle came right into his house and took Bertie (same dog, different name). Virgil is determined to get his dog back and enlists the help of his one friend, Henry Lee. Henry is determined to keep Virgil sway from Oscar. To complicate matters, a nationwide contest for a trip to Africa gets the town, including Virgil, up in a tizzy. Virgil knows he is the winner and must just wait for the day his name is called. When he returns from Africa, he will then get his dog back. But Colonel Birdwhistle has been entered hundreds of times by townsfolk who appreciate and admire him. Birdwhistle wins, causing Virgil to believe the Colonel has now stolen two things from him. He is madder than two Creech boys fighting over a chicken drumstick are. How will Henry contain Virgil and keep Oscar safe and with Birdwhistle. Can he do it?

Review

Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption tells the story of two boys, Virgil, Henry, a British transplant, and the man’s dog, Oscar. Virgil is a mean boy, the last of nine boys. Not a day goes by that he is not beat or taken advantage by one of his brothers. In turn, Virgil always has a chip on his shoulder, beats up kids at school, must always get his way, and has no friends. Virgil’s temper is as short as a temper can possibly be. Henry is a kind, well-mannered boy from a fine family. After Virgil kicks a ball that knocks-out Colonel Birdwhistle, the boys, especially Henry and Virgil, are thrown together for survival.

The well-planned and well-written story will keep you turning the pages. The author understands the psyche of the twelve-year-old boy and offers explanations and comments throughout the book. At first, I thought these annoying, but as more and more pages turned, the narrative became more natural, the comments regarding boys in general became interesting, and the story became a smooth ride, except for the Virgil bumps along the way. Packed with humor, tender moments, and upheaval only two young boys can cause, Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption will please adults as well as kids.

I enjoyed the story, which focused more on Henry and his life than on the main character, Virgil. As one reviewer has already pointed out, Henry should be the protagonist. Virgil is a perfect antagonist and causes most of Henry’s stress. Once Henry understands how Virgil treated his dog and how the dog ended up living in the city dump, he vows to keep Oscar with the Colonel. Even Oscar stays away from Virgil, refusing to go anywhere he can smell the boy—which is not hard for anyone to do. At one point, the author states that Virgil is the only Creech that did a selfless act. Not so, the two brothers who rescued Bertie (Oscar in a former life), and cared for the dog, albeit in a dump, thought only of the dog, not themselves. Seems any Creech could have a heart deep within his chest.

There are no illustrations in the story. Oscar is a small dog, one that Henry can easily pick up. The dog on the cover is not small. I do like the angry hate-the-world scowl on Virgil’s face. This accurately portrays the boy’s disposition. While reading the story, Colonel Birdwhistle looked very near the image on the cover. The houses seem out of place for an area of town filled with green grass. Maybe on the other side they would be correct. Having saidall that, for someone who has not read the story, the cover is inviting and makes you want to know what the scamp on the cover has done.

I am not overly fond of the trick Birdwhistle and George, Henry’s father, plays on the town when Birdwhistle decides not to accept the trip he won, without entering himself. I like the first part, but what is the difference, as Henry asks, between leaving for three months and hiding out, without your dog, for three months. The Colonel does not want to leave the town, where he feels accepted and a member of nearly every family, yet he is still gone from the children and the story hour Birdwhistle did not want to miss. It would have made more sense for the Colonel to feign an illness. The author wanted a twist that would delight the reader but I think this failed to hit the mark.

Kids who love adventure or family-spun stories will enjoy Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption. For his first book, Myers offered readers a well-crafted story, less the twist. There is a second Virgil Creech story to be released this Fall. I cannot wait to find out what bothers Virgil enough to make his face “glow red.” It is entitled, Virgil Creech Sings for His Supper. There is no preview, so make of this title as you will. Just the idea of Virgil singing scares me.

For a middle grade boy’s perspective of Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption  click HERE.

VIRGIL CREECH TAKES A SWIPE AT REDEMPTION. Text copyright © 2013 by Mark Myers.

To purchase your copy of Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption go to AmazonB&NBook DepositoryAuthor’s Websiteyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption  HERE.

Meet the author, Mark Myers, at his website:    https://portsong.wordpress.com/

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virgil creech 1

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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evil fairies love hairm

Don’t forget! Evil Fairies Love Hair releases AUGUST 5th. As a reminder, the review is HERE.

Get it at Amazon   B&N    Book Depository    Clarion 


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: 1920's, boy's book, bullies, children's book reviews, family relationships, friends, Mark Myers, middle grade novel, Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption

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18. The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr

In the Summer of 1941, the manager of the large animal reserve in the Ukraine, Askaniya-Nova, told his senior caretaker Maxim Borisovich Melnik to kill all the animals before the Germans arrived and did it themselves to replenish their dwindling food supplies.

But Max can't bring himself to do it, and when the Nazis arrive and take over the reserve, he is sure that the Well-educated, well-bred, well-spoken Captain Grenzman will spare the animals, especially his beloved untamable Przewalski's horses.  But soon it is winter and the soldiers have to eat and little by little, the animals on the reserve are killed until only the small herd of Przewalski's horses are left.

Until the day Grenzman tells Max that he has received his orders from Berlin to "remove from the animal population of the Greater German Reich what is, after all, a biologically unfit species, in order to protect the line of decent domesticated horses…from possible contamination by your wandering pit ponies." (pg 25) Besides, the Nazis have run out of food again.

Meanwhile, Kalinka, 15, the only Jewish survivor of a Nazi mass shooting that included her entire family, has found her way to Askaniya-Nova, where she befriends and is befriended by the lead stallion and mare of the Przewalski's herd there, a most unusual thing for these horses to do.

Like Max, Kalinka witnesses and is horrified by the killing of the herd of Przewalski's horses and when it was over, she goes looking for the mare and stallion who had helped save her life to see if there is anything she can do for them.  Not finding them, Kalinka returns to her hiding place, only to discover that the two horses have made their way back there, too.  But the mare has a bullet lodged in her shoulder and Kalinka knows she needs to seek help from Max.

Max is overjoyed to see the two Przewalski's and welcomes Kalinka with open arms.  He removes the bullet and puts the two horses and Kalinka in the abandoned waterworks buildings not far from his cottage.  But soon, that becomes a dangerous place for them, as well, and the two hatch a plan to get both the horses and Kalinka to where they can find safety with the Red Army.

It's a dangerous plan, but if it doesn't work, it will be the end of the Przewalski's horses.

The Winter Horses is based somewhat on the real shooting of Przewalski's horses by the Nazis during WWII, but the rest of the story should not be seen as a history but as a legend, which contains only an element of historic fact, but also has a rather mythical quality.  Or at least, that is how Philip Kerr introduces this story of an unlikely hero, heroine and the two horses they want to save, and which accounts for the very understated element of fantasy in the novel.

I though that because of this legend quality Kerr gave his story, that writing the novel with an omniscient third person point of view really worked well.  It provided just the kind of distancing that a novel like this needs.  In fact, it reminded me of the original Kinder- und Hausmärchen by the Brothers Grimm, which all had that same dichotomy of cruelty and kindness to them (unlike their prettified, disneyfied fairy tales counterparts of today) found  in The Winter Horses.

Even so, I suspect that this is may be as difficult a story to read for others as it was for me.  The calm cruelty of Captain Grenzman and his obsessive need to eradicate the all horses was almost unbearable, mainly because it was so analogous to what was being done to the entire Jewish population.

Still, I highly recommend The Winter Horses to anyone with an interest in WWII, and given what is going on in the Ukraine at the moment, readers may find this even more of an interesting read, asking themselves, as I did, will history be repeating itself here?  After all, the Askaniya-Nova reserve still exists in the southern Ukraine.

Philip Kerr is a favorite author of mine, having written a wonderful mystery series about a detective named Bernie Gunther set in pre-war Berlin for adult readers.  The Winter Horses is his first historical fiction for young readers (but not his first work for kids - as Ms. Yingling points out in her review, Philip Kerr also wrote a fantasy series, Children of the Lamp,  under the name P.B.Kerr).

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was purchased for my personal library

Random House has an educator's guide to The Winter Horses complete with CCSS tie-ins that can be downloaded HERE

If you would like to know more about Przewalski's horses, you might this article in Scientific American  interesting, or this entry on Wikipedia giving the history of Przewalski's horses or the history of Askaniya-Nova

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19. MMGM Links (7/21/14)

Scrambling to prep for Comic Con--and finishing up my final read on EVERBLAZE--so alas, no MMGM shout-out this week. But if you're going to be at Comic Con, here's hoping I'll see you. I'm signing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth at 3:00pm on Thursday.

Oh, and thank you all SO MUCH for all your enthusiasm and excitement about KEEPER #4. I'm so thrilled I get to write that book for you. Team KEEPER High Five!!!


Okay, on to the MMGM links!!!!

- Samantha at Books for Serendipity joins the MMGM fun with a feature on COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.  
- Christina Mercer is also joining the MMGM fun with a feature on TAYLOR DAVIS AND THE FUNNEL OF FINDUL. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Suzanne Warr is highlighting LAWN BOY. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Rcubed is flipping for FLIPPED. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Barbara Watson is spotlighting some of her favorite middle grade reads of the year. Click HERE to see why.
- Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books is finding THE MEANING OF MAGGIE. Click HERE for details. 
- The B.O.B. is entranced with THE HYPNOTISTS. Click HERE to see why.   
- Reader Noir has chills for CORALINE. Click HERE to read their review.
- Mark Baker is shaken by EARTHQUAKE SHOCK. Click HERE to see his review.  
- Jenni Enzor is caught at THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is cheering for NICKEL BAY NICK.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michelle Isenoff is swooning over PRINCE OF MALORN. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Dorine White is on the edge of her seat for THE AVATAR BATTLE. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--a signed copy of BIRD. Click HERE for details. 
- Roseanne Parry is dancing for FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE! Click HERE to read her review. 
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.     



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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20. MMGM Links (7/28/14)

So...my brain is dead. Comic Con killed it. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was also SO MUCH FUN. But yeah. 5 days of crowds and noise and general sensory overload? I've got brain leaking out of my ears.

So I'm going to try to put together the MMGM links, but it's highly possible there will be errors. And if there are, SORRY, but please don't email me asking me to fix them. I have so much to catch up on, I won't have time to revise this post.

Okay, here goes...

- Alex at Randomly Reading is cheering for BETTER NATE THAN EVER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing author Julie Mary Gibson and GIVING AWAY an ARC of COPPER MAGIC. Click HERE for details. 
- Jessica at Books for Serendipity is riveted by MIRROR MAZE. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Katie at Storytime Secrets is featuring the first two books in THE CHARMED LIFE series. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Suzanne Warr is highlighting AIRMAN. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Rcubed has been swept away with HALF UPON A TIME . Click HERE to read her review.  
- Andrea Mack has been carried away by A HUNDRED HORSES . Click HERE to see why.
- Reader Noir is loving STILL LIFE. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- The B.O.B. has a list of books to help you get in the swing of things for school starting. Click HERE to see what they are.   
- Jenni Enzor is singing praises for the THE SECRET LIFE OF A DAISY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is chasing THE SPY CATCHERS OF MAPLE HILL.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is is ALSO singing praises for THE SECRET LIFE OF A DAISY. Click HERE for his take. 
- Mark Baker is championing THE 101 DALMATIONS. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--COUSINS AND ROBBERS: TALES OF BLACK JACK JETTY. Click HERE for details. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (7/28/14) as of 7/28/2014 9:40:00 AM
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21. New Website Address for Danette Haworth!

Hello all!

Somehow, my dot com domain name got swiped a few weeks ago. I'm trying to get the dot com address back, but now Danette Haworth is dot net website!

Yay! I'm back online!

0 Comments on New Website Address for Danette Haworth! as of 7/28/2014 5:20:00 PM
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22. MIDDLE-GRADE FANTASY (for the beach AND the classroom)

Looking for some recommendations for a middle grader who loves fantasy? Well, we’ve got just the list for you!

Here are some stellar picks for the kid looking for magical powers, mysterious forests, heros, and villains to take to the beach with him.

The Thickety

THE THICKETY, by J. A. White, is the start of a new fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden but exists in the dark woods called the Thickety. This book would be a great recommendation for fans of the Septimus Heap series, and here’s a book talk prepared by librarian, author, and Common Core workshop presenter Kathleen Odean:

How would you like to have the power to summon amazing creatures to do your will? When Kara finds a book in the Thickety, a dangerous forest, it awakens her magical powers. Local villagers view magic as evil but for Kara, it’s a connection to her mother, who was executed as a witch. The spells thrill Kara until the magic starts to change her in frightening ways. Is Kara in control of the magic—or is it in control of her? If she doesn’t figure it out soon, she could lose everyone and everything she loves.

There’s even a Common Core-aligned discussion guide with activities written by the author, J. A. White—an elementary school teacher! (You may not want to send this to the beach, though. Maybe save it for September.)

 

The Castle Behind Thorns

THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, by Schneider Award winner Merrie Haskell, is a magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that will appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. Everything in the castle—from dishes to candles to apples—is torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

Thinking ahead to the new school year, Common Core applications include: Comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; and analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

The Dyerville Tales

THE DYERVILLE TALES, by M. P. Kozlowsky, tells the story of a young orphan who searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

If you’d like to bring this one into your classroom next year, Common Core applications include: Determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone; describing how a particular story’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes; and describing how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

THE HERO’S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW, by Christopher Healy, is the hilarious and action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed hit series that began with THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they’re on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

And Common Core applications for this one include: Explaining how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text; comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; and analyzing how differences in the points of view of the characters and the reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Happy reading!

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23. Review: Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Oliver and the Seawigs is a cute, cute book!  Ten year old Oliver Crisp has spent his entire life exploring all of the unexplored areas of the world, and he’s tired of it.  What Oliver wants is to wake up in his own bedroom, in his own house, and go to school every day.  When his parent sadly realize that there is nothing left to discover, they resign themselves to a boring life living in their long neglected house.  Oliver is delighted, and he is anticipating finally being settled.

Poor Oliver’s non-roaming life comes to an abrupt end.  After not even a day, his parents disappear.  They had taken their dingy out into the bay to explore the new islands that mysteriously appeared during their long absence from their house.  When the raft washes up on shore, minus his parents, Oliver knows he has to take matters into his own hands.  He grabs his explorer pack, hops in the dingy, and sets off in search of his missing mom and dad.

I loved Oliver.  He is a take-charge kid, and he doesn’t panic when his parents go missing.  He has had plenty of disaster training during his adventures with his dare-devil parents, and he immediately puts it to good use.  Little fazes him; not a talking seagull, a near-sighted mermaid, or even an island that isn’t really an island but a living,  breathing creature.  Okay, so the troop of sea monkeys almost does him in, but he quickly tamps down his fears and focuses on the task at hand.  He must save his parents from their own folly.

In addition to encountering one outlandish mishap after another, Oliver and the Seawigs is lavishly illustrated with amusing, cartoony pictures.  Working seamlessly with the prose, the illustrations add even more character to an already charming tale.  I believe this book will appeal equally to boys or girls, as well as their parents. 

Highly recommended.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

 

A lively step up from early chapter books, this seafaring romp is packed with hilarious art, lovable misfits, meddlesome monkeys, and tons of kid appeal.

When Oliver’s explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?

The post Review: Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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24. El Deafo: Review Haiku

Stick this on your
Diverse Books About Kicka$$ Girls
shelf. (Don't have? MAKE ONE.)

El Deafo by Cece Bell. Amulet/Abrams, 2014, 248 pages.

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25. #623 – Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried Preussler (translated by Anthea Bell)

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Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill

written by Otfried Preussler

translated from German by Anthea Bell

The New York Review Children’s Collection     9/23/2014

978-1-59017-778-5

Age 9 to 13       258 pages

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.“New Year’s has passed. Twelfth Night is almost here. Krabat, a fourteen-year-old beggar boy dressed up as one of the Three Kings, is travelling from village to village singing carols. One night he has a strange dream in which he is summoned by a faraway voice to go to a mysterious mill—and when he wakes he is irresistibly drawn there. At the mill he finds eleven other boys, all of them, like him, the apprentices of its Master, a powerful sorcerer, as Krabat soon discovers.

During the week the boys work ceaselessly grinding grain, but on Friday nights the Master initiates them into the mysteries of the ancient Art of Arts. One day, however, the sound of church bells and of a passing girl singing an Easter hymn penetrates the boys’ prison: At last they hatch a plan that will win them their freedom and put an end to the Master’s dark designs.”

Opening

“It was between New Year’s Day and Twelfth Night, and Krabat, who was fourteen at the time, had joined forces with two other Wendish beggar boys.”

The Story

Krabat has a strange dream he feels he must follow. The next day he slips away from the other two boys in his vagabond group and goes to the mill of the sorcerer. Krabat and eleven other boys work grinding grain for long days and nights. It is hard work and Krabat has a difficult time keeping up, until Tonda, the lead journeyman and Krabat’s new best friend, lightly touches Krabat while uttering a few words under his breath. Suddenly, Krabat can work as if he gained the strength of many men; the work is still laborious, yet Krabat can work with ease. Krabat has been with the mill almost one year when Tonda dies. Days later, Krabat, now three years older, becomes a full journeyman and a new boy replaces Tonda, sleeping in his bed and wearing his old clothes, just as Krabat had done one year earlier, though he did not know this until the new apprentice arrived that he slept in the bed and wore the clothes of the journeyman he replaced.

Year 2 is not much easier for Krabat. He thinks of Tonda regularly, who, in a dream, tells Krabat to trust Michal. Michal is similar to Tonda and helps Krabat when he needs help. The millwork is still long and hard, but he can easily get through it with the magic the Master teaches his little ravens in his Black School. Once a year, the boys mark each other with the sign of the Secret Brotherhood, pass under the yoke at the door, and take a blow to the check delivered by the Master, reaffirming their roles for another year.

Various Covers, pt. 1

Various Covers, pt. 1

Year 3 sees Krabat ready to leave the mill. He tries to leave three times and three times, he finds himself back in the mill. He runs to the east as far as he can run—but is still on the grounds of the mill. Krabat runs to the north—only to be at the mill. Krabat can escape but one way—death. Year three’s new apprentice is one of the friends Krabat left when called to the mill. The young boy recognizes the name Krabat, tells of having a friend by that name, but does not recognize Krabat who is now many years older than the boy is. Krabat takes his friend under his wing; much like Tonda had done for him.

Krabat cannot let go of the voice of a young singer from the village. Girls and journeymen of the Master’s mill tend to end in tragedy for at least the girl—including Tonda’s girl—and often the boy as well. Krabat knows this, yet still wants to meet this girl. She could become his savior, except no one has ever outwitted the Master. With the help of a couple of other journeymen, Krabat sets about a plan to gain not only his freedom, but also that of the other journeymen as well. This would mean the end of the mill, the end of magic, and the end of the Master. The Master has his own plan involving Krabat; an offer Krabat should find hard to resist yet does. Instead, Krabat places his life in the hands of the village girl. Can this girl pull off what no one before her could?

Various Covers, pt. 2

Various Covers, pt. 2

Review

I have never been disappointed by a New York Review Children’s Book and Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill is no exception. When originally written in 1971, winning many children’s book prizes, some of the German words were archaic and difficult, especially for American children. The translator replaced those words, never losing the story or its basic scheme of horror, love, and friendship between those held in bondage. It is easy to understand why Neil Gaiman calls Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill “one of his favorite books.”

After his dream, when Krabat is walking to the mill, each person he asks for directions or simply meets, tells him to stay far away from the mill. The villagers tell him dark, strange things occur at the mill; yet Krabat ventures on, compelled to find this it. For a beggar boy the mill must seem like Heaven. Krabat gets a warm bed and filling meals that do not scrimp on meat. No more singing for his supper and traveling on foot from village to village is indeed a blessing. But the work grinding grain from dusk to dawn is laborious and leaves Krabat exhausted. Then an older boy, Tonda, steps up to help Krabat. Krabat must keep Tonda’s help secret, as the Master would not be pleased his new apprentice received assistance.

Movie Posters

Movie Posters

The Master is unsympathetic, mysterious, and dangerous. He has secrets of his own. With only one eye, the Master seems to be able to see everything, regardless of where it might occur. Many times, he follows Krabat into town, showing up as a one-eyed raven, or a one-eyed horse, and even a one-eyed woman, all with a black patch over the useless eye—that he cannot disguise. Krabat sees these creatures but never makes the complete connection as to it being the Master.

Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill will delight kids who like adventures, mysteries, and magic. Though the Master deals in the black arts, there is nothing in the story that will scare anyone. At times, the writing feels long, and at times, it is long, yet never arduous or out of place. Preussler spins a tale so complete one wonders if such goings on really occurred in seventeenth-century Germany. Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill will keep kids entranced as they read this gothic tale of orphaned boys finding a home with a dangerous wizard. I enjoyed every word of this captivating story. Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill tends to be best for the advanced reader. Adults will also immensely enjoy this alluring tale.

KRABAT & THE SORCERER’S MILL. Text copyright © 1971 by Otfried Preussler. Copyright © 1981 by Thienemann Verlag. Translatation copyright © 1972 by Anthea Bell. Published in 2014 by the New York Review of Books.

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Purchase Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill HERE.

Meet the author, Otfried Preussler, at his website:    http://www.preussler.de/

Meet the translator, Anthea Bell, bio wiki:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthea_Bell

Find other classic children’s books at the New York Review Children’s Collection website:   http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of the New York Review of Books.   http://www.nybooks.com/

Originally published in 1972, under the title The Satanic Mill.

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Also by Otfried Preussler, (soon to be published by NYRB)

The Little Witch

The Little Witch

The Robber Hotzenplotz

The Robber Hotzenplotz

The Little Water Sprite

The Little Water Sprite

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also Translated by Anthea Bell

Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper of Hamelin

Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy)

Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy)

The Flying Classroom (Pushkin Children's Collection)  3/10/2015

The Flying Classroom (Pushkin Children’s Collection) 3/10/2015

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Anthea Bell, children's book reviews, classic tale, journeyman, Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill, magic, middle grade book, New York Review of Books, Otfried Preussler, ravens, The New York Review Children’s Collection, wizards

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