Blog Archives - Katiedid
I figured I'd post something for those book lovers out there. I've gotten a lot of nice books in Florida, and here is a list of some of the good ones that you might want to check out.

No More Dead Dogs~ by Gordon Korman  (This book is about a boy who is sick of reading books where the dogs die. It's written from several humorous points of view, and the topic and plot is funny!) 

The product Description says:  Nobody understands Wallace Wallace. This reluctant school football hero has been suspended from the team for writing an unfavorable book report of Old Shep, My Pal. But Wallace won't tell a lie-he hated every minute of the book! Why does the dog in every classic novel have to croak at the end? After refusing to do a rewrite, his English teacher, who happens to be directing the school play Old Shep, My Pal, forces him go to the rehearsals as punishment. Although Wallace doesn't change his mind, he does end up changing the play into a rock-and-roll rendition, complete with Rollerblades and a moped!
To Kill a Mockingbird~Harper Lee (I originally thought that this book would be horrible, but even though I'm only on the first chapter, I've completely changed my mind. So far, the book has "drawn me in".) The summary of this book is on Amazon.
Criss Cross~ by Lynne Rae Perkins (This book won a Newberry Medal. I'm about half way through it, and so far it's clean, and interesting. It might be more of a girl book, but if you're a guy, then you might want to check it out on Amazon to see.)

School Library Journal~ Starred Review. Grade 6-9–The author of the popular All Alone in the Universe (HarperCollins, 1999) returns with another character study involving those moments that occur in everyone's life–moments when a decision is made that sends a person along one path instead of another. Debbie, who wishes that something would happen so she'll be a different person, and Hector, who feels he is unfinished, narrate most of the novel. Both are 14 years old. Hector is a fabulous character with a wry humor and an appealing sense of self-awareness. A secondary story involving Debbie's locket that goes missing in the beginning of the tale and is passed around by a number of characters emphasizes the theme of the book. The descriptive, measured writing includes poems, prose, haiku, and question-and-answer formats. There is a great deal of humor in this gentle story about a group of childhood friends facing the crossroads of life and how they wish to live it. Young teens will certainly relate to the self-consciousnesses and uncertainty of all of the characters, each of whom is straining toward clarity and awareness. The book is profusely illustrated with Perkins's amusing drawings and some photographs.
Once Upon a Marigold~ Jean Harris (This is probably a book for girls, but it's clean, funny, and a cute book.)

Publishers Weekly~ In a gratifying fantasy that contains elements of classic fairy tales, Ferris (Love Among the Walnuts) breathes new life into archetypal characters by adding unexpected and often humorous dimensions to their personalities. The protagonist, Christian, has been raised in the forest by a troll named Edric. As he nears manhood, Christian decides it is time to see the world-or at least the section across the river, where the lovely Princess Marigold resides. Having spent many hours gazing at Marigold through a telescope and corresponding with her by "p-mail" (letters sent by carrier pigeon), he has already felt the sting of Cupid's arrow by the time he lands a job in court. Marigold readily returns his affections, but unfortunately, she is about to become betrothed to Sir Magnus. Meanwhile, Marigold's evil mother, Queen Olympia, is plotting to murder both Marigold and her kindly, doting father, King Swithbert. Readers swept into the lighthearted spirit of this novel will likely not be bothered by the predictability of outcomes. As in fairy tales of old, jabs are made at social values and norms, and concepts of nobility and ignobility are painted in very broad strokes. Nonetheless, heroes and heroines emerge as convincing, well-rounded characters embodying flaws as well as virtues. Their foibles-Edric's tendency to mix up adages, Christian's stubborn streak and Marigold's penchant for "awful" jokes-make the good guys all the more endearing. Ages 10-up.  
Peter and the Starcatchers~ by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (This is supposed to be a prequel to the book "Peter Pan". The first two paragraphs drew me in because they started like this: "Peter was the leader of the boys, because he was the oldest. Or maybe he wasn't. Peter had no idea how old he really was, so he gave himself whatever age suited him, and it suited him to always be one year older than the oldest of his mates. If Peter was nine, and a new boy came to St. Norbert's Home for Wayward Boys, who said he was ten, why, then, Peter would declare himself to be eleven. Also, he could spit the farthest. That made him the undisputed leader." Review~ Humorist Dave Barry and suspense writer Ridley Pearson have clearly taken great delight in writing a 400-plus page prequel of sorts to Scottish dramatist J.M. Barrie's beloved Peter Pan stories. The result is a fast-paced and fluffy pirate adventure, complete with talking porpoises, stinky rogues, possible cannibals, a flying crocodile, biting mermaids, and a much-sought-after trunk full of magical glowing green "starstuff." Ever hear of Zeus? Michelangelo? Attila the Hun? According to 14-year-old Molly Aster they all derived their powers from starstuff that occasionally falls to Earth from the heavens. On Earth, it is the Starcatchers' job to rush to the scene and collect the starstuff before it falls into the hands of the Others who use its myriad powers for evil.On board the ship Never Land, an orange-haired boy named Peter, the leader of a group of orphaned boys being sent off to work as servants in King Zarboff the Third's court, is puzzled by his shipmate Molly's fantastical story of starstuff, but it inextricably binds him to her. Peter vows to help his new, very pretty friend Molly (a Starcatcher's apprentice) keep a mysterious trunk full of the stuff out of the clutches of the pirate Black Stache, a host of other interested parties, and ultimately King Zarboff the Third.

The downright goofy, modern 8-year-old boy humor sometimes clashes with an old-time pirate sensibility, and the rapid-fire dialogue, while well paced, is far from inventive. Still, the high-seas hijinks and desert-island shenanigans will keep readers turning the pages. Greg Call's wonderful black-and-white illustrations are deliciously old-fashioned and add plenty of atmosphere to a silly, swashbuckling story that shows us how Peter Pan came to fly and why he, and his story, will never get old. (Ages 9 and older) 

The Phantom Tollbooth~ (This in not a serious book, but a funny and silly one. It's cute, and is a play on words. If you like odd yet cute books, then this is for you!) Review~
"It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," Milo laments. "[T]here's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing." This bored,bored young protagonist who can't see the point to anything is knocked out of his glum humdrum by the sudden and curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. Since Milo has absolutely nothing better to do, he dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. What ensues is a journey of mythic proportions, during which Milo encounters countless odd characters who are anything but dull. As Milo heads toward Dictionopolis he meets with the Whether Man ("for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be"), passes through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). The brilliant satire and double entendre intensifies in the Word Market, where after a brief scuffle with Officer Short Shrift, Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of Ignorance to rescue the twin Princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Anyone with an appreciation for language, irony, or Alice in Wonderland-style adventure will adore this book for years on end. (Ages 8 and up)
The Royal Diaries: Victoria~ Anna Kirwan (This book is part of a series for girls. I've read almost all of the series, and it was really nice because I learned about royal females across the Continent, in diary format. At the end of each diary, there is a section that tells more of the actual facts about their lives. This is a great teaching source for girls who want to be a princess when they grow up!) If you are interested in finding out more about Queen Victoria's life, there is a movie coming out that, according to the preview, sticks to the facts. 

School Library Journal~ Gr 4-7-A charming portrayal of three years in the childhood of Queen Victoria. The nine-year-old begins by confessing that she stole a livestock ledger from the stable in order to have a journal in which to write her private thoughts. She fills the pages with details of life in Kensington Palace, from the menu at breakfast, her daily lessons and tutoring sessions to a ball given by her uncle the King, a vacation by the sea, and the negative influence of Captain Conroy, one of her mother's advisers. Throughout, the princess exhibits a shrewd awareness of palace life and a growing sense of the larger role she is being prepared for and must shortly assume. An epilogue reveals that Victoria became Queen just after her 18th birthday. While at first the young princess's voice appears a bit mature, as readers learn more about her demanding education and extraordinary upbringing, she becomes more plausible. A historical note, photographs, a family tree, and a glossary of characters round out the novel. Fans of the series will be delighted. Review~ Being a princess is not all glittery parties and lavish holidays by the sea. Well, actually, it is, but it's not all fun. Young Princess Victoria is constantly surrounded by family and advisors, allowing her no privacy and very few opportunities to express herself until she purloins an old ledger book from one of Kensington Palace's stables. She promptly begins recording her secrets, daily trials, and naughty witticisms (her uncle, King George IV, has big, plump hands, "the size of a plucked quail.") in this very incongruous journal. The biggest secret of all, however, is one that is kept from our heroine. It is not until well into her two-year-long diary that Victoria pieces together her family tree to discover that she is next in line to the throne. This intriguing installment of the Royal Diaries series will inspire many readers to delve deeper into Queen Victoria's life as the longest reigning queen of England. Author Anna Kirwan's fictionalized account is entertaining and enlightening, packed with facts about royal customs in the early 19th century. Historical notes, a family tree, and photos provide more factual information for the curious reader. (Ages 9 to 12)
The Little Prince~ Antoine de Exupery (This was originally a French book, but is now translated into English. This is a cute, but far-fetched book. Personally, I had trouble understanding the ending, but that might be because I have a hard time understanding Science-Fiction. If you read this book, please take time to read the Dedication, because it is so cute!) Review~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry first published The Little Prince in 1943, only a year before his Lockheed P-38 vanished over the Mediterranean during a reconnaissance mission. More than a half century later, this fable of love and loneliness has lost none of its power. The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. "In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don't dare disobey," the narrator recalls. "Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket." And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator's imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.The Little Prince describes his journey from planet to planet, each tiny world populated by a single adult. It's a wonderfully inventive sequence, which evokes not only the great fairy tales but also such monuments of postmodern whimsy as Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. And despite his tone of gentle bemusement, Saint-Exupéry pulls off some fine satiric touches, too. There's the king, for example, who commands the Little Prince to function as a one-man (or one-boy) judiciary:

I have good reason to believe that there is an old rat living somewhere on my planet. I hear him at night. You could judge that old rat. From time to time you will condemn him to death. That way his life will depend on your justice. But you'll pardon him each time for economy's sake. There's only one rat.The author pokes similar fun at a businessman, a geographer, and a lamplighter, all of whom signify some futile aspect of adult existence. Yet his tale is ultimately a tender one--a heartfelt exposition of sadness and solitude, which never turns into Peter Pan-style treacle. Such delicacy of tone can present real headaches for a translator, and in her 1943 translation, Katherine Woods sometimes wandered off the mark, giving the text a slightly wooden or didactic accent. Happily, Richard Howard (who did a fine nip-and-tuck job on Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma in 1999) has streamlined and simplified to wonderful effect. The result is a new and improved version of an indestructible classic, which also restores the original artwork to full color. "Trying to be witty," we're told at one point, "leads to lying, more or less." But Saint-Exupéry's drawings offer a handy rebuttal: they're fresh, funny, and like the book itself, rigorously truthful.
Song of the Sparrow~ Lisa Ann Sandell (I bought this book at a thrift store, but was afraid that this might be an adult book with adult themes. But I looked it up on Amazon, and it turns out that this book is for teens, and, according to the reviews, a clean book. It's based on the Lady of Shalott, and from the review, it sounds like a interesting version of the King Arthur tales. It's written in poem form, and is a girl book, (at least, I don't think a guy would read it!) : ) 

Product Description~ Since the days of King Arthur, there have been poems and paintings created in her name. She is Elaine of Ascolat, the Lady of Shalott, and now there is a book all her own. The year is 490 A.D. and 16-year-old Elaine has a temperament to match her fiery red hair. Living on a military base with her father, brothers, and the rest of Arthur's army, Elaine pines for the handsome Lancelot, and longs for a female friend. But when the cruel, beautiful Gwynivere arrives, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. Can Elaine find the strength to survive the birth of a kingdom?
I just wanted to post something real quickly: My family is on our way to FL!!!! YAY!!!! We're in Georgia right now, and it is so cold! We saw our first palm tree, which my mom hugged! : ) I love going to thrift stores, and looking for books, and spending hours at the Barnes and Noble bookstore! There is this great fast food restaurant called Checkers, just for anyone who wants to try something new. It's in Florida, and some in the 
Isn't it annoying waiting for books to come out? I hate that! There are so many books that I wish could be out, but will only come out for another couple of months!
To name a few:  
Fang~ by James Patterson
Heist Society~ by Ally Carter
Book #2 (after the Vanishing Sculptor) ~ by Donita K. Paul
Book #2 (after the Curse of the SpiderKing)~ by Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper
So Over my Head ~ by Jenny B. Jones

Are there any you are waiting for that would be good to recommend? 

Happy New Year!!! Isn't it odd that it's 2010 already?!!?!??!?! I won't be alive next time there is a single digit in the year..... :( Like when it's 2101, or 3001! But then I have to realize that it's only the dating system we have! I have exams and big papers due soon, but the best part of it all, is that I'm going to Florida, land of the sun, alligators, and tourists! :) I'll still be able to post things and all, so you can all share in my panicky moments on a boat, my getting exercise by running up and down on the condo stairs, and my hope to see a dolphin! : )  Where is the farthest you've traveled?