I LOVE books! I've always loved books! I remember when I was a kid, and I'd finish a book, Dad would take me into his office downstairs and help me pick out a new novel to read from the book shelf. I never was without books! And I still get caught up in good literature as an adult. There are times (like right now) when I can't sleep and all I want to do is read, read, read!
But mostly, I wanted to write a couple of book reviews about the last few books I've read. My daughters are lucky to be a part of "Battle of the Books" at their school this year. "Battle of the Books" is a "club" where they form teams to read 6 different books. Then they get to be in a quiz like game show about the books they have read. Since they were reading books I had never heard of, let alone read, I decided to read the books with them!
"Dicey's Song" by Cynthia Voigt was the first of the books that I read in the past two months. I actually started with "Homecoming" which is the prequel to "Dicey's Song." I'm glad I read "Homecoming" first, but "Dicey's Song," which won a Newberry Award, works well by itself too! After walking with her younger brothers and sister for months and months to their grandmother's house, Dicey Tillerman and her siblingss have finally found a home with their "crazy" Grandma Tillerman. Grandma has made it perfectly clear that she enjoys their company, regrets some of the mistakes she made with her own children, and is willing to adopt them immediately. As the eldest, Dicey is pleased but being adopted isn't enough to ease her day-to-day worries. Younger brother James is making himself appear like an average kid in school (rather than the genius he truly is) so that he'll have friends. Little Maybeth has never done well in her classes, though she's a whiz at music comprehension. And youngest child, Sammy, is constantly pretending to be a "perfect" child at school. While Dicey is worrying about these things, it's not as if her own life is perfect either. She shuns friends and cares mostly about scraping the paint off an old sailboat belonging to her grandmother. Still, as things come to a head, Dicey's gonna learn what it means to hold onto the people you love, what it means to let go, and when to decide which action to take. This is a great book about a young woman learning how to grow up. I've also read the third and fourth books in this Tillerman series. They are fabulous too!
A COMPLETELY different book would be "The Lightening Thief" by Rick Riordan. But this series is no less GREAT than the Tillerman series. I couldn't put the book down. And I read books two and three already too! :-) I think one of the reasons I loved this series so much is because I enjoyed my high school Greek mythology class and the stories that came with it. This book brings Greek mythology to a modern world! The hero, Percy Jackson, is in fact the son of Poseidon. Kids that are actually children of Greek gods and goddesses are called "half-bloods" in the book. Unfortunately, there are forces of darkness - monsters - whose aim it is to destroy such kids. They are only protected at a special camp - "Camp Half-Blood." Percy lands at this camp, but must eventually leave it and risk the monsters, to fulfill a Quest. Each book is more exciting than the next. And the references to all the fun Greek legends makes this even more fun! I had to go back to my notes from the class for a refresher on who each God and Goddess were. But my daughters have never taken a Greek mythology class and they love the books without the prior knowledge. (Although we did bring out the movie "Clash of the Titans" and Disney's "Hercules" for them to see this past week....)
Katia had me read "Frindle" by Andrew Clements. She begged me to read it and told me "it's an easy read!" I laughed at her expression. She was right. I read the entire book in less than two hours! But it is a book that is well worth two hours of anyone's time! :-) I only regret that I didn't read it years ago, so I could've been recommending it to all my friends and their children!
Like most successful books for kids, "Frindle" works on many different levels. It's funny, fast-paced, and while the main character, Nick, is kind of a class clown, he has qualities that even a mean teacher like Mrs. Granger would like. And even though Mrs. Granger has a reputation for being strict, she also earns the respect of children and parents. With "Frindle," we get a glimpse how a seemingly insignificant event at a small town elementary school through a media-frenzy becomes an international phenomenon. Can anyone say "fad?"
I just finished reading another book today, that my eldest daughter, Kiara, insisted that I read. "Once Upon a Marigold" byJean Ferris is delightful! I finished it in one day! I absolutely loved this book! I loved that it was a fairy tale, and I loved the fairy tale. Christian is a boy that ran away from home and was adopted by a troll and his two dogs. He grows up admiring the princess Marigold from across the river, and when he is 17 he starts coresponding with her. Eventually, Christian takes a job at the castle, to be near Marigold. I don't want to give away the story, but it's a fabulous fairy tale in the same league as "Ella Enchanted!"
I hope my reviews are something that will encourage you, my readers, to read today! And I highly recommend the books I've mentioned. They have appeal for young and old alike! :-)