Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story

by Michael Ende (1979)

About half way through, but I've been enthralled since the beginning -- and confused: Why have I never read this before?!?

I think it's because the movie came out in 1984, and as a high school senior I wouldn't be caught dead even debating seeing a silly puppet kid's flick... I still haven't seen it, and I've exposed my kids to The Dark Crystal and every Muppet epic.


update: Finished! It's a long one, could almost say it felt ne.  ver.  en.  ding, but well worth the full read.  Heroes, self-worth, scary and silly creatures (very Narnia-like), finding and following the right priorities of love for family and friends.  I think the first half would be a great read aloud for the classroom, but the second half gets a little long and deep.

An adventure, magic, fantasy story with elements of bullying, self-image, being who you are, reaching your potential, and putting others above self.

Love to find more info on the author and the story (beyond Wikipedia).

Friday, August 19, 2011

101 Ways to Bug Your...

...Friends and Enemies

by Lee Wardlaw (2011)

A little Jane Austin for the miniature golf crowd -- lots of relationship intrigue and discovering of romantic feelings, as well as lessons in friendship as people grow and change.  A lot going on, the numerous characters (and ailments, and accents, and...) in the first chapters had my head swimming, but everything and everyone ties together nicely at the end.  Genuinely funny, and without the usual base juvenile book humor. Loved the Hawaiian golfer character, something different and fresh.

Although I do wonder why I feel the urge to rent Roxanne ...?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sammy Keyes and the...

Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man

by W. Van Draanen (1998)

Sometimes an author puts in too much, this one is a mystery and a revenge story all rolled together, and the two parts really have nothing to do with each other.
Sammy is misfit teenager being bullied by the cool girls while illicitly living with her grandmother in the ol' folks home and solving a family feud/attempted murder/theft of rare books... The crime solving stuff could have been much better and made a more complete book if most of the teen girl drama material would have been saved for another book.
That said, Sammy and cohorts are attractive and entertaining characters, I'd probably get more into the book if I'd read her backstory and followed the series from the beginning rather than somewhere in the middle.

Comments from the author, including the word "prevarication" !


Shredderman 1:  Secret Identity

by Wendelin Van Draanen (2004)

Nerd boy gets his revenge on the school bully... in fact, if you look at it from the bully's pov, he's the victim of cyber-bullying and very pubic humiliation. I'm sure it will teach him a lesson and he'll be a better man for it. I also read Van Draanen's Sammy Keys book, and I think the author has a serious revenge complex. Were most authors nerds growing up?

Good read aloud for the classroom, touches on bullying, being friends, working together to solve problems, as well as a few tips on how to avoid being so nerdy. And it's funny.

Mr Biggs .com   ...and this is the illustrator's website.