Posted tagged ‘Adventure’

New Year, New Books!

September 12, 2013

Welcome back to another wonderful school year.  It is my 19th here at CPS, and it feels just as exciting to start a new year as it did 19 years ago.  Of course there are always plenty of new books to read and share, and  I will highlight a few of my favorites here.

water castleTHE WATER CASTLE by Megan Fraser Blakemore

When Ephraim’s dad suffers a stroke, his family moves back to the Water Castle, their ancestral home in MAINE.  There is  a legend that the Fountain of Youth exists on the grounds of the castle.   Follow Ephraim and his friends on their quest to find the amazing healing water.  This book combines history, science, mystery, and family secrets in a very exciting way.   If you are a fan of THE SECRET GARDEN, you may find some similarities in this book.

spy campSPY CAMP by Stuart Gibbs

Hurray!  A sequel to SPY SCHOOL!  These are two great books about 12-year-old Ben Ripley who receives a surprise visit one night from a famous spy, informing him that because of his amazing math skills he is needed at a special school for CIA spies-in-training.  The first book chronicles his first year at this school, full of dangerous and humorous situations.  The second book, SPY CAMP, finds our young hero at the summer camp run by the spy school.  He is the target of SPYDER, the enemy spy group, and he spends the summer trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, who are trying to recruit him to “the dark side”.  He receives help again from  Erica,  the smart and pretty top student at his school.

esacpe from...ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein

Do you like games and puzzles?  Full of library humor and positive vibes about reading and games, this book is a fun twist on CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.  Kyle, an avid games, and 11 other sixth graders win the chance to spend the night at their town’s brand new futuristic library, designed by the world’s most famous game maker, Mr. Lemoncello (who bears a striking resemblance to Willy Wonka).  The library, which takes up half a city block, has holographic projections, hover ladders to help you reach books that are on bookcases three stories in the air, an IMAX theatre, and an Electronic Learning Center.  The night the children spend there is full of amazing fun and games.  In the morning the doors remain locked, and the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello announces a twist no one was expecting:  the children must all use what they find IN the library to find their way OUT of the library. They will have to use their wits to decipher clues and solve riddles leading them to an alternate exit.

KING ARTHUR

April 30, 2012

I have been reading King Arthur books in the library recently, because Crescent Park School is going to put on a production with the help of Children’s Stage Adventures the week of May 14. It has been fun to dive into these legendary tales again; I haven’t read them since my son was in elementary school. Both the boys and girls have enjoyed being transported to a time of chivalry, magic, nobility, and destiny.

Trouble River again!

February 17, 2012

My third grade literacy group just finished Trouble River by Betsy Byars, a historical fiction novel about Dewey and Grandma escaping the Indians on a raft that Dewey built. Grandma’s in her rocking chair as they shoot the rapids! As we did last year, we all made rafts and floated a Lego Grandma in the sink. Did they sink or float? Check out these smiles and you be the judge.

Mia’s Book Shoutout #3

February 17, 2012

Fifth grade book lover Mia shares her favorite books

“Peter again!”

Are you a Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Redwall, Narnia, or just a plain lover of all kinds of action packed books which are full of dangers and fights around every corner? Well, this novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson is just the book for you. People don’t realize how good the original Peter Pan is,  so now with Dave Barry’s Peter Pan you will just simply fall in love.

When Peter and his mates from a boys’ orphanage learn that they will soon be sent on a ship to another part of the world called Rundoon where there is a king with a giant-man-eating snake and extremely strict rules, the boys are scared that they will be reduced to shreds. This scene leads to all the action.

When the boys arrive on the boat, they soon realize that the boat will be more likely sinking than sailing with a crazy drunken captain and a dirty underfed crew, but that’s not the worst of the boys’ problems. They are supposed to stay in a little tiny cabin where they are fed once a day and the food…well it’s, you’ll just have to find out for yourself. Also there is a mysterious black trunk that’s been loaded on the boat which could have magic in it. Peter soon finds a friend and companion, Molly. When Peter learns what Molly is protecting and how bad it could be if pirates, the sea, or if the crew get it,  Peter and Molly are on a mission to keep it safe even if it means flying. Peter and Molly fight grown men, pirates, and and Indians.

This book is simply delightful. When I read it I got so nervous that Peter would die or something tragic would happen. My little brother Eli, who is in first grade,  says that “Peter and the Starcatchers is the best book ever!” Eli also says “that he feels like he is in the book whether the boys are flying, swimming, or taunting the pirates.” This book is “hard to stop reading” says Eli;  “ it just keeps getting better and better every time my mom or dad says let’s take a break from listening to Peter.” If you are getting really excited about this book, or you’re getting a really good feeling about it, go directly to the library and look in the “B” section and start reading! Once you finish this book and you want to find out what happens next go back down to the library and check out the next couple called Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, and Peter and the Sword of Mercy.

Mia’s book shout out #2

February 2, 2012

Fifth grade book lover Mia shares her favorite books

“Happy 50th birthday,  Phantom Tollbooth!”

Do you ever think that a book can be really boring because there’s just something you can’t quite reach? Well then you won’t like the Phantom Toll Booth exactly for that reason. So after reading this, think about it, because if you read it at a younger age, you could still read it again and get more out of it.  But I’d still recommend reading it when you’re ten. It’s perfect – especially if you like words .  Or if you’re 7 and you are just into adventure and you can understand simple wordplay.

Have you ever wondered where letters, words, phrases, sentences, numbers, terms, expressions, and equations come from? When Milo finds a Phantom Tollbooth in his room, Milo decides to see what it can do, since he has nothing better to do. Milo hops in his little car and suddenly finds himself speeding along a highway, on his way to Dictionopolis. On the way, Milo encounters a trip to the Doldrums and Expectations and meets his journey companion Tock, a watch dog. Upon arriving in Dictionopolis, Milo discovers the silence between two regions, Digitotopolis and Dictionopolis. There, Milo is destined to rescue and return the fair Rhyme and Reason. Will Milo be able to save the fair Rhyme and Reason so fairness will return to the land?

I found that this story was so funny that I didn’t want it to end, but the great part of this is the wordplay and characters. Take the Which, for example, and look at how I spelled her name. She’s not dangerous, right? Only witches with the T are dangerous.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a hard book to know when to read because if you read it too early you won’t be able to understand a good part of this book, but it would still be a good adventure. If you are interested in reading this book it is located in the “J” section of the CPS Library. Have fun reading! The Phantom Tollbooth has been making people laugh for 50 years and hopefully many more!

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

December 2, 2011

Before winter and the Christmas season really set in, I want to tell you about the greatest book I read last month, Wildwood.  Set in the real city of Seattle and the fictional “wildwood” that is located across the river from Seattle, it is full of adventure, danger, colorful characters, and nail-biting suspense.  There are echoes of the “Narnia” books, but the author has put his own personal stamp on it and made it original.  There are beautiful pictures throughout the book, drawn by the author’s very talented wife.

The main character is Pru, a young girl who loses her nearly one-year-old brother one day when she’s babysitting.  One minute he’s sleeping in the little red wagon, and the next he gets carried away by crows! Very disturbing, but of course she sets out to find him, and of course the crows have taken him to Wildwood, which is the mysterious forbidden area across the river from Pru’s city. Children have been taught that it is a dangerous, uncivilized land, but Pru is a daring and loyal sister who will stop at nothing to get her brother back. What will she find when she gets there? Will she succeed in finding her brother, and why would crows carry him away in the first place? Read this beautifully descriptive fantasy if you are looking for a challenging and rewarding reading experience.

NEW BOOKS FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR

September 12, 2011

School is well underway, and it’s about time I shared some of the new books in the library collection that I read this summer.  I’m really excited about a lot of them, but I will start with my favorite.

How would you like to be the only girl in town?!  In THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA by Jennifer Holm, May Amelia is THE ONLY GIRL in her small farming community in Washington State.   And she has seven brothers!  Holm continues the story of this spunky, strong-willed girl and her family whom we first met in OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA (a 2002 Newbery Honor book).  The year is 1900 and life is hard for these  pioneers, who are mainly Finnish immigrants struggling to make it in their new country.  You will get a strong sense of what life was like in this time period: the hardships of farming, the danger of working in the lumber mill, the desperation of leaving home to start over in a new country.  If you think historical fiction is boring, this book is NOT:  May Amelia’s personality jumps off the page and she has a humorous way of dealing with almost everything.

TUNNELS!

May 31, 2011

As I was finishing up PENNY DREADFUL by Laurel Snyder last night, I realized it was the fourth book I’ve read this spring that features a tunnel  as an important part of the story.   That got me thinking about a blog post, so here we go:

PENNY DREADFUL by Laurel Snyder is about a ten-year-old girl whose life changes in very big ways when her father quits his job and the family  leaves their mansion and their wealthy lifestyle in the city for the little town of Thrush Junction, Tennessee.  She has never had a friend before, or an adventure;  and suddenly she is surrounded by unusual characters and situations.  At the end of the book she finds herself in a TUNNEL, searching for the legendary hidden treasure….will she find it?  Will she stay in Tennessee or return to New York?  This is a great summer read with a slightly “old fashioned” feel.

THE TUNNEL OF HUGSY GOODE by Eleanor Estes

This book is set in New York in the 1970’s and features a neighborhood full of kids of all ages who have fun without video games (not invented yet!) or television.  If you are wondering how that is possible, check it out and read all about the boys who discover a TUNNEL running under their street.  What do they do there? And what on earth does the RACCOON have to do with it all?!

F IS FOR FREEDOM BY Roni Schotter

This one is more serious and historical.  Set in Vermont in the late 1800’s, it deals with a family who helps aother family of runaway slaves reach freedom in Canada.   The ending is very suspenseful, as  Amanda, the imaginative young daughter, has the opportunity to save the day because she knows of a TUNNEL that may keep the runaways safe from the slave catchers.  Find out if she is successful by reading this enjoyable, exciting historical fiction book.

THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLINS by George MacDonald

A fantasy classic that has been loved for 150 years,  this book tells the story of Irene, a princess, and her friend Curdie who works in the mines.  There is a lot of exploration of the TUNNELS in the nearby mountain, tunnels where Curdie and his fellow miners make their living and which just happen to be populated by some pretty gruesome goblins with a plan that involves Irene.  This book has one of the most interesting grandmothers that I have ever had the pleasure to read about in a children’s book.  Check it out and see what an important role  Irene’s lovely, magical grandmother plays in this exciting adventure.

New chapter books added recently

March 15, 2011

Here are some new chapter books recently added to the CPS library collection that I have read and highly recommend:

Nature Girl by Jane Kelley

A 12-year-old New York City  girl is reluctantly spending the summer in Vermont with her nature-loving family.   After an argument with her friend, she decides to hike 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail with her dog.  Her journey is both physical and emotional, as she has plenty of time to think about her life along the way.

Out of my mind by Sharon Draper

Born with cerebral palsy, 10-year-old Melody has never said a word.  She is a brilliant fifth grader trapped in an uncontrollable body.  What happens when she starts to be included in “normal” classes – will the other fifth graders accept her?  Will they understand she is actually the smartest student in the school?  Read this moving novel to find out how Melody finds her “voice”. 

The year money grew on trees by Aaron R. Hawkins

A young teenage boy and his siblings spend the summer running an apple orchard with no adult assistance, because an elderly neighbor has promised to GIVE it to them if they can make a success of it.  An interesting look at family, hard work, determination, and the pride that kids feel when they are working toward a goal.  Suspenseful and inspiring!

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Seven fifth graders in Vermont learn a variety of life lessons, not necessarily from their textbooks, with an inspiring new teacher who really understands them and is always on their side.  Short chapters told in the different students’ distinct voices give the reader many perspectives on the events of the school year, including the accident that teaches them the most important lesson of all.

Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

Set in England in the winter of 1347, this suspenseful and spooky story  is about fourteen-year-old William, whose family perished in a fire 18 months earlier, and who now works as a servant at the local monastery in exchange for his room and board.  While gathering firewood  in the forest,  he discovers a creature – a hobgoblin – caught in a trap and saves its life.  As the hob recovers from his wounds, Will encounters a mystery that shakes him to his core.  This book’s fascinating attention to detail draws the reader deeply into the story, and you get a real sense of life in medieval times.

Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

March 6, 2011

Wow.  I just finished reading this year’s Newbery Award Winner and I LOVED it.  Set in Kansas in 1936, the story contains flashbacks to 1918 as 12-year-old Abilene tries to piece together the story of her father’s life.  The reader of this beautifully written novel will learn about some interesting aspects of American history:  the Depression, immigration, Prohibition, orphan trains, the KKK, and World War I.  All of these topics are woven expertly into the story of Abilene’s “summer of discovery”.  This book has humor, sorrow, mystery, and excitement. If you’re up for a challenging but extremely satisfying and unusual story, check out this new addition to the CPS Library.