Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Rotten Life Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie

“My best friend and I used to have contests where we’d try to gross each other out. We don’t bother with that anymore. I can win every time, even when I’m not trying.” Nathan is not your ordinary ten year-old. At least, not after he gets doused with Hurt-Be-Gone.

Nathan Abercrombie lives a not-so-popular life. He is dissed by Shawna Lanchester in the cafeteria. She asks Nathan if he has heard of her popular Halloween party. (Of course he has!) Shawna smiles sweetly and drops the bomb, “You’re not invited.” The same day at school, Nathan is picked last for a team in gym class. (Of course he is!). Then Nathan loses awfully at a video game in front of his entire art class. (Of course he does!) Nathan doesn’t think the day can get any worse. He actually wishes he had sat on glue so all he’d have to do is “slip out of my pants and walk home in my underwear. That, I could handle.”

Nathan and his best friend Mookie meet up with their classmate Abigail who believes can help Nathan feel better. Her plan involves her eccentric uncle who has been working on a secret formula called Hurt-Be-Gone, “the world’s first all-natural, totally safe emotion killer. It takes only one tiny drop to wash away all your sorrows. We can even target specific hurts, or protect people from new ones.”

However, clumsy Mookie trips over his own shoelace and crashes into Abigail’s uncle who is holding the Hurt-Be-Gone. Nathan is doused with the formula and soon finds himself needing no sleep, no food, and feeling no pain.

What has happened to Nathan? Will he find a cure? If he does, will he want to go back to his normal self?

I enjoyed My Rotten Life Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie by David Lubar. My favorite character was Mookie. Mookie provides the comic relief in the book. From his off-topic ramblings to his ability to produce noxious gas, Mookie kept me chuckling. I also enjoyed Abigail’s character, smart yet dealing with a secret hurt of her own.

Both boys and girls will enjoy reading this story. It has action, humor, suspense, grossness (is that a word?) and the ever real dilemma of ‘fitting in’ among middle school students. Pick this one up! You’ll enjoy it!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T. :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

Want a GREAT historical fiction book to read?

You MUST check out Rodman Philbrick's newest book, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. This book has it all...adventure, action, humor, gut-wrenching description of battle in the Civil War.

This book follows the story of Homer whose older brother Harold is illegally sold into the Union Army. Homer escapes the grasp of his mean guardian in order to find Harold before he is killed in battle. Along the way, Homer has adventure after adventure. And in each adventure, Homer cannot help but to stretch the truth to get him further along in his journey.

Homer and his tale reminded me some of Tom Sawyer...telling tall tales...a likeable fellow...plenty of mischief. I enjoyed Homer and his courageousness in the search for his older brother. I was cheering him on even when his situation looked hopeless.

I don't want to give too much away in this book. Just know that if you want an adventure--action--humor--and you like historical fiction, then you MUST read this book!
Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter

"Philippa Fisher is feeling lonely. She misses her fairy godsister, Daisy. But while on vacation with her parents, she befriends a local girl named Robyn. Though she's excited to have a new friend, Philippa can't help but feel there's something strange about Robyn and her father.

Meanwhile, Daisy, who is hard at work on a new mission, misses Philippa as well, so she decides to break the rules to visit her friend. Though the girls are happy to be reunited, things soon begin to go horribly wrong with Daisy's new assignment. And when all three of the girls find themselves in danger, Philippa must work quickly to save herself and her friends from a dark and powerful magic."

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter by Liz Kessler is one that younger readers, especially girls, would enjoy. I am recommending this book to those girls who like a touch of fantasy, fairies, and friendship. All too often in sixth grade, friendships fall apart one day only to be rebuilt another day. I believe that girls who fall in and out of their friendships could very much relate to both Philippa and Robyn perhaps giving them hope in their own situations.

Let me know what you think of this one, girls!
Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

The London Eye Mystery

In The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, Salim, the cousin of Kat and Ted, is about to leave London with his mother and move to New York. Before Salim and his mother make this big move, Salim wants to ride the London Eye, the biggest Ferris Wheel in Europe. (Google “London Eye” and see it for yourself! I would NEVER go on this as I am scared to death of heights!)

Salim gets a free ticket to ride the London Eye from a total stranger. Ted and Kate, who have ridden the London Eye before, look on as Salim gets on the ride. However, when his pod comes back to the ground, he does not get off with the other riders.

Where is Salim? What happened to him? Can Kat and Ted figure out the mystery?

Be could possibly get stuck on the English words and spellings in the book...for example, instead of tennis shoes, the British say ‘trainers’. Instead of spelling esophagus, it is spelled 'oesophagus'. There are many other instances in the book. This might throw some readers as they try to understand the story.

If you like mysteries and puzzles, you might want to give this one a shot.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles The First Escape

What a unique book! I loved G.P. Taylor's The First Escape. It is the first book in The Dopple Ganger Chronicles.

This book is different because it is a mix of traditional text, illustrations, AND graphic novel! All three mesh together in this book to tell the story of two sisters. Here is the blurb from the book:

"At Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children, life is trouble for fourteen year-old identical twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple and their friend, former thief Erik Morrissey Ganger. But what starts out as a perfectly normal day of food fights, rioting classmates, and (yawn) threats of expulsion goes suddenly and horribly wrong when a mysterious, wealthy woman appears at the school and adopts Saskia...without her sister.

On her own in a mansion full of dark secrets, Saskia stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens her very life. Meanwhile, desperate to find Saskia, Sadie and Erik escape from the orphanage with a gang of enemies in hot pursuit. Faced with perils beyond their imaginations, the trio must decide who to trust--and what to believe--if they are to survive long enough to find each other again."

What a cool book! The second book in the series has just been published...The Secret of Indigo Moon. Go to to view the book trailer for the second book. I can't wait to get my hands on my own copy! I will read it FAST and then put it in the classroom for YOU!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

A big THANK YOU to Maddie C. for loaning me her copy of The Secret of Indigo Moon! I read this second book of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, and it did not disappoint! A good mystery with Saskia, Sadie, and Eric again! Pick it up!

Friday, September 11, 2009

14 Cows for America

“Because there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort.” This line from 14 Cows From America was the perfect end to a powerful book.

There are many stories about September 11, 2001, yet none quite like this one. Written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, 14 Cows From America tells of the story of Kimeli who visits his Massai village in Kenya. It is nine months after the terrorist attack has taken place. He tells the horrors of September 11 to his tribe. They are moved. Kimeli wishes to offer his only cow to the American people, a gift sacred to the Massai; the cow is life. Kimeli asks the elders for their blessing which they give, but there is more that they wish to do.

I was moved by Kimeli’s story and the gift of the Massai. The story was elegantly told with a richness and powerfulness that matched that of the Massai. The illustrations were colorful and powerful themselves. Twice I was moved by the illustrations. The first was of the picture of Kimeli’s mother welcoming him home. The last bit of text on the page reads, “He thinks of New York then. He remembers September.” My eyes then go directly to the right and down just a touch where the New York skyline is represented behind the illustration of Kimeli’s mother and other tribe members. Perfect placement of text and illustration!

The second time I was moved by the illustrations was on the last page. The reflection of the Twin Towers in the pupil of an eye. Very powerful. Very memorable. Just like this story.

You should read this picture book to learn about the Massai whom seem very different from ourselves yet who obviously are very connected with the hearts and minds of Americans. It is a great book!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Faaaaaaaaabuloussssssssssss! Savvy by Ingrid Law is a keeper! Can I just say, “FABULOUS!” Oh...I already said that? Well then, let me say it again...FABULOUSSSSSSSS!!!!

This is from the front book jacket…

“Mibs Beaumont is about to become a teenager. As if that prospect weren’t scary enough, thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy strikes—and with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, it promises to be outrageous...and positively thrilling.

But just before her big day, Poppa is in a terrible accident. Suddenly, Mib’s dreams of X-ray vision disappear like a flash of her brother’s lightening. All she wants now is a savvy that will save Poppa. In fact, Mibs is so sure she’ll get that powerful savvy that she sneaks a ride to the hospital on a rickety bus, with her siblings and the preacher’s kids in tow. But when the bus starts heading in the wrong direction only one thing is certain. After this extraordinary adventure, not a soul on board will ever be the same.”

I highly recommend this book. Don’t let the 342 pages intimidate you. The text is large, and there is not the usual amount of writing on a page so the book reads quickly.

This is Ingrid Law’s first book and she WOWs me with her writing style—the words she chooses—the sentences she writes—the tale she tells is FABULOUS! RICH!

If you go to Ingrid Law's website, you will discover that she is working on a companion novel to Savvy. At the present time, it has been titled Scumble and will be published in the fall of 2010. The main character will be a cousin of the Beaumont’s-one that we did not meet in this first book. I can’t wait!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!