Writing is like cooking, if you spill something, you should make it look like part of the act.
–John Keeble–

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Book Summaries

Author: Jerry Spinelli
Title: winger
Publishing information: Harper Collins Publishing, 1997, 9-12
Number of Pages: 228
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Summary of Plot: In Palmer’s small town each summer there is a Pigeon shooting day. Once the kids turn ten they are able to become “wringer”. They run out into the field and wring the necks of the birds that have been shot down. On Palmer’s ninth birthday he becomes “one of the guys”, and their ambition is to become wringers and bully little kids. Palmer though does not want to hurt the pigeons. A couple months before the festivals, Palmer meets a pigeon outside his window. He takes it in a takes care of it. His friends have suspicions, and think he has betrayed them. He sets his neighbor agrees to set the pigeon free for him, but set him free where they catch the pigeons. Palmer saves his pigeon from being shot and finally stands up for the pigeon.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought the concept was ridiculous. There were a lot of plot holes. Palmer’s character was not believable. He tries to solve his problems by himself, and the other characters have too much freedom for their age group. It is definitely geared towards a younger group.
Potential Problems: Bullying is very propionate in this book, but it is never addressed or resolved. Spinelli leaves his book hanging at the end, and Palmer does finally stand up for himself. But we never know if this action resolves the problem he is having of being bullying by his old fiends. Palmer never goes to this parents for help, they play a very minor part in the story. When kids read book where the character is independent, and making stupid choices, what are they learning?
Recommendations: 9 – 12 year old boys.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

Author: Graeme Base
Title: The Eleventh Hour
Publishing information: Harry N. Abrams, September 2003, Age 9-12
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book

Summary of Plot: For Horace’s eleventh birthday he invites eleven friends, makes Eleven treats and they play eleven games. At the Eleventh hour they go into dining hall to eat, but all the food is gone. So Horace makes sandwiches and they have a picnic.
But there is more to this book than that; throughout the book are clues to solve the mystery of who at the food. The pictures are filled with color and details.
Your Reaction to the book: I loved each picture, each page because they were filled with so much detail. I liked that each animal is dressed up and the costumes were well crafted to the character.
Potential Problems: there are a lot of words in this book for it being a picture book, and it takes a while to get into the story because you have to get through all of it before you understand why the author used some words or pictures as he did.
Recommendations: for all ages, I think anyone could enjoy this book. whether it was read aloud or silently.

The Lost Hero

Author: Rick Riordan
Title: The Lost Hero
Publishing information: Hyperion Book CH, October 12, 2010, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 576
Genre: fantasy

Summary of Plot: This book is about the new generation of Heroes. When Jason wakes up holding a girls hand, Piper, he can’t remember how he got there. They are on a field trip with their school. Leo, who says they are friends from school, is with them. They are attacked by storm spirits and are saved by Annabeth, the hero from Percy Jackson. She is on a mission to find Percy who has disappeared. This story takes place in the same camp Half-Blood, as the Percy Jackson series does, but it is from the new hero’s point of view.
When they get to Camp Half-Blood, they are sent on a quest. While on the quest they run into old villains who have been dead since the Greek and Roman time. They learn that the goddess of the Earth is waking up and is seeking revenge on the Greek Gods. She is raising old enemies from the dead, including the giants who were created to destroy each of the Greek Gods.
Roman mythology is tied in throughout the book, and we learn that Jason is not a son of the Greek Gods, but the Roman versions of the Gods. We also learn that there is another camp for the Roman children. The two side will have to come together with the Gods to defeat their enemy.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought this book was fun, but I didn’t know too much about Roman mythology to catch all the references. I knew that they reflected mythical stories. I like most about it was the story was still in the same realm as Percy Jackson, but with different characters. There was a hint that Percy Jackson, would show up in later books in the series.
Potential Problems: There were some fighting and violence, with mythical beings. A real religious person might not enjoy this book because the appearance and talk of Greek Gods.
Recommendations: I think that this book would be enjoyed the most by independent readers of the age of 10-14 who are looking for an adventure book and has some understanding with mythology.

Kit Carson, Mountain Man

Author: Margaret E. Bell
Title: Kit Carson, Mountain Man
Publishing information: William Morrow & Company, 1952, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 71
Genre: Biography
Summary of Plot: The story of Kit Carson and his story before he becomes an America Hero. He leaves Franklin, Missouri and his apprentice job at a saddle shop, and joins a caravan to the west. Filled with the spirit of adventure he stays in California until his is able to get experience to become a trapper. His skill with leadership sets him out above the rest and he gains respect from other trappers. When trapping no longer pays enough for a living he become a guide, and leads Colonel Fremont in mapping and exploring the west.
Your Reaction to the book: This book was very informative. I enjoyed how it went into important details about his life and explained how he gained knowledge and understanding of the wilderness
Potential Problems: This book was bias. It glorified everything Carson did. It only went into details about the major events in his life, and it never talked about the consequences of the little actions
Recommendations: I would recommend this book to boys, who like adventure books or American Heros.

The White Ox

Author: Dan Burr and Ruth Hailstone
Title: The White Ox
Publishing information: Calkin Creek Books, April 2009, age 9-12
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book/ Biography
Summary of Plot: this is a unique story of a Mormon girl, Emily, who travels to Salt Lake City. It shows her leaving England, the voyage across the ocean, and through the plains. Worn out by all the traveling she wants to give up. She finds a white Ox that is left behind. Feeling sorry for it she nurtures it back to health. With the Ox’s help she gets to Salt Lake Valley, where she loses the Ox. At the end she is grateful and believes the Ox was send by Heavenly Father to help her on her journey.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought that the pictures where really good and enjoyed them. A kid could read the story, just by looking at the pictures. This was a good story of faith, and devotion.
Potential Problems: The story was geared towards an LDS audience, the trials that Emily went through I thought was the basic early pioneer story.
Recommendations: This story would be good for a young LDS family. Or anyone interested in history, family, or church. This could get kids interested in their own family history.

Dear Big, Mean, Ugly Monster

Book Summaries

Author: Ruth Marie Berglin
Title: Dear Big, Mean, Ugly Monster
Publishing information: Children & Family Press, 2005, age 4-8
Number of Pages: 40
Genre: picture book
Summary of Plot: Joe is afraid of the monster under his bed. After reading “Billy Goats Gruff” with his mom he decides to write the monster a letter. They exchange letters and Joe learns that the Monster under his bed in not scary at all.
Your Reaction to the book: I thought this book was cute. The picture were great, and I loved that the letters where hand written. It deals with a fear that is common with little kids. I thought the letters that were exchanged between Joe and Sam, the monster, were advanced for the age level.
Potential Problems: not everything can be solved by writing a letter.
Recommendations: I would recommend this book for teachers who are teaching how to write letters. Or to parents who are trying to teach their kids not to be afraid of what’s under the bed.

Ice Palace

Book Summaries

Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Title: Ice Palace
Publishing information: Houghton Mifflin Company, Oct. 20, 2003, beginner
Number of Pages: 32
Genre: picture book, Informational
Summary of Plot: A little Girl talks about the winter festival in her home town. The book covers the traditions, the history of the festivals. The workers, who build the ice palace, are unique because they are prisoners at the prison.
Your Reaction to the book: I felt that this book had too many words and tons of explanation for a picture book. I learned how ice was harvested before machines, and the history of the town’s winter festival.
Potential Problems: Inmates were the ones building the center piece. It glorified the workers and the girl was appreciative to them. I think we should encourage kids to avoid going to jail, and how it’s not pleasing, and they don’t contribute to society.
Recommendations: I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a lesson that helps kids see why they want to avoid prison. I think in the right light it can be very helpful.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another Monster

Another Monster at the End of This Book
Author: Jon Stone
Publishing information: A Golden Book - New York, 1996, baby-preschool.
Number of Pages: 24
Genre: picture book
Summary of Plot: Grove is once again informed that there is a monster at the end of the books and is afraid to turn the page. Elmo accompanies him in this story and is excited to meet a new monster. Grove pleads the reader not to turn the page, and tries to stop the page from being turned by creating barriers. Elmo encourages the reader to continue and turn the page. Near the end of the book Grover comes up with a plan, so he would not be scared of the monster at the end of the book. He has Elmo sneak around the back of the book and jump out. Well, the monsters at the end of the book are Elmo and Grover!
Your Reaction to the book: I like Grover’s character; he got the reader involved with his scheme of blocking the pages. Elmo was cute and encouraged the reader to go on.
Potential Problems: I felt that the two characters contradicted each other. Grover didn’t want the pages to be turned because he was afraid. I felt Elmo didn’t listen to Grover and ruined what Grover’s plan. The two did not complement each other well.
Recommendations: I would recommend this book to a mother reading to her young kids, around or before preschool age. They can really get into the push and pull of the duet of Grover and Elmo.