Archive for January, 2008

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

The True Meaning of SmekdayWhat if your mother thought that she’d been abducted by aliens?  What if she told everyone at work about it?  Embarassing, right?  But what if she was right?  What if she HAD been abducted by aliens, and it was only a matter of time until those aliens not only abducted her again, but Took Over the World?

That’s what’s happened to Gratuity Tucci.  In 2011, a race of aliens called the Boov have taken over the world and forced all human beings to relocate to Florida (everyone wants to go to Florida, right?  Orlando has the Happy Mouse Kingdom!).

Gratuity has been self-sufficient since her mother was abducted, so instead of taking the Boov-provided transport to Florida with everyone else, she decides to drive herself (and her cat, Pig) there in her mother’s car.  Along the way she meets a renegade Boov, who calls himself J.Lo (not being aware that this is a name that might be considered well-known) and allows him to hitch a ride with her to Florida.

When they get to Florida, though, they discover that the Boov have forced humans to relocate again–to Arizona.  And, what’s worse, another alien race has discovered the earth, and the Gorg make the Boov look like friendly pussy-cats.  The Gorg plan to exterminate all humans, then eat the planet Earth and destroy it utterly.

What can Gratuity and J.Lo do to stop them?  Will Gratuity ever find her mom?  What will happen if anyone discovers that J.Lo is one of the hated Boov?  Will anyone ever pull Gratuity over for underage driving?  And what part does Pig the cat play in all of this?

The True Meaning of Smekday is hilariously funny, surprisingly philosophical, and a great buddy story.  Anyone, who likes to think and to laugh will enjoy this book, no matter what their age.  If you already have read this leave a comment below, telling us what you thought!

Posted by: Sarah

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Digby Takes Charge by Caroline Jayne Church

Digby Takes ChargeWhen a new sheepdog arrives on the farm, he thinks the job of rounding up six sheep should be a snap. However, he soon learns that the sheep have different plans. He tries a number of different methods but soon learns that all he needs to say is one small word. Kids will laugh at the illustrations of the outrageous methods Digby uses to try to herd the sheep. I love the picture of Digby riding in a tank with his goggles and scarf blowing behind him. This cute story also teaches the importance of using the word please.

Posted by: Liz

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Dog-Ku by Andrew Clements

Dogku
Writer of fiction
Leaping from prose to haiku
Readers jump for joy

Posted by: Eileen

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The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

Case of the Missing MarquessI love a good mystery and a heroine with lots of gumption!  This book has both.  Enola is the much younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective,  and his brother Mycroft.  On her fourteenth birthday, Enola’s mother does not return home.  The sons find that she has let the estate fall into ruin and has let her daughter run wild.  She has accumulated the money she has saved on expenses and used it to escape from the confining Victorian rules of etiquette and class which bind her to the estate and to a life she does not want. 

Mycroft decides to straighten Enola out immediately by sending her off to boarding school where she can trade in her knickerbockers for bustled and corseted decorum.  Enola decides that she has no other course than to run away and support herself until she comes of age. 

Enola does elude her brothers.  She is good at codes, disguises, deception and finding things.  In fact, she investigates the disappearance of the Duke of Tewkesbury’s son and passes on an important clue to the police.  

This could turn a lot of young readers into fans of the British mystery genre.  Recommended to girls in grades 5 through 8.

Posted by: Fran W.

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Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Code TalkerIt was a secret for many years. But now the story can be told of how the Navajo language was used as a secret code in WWII. This intriguing book follows a Navajo boy from a boarding school run by whites where the Navajo language was outlawed, through his experiences in the Marines in World War II as he used his once outlawed language to send important messages in the midst of battle. The Japanese had broken codes before but they could not break the code of the Navajo language. This combination of action and information will appeal to upper grade school children, young adults and adults.

Posted by: Iris

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I Miss You Every Day by Simms Taback

I Miss You Every DayThis is a wonderful picture book written for all the kids who miss someone who is far away.  The girl in the story decides that she will just mail herself to the people she misses.  The story rhymes and repeats the line “I miss you every day” – “Please take me to the post office – They will sort me on my way – I’ll jump into a mailbag – I miss you every day.”  The pictures are colorful and childlike, and the end pages have sweet notes written by kids to friends, grandma and grandpa, cousins, etc.  This story is just right for any child who is away from a person they love.

Posted by: Mary

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The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

The Name of This Book is SecretNot only is the name of this book secret, so is the plot.  In this humorous book, the author takes the reader on a mad-capped adventure with some delightfully interesting characters.  In fact, I don’t even know if I should be talking about the book.  I’m going to risk it, though!

Pseudonymous makes a children’s book into a tale of possibly the most secret society on earth (except you don’t know what it is or does)  I enjoyed the point of view of the story and how the author breaks for chapters (sometimes informing readers that they should use the bathroom because the next chapter is a long one). 

But what of the story?  Well it centers on Cass and Max-Ernest two seemingly ordinary kids that turn out to have a few tricks up their sleeves.  I would tell you more, but I really can’t.What makes this story so interesting is not necessarily the secret, but rather the characters; even minor characters are well fleshed out and lend interest and insight into the overall story.  I can see this book becoming a favorite of many although you might have to keep that a secret.

Posted by: Kate

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