Archive for February, 2013


theodosia-and-the-serpents-of-chaosSynopsis:  Cursed artifacts, German spies, museum traitors, and secret organizations – what’s not to like?  Theodosia is a young British girl who can see the black magic and curses on the objects that her archaeologist parents bring home from their digs in Egypt.  There is a secret plot to destroy the British Empire (and possibly a whole lot more), which Theodosia must overcome using her unique talents.

Rachel:  I think this book is for people who like museums or work in them.  They will also have to like Britain a little in this book.  This book was good.  There is also a series out there too.  My favorite part was when Theodosia talked about the curses she was seeing.

Ben:  Really cool. Kind of boring at the beginning, though.  I had an awesome time reading about headstrong Theodosia.  She always gets her way.  I hope that everyone else will love this book.

Mom:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  There is a wonderful flavor about Theodosia.  She has pluck, spirit, and a sense of adventure, but she is definitely full of common sense.  I must add that there is one swear word on page 274, so use your best judgement there.  Other than that, nothing else is objectionable.  We looked up the name Theodosia on the Social Security website, and it hasn’t been popular for 100 years, if it ever was at all.

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9781470300814-LSynopsis:  Jordan Johnston, a sixth-grader, feels utterly ordinary in every way.  Like most young girls, she longs to feel special and talented and thinks that everyone around her has all the talents she lacks.  She tries many different activities in hopes that each will  be the thing that makes her stand out.  She deals with bullies and best friends and disappointments and compliments.  In the end, she discovers a measure of her own worth in a surprising way.

Rachel:  The end of this book was very surprising.  If you don’t like books that are about girls, this isn’t for you.  I literally loved this book.  This is realistic fiction.

Mom:  I enjoy Andrew Clements’ ability to create an authentic feeling for young people.  This book felt like I was talking to my daughter.  I appreciated the plot line involving the bully.  Instead of the typical underdog facing up to the mean kid, or the more modern anti-bullying and harrassment school policies, Jordan deals with her problem with kindness and understanding.  I love the uplifting message.  So many girls are quick to see the talents of others and equally as quick to dismiss their own positive traits.  This book may encourage girls to look at themselves in a new way.

InfinityRing-book1-flatcoverSynopsis:  Infinity Ring is a series like 39 Clues, where each book has a different author.  The premise is that history has been altered by the evil SQ corporation, and needs to be put right before the world collapses into chaos.  Our heroes, Dak, Sera, and Riq, have missions from the rebel group Hystorians in which they must correct the breaks in history.  This first book sets the backstory, and lands the adventurers in the time of Christopher Columbus.  Once the book is completed, there is a separate adventure/game on the website infinityring.com involving a different time period.  Each book will have a separate bonus adventure on the web.

Matthew:  I liked the Infinity Ring series.  The plot really got my attention.  My favorite parts were actually the sarcastic remarks the characters said when they were arguing.  This book combines two of my favorite story elements: time paradoxes and humor.

Mom:  James Dashner is one of my favorite authors and he has a wonderful creative imagination.  The book was engaging and funny and a very quick read.  It almost belongs in the steampunk genre, with lots of fun changes to modern history that kids are sure to pick out.  I hope that future authors keep to the same line, with no swear words or inappropriate situations.  I spent about 2 hours playing the online game, which is set in the French Revolution.  It was somewhat challenging, but not so much that a preteen would give up in despair.  The graphics are really cool.  All in all, this is cool enough that it will tempt a reluctant reader to give it a try.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

 

Synopsis:  Nicholas St. North is a pirate and a ruffian who turns out to have a heart of gold.  But this book isn’t just about Nicholas.  It is also about the wizard Ombric, a girl named Katherine, the man in the moon, and a fearsome villain called Pitch.  Moonbeams play a role, as well as nightmares and fearlings, with a surprise appearance from an army of yetis.

Rachel:  It was surprising that I really didn’t know everything about St. Nicholas.  This book was adventurous.  If I were a character in the book,  I’d be Katherine!

Benjamin:  I liked the book, but it was a little weird.  It was a fun book to read.  It’s not my favorite, but I really did like it.  All the references to the moon and the man in the moon made it kind of strange.  Otherwise it was an awesome book.

Mom:   I agree with Ben that this book was a little strange.  The writing was kind of uneven and the character development wasn’t the best.  However,  the ideas in this book were creative and unusual; not your standard sort of fairy tale.  If you are expecting a sappy recreation of the life of Santa Claus, forget it!  This is not that book.  I really enjoyed the fabulous illustrations, which change the whole character of the book.  This book might tempt a reluctant reader who enjoys adventures.