Saturday, May 28, 2005

Black Canary by Jane Louise Curry

This book reminds me of King of Shadows by Susan Cooper, only I didn't like it quite as much. The book is confusing at the beginning. James Parrett wakes up in the middle of the night, hears a noise like water running, and follows the sound down into the basement of the flat where he and his family are staying in London. He sees a strange shimmer in the air, which turns out to be a portal that transports him back to 1600. The interesting things in the story have to do with James's resentment of his parents, who have always tried to push him into music, and the fact that James is biracial. The book is awfully slow going, but I liked seeing James discover how much he likes to sing, when he is captured and forced to perform for the queen in Elizabethan England. Review by Stacy Church

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sing a Song of Tuna Fish by Esme Raji Codell

The author tells stories she says are 95% true from her childhood growing up in a poor section of Chicago in the 1970's. (Her mother says the people in their neighborhood aren't "poor" but "broke.") Her unconventional parents don't care if she goes to school, and when she does go to school it's to an unusual one where the students choose what they want to do every morning, and never have to do anything they don't want to. In the first story in the book, Esme's mother orders her to throw eggs at a car that is parked in front of a fire hydrant across from their house! I really enjoyed reading this book - it was funny and nostalgic, reminding me of when I was growing up. Review by Stacy Church

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Abduction by Peg Kehret

This is an incredibly suspenseful story of the abduction of a young boy by a father he has never met before. I would only recommend this book for older readers, because I found it pretty scary. Even though Matt remembers the rules about strangers, the man in the UPS uniform lures him away by first stealing Matt's dog from his house, and telling him that the dog is hurt and needs his help. Later, Matt's sister Bonnie tries to rescue Matt and she gets kidnapped, too. The adults they turn to for help don't believe them, and it is finally up to the children to help themselves. A very believable story with a happy ending. Review by Stacy Church

Falcon's Malteser by Anthony Horowitz

A classic hardboiled detective story. The detective is bumbling Tim Diamond, whose 13 year-old brother Nick has come to live with him since their parents moved to Australia. Nick has to work hard to overcome his older brother's incompetence. In the beginning of the book, a dwarf hires them to keep a package for them, and murder and mayhem follow. There's a master criminal named "The Fat Man" who's anything but, two bad guys named "Gott" and "Himmel" ("God" and "Heaven" in German), and a slew of other colorful characters. Some of you will know the author Anthony Horowitz for his espionage novel series featuring Alex Rider: Stormbreaker, Point Blank. Review by Stacy Church