Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This is probably the heaviest book I have ever read. Don't be intimidated by how big it is --I read it in one night. There are a lot of illustrations, and the illustrations are part of the story. They're black and white, but even so they're riveting. The story is part adventure, part mystery. The main character is a boy who's living on his own (since his evil uncle disappeared) in the walls of the train station, taking care of all the clocks in the station, and trying not to get caught. He collects his uncle's paychecks and piles them up because he doesn't know how to cash them. He knows a lot about clocks because his father was a clockmaker, and he has a mechanical man (called an automaton) he rescued from the museum fire that killed his father. He steals mechanical parts and toys from a toy stall in the station to use to try and fix the automaton. He meets a girl who's lives with the toyseller and his wife, and even though they fight a lot, she eventually helps him get the automaton to work, which leads to a surprising discovery about the toyseller. I really enjoyed reading this. Review by Stacy Church

Friday, May 11, 2007

Gideon the Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer

First of all, I have to say: this is a long book! It's 400 pages and it seemed to take me forever to read it (really about a week). It begins with a "To the Reader" that I still don't understand - it's one of those books that pretends to be written by one of the people in the book, but I'm not sure which character is supposed to be writing it. Nevertheless, the story is good, and you learn a lot about what life was like in 1763, the time that Kate and Peter travel back to when they are messing around in Kate's father's lab, and accidentally come in contact with an anti-gravity machine. They make friends with Gideon, who has his own troubles, which they get drawn into because of a common enemy: The Tarman. The Tarman steals the anti-gravity machine, without which Peter and Kate will be stuck in 1763. This is the first book of a trilogy, so the ending is kind of unsatisfying. Review by Stacy Church

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes

This is a book about a girl who finally gets a chance to be happy. Then she has to make a choice between staying with her new family that she's come to love or giving her mother one more chance to make a home for her and her brother. Paris can remember a time when she was happy with her real family, but her more recent memories are not so good. Then she and her brother moved from one abusive foster home to another. It seemed the worst thing yet to be separated from her brother, who had been the only stable influence in her life, and it didn't turn out so well for him. But Paris ends up with a really nice family who is willing to take their time getting to know her. Just when things are settling down, Paris's mother starts calling her. I really liked this book. Paris is a great character, and I'm sure this type of situation occurs more often than most of us know. Review by Stacy Church