Thursday, January 28, 2010

Water Steps by A. LaFaye

water steps If I had paid more attention to the dedication --“To every kid who faces a fear and finds a little magic” – I might not have been so surprised by the ending of this book. Kyna is terrified of water. Not only swimming in water, but just having a drop of water touch her skin. She can’t even stand to take a bath, so when her adoptive parents tell her they’re all going to stay in a cabin on Lake Champlain for the summer, she is not happy. Luckily, the cabin is in the woods, and woods are something that Kyna does like. It’s a great place to look for subjects to photograph, and she wants to win the blue ribbon in photography at next year’s Cortland County Fair. Kyna makes a new friend right away, too. His name is Tylo, and he wants Kyna to help him take a picture of the silkies he’s convinced he saw on the lake shore one night. Kyna manages to avoid telling him about her fear of water, but in the end it catches up with her. I really like the way the author combines story-telling, folk lore and plot. The reader gets to learn all about silkies, fairies and other Celtic traditions through the stories Kyna’s dad, Pep, tells, and of course, they come into play in the story as well. There’s maybe a little too much dwelling on how Kyna feels about water, but it doesn’t spoil the book. Review by Stacy Church

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

when The first note that Miranda received stated, among other things:

I am coming to save your friends life, and my own.

You must write me a letter.

The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.

The third note provided proof to Miranda that the person writing these mysterious notes came from the future. The letter that Miranda writes becomes the story told in When You Reach Me. It details the things that happened to Miranda that fall and winter, things both mundane and extraordinary. The time traveling aspects lend a unique touch to an otherwise realistic story. The story flows so smoothly that I had a hard time putting the book down. Readers who want to figure out who’s writing the notes will probably be able to do so, but that in no way detracts from an otherwise near-perfect book. Review by Katie Corrigan

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Last Newspaper Boy in America by Sue Corbett

last newspaper I enjoyed this book so much!  Sue Corbett manages to tell a story about a quirky family that’s funny, but not so over the top as a lot of recent books.  In Wil’s family, your 12th birthday is momentous because that’s when you get to take over the paper route that’s been in the family for generations.  “…every paper ever flung onto a porch in Steele had flown from the hand of somebody named David.” Wil has been training for years, and is probably the best newspaper tosser the family has ever seen.  And for Wil the route is doubly important because he wants to use the money he earns to buy his own computer, so it’s quite a set-back when he finds out the night before his birthday that the publisher of The Cooper County Caller is going to stop home delivery of the paper in his hometown.  At the same time, the fair has come to town.  Over the past few years, Wil has figured out the gimmick to each of the games at the fair, and why the competitors never win big, but this year there’s a new game called Cover the Spot.  The prize is $1000 and the game involves throwing.  If Wil can win the game he’ll have enough money to buy his computer.  He spends the first couple of days observing, because you can only play once.  When he finally has an idea of how the fair is rigging the game, it takes the help of lots of people to expose the cheating in a public enough way to make sure that he wins the $1000.  Along the way he gets an idea to help the town attract a new business to take the place of the factory that’s closing caused such financial hardship for just about everyone in town.  There are plenty of entertaining side bits and characters. Review by Stacy Church