Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Week in the Woods

A Week in the WoodsA Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this book for my stepson for Christmas last year, and it turned out to be one of his favorites (hooray!). Both he and my husband recommended I read it, and I can see why. Andrew Clements does such an excellent job of creating multi-dimensional characters, both children and adults. In fact, there is so much to this story, it's hard to know how to describe it. It's a story about a kid and some adults who make some snap judgments that turn out to be wrong. It's a story about a lonely kid finding and home and something (the outdoors) to love. It's a story about being prepared (and an excellent advertisement for REI!).

Ultimately it's a story about getting lost and finding your way back home.

For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, and a great pick for elementary school boys.

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No Talking

No TalkingNo Talking by Andrew Clements

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved it! This book cracked me up, and I love how both the kids AND adults grew up a little over the course of the book. My 9-year-old stepson (and my husband) loved it, too, which is always a good sign. :)

Here is the book talk I just gave for it:

Who talks more?

Boys...or girls?

Do you know?

Could you stop?

Laketon Elementary experimented.

With a contest

Boys vs. Girls

Two silent days

Penalties for speaking

Except to teachers

(Three-word answers)

Kids counted goofs.

Teachers were confused.

And the winners?

Can you guess?

No Talking

by Andrew Clements

For readers' advisors: story and character doorways

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

It Happened One Knife

It Happened One KnifeIt Happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the second Jeffrey Cohen mystery I read (the first was Some Like It Hot Buttered), and I enjoyed it just as much. Cohen's sense of humor and turn of phrase--especially in his narration--cracks me up.

Elliot Freed's Comedy Tonight movie theater has just reopened after the renovations made necessary in the end of the first book. He agreed to screen his projectionist's ultra-violent Western, despite the theater's comedy-only theme, but afterward, someone stole the only copy of Anthony's gory bloodfest of a student film. That's mystery #1.

Mystery #2 begins after Elliot meets two of his heroes, the legendary comedy team of Harry Lillis and Les Townes. Lillis believes that 50 years ago, Townes murdered his (Townes') wife, actress/comedienne Vivian Reynolds. Elliot sets out to find out if this is true.

I had my suspicions throughout the book as to who did what to whom, but I did not actually figure it all out in advance. :)

For readers' advisors: story and character doorways

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Take the Cannoli

Take the CannoliTake the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I heard Sarah Vowell speak at the closing session of PLA in March 2010, and she was so hilarious, I added her books to my to-read list. This is the first of her books I have read, and overall I enjoyed it. She has a fabulously sarcastic sense of humor, although I think she's funnier in person than in parts of this book. I generally agree with her politics, so I usually got a kick out of her take on things, but she lost me in the chapter on the Chelsea Hotel. I just couldn't make myself finish that essay, maybe because I had never heard of it before picking up her book, but, yeah, a hotel that's filthy on purpose?! Some famous people stayed there at one time, and that's supposed to make squalor exciting or interesting to read about? Um, not so much.

For readers' advisors: character doorway

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