Saturday, June 27, 2015

These Just Read!

In the two weeks since we ended the school year, I have had some time to explore some new or almost new books that I have been wanting to read.  Here are a few of the best ones I just read.

The Terrible Two by Matt Barnett and Jory John (grades 3-5) could be a typical new-kid-at-school  story but when then new kid prides himself as being a master prankster, the tale takes on new challenges.  The resident prankster at the school pranks the new guy until they become a team.  Having a rather clueless principal with a son who is the class bully provides the opportunity for some creative tricks.   Lots of cartoon like illustrations add to the flavor of the story.

Circus Mirandus  by Cassie Beasley (Grades 4-8) engaged me from page one.  Micah Tuttle's grandfather,  who has raised him since his parents died in an accident, is dying.   Soon Micah will be sent to live with his very crabby great-aunt.  Only the magical circus that has filled grandfather's stories seems like a possible way to save everything Micah knows and loves.   The Circus Mirandus is only seen by those who believe in its magic.  It can fulfill wishes and prolong the joys of childhood. But will the magic be able to save Micah's grandfather?

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place  by Julie Berry (Grades 6-9) is a Victorian novel in grand style.  The seven young ladies at a private boarding school in Ely, England, have been sent to this drab old home to learn to be proper young ladies and get rid of their unnecessary ideas about learning science or meeting unsuitable young men.  The widow who runs the school is less than generous so, when she and her good-for-nothing brother die suddenly at dinner one evening,  the girls decide to bury them in the backyard and tell no one.  The humorous trials and tribulations of keeping their school mistress's disappearance a secret are quite stressful for all of them. Each girl has a distinctive personality which is often noted her name, a technique which adds to the humor.   I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The Last Wild by Piers Torday (Grades 5-7) offers a strong story of what could happen if all the wild animals were killed.  Big business is the clear villain with many people working hard to keep humans from veering from the path they have been assigned.  Kesler Jaynes begins his story in what is called a hospital for troubled children but seems more like a prison.  He has lost the power of speech to humans but realizes that he can communicate with the cockroach her befriends in his cell.  The General, as the cockroach is soon titled, connects Kesler with other creatures and orchestrates a break-out from the hospital with the warden in hot pursuit.  The animals say Kesler is all part of their collective dream and he is the one who must save the last wild creatures on earth.  I need to read the sequel as this is more of a hopeful ending than a happy one.

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