Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Review

It's Sunday, and I wish I could say I was able to read more because of our extra hour, but that didn't seem to happen - busy weekend!  My husband, daughter, and one of my best friends traveled to Louisville to see Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, so I read a little in the car.  Here are the books I read this week:

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea  The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner

humor, intermediate-kids-book, mock-newbery-2013, mystery, point of view


This is a quirky mystery that a couple groups in my classes are reading this month. The narrator is hilarious, and the kids are loving how the story is told. Twelve-year-old twins, John and Abigail Templeton are kidnapped by a set of adult twins who accused their father of stealing their idea for an invention. Along with their ridiculous dog, Cassie, they cleverly thwart Dean D. Dean's plans. Funny word play, silly reader quizzes, and drawings throughout will make this series enjoyable for smart middle graders, fans of Tom Angleberger and Lemony Snicket, especially.


Chime  Chime by Franny Billingsley
audio-book, fantasy-science-fiction, gifted-girls, young-adult-book

Briony is quite the female protagonist!  At the beginning of book,  she confesses to witchcraft and self-hatred, and wants to be hanged because of her guilt over what she thinks she has done to her stepmother and twin sister, obsessive compulsive and slightly "off," Rose. The setting of the Swampsea becomes a character in and of itself, with the descriptions of it taking you right there in the muck and cold, with the Boggy Man reaching out for you. There is romance with the boy-man, Eldric, and lots of self-discovery. It's a strange and complex story and won't be for everybody, but some teenage girls would love it, I'm sure! The narrator of the audio version is fantastic!
Starry River of the Sky  Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
This is a companion novel to When the Mountain Meets the Moon. Young and angry Rendi has run away from home and ends up as a chore boy at the village inn. He is disturbed by the fact that he is the only one that seems to notice that the moon is missing from the Village of Clear Sky. He hears sorrowful cries coming from the night sky, keeping him from sleep. Rendi meets interesting characters, and Chinese folktales are woven throughout the story much in the same way as When the Mountain Meets the Moon. Rendi finally learns forgiveness and to let go of his anger.

The Spindlers
  The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

audio-book, fantasy-science-fiction, mock-newbery-2013

I enjoyed listening to this fantasy a lot. Liza wakes up one morning knowing that her brother, Patrick, is no longer really there. His soul has been taken. She decides to go Below to get it back because she knows the spindlers have taken it. A creepy adventure awaits Liza. Oliver creates an Alice in Wonderland feel as Liza encounters all kinds of fantastical creatures - I loved the make-up obsessed rat, Mirabella, (SPOILER ALERT) who ends up betraying her but redeems herself in the end. Then there are the moles, troglods, nids, and the ultimate antagonist, the spindler queen, whom Liza must overcome. The descriptions of the spindlers makes me think of Tim Burton movies. Patrick is lucky to have a sister who will battle anything to save his soul!



  1. Dean D. Dean. A great character name. I bet your kids do love this!

    1. And his twin brother is Dan D. Dean. ;-) Kids love it when the narrator is in 2nd person - talking to them!