May 112010
 

This is Book Four in the Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan.

The Review in Booklist:
Following Will and Evanlyn’s escape from slavery in The Icebound Land (2007), Halt determines that the Temujai mean to attack Araluen and decides to help the Skandians defend their land. Rejoining Halt, Will and Evanlyn become warriors in the stronghold where they had recently been captives and use their wits and skills to fight the common enemy. The story plunges forward with irresistible narrative drive toward the climactic battle scene. Even readers drawn to the series for its deftly drawn characters and setting may find themselves caught up in the action. A fine entry in the increasingly popular Ranger’s Apprentice series.

Amazon has identified copies as “Bargain books” books that are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. They are selling the paperback for $3.20.

Apr 042010
 

How to Train Your DragonHow to Train Your Dragon  (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III)

Cressida Cowell

Young Hiccup may be the son of Stoick the Vast, chief of the Hairy Hooligans, but he isn’t exactly heroic Viking material.

When he and the other boys of his tribe are sent on a mission to fetch dragons to train, Hiccup comes back with the scrawniest creature ever seen. Toothless, as Hiccup names him, is also rude, lazy, and greedy, but when the tribe is faced with horrible danger, Hiccup’s unorthodox dragon-training techniques prove successful and he and his unique beast become true heroes. Sprinkled throughout with funny sketches, scribbles, and ink blots, this is a goofy and exciting tale of an underdog who proves that brains can be just as important as brawn.

Kids will hoot at the ridiculous names and sympathize with Hiccup’s exasperation with his truly obstinate but strangely lovable dragon. A delightful read that fans of Ian Whybrow’s “Little Wolf” series (Carolrhoda) will particularly enjoy.

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More information on the book

Dec 082009
 

When You Reach Me (Hardcover)
~ Rebecca Stead (Author)
Sixth-grader Miranda lives in 1978 New York City with her mother, and her life compass is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. When she receives a series of enigmatic notes that claim to want to save her life, she comes to believe that they are from someone who knows the future. Miranda spends considerable time observing a raving vagrant who her mother calls the laughing man and trying to find the connection between the notes and her everyday life. Discerning readers will realize the ties between Miranda’s mystery and L’Engle’s plot, but will enjoy hints of fantasy and descriptions of middle school dynamics. Stead’s novel is as much about character as story. Miranda’s voice rings true with its faltering attempts at maturity and observation. The story builds slowly, emerging naturally from a sturdy premise. As Miranda reminisces, the time sequencing is somewhat challenging, but in an intriguing way. The setting is consistently strong. The stores and even the streets–in Miranda’s neighborhood act as physical entities and impact the plot in tangible ways. This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers.