The Scoop on Children & Adolescent Literature

Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Posted by hollybookscoops on May 12, 2012

I just read Matthew J. Kirby’s debut novel, and I’m about to start devouring his next book, Icefall, which just won the Edgar Award in the juvenile ficiton category. I am looking forward to it. Unfortunately, we are putting in some landscaping- flower beds and such, and so I am going to have to work hard to sneak in some reading in between gardening. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll work it in somehow.

But… back to The Clockwork Three… I had a great time reading this novel and seeing how the lives of Frederick, Guiseppe and Hannah worked together like the intricate gears of a clock. Frederick is an orphan clockmaker’s apprentice, Hannah is a maid and the sole provider for her poverty stricken family, while  Guiseppe is a busker and slave to his Padrone (a really mean man that is basically a child-extortionist and slave-master). I love the name Guiseppe- it’s so Italian, and the Italian aspect of his heritage was a small part of what endeared Guiseppe to my heart.

I’ve heard great things about Kirby’s next book and I can hardly wait to get started. I also am looking forward to meeting Matthew J. Kirby in person this summer at the WIFYR conference and having him sign a copy for me. That’s one of the great perks about this conference. Not only do they have a First Line Contest (open to everyone) going on right now, but they usually have a first line contest at the conference and they have author/illustrator signings. It’s like a celebrity meet and great for the literary world. I can hardly wait to see all my favorite people @WIFYR!

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 3, 2009

folk keeper

It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did I found it rather interesting. The Folk Keepers protect villagers from the scary, creepy cave-folk. Corinna has disguised herself as a boy so that she can become a Folk Keeper, a position reserved for males. When Corinna is recruited as the new Folk Keeper for Mablehaugh Park, Corinna learns a lot about herself and her power to hurt or help others. I was intrigued by the last few chapters of the book, and wished for more detail, but found it a bit elusive where I wanted it and more prolific in areas I wasn’t expecting.

This one didn’t hit the top of my list and I almost stopped reading a few times- I’m not sure really why, boredom factor or if I just wasn’t getting the whole folk keeper thing at first. It isn’t really until the end of the book that you get a handle on what the ‘folk’ really are, but then I guess that was supposed to be part of the whole mystery/intrigue part. I hate to sound like this is a negative review, because it really isn’t, it’s just not my favorite book, although I feel that it’s a better way to pass the time than watching tv.

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Fantasy, Juvenile Fiction, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

Posted by caribookscoops on February 22, 2009

13th-realitycoverarc_small3I was waiting to do my review of The Journal of Curious Letters before the second book was about to come out and yikes the time went  by and The Hunt for Dark Infinity is less than two days away from it’s debut. My husband also read both books so I could say I was waiting for him to finish to do the review, but really we finished a while ago and for some reason I thought it was coming out in March.  So here I am still trying to write the review with less than 48 hours to go. Actually make that less than 24 hours to go since I ran into some problems with wordpress last night and couldn’t post this. The Hunt for Dark Infinity will post tomorrow.

Now I got the arc of The Hunt for Dark Infinity from Mr. James Dashner himself thanks to Natasha at Maw Books. She hosted the first Utah Book Blogger’s Bash and James was nice enough to come to the party. I enjoyed meeting him and I have to say this is the first time I have meet an author before reading his book. Ironically, he talked about how knowing an author can change how your read their books.

Generally pick up a book in a series and oftentimes I’m not too picky about what order I am reading the book in. I figure if it’s good – I’ll go back and read the others, but since I got the book from the author I thought I should make an effort to read the series in order. I will say that after reading the first book, it is definitely worth reading the other books.

Here is a list of things I like about Journal of Curious Letters

1. The main character is Atticus (Tick) Higginbottom and unlike so many characters in this genre, he is not orphaned (Harry Potter, Eragon, Series of Unfortunate Events) or his parents are missing or ill (Artemis Fowl). So it was nice to see a kid with both parents in his home. He receives a mysterious letter signed M.G. telling him that many lives are stake and even worlds and he has been chosen to help save those people. All he needs to do is solve a series of riddles/clues that will be arriving, which will tell him what he needs to do.

2. Tick is close to his dad  and cares about his family especially his younger sister. I like that, it seems like a lot of media likes to portray sibling rivalry and parents as idiots.

3. Tick is smart good grades, chess, likes science and math. Also the victim of a bullying, but he tries not to let that bother him.

4. I thought this book might appeal to those who like logic puzzles as Tick is presented with a series of riddles to solved – often involving math. I have to admit here when I read the first one I panicked and worried that I would have to solve them myself – I think it reminded me too much of Math class. Really though the puzzles grew on me and don’t worry Tick does the solving.

5. I like that Tick has friends from a variety of backgrounds. Tick has two friends he meets online who received the same letter. Sofia from Italy smart and not to messed with type of girl and Paul an African American from Florida, surfer and virtuoso pianist.

6. Of course no book is complete without a villain and Mistress Jane is the villainess in this story and she dresses all in yellow, which for some reason I really liked.

I could go on, but really you should read the book for yourself. I would highly recommend this book for people who like a good adventure and especially if you like fantasy or science fiction. This would also be a good book to talk about math and science because it definitely is part of the plot – physics, math and logic puzzles.  I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one sitting.

James Dashner’s blog and website.

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Middle Readers | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Posted by caribookscoops on November 15, 2008

lionthewitchthewardrobeI have fond memories as a child reading this book. It was one of my favorites when I was kid and I wanted to share it with my children. I saw the Disney movie version when it came out in theaters in 2005 and really liked the movie. The special effects were so much better than an older movie version. It liked it a lot. So I had my daughter watch the movie and then to my horror I realized that she saw the movie before reading the book. Yikes! In my mind books are way better than movies. I didn’t want to ruin the book for her. Great!

So I got the book from the library and I read a chapter a day outloud to her. She really liked reading the book outloud, but she also knew the movie plot well and couldn’t wait until Aslan came to save day. (She yelled GO ASLAN during the movie and the book. Thank goodness we were at home.) It was interesting for me to read outloud because I kept hearing the child actors voices in my head with English accents and I kept seeing their faces as as the characters in the book. Kind of weirded my out.

I tend to like fantasy a lot and I like this one. Yeah there is some inherant sexism in the book and probably some other problems, but on the whole its a great story. I do keep in mind the C.S. Lewis was a product of his time just as much as we are of ours. I love that it is 4 children who journey to Narnia, a world of talking beasts and magic to defeat the evil White Witch who has made it always winter and never Christmas. I think it’s a wonderful Christian Fantasy book.

So did I ruin the experience for my daughter by having her watch the movie first? I’m not so sure. I think watching the movie helped pique her interest in the book. Afterall the book is a  little long for four year old. On the other hand I don’t think movies are necessarily the best way to motivate children to read. We are reading Prince Caspian right now so that she can watch the movie. Reading to me is so much more satisfying than watching a movie.

What do you think? How do movies based on books help or hinder reading? What has been your experience with books made into movies?

Posted in Juvenile Fiction | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »


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