Monday, December 29, 2008

Time for a new bookshelf

Here at the Spy house, we've been wrapped up in Christmas for a couple of weeks now. AJ's relatives spoiled him rotten, as usual. In addition to the assorted non-educational toys and games, he got two science kits and a big haul of books. This year, AJ was gifted with:

Daniel Pinkwater: The Hoboken Chicken Emergency. AJ and I have been fans of Pinkwater's for years, ever since we discovered his picture books about a thoughtful polar bear named Larry and his badly behaved friends. I haven't gotten to read this one yet, but AJ laughs hard when he picks it up.

Kate DiCamillo: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. This is one I've picked up at the bookstore and put down again, uncertain if AJ will respond to it. But my mother finally got it for him and I'm looking forward to reading it, maybe as our out loud book.

Rick Riordan: Book 1 of the 39 Steps series -- The Maze of Bones.
We've been fans of Riordan's Percy Jackson series, AJ for the adventure, I for the clever uses of Greeky mythology. I'm skeptical of this series, due to the contest and cards and internet sites attached. I'm always cynical when it seems like the books are created by marketing instead of the other way around. But I decided to give the first book a try. This is scheduled to be a 10-book series. While Riordan outlined the series and wrote this book, other authors will be taking on the rest.

Eleanor Cameron: The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. This was another book provided by my mother, and one I'd never heard of before. It dates from the mid-1950s, the beginning of the space race, and revolves around two boys who travel to another planet covered in mushrooms and meet some unhappy green people. It sounds totally up AJ's alley.

Jason Lethcoe: The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff #1: You Wish. This was a gift from AJ's aunt and uncle. I'd never heard of this one before either. It looks old-fashioned (in a good way) and the description, which tells of a boy growing up in an orphanage, sounds a little old-fashioned too, although it was written in 2007. AJ has inherited my childhood penchant for books set in orphanages and boarding schools, so I'm sure he'll enjoy this. I'm looking forward to checking it out too. If it's good, there are more where it came from -- the series has at least 4 books so far.
Bette Bao Lord: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. Also from AJ's aunt and uncle, i've been hearing about this book for years -- it was published more than twenty years ago -- and I'm glad to finally see it in person. This also sounds right up AJ's alley -- baseball and history.

Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself-Book. This one was on AJ's Christmas list. While I have some reservations about the Wimpy Kid series, I can't deny that it seems to turn on AJ's imagination. This one is really a diary in disguise. The first third or so of the book offers ideas for writing -- half-finished comic strips to draw, self-interview questions, etc. The second part is just a blank book. On Christmas Day, AJ was already writing in it. And anything that gets AJ writing voluntarily is a good present.


Jeanne said...

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet is the first of at least five, you know. So if he likes it, there are more...

Harriet M. Welsch said...

That's excellent news, Jeanne. We haven't started it yet, but it's always nice to know there are more out there.

Unfocused Me said...

Unfocused Girl and I had a funny moment a couple of months ago. I don't remember what we were talking about, but somehow the conversation turned to Reading Is Fundamental program at the library when I was a kid, and how at the end of the summer if you read enough books, you received a book for free. I mentioned that one of the books I'd gotten that way was one she would probably like, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency. She said, "By Daniel Pinkwater?" and started giggling. It turned out that she had read an excerpt from it at school. We picked it up while we were in New York over Thanksgiving, and she's probably read it four times since, most recently out loud in the car to Junior.
Gotta run -- more on Edward Tulane and the Mushroom Planet books later, if the Siren doesn't beat me to it.