Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Reviews

My daughter Dusty spent quite a lot of time over the summer reading books. Part of the reason was her obvious love of books. The other was to boost her AR scores. She's hoping to get into the 100-point club this year, at the very least. So far, she's earned 50 points. I thought I'd review (and recommend) three of her favorites.

The Beastly Arms by Patrick Jennings

Of the three, this was the book I read to Dusty. It's the story of a middle-grade boy, Nick, and his mother, a photographer, who live in New York City. Nick's parents are divorced and they need to find another apartment as the landlord is threatening to raise the rent. Again.

Nick's a photographer, too, of clouds. He's able to use the darkroom where his mother works and there is quite a bit of detail about the film developing process, something Dusty hadn't known much about. Nick also has a knack for ascribing animal characteristics to the people he knows and meets. He's an animal...sympathizer. He owns Miriam, a kangaroo rat, who spends most of her time in his shirt pocket.

Quite by accident one afternoon, Nick stumbles upon a strange building - with a plaque on the wall that reads: The Beastly Arms - down a dark alley in an iffy neighborhood he's normally not allowed to be in. He is drawn to the building and knocks on the door. The owner is a strange man, Mr. Beastly, who, as it happens, turns out to have an apartment available. For $200.

Eventually, Nick and his mother move in. Nick is aware that Mr. Beastly is hiding a secret and he sets out to discover it. I'll divulge no more as I'd hate to reveal the secret of Mr. Beastly. We both enjoyed this story a lot and I'm glad to learn the author has written many more.

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

Dusty loves Inkheart and is plowing through Inkspell this fall. I found Igraine at the library and thought Dusty might like to read something a tad shorter by the same author. Dusty continues to talk about how much she loved this story about a girl who is a member of a family of magicians but wants to be a knight. When someone steals an important spell book from the castle, Igraine goes into full warrior mode to solve the crime and retrieve the book.

Hot Air (Edgar and Ellen) by Charles Ogden

This is one in a series of Edgar and Ellen books. I found it in the library one Saturday and Dusty loved it so I recently ordered another for her birthday. It's always a relief to discover a new series of books she likes or a prolific author because it means she'll be kept happily occupied for awhile.

Edgar and Ellen are devious twins who enjoy making mischief in their town of Nod's Limbs. They pull pranks and outwit evil doers and that's about all I can tell you about this series as I haven't actually read it. But, I have it on good authority from my resident eight-year-old, that its "really good." A series certainly worth exercising the library card for.


Harriet said...

Igraine is the only one of these I've heard of before, but AJ is showing no interest at all in Funke's books. I'll definitely check out that last one. It sounds like it might be up his alley.

FreshHell said...

AJ would probably like Beastly Arms a lot. I thought of him when we read it.