Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

June 25, 2019 Comments off

sistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier. Pub. Scholastic, NY,  2014.

This graphic novel for Intermediate and High school students is as the title suggests about the relationship between two sisters, Raina who is the eldest and Amara who is a feisty anatagonist.

Raina always wanted a sister and she pestered her parents to get one. There is an old saying that goes “don’t wish too hard for something or you might get it”.

Raina is delighted when Amara is born but her delight is short lived. Amara is not a shrinking violet and the two clash over everything until Raina is a teenager and Amara is knocking on the door. They have different tastes, behaviours, sense of humour and aspirations.

Then an incident happens that you will have to find out for yourself and it is always there between them. Then father loses his job and things become strained in the family. He finally gets a job and the family set off in the car to a family reunion in Colorado and everything changes.

Good family relationship stuff which the graphic illustrations highlight beautifully.

Visual readers and reluctant girl readers will find this easy to read. I read it in half an hour but you can take your time, if you want.

Yasmin’s Journey by Miriam Halahmy.

June 24, 2019 Comments off

YasminYasmin’s Journey by Miriam Halahmy. Pub. Ransom Publishing, 2016.

This is a short 63 page story in large font about a 15 year old Syrian girl and her 6 year old brother who escape Syria into Turkey and thence to Greece.

They fear ISIS and the journey is fraught with danger and bad men who charge unbelievable prices for services.

Ideal for reluctant readers or for immigrants themselves who are learning English and know the reality of what is happening.

Yasmin’s story is uplifting, simply told and has a powerful message.

Funny Kid 5: Slapstick by Matt Stanton

June 23, 2019 Comments off

slapstickFunny Kid 5: Slapstick by Matt Stanton. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

I sat down and read this latest episode in the life of Funny kid, in one sitting. It was about  the sport of ice hockey and questioned why sport was so popular with some but not with others.

Max is not sporty although some of his friends are. he wondered why people got so much fun out of putting a ball through a hoop or hitting a ball into a hole with a stick. He is soon to find out why in a very funny way.

While attending an ice hockey game with his friend Hugo he is asked to hit a puck into an open goal in a competition and amazes himself by doing it even though he fall flat on his face. He is stirred by the roar of the crowd and next days paper article about the new sports star.

His friends them form an ice hockey team to take on the local high school side.  Former teacher Mr Armstrong makes a return as coach with a wig and the hilarity continues.

Great read for reluctant boys and girls of middle school. I think it is the best yet in this series. Others are reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

Speechless by Adam. P. Schmitt.

June 21, 2019 Comments off

speechlessSpeechless by Adam. P. Schmitt. Pub. Candlewick Press, 2019.

This superbly paced young adult novel kept me on tenterhooks from beginning to end.

It is said that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, this is teenager Jimmy’s problem and has been for the whole of his life.

Jimmy’s mum has a twin sister who is needy. She has a son called Patrick who is the same age as Jimmy and they have been around every important occasion in Jimmy’s life and much of other times too. Jimmy can’t stand Patrick because he ruins every event and prevents Jimmy enjoying any occasion and having friends of his own. Patrick is unpredictable and volatile and Jimmy is nearly always the victim.

Now Patrick is dead and Jimmy is told by his mother that he has to make a speech at Patrick’s funeral. He doesn’t want to, he feels even in death Patrick is beating him.

The action opens at the wake before the funeral and many people from Patrick and Jimmy’s life show up. Jimmy recounts some of the episodes that happened and he can’t for the life of him think of anything positive about Patrick to say.

Throughout this novel I was desperate to learn two things. Firstly how Patrick died and secondly what and if Jimmy would say anything.  Adam Schmitt draws you in and strings you out magnificently.

One of the best novels of late. You will feel the same as me, I bet. The ending will move you to tears.

 

Cloud Boy by Marcia Williams.

June 18, 2019 Comments off

cloud boyCloud Boy by Marcia Williams. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

This very memorable novel for middle school readers is written in diary form by Angela Moon. She has an artistic bent, has a pet goldfish called Edith and is extremely fortunate to have a Great grandma called Gertie.

Angie’s best friend is a sickly boy called Harry Christmas. He is a very determined soul who watches and records clouds on a daily basis in his journals. Angie and Harry were born 2 days apart and are inseparable.

With their fathers’ help they build a tree house which they call Artcloud and they spend much of their spare time there looking at clouds and doing art work. Then Harry gets seriously ill. Read it and find out what happens.

Much of the drama of this book are letters written by great grandma Gertie to her cat when as a young girl she was imprisoned in Changi jail after the fall of Singapore in 1942. The letters tell of the cruelty of the Japanese captors to the women and children. It tells of a real life quilt made by the women and girls to pass time in the wretched conditions of Changi Jail.

A superb story of human endurance from the past and in the present as Angela deals with the illness of her best friend. Very easy to read with short diary entries.

Skulduggery Pleasant Bk12. Bedlam by Derek Landy

June 15, 2019 Comments off

skulduggerySkulduggery Pleasant Bk12. Bedlam by Derek Landy. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are Arbiters who are not answerable to anybody. It is their purpose in life to walk the wire in several worlds of mortals and magic.

There are bad girls and guys out their jockeying for power such as Abyssinia who sees herself as princess of the Darklands and China who wants the Magical world under her control.

When Bertram Wilkes an adviser to Martin Flanery, a Trump like President of the mortal world, goes missing, the Arbiters are called in to find out why.

This is a complicated plot but totally thrilling with the banter between the characters a highlight. For me the most fascinating part was a visit by Skulduggery and Valkyrie to the airbourne asylum of Greymire. Valkyrie is sorely tested but Skulduggery is in his element. As he says “my mind is in a permanent state of finely tuned chaos”

Fans of this series will be happy for this new part and new fans will be bemused at first but it will grab you once you are into it.

First class adventure/ action/ fantasy. Brilliant cover.

Knock Knock by Deano Yipadee and Paul Beavis

June 11, 2019 Comments off

knock knockKnock Knock by Deano Yipadee and Paul Beavis. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Knock Knock jokes have been around forever and before I responded to “Amos who” to a school mate.

In this picture book for juniors Gerri Giraffe tells knock knock jokes to his neighbours. They are not amused. But all is not lost for him, read it and see why.

Amusing rhyming text that has been put to music that you can download. Paul Beavis’s illustrations of Gerri and the other animals in this book are a delight