Wednesday, September 30, 2009


MIKE STELLAR: NERVES OF STEEL, by K.A. Holt (Random House 2009)(ages 8+). Some time in the future, Mike Stellar gets the unwelcome news that his family is moving to Mars. Tomorrow. On only the second Mars mission, after the first failed (and which his parents might've been responsible for). About the only good part is that he'll be leaving his hated teacher, Mrs. Halebopp, behind.

Once on board the Sojourner, Mike meets an odd girl, Larc, his parents' weird assistant, aka, Mr. Honey Bear, and discovers that Mrs. Halebopp is there, too! Throw in a conspiracy to sabotage the mission, and Mike will truly need nerves of steel to get to the bottom of it all.

MIKE STELLAR is a clever and fun middle grade adventure, both funny and action-packed. Altogether, an excellent debut novel.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


BABYLONNE, by Catherine Jinks (Candlewick 2008)(12+) is either book 5 of the Pagan Chronicles or book 1 of the Babylonne Chronicles.

At the time of the Albigensian Crusade, Babylonne, the daughter of Templar knight Pagan Kidrouk, runs away from her abusive grandmother and aunt, on a Crusade of her own: to fight the Catholic Church and the French king, who are trying to destroy Toulouse and put down the Cathar heresy.

On the way, she disguises herself as a boy, finds herself in the company of a Catholic priest who apparently knew her parents, and ends up in the middle of a siege...

With terrific voice and great period texture, BABYLONNE is an intense and exciting adventure and provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of the early thirteenth century. Readers will be eager for more.


ALL THE WORLD, by Liz Garton Scanlon, ill. by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane Books 2009). This gem of a picture book follows a family through a summer day, highlighting in rhyming groups of four the interrelatedness of small and large things.

The text is exquisite and the illustrations are detailed and gorgeous, with plenty for the reader to pore over. Excellent for a young read-aloud and for those who love language.

Monday, September 28, 2009


THE BOY WHO INVENTED TV: THE STORY OF PHILO FARNSWORTH, by Kathleen Krull, ill. by Greg Couch (Knopf, 2009). This picture book biography tells the story of Philo T. Farnsworth, credited with inventing, among other things, the first electronic television (U.S. Patent No. 1,773,980).

THE BOY WHO INVENTED TV describes Farnsworth's modest upbringing in Utah and his flash of inspiration while plowing a potato field when he was 14 (which he subsequently described to his science teacher) that led to his development of the first working "image dissector" at age 21.

With illustrations that provide a period "feel," THE BOY WHO INVENTED TV is an excellent introduction to a little-known piece of television history.

Monday, September 21, 2009


SACRED SCARS, by Kathleen Duey, (Atheneum, 2009)(ages 12+), book 2 of the Resurrection of Magic trilogy (read my recommendation of book 1: SKIN HUNGER), is a vivid and darkly compelling fantasy that takes up where the first, SKIN HUNGER, left off.

In the past, Sadima tries to convince Franklin to leave and/or kill the obsessed and sadistic Somiss, and take the captive youths with them. Ar first, it seems she succeeds, but then Somiss uncovers her "treachery" and takes vengeance, leaving her alone and without memory...

In the present, Hahp continues his studies at the magicians' academy and, with his roommate Garrard, uncovers some uncomfortable facts...Along the way, they resolve that they must destroy the magicians...if they can get out alive.

SACRED SCARS is an intense and fascinating story of obsession and evil. Highly recommended.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...