Friday, November 30, 2007

Leepike Ridge
by N.D. Wilson
Most appreciated by 4th through 8th graders

Okay, the other day, I wrote a post about a book just for girls and I shoo'd you boys away. Now it's time to come on back and read about 'Leepike Ridge'. It's got out-of-control refrigerator packing foam, a dead body, boiling crawdads, a lost dog , treasure hunters, and a house on a cliff. Sound interesting?

Tom Hammond's mad. The fourth grade teacher at his school has asked his mom to marry him and Tom can't stand the guy. To escape from the situation, Tom pulls packing foam he's saved from a new refrigerator and begins to float down the river at the base of the cliff. The stars are bright in the night sky, lulling Tom to sleep. When he awakens, he discovers he's floated to the river's edge and under cliffs. Riding the rapids, he lands in a cave, deep inside the cliff. As he tries to find his way in the dark, he feels the leg and boot of someone else. But this someone isn't moving - and hasn't moved for some time.

Tom knows he has to get out of the cave and home. But how? He doesn't even know where he is but he knows he doesn't want to stay. In the meantime, Tom's mom searches for him, convincing no one but herself that Tom is alive.

The trials Tom goes through as he struggles to find a way out of the cave will keep you turning the pages well past dark. Hmmm, speaking of the dark, this story takes place in a cave. To get the full effect of Tom's adventure, try reading it in the dark with a flashlight as your only source of light. Now that's bringing a book to life!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Voices from a Medieval Village
by Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Robert Byrd
Most appreciated by 3rd graders on up

With the Boar's Head Festival coming up this weekend, this is a great time to take a look at this neat book. The author, librarian Amy Schlitz, wrote the book in response to a request from students for plays they could perform. Realizing the difficulty of finding a play with equal parts for 19 students, Ms. Schlitz took matters into her own hands and wrote one.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is made up of 22 narratives from young people living in an English village in 1255. The voices are those of kids ranging in age from 10 to 15. Most know each other because they all live in or around the manor of a noble lord. Some are poor, some are not. You'll meet a singing shepherdess who's voice saves a life, a falconer's son who wants to keep his beloved bird away from it's true owner. There's the lord's daughter who walks through town and doesn't understand when villagers throw mud at her. Isn't it God's will that she be who she is, a daughter of the nobility?

Mixed in with each villager's story are facts about life in the Middle Ages. But don't worry - you won't find the facts. They're worked into each story so well, you won't realize you're reading history.

So when the Boar's Head is over, and you'd like to go back to visit the manor house, pick up this book and grab some friends. Have fun reading the stories out loud. Go ahead and make believe you're a pilgrim on a religious journey or you've just outsmarted the lord and kept your family's prized cow. Who wants to be Nellie the sniggler? (See, better read this book to find out what a sniggler is!).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book of a Thousand Days
By Shannon Hale
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th grade girls

Girls, you've gotta read this book. It's got a strong heroine, exciting adventure, a handsome prince, a little romance, and a yak. Yes, a yak. It plays a small but important role in the story (more about it later). Guys, this is probably one book you'll want to skip. Unless you like yaks. Watch for a new title in a day or two that might be more to your liking.

Dashti is Lady's Saren's maid. She begins her new position just as Lady Saren is sentenced to spend seven years in a tower for her refusal to marry the evil Khan Khasar. One day, through a vent in the windowless tower, Dashti hears a voice. It is Khan Tegus, Lady Saren's true love. But Lady Saren, upset over her imprisonment, refuses to talk to the Khan and orders Dashti to talk for her. With each of Khan Tegus's visits, Dashti likes him more and more, despite the fact that neither can see the other. But the visits end with the arrival of Khan Khasar, who destroys Lady Saren's homeland. As their food runs low, and rats begin to overtake the tower, Dashti finds a way to freedom for the pair and they begin to journey to a land of safety. Along the way, Dashti befriends a yak who keeps them warm on their journey and serves as their entry into the new kingdom. Forced to become servants, Dashti and Lady Saren scrub pots in the kitchen of the kingdom's khan. When the Khan's loyal army commander is injured in a battle, Dashti is called upon to help heal the man. As she enters the sick room, Dashti meets the kingdom's ruler, the man she's fallen in love with, Khan Tegus.

And that's where I'll stop. Set in Mongolia, Shannon Hale has written this variation on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Dashti is a young lady you won't soon forget. She's the reason you'll keep reading. No matter what trials face her, Dashti is always find something to sing about and be happy. Make sure you've plenty of time to read this book. You won't want to stop once you start!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The OK Book
By Amy Krause Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Most appreciated by all ages!

This book is one of the most popular here in the Zion library. Why? Because of OK. Have you ever really looked at OK? Try this now - grab a pencil, crayon or marker and a blank piece of paper. Write 'OK' on it in capital letters. Now turn the paper a quarter turn. What do you see now? Is your OK gone, replaced by a guy with arms and legs? Pretty cool, huh? And that's why 'The OK Book' is such a hit.

Little OK is just okay at almost everything. He always tries his best but so far, he's hasn't found what he's really good at. But that's OK with him. He knows that someday, he'll figure out what he's really good at but in the meantime, he's having fun trying. What a great message for all of us, right?

If you're considering the 'The OK Book' as a gift, why not give a copy that's autographed? Read Between the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock has a number of copies available that were autographed by the author, Tom Lichtenheld. In addition to 'The OK Book', Tom has written and illustrated several others, including a favorite here called 'Everything I Know About Pirates'. Contact the store directly for more information.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dog and Bear:
Two Friends, Three Stories
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Most appreciated by K - 2nd grade

Dog and Bear are friends. The best that can be. When Bear is stuck on a high chair, it's Dog that comes to help him out. When Dog wants to play, Bear reminds him that sometimes quiet time is as much fun as play time. The two friends are colorful and jump off the white pages. You'll wish they were real enough to curl up with as you read "Dog and Bear".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, the day before a looong weekend, and two days before all the Christmas sales start. As you think of the many blessings you have, don't forget to include your favorite books. Reading is your chance to relax and forget about homework and chores. As you read, you journey through another world or another time. You make new friends and sometimes meet a few characters you don't like. In America, we have the freedom to choose what we read, which gives you the chance to set aside a book if you don't like it. So give thanks for all the wonderful books you've read and those just waiting for you to open them up!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Do Unto Otters:
A Book about Manners
by Laurie Keller
Most enjoyed by everyone!

Otters have moved in next door to Mr. Rabbit and he's scared. He's never had anything to do with otters before so how should he treat them? Wise Mr. Owl tells Mr. Rabbit to simply 'do unto otters' as he would have them do to him. This gets Mr. Rabbit thinking - how would he like to be treated? He thinks of lots of ways - saying 'please' and 'thank you', taking turns and sharing. Of course, the list becomes the one he'll follow as he gets to know his new neighbors.

Laurie Keller has taken the Golden Rule of "Do Unto Others" and turned it into a fun reminder of fairness and kindness. There's lots of fun word play here (the otters like to co-otter-ate!) to make this a laugh-out-loud read for everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf:
A Year Told Through Stuff
by Jennifer Holm
Most appreciated by 5th through 8th grade girls

Ginny Davis' life seems like a roller coaster. One minute life is good - she wants that cool yellow sweater at the mall, she's sure she'll get the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the ballet, and her best friend is in her homeroom class. The next minute, her life is falling apart - her old best friend has her pink sweater and won't give it back, her mom is gettin remarried, and guess who's old best friend gets the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy? In the meantime, Ginny's big brother begins to commit acts of vandalism that seem to be leading him down a dark path.

What makes this book a great read is the way Ginny's story is told. We see Ginny's life through her 'stuff' - her to-do lists, school schedule, instant messages from friends, notes to and from her mom. Pictures of Ginny's lip gloss, the hair color she tries, the sweater she wants, are included to fill out Ginny and make her seem real. The result is not a typical chapter book with pages of black-and-white text. The book is colorful and crazy, just like Ginny. You'll wish Ginny was your friend once you read this book!

Thank You, Sarah:The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Most appreciated by all ages

Did you know that we almost lost Thanksgiving? Long ago, the holiday which began with the Pilgrims, soon fell out of favor. Most people simply ignored it. That bothered Sarah Hale, who loved Thanksgiving and thought everyone in the country should celebrate it on the same day. So Sarah took up her pen and became a 'superhero', writing letters and magazine articles to convince the public to support the holiday. She even went all the way to the top, to the President of the United States. It took Sarah 38 years and five presidents before finally reaching her goal of making Thanksgiving a national holiday. True superheroes are those who will stand up for what they believe is right and make their voice heard no matter what difficulties they face. Sarah Hale is the kind of superhero we can all look up to. Share this book with your family before you eat your Thanksgiving turkey. It will taste a whole lot richer!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cowboy and Octopus
By Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Most appreciated by anyone needing a laugh!

Cowboy and Octopus are two characters unlikely to become friends. And yet, they hit it off right from the start. Cowboy and Octopus shake hand and shake hands and shake hands get the idea. Cowboy loves to cook and beans are his specialty. He makes Beans and Bacon, Bacon and Beans and just plain beans, all for his new friend, Octopus. But Octopus doesn't like beans. What's a friend to do when he doesn't want to hurt his partner's feelings? Eat one bean, declare it the best and keep that friend! Jon and Lane have created another book full of their wacky humor. Try to read 'Cowboy and Octopus' and NOT laugh out loud!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scott Gustafson's Book Signing Cancelled!

We are so sad to report that Scott Gustafson won't be coming to Zion on Wednesday, November 14th. All copies of his new book 'Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose' have been sold already. His publisher will not have any more copies until the spring. While it's sad for us, this is great for Scott. Can you imagine being an illustrator and having ALL of your books sold? Great job, Scott! We'll try to have Scott come to Zion in the spring when more copies of 'Mother Goose' are available.

Monday, November 5, 2007

17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore
by Jenny Offil and Nancy Carpenter
Most appreciated by Pre-K through 3rd graders

Are you looking for a few good ways to annoy your brother or sister? How about your teacher? Then check this book out! WAIT! No, don't' check it out. I mean yes, check it out but just enjoy the laughs you'll get when you read it! The narrator of the story is a little girl who tries just about anything (like walking backwards to school) and finds out that not everything is a good idea (like flinging cauliflower at her brother during dinner). There are 17 things she's not allowed to do anymore but as you turn the last page, you wonder what she'll find to try for number 18!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Children's Book Week Coming Up!

The week of November 12th - 16 is National Children's Book Week. It's a week set aside by schools and libraries around the country to celebrate children's books. This year's theme is "Rise Up Reading". We'll be doing just that at Zion with a little celebrating of our own. New books have been ordered and will start appearing in the library that week. Author and illustrator Scott Gustafson will be visiting us to talk about his work. There will also be drawings all week for some awesome prizes, including autographed books! So make sure to 'rise up' and visit the library to see what's new!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Inheritance Trilogy Expands! Book 3 Release Date Announced!
Yes, fans of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series rejoice! Paolini's publisher has announced that Book 3 in the series will be released on September 23, 2008. So far, Book 3 does not have a title. Wonder what it will be?

Paolini also revealed that the series will expand to include a fourth book. Apparently, Eragon's story could not be tied up in just one more book so Paolini will write a fourth. No release date or title for Book 4 was announced.

So, while you count the days until September 23 of next year, why not reread 'Eragon' and 'Eldest' to keep the details fresh?