Friday, December 07, 2007

New Books--Lots of Reviews

So, last we checked in, I had 25 books checked out from the library that had to be read, and 15 books from 2006 and that to be blogged. As it stands now, I have checked out 2 more books, but read 4, so, now I have 23 to read. I blogged 5 unblogged books, so now I have 10 to go.

So the 4 new books, in the order in which I read them:

The Wednesday Wars Gary D. Schmidt

Holling Hoodhood is the only Protestant in his class, so every Wednesday, when everyone else goes to Hebrew School or Catholic School, Holling is stuck at school school, with Mrs. Baker, who we get the feeling was really wishing that she'd have Wednesday afternoons off and not be stuck with Holling.)

Mrs. Baker, who's husband (Tybalt) is a soldier in Vietnam, teaches Holling Shakespeare, which he likes, because Shakespeare really knew how to curse. In the meantime, there is baseball and running, hippies and the war, love and some giant rats in the ceiling.

Schmidt has written a wonderful book that has been raved about all over the blogosphere. I had one quibble with one little part of the ending, but I'll talk about that here.

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm, pictures by Elicia Castaldi

Ginny is starting middle school, hoping to have a father and a lead in the Nutcracker and Swan Lake by the end of the year. And maybe her sweater back from her ex-best friend. In a story told through notes on the refrigerator, school assignments, IMs, postcards, report cards, bills, bank statements, and cartoons, we follow Ginny's year. She gains a father, but loses her brother who's juvenile crime sends him to military school. Funny and heartbreaking, a very amusing take on junior high and the graphic novel.

Sold by Patricia McCormick

I really wanted to read this after hearing McCormick speak and read at National Book Fest this fall.

Lakshmi is a peasant girl from a small village in the Nepalese Himalayas. After a horrible dry season comes a horrible monsoon season that washes away her family's crops. With the promise of a good job in the city, as a maid, Lakshmi's step-father sells her.

Only, they don't go to the city, but rather across the border into India, where she is sold two more times, ending up in a brothel as a child prostitute.

A novel in verse, Sold is told in vignettes, the sparse language lending to the Lakshmi's terror and confusion. There are moments of utter horror, and the beauty of everyday kindness.

McCormick tells this story well, matter of factly, but with beauty, never letting Lakshmi's voice stray into too much self-pity or the story go into emotional manipulation.

The Princess and the Hound Mette Ivie Harrison

If you liked The Goose Girl or Wildwood Dancing, you'll like this one.

George is a prince raised in duty, terrified that it will be discovered his posses the illegal and feared animal magic.

Beatrice is a princess trapped by her father and circumstance, resigned to marry for the sake of her kingdom.

More alike than they know, or will let themselves find out, they have to learn to trust each other to save each other.

And I know that sounds really lame, but it's a great story. I seriously thought about calling into work late so I could finish the last 100 pages.

1 comment:

Susan said...

ha. how amusing. I'm reading Wednesday Wars now...and I *finally* got my hands on Part-Time Indian. I just read the first two chapters and I LIKE it already. woohoo!!! (I also have Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf at home...)

I also liked The Princess and the Hound. Despite the size I found it fast-paced and enjoyable. It has been well-received by those reading it in Cafe Book (the book discussion I do at the middle schools).

Just got back from 2 1/2 weeks off, have lots of catching up to do. My library was recarpeted in my today we are putting everything back, and the movers crapped up numberous shelving units, etc. bah! back to reality.