Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book: The Prince of Mist

Ruiz Zafón, C. (2010). The prince of mist. (L. Graves, Trans.). New York: NY: Little Brown and Company. (Original work published in 1993).

Plot: In 1943, during the war, the Carver family escapes the city to a small coastal town where they move into a house with a dark secret. Max, along with his sister Alicia and Roland, a boy from town, go on an adventure to uncover just what happened to the son of the previous owner whose spirit inhabits the house. As the trio learns more about the goings on in the town they learn about a scary character called the Prince of Mist who has returned with ill intentions.

Genre: Suspense, Paranormal

Reading/Interest Level: Ages 10+

Personal Thoughts: This book will appeal to readers who enjoy shivers running down their spine at ghostly goings on. The characters experience a variety of situations that make the reader feel as if they are right there with them exploring the creepy statues of circus performers or learning how to deal with a scary moment.

Book: The Thief

Whalen Turner, M. (1996). The thief. In, The queen's thief. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.

Plot: Gen is an accomplished thief who happens to be in jail. He is dragged from his cell and asked to go on a quest by the king's magus to hunt down Hamiathes's Gift. Gen takes his "get out of jail free" card seriously and soon embarks on a journey with the magus, his apprentices and a soldier into another land to steal a treasure that seems impossible to steal for any normal thief. Along his journey, Gen reveals more and more about himself putting motives into question.

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Reading/Interest Level: Ages 10+

Similar Titles: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Personal Thoughts: The book is witty and cleverly plotted, leaving you guessing what will happen to wily Gen at every turn. Reluctant readers will enjoy becoming a part of Gen's journey and will appreciate the story but need to stick to reading as it starts out slow.

Honors/Awards: Nominated for the following awards: Newberry Medal, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, Georgia Children's Book Award, Massachusetts Children's Book Award

Book: Woods Runner

Paulsen, G. (2010). Woods runner. New York, NY: Wendy Lamb Books.

Plot: The Americans are fighting in the Revolution, skirmishes with the British are happening everywhere. Thirteen year old Samuel lives with his family in a settlement on the edge of the wilderness of Pennsylvania, life has been calm but all that is about to change when news of an uprising against the British comes to their homestead. Samuel believed that the war would always remain distant, and he is shocked when British and Indian troops destroy his home and his parents are taken to New York as prisoners.  Samuel must use his hunting and tracking skills to follow their trail, meeting all sorts of characters along the way.

Genre: Historical, Adventure

Reading/Interest Level: Ages 12+

Similar Titles: My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier

Personal Thoughts: The action in this book is fast paced and the chapters are short. Historical information is twined within the narrative making

Honors/Awards: Nominated for a 2010 Flicker Tale Children's Book Award

Movie: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Columbis, C. (Director). (2010). Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The lightning thief. [DVD]. United States: 20th Century Fox.

Plot: Percy Jackson thinks he has dyslexia because of his troubles reading, but a trip to the museum to see a Greek exhibit soon clears up the truth and reveals Percy's heritage. He also finds out blame has been cast upon him for the theft of Zeus' thunderbolt and that he has to learn to use his powers at the demigod camp where children of the gods learn to handle their gifts. Being a demigod is not easy, but along with his satyr friend and the daughter of Athena, Percy manages to track down the real culprit behind the theft of Zeus' thunderbolt.

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Interest Level: Ages 10+ (PG Rating)

Similar Titles: Prince of Persia, Pirates of the Caribbean

Personal Thoughts: The story starts rather abruptly, and some scenes go by too quickly to allow the storyline to fully develop and sink into the viewer's mind. The action is fast paced and exciting; any teenage boy will enjoy the fight scenes.

Awards/Honors: This movie received two MTV Movie Award nominations for Best Fight and Best Breakout Star.

Movie: Alice in Wonderland

Burton, T. (Director). (2010). Alice in wonderland. [DVD]. United States: Walt Disney Pictures. 

Plot: An almost grown up version of Alice returns to Wonderland seemingly unaware of her previous visit. Alice is now 19 years old and is startled by all that she finds in this strange reflection of a world. She must find courage within herself and save Wonderland from the dangerous Jabberwocky. Familiar characters show up like the Cheshire Cat, Red Queen, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and let's not forget Johnny Depp's character, The Mad Hatter who steals the show. 

Interest Level: Ages 10+ (PG Rating)

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Similar Titles: Alice in Wonderland (animated version)
Personal Thoughts: This is a wonderful movie with zany characters for all to enjoy. Johnny Depp fans will not be disappointed by his acting and will love watching Alice and her friends battle the Red Queen's forces. Tim Burton gives Wonderland a darker makeover that makes it more appealing to teens who thought to have left Alice behind in childhood memories. Johnny Depp makes the Madd Hatter seem as if he has been pining for Alice and has suffered greatly for his actions against the Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Awards/Honors: Nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Movie and Best Villain, it is too early to predict Oscar nominations.

Graphic Novel: Wonderland

Kovac, T., & Liew, S. (2008). Wonderland. New York, NY: Disney Press.

Plot: Wonderland is the setting for Lewis Carroll's story about a girl named Alice, but this isn't quite the same tale. In this book, Mary Ann, the White Rabbit's housemaid and who has obsessive cleaning tendencies, gets mistaken for Alice. This case of mistaken identity creates all sorts of havoc in Wonderland; the Queen wants to chop off everyone's heads, the Cheshire Cat wants to take over the kingdom, and all Mary Ann wants to do is clean up.

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Reading/Interest Level: Ages 9+

Personal Thoughts: There are many versions of Alice in Wonderland, but this one takes on an unexpected twist with an opportunity to look at what can happen in Wonderland without our favorite blond girl. The favorite characters from the story remain and have a chance to show what their personalities are like. Artwork by Sonny Liew gives a whimsical feel to this graphic novel while staying true to Disney images of Carroll's characters.

Awards/Honors: Each of the chapters in this volume were nominated for the Eisner Award.

漫画 Manga - Me & My Brothers

Tokeino, H. (2007). Me & my brothers (Vol. 1, Haruko Furukawa, Trans.). Los Angeles, CA: TOKYOPOP Inc. (Originally Published in 2002)

Plot: Sakura, a fourteen-year-old is still astonished to learn that she has four half-brothers (really stepbrothers) who show up to take care of her once her grandmother dies. Now all of them live in her grandmother's house. The eldest brother, Masahi is a novelist who enjoys cross-dressing and spoiling Sakura-chan; the next eldest Takashi is a Japanese teacher who takes the role of the serious brother; Tsuyoshi works part-time and enjoys sports; Takeshi is the youngest brother who enjoys gardening. With this lot of characters living under one roof things are bound to get interesting, especially with Masahi's obsession with Sakura's cuteness!

Genre: Drama/Comedy Manga

Reading/Interest Level: Ages 12+

Similar Titles: Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba&!

Personal Thoughts: This entire series of 11 volumes is a quick and fun read. The series delves into family relationships and how even those not related by blood can become family. The first volume begins with Sakura dealing with the loss of her grandmother who took care of her after her own mother's death; Sakura's brother's take various roles in her life to help her cope and get used to the new situation she is in and battle her insecurities.