Monday, December 14, 2015

And now for something completely different.

So after WEEKS of reading middle grade fiction for the CYBILS award (which I totally loved doing), I was REALLY ready for something different.  I looked on Netgalley and picked one that I had downloaded quite some time ago and dove in.  It's a young adult book called "The Serpent King" by Jeff Zentner and I timed it sort of badly.  I wanted to read a bit before I went to bed so I got into bed and started reading with about 150 pages to go and no ambition to finish it.  And then I couldn't stop reading it.  Once I got done reading it, I couldn't sleep for thinking about the characters.  It was totally worth feeling sleep deprived today! It's about three kids who are seniors in high school in a small town in Tennessee.  They all feel like outcasts for various reasons but only Lydia has a plan to get out.  As she continues to plan and talk about her plans, the boys, Dill and Travis, start to think maybe they should get out too.  There are themes of bullying (and Lydia is a MASTER at dealing with bullies), families, church, redemption and friendship.  The dialogue is terrific and these are some of the most interesting characters I've read in quite some time.  This is definitely a YA book though... too mature for my students.

The second one I read was a fairy tale.  Oh my, I do love a fairy tale and this one has a main character after my own heart. It's called "Baker's Magic" by Diane Zahler.   Bee is an orphan who is trying to find her way.  In desperation, she wanders into a bakery one day and steals a delicious bun.  She's caught but the baker wants her to work for him rather than punish her.  He's a kind man but they soon find out that Bee's feelings come out in her baking.  One day, the mage (the princess' guardian) sends for some of their pastries and Bee gets a chance to meet the princess and uncovers a plot to marry her off.  The story is filled with amazing vocabulary (the princess is quite the reader) as well as thrilling adventures, pirates, magic, and evil villains.  A first class story.  

This last one I picked because I know my students will love it (even before I read it).  It's called "How to Draw Sharks" by Arkady Roytman.  My students love sharks and they love drawing books so unless this book was wrapped in dirty socks, I'm pretty sure they are going to love it.  The drawing pages are clear, with simple shapes and a smooth progression from one step to the next.  The only thing I didn't really love is that after each page of directions there is a practice page.  As the LIBRARIAN, I'm only worried that the first kid who checks it out is going to draw all over the book and I will have to replace it.  But other than that, I think it will be a great addition to our library.  

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