Friday, November 02, 2012

What are you reading right now?

Simon and I are reading this series:

The Edge Chronicles, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Young Twig lives in the Deepwoods, among the Woodtrolls, but he isn’t one of them. In a brave attempt to find out where he belongs, Twig wanders into the mysterious, dangerous world beyond the Deepwoods. He meets a collection of odd companions, such as his wise guardian, the Caterbird; the Slaughterers, a peaceful race who butcher animals for their livelihood; and the vicious, bile-swilling Rotsucker. Always watching out for the horrible Gloamglozer, whose presence haunts the thoughts of all the inhabitants of The Edge, Twig steadfastly pursues his quest until he discovers his roots, not among the trees, but in the skies. . . .

Lexile level: 720
Fountas and Pinnell: approximately V

I'm a little pissed at you all for never telling me about them! They are super cute. He got the first one yesterday at the library, blew through it last night, and would have finished the second this evening, but we had family movie night (the 1970's animated Phantom Tollbooth, with Mel Blanc, et al). I read someone compare these to Terry Pratchett's discworld, and I think that is very apt. They are more gross and gory than many books he'd read. A tree tries to eat Twig. A hover snake has a bite which can make victims explode. There are pictures like this:

But the world is so fully formed and alien that it doesn't feel as adult as, say, Artemis Fowl, and the menace doesn't feel so close as something like the Egypt Game serial killer or even the conspiracies in Benedict Society. I really enjoy the interior monologue Twig has going, and the pros and cons Stewart lays out for the different variations of Deep Woods societies.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I think this audience might appreciate this sort of link:

For babies, toddlers, and little kids who need glasses. Our Simon needs glasses, and his pretty princess perfect vision mother has no idea where to find him some good frames. This is a good starting point, though!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We seem to be doing a sort of Tony DiTerlizzi author study in our house, and I thought I'd recommend him generally to our other precocious readers. I have always enjoyed Neil Gaiman, both the books and the movies, but for my kids at least, books about people sewing buttons on their eyes or toddler ghosts are just no goes, regardless of how charming the rest of the book is. But for a similar feel- maybe a bit more epic, definitely more save the world heroism- DiTerlizzi really delivers. Not as dark, but still incredibly imaginative.

I'd recommend Kenny and the Dragon for the youngest set- it says 8 and up, but it's really just a more fantastical, less potty humor version of How to Train Your Dragon. Very innocently written, with good vocabulary.

Then The Spiderwick Chronicles, which is actually a fairly long and well developed series, in addition to the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles series

and the Wondla series

The Search for WondLa
 for those able to handle a plotline about robot societies and a scene where the heroine is in danger of having her body "opened" by a well meaning populace who assumes she will be unharmed, as she is supposed to be a robot. (It all ends well). Claire Helen, my generally more sensitive reader, read the first book this week, and immediately asked for the second (Hero for Wondla, which just came out in May) while grabbing the Spiderwick Chronicles to hold her over.

There's a movie of the Spiderwick Chronicles (6 books crammed into one 2 hour Hollywood fest), which is pretty good, if probably for 8 and up. The internet has tantalizing pictures of Uma Thurman in a Wondla style costume on a search, but the movie is still "in development," so who knows if it will ever happen. I hope it does! He keeps a blog, and has apparently been at Comic Con this week, which I find inexplicably charming. Check it out:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How adorable is this? And there are several in Seattle! I especially love the one made from an old newspaper racks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

For the love of a good system

It is summer time, which for us means bi or even tri-weekly library trips to stock up for those long lazy afternoons. It also has meant a couple eye-popping fines as I not too adeptly try to manage everyone's library bounty. I am pretty sure I know why:

This is our library system. I call it "Hey, don't take that book out of the living room!" I have tried a few things. Claire Helen has her very own Seattle Public Library bag (Chanel for the bookish set), which, completely unforseeably, she takes the books she gets OUT of, at which point they disappear into the melee. Simon has three supposed locales for books- a shelf, a nightstand, and the top of his dresser, and that is apparently enough confusion that everywhere becomes an acceptable book receptacle, and thus nowhere is. Penelope is a whirling dervish, so I don't even need to go into that.

I wonder if this is the sort of problem that could be solved with baskets. I seem to have solved the Plague of the Pre Soccer Shinguard Search with baskets, perhaps library books are calling out for the same treatment. And then my house will be completely filled with baskets, and if you walk in you might mistake it for a romantic Moroccan market. Only with, you know, slightly sweaty size youth medium soccer jerseys everywhere.