Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sci-Fi Overload

This month I have read more sci-fi than in the last 10 years combined...and really it's only been the two books, mainly, so you can see how little sci-fi I read otherwise. These two kids books are worth a mention and a look.

Hungry by Althea Eason.
What would you do if your parents wanted you to eat the boy you're beginning to crush on, who also happens to be your best friend? If you were an alien family living undercover on planet Earth, this scenario would sound more plausible, right? That is just what is happening to poor Deborah, I mean Dbkrrrsh. She and her parents have been staking out Earth in order to help when it's time for the upcoming Invasion. While Deborah has always been able to feed on anonymous humans before, her parents want her to prove how loyal she is to the home planet by eating a human who is her friend. What's an alien girl to do?

While its one of the few (okay, only) hilarious sci-fi novels I've enjoyed in years, this is a refreshing coming-of-age story too. While there are lots of plot twists and complications, the story never stalls and is full of surprises. I recommend it - and it's always great to have a true juvenile sci-fi to recommend. Also, Deborah is not too girly, so this novel should appeal to readers of both sexes. And aliens too.

There's Nothing to do on Mars by Chris Gall
Davey Martin's family moved to Mars. There's nothing to do on Mars - Davey is sure of it. In the illustrations, the reader sees all the great things Davey could be doing, but he just thinks everything is boring. He zooms around on a space scooter with his robot dog, exploring the whole planet, finding all kinds stuff that adults will recognize (is that the Mars Rover buried in the sand? Davey calls it "an old toy"). Finally, Davey finds something fun to do that will change Mars forever. The retro kitchsy illustrations are great and compliment the 60's Space Race nostalgia of the text. The story can be read on an adult humorous level while the kids enjoy all there is to see. Warning: You may want to smack Davey for not appreciating all the awesome stuff on Mars. He's the epitome of the spoiled, whiney kid.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Princess and the Hound

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
In recent times, animal magic has been outlawed from Prince George's kingdom and other surrounding kingdoms. Those with animal magic are persecuted and sometimes killed. Unbeknownst to his kingdom, Prince George and his mother, the queen, both have animal magic and must fight to keep it hidden and in check in front of their subjects. Denying the animal magic can make them sick, so life is a constant balancing act.

When George is betrothed to Princess Beatrice of a rival kingdom, he fears what marriage might bring and the discovery of his secret. His fears are assuaged when he meets the princess and her hound companion. While it is obvious that she cannot speak to her hound, the two have an incredible bond. George finds himself obsessed with the connection between the princess and her hound and comes to better understand his own magic because of them.

Incredibly well-written and original, this fantasy love story is full of twists and surprises.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hello Again

It's kind of appalling that I've been AWOL from my blog during the two biggest book months of the year. Appalling but understandable, I guess. I had started making you gift-buying lists, best of the year lists, mock awards lists; I've read tons of phenominal books and yet, nothing on the blog. It's been sooooo busy and I've been sooooo burnt out. So, my apologies for leaving you high and dry.

I was really happy with the American Library Association's awards choices this year. Only the Printz list was unfamiliar to me. (Okay, I was going to link you there, but it seems that ALA is having a lag to post its awards on the normal pages.)Otherwise, everything seemed pretty deserving and had been discussed by my fellow librarians in our own mock discussions. (Really! I'm not just saying that because I can.) Here's a link to Denver Public Library's website with the award winners.

Here is a list of great children's books (besides those that won awards) I read recently:
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis
When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullen
Underground by Jean Ferris
Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Rosemary Wells
Hush: An Irish Princess Tale by Donna Jo Napoli
Peak by Roland Smith