Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conversations with God

The bad news is...I've recently been emailed a few times about two immoral NY Times bestsellers that are being distributed by Scholastic, not to be confused with the meditation books by Fr. Francis Fernandez,"In Conversation with God," by Scepter Press [Opus Dei]. Click here for the full story.

The good news is that I can recommend Bandit's Moon by Sid Fleischman and Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye.
Bandit's Moon is a historical novel about the legendary Joaquin Murieta from the days of the California Gold Rush. Highly Recommended.
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is the first episode in a fantasy series about a boy who discovers he is the only one who can save the world. With the help of a furry creature from another world, a strange girl who has the ability to freeze things, and a talking toothpick who was formerly a king, Leven must destroy the gateway to Foo, before the evil Sabine enters our world and destroys mankind's capacity to dream. Lots of talk about "fate" as similar to pre-destination, but not objectionable. Recommended.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fantasy and more fantasy...

Here is more info on the Philip Pullman series, His Dark Materials.
http://www.amywelborn.com/reviews/pullman.html

We saw The Seeker: The Dark is Rising over the weekend, and we were all disappointed. Why, oh why must they differ from the book so much and so needlessly? I am happy to support Walden Media and any media company that is trying to put out a better product than Hollywood normally generates. I just wish they would do it a little better.

I also began the Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. In The Amulet of Samarkand, Chapter One, a boy summons a djinni. The djinni then plots to disturb the boy's mind by showing him pictures of naked women. That's as far as I got. Not Recommended.

Midnight for Charlie Bone, from The Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo is a fantasy book about a boy who discovers he has a special power, gets sent to a special school, and is trying to discover what happened to his father. Nimmo has some interesting twists on what could be a formulaic series. Recommended.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thinking ahead...

We finally finished listening to the unabridged recording of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising. The 10 and 11 year olds loved it, the 8 year old liked it, and the 4 year old couldn't stand it. We took many Frog and Toad breaks along the way. It's a great story about Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, who discovers that he has been destined throughout history to be the Sign Seeker. His role is to find the seven signs and bind them together before the powers of the Dark take over. The setting of the story is Buckinghamshire, during the Christmas season. I am looking forward to the motion picture adaptation to be released this weekend. http://www.ump.com.eg/MovieDetails.aspx?Id=98 Highly Recommended.

I don't usually review picture books, but What Happened to Merry Christmas? by Robert C. Baker is a contemporary classic. Sam discovers that Christmas exists in "holiday" imagery like snowflakes, and even in secular language. This book has gorgeous illustrations, and has also been reviewed by Cardinal O'Malley of Boston and Bishop Doran of Rockford, Illinois. St. Nicholas brings each of my children a book on December 6th, and I'm sure that this will be among his gifts this year. http://www.cph.org/cphstore/product.asp?category=&part%5Fno=562426&find%5Fcategory=Books&find%5Fdescription=&find%5Fpart%5Fdesc=baker
Highly Recommended.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What I Read in September

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Sophie and Josh Newman are fifteen-year-old twins, who become caught up in an adventure to recover a stolen book of secrets, including a recipe for immortality. Intertwining characters from many legends, Scott weaves a wonderful tale of magic and danger. As the adventure is incomplete at the book's close, I can only hope that a sequel is in the making. Recommended.



The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

Possibly one of my favorite books of all time, The Star of Kazan is The Secret Garden in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Annika is abandoned as an infant on the altar of a church, in a small town in Austria, during the early 20th century. She is taken in by Ellie and Sigrid, two devoted servants from Vienna. Annika is raised with love, friendships, and a devotion to her homeland. Her life would be perfect if only her mother would come and claim her. Unfortunately, her mother does come for her, and her life changes dramatically. She moves to northern Germany, and loses everything she had in Vienna. Getting it all back is an amazing tale, that I'm not going to spoil. Highly recommended!!



Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I try not to be prejudiced against novels marketed as Young Adult, but this book reinforces all my fears. Wicked Lovely does have an interesting plot, and some well developed characters, but the pervasive references to drugs, sex, and drinking, and the occasional slam against the Church ruined the story for me. Chosen by Amazon as one of the hottest titles of 2007, this book is most certainly not recommended.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conversations with God

The bad news is...I've recently been emailed a few times about two immoral NY Times bestsellers that are being distributed by Scholastic, not to be confused with the meditation books by Fr. Francis Fernandez,"In Conversation with God," by Scepter Press [Opus Dei]. Click here for the full story.

The good news is that I can recommend Bandit's Moon by Sid Fleischman and Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye.
Bandit's Moon is a historical novel about the legendary Joaquin Murieta from the days of the California Gold Rush. Highly Recommended.
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo is the first episode in a fantasy series about a boy who discovers he is the only one who can save the world. With the help of a furry creature from another world, a strange girl who has the ability to freeze things, and a talking toothpick who was formerly a king, Leven must destroy the gateway to Foo, before the evil Sabine enters our world and destroys mankind's capacity to dream. Lots of talk about "fate" as similar to pre-destination, but not objectionable. Recommended.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fantasy and more fantasy...

Here is more info on the Philip Pullman series, His Dark Materials.
http://www.amywelborn.com/reviews/pullman.html

We saw The Seeker: The Dark is Rising over the weekend, and we were all disappointed. Why, oh why must they differ from the book so much and so needlessly? I am happy to support Walden Media and any media company that is trying to put out a better product than Hollywood normally generates. I just wish they would do it a little better.

I also began the Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. In The Amulet of Samarkand, Chapter One, a boy summons a djinni. The djinni then plots to disturb the boy's mind by showing him pictures of naked women. That's as far as I got. Not Recommended.

Midnight for Charlie Bone, from The Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo is a fantasy book about a boy who discovers he has a special power, gets sent to a special school, and is trying to discover what happened to his father. Nimmo has some interesting twists on what could be a formulaic series. Recommended.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thinking ahead...

We finally finished listening to the unabridged recording of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising. The 10 and 11 year olds loved it, the 8 year old liked it, and the 4 year old couldn't stand it. We took many Frog and Toad breaks along the way. It's a great story about Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, who discovers that he has been destined throughout history to be the Sign Seeker. His role is to find the seven signs and bind them together before the powers of the Dark take over. The setting of the story is Buckinghamshire, during the Christmas season. I am looking forward to the motion picture adaptation to be released this weekend. http://www.ump.com.eg/MovieDetails.aspx?Id=98 Highly Recommended.

I don't usually review picture books, but What Happened to Merry Christmas? by Robert C. Baker is a contemporary classic. Sam discovers that Christmas exists in "holiday" imagery like snowflakes, and even in secular language. This book has gorgeous illustrations, and has also been reviewed by Cardinal O'Malley of Boston and Bishop Doran of Rockford, Illinois. St. Nicholas brings each of my children a book on December 6th, and I'm sure that this will be among his gifts this year. http://www.cph.org/cphstore/product.asp?category=&part%5Fno=562426&find%5Fcategory=Books&find%5Fdescription=&find%5Fpart%5Fdesc=baker
Highly Recommended.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What I Read in September

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Sophie and Josh Newman are fifteen-year-old twins, who become caught up in an adventure to recover a stolen book of secrets, including a recipe for immortality. Intertwining characters from many legends, Scott weaves a wonderful tale of magic and danger. As the adventure is incomplete at the book's close, I can only hope that a sequel is in the making. Recommended.



The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

Possibly one of my favorite books of all time, The Star of Kazan is The Secret Garden in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Annika is abandoned as an infant on the altar of a church, in a small town in Austria, during the early 20th century. She is taken in by Ellie and Sigrid, two devoted servants from Vienna. Annika is raised with love, friendships, and a devotion to her homeland. Her life would be perfect if only her mother would come and claim her. Unfortunately, her mother does come for her, and her life changes dramatically. She moves to northern Germany, and loses everything she had in Vienna. Getting it all back is an amazing tale, that I'm not going to spoil. Highly recommended!!



Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I try not to be prejudiced against novels marketed as Young Adult, but this book reinforces all my fears. Wicked Lovely does have an interesting plot, and some well developed characters, but the pervasive references to drugs, sex, and drinking, and the occasional slam against the Church ruined the story for me. Chosen by Amazon as one of the hottest titles of 2007, this book is most certainly not recommended.