The Chef's college RA, and published author, Jason Henderson has been using UD names in his teen vampire series featuring fourteen-year-old, Alex Van Helsing. First, I caught a cameo of former UD Student Government president, Fred Schunk, and then Vienna Cazorla showed up. Could she be a distant relation to Profesora Hazel Cazorla (ca-thor-la) of UD Spanish Dept. fame? Who will be next?
I like these fast-paced adventure novels. Vampires are shown to be evil, soulless, demon-like beings, that must be destroyed. No romantic view of these predators. Alex Van Helsing is a lot like the Alex Rider of James Patterson's books for kids, capable, intelligent, mature.
In the second book, Voice of the Undead, Van Helsing's mother makes an appearance, and she happens to be a witch. More witches are introduced in the third book, The Triumph of Death, and they all appear to be "good," fighting for the downfall of vampires, protecting humans, healing Alex when he is injured. Alex teams up with Astrid, a young "adept," and together they save mankind once again.
If paranormal beings don't bother you, Alex Van Helsing's adventures are fine for middle school and up.
I finished the second book in the Century series, Star of Stone, by Pierdomenico Baccalario. I read and reviewed the first book a few years ago and liked it. But Star of Stone includes little to no background information, no recap of the Roman adventure in Ring of Fire. I may have liked this book if I had just finished Ring of Fire, or remembered any of it, but I doubt it because Star of Stone seems to be all action and little plot development. I am reminded of seasons of Lost that told good adventure stories, but failed to reveal any clues as to why there were there in the first place.
Also, an elderly woman describes her life with a character from the first book, emphasizing that she was not his wife. Maybe their relationship was purely platonic, but she lived in his house. Suspicious minds....
Baby J is in that phase where she wants you to read her a book an infinite number of times in one sitting, until I hide the book. Some books that I can read three times without going insane are:
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett. I love this book. I love the square shape and the super thick pages. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful and the text is downright genius. Now, I must find everything Emily Gravett ever published and see if all of her books are so lovely and clever.
|See what I mean?|
I went on Amazon and order some of the other titles from the Little Simon Classic Board Book label. Nancy Tafuri's Five Little Chicks and Blue Goose are also good.
Baby J is also in a huge animal phase. I swear she knows more animal sounds than words in English. She calls any books with animals in it, "Moo." She loves Margaret Wise Brown's Big Red Barn. After the first read, we just flip pages and make noises. I try to emphasize the ending where all the animals go to sleep. She's not getting it, though.
Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton is the other barnyard classic getting lots of mileage these days. It's short and it's sweet. What more could you ask for in a board book for the under two crowd?