Wednesday, February 27, 2013
What We're Reading Wednesday - Newberys!!!!
We enjoyed The Warrior Heir trilogy so much, I checked out The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (also recommended by Seven Little Australians). You can read a good summary here.
Contrary to what you might think, there are no demons in The Demon King. As I mentioned back in January, Demonai is the name of one of the Native American-ish clans struggling to balance power with the wizard race.
Our hero, Han, is definitely attracted to Digging Bird, noticing her legs, but that's about it. Princess Raisa enjoys spending time locking lips with young wizard, Micah. At one point, both Raisa and Micah are consumed with uncontrollable passion. Good thing her bodyguard noticed they were being controlled by magical items, before it was too late and she was "ruined" Lady Mary style. Lots of kissing, but that's it.
I enjoyed the book, but silly me, I expected some kind of resolution by the end, when in actuality, The Demon King is only the beginning of a much bigger and longer tale.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage is about Miss Moses LoBeau and her unlikely foster parents, The Colonel and Miss Lana. Moses, or Mo, was washed up on shore as an infant after a hurricane, hence the name. In addition to her ongoing search for her upstream mother, she starts her own detective agency with her best friend to solve a murder, an old bank robbery's missing loot, and Miss Lana's kidnapping. It's a wild adventure, filled with great characters. Also, it was one of the Newbery nominees this year.
Another Newbery nominee, What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt was a little confusing. The story begins in a far away galaxy. There is an alien race, the Valorim, struggling under the crushing heel of a master villain and his alien minions, with loads of foreign vocabulary and big mouthful names. It would have been VERY helpful at this point if I had noticed there was a GLOSSARY to help with all of that. Doh.
Every other chapter alternates between the Valorim's struggle to save their knowledge and art, to the New England town where Tommy Pepper and his family live. The Valorim put all of their knowledge into a necklace and send it away. It ends up in Tommy Pepper's lunch box.
Tommy's fighting his own battles. His little sister hasn't spoken since their mother died. Dad is struggling with grief and the local real estate company that wants to demolish their home to build condos. And now, wearing the necklace, he's exhibiting some strange powers and attracting some very bad characters who know what the necklace is and want it for themselves.
I love Gary D. Schmidt, and I love everything he's written (especially Straw into Gold), (though I do think Okay for Now isn't suitable for kids). This book was academically hard to handle though. The vocabulary and names are very difficult, even for me, and I'm a member of the Rohirrim, plus I speak Elvish and can read the Black Speech of Mordor. However, if I had known about the Glossary (smacks forehead) I am certain I would have been much happier.
And The Newbery Medal went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Based on the sad but true story of a gorilla that was kept in the same enclosure for twenty-seven years, in a mall, The One and Only Ivan is told from Ivan's point of view. STOP HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ SPOILERS!
When his best friend Stella (an elephant) died of neglect, her last request was that Ivan not let the new baby elephant, Ruby, meet the same fate. Ivan, who had given up hope of ever changing anything begins to live like a silverback again, which is to protect another.
Poignant and powerful. Don't think this is a "All humans are bad." kind of book. Even the animals recognize the difference between humans. And the good ones win in the end.
For the Win. Literally. (Pun intended.)
Am I the only one who gets waaaay more excited about the Newberys than the Oscars? Thought so.