Tag Archives: magical story

Magpie Gabbard and the Quest for the Buried Moon

Author: Sally M. Keehn
Rating:
Reading Level: 4th – 6th


Publisher: Philomel
Edition: Hardcover, 2007 (ARC)

It is definitely Quirky, with that capital Q! The tall-tale tone and the magical and outlandish plotline are consistent and coherent in their own way. Very strong opening scene and concluding passages.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Notes

Gossamer

Author: Lois Lowry
Rating:
Reading Level: 4th – 6th

Pages: 140
Publisher: Hougton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine
Edition: Hardcover, 2006

Since so many people love this book, I was unwilling to read it, afraid that I’d find it undeserving in some way. But, I, too, fell in love with it right away. My admiration of the author’s skill in telling a simple and yet complex story sustains until the very last word on the very last page. What a refreshing experience.

The characters, major or minor alike, have such depth. Many things are unsaid about them, but the reader senses a strong “knowing” of their souls from the few key moments in life Lowry chooses to present. The elegant text, deceptively simple, reminds me of my favorite Dickinson poems: a few words, arranged just right, describing the most common personal experiences, can encompass the immensity of the collective human minds — conscious or subconscious.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Notes

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea

Author/Illustrator: Anne Sibley O’Brien
Rating:
Reading Level: 2nd – 5th grade

Pages: unpaged
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Edition: Hardcover, 2006

This picture book in comic book style is near perfect in every way. The narrative is fluid, the story is exciting, the cultural details are accurately portrayed both in text and illustraion, and the pictures are expertly rendered. I am impressed at how O’Brien effectively conveys varied moods by simple changes of each facial feature.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Notes

Pish Posh

Author: Ellen Potter
Rating:
Reading Level: 4th grade and up

Pages: 166
Publisher: Philomel Books
Edition: Hardcover 2006

Ellen Potter really knows how to build upon the utterly unbelievable scenarios and make them seem oh-so-plausible. Her New York City apartment buildings (as in the Olivia Kidney books)expand into wonderlands that even the lovers for Carrollian twists and turns will find tantalizing. The mystery, the unique characters, (11-year-old Clara Francofile who owns nothing but simple black dresses and a keen sense of the social standings of each celebrity coming through her parents’ restaurant and her co-star Annabelle Arbutnot, pre-teen master burglar, for example) and the satisfying resolution all just WORK! A truly fun read.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Notes

Lily Reads: Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants

Author: Sam Swope
Rating:
Reading Level: 2nd – 5th

Pages: 99
Publisher: FSG
Edition: Hardcover, 2004

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Notes

American Born Chinese

Author: Gene Luen Yang
Rating:
Reading Level: 7th and up

Pages: 240
Publisher: First Second, Roaring Brooks
Edition: Paperback original, 2006

I cannot pin down my own reaction to this graphic novel. It is beautifully produced: glossy paper, clean layout, the comic illustrations are quite skillfully done, and the storytelling is at moments quite intelligent. But, that what I felt most reading the book was how all parts of it are “adequate” and how I was aware of all these components at the same time finding myself not terribly moved in any way. I was not offended, either — even by the buck-teethed, slant-eyed, Engrish-speaking caricature of a Chinese cousin (I knew that he served some form of purpose other than ridiculing the Chinese as a whole.) I felt little revelation — even when the three story lines finally get twisted together, the surprise factor only lasted a short moment and then the bigger lingering question remains: “Are these three stories organically entwined due to an unyielding internal creative force or are they forced together because it seems like a cool idea to connect a current day ABC’s destiny to an old Chinese Legend?” For me, the resolution definitely lacks the power to convince me that this tale cannot be told better.

The best part of the book actually is the very short, very straightforward, very truthful retelling of the Monkey King story — I wanted more of that!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Notes

The Chocolate Touch

Author: Patrick Caitling
Rating:
Reading Level: 1st – 3rd

Pages:
Publisher:
Edition:

Lily and I took turns reading aloud to each other and had a blast. This is definitely a “messegey” book: don’t eat too much junk food! but it works well as a highly entertaining and imaginative story. I read it a long time ago and this time around, I still enjoyed it.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized