Tuesday

Vote For The Best Book This Year!

The Children's Choice Book Awards his a fun voting site where you can pick the best books of the past year. Here's the link. It's sponsored by The Children's Book Council, a great site to peruse. Bet you can't guess which author I voted for ..... hint.

____________________________________________________________
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for www.ReadingRumpus.com
Bookmark and Share

Monday

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott - Book Review

Danielle (aka: Helen, Sydney, Hortense, and any other name that might fit the need) is a thief, just like her mother and father. Her life consists of looking into other people’s windows and coveting their stuff. She hasn’t gone to school, nor had a friend or boyfriend.

Landing in the beach town of Heaven, Danielle and her mother begin to case out the rich beach homes filled with shiny silver (her mother’s specialty) and for the first time in Danielle’s life, things begin to change.

Danielle starts to make friends and flirts dangerously with the one young man her mother would deny her. It’s her first chance to have an identity that includes friends and first love, to maybe have something she can call her own. These steps toward normalcy will test her loyalty to her mother, the only person who has ever cared for Danielle, and force difficult decisions to be made.

Highly engaging and astute, Stealing Heaven gives us an unlikely teen heroine in a unique scenario struggling with the same worries as any teen. The story unfolds with grace and insight into the teen mindset. This reader read it in one sitting, falling in love with Danielle's authentic voice. Perhaps the best part of the story is the unresolved ending, giving us hope that Danielle’s possibilities are unlimited.

---------------------------------------
Resources:

Genre: Realistic Fiction. Age: Young Adult. Pages:320.






Themes: Difficult Decisions, Non-traditional Families, Romance






Award: YLASA 2009 Best Book For Young Adults
Publisher: Harper Teen. Date: May 2008
ISBN-10:0061122807 / ISBN-13:978-0061122804

Buy Stealing Heaven Here

The book site for Stealing Heaven

Harper Teen Site for Elizabeth Scott

Author Elizabeth Scott is well known around the web. She's been hosting a fun blog on her website since March of 2006. In her bio section she mentions her love of writing young adult novels because of a special appreciation for the difficulties of being a teenager.
____________________________________________________________
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for www.ReadingRumpus.com
Bookmark and Share

Sunday

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor - Book Review

The second book in The Looking Glass Trilogy, Seeing Redd, begins almost immediately where the first book ended (reviewed here). We find newly crowned Queen Alyss trying to juggle the demands of rebuilding a country largely destroyed during the reign of her Aunt Redd. And while Alyss is preoccupied, her banished aunt is plotting an uprising, drawing the purveyors of dark imagination to her side. It’s no stretch to recognize a confrontation with Alyss and the followers of white imagination is fast approaching.

If you haven’t read the first title in the series, The Looking Glass Wars, you’ll want to begin there, as this is not a stand-alone story. The characters first introduced are now more developed and several plot lines branch away from Queen Alyss and Aunt Redd to good effect. The character development is strongly continued and one if the best parts of this series. Now, when Alyss flirts, it seems more plausible.

Seeing Redd may only be suffering the middle-child slump of trilogies, but it does lack cohesion and never fully rises to its possibilities. As I read the first novel, I forgave some unexplored areas, but expected them to be taken up in the following novels. They weren't explored and even more unanswered story lines emerged. And while the story once again references Carroll’s original, it abandoned much of the symbolic alignment that it had shown previously.

Even with the middle trilogy slump, I'm glad to have kept up with Alyss and her crew. They're very well characterized and offer a unique view on the beloved classic. Recommended for middle school students and fantasy minded high school students. For both classroom and library purchase. I'm still unable to find any learning resources around the www. Anyone with links, please post them to the comments.

Advisory:
Though I have no qualms with taking the story to a more brutal edge, I feel that marketing toward elementary students is wrongly thought. Not only does the death and violence lean it towards intermediate use, but also the themes of revenge and grief are a tad strong for discussion in most elementary classrooms.

---------------------------

Resources:

Genre: Fantasy and Parallel Fiction. Age: Middle Grade & Young Adult. Pages 384.





Themes:






Publisher: Dial. Date: August 2007
ISBN-10: 0803731558 / ISBN-13:978-0803731554
Advisory: Some Violence

Buy The Looking Glass Wars Here

Buy Seeing Redd Here

The Looking Glass Wars website is filled with videos, a store, a soundtrack, tons of fantastic artwork, an online Card Soldiers game, ecards, screensavers, info on school events, a forum... There's way too much to list! (Hint: Make sure click on the links and go to PO'd Monkey)

ArchEnemy, the conclusion to the trilogy, will be released on October 15, 2009. You can pre-order ArchEnemy here.








Author Frank Beddor was once a former world champion freestyle skier as well as an actor, a stuntman and, oh, he also produced that little movie called There's Something About Mary. You'll find more about him on The Looking Glass Wars Website.
____________________________________________________________
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for www.ReadingRumpus.com
Bookmark and Share

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor - Book Review

In 1865, Reverend Charles Dodgson (aka: Lewis Carroll) published a little nonsense story for Alice Liddell. It was heralded a masterpiece and has never gone out of print since. But Reverend Dodgson was a thief! He stole and twisted the story from little Alice herself, the story of the land from whence she came, from where she was meant to be queen.

This is the premise of Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars.

In this parallel novel, Alyss must return to Wonderland to reclaim her rightful throne, taken by her Aunt Redd during a bloody battle. It was this battle that began the story, sent Alyss into seclusion in our world and killed Alyss’s mother as her Aunt Redd stormed the castle screaming, “Off with their stinking, boring heads!”

Beddor has done his homework with Carroll’s original. Yet, once you’re a few chapters in, you begin to forget about ‘that other Alice’ and start liking the story on its own merit. It’s action packed, which serves to interest boys (something not usually associated with the original). In fact, some scenes are probably too graphic for the elementary set. The naming of characters is brilliant and this helps us to fully invest in them. The plot moves along nicely, holding our interest easily.

But while the premise, characters and action are all sound, The Looking Glass Wars does have a few hiccups. The writing can be a bit uneven, with some scenes too quickly executed while others seem to drag. The love story is somewhat unbelievable as most seven-year-old kids are not of the mindset, nor maturity, to fall. The publishers seem to have marketed this towards an elementary set (maybe because that’s where the original is wrongly placed also). However, this book is much better suited to the middle grade student or the fantasy-minded high-schooler.

All in all, it’s a fun, fast-paced action story that made some sense of the classic's nonsense. The Looking Glass Wars would be great as a companion book to employ comparison activities with the original.

Recommended for middle school students and fantasy minded high school students. For both classroom and library purchase. I'm unable to find any learning resources around the www. Anyone with links, please post them to the comments.

---------------------------
Resources:

Genre: Fantasy and Parallel Fiction. Age: Middle Grade & Young Adult. Pages 384.





Themes:






Publisher:Dial. Date: September 2006
ISBN-10: 0803731531 / ISBN-13: 978-0803731530
Advisory: Some Violence

Buy The Looking Glass Wars Here

The Looking Glass Wars website is filled with videos, a store, a soundtrack, tons of fantastic artwork, an online Card Soldiers game, ecards, screensavers, info on school events, a forum... There's way too much to list! (Hint: Make sure click on the links and go to PO'd Monkey)

Read my review of the second book in the trilogy, Seeing Redd, HERE.









ArchEnemy, the conclusion to the trilogy, will be released on October 15, 2009. You can pre-order ArchEnemy here.








Author Frank Beddor was once a former world champion freestyle skier as well as an actor, a stuntman and, oh, he also produced that little movie called There's Something About Mary. You'll find more about him on The Looking Glass Wars Website.
____________________________________________________________
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for www.ReadingRumpus.com
Bookmark and Share