Duane, notoriously known as Smoke, is an unlikely candidate to be found helping the very teacher he threatened. After a mysterious field trip that leaves a teacher M.I.A., Nick and Marta suspect foul play. Their suspicions aren’t completely inaccurate, but they slowly learn that their suspects are heroes and that they are dealing with a larger villain than they anticipated. Hiaasen continues his tradition of young adult mystery novels in Scat, pitting curious, activist children against money-grubbing adults.
I must admit my skepticism when I found out that Chuck Klosterman, a man known for his uncanny knowledge of popular culture, was venturing into the realm of fiction. You mean there would be no witty banter about reality T.V.? No clever interviews mocking a-list celebrities? I was able to overcome my doubts and, fear not, reader, it was a success! Downtown Owl chronicles three characters with nothing in common except their location of Owl, North Dakota. Horace is the quintessential townie; he spends his time in the local coffee shop discussing the high school football team. Mitch plays for this football team; he is a resigned, unsatisfied teen observing the absurdity of life in Owl. Julia, a mid-twenties history teacher seeking a new lifestyle, finds herself bar-hopping in the sleepy town of Owl. The story is not so much the tale of people, rather the tale of a stagnant, mid-western town that captures and wears down those who choose, or don’t choose, to live there.
The top four reasons you should read this book, in no particular order: 1. The lovable, surly Barry, who sings in a band tentatively titled ‘Sonic Death Monkey.’ 2. If you have ever been in a relationship, you can relate to Rob’s attempt to understand his current break-up by analyzing all of his past relationships. 3. The characters compare their ideas for best songs in various situations. Then they make fun of each other. 4. You will understand why I made this recommendation in list format.
I love stories that leave absolutely no loose ends. In Holes, Sachar goes above and beyond this by meticulously weaving together the story of Stanley Yelnats, an unlucky young boy whose cursed no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather has somehow landed him in Camp Green Lake, a boys detention center, where he is forced to dig holes all day in the blistering heat. This is a story where absolutely nothing is random and everything is carefully connected. I recommend it for both children and adults; it is one of the most carefully thought through stories I have read.
This is the classic ‘gorilla meets and falls in love with innocent creature only to drive creature away with fiery temper’ story. However, the most impressive aspect of this book is not the storyline but the illustrations. It is excruciatingly sad when the lonely, innocent-faced gorilla communicates (through sign language), ‘I want a friend’. Browne has an incredible talent for capturing the raw emotion of loneliness- and, eventually, joy, fear, and regret. At first Beauty, the kitten, was a reluctant companion but in no time they do everything together. And I mean everything. Luckily the story has a happy twist at the end- otherwise I don’t think I would be able to look at the gorilla’s honest face without tearing up.
have i told you how much i love kevin henkes? this book just propelled me into full-blown henkes obsession.
kitten is convinced that the moon is actually a big bowl of milk suspended in the sky and she is determined to make it hers. she tries everything she can think of to reach that perfect, round, smooth, bowl of milk. it is a hard lesson to learn; luckily kitten has an owner who loves her.
there’s something so calm and reassuring about this book; kitten’s adventurous spirit takes the fear out of darkness and nighttime.
you may recognize both of the names on the cover of this book. mo willems is the author of the quirky & fun ‘don’t let the pigeon drive the bus’ series, as well as the multiple caldecott award winning ‘knuffle bunny’ books. jon muth has written and illustrated the lovable ‘zen shorts’ collection (among others).
they are an unstoppable combination.
city dog, country frog is a heartwarming and sweet story about a city dog who decides to spend a day in the country where he meets a new friend (country frog). they continue their friendship through the seasons and teach each other their favorite pastimes.
but all things must come to an end…
that being said, i still think this book is for kids of all ages (i’ve read it with 8-28 year olds).