Another book review blog?!?

Yes because people ask "Have you read anything good lately?" And I have. From a class ...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Small as an Elephant

Title: Small as an Elephant
Author: Jennifer Jacobson
Publication Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 275
Part of a Series: No
Subject Heading(s): 
Abandoned children -- Juvenile fiction
Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fiction
 Self-reliance -- Juvenile fiction
Survival -- Juvenile fiction
 Elephants -- Juvenile fiction
Geographical Setting/ Time Period:  Arcadia National Park, Maine campsite, now
Main Character(s): Jack, a small boy, abandoned by his mother
Plot Summary:

Jack’s mother has always been unpredictable but when Jack and his mom go on a camping trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, she abandons him with no way to contact her and very little money for food. Contacting authorities might get his mom in trouble and he might be placed in the custody of the state so Jack determines he must find his way back to his home in Boston with his only companion a small toy elephant. He loves his mom and she at times is loving and fun but other times she thinks and talks very fast and she forgets Jack. On the trip to Acadia Jack wanted to stop and see Lydia, the only elephant in Maine. His mom wouldn’t stop and Jack holds on to the hope he will yet see Lydia. Finding ways to survive and keep moving are an intense adventure. The author does an excellent job of describing Jack’s thought processes, explaining his fears and his past experiences with his mentally ill mother. The resolution is hopeful but realistic.


The book is appropriate for 5th through 8th grades and addresses in an unflinching way the difficulties of living with a mentally ill parent. Jack is a very compelling protagonist and the story holds the reader’s interest.
Brief quote: "Elephants can sense danger. They're able to detect an approaching tsunami or earthquake before it hits. Unfortunately, Jack did not have this talent. the day his life was turned completely upside down, he was caught unaware.
Prizes or Awards: Sequoyah
Reviewer=s Name: Denilyn Jordan
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.Chicago: ALA, 1997.

I Shall Wear Midnight

Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Pratchett, Terry 
Publication Date: 2010 
Number of Pages: 349
Part of a Series: Yes.  As of October 2010, the last book in the Discworld series, which began with The Color of Magic.  This is the fourth book featuring Tiffany Aching (the first is The Wee Free Men).

Subject Heading(s):      JW=Joy Woods; LT=LibraryThing; NL=NoveList; RA=Readers’ Advisory Online
Child Abuse (NL)
Miniature Persons (NL)
Fantasy (NL)
Persecution (JW)
Fairies (NL)
Teenage Witches (NL)
Good and Evil (NL)
Villains (NL)
Hate (NL)
Witch Burnings (JW)
Humorous fiction (NL)
Witches (JW)
Memory (NL) 
Geographical Setting/ Time Period:  Set in the Discworld, a flat world supported by four elephants on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.  Takes place in the Chalk region (backcountry), and also briefly in the city of Ankh-Morpork.
Main Character(s):
Tiffany Aching, a capable, sarcastic young witch
Rob Anybody, leader of a group of drinking, fighting, stealing supernatural beings called the Nac Mac Feegle.
Jeannie the Kelda, Rob Anybody’s wife and the only female Kelda, she works magic.
Amber, an abused child with a mysterious connection to the Kelda.
Roland, stuffy new Baron of the Chalk, formerly Tiffany’s sweetheart.
Letitia, Roland’s beautiful, rich, silly fiancĂ©e.  Wishes she were a witch.
Preston, observant and philosophical guard.
Plot Summary: Tiffany Aching has finished her apprenticeship in the mountains and returned home to become the first witch of the Chalk.  When she travels to Ankh-Morpork to inform Roland that he is the new Baron, she finds herself accused of murder and theft.  The persecution she faces from familiar friends is only a symptom of an older, more sinister force determined to drive out witchcraft.

Appeal: Plot-driven novel with serious themes applicable to real world.  Although dark, the book has a humorous tone.  Characterization also an important aspect.  Includes appearances of popular characters from other Discworld books, including the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg.

Brief quote: “ ‘You hear people talk about witches being burned, but I don’t reckon many real witches ever did get burned unless they were tricked in some way; I think it was mostly poor old women.  Witches are mostly too soggy, and it was probably a waste of good timber.’” (page 136)

Prizes or Awards: I Shall Wear Midnight received a starred review in Kirkus. Terry Pratchett has won numerous awards for his writing, including: 2009   Writers' Guild Award (Outstanding Contribution to Children's Writing), 2004   WH Smith People's Choice Award   The Wee Free Men (features Tiffany Aching) 2007   British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year   (shortlist)   Wintersmith (features Tiffany Aching).

Similar Works:  Reviewer recommends the following books as humorous young adult fantasy adventures with capable female heroines, similar to Tiffany:  Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede (begins with Dealing with Dragons).
Reviewer=s Name: Joy Woods
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.