Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown

School's out for Dee, Hector and Terrence and now they're off to summer camp. While they're sure that the ban on video games, computers and all things electronic will make for a boring summer, they couldn't be more wrong.

Our campers are super surprised to see Lunch Lady and Betty when they get to Camp Fun Times, but don't have any time to discuss it as the boys and girls are separated into gender based cabins. Quickly the talk in the girl's cabin turns to who is the cutest counselor and friendship bracelets, while the boy's cabin is trying to figure out who dealt it (if you know what I mean).

The first night is the time for the opening campfire, where counselor Scott tells the campers about the legend of the terrible swamp monster! After the ghost story, hunky Ben plays his guitar and has the girls swooning in no time! But the blissed out night is about to be ruined when Ben is attacked by the swamp monster and his guitar is broken!

What is going on? Is this a case of a jealous counselor? Is there a power struggle going on between the camp director and his assistant? Is there really a mutant swamp monster on the loose?

With Lunch Lady and Betty along with the kids on the case, it's sure to be cracked quickly. Resplendent with kitchen gadget spy tools, kids sneaking out after curfew, dizzy pottery teachers, and bug juice, this latest installment of Lunch Lady should be in every kid's suitcase as they head off to camp.

A fun addition to the series that will be on shelves May, 2010!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

yours truly, Lucy B. Parker - girl vs. superstar

Ahhhh, chicklit. Every now and again it's just what the doctor ordered, and yours truly, Lucy B. Parker - girl vs. superstar is pretty much all you could ask for!

It's the beginning of sixth grade, and Lucy is in a rut. She has just been friend-dumped by her BFFs Rachel and Missy, she barely survived the "hat incident", super annoying Marissa has decided to befriend Lucy now that Rachel and Missy are gone, and now Lucy's mother decides that now is the right time to tell her that she has been dating! And where does Lucy's mom decide to drop this bombshell? Only at Barbara's Bra World, which is pretty much Lucy's version of, well...you know.

So, who could this mystery man be? Is it the barista from the coffee place? One of Lucy's teachers? No. It's Alan Moses, the father of teen sensation Laurel Moses (who happens to be responsible for the hat incident). Laurel's in town shooting, and Lucy's mom has be tutoring her, and before she knew it, she was dating Alan.

Lucy cannot imagine anything worse. Not only is Laurel tall and beautiful, but all of the kids in Lucy's school are obsessed with her. Lucy sees a future of being seen as second best.

But, things are not always as they seem, and sometime perfection on the outside belies an imperfect inside.

Robin Palmer has written a delicious piece of chicklit that has a heart. Yes, there are mean girls (trust me...mean girls exist in real life too), but there is lots of charm as well. Lucy is a quirky girl (complete with a fascination with all things menstrual)and her parents are interesting and present. Sixth grade life is represented well complete with the emotional roller coaster climbing to fun loving and plummeting back down to despair in a real time tween fashion. This is the first in a series, and I am looking forward to watching Lucy grow!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Grimm Legacy

Every time I go to midwinter (ALA) there are one or two arcs that I pick up that quickly make it to the top of the pile. Being a fan of all things Grimm and most things NYC, The Grimm Legacy was an easy choice for first reading!

Elizabeth is none too thrilled when her social studies teacher Mr. Mauskopf assigns a research paper that needs to be completed over winter break. Elizabeth goes against her stepsister's advice and chooses the topic of the Brothers Grimm, mainly because the idea of fairy tales reminds her of her mom. Writing the paper ends up being a bit of a welcome distraction from a lonely winter break (Elizabeth's bf has moved to California, and her new school hasn't exactly been a bastion of welcome).

Once back from vacation, Mr. Mauskopf calls Elizabeth into his office to ask some questions about her paper. After asking a few questions, her teacher asks her an odd question -- he wants to know if Elizabeth wants a job at the New-York Circulating Material Respository.

Elizabeth decides to give it a go, and heads over for the strangest interview she's ever been a part of. After answering some odd questions, she is given the duty of sorting objects. She has no idea why she's doing this, and is just going with her instincts, yet at the end of it all she has the job.
The New-York Circulating Material Repository is an old fashioned kind of library, complete with pneumatic tubes, but there is a decided lack of books. This is a library that circulates things; instruments, sports equipment, cooking tools textiles, costumes, et cetera. And there is a very special collection in the basement: The Grimm Collection. And remember, since there are no books in the library, this collection (which is heavily locked away) is filled with all things fairy tales. From the seven league boots to the nasty and opinionated mirror from Snow White to slippers worn through from dancing, the magical objects are also available for lending.

But the magical objects are disappearing and being replaced with decidedly unmagical replicas. Will Elizabeth and her new friends be able to figure out what is going on, or will the Grimm collection be used against them?

This is an action-packed story that will have fairy tale lovers, book lovers and those who love a good story flying through the pages. Who do we trust? What does a black market that deals in magical things look like? Is there such a thing as stealing for the greater good? I picture this appealing equally to the guys and girls since there are characters of each who are quite fleshed out. Throw in a bit of romance (but not too much) and there is something for everyone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

Mary Mae likes it at Remnant Church of God. She likes all of the Praise the Lords and the Amens, and the fact that folks can just get on up and tell everybody what it is they’re thankful for. Her pastor, Sister Coates, is preaching about how important it is to believe every word in the Bible, and how it’s the duty of all to spread the Word. She gives everyone a stack of John 3:16 stickers, and soon Mary Mae is in the car with her Mama and her Granny heading to the mall, hoping to save souls.

On the way back home, her Mama gets pulled over by the police. While they are stopped, Mary Mae notices the stripes in the rocks are just like the ones that they’ve been talking about at school. She tells her Granny about the different eras that they represent (just like she tells her Granny about everything that she learns in school), and Mama is none too pleased. She lets Mary Mae know that they don’t believe in different eras…they believe that the Earth is 6000 years old. Now, Mary Mae is a girl who likes her facts, so when she gets home she combs her Bible for where it says that the Earth is 6000 years old. When she doesn’t find the information she wants, she asks her Pastor about it. Sister Coates doesn’t seem too happy with the questions that Mary Mae is asking, and soon the Sunday school class is assigned to put on a puppet show all about Creation.

Meanwhile, at school Mrs. Sizemore is teaching Mary Mae’s class all about the Ordovician Age and trilobites. She lets them know that there are lots of fossils to be found in their own area, due to a warm shallow sea that used to cover their part of Ohio…and they are going to dig for some as a class! Mary Mae is super excited, and is very proud of her finds. She knows she should be sitting out with Shirley Whirly (who goes to Remnant Church of God), but she just can’t. Science seems to pull at her heart. She just can’t understand why her Mama and her Pastor seem so upset when she asks questions. Mama is so upset that she’s getting ready to yank her out of school and teach her at home.

Sandra Dutton has written a gem of a book that explores the faith/science divide. Mary Mae loves her church life, but loves her school life as well. Her Mama’s mind is completely closed, and new information seems to genuinely scare her. Granny is such a breath of fresh air and an amazing character that she quickly became a favourite of mine. She has a thirst for knowledge just like Mary Mae, and she makes Mary Mae feel safe in her explorations. Because of the questioning of faith this book not might find as wide of an audience as it should, but readers will truly enjoy Mary Mae’s journey and her bravery. Dutton has the voice of the family down pat, and I think this could be an important book for those on both sides of the evolution/intelligent design debate.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tweeny Trailers

There are some great tween books being turned into movies these days. Here are a couple that look like they will be winners!