Monday, December 29, 2008

See you on the other side

BookMoot is going off to do family/wedding things this week so I will see you all on the other side in 2009.

(But BookMoot, you are in a blogging void anyway so why bother even mentioning this?)

Well, I have just finished listening to an astounding performance in audiobook-ness. (I can do important Christmas/wedding thinking while listening to a book, I just can't read text and simultaneously drive or shop or write.)


Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady

by L. A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Katherine Kellgren's performance as Jacky Faber, the heroine of this tale of high adventure, is a narration tour de force. Mary Burkey at Audiobooker named Blue Tattoo one of Audiobooker’s Choice: Great Youth Audiobooks of 2008. It also eaerned a 2008 Odyssey Award Honor. Kellgren joins Jim Dale, and Nathaniel Parker in the pantheon of youth audiobook readers.

Meyer's story is a sort of Oliver Twist meets Charlotte Doyle meets Horatio Hornblower.
In order to survive starvation as an orphan on the mean streets of London, Mary Faber becomes "Jacky" and signs on to the crew of HMS Dolphin as a ships' boy. She thrives as part of the Royal Navy. Standing fast under fire and as part of a boarding party, she earns the title Bloody Jack. She must keep her sex a secret but that becomes harder with each passing day.

Curse of the Blue Tattoo could be "the rest of the story" if Charlotte Doyle had not returned to the sea faring life. Jacky Faber meets Sarah Crewe from A Little Princess.

Jacky, newly promoted to midshipman, is booted off the ship when it is discovered that she is a girl. With her share of the Dolphin's prize money, she is enrolled in the Lawson Peabody School. Here the future wives of diplomats, congressmen and even presidents of the new republic are schooled and trained. She strives to understand the social conventions of 18th century Boston and learns school girls can be more dangerous than pirates.

I'm dialing up all of Kellgren's audiobooks, asap.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Video: Winter Wonderland

Can't stop clicking the play button...
Half the views of this video are from me and entling no. 1

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Born to Read

Born to Read by Judy Sierra; pictures by Marc Brown, Knopf 2008

Judy Sierra is fast becoming a preacher-in-chief for literacy and reading. Her
Wild About Books follows a bookmobile-driving librarian to the zoo where she introduces the animals to books and they fall in love with reading.

She teams again with Marc Brown to evoke the pleasures, the benefits and the rewards of reading in Born to Read.

A baby named Sam can read his name painted on his crib, "That's me! he thought. "My name is Sam. I'm born to read. I know I am." (I loved the dragon mobile that hangs over his crib.)

Classic titles such as, Pat the Bunny, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Cat in the Hat overflow Sam's bed and room as they are are read to him by his mother. Same reads everywhere and any time. Brown even tucks one of his own Arthur the aardvark books under Sam's arm when the boy is called on to confront a giant that is rampaging through town. Sam's love of reading saves the day and predicts a bright future for him.

Hopefully, children will recognize the books featured in the story. Sierra's rhyming text is very enjoyable for out loud reading and her message about the importance of reading is for children AND their parents to hear.

If you, as a parental or grandparental unit, do NOT know what books should be on a baby's book shelf, you would do well to start with the list above. Throw in a Mother Goose and make reading to your little one a priority and part of your daily routine.

(English) (Spanish)
My Shining Star by Rosemary Wells (BookMoot-ed here) is another book to share with parents about the importance of reading to children and preparing them to be successful in school.

These books put me in mind of that grand Richard Peck poem, Twenty Minutes a Day. I always loved reading this powerful bit of poetry to parents especially this line:

Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice;
Let them hear the first tales
In the sound of your voice.
Read in the morning;
Read over noon;
Read by the light of
Goodnight Moon.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Spock does not know how dangerous being a librarian can be.

Sometimes librarians lose it.

Classic Sesame Street and Cookie Monster visits the Library

Then sometimes they just deal with the problem.

Then there is the quintessential, Marian.
Robert Preston is the only Harold Hill for me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Klingon Opera

I must indulge my inner-geek from time to time.

As reported in the NYTimes:

FLORIS SCHÖNFELD, a multidisciplinary artist from the Netherlands, is developing a Klingon opera as a "nonprofit research work in progress."

The Klingon opera Mr. Schönfeld is developing is called “ ’u’.” The apostrophes before and after the “u” are part of the title and are pronounced by Mr. Schönfeld like short coughs. The title, he said, stands for universe or universal.

I am also liking the trailer for the Star Trek Movie very much.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Douglas Florian

Oh my giddy aunt! (Learned that expression from Michele at Scholar's Blog.)

Douglas Florian has a blog, Florian Cafe. I know this because at GottaBook reported it last week.

Thank you, thank you Greg for sharing this news.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Max for President

Max for President by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Knopf, 2004

I read this to a group of first graders just before the election. My quick pre-reading designated this books as instructive and straight-forward, "here's how we vote" book. I was delighted but unprepared for how much the children loved this little story.

Max, a boy, is running for class president and Kelly, a girl, also decides to run. Both children make posters and hand out buttons and campaign with their plans to improve the school.

When Max outlined his platform, many of the boys cheered. Then the girls clapped when Kelly spoke. Then I heard the little voice at my feet that softly said, "I wish they both could win."

When is was clear that Max had NOT won, another voice suggested, "He could be vice president," anticipating the direction of the story.

I was honestly moved when the children all clapped and whooped as I finished. Both Max and Kelly work together to make their school a better place. The children were totally engaged by Krosoczka's expressive illustrations. The children were, clearly, drawn to these characters and identified with them.

What a little treasure.

This was the first Krosoczka book I've had the honor to read aloud. I cannot wait to read more of his books to kids.

Clever lad, that Jarrett.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free

Gilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr; narrated by Carmen Viviano-Crafts and the Full Cast Audio Family, c2003, p2004.

Why is Libby Dodge in prison?

She is apparently educated, smart and only 16 years old. What could she have done to land in the Sherborn Women's Prison in Boston. Some of the other women there have committed heinous crimes while others are victims of the brutality and poverty of the early 1900s. With names like Second-Story Sal and Kid Glove Rosie, the women's stories are interwoven in the plot. An older woman, Ma McCreary, is part mother figure and part best friend to Libby.

The conditions in the prison are harsh but the arrival of Mrs. Wilkinson, the new chaplain, transforms their lives. Now a widow. her husband was a member of the D'Oyle Carte Opera Company and she is determined to bring music into the lives of the women of Sherborn. Ma and Libby are the first to join the new choir and the Easter performance of Handel's "Messiah" is so uplifting that the whole prison community is eager to support their next project, Gilbert & Sullivan's “Pirates of Penzance.”

This is Libby's story though and as she confronts her past, she learns to look toward the future and the places her beautiful singing voice might take her. I was pleased with Libby's happy ending.

The whole story has a feel of the fantastic but it is a true story. This NY Times article from 1914 must have been part of Katherine Karr's inspiration for this book.

The Full Cast Audio performance is very well acted and rich with Gilbert and Sullivan's music which made this G&S fan very happy.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Life comes at you fast

So one minute you are a mild mannered librarian, preoccupied with maneuvering entlings here and there to their appointed rounds, working in some elementary schools and doing some cataloging of professional books at the admin building.

The looming wedding-of-the-year is happily preoccupying any unused cranial RAM and you are preparing interview questions and book reviews in your head because your little blog has been sorely neglected over the past months.

Oh sure, a hurricane named Ike kicked us pretty hard and there was no electrical power for most of the area for a long while, but we pulled on our booties and got to work and things are pretty much back on track. School was a whoosh and a rush as teachers struggled to compress the curriculum into the hurricane shortened grading period.

Deep breath...things are almost back to normal (what ever that is.)

The next thing you know you are in the ER and people are using words with -ectomy and -oscopy at the end of them. You are lying on a narrow table with round machines surrounding you and realizing the monotone of an audiobook from your iPod is about to drive you starkers but Van, the Man, Morrison helps you lie still "just a few minutes longer" while materials you recall from high school chemistry are tracked through your body's system.

Life comes at you fast.

All is well.
Nasty bits causing all the trouble are gone. Recovery in progress.

Entlings have shared funny story of a someone behind ER admit desk asking them, "was that Mrs. P, my old librarian?" and you reflect that you have been at this library-thing long enough to have former students who are old enough to be working behind an ER admit desk.

Entlings and Treebeard have been keeping the laptop away from me lest I blurt out on the world wide web something untoward like the password, livelongandprosper, to bank accounts or ...

...whoops, someone is taking the laptop away from me now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Unquestionable goodness of the Capitol

I am reading Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The "unquestionable goodness of the Capitol" has organized the country of Panem by districts to provide for the needs of all.

The "Capitol" provides food and yet everyone is hungry.

The "Capitol" provides doctors who just shrug when someone is injured and tell families to let their loved one die.

The "Capitol" provides "peacekeepers" to keep people safe, but no one is safe.

The "Capitol" genetically alters animals to eavesdrop and report on the populace so people school avoid "tricky topics" and keep their faces from showing any emotion.

"Criminals" have their tongues cut out and are labeled Avox.

To distract the population the "Capitol" drafts two young people from each district to fight to the death in an Olympics style extravaganza, live on television.

Gladiator meets Lord of the Flies meets American Idol

What a chilling book! I cannot put it down.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

One Pumpkin to Rule them All

How nice it is to have entling no. 2 at home to help out with the pumpkin carving.

This year's pumpkin was too hip for the neighborhood but I think it looks splendid!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Movie: The Little White Horse

They've changed the name to The Secret of Moonacre. You can follow this path to find a trailer.
  1. Go to the Toronto International Film Festival trailer gallery site
  2. Got to Page 3 (arrow at the bottom of the thumbnail photos)
  3. The Secret of Moonacre trailer is on the first photo on the second row.

I must say, I think they've nailed Maria's bedroom, the bedroom ceiling looks beautiful.
I will have to go see it for Ioan Gruffudd and Tim Curry in any event.

One of my happiest moments on this blog was the discovery of other folks (besides JKRowling) who loved Elizabeth Goudge's book.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hell Phone

I had an opportunity to visit with one of my former students recently. As their "librarian-for-life," I am always interested in their current reading choices and interests. He said, "You have to read William Sleator, Mrs. P."

My sojourns into middle school libraries have reinforced my belief that is is NEVER too late for a kid to become a reader.

Hell Phone by William Sleator, Harry N. Abrams, 2006

Start with some classic Rod Serling-Twilight Zone; add in some of Dante's Divine Comedy with extra "Inferno" sprinkled on top. Mix in cell phones, video games, part time jobs, and a high school romance and you have a book that grabs the most reluctant, uninterested, I-don't-read-books guy (or girl) and keeps them turning the pages.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
[1855 H. G. Bohn Hand-Book of Proverbs 514]

Nick is an "A" student works a part-time job at a hospital. His income helps his mother who is working two jobs to support them. He does not have a car but gets around on an old bike.
For the first time in his life, Nick has a girlfriend and he is crazy about her. He is respectful to her parents and mindful of her commitment to the high school soccer team. He just wants to be able to talk to her on the phone in the evening.

A flier advertising the "cheapest phones in town" lures him to a store in a seedy neighborhood to look for a cell phone The fact that the caller ID does not work, does not dissuade him from buying the phone that is offered to him. The whiff of sulfur about the cell phone store foreshadows the events to come.

He begins to receive terrifying calls the moment he turns the phone on. A sobbing young woman and dire warnings from the former owner of the phone frighten him. When an anonymous, sinister voice threatens him, Nick's life begins to spin out of control.

He begins lying, stealing and becomes enmeshed with unsavory characters. The reader can sense the downward spiral Nick is on and calls to him at every turn to stop and reverse his course. The cell phone takes on a life of its own and plays on his insecurities. Nick acts heroically to rescue his girlfriend from an attempted rape (before anything happens) but then commits a crime for which he is tried and punished.

The book has great appeal to middle school boys. Seventh and eighth grade guys are looking towards high school when they will be have a part time job, working for good grades to earn college scholarships, and dating for the first time. Books are a safe way for kids to "try on" a future.

In every way, Hell Phone is a cautionary tale. The ease in which Nick slips away from his former life is frightening as each decision seems to be made almost innocently or as an attempt to protect his girlfriend and mother.

Sleator allows for redemption but harsh lessons are learned and no one escapes scot-free. The situations are grim and the book is creepy but there is no vulgar language or "Sam Peckinpaugh" style violence. The filth and ordure of Hell is vividly described and provides a hefty, "eeewww..." factor.

What a great teen book club read this would be!
There is much to ponder and discuss here about right and wrong, religious implications, free will and the nature of evil.

The book design is by the imaginative Chad Beckerman. (who also designs The Last Apprentice series) This cover grabs the reader by the shoulders and dares them to move on to another book. The opening pages shows a cell phone signal strength icon with the final and tallest bar in flames. Flames edge the pages exactly where a reader holds the book to read.

No wonder the book hardly ever makes it back to the shelf before it is checked-out again.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Author: Rick Riordan

OK, I am working in school libraries and talking to Rock Star Rick Riordan fans who DO NOT KNOW about The 39 Clues! Interesting.

Interview from Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heartbeat for Horses

The entniece and entnephew came to visit our entwood recently. The entniece is a third grader (it was so nice to have a little girl in the house again) and she soon discovered Entling no.1's old Breyer horses which were packed away in a closet. A corral was erected on the floor of her bedroom and horses jumped and galloped across the carpet.

I handed the entniece Laura Chester's new horse books which I had received from Raab Associates to review.

Heartbeat for Horses, edited by Laura Chester, photographs by Donna DeMari, Willow Creek Press, 2008.

The cover photograph evokes the love for horses that flows through this book. Poems, essays and selections from classic horselore, including James Herriot, Black Beauty, King of the Wind, and, Will James's Smoky the Cowhorse (just to name a few) will thrill horse-loving girls and inspire others. If a young reader has not already found National Velvet, the except in this anthology will send her out to find it.

Donna DeMari's photographs are rich and romantic visions of horses and girls. DeMari is a fashion photographer whose work is featured in magazines like Marie Claire. Young equestrian jumpers, a girl jockey, rodeo riders and the Escaramuza Flor de Primavera riding group of Tucson are shown in action, as are girls working in the stable and nose to nose with their horses.

This would be a perfect gift for a young horse lover.

Chester writes of her own life long love of horses and the special horses in her life. She remembers her childhood collection of horses which reminded me of my own. My brothers collected Matchbox cars, I collected ceramic animals and lots of little horses.

Hiding Glory
by Laura Chester; illustrated by Gary A. Lippincott, Willow Creek Press, 2007
Marvel the Marvelous by Laura Chester;Willow Creek Press, 2008

The entnephew was teasing his sister about her love of "magic-flying-pony" books so these titles seemed to have been written just for her. Chester's novels Marvel the Marvelous and Hiding Glory are set in an fantasy world of Joya. Shades of "My Little Pony," the stories might very well be Chester's memories of playing with her own collection of horse figurines.

Watching the entniece gallop and jump the Breyer horses through their paces, was a strong reminder to me of the power a child's imagination and the importance of that play.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Make sure you've seen this article (by Jon Scieszka) about our hard working National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature's efforts on behalf of this nation during his visit to Washington D.C.

...Scieszka received his official Ambassador medal, and answered some hard-hitting questions from a class of local fifth-graders from Brent Elementary School.

“Where do you get your ideas?”

“Is it fun being an author?"

“Do you see Scholastic book orders as more of a bailout program or a rescue strategy to prop up sub-prime post-Harry Potter investments?”

More reading in case you missed his diplomatic efforts on behalf of Mo Willems earlier this year.
Scieszka is coming to town in the very near future. Must go.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ballots for Belva

Dewey: 305.42092 or B Lockwood

Ballots for Belva: The true story of a Woman's Race for the Presidency
by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Courtney A. Martin, Abrams Books, 2008

I always thought that Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice presidential candidate in our nation's history.

She was not.

I knew about the presidential candidacies of Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug but I had never heard of Belva Lockwood.

This colorful picture book biography will be a timely addition for U.S. election units as this election year has seen the presidential candidacies of Hillary Clinton and the vice presidential run of Sarah Palin.

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen tells the fascinating story of Belva Lockwood who earned one of the first law diplomas ever awarded to a woman. Even though she had completed all the course work at the National University Law School, it refused to give her a diploma until she wrote to President U.S. Grant to demand her due.

She was the first woman to practice law in the federal court and the first to argue a case before the U. S. Supreme Court. She was nominated for President by the Equal Right Pary of the United States in 1884, while women still did not have the right to vote. Interestingly, some of the strongest opposition to her run for president came from women of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Ballot fraud probably denied Lockwood a substantial number of votes. She is officially credited with over 4,000 votes. Grover Cleveland's slim, winning vote margin in New York state was probably due to votes for Belva being counted for him.

A short glossary of election terms follows an informative author's note on Lockwood's remarkable achievements. A time line of women's suffrage in the United States is also included.

This is an interesting and engaging read about a little known corner of presidential election history.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

YA Books and More

Do check out the blog, YA Books and More by Texas high school uber-librarian Naomi Bates.

Bates reads and loves the books! (I mention that because IMHO that is an essential qualification to be a school librarian and it is not always the case.)

She generously shares her reviews and book trailers with Texas school librarians on the TLC listserv. I always find her views insightful and thought-provoking.

She needs to be added to every kidlitosphere blogroll.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Audiobook: The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père, narrated by John Lee, Blackstone Audiobooks, 2008

So let's say you are stuck without electricity and you discover that it really is not possible to knit by battery lantern light. Well, thank goodness you charged up your mp3 player beforehand and have this classic tale of intrigue and revenge to listen to.

I had NO idea that this audiobook was read by John Lee but at the first sound of his voice intoning his name I did a mental happy dance. This was going to be good, I thought.

I was correct.

Earlier this year, I thoroughly enjoyed Lee's reading of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. His voicing and characterization are always on the mark and very engaging. For this story he has created a wide range of accents and voices for characters who seemed to appear effortlessly in my imagination. His French accent is perfection.

I confess, I had never read this classic before and when I shared my delight in this recording with the entlings, they responded, "we know that story, we saw it on Wishbone."

Ah Wishbone, I have much to thank that little Jack Russell Terrier for. That really was a terrific program.

The Count of Monte Cristo is about justice, reward, revenge, retribution and forgiveness.

Just promoted to ship's captain and on the eve of his marriage, Edmond Dantes finds himself overtaken by events that have nothing to do with him. The political intrigues of others result in his unjust imprisonment in the Chateau d'If for fourteen years. During that time, he makes friends with the Abbé Faria who gives him directions to a fabulous treasure, if Edmond can have if he ever escapes. Edmond does escape, just not in the manner Wishbone did.

When the wealthy and pale-skinned Count of Monte Cristo appears on the Paris social scene, disasters begin to befall the villains who caused Edmond Dantes's misery.

I found it hard to believe this story was written over 150 years ago. Drugs, sex, stock market manipulation, specious banking schemes, and political machinations--as the old saying goes, "Ripped from today's headlines..." This is a totally enthralling story and a perfect audiobook listen.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane: Ike

...and THAT was "only" a category 2 storm.

I continue to be full admiration for the people of the great state of Texas. Ike has knocked trees into homes, pummeled the power grid and pushed too much water into neighborhoods and cities. Whole neighborhoods on the coast have been washed away.

Still, people band together to help one another. Neighbors help spread tarps over roofs, they chop up fallen trees, they bring food to first responders who have run short of supplies at their deployment points. They pull people out of flooded cars (what were they thinking when they decided they could "make it" through that underpass is another question.) They offer their generator power to neighbors to keep refrigerators and freezers running.

Our block came out en mass to start the clean up Saturday afternoon. A neighbor we do not know began moving from yard to yard with his lawn mower and grass catcher to help "vacuum" up the leaves and twigs that carpeted the lawns. He saved us hours of raking time.

We still managed to fill 16 trash bags with broken tree branches, leaves and debris. As we raked and shoveled-up the mess I noticed leaves from trees that are nowhere near my house. The sides of our home are covered with minute shreds of leaves that had been flattened against the siding.

The return of power to our neighborhood was greeted with a cheers and celebratory dances. Alas, I have heard from friends just a few blocks away who still do not have power. It is interesting to realize how patchwork the power grid is.

We have invited them here if they need it. Happily a cool front has blown in and lifted the humidity. School is out until Wed., that is IF they can restore power at those schools that are without it right now.

Still, we were soooo... lucky. Other folks between here and the Bolivar Peninsula are having a rough time. Help is on hand but to repair and restore will take time and so much work.

Bless their hearts.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Dragon thinks this knitting project is very cool and wants a set for his library.

The pattern is free from Lion Brand Yarn.

Hurricane Literacy

No matter how ready I am for a storm, I always seem to think of additional things that we need at the last minute.

Yesterday morning after the entling got off to school I moseyed over to the local grocery store to acquire additional water, carbohydrates, fat and salt to augment the peanut butter and tuna in the pantry.

As I watched people quickly filling baskets with bleach, water and canned food, I congratulated myself on my earlier preparations. Still, I still managed to fill a basket with sundry items. While I waited in line to check out, I had the opportunity to eyeball other people's baskets. Did they have something I had not thought of?

Two things in their shopping carts stood out.

Apparently large cartons of Miller Light Beer are part of many, many Texans' Hurricane Preparedness kits.

The other thing that struck me was how many women were picking up copies of People Magazine, Us, Entertainment Weekly, and the other magazines that surround check-out lines at the grocery store. The average was 4 magazines per person.

So, in the face of looming electronic media outages, people will revert to reading.

Happily, here in the entwood, we have enough to read for an age!

The Great Storm

With the storm surge from Hurricane Ike now beginning to cover the roadways of Galveston I recalled one of the earliest posts I ever wrote for BookMoot back in 2004. I am reposting it here.

Stolen by the Sea by Anna Myers, Walker Books, 2001

On September 8, 1900 a devastating storm hit Galveston Texas. It remains the worst national disaster in the history of the United States. Translating the emotions of events such as these into a novel for children is challenging.

Maggie McKenna is an only child. She is jealous of the new brother or sister about to be born to her family. She also resents the attention and friendship her father gives an orphan boy named Felipe. In Stolen by the Sea by Anna Myers, Maggie is left at home in Galveston while her parents visit the doctor in Houston. The storm begins and Maggie watches the water rise.
Amazed, she realized the water was up to the first step. Thank heavens Papa had built the house up high. The water would never reach the house. Maggie was sure of that, but she still felt afraid. She was alone here with Myra, alone and cut off from the rest of the world. Beside her Bonnie whined, and Maggie patted the dog's head. "We're together. We'll be all right, won't we girl?"
Maggie must find the strength and will to survive as she and Felipe work together to live through the storm.

Galveston's Summer of the Storm, by Julie Lake, Texas Christian University Press , 2003

Abby Kate must extend a visit with her grandmother in Galveston when word reaches them that her brother Will, at home in Austin, has diphtheria. She feels odd to still be on the island so late in the season. When the storm begins the idea of spray so high it "is crashing up way above the street car trestle" is exciting. She begs permission to go down to the beach to see the waves.
...she was amazed at the number of people gathered to watch the waves. She felt like she was at some strange sort of party. With the island already flooding from high water, it was hard to tell where the beach ended and the ocean began. A few brave souls waded out in the wild surf and got soaked All around them, men and women pointed and shouted. No one had ever seen the waves so high.
Like many victims that day, Abby Kate must cling to prayer and a makeshift raft in order to live through the nightmare. Julie Lake continues the narrative through the storm's aftermath. Readers will have a good idea of how the citizens of Galveston regrouped to heal their city after the storm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane: Ike

Dear Ike,
Please fizzle away. You've traveled so far. You are tired. I know you feel dizzy from all that swirling about.
Really, we all have things to do, places to be and people to see. This really is not a good time.

Begone. Vamoose. Ta-ta! BuhBye!

I'm not kidding.

Move along now, nothing to see here.
Submerge and never come back.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Jack: Secret Histories

Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson, Tor Teen, 2008

My enthusiasm for Alex Rider, Jimmy Coates and the young James Bond series knows no bounds. The action, thriller, spy genre is great fun and I get a kick out of the young Bond books because of the allusions to the original Fleming novels that author, Charlie Higson weaves into his storytelling.

Alas, I have no knowledge of the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson so when I received a copy of Jack: Secret Histories I was unprepared for the whoop of happiness and celebratory dance that entlling no. 2 performed. Apparently, she knows the books. She has offered her review.


Jack: Secret Histories is a novel that follows a common trend: take a popular crime fighter/secret agent/private detective and write about what they were like growing up. In this case, the character is Jack from the Repairman Jack series and The Adversary Cycle (also known as The Nightworld Cycle).

I’ve only read the first two Repairman Jacks and I must say that Jack is one of the most amazing characters I’ve ever encountered. He has no last name, no SSN and no official existence. He earns a living “fixing” problems for people who have no where else to turn. And he’s very good at it.

When the entmother, pulled this novel out of the mail, I did a squealing, bouncing happy dance in the living room because you can’t have enough Jack.

“They discovered the body on a rainy afternoon.”

Jack is just…Jack. Almost-fifteen years old, he is the youngest of three children and a loner in the small town of Johnston, New Jersey. The summer is waning and Jack and his two sort-of friends Weezy and Eddie are trying to squeeze the last bit of exploration in the nearby Piney Woods that they can.

First, they discover a series of mysterious mounds in a rarely frequented area of the Woods. Then they find a blank cube made of an unknown alloy that only Jack can open. And then they find a dead, rotting body.

Jack and Weezy aren’t like other teenagers. They don’t have nightmares about the body. Instead, they’re out to figure out more about the murdered man they found and where the black cube came from.

What they didn’t count on was the interference of the mysterious Lodge, or rather, the Ancient Septimus Fraternal Order, a secret society that traces its roots back to before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock.

And something seems to be awakening within Jack – a knack for fixing problems. Not broken toys or appliances, but … situations. It’s a heady feeling, a rush unlike anything he’s ever felt. And Jack likes it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Author: Jack Gantos


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Author: Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos is coming to Houston,Texas!!!
I will be at Zilkha Hall on Sunday, September 7 at 3 p.m.

Thank you INPRINT!

Jack Gantos
Seven Imp Interview