Friday, July 17, 2009

The Truth about Horses, Friends, & My Life as a Coward

The Truth about Horses, Friends, & My Life as a Coward by Sarah P. Gibson, illustrations by Glin Dibley, Marshall Cavendish, 2008 -- publisher supplied review copy

This is the kind of book I want to link arms with and go walk around the mall with while we text people we know.

Sophie's family owns three horses. Sophie does not like horses. Sophie fears horses (with good reason) yet cannot escape them.

They do not know much about horses when they begin -- inadvertently -- to collect them. Her mother and sister are romantics but Sophie has learned the hard way that horses are dangerous. A loner, she is reluctant to use the the animals as "friend bait." In fact, she uses them as a wedge against the disappointment that would-be-friends are only interested in her because of her horses. Sophie is wary of people and the horses.

Horse lovers should appreciate this realistic look at what it is like to have horses in your life. This is not King of the Wind. There is no "Marguerite Henry" glow to these equines. These horses have matted manes and hang out near manure piles. Really is a (really) mean pony who bites everyone, Sweetheart is a swayback Arabian who craftily sheds her riders against tree branches and Fancy Free is a horse-and-a-half in size but missing some major horse sense. Each horse has a lesson to teach Sophie though.

As a mother and a teacher, I've seen it. Second semester, fourth grade, the hormones kick in and the social re-ordering begins. Friendships are broken and new alliances are formed when small groups at recess morph into cliques that are open to some while others are excluded. Just finding a group to sit with at lunch time is an emotionally charged experience in junior high. Sophie has lived this which is why her comment, "I never had a best friend until Melissa Maloney moved in up the street " hits with poignancy and hope. Readers from grades 4-8 will identify.

While all that sounds very serious, Gibson's humor is very sly, very clever, very witty and causes so many audible chuckles, snorts and guffaws that family members will look at you expectantly as you read, hoping you will share. The story unfolds in a series of vignettes with titles like, "How Not to Buy a Pony or Danger in a Small Package."

I love this book.
I think it is time to cruise by the pretzel place now and then we'll go check out the earrings at The Icing and Claire's.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Movie: The Lightening Thief

Oh happy, happy, happy, happy day!!! How fun!! It is a teaser!

Source for full wide screen.

Sharp-eyed entling no. 3 found it! Clever entling.

Must tweak my blog to accomodate this new wide screen world

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Have your cake

from: Source via Source

<-- These are my favorite

So, weeks ago, entling no. 1 started to alert me and her sister to the newly released pics from New Moon--the movie but she stopped as she remembered, "oh, snap, they don't care."

It is really so sad, a house divided. Twilight fans/Not Twilight fans. (entling no. 2 has not weighed in, yet.)

entling no. 3 and I rejoice in the success, fandom and enthusiasm for the Twilight books. I adore them for their contribution to my "it is never too late to become a reader" mantra.

entling no. 3 actually liked the movie and uttered the equivalent of heresy in this house, "I think I will just see the movies and not read the books." Alas.

We tried, REALLY tried to be part of the party BUT it turned out that both of us got to the "sparkle in the forest clearing" part and had to stop reading. I did eventually finish the book but the entling couldn't push her eyeballs one page further.

From unscientific data, gleaned from random conversations, it would appear that, the "sparkle" scene is a make-or-break point for readers. If you sail through that scene you will be a Twilight fan. If not, not.

Reading Meg Cabot's arch take on Publix birthday cakes and her ponders about Twilight cakes sent me a-googling.

For all the fans who got through the sparkle, have your and here.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Necropolis (The Gatekeepers)Necropolis by Anthony Horowitz, Scholastic, 2009 -- Library download

The title, Necropolis, evokes an image of a dead city so it is no surprise that this book spins the Power of Five (aka Gatekeepers) saga into even darker territory. There are no happy-clappy moments in this story.

In the previous three books, the identities of four young gatekeepers were revealed. Thousands of years ago, it was the combined power of five young people that saved the world from destruction at the hands of the Old Ones.

Now, Matt, Pedro, Jamie and Scott have identified the fifth and final member of their group, a girl named Scarlet. Matt and Jamie set off to alert her to her role and rescue her from the Old Ones who are getting ready to open a giant can of "End Times" on the planet. The boys' search takes them to Hong Kong where Scarlet has been lured into the hands of the nefarious Nightrise Corporation. Nightrise is preparing the way for the Old Ones' return.

Before you can say,"Midsomer Murders," the bad guys are killing innocent bystanders and each other, left and right. The body count reaches stratospheric levels. This is Evil Incarnate after all. The Old Ones and their henchmen are mass murderers.

As a screen writer, Horowitz vividly captures dozens of fine details about the city of Hong Kong. He also supplies horror elements with hordes of flies, animated dead bodies, shape shifters and "Old Ones" versions of Tolkien's Nazgul. This is truly a creepy story.

Although the ultimate end to the tale is probably not in doubt, Horowitz supplies this installment with plenty of action and fight scenes along with a cliff hanger ending. He also infuses his storytelling with a whiff of current events and political themes.

This is by far the best book in the series. I did not know what to expect when I started listening to these but I am utterly hooked now.

Simon Prebbles is the voice of Anthony Horowitz, Inc. for Recorded Books. He provides a solid and highly entertaining performance here.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Food & Books

Two blogs focused on my two favorite topics -- books and food.

Pinot and Prose
by Laura Lutz

Sweet Reads
by Rawley