Visit our hosts Jen & Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their reviews as well as links to all the other blogs participating in the book sharing fun!
Books I Read this Week:
The Art of Flying by Judy Hoffman
Recommended for grades 4-6
I was drawn to this book because of the lovely cover and my love of birds. Right away readers are thrust into a magical mystery of how and why two sister witches transformed a young sparrow into a young boy.
Fortuna finds herself asked by the strange and creepy Baldwin sisters to convince the young boy that he wants to be turned back into a bird. The sisters think their spell won't reverse unless the boy wants to be turned back, and if they don't turn him back they are in loads of trouble with the witch counsel.
As layers are revealed we find out that an entire bird community is coming together to set things right too. Turns out 3 birds were transformed by the sisters, and two are missing. The spell will only be reversible if all three bird-humans are together at once, since they were together for the original spell.
I found the birds to be tiresome, finding myself not enjoying their portion of the storyline. Fortuna begins her mission of helping "Martin," but once she finds out she can fly with him she isn't so keen on helping him become a bird again. I wouldn't say it was captivating, and would assume that readers that need constant action will not make it to the end of this story.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013
Recommended for grades 8+
Earlier this fall I shared a review for one of my favorite 2013 books thus far, Doll Bones. With such a superbly done story for middle grade readers I was of course awaiting The Coldest Girl in Coldtown with high, high hopes.
Coldtown is not for young readers, don't let the publisher name fool you! Geared towards high school readers, this is a vampire story that fantasy fans should not miss.
Tana lives in a world where vampires have become a threat to all civilization, and the fix is to create Coldtowns to contain all vampires and all infected individuals. The opening scene of this book is hugely surprising, and it is immediately apparent that this story is not for the faint of heart or young readers.
There is blood, blood, blood, love, betrayal, and loyalty, all found in this quickly moving story. I know it's not for everyone, but I will say I was immediately captivated and drawn into this story. Truly, I was sad to see it end.
I guess this is Holly Black's year, it will be a hard one for her to top!
(And isn't that cover awesome?)
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
Recommended for grades 3-5
A sweet story about a funny little mouse who isn't quite sure who he is or where he belongs. Peck does a nice job at introducing readers to the mouse world running parallel with our human world through the young nameless narrating mouse, without it feeling like forced explanations of the hows and whys.
I think many young readers will enjoy this fun fantasy with wonderful illustrations, but readers with their wits about them might quickly predict the bloodlines of this orphaned mouse.
I have given my heart to another small mouse, but have to admit that there was fun to be had within these pages.
Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013
Historical Fiction/Poetic Narrative
Recommended for grades 4+
A few years back my students fell in love with a poetic narrative titled Hidden, also by Helen Frost. Now she brings us a story with an entirely different feel and purpose.
Two young boys in 1812, an American boy and a Native American boy, friends with a language barrier. Told in alternating poems by each boy, readers are privy to the feelings and experiences of a child on either side of the battle lines which are beginning to form between American, British and Native forces.
When it comes to Helen Frost's poetic narratives you can feel assured that though the text is sparse, each word and each poetic form is put to the page with intention. I've already added this one to my classroom library!
I'm Currently Reading:
Have a wonderful week reading and discovering!
Thanks for stopping by!