Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#59 - My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannettt

1949 Honor Book
"A group of lazy animals on Wild Island have captured a baby dragon and put him to work. The little dragon can fly, so they are forcing him to act as a flying ferry across a dangerous river. The dragon doesn't like it.
So goes the story that reaches a kind-hearted boy named Elmer Elevator ("my father"). Elmer, carrying a bag of most unusual supplies, sets out on a secret journey to rescue the dragon. How Elmer uses these supplies to beguile the nasty inhabitants of Wild Island and free the dragon is one of the most exciting adventures ever."
This was a short but cute little story that young children will enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

#58 - Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

2008 Medal Winner
This book was a complete surprise to me. Honestly, I didn't want to read it - it combines two things I really don't care for in reading material - poetry and the medieval period. But, guess what? I really liked it! It was written by a school librarian for her students to perform - it is actually made up of 22 monologues. The monologues are in first person, spoken as different members of a medeival village. The book also contains many footnotes with interesting facts, such as "dog" referred ONLY to male dogs. Female dogs were called brach. This book also had beautiful illustrations! This book just proved to me that I need to branch out more, and not to "judge a book by its cover!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

#57 - King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

1949 Medal Winner
"The Sultan has called for six of the best horses in the kingdom to be given to the King of France! Agba, the mute horseboy, just knew that his horse Sham would be chosen. Sham was the King of the Wind! But neither Agba nor Sham knew what was in store for them. When a corrupt boat captain steals the food for their journey, the horses nearly die by the time they arrive in France. And the King of France sends Sham to be a workhorse for the palace cook! Agba is heartbroken. Is this Sham's fate? Will he ever be able to prove himself the champion that he is?"
This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I wasn't really looking forward to reading this one, despite the fact that I read and enjoyed other books by this author as a child, when I was horse crazy. But, I really enjoyed it! The boy and horse in this book had such a tough life, but rose above it, and triumphed. Very heartwarming! Definitely a must read for horse lovers!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

#56 - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

2004 Medal Winner
This was a cute fairy tale type story about a mouse, Despereaux, shunned by his family and friends, because of his love for the Princess who inhabits the castle in which he lives. He is sent to the dungeon where he learns about a plot to kidnap the princess - by the dungeon rat! Despereaux cannot let anything bad happen to the princess that he adores. He must come up with a plan to save her!
We are also introduced to a host of other characters: Gregory, the dungeon master; Miggery Sow, the servant girl; Roscuro, the rat; and, of course, the Princess Pea.
If you like fairy tales, you will enjoy this book!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

#55 - Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

2002 Honor Book
"Primrose Squarp simply knows her parents did not perish at sea during a terrible storm, but try convincing the other residents of Coal Harbour on that score. For all practical purposes, at least for the time being, Primrose is an orphan, and there's no great clamoring of prospective adopters. After realizing the impracticality of continuing to pay Miss Perfidy (a mothball scented elderly lady) an hourly wage to babysit her, the town council is able to locate a relative, Uncle Jack, who reluctantly takes Primrose into his care. Primrose does warm up to living with him and in his home, despite the eerie noises resembling a hockey game that haunt her in the night. But true sanctuary can always be found at a restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything - including lasagna - is served on a waffle, and where the proprietor, Miss Bowzer, offers a willing ear, as well as sage advice. Through a mixture of eccentric humor and probing philosophy, author Polly Horvath makes Primrose's search for peace and understanding a most memorable one."
This was a cute story, however there were many times I felt so bad for Primrose. She was treated terribly by her classmates, her babysitter, and even her guidance counselor, who was supposed to have her best interests in mind. But, there were people on her side - Uncle Jack and the restaurant owner, Miss Bowzer. The theme of this book was hope and not giving up on something you believe in, even when everyone else around you believes otherwise.