Saturday, April 30, 2011

#69 - Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

1945 Medal Winner

"'New Folks coming, Mother - Father, new Folks coming into the Big House!' shouted Little Georgie the Rabbit. All the animals of the Hill were very excited about the news and wondered how things would change. Would the new Folks bring dogs, traps, and guns? Or would they be planting Folks who would care for the land and grow rich crops? It had been years since there had been a garden at the House."

Aww, this was such a cute book! Any animal loving kid would love this one! An unexpected sad twist almost made me cry, but with another twist, everything was okay, and even better than expected! Very heartwarming story. I will be passing this one on to my animal-story-loving Emily!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Not a Newbery book, although it was predicted to at least get an honor.

"A time that changed the world, a time that changed Franny's life. Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that's hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall.

It's 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Franny doesn't know how to deal with what's going on in the world - no more than she knows how to deal with what's going on with her family and friends. But somehow she's got to make it through."

I REALLY enjoyed this book. The whole book takes place in the 13 days of the Cuban missile crisis. What makes this book really stand out, is the numerous photographs, ads, and pieces of historical information from this time in history throughout the book. In the last few chapters, there is a really exciting part that made me stay up way too late to find out what happens. I definitely think this was worthy of a Newbery.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#68 - On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

1987 Honor Book

"'On your honor?' Joel's father said. 'You won't go anywhere except the park?' 'On my honor,' Joel repeated."

"During a bicycle trip to the state park, Joel dares his best friend Tony to a swimming race in the dangerous Vermillion River. The boys have been warned never to go near the river, but Tony can't let Joel think he's scared. Both boys jump in.

When Joel reaches the sandbar he turns and looks for Tony and finds that he has vanished. Joel is stunned. How can he face their parents and the terrible truth?"

Oh gosh. What a depressing book. Especially after the recent deaths of a couple of my daughter's young classmates. It was well-written and engaging....just very sad. Don't think I'll be passing it on to my girls to read for awhile...

Oh, and a heads up...use of the "d" word, and the father expresses doubt of the existence of Heaven...I didn't like that either.

Monday, April 18, 2011

#67 - Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman

2011 Honor Book

"Welcome to the night, when mice stir and furry moths flutter. When snails spiral into shells as orb spiders circle in silk. When the roots of oak trees recover and repair from their time in the light. When the porcupette eats delicacies - raspberry leaves! - and coos to its mother. Come out to the cool night woods, and buzz and hoot and howl - but beware, for it's windy way out in the woods!"

Sigh. As I've said a hundred times before - I'm just not a poetry kind of gal. Luckily, this was a very short book - a 32 page picture book. To be 100% honest, this book is kind of an example of proof that it is adults that choose the Newbery titles, and not the kids. While I'm sure there are kids out there that would enjoy this, I just don't see it as being a big hit among kids. Each poem is about a nocturnal living creature in the woods, and it was neat that on the opposite page was some factual information about the creature the poem was about. All in all....not a favorite of mine.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

#66 Turtle in Paradise By Jennifer L. Holm

2011 Honor Book

"Life isn't like the movies, and eleven year old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes dreams are scarce.So when Turtle's Mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off

to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met.

Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure. Before she knows what' happening, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her whole world opens up in the most unexpected ways. "

This was a cute book - quick read, however somewhat predictible

Thursday, April 7, 2011

#65 - Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

2011 Medal Winner

"Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.

Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it's just a worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to "Leave Well Enough Alone."

Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest's history is full of colorful and shadowy characters - and long-held secrets. And as those secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town."

This is the first book to be named winner since I started my project. I followed all the "predictions" of who would win the prize back in January, and apparently this one came as a surprise. So, I've been anxious to read it. It was so good, and so interestingly written. The story alternates generations - it begins in 1936, with Abilene's story, but alternates with what happened in the town in 1918. Sometimes when authors do that it gets confusing, but this was written in such a way that it was only natural. It had a surprise ending that tied the whole story together, and I am always a sucker for things like that. This is Clare Vanderpool's first novel, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!