Thursday, April 19, 2012

RI Mock Newbery 2013 - May Reads

(I will be adding to this post as I make it through the list ... favorites at the top)

The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I loved it. Not sure if kids will appreciate its somber tone, but I sure did. Killer comments close out many of the tiny chapters: "Old age is a powerful disguise." ... "I always tell the truth although I sometimes confuse the facts."

Actually, now that I think about it, it's almost like a novel in verse, even though it's written as prose. Applegate's writing is a hell of a lot more poetic than so many of those "verse" novels out there that just seem to have returns sprinkled randomly through sentences.

And it's based on a true story.

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I completely second Brandi Rae's review, and rather than trying to paraphrase, she said I could just use it for mine:

"For the most part I really enjoyed this. Auggie was born with many extreme facial deformities. After extensive surgeries, he is starting 5th grade; attending a public school for the first time. This was thoughtful, funny, touching ... the rotating points of view were varied enough that upper elementary would like it as well as lower middle school (good 5-7 book). There were some flaws (I did find the ending ridiculous). But overall, a good book ...."

The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA HoudiniThe Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr. AKA Houdini by Peter Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A gritty-ish local setting and an engaging style made this book appealing; I felt like the characters rang true (well, except for Angel at the end). However, there was a lot of randomness, and then the book just ended.

Also, are super-short "chapters" the new trend in children's lit?

The Mighty Miss MaloneThe Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A classic Curtis novel. Which is to say that it includes a certain kind of family dynamics and certain quirks in the narrator. Set during the Depression, which seems to be a popular choice for authors lately. Liked it but didn't love it, although I did enjoy the Manipula Mobile explanation and the line "Hoping is such hard work."

Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of  Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great AdventureHere Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure by Shana Corey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fantastic illustrations, but the text was just ok. I thought the extra information at the back of the book was more interesting than what was included.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire!Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly HorvathMy rating: 1 of 5 stars

I ended up skimming most of this, because after several chapters I felt like Horvath was trying hard to be whimsical, but really the story was just kind of dull. I did enjoy the "Guess that lump!" game, and The Marmot was entertaining. But the overall plot didn't quite make sense, I don't know why Mrs. Treaclebunny kept showing up, and what was with the Google and Glade Plug-in mentions? Were they corporate sponsors?

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