Posts from the ‘adventure’ Category

HOWLING AND HURTING

Blow: A Short Story

Written by K.J. Waters

 

This short story was written as a bridge between the author’s two novels about hurricanes. Its setting takes place in the middle of Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 hurricane, which took place in Pensacola, Florida, in September 2004. Loosely based on the memories of an actual storm survivor, this fictional account places the reader in a terrifying situation. Rick is barricaded in his home His friend Chip seeks shelter with him.. Rick doesn’t know that Chip is bringing his friend Buck, who is a cop. Why should that bother Rick? He has a deep, dark secret hidden in the house, which could land him in deep trouble if discovered. The reader is given the backstory in flashbacks artfully woven into the narrative. The characters are remarkably well developed. Readers feel the tension build as the hurricane intensifies and Rick’s secret is slowly revealed.

While I haven’t read either of the two novels, this short story does a fine job of standing alone as a well-written thriller. Perfect afternoon read for young adult and adult audiences.

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HALLOWEEN ON HIGH

Halloween Snowman Paul

Written by Yossi Lapid

Illustrated by Joanna Fasen

I was delighted to see a new release in the Snowman Paul series because I have previously enjoyed this author’s funny character and memorable illustrations.

This new book features a tree house on Halloween night. As visitors come upon the site, they encounter a warning sign not to come near the tree house. Who can refuse a dare on Halloween night? As the reader continues his journey three more warnings are posted. Visitors are warned of many types of danger. Trespassers might encounter space aliens, witches or ghosts.

I won’t give away where Paul fits into this picture, but readers will be urged to tell spooky stories and sing scary songs. Trick or treaters will not be disappointed.

This multicultural book is replete with large, soft and expressive watercolor illustrations that are not too scary for the youngest readers. Recommended especially for children in the three to eight year old range. Warning…adults will enjoy the book even more than the kids. Well done!

I was given a copy of this book by the author and voluntarily decided to review with my honest opinions for no compensation.

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PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

Dottie’s Daring Day

Written by Meg Welch Dendler

Dottie is an adorable dog who lives with Mindy, a University of Arkansas student, and her cat Mindy. About a year before, Mindy had seen Dottie’s picture online and had driven all the way to Oklahoma to adopt her. One Saturday, Mindy decides to take Dottie for a walk on the Razorback Greenway Trail. That decision would begin an adventure Dottie would never forget.

When a bike rider inadvertently loosens Dottie’s leash, she decides spontaneously to run away. Dottie rationalizes that she will be home before dark. Dottie meets a raccoon, a hog, and a seeing eye dog, to name a few travelers along the way. She is frightened and scared, but like a rebellious teenager, her curiosity and love of freedom spur her on. Then Dottie finds herself at a football game. Will she ever be reunited with Mindy?

This animal adventure tale is told in first person. The dialogue is amusing and feels genuine. While the story is marketed for ages three and older, the book is really appropriate for a middle grade and young adult audience. Dendler includes a glossary to assist younger readers with some of the more difficult vocabulary. A few photos enhance the appeal.

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FLYING HIGH

Grade School Super Hero, etc. etc.

Written by Justin Johnson

 

What is the real title of this book? It promises to be all things to all readers. I would classify it as an introductory chapter book for beginning readers, mostly in the seven to nine age group. The fact that it consists of just twenty pages will turn off most middle grade readers. The plot centers on little Johnny Williams or JW. One day he accidentally discovers that he has the power to jump high over a baseman. His teachers and schoolmates encourage him to do it again. The next time as he tries to jump, Johnny winds up on the roof. A few days later when an asteroid is hurling toward earth, JW decides he must push his powers to the limit and attempt to fly up into outer space in an effort to divert its path and save the planet from disaster. Will Johnny be successful? How does it feel to have superpowers?

The author offers free copies of his other short stories as an added incentive to read this book. Children who enjoy superhero or adventure stories will enjoy this story.

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DEFLATEGATE

Jug Valley Mysteries, HANDS UP!

Written by Anne Digby

Amy and Tim are students at Jug Valley. Together with their friends and fellow students, Ben, Ludo, and Mini, they have formed a club called Hands and Spouts. They meet regularly to solve mystery cases. One day at school, Ben accidentally kicks a football over the fence into the rector’s garden. It belongs to Charlie, a lower class man, who becomes terribly distraught. The five friends make a promise to retrieve the precious football as soon as the school day ends.

What appears to be a simple task turns thorny, when the members of the club discover the football has vanished into thin air. Howard, the rector’s son, promises to help, but the trail runs cold. These young detectives are mystified as to why a grungy, old football is so important, but when it becomes apparent that football is gone, they intensify their efforts to stop at nothing to get Charlie’s football back into his hands. Why is this football so valuable and why are so many people trying to gain possession of it? There are enough twists and turns to entice middle grade readers to keep turning pages. When the mystery is finally solved, all who have been touched by it learn valuable lessons about themselves and each other.

My only criticism is that the story begins slowly. I had not read any of the other books in the series and therefore was unfamiliar with the characters. After the first couple of chapters, the story evolved and grew more interesting. I like the fact that there is enough challenging vocabulary to stretch the minds of young readers. American readers will need to acclimate to British phrases. Recommended especially for readers in the eight to twelve age bracket.

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COVERUP

The True Story of the Greatest US Naval Disaster: USS Indianapolis American History

Written by Patrick Spencer

This book is a fictional reenactment of the true story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis in July, 1945, and the trial of its captain, Charles McVay. The cruiser has just completed a mission that was even secret to her captain and crew and was on her way back to base in the Philippines. On a foggy night, she is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine under the command of Hashimoto. In a matter of minutes, the American ship sank below the black waters taking 300 of her crew with her. Some eight or nine hundred men, many burned and injured, were floating in the shark infested seas. It would be five days until they were spotted by air, and by that time less than half remained.

The most important part of this story is why was the ship was never reported missing, and how could the captain who has acted so valiantly to keep his men alive be charged with disobedience and negligence in the loss of his ship. This trial had a serious impact on the captain’s career and later life. What is even more astonishing is that it was not until a sixth grader named Hunter Scott decided to research the McVay trial that the true story became known. What was the mission of the USS Indianapolis and why was its disappearance never reported? Spencer’s reenactment of the tragedy allows the reader to experience the full range of emotions associated with this tragedy.

Recommended for readers age ten and older, particularly those interested in American history and politics.

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COLD CASE?

Bread N’ Butter: Private Rye

Written by A.J. Cosmo

When Floret Viridian, a beautiful head of broccoli, comes to visit Private Rye in the fridge, he suspects trouble. Floret asks him to find out who stole the royal jelly from her last night. She is the maid for the Dom, who will be furious with her when he finds out. Rye goes with his sidekick butter to Cereal Box Alley, the seedy side of town. There he interviews a potato who tells him that Leek is a suspect. The trail leads to the Carton Egg section and eventually to the Soda Can Diner. Eventually Rye solves the mystery after the plot takes a surprising turn.

There is lots of humor and some clever lines filled with creative analogies and plays on words. This beginning chapter book is perfect for reluctant readers. Clever characters, mystery, and humor set up a winning combination. Recommended especially for seven to ten year old readers.

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