Posts tagged ‘unicorns’

STEP INTO ANOTHER WORLD

The Crumbling Brick: The Land of Neo Book 1

Written by JoHannah Reardon

Crumblingbrick,pc

This approximately one hundred page book might be likened to a Christian fairy tale. Some reviewers have noted similarities to The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Targeted for readers age seven and up, I feel that it will appeal most to tweens and young teens. The characters are charming, appealing, and fairly well developed for the length of the story.

Plot involves a twelve year old girl named Ella, who lives in her grandmother’s urban house. One rainy day, she is asked to clean the basement. Ella reluctantly agrees; she finds a loose brick behind an old trunk. When she removes it, Ella finds a beautiful fantasy world on the other side. She steps into it and embarks on an adventure that involves a princess, her suitors, a unicorn, some mischievous monkeys, and a bear mentor named Sequor. Ella learns that the wise and all-knowing Kosmeo has chosen her to save the land of Neo. Ward, her unicorn friend, will assist her in warning the princess Onyma that one of her suitors is involved in a plot to overthrow her kingdom. While the story is somewhat predictable, there are enough twists and turns with delightful characters and moral lessons to give the fairy tale a wide appeal to boys and girls alike.

This book is the first of a series. It can be used as bedtime story, an independent chapter book or a classroom read aloud that combines many interesting elements for classroom discussion. If you enjoy fairy tales, give this one a look.

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KING OF FIFTH GRADE

Myth Catchers: Book 1 Dad’s Pants

Written by Alan Riehl

MythCatchers

This short book of less than sixty pages is the first in a series exploring the trials and tribulations of a ten year old boy named Curtis Armstrong. Curtis misses his father so much that he desperately hangs on to the one thing remaining to remind him of his dad, a pair of worn jeans. To make matters worse, his divorced mother works long hours and his older sister has a roomful of unicorns that he hates. To make matters worse, Christy loves to use her imagination and is considered “Miss Popularity” at school.

But now Curtis has an opportunity to start fresh with a move to Myth, New Mexico. He is determined to be the king of his new fifth grade class. Of course that dream does not materialize. On the first day he gets into trouble with the principal when he breaks her picture frame decorated with unicorns, his most despised symbol. A new threat appears in the form of the school’s most popular and clever student, Darla.

Curtis cannot understand what is happening to him as his usually logical and stable personality becomes overwhelmed with strange dreams and incidents that he cannot distinguish as real or imagined. Lots of twists and turns in the plot as Curtis struggles to figure out what is really going on, and how his father’s pants are suddenly the vehicle to catch some very scary things.

This first book does contain a few editing errors, but is filled with the kind of humor and absurdities that tweens love in their fiction. Short length makes the book a good choice for a reluctant reader. I must say that I was disappointed in the abrupt ending which left more questions than answers. No doubt that many readers will be waiting to see Book 2 in the hopes that their curiosity will be satisfied.

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A RELUCTANT HEROINE

The Amber Ring (A Novella)

Written by A.L. Walton

AmberRing,pic

This book of approximately one hundred pages might be described as a dark fantasy. There are many traditional fantasy characters like gryphons, trolls, fairies, unicorns and witches. A few others like the Talking Bear Mayor and the satyr sheriff are a bit of a stretch. Then there is a reluctant heroine and her twin sister who is a magical weaver and heroine.

Allow me to summarize the plot briefly. Maya is a rather morose and cynical twelve year old whose twin sister Sofia has recently drowned. Sofia had magical powers along with a magical ring which now belongs to her sister. Two years prior to her death, Sofia had managed to rid the Fairwoods of the trolls under the power of the Cedar Witch. Their lands became peaceful. One day Camden, her sister’s pet gryphon, reappears at the site where Sofia died. He attempts to convince Maya that the Fairwoods are again in danger, and that she is needed to restore peace. Maya has no interest in being a weaver or leaving her comfortable life in Oregon. But she feels guilty and eventually agrees to spend Labor Day weekend with Camden on a quest to find the Morning Stone and restore the balance of power.

Maya loses her backpack to Duskrats, and then travels on to the home of the Maple Witch who feeds them and attempts to show Maya how to weave magic just as Sofia had done in the past. Maya is unsuccessful and frustrated. She and the gryphon will meet up with a unicorn, goblins, a geographer some cobblers, and trolls in their attempts to find the Morning Stone. When Maya finally reaches her destination, she is shocked to find that her heroine sister’s death was not an accident. Maya must now make a decision whether or not to avenge it. Will Maya ever be able to put the tragedy behind her or will she forever be molded by it?

I like the multiculturalism introduced by using Spanish phrases, particularly Maya’s grandmother’s description of her as Hueca (hollow) . That is a good way to explain the way Maya feels about herself at the beginning of the story. As mentioned previously, there are some fantasy elements included that are a stretch with the plot, but all in all, I feel that the short novel will appeal to children ten and older as well as adults who like a quick fantasy read.

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