Thursday, March 29, 2007

Becoming Naomi Leon (book review)

Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan. This is a story about the true meaning of family and friendship.

Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw's life has its downsides. There's her status at school as "nobody special". And her name happens to be a target for teasing. But overall, life at Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho is peaceful, with her brother Owen and her Gram. And her soap carvings, one of her greatest talents. That is, until her mom reappears after seven years, stirring up all kinds of excitement.

But her mom isn't at all what Naomi imagines. She's not Volunteer Mom, or Business Mom, or Nursery Mom. Instead Drunken, Mean Mom. And soon she gets the idea in her head that Naomi is going to Las Vegas with her in the summer. And if Naomi isn't ready, something bad is going to happen.

So Naomi, Owen, and Gram take off on a trip beyond their wildest dreams. Naomi has no idea that she is going to live up to her family name... in a way she never could have imagined.

I give this book nine out of ten stars!

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge...two books down, nineteen to go.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

a senryu

by Annie (age 9)

sidewinder slithers
across the smooth, silky sand
breaking golden waves

A Rat's Tale (book review)

A Rat's Tale, a fantasy by Tor Seidler. It's funny and dramatic, yet a bit dull at times, too.

Montague Mad-Rat and Isabel Moberly-Rat are very different. She's upper class and lives in the fanciest wharf a rat could want, Wharf 62. He's a peasant rat whose family is well known for MAKING THINGS WITH THEIR PAWS, which is considered less than lowly in the rat world. Yet by a twist of fate, the two meet by the gutters on a Sunday morning. She falls in, and he happens to rescue her.

When Montague accompanies an elderly rat couple to the Grand Rat Chat, a meeting of rats to speak of important issues, Isabel's father speaks out about how the rats were getting lazy. They lived in peace with the humans as long as the rats provided them with fifty thousand dollars a year. But no money, no mercy. The rats were running out of time. They hadn't collected a single cent and the poisoning had begun.

Montague donated his painted seashell murals to the program, and was humiliated in front of Isabel. The Moberly-Rats thought the art was worthless. All except Isabel. She found a way to turn Montague's shells into one hundred thousand dollars, enough to stop the poisoning for two whole years!

This story is about equal rights and prejudice. Everyone in the society, no matter how wealthy or poor they are, can make a difference.

I give this book seven out of ten stars!

The Spring Reading Thing reading book down, twenty to go.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring Reading Thing

And for reading challenge #2...the Spring Reading Thing. This one runs concurrently with the Once Upon a Time reading challenge. That is, approximately March 21 through June 21. (And here is where she leaves her poor old mom in the dust!)

1. A Rat's Tale by Tor Seidler (library book)
2. On the Wings of a Dragon by Cora Taylor (library book)
3. Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan (library book)
4. Danger After Dark by Ellie McDonald
5. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy by Clive Woodall (re-read)
6. The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato (re-read)
7. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
8. Trixie Belden: The Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell
9. Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth (re-read)
10. The Keys to the Kingdom: Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix
11. Nancy Drew: The Wrong Chemistry by Carolyn Keene
12. Nancy Drew: Out of Bounds by Carolyn Keene
13. Nancy Drew: Flirting with Danger by Carolyn Keene
14. Dear America: The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce-A Pilgrim Boy by Ann Rinaldi
15. Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow-The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart
16. Shiva's Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples
17. Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
18. Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo
19. Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo
20. Clara Barton and the American Red Cross by Eve Marko
21. The Little People: Stories of Fairies, Pixies, and Other Small Folk by Neil Philip

Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge

The Once Upon a Time Challenge...the perfect challenge for Miss Annie! Big-time fan of the fantasy genre! And she's promised to post reviews here of all the books from her list.

Annie's list:
1. The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon (library book)
2. The Lord of the Rings-Part Two-The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. The Lord of the Rings-Part Three-The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Septimus Heap-Book One-Magyk by Angie Sage
5. Children of the Lamp by P.B. Kerr