Saturday, June 30, 2007

another challenge

The Book Awards Challenge hosted by 3M sounds like a fun one. You just need to read 12 award winning books in 12 months.

I think these all of these qualify...

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Pulitzer Prize 1961)
2. The Borrowers by Mary Norton (Carnegie Medal 1952)
3. The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw (Golden Kite Award 1996)
4. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Newbery Award 1936)
5. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (Newbery Award 1949)
6. Shadow of a Bull by Naia Wojciechowska (Newbery Award 1965)
7. The Penderwicks by Jeannne Birdsall (National Book Award-Young People's Literature 2005)
8. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (National Book Award-Young People's Literature 2002)
9. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett (Carnegie Medal 2001)
10. Wolf by Gillian Cross (Carnegie Medal 1990)
11. The Ghost Drum: A Cat's Tale by Susanna Price (Carnegie Medal 1987)
12. Watership Down by Richard Adams (Carnegie Medal 1972)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Cat's Mind (book review)

The Cat's Mind, by Dr. Bruce Fogle, is the key to deciphering your cat's behavior. It explains the problems of spraying, wandering, and fighting, and it debates about whether neutering is the best thing for your cat or not. The book shows you step-by-step how your cat catches prey. At the end, there are also graphs explaining how neutered males, females, neutered females, and males compare in subjects like hygiene, friendliness to other cats, loudness, etc.

Although this was a highly scientific book and there were some things I didn't quite understand, I still learned a lot from this book and hope to read Bruce Fogle's other book, The Dog's Mind.

I give this book 8 out of 10 stars.

Non-Fiction Five Reading Challenge: 2 books down, 3 to go.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

a final wrap-up

I'm so happy to have finished
the Spring Reading Thing reading challenge. I wasn't sure if I would make it, especially since I had 15 books to read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge at the same time. Here's my list of 30 books for this challenge:

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
22. Meet Kit by Valerie Tripp
23. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
24. Unearthing the Dragon by Mark Norell
25. Girl in Blue by Ann Rinaldi
26. Dragon: Hound of Honor by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamelton
27. Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander
28. Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man by Wendelin Van Draanen
29. Pendragon: Black Water by D.J. MacHale
30. Tai Shan of the Dead by Jean Lightner Norum

It feels good to have met this challenge. Not only did I read a lot of good books, but now Mom and Dad owe me a new book for finishing! A few of my favorite reads from this list would have to be Diary of a Young Girl, Dragon: Hound of Honor, Blue Jasmine, and Tai Shan of the Dead. Anyway, I hope I can do as well on the
Non-Fiction Five Reading Challenge, The Newbery Challenge, and the Book Awards Challenge (which I haven't finished making my list for yet).

The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce (book review)

The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce is a Dear America book written by Kathryn Lasky. It is the story of a young orphan who comes to America as an indentured servant on the Mayflower. Jasper is exposed to a whole new world full of "savages", strange beasts, and hidden worlds. When two boys threaten Jasper after he bravely stops their duel in the village, he has no choice but to run away into the wild. Jasper is taken in by the Native Americans as one of their own, but he dreads the day when they must return him back to the village.

This was one of the best Dear America books I have read. The plot was interesting and you never knew what adventure Jasper was going to run into next!

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 30 books down, 0 to go!

The Gatehouse Mystery (book review)

The Gatehouse Mystery, by Julie Campbell, is the third in the Trixie Belden series. In this book, Trixie and her rich friend Honey explore a gatehouse on the edge of the woods. They expect to find nothing more than a few bugs, so imagine their surprise when they find a diamond! Should Trixie and Honey keep the diamond a secret and solve the mystery, or should they turn it over to the police? And how did the diamond get there to start with?

This was the least interesting of the Trixie Belden books I've read so far, partly because I figured out the mystery early in the story. The plot was uninteresting and it wasn't full of twists and turns like #1 and #2.

I give this book 6 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 29 books down, 1 to go!

Tai Shan of the Dead (book review)

Tai Shan of the Dead was an action-packed story by Jean Lightner Norum. She is my dad's cousin and she wrote this book for the National Novel Writing Month. She really should get it published! It was a great story!

The 4 beginning chapters focused on the different people involved--the teachers, the students, the Chinese, and the terrorists. And the story unfolds from there. The terrorists are planning on attacking the giant panda habitats in zoos across the country. This is disastrous not only because of the deaths of the pandas, but also because the Chinese have a secret: they have stored dormant copies of the virus that has the potential to turn people into zombies. When the pandas' bodies are blown up, people close to them are exposed to the virus, and this has devastating results on the country!

I give this book 9 out of 10 stars!

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 28 books down, 2 to go.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Winter of Red Snow (book review)

Winter of Red Snow is a historical novel by Kristiana Gregory. The book is written like a diary. It's fictional, of course, but it does give you a lot of information. The girl who "wrote" this diary, Abigail Stewart, lives in colonial Valley Forge. She meets the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, George Washington, and she sees first hand the strife of the Continental soldiers. Abigail wants to help, but with the approaching winter, a new baby, and a disappearance in town, is there enough time?

This story was OK, but not one of the better Dear America books I've read. The characters were a mix of real people and fictional characters, which made it rather interesting.

I give this book 6 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 27 books down, 3 to go.

Drowned Wednesday (book review)

Drowned Wednesday, by Garth Nix, was a fantasy story, the third in its series. In this novel, Arthur Penhaligon and his pal Leaf get swept away from the hospital to a strange world called the House. The House is not new to Arthur--he has defeated two of the treacherous Morrow Days here during the past two days (House time is different than ours). Now on the third day, he must face drowned Wednesday. When Leaf gets swept away on the Border Sea and onto the ship of the pirate Feverfew, Arthur and his friend from the House, Suzy Blue, have to rescue her. Luckily, the Will is in the same place as Feverfew's hideout. Little do Arthur and Suzy know that their destination is inside Drowned Wednesday herself!

This book was the least interesting of the series so far. However, it ended in a cliffhanger, making me want to buy the next one! The characters were well developed and interesting, but there were so many that it was hard to remember who was who sometimes!

I give this book 7 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 26 books down, 4 to go.

Dragon: Hound of Honor (book review)

Dragon: Hound of Honor, is a historical mystery by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton. The book is set in medieval France, where an inexplicable murder has just occurred. The valiant knight Aubrey de Montdidier, found in the woods near the castle, has been stabbed to death. Together with Aubrey's friend, Sier de NarSac, and a glorious white wolfhound called Dragon, the young page Thierry is determined to solve the crime. But it will be Dragon who, bit by bit, pieces the clues together to solve this shocking mystery.

The story was modeled after the legend of the Dog of Montargis. It was well written and suspenseful. The characters were interesting and well-developed and a few were simply put in the story to serve as red herrings! Dragon was a fast read, but it was a great story.

I give this book 9 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 25 books down, 5 to go.

Diary of a Young Girl (book review)

Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, is her actual diary and the events it holds are real. Anne wrote the diary during the time of World War II. Her family was in hiding from the Nazis. Along with her family in hiding were some neighbors and a dentist, and there was a lot of conflict between everyone. Ann lived an extremely hard life.

The diary was certainly sad. She fought with the others a lot in hiding and the diary sometimes held unpleasant thoughts about them. It must have been an extremely difficult way to live. If what you wish is to know more about World War II and get the inside story on witnesses' lives, the diary is a must-read.

I give this book 9.5 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 24 books down, 6 to go.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Girl in Blue (book review)

Girl in Blue is a historical novel by Ann Rinaldi. In this story, 16-year-old Sarah Louisa works hard on her family's farm. She is skilled in shooting, swimming, and riding horses. When Sarah learns that she is going to be married off to her dirty and unkind neighbor, she runs away to join the army, pretending to be a boy. But once her secret is discovered, there is nowhere Sarah can run...that is, until her commander finds her a job as a detective. Soon, Sarah finds herself drawn into a web of romance, suspicion, and treachery.

This was one of Ann Rinaldi's best books. You get to know most of the characters very well, but just when you think you know all their secrets, they change...sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The plot was interesting and suspenseful and never leaves you feeling bored!

I give this book 8 out of 10 stars.

The Spring Reading Thing reading challenge: 23 books down, 7 to go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Call of the Wild (book review)

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, is a sad story of survival. Buck is a happy shepard-St. Bernard mix who lives in Santa Clara, California, with a kind owner by the name of Judge Miller. But then, he is kidnapped by the gardener's assistant and sent to be a sled dog in the North during the Klondike gold rush. He meets many dogs who are more unfortunate than he, but he also faces many hardships himself. A man in a red sweater beats him cruelly and makes him realize that not all people are like Judge Miller. Buck meets many people with many different personalities, but it is ultimately their brutality that makes him choose the destiny he does... Buck is heading into the wild.

This was a very well written story, and a very sad one too. Someone died in almost every chapter, and nearly all of them were dogs. The character of Buck was very well-developed, but the other characters passed out of his life very quickly. The book was a great one and it made me thankful that I wasn't a dog living during that time.

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Lord of the Rings Part Three: The Return of the King (book review)

The Return of the King, by JRR Tolkien, is the final book in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In this book, the hobbits Frodo and Sam, take the final step to destroy the treacherous Ring of Power. But it has been a hard journey littered by perils, and Frodo has begun to despair. Can Sam keep their hopes up long enough to complete their journey?

Far away, their hobbit friends Merry and Pippin are fighting a battle of their own. They fight to destroy the power of the evil wizard Saruman. But there is danger at every turn! Will Merry and Pippin live to see the day when Frodo and Sam return?

This book was my least favorite of the series, but it was still a great book! I'm sad to be finishing the series, but I can always read them again. The characters were all very well developed, but there were so many that I sometimes had a hard time keeping track of them!

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars!

The Once Upon a Time Challenge: 15 books down, 0 to go! I finished!

My 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
6. The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
7. The Book without Words by Avi
8. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
9. Ragweed by Avi
10. Poppy by Avi
11. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins
12. Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep by Liz Kessler
13. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver
14. The Chronicles of Prydain: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
15. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure (book review)

The Akhenaten Adventure, by PB Kerr, is the story of twelve-year-old twins John and Phillipa Gaunt, who one day discover that they are djinn, and have the power to grant wishes, turn into animals, and other amazing things. Luckily for them, they are introduced to Nimrod, their strange djinn-uncle. He helps them harness their powers and is soon leading them on an adventure through Egypt to discover the tomb of the long lost pharoah Akhenaten. The twins will face cobras, scorpions, possessed humans, and also the most evil djinn in the universe, Iblis. Will they live to see another adventure?

This was a great story. It went along at a fast pace, and there were surprises everywhere! The characters weren't as well developed as they could have been though, but that was the only bad thing about this book!

I give this book 8 out of 10 stars.

The Once Upon a Time Challenge: 14 books down, 1 to go!

Poppy (book review)

Poppy is the second book in the Poppy series by Avi. In this story, a young deer mouse named Poppy meets the headstrong traveler Ragweed, who has just arrived in Dimwood forest from the city. Ragweed and Poppy immediately fall in love, and Ragweed asks Poppy out to a dance on Bannock Hill. But the evil ruler of Dimwood, a horned owl named Mr. Ocax, doesn't give them permission to go out on the hill. To get revenge, he kills Ragweed and nearly kills Poppy. After this encounter, something stirs within Poppy. The mice of Dimwood forest have lived under Ocax's evil rule for too long! It's time to do something. To show she cares, Poppy teams up with a very unlikely companion and heads out to do what's right.

This story was suspenseful and interesting. You always had to know what was going to happen next! It was also funny. Poppy is a well developed character, as are the others in the story. They all vary greatly. The plot was interesting and unpredictable.

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars.

The Once Upon a Time Challenge: 13 books down, 2 to books to go.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (book review)

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, by Suzanne Collins, is the story of 11-year-old Gregor and his 2-year-old sister Boots. Gregor has stumbled on a land below the surface of the Earth, where humans live together with giant rats, mice, bats, spiders, cockroaches, ants and lizards. It is Gregor's third journey to this world called the Underland. He is the chosen one, the warrior, who has saved the Underland twice before because of a prophecy. Now, he is back, with his sister Boots, the Overland princess, to stop a mysterious plague from spreading throughout the Underland. He must face enemies, monsters, and the shocking truth of the plague so that he can save the Underland... as well as his closest friends.

This is one of my favorite series! And I cannot wait to read the fourth book!

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars.

The Once Upon a Time Challenge: 12 books down, 3 to go!