Monday, September 27, 2010

Theodore Boone: kid lawyer

Storyline -Theodore Boone is the school's lawyer. He helps kids with whatever legal advice they need from foreclosure information to getting their pet back at Animal Court. But when information to the biggest case in town falls into Theo's lap, it's going to take all his law knowledge along with his family's to figure out what to do next.

Author - John Grisham

Age Group - 12 and up

Positive - Theo is a good kid and supports his friends in trouble. He never turns away a "client" and keeps his word. When things get over his head, he asks his family for help.

Negative - The story took a while to get started and the ending could have used some work.  There was also a lot of lawyer talk which might disinterest young adults and Theo could have behaved a little less like a lawyer and a little more like a kid at times.

Writing - There were spots where I thought I could do so much with this if I was editing but I wasn't so I need to get over it. The author, John Grisham, has not written a book for young adults before so it could have used some work to be more appealing to that age group.

Finish - The only complaint I had with this book was how it ended and how long it took for some exciting this to happen. It was a good book though and the issues I had with it can be forgiven if the book becomes a series (but I don't know if that will happen). But any kid who wants to be a lawyer or is interested in the law would probably like this book.

Links - Learn more about the book and author at: http://www.theodoreboone.com/

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon Series


Story Line - How to Train Your Dragon is about a boy named Hiccup (he has a long name so we'll just stick to that) who is a viking and has a dragon named Toothless who has no teeth and never stops complaining. Hiccup is not from the typical viking material like everyone else but always does his best. He, his dragon, and best friends, Fishlegs and Camacazi, go on crazy adventures facing even crazier villains and have to save the day for the viking world.

Age Group - 12 and up.

Positive - The series is cute, tong-in-cheek, story telling. It also caries good messages of father's love no matter how wired or different their child is. The characters grow and learn something about themselves in the stories and have to face difficult odds. The face difficult situations which they master.

Negative - The characters believe in gods called Woden, Thor, and a place called Valhalla and sometimes they pray to them. The gods are also tong-in-cheek like Thor's day Thursday which is probably what Thursday is named after. The gods never make an appearance in the books the characters just believe in them. In book 5, Hiccup meets an old love of his mother's but I wasn't to fond of how in the end it made it sound like she still loved that man more than Hiccup's father. Hiccup's father, Stoik, is also portrayed as dumber than Hiccup (like most of the tribe) so he is always portrayed as doing the wrong thing (or the viking thing in certain circumstances) which might give kids the wrong impression. There is also some crass humor on occasion (Toothless pooping somewhere or Big Booby Bertha, Camacazi's mother). Hiccup's grandfather is a soothsayer (sees the future but really bad at it sometimes).

Finish - I enjoy the series even though it is meant for a younger age group than myself but I find it entertaining and silly and sweet. I could do without the gods they believe but if you want to think of the series as factual at all (which can be a stretch) they would have believed in them in about that time period I think. The books have excellent messages when his father and Hiccup don't see eye to eye but deep down Stoik loves Hiccup and would do anything to protect him. This series is also the inspiration for the film How to Train Your Dragon by Dreamworks.

Links - learn more about the books at http://www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com/.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Dragon Boy

A boy with no name and no place to go is finally about to make his dream come true to work next to the kingdom's dragon, Star. The boy gets a name and begins to make friends and enemies. Soon the boy is given a great task to wash the dragon and learns many secrets and starts to get a few of his own. But when one of these secrets get out, the boy gets in trouble. What will happen to him now?

The characters are interesting and I am curious as to what happens next. I wish Star had been a little more protective of the boy and understanding. Once in a while it seemed like he didn't care. But the book does make clear that Star is an animal so that might have something to do with it. I also wish the boy hadn't given in to his angry so easily or at least learned that sometimes it isn't right to return the favor. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dragons. It's clean, has a good storyline, and leaves you wondering what life has in store for the characters in the future.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Night of the Twisters

Night of the Twisters is a tornado of a book (pun intended). When Dan and his best friend and baby brother are left alone, they had to survive a tornado that lands in their neighborhood. But they don't even know how bad the destruction or if their families are alive until they can find a way out of Dan's basement. And how are they going to find anyone when everything is in pieces?

The book is a little dated from references of Kmart and Conoco and I could have done without the occasional swearing but the feeling of what it is like when you lose everything in only minutes is universal for anyone and I found myself feeling nervous when the tornado came to Dan's house. The book gives great examples of being brave when everything is falling apart and how much you need to appreciate the people in your life because you don't know when something might come to take them from you.
I still think it was cool that I found this book at my library for only $0.50.

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