Saturday, July 27, 2013

a good book.

Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: Stephen Guarnaccia
Pages: 32
Age Range: 6-12
Published: 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ****
Rating: PG

When the nation calls for knitters to send goods to the troops fighting in WWI a young boy can't see the importance of it all. But when a knitting bee is proposed and the girls taunt the boys saying they're chicken to even try the boys decide to learn and not only participate in the bee but learn some valuable lessons on the way. Great large illustrations and simple text make it a perfect introduction to war for young readers. An author's note at the back explains about the actual events the story was based on and there are photos in the end pages. Another lovely historical fiction picture book on a slightly obscure event.


Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Pages: 264
Age Range: 9-12
Published: 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ****
Rating: PG

Rump is born in a land where your name foretells your destiny, and with a name like Rump things won't ever be good. His mother died just after giving birth and he's convinced she only spoke part of his name before she passed, adding to his troubles. So he sets out to figure out the rest of his name and escape his fate. He ends up finding the truth about both and it's more than he'd bargained for. This is a great re-imagining/re-telling of the fairy tale filled with magic, humor, heart and self-discovery sure to appeal to both boys and girls.


The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Author: Susan Nilsen
Pages: 243
Age Range: 13+
Published: 2012
Genre: Realistic Fiction/YA
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ****
Rating: PG-13

Henry and his father have just moved to Vancouver, BC in an effort to start over after a murky event Henry calls 'It'. His mother is in another city with his grandparents, his older brother is dead and Henry has anger and coping issues and is forced to talk to his school counselor who encourages him to write his feelings in a journal. Each entry exposes a bit more of the past (which I won't disclose here because it's a huge plot point), his day-to-day life trying to cope with it all, his weight gain, lack of friends, trust issues, new life with his dad etc. An unlikely set of friends prove to be the support system he needs and when a similar incident rears its head with his new friends Henry is able to take a bit of ownership in dealing with it which leads him to being able to deal with the other event and begin to forgive his brother. This is a harsh and disturbing story with dark elements and a heavy tone but it's also one of those stories that needs to be told and the details aren't overly graphic or as grim as they could be. Bullying and school violence will continue to be timely topics and this book does a fabulous job of showing one of the lesser highlighted points of view.

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