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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Author: Joshua Doder

Review:

Tim and his dog Grk leave their home in London, England to go on a holiday in New York City with his friends Natascha and Max.  They visit the Empire State Building, ride the Staten Island Ferry, and view the Golden Dachshund statue at the National Museum.  Then, the billion-dollar statue disappears, and the police need help.  Max goes down to the station to tell the police everything he knows, but Tim soon discovers that Max is giving the police false information.  Tim decides that it’s up to him to find the criminal, problem is, the only clue they have is a trail of hot dogs.

I found Grk and the Hot Dog Trail very amusing.  Even though it’s a book meant for little kids, I greatly enjoyed it.  Joushua Doder is coming out with another Grk book in January 2009, Grk: Operation Tortoise.  I hope I have the chance to read it.

Overall I would give it 5 stars.

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  As long as I have books to review I will try and post reviews on Mondays and Thursdays from now on.  I was just doing Tuesdays, but I think that this will be better.  Enjoy!

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford

Review:

Becoming Billie Holiday
is a collection of poems written by Carole Boston Weatherford.  Eleanora Holiday, who later changed her name to Billie after her favorite actress Billie Dove, had a hard life growing up.  Her mother was never there for very long, and her father only came to see her a couple times, and he never stayed long.  She was often left in the care of her mother’s friends or relatives.  When she was around 11-years-old she played hooky from school and got into trouble with the authorities.  She was sent to live one year at the House of the Good Shepherd for Colored Girls.  As she grew older she learned that she had a voice made for singing.  She sang at many clubs and tried to work her way up in life.  After many hardships, she became one of the most famous jazz singers!

This book was amazing!  I found it very informing about Bille Holiday’s life.  I didn’t think that it would be a very good book, but boy was I wrong.  The illustrations were really good; they really brought the poems to life.  This will be a book that I will go back and read several times over.

Overall I would give it 5 stars!

Author: Alan Armstrong

Review:

Raleigh’s Page
by Alan Armstrong is about young, 11-year-old, Andrew Saintleger.  All Andrew wants to do is go to American where there are no landlords, no taxes, and where there will be a place for Catholics like his friend Rebecca.  When Andrew turns 12 he is taken to live in the Queen’s court to be a page to Mr. Raleigh.  Andrew learns lots of new things and goes on many exciting adventures.  When Andrew has been with Mr. Raleigh for awhile, Mr. Raleigh gives Andrew exciting news, Andrew gets to go to America!  While in America, Andrew sees lots of new things, meets a lot of Indians, and even gets a dog which he names Salt.

 I wasn’t too impressed with Raleigh’s Page.  It didn’t seem to flow together the way I like books to go.  It seemed like there were chapters missing in some parts, it didn’t really make a whole lot of sense.  I’m not planning on reading this book again, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to a friend.

Overall I would give it 1 star.

I’m terribly sorry that the review is late, I have had so much homework and such this week, it’s been CRAZY!  So anyway, here is the late Tuesday review!

Author:  Lisa Barham

Review:
Accidentally Fabulous by Lisa Barham is the third book that stars Imogene.  This time, fashion-obsessed Imogene and her BFF Evie are spending spring break in L.A. for a Fashion Fantasy Camp (FFC).  In the middle of FFC Imogene gets a call from one of the most famous managers in the world, she says that she wants to make a movie out of Imogene’s life!  With all the things that come with fame and fortune, hot boys, money, and all the parties, will she be able to become famous, without losing her best friend?

I wasn’t too impressed with this book.  It sounded good, but reading it bored me.  Something I did like about the book was the illustrations.  They were so cute!  They were just little pictures, but they were my favorite thing about the book.

Hey all!  Cynthia Smith, author of a brand new fantasy novel entitled Tantalize agreed to do an interview with me!  You can visit Mrs. Smith website by visiting: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/!  Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Mrs. Smith.

How did you get started writing Native American stories?

 

My early manuscripts were about all kinds of people and things—a three-legged dog in Mexico, the weariness of winter, you name it.

 

But I’d also heard the advice to “write what you know.” For me, that meant stories of kids from families in the mid-to-southwest who were Native and not.

 

Contemporary daily life stories—not the historicals people associated with “Indian” books for kids—but stories about such pressing questions as what to do when your favorite barbershop closed.

 

What made you want to try fantasy?

 

I’m a reader of fantasy, and the second piece of advice given to beginning writers is: “write what you love to read.”

 

I also have a vivid inner life. As a kid, I was blessed with a three-years-younger friend who was (and is) more of a little sister and who gave me the opportunity to play “pretend” much longer than my same-age friends.

 

Have you found a specific genre that you enjoy writing most?

 

I write across age-markets and both fantasy and realistic fiction. But my work is uniformly contemporary. I seem to have no interest in crafting a historical.

 

I’m not sure why because as a reader I enjoy them. It’s not the research. There’s little I enjoy more than doing homework for a book.

 

So far, though, I seem to be in a contemporary fiction place. Perhaps that will change…with time.

 

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

 

Not really. I have only so much to give a manuscript in any particular writing session. But for the most part, once I have the first page down, the rest follows. It may change dramatically along the way, but it follows.

 

On those occasions when a scene or solution is just out of my grip, though I generally find it useful to get into the water—swim, shower, bathe—or to dance in the dark to the soundtrack from “Xanadu.”

 

Any advice for people who want to be an author?

 

Don’t. Don’t want to be an author. Want to be a writer. Want to be a writer so much that when you finally become an author, your responsibilities as such—however enjoyable—vex you because they’re getting in the way of your writing time.

 

What were some of your favorite books/authors growing up?

 

I adored Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia and Kongisburg’s Mixed-up Files and Speare’s Witch of Blackbird Pond. I also read a lot of Judy Blume and Nancy Drew and Stephen King and comics.

 

What was your dream job when you were little?

 

I wanted to a princess/senator living a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I had the hair for it, too.

 

What do you think of penguins taking over the world?

 

Awesome! Tacky for President!

Thanks again Mrs. Smith!  I hope everybody enjoyed this interview.  Do you have a favorite author you’d like me to interview?  E-mail me the author’s name and website at penguinqueen@hotmail.com and I’ll try to contact the author!