Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Survived... by Lauren Tarshis

The "I Survived..." books by Lauren Tarshis are already very popular, but if you haven't read one yet, you should check them out!

The books provide a fictional eye-witness account of disasters that really happened.  Some of the disasters are natural (like earthquakes and tsunamis) and some are man-made (like battles and terrorism).  They are fast-paced, gripping reads, with plenty of action and drama.  They also provide a lot of great details about different times in history.   Each book has information at the end about the particular disaster (presented in a question-and-answer format), along with ideas for further reading.

Great, fun historical fiction!

Titles currently in the series:

I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
I Survived The Shark Attacks of 1916
I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941
I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001
I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011
I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944

And coming soon:

I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79
I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011
I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937


Friday, November 27, 2015

Big Game by Stuart Gibbs

One of my new favorite authors, Stuart Gibbs, has a new book out!  Big Game is the third installment in his "FunJungle" series.

FunJungle, if you're not familiar, is an enormous zoo in Texas.  Actually, it's more than just a zoo, it's a wildlife theme park, and 13-year-old Teddy Fitzroy lives there with his parents.  In the first book in the series, Belly Up, Teddy helped solved the case of a murdered hippo.  Next came Poached, in which Teddy solved the mystery of a stolen Koala.

This time, it's a Rhino that's in trouble.  Early one morning, someone tries to shoot Rhonda Rhino.  Not only is Rhonda an endangered white rhino, she's also pregnant, making the near-killing especially chilling.  Who would do such a thing? 

Once again, Teddy is on the case, looking for clues and following leads with his wealthy and famous friend Summer McCracken (the daughter of J.J. McCracken, who owns FunJungle.)  As they are working on the case, two more attempts are made on Rhonda's life, and the killer seems to be somebody who has inside knowledge of the park.  Can Teddy and Summer stop the killer before it's too late? (And will their friendship grow into something more?)

What I really like about the FunJungle books is that, not only do they contain lots of action and danger, there's also a lot of information about animals and conservation efforts provided.  One possible motive someone might have to kill Rhonda is to take her horn.  In many cultures, people believe rhino horns have medicinal properties (they don't; they're made from the same stuff your fingernails are made from), and are willing to pay HUGE sums of money for them.   In fact, rhino poaching is a big problem that threatens the survival of rhinos today.  Did you know there are currently only five African white rhinos left in the entire world?  And just a few years ago, the northern African black rhino went extinct.  That means if you've never seen one, you never will - they are gone forever.

But don't get the idea that Big Game is depressing!  At its core, it's an action-packed mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.   Read it for the rhinos!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam Digby is twelve years old (almost thirteen!), but you wouldn't know it to look at him.  He's had a very unusual growth spurt, and his beard has already started growing.   And that leads to some pretty interesting situations, since most people assume he's a grown-up: there was the time he was introduced to the entire school as the new Media Studies teacher, and the time he almost got to take a new Porsche for a test drive.

But the adventures really begin when Liam hears about very special contest.  A group of very lucky children - and one adult chaperone - will have the opportunity to fly into space aboard an honest-to-goodness rocket ship.  With the help of his friend Florida (who's in it for the fame and glory), Liam intends to go as the adult chaperone!

Liam soon finds out there's more to being a grown-up than being tall and growing a beard.  Consulting an advice book on parenting teenagers, Liam does his best to be "dad" to the odd assortment of children chosen to be the first kids in space.  But when their rocket goes off-course, it's up to him to be the responsible adult and do what dad's do: everything he can do to make things right.

In Cosmic, Frank Cottrell Boyce takes a very unlikely premise and turns it into a book that is both outrageously funny, and genuinely touching.  It's also the January book selection for The Council of Book Readers.  We'll be meeting on January 15 at 4:00pm to talk about it.  Why not grab a copy for yourself and join us?  We'd love to hear what you think about Liam's adventures!!