Fun New Reads

Wednesday March 9, 2011

Quest for the Spark #1 (Bone)
by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith
February 2011
Goodreads summary: A return to the enthralling world of BONE with book one in this gripping spin-off novel trilogy, illustrated in four-color! 

Twelve-year-old Tom Elm is just an ordinary turnip farmer from the Valley, but he's always felt destined for something bigger. So when he discovers everyone in his village is asleep and plagued by nightmares, he assembles a band of unlikely heroes. They must fight to preserve the Spark--a divine light born at the core of a vast, dark nothingness called the Nacht. The Nacht is trying to permeate the Waking World with nightmares of the Dreaming, and it's Tom's mission to defeat the Nacht and its most loyal follower, the Constable. If he fails, his family--and everyone--might never wake up again.

Pontifications...The Bone graphic novels are checked out so much in my library that I usually buy at least two copies of each one. So, when I was sent this one for review and found that it is a Bone graphic novel turned chapter book I was really excited! With the following that this story has with readers I know they will want to read this one too despite the fact there are a lot less illustrations.

The story itself is great. The author does a great job of seamlessly adapting Jeff Smiths original world of Bone into a full-length story. Readers will still find humor and suspense and Smith's familiar chapter illustrations will  make them feel right at home. I'm sure I'll have to buy a few extra copies of this one too... Recommended!

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

by Georgia Bragg
Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
March 15, 2011
Walker Books
Goodreads summary: Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. For example:
  • It is believed that Henry VIII's remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.
  • Doctors "treated" George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.
  • Right before Beethoven wrote his last notes, doctors drilled a hole in his stomach without any pain medication.
Readers will be interested well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911.

Pontifications...This will be another read that will be flying off the shelves...there is nothing middle schoolers like more than reading about gross stuff that has happened in past, present and whenever! The very first pages warn: "If you don't have the guts for gore, do not read this book." Well hey, they warned you!

The book vividly details how king Tut's mummy (as well as others) was created and pretty much every gory detail of how Julius Caesar was stabbed....and where. Yup, pretty gross but accurate! There are 19 different chapters on as many people. Here is a brief list of a few people you will read about (or at least how they croaked!):

Cleopatra VII
Marie Curie
    All grossness aside the stories provided are very informative and written in a relaxed style that will be easy for the majority of readers to follow. In addition to the way the person died readers will also learn about why the person was famous in the first place in a few brief, concise paragraphs. Nothing too much to scare them away :)

    One of my favorite parts (this one is about Napoleon) "Doctors mixed together a manly dose of a highly explosive ingredient known to detonate an intestinal bomb with 100 percent accuracy. The resulting poop gave new meant to the phrase "surprise attack from behind." Unfortunately for everyone, Napoleon did you-know-what right in his bed, every couple of hours for the next few days. It was said to be "impressive"....................GROSS!

    I'm predicting that this will be one of my most checked out non-fiction books this year. Even though I put this in the middle school context because of where I work, this read will have fans at the high school and even adults will get a kick out of the little known, down-and-dirty facts concerning these popular figures throughout history. The illustrations provided add an extra boost to your imagination which will already be in overdrive :) Recommended!