I got really ridiculously behind on my reviews and since my reviews have been fairly short this month (can't make the review longer than the book!! :D ), I decided I wanted to just review the five that I'm behind on in one big swoop.
I might also be a little (teensy) bit lazy, and it's way easier to format this way. So here goes!
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo is the story of a boy filled with sadness and a girl filled with anger. It's the story of a freedom plot and a rebellion. It's a moving story packed into just 116 pages. I can definitely understand why it was a National Book Award Finalist. I just continue to love and be moved by DiCamillo's writing. She wrings emotions out of the sparsest phrases. I really think this was her most compact novel, I've read so far, even though it's aimed at the higher end of middle grade (honestly more toward the young adult level but it says ages 10 and up). The simplicity is astounding in its effectiveness. I will highly recommend this book especially to those people who are having trouble with moving on and acceptance.
Favorite Quotes: "He was afraid that if he started wishing, he might not be able to stop."
"It was as if his soul had grown and was pushing everything higher in his body. It was an oddly familiar feeling, but he couldn't remember what it was called."
"Her words sounded the way all those things made him feel, as if the world, the real world, had been punched through, so that he could see something wonderful and dazzling on the other side of it."
"He must, he realized, know somewhere, deep inside him, more things than he had ever dreamed of."
Middle Grade March Count : 13
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber was the wit and inanity that I was expecting from The Phantom Tollbooth. The 13 Clocks tells the story of an over-the-top villain and the daughter whom he will not wed to anyone. Zorn of Zorna is the prince who has meandered his way across the country known as a minstrel by the name of Xingu. He sees the princess Saralinda and decides he will rescue and marry her. Zorn is set the impossible task of bringing the Duke a thousand jewels by the striking of 5 o'clock on the 13 clocks in the castle. These clocks stopped working many years ago and there are no jewels to be found in the kingdom so the task is impossible. Never the less, Zorn aims to attempt it with the help of the Golux -- an absent-minded magician. I really liked this book. It's witty and simple. It has great illustrations. It was all I wanted The Phantom Tollbooth to be. I will definitely be recommending this to people looking for adventure and humor.
Favorite quotes: "Time is for dragonflies and angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long."
"I can find a thing I cannot see and see a thing I cannot find. The first is time, the second is a spot before my eyes. I can feel a thing I cannot touch and touch a thing I cannot feel. The first is sad and sorry, the second is your heart."
Middle Grade March Count: 14
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? by Jean Fritz is an interesting attempt at conveying a historical figure to young children through biography. Maybe it's because I'm more critical of non-fiction than fiction but I didn't enjoy this too much. I have a very large part of my heart dedicated to women's suffrage, and my actual research of it isn't high, so maybe I wanted more from this book than it could reasonably give me. Although I would like to believe that children can handle facts in a more straight-forward manner. I just wasn't thrilled with this work, but I'm giving it an extra star for subject matter.
Middle Grade March Count: 15
Capital Mysteries #9 : A Thief at the National Zoo by Ron Roy is a pretty darling beginning chapter book. It's a mystery that focuses on the theft of a "Tiger's Eye" jewel that's been loaned to the National Zoo for a year. The main characters of the Capital Mysteries are twelve year old KC--stepdaughter to the President--and her friend Marshall. I actually picked this book up because I loved the photos of the main characters on the back (particularly Marshall). I'll admit to being a tad bit disappointed when I realized the cover illustrator and the content illustrator were not the same person. However, the content of the book sure made up for it. Roy does an excellent job of keeping the story simple but entertaining. The plot moves quickly but not jarring. He introduces several political concepts through out the story as well. The only reason I'm giving it 3 out of 5 instead of 4 is because I didn't feel like it was as good as others I've read for this age group. I will recommend these books to young mystery lovers!
Middle Grade March Count : 16
Elmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett is the sequel to the classic My Father's Dragon. In this installment, Elmer and the baby Dragon are flying over the ocean towards Elmer's home when a storm hits. The Dragon has to make a crash landing in the sea and ends up landing on an island. Elmer and the Dragon believe the island to be deserted until an old friend of Elmer's appears. I actually liked this book better than the original. There's much less problem solving, but you can still see the altruism and kindness in Elmer. This would be a great bedtime story or book for early readers.
Middle Grade March Count: 17
Sequels and Prequels Series Points: +2 bringing the total to 20!