Saturday, February 21, 2009

I’m reading The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, and so far it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. It’s actually fun to read! And it’s not boring. It reminds me of Matilda and some of the other books by Roald Dahl. And maybe a little bit of Harry Potter.
The story begins with an unusual ad in the newspaper, an ad directed at children. It reads, “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”
Reynie Muldoon definitely is. With the help of his teacher, he responds to the ad. Soon he finds himself taking a series of unique tests that are designed to separate the most intelligent, resourceful and gifted children from those who are only moderately so. Reynie makes it through the tests, and so do three other children.
Sticky Washington is so called because his mind retains everything he every reads. Kate Wetherall can come up with a solution to almost everything, using the tools in her bucket. And Constance Contraire is, well, contrary. But creatively so.
These four form the Mysterious Benedict Society, under the direction of the mysterious Mr. Benedict, who gives them a dangerous and extremely important mission.
Interested? Check out The Mysterious Benedict Society and read it! Then write here about what you think of it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls

Imagine a world in which rats talk to people, and the people understand. Imagine a villainess so wicked that she takes young girls, shrinks them down to 4 inches high, and keeps them in a doll house called the Home for Troubled Girls.
Emmy knows all about the rats, because she’s been bitten by one, twice. The first bite allows you to understand rat language; the second is the shrinker. Emmy has been there, and she knows the danger associated with Miss Barmy, her former governess who now exists as a rat.
Somebody needs to rescue the girls from the Home for Troubled Girls, where they are treated like dolls and slaves. The police are on the trail, but how could they ever come up with the truth when it’s so bizarre?This book is creepy, scary, and also pretty funny at times. It’s by Lynne Jonell, who also wrote Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat. Give it a try, and write back to tell us what you think!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

Princesses are supposed to be charming and lovely, spectacularly so, in fairy tales at least. But the Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne, the seventh of seven princesses, was luckier than most.
Remember “The Sleeping Beauty”? She was cursed by a wicked fairy that when she turned 16, she would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.
The Princess Amethyst, etc., has a similar experience at her christening party. All the fairies in the kingdom show up and pronounce upon her the expected gifts of wit, charm, courage, health, wisdom and grace. But then comes the fairy Crustacea, old, crabby and semi-deaf. “Good gracious, poor child!” she says. “Well, thank goodness my magic is stronger than anyone else’s! I am going to give you something that will probably bring you more happiness than all these fal-lals and fripperies put together. You shall be Ordinary!”
The king and queen are devastated. But there’s nothing to be done. Within a few years, despite all their efforts to counteract the old fairy’s gift, it’s apparent that the youngest princess is indeed ordinary. Her name gets shortened to Amy, but most people just call her the Ordinary Princess. Her lovely golden curls turn straight and dishwater blonde. Her nose turns up and gets freckles. (She does get to keep the charm, wit, health, courage, wisdom and grace.)
But there are compensations to being ordinary, and the Ordinary Princess manages to discover them in short order. While her six beautiful sisters are busy parading around and looking gorgeous, getting married, etc., the Ordinary Princess gets to have fun and make friends! This is a delightful, beautifully written story. If you like fairy tales, you’ll love The Ordinary Princess.