Thursday, October 07, 2010
Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kubuishi
This glossy, full color graphic novel is a favorite of some of my fourth grade boys and now I know why. The story is pretty simple—a mother and two children move into the old family home and are lured into a strange world with demons, robots, and their long lost great uncle. It's a dark story—their father dies in the opening scenes and their mother is eaten by a horrible monster. The rest of the book is pure action—they follow the direction of an amulet and are thrown into one adventure after another. It had too much action and not enough character development for me, but I don't see that bothering kids at all.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
This book has a great cover and a great premise but I didn't love it quite as much as I wanted to. It's about a strange sixth grader named Dwight and his origami finger puppet of Yoda that gives out advice to other sixth grade students. Each chapter is a "case file" told by various students about how Origami Yoda helped them, predicted the future, or otherwise changed their lives. The main narrator is compiling the stories to help him decide whether or not to take Origami Yoda's advice about a cool girl named Sara. The book is very appealing with lots of little cartoons, doodles, lists and other features to break up the text and make it easier to read. Dwight is a strange character who was a little over-the-top for me. He does every gross thing a sixth grade boy can do and he seems completely clueless, but he's obviously also wise enough to give some good advice through his Yoda puppet. As an adult reader I wanted more insight into him—I wanted to see some character growth or at least some explanation of what made him such an enigma. It's still an enjoyable book and guys especially will love it (4th-6th grade).
Babymouse: The Musical by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm
This is the first Babymouse book that I have read. Babymouse tries out for the school musical but instead of getting the lead she is cast as an understudy. I enjoyed all the references to popular musicals (The Phantom of the Opera, Grease, My Fair Lady and more) but I think those references would go right over most elementary school students' heads. Kids will enjoy the plot and root for Babymouse to get her chance to perform on stage.