Thursday, August 26, 2010

War Games by Audrey & Akila Couloumbis

War Games
War Games tells of a the German invasion of Greece during World War II from a boy's perspective. Based on one of the author's own experiences, one gets a feeling of the emotions -- fear, excitement, impatience, resentment, resignation -- that many go through during times of war. Focusing on one boy and his family, with glimpses of others in his village, the reader can imagine what life was like during this time period.

Books about World War II are very popular with the middle grades. Most start off as curious about what happened, after being exposed to Anne Frank or possibly a novel like Number the Stars. War Games gives readers a chance to learn about events in Greece during the war of which they may be unaware. There's a bit of suspenseful moments, especially after the German officer lives in the family's home, but the tension can take a long time to truly develop and is over quickly.

I think those wanting to read "more" about WWII, might enjoy this story, but honestly I'm not sure that if they don't already have interest, this book would stimulate interest. I'd view it as an addition, but not a must-read, a grade of 'C' for me.

Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #2)

Ninth Grade Slays (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #2)
Knowing this series has been extremely popular among my students, I read the first one in the series, Eighth Grade Bites. Honestly, it was just an okay read for me, but I somehow decided to try the second book as well.

Ninth Grade Slays is where the story finally gets moving. It's almost like book 1 was just introducing you to all the characters before the true plot started. Needless to say, Ninth Grade ended up being a much more satisfying read. I'm now curious about the slayer, and wanting more info about Vlad's growing skills as a vampire.

For once, I actually found the 2nd book in a series better than the first. If you liked Eighth Grade Bites, you'll love Ninth Grade Slays. And, even if you're a novice to the series, I think you'll like this story. All those wanting more books about vampires will find Vlad a must-read series.

Vlad improves to a 'B' rating with Ninth Grade Slays. Looking forward to reading about Vlad's tenth grade experiences.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's All Go to the Movies

Here's a heads-up of some movies, based on teen or children's novels, scheduled for release this fall:

    ** Trailers can be seen at the film's web site.

    Based on the novel by Wendelin Van Draanen
    Release date: August 27
    Web site
            *My thoughts: This novel has been very popular here at middle school, and has withstood the test of time.  (Published in 2001.) The novel is appropriate for 5th - 8th grade, but will still entertain adults. I've read some rumors that it might not be widely released, since the limited release numbers were disappointing, but I hope that's not true.

    Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
    Based on the novels by Kathryn Lasky
    Release date: September 24
    Web site
        *My thoughts: I haven't read these series of books, but I do remember some students being excited about them about 3-4 years ago, especially boys. I'm guessing with the release of this movie, they will regain some of their popularity. The movie will be released in 2D and 3D.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
    Based on the novel by JK Rowling
    Release date: November 19
    Web site
            *My thoughts: The Harry Potter series continue to be extremely popular, and the films add to that popularity. The films in this series have all been fine works, with excellent casting choices and (mostly) superb special effects. I hope that the final two films will continue this trend. Part 2 is set to release in July 2011. Following the latest trend, HP7 will also be released in 2D, 3D, and 3D IMAX.

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    Based on the novel by CS Lewis
    Release date: December 10
    Web site
        *My thoughts: Looks like another visually stunning film in the Narnia series. And yes, ANOTHER film being released in 2D & 3D. Why am I not surprised?
I probably have missed a few, but I hope to have hit the highlights. I'll be sure to let you know about upcoming spring releases as well.  The movie based on one of my favorite novels, BEASTLY, is set for release in March. Can't wait!