Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Star Wars, Episode IV : A New Hope. Volume 1-4. by Bruce Jones

Star Wars: Episode IV:: A New Hope: Vol. 1 (Star Wars Set II)
The four-part graphic novel series tells the story of the original Star Wars movie, which became Episode IV : A New Hope. Told via a comic format, the story hits the main events of the story, leaving out most of the subplot. The dialog is word for word of the script from what I could tell. I found the artwork to be appropriate, colorful, but not detailed.

I'd recommend this for reluctant readers or extreme Star Wars fanatics. Most won't appreciate the brevity of the story or the glossing over of the details. I'm generous in giving it a grade of 'C' to 'C-.'

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past
I was totally fascinated with Bodies from the Ice, where we learn about some of the human remains that have been discovered with the melting of glaciers around the world. This book covers Otzi, the mummy from the Copper Age discovered in the Alps, the Incan mummy children found in the Andes, the remains of George Mallery found on Mt. Everest, and the body of a Native American discovered in a glacier in British Columbia. The underlying story of the melting glaciers around the world was brought to my attention many times throughout the book, but I wasn't bombarded with the issue. I didn't feel I was being preached at but instead informed. The illustrations/photographs enhance the information and I think many readers will be lured to this book because of them. Love it when I can find a book that intrigues me, informs me, and then entertains me! I give it an 'A.'

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
A folk tale set in India, One Grain of Rice tells the story of a raja who decrees that all under his rule must give him neary all of their rice to store for safekeeping. When a famine hits the region under his control, the people have no rice to give the raja, and ask him for some of the rice he has stored. When he refuses, his people grow hungrier. One day, the raja decides to throw a feast for himself and his court. When an basket on an elephant bringing rice from the storehouse to the palace spills out some rice, a village girl gathers the spilled rice and returns it to the raja. He's so impressed that she returned the rice, rather than taking it for herself, that the raja decides to reward her with anything she wants. She asks for one grain of rice for today, and then each day for thirty days double the amount of rice given the day before. What follows is an illustration of how quickly this tiny amount of rice multiplies.

This is a beautifully illustrated picture book with a mathematical theme. I love how multiplication is visually illustrated with the fold-out pages to show the various animals delivering her rice, where it almost overwhelms you, the reader. It's easy to finally understand that the numbers grow so fast that one's mind can't quite keep up. I give it a 'B.'

Friday, October 1, 2010

Slob by Ellen Potter

Owen is the fattest boy in his school. He's teased some, and especially picked on by his P.E. coach who seems to want to make his life extra-miserable. Owen tries hard not to let school bring him down, for at home his specialty is inventing things. Right now, he's working on building a TV that will show events from the past. Specifically, the past that was two years ago. That's when his parents were killed in a robbery of their deli and the murderer was never caught. He's hoping that his invention will give him a clue.

For me, Slob didn't start off particularly interesting. In fact, it was rather painful to read about the despicable behavior of the coach towards Owen, knowing his life was hard enough without that extra jab from an adult. I was over 50 pages into the story, before I even had a hint of what this story was about (and why I should keep on reading). I don't know too many teens that would give a story that much time or pages to hook them. Once I finally found out what's the deal with the book, it wasn't that much of a hardship to pick it up and finish. The last quarter of the book redeems the slow start, but I doubt most will make it that far. My grade? A 'C.'