Sunday, September 20, 2015

A few books for kids and young adults

Airman, by Eoin Colfer – Conor Broekhart was born in a hot air balloon and feels he was always meant to fly. After witnessing the murder of his tutor and the king, Conor is sent to prison. Can all the he learned about flying help him escape prison, save his parents and find the princess? A fun adventure from the author of the Artemis Fowl series.

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos – In the first of the Norvelt series of semi-autobiographical novels, young Jack is grounded at the beginning of summer vacation. Even so, Jack manages to have adventures and get himself into a lot of trouble when his mom loans him out to an elderly neighbor to type obituaries that she writes as the original residents of this community, founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, begin to die out. Or are they murdered? This book was quite funny and a lot of fun. It won the 2012 Newbery Medal.

How to Be a Pirate, by Cressida Cowell – In this second book in the How to Train Your Dragon series, Hiccup, and the other boys in the Hairy Hooligan tribe have begun their pirate training course. After nearly dying during their first lesson, Hiccup and Fishlegs are saved by the floating coffin of Grimbeard the Ghastly. When the tribe opens the coffin, they find Alvin the Poor-But-Honest-Farmer inside. He sets the tribe off on a quest to find Grimbeard’s lost treasure. Can Hiccup and Toothless find the treasure and ensure Hiccup’s place as heir? Or will they end up in a watery grave or as lunch for dragons and Outcasts? I listened to the fabulous audio version read by David Tenant. Children and adults will enjoy this fun series.

Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman – I listened to the audio version of this book, read by Neil Gaiman, but I think I’d like to get the hard copy and look at the illustrations, especially if they are as much fun as the text. The narrator and his sister are ready to eat their breakfast cereal, but there is no milk, so their father goes to the corner store to buy some. He is gone for a long time, and when he returns he tells a tale of planet-redecorating aliens, time-travel, pirates, a stegosaurus professor, and how the milk saved the world.

Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith – I decided this book might be interesting when I read that it was in the new genre of cli fi, that is, climate fiction. It also was a 2015 Michael L. Printz honor book. This is the story of how the end of the world began in Ealing, Iowa when Austin, the narrator, and his friend Robby accidently facilitate the release of a plague of giant praying mantis-like insects. I haven’t finished reading this book. I hate giving up on books, but I think this one isn’t for me. I do not want to be in the head of a 16-year-old boy. I do not want to listen to him talk about, in minute detail, things I don’t care about or find extremely distasteful. We don’t even get any giant insects until halfway through the book! Maybe I should just skip to the end and see if they defeat the giant bugs or if it really is the end of the world.