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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Reviews by Young Writers' Club

Today I have special post featuring book reviews written by my young writers' club. Before I get to their reviews I want to say how proud I am of the kids that participated in writing club this summer. Coming to the library every week during summer vacation and writing is not most kids' idea of fun. This was the third summer that I have had a kids' writing club and each year I am overwhelmed by the kids' creativity and enthusiasm.

Title of Book: Smells Like Treasure
Author of Book: Suzanne Selfors
Review Written by: Ruthie Fedewa
Smells Like Treasure is an action packed book by Suzanne Selfors for children grades 4th-6th. When 12 year old Homer Pudding is asked to join L.O.S.T.(Society of Legends, Objects,Secret, and Treasures), he and his basset hound named Dog must challenge his friend turned enemy for his Uncle Drake's chair in L.O.S.T. This is a very enjoyable book.
Note: This is a sequel of the book Smells Like Dog


Title of Book: Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan
Author of Book: R. A. Spratt
Review Written by: Emerson Dibean
This book is the sequel to The Adventures of Nanny Piggins. This book is outstanding. Join Nanny Piggins, Boris, and the Green children in this extremely funny adventure.

Title of Book: Katie Kazoo Switcheroo Going Batty
Author of Book: Nancy Krulik
Review Written by: Mikayla Tolan
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo Going Batty is terrific. It made me laugh. Becky and Suzanne Lealy made me laugh because they keep fighting.You should read this if you want to know what happens to Katie.

Title of Book: Magic Tree House #29 A Merlin Mission Christmas in Camelot
Author of Book: Mary Pope Osborne
Review Written by: Preston Dibean
Jack and Annie are on another mission and they are all day magicians. They don't know how tremendously wicked their next mission is. Will they survive? Read the book to find out.

Title of Book: Junie B. Jones First Grader, Boss of Lunch
Author of Book: Barbara Park
Review Written by: Gussie
This book is good for first graders. It's a very funny book. There are nine chapters. The class keeps their own diary. You should read this book if you are in first or second grade.

Title of Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author of Book: J.K. Rowling
Review Written by: Tyler Thelen
There are three main characters in this book; Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. There are seven books in the series (book one is titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). There are a  lot of characters in all of the books. There is also SO much about magic. This series is so good my mom has read each one about ten times.

Title of Book: Rangers Apprentice, The Ruins of Gorlan
Author of Book: John Flanagon
Review Written by: Zoe Slisher
This book is amazing! Hi, I'm Zoe Slisher. I wrote the blog post about Gail Carson Levine. The Ruins of Gorlan is a tween or teen book. I'd say it would be more for people who don't like fantasy too much, because the book is more about knights and the medieval age. The Ruins of Gorlan is about a 15 year old boy named Will who becomes a ranger. Rangers are a group in Araluen (the main country) that are great trackers and spectacular with a bow. Rangers also have the skill to disappear into their surroundings. This book is OUTSTANDING  and I positively loved it! If you want to learn more about this series, go to or just check out the book at your library!




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Book is Almost Always Better

Last week I wrote about how eager I was to see the film adaptation of Horns by Joe Hill. This really started me thinking about other books that have been made into movies.

Of course, anyone who is an avid reader knows what usually happens when a book is made into a movie.

Film adaptations of books are at a disadvantage before they even finish the screenplay. I mean there is no way that a movie can include all of the details of a book. Think about the Harry Potter movies. They were okay, but so many wonderful scenes and details from the books had to be excluded for time's sake.

Books that are epic in length, highly detailed, and with lots of internal dialogue just do not make great movies. Poor Stephen King has not had a watchable movie made of any of his books. (I will admit that Tim Curry was a disturbingly, creepy Pennywise but the rest of the movie, IT, was pretty horrendous.)

Unfortunately for literature Hollywood loves the classics. How many horrible movies based on books by H.G. Wells, Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen are there anyways? Not to mention the plethora of scathingly bad horror films spawned by Frankenstein and Dracula.

Alright, I have complained enough. On a much more positive note there are a few movies out there that are actually better than the book. Shocking isn't it? You do not know how hard it is for me to even admit that!  Here is my list of movies that I enjoy more that the novels that they are based on:

No offense to Peter Benchley (this wasn't a bad book), but the only character you root for in the novel is the shark. The primary divergence between the book and the movie is how Matt Hooper is portrayed. In the novel Benchley really makes him a slime ball. Hooper even has this weird affair with Ellen Brody, and Chief Brody is just kind of clueless.  In the movie you have this sweet and cuddly Matt Hooper played by the adorable Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Sheider as Chief Brody is all stern and take charge with a soft gooey center. The best part of the movie, though, is Spielberg's spectacular filming. It may have stemmed from problems with the mechanical shark, but not seeing the shark until midway through the movie puts the suspense level through the roof. I still jump when the shark comes up when Brody is chumming and says that they are "going to need a bigger boat".


 I was an English major and I love the classics, but James Fenimore Cooper's books are stupefyingly dry. There is really no contest here. The movie is an epic adventure with raging romance and nonstop action. Daniel Day-Lewis is spectacular and, you have to admit, incredibly hot (he definitely didn't look like that in My Left Foot or Lincoln).


Maybe it is because I saw the movie before I read the book, but for me Gone With the Wind is a stunning movie spectacle and the book is just okay. I don't think that I could have imagined Rhett Butler as well as Clark Gable played him. Vivien Leigh is wonderful too, but for me it is all about Gable and nothing can beat him strutting across the screen.


I admit to being a total geek so I love The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but there is no denying that Tolkien can be a tad dry at times.  Especially when he leaves the action of the story to go on some extremely wordy tangents. I first read The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was twelve and I was overwhelmed in my twenties when Peter Jackson brought Middle Earth to life. It was like living a childhood fantasy. Yes, they have all of the bells and whistles as far as visual effects, but the acting and writing are equally superb. Jackson is doing it again with The Hobbit and I am packed and ready to return to Middle Earth. I guess with this one the movies are just as good as Tolkien's books, and I highly recommend reading them if you want to truly appreciate the movies.



Ok this is the last one. I am sure that there are more great movie adaptations of novels, but these are the top for me.

 I read this book, because I was going to go and see the musical and I wanted to know what the story was about. After I finished I remember thinking:  "How are they going to put this story to music and why would they want to?" The story is depressing and tragic, and there are chapters and chapters about French politics.  If you have seen the musical, you know that the French politics are simplified and the hearing Jean Valjean's story set to music just fits and it's beautiful. The recent film starring Hugh Jackman was amazing. Granted, Russel Crowe was a bit of a let down. I feel horrible saying that, because I really like Crowe as an actor, but his singing was painful. In my opinion Jackman and Ann Hathaway were perfect as Valjean and Fantine. I actually liked the way both of them put the emotion of the lyrics into their singing. With Hathaway you feel the pain,desperation, and regret when she sings "I Dreamed a Dream". The movie tells the story of Jean Val Jean so much more tenderly than Hugo and you feel more connected to the characters than you do when you are reading the book.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Harry Potter 15th anniversary August 27th

We will be throwing a Harry Potter party to put the Yule ball to shame.  When you enter, you will be transported straight into Diagon Alley. Our reference desk will be transformed into Gringotts, where you will receive your own vault filled with Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, (made by our staff), that you can spend.  Our library has three rooms off our main area.  As you approach the first, there will be a sign welcoming you to Flourish and Blotts.  This room will be filled with spell books and other wizarding books made by us for you, so you can take them home and brush up on your muggle history or practice some spells.  In our second room, you can go into the sweet world of Honeydukes.  Our staff will have made Chocolate Frogs with Famous Witch and Wizard cards, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and much more that you can enjoy.  Then stop by the Magical Menagerie where there will be cages with stuffed owls, cats, rats, or even a toad to take home.  Your last stop will be Ollivander’s, where Ollivander will help your wand pick you.   After you are done shopping you can head downstairs to the Three Broomsticks for a Butterbeer and a Harry Potter movie that we will be showing on our projection screen. Or you can head on down the hall and be sorted into your house.  We will have a staff member dressed as Professor McGonagall who will place the Sorting Hat on your head and spin a wheel to see which house badge you will receive.  Then it’s time for class!   Start off by going to Herbology, where we will have someone dressed as Professor Sprout to help you plant your own seed to take home.  In our story-time room, another staff member will be dressed as Professor Trelawney and will host our Harry Potter Jeopardy, where we will give away prizes.  Also stop by and make a Remembrall with your favorite Harry Potter memory.  Make sure you don’t forget to go by Potions class, where we will have a life-size Professor Snape cut-out with a lighted cauldron and fog machine. We are also going to have little Harry Potter touches throughout the library.   You might walk by Crookshanks about to leap on your head, or peruse the shelf and find books with magical covers but be careful to avoid the Restricted Section.   Of course, everyone attending will be invited to dress like their favorite Harry Potter character.  Every age is invited to come join us and celebrate 15 great years of Harry Potter.  The Festivities begin at 5:30 pm on August 27th use the closest portkey and we will see you there.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Daniel Radcliff has Horns?

Several months ago Cory posted a recommendation for the book Horns by Joe Hill. Based on her recommendation and the fact that I am a huge Stephen King fan (Joe Hill is his son) I decided to check out a couple of Hill's books. It was amazing to discover that the apple did not fall far from the tree. Hill has definitely inherited his father's literary prowess and proclivity for the macabre. Horns is an intriguing story of tender love, revenge, salvation, and damnation. For those readers that  are sometimes daunted by King's long-winded verbosity, Horns does not contain as much lengthy detail as say, The Stand.

I was surprised to discover almost a week after I finished Horns that they are making a movie adaptation. Now I am usually hesitant to even watch movie versions of books that I particularly enjoy, but this one caught my eye, because Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) is playing the main role of Ig Perrish. Supposedly, Shai LaBeouf was signed out to play the role but then decided to quit, and Radcliff was hired to take his place. I actually think that Radcliff is better suited to the role of Ig Perrish and I am curious to see how the movie turns out.
Here is Daniel Radcliff all decked out in his horns.  You will have to read the book to find out what the horns do. Of course, everyone should read the book before watching the film (since the book is almost always better).