Friday, August 26, 2005

Golden and Grey

I have to admit that I am pretty proud of myself for finishing this off! I just had a baby 10 days ago. Both girls took a nap at the same time yesterday, and instead of doing the sensible thing (going to sleep myself) I finished this off!

I bought this book based on cover and title alone. The cover art is perfect for the age range (wonky cartoonish, but not over the top). And the subtitle - An Unremarkable Boy and a Rather Remarkable Ghost) is rather intriguing.

Tom Golden has just moved to a new school and somehow gotten the title of "freak boy". He's not sure how it happend...he used to have friends. Now he finds notes on his back, noone will eat with him, and he is constantly trying to avoid bully Big Ben.

Grey Arthur is a ghost without a job. He has tried to be a poltergeist, and a sadness summoner among other things, but nothing quite fits.

One day he hears Tom's angry whispers about school. They are not whispers to Grey Arthur's ears sinces ghosts hear by emotion rather than volume. Grey Arthur knows what he must Tom's Invisible Friend. Whether or not this is a real ghost job description, he does not know, but he does know that Tom needs him. The one problem with this friendship is that it is one way. Tom doesn't know Arthur exists.

An accident, however, leaves Tom with a special power. He can now see not only Grey Arthur, but all the ghosts around him. Will this really help Tom, or make him even more of a freak boy. Afterall who else goes around talking to folks noone else can see?

This is more of a story about friendship and growing up than it is a ghost story. It has a broad appeal, and will prove especially fun to fans of Ibbotson.

Monday, August 08, 2005


The only other book that I had read by Scott Westerfeld was So Yesterday. Eventhough I still can't get that annoying Hilary Duff song out of my head when I think of the title, I really enjoyed it. I have always been interested in the whole advertising/marketing to kids thing, as well as the idea of "trends". One of my husband's friend's ex-girlfriends used to work in fashion and decide on trends for her company. She would tell me a year in advance what to buy, which colours would be "in" etcetera. It was pretty weird.

My friend Jen had been talking about Uglies for months and all the girls at our school (MS and HS) who took it out loved it. So then other day when I was loading up on books, I decided to buy myself a copy (and was appreciative of the original paperback!)

This was a fun book to read, in that big brother 1984 style. It actually reminded me slightly of Feed, by Anderson. Tally is an ugly, but not for long. Her 16th birthday is approaching and that is when she will finally get the operation to turn her into a pretty. You know....the evolutionary positives. Large open eyes, high forhead, full lips, ideal height and weight. Her skin will be replaced, bones shaved and padded. The ultimate extreme makeover.

A couple of weeks before her birthday, she meets one of the only other senior uglies in her dorm. Shay is full of tricks, just like Tally and they really hit it off. But Shay is different. She is not looking forward to being pretty. Tally doesn't understand. Why would anyone want to be ugly?

This is the first part in a trilogy, and is fast paced, interesting and fun. I just gave it to my niece for her 15th birthday, and she asked my sister how I could possibly know exactly the kind of thing she liked to read!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Leon and the Spitting Image

Leon and the Spitting Image, by Allen Kurzweil is exactly the kind of book that I would have picked up as a fourth grader. Not only is there a creepy witchy type boot on the cover, but the title is clever and the premise is great.

Leon goes to what can only be assumed as a Manhattan independent school, The Classical School. The motto of the school is "nimble fingers make for nimble minds" ... read in experiential learning. The problem is Leon is somewhat of a klutz. He lives with his mom in a one star hotel...she is the night manager. So, not only is his life a bit different from the rest, but the Ice Queen (ancient ice maker)keeps him up at night. Top all of this off with his finding of his confidential reports the day before his first day of fourth grade.

"Leon continues to be hampered by a troubling lack of fine motor skills."

Now, his fourth grade teacher, Miss Hagmeyer, is for some reason obsessed with sewing. Not only for herself, but for her students as well. How will a fine motor skills challenged fourth grader get through a year when almost all of his assignments are sewing related?

With the help of his 2 best friends...PW and Lily-Matisse.

A very fun romp for the 3rd-5th grade set. Plus the bonus of this turning into a series, with the next book taking place during Leon's fifth grade year.