Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Louis Sachar's The Cardturner

I had a difficult time getting into this book because the main focus of it was on the card game bridge.  The underlying story, the one about Alton and his "favorite uncle" was what really intrigued me to keep going.  Alton is told to spend time with his blind uncle to better his family's chances of getting into his will.  To do this, Alton has to drive him to his bridge games and be his card turner (the one who tells him what cards he holds during the match).

The more time the spend together, the more Alton learns about his uncle, and the game of bridge.  His uncle's previous card turner, Toni, soon works her way into the picture and Alton is left with more questions about the girl from the family who are all "crazy".  But the more Alton learns about Toni, the less crazy he thinks she is, and maybe there is something more to her oddness. 

A good book for teens about relationships and family situations.  It is also teaches about respect and that even adults are lacking in that department when you start to really pay attention to Alton's family.  I have to admit, I did find the focus on the card game a little distracting from the story, but it also played a very intricate part of the storyline.  Take your time with this one, trying not to give up to soon, because it does have a good message worth sharing.

Ages 12 and up.  Clean.

- Mrs. Daugherty

2012 Caudill Award Nominee - Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor

This story takes place at a roadside hotel which is being sold by an older woman, Aggie, who just lost her husband.  When she puts the place up for sale, many new people suddenly come and stay at the hotel which hasn't seen a visitor in months.  Included are three pre-teen children who have little to nothing in common.  At least that's the way it appears in the beginning. But once their paths are crossed, they soon become entwined together in something that just might be the start of a really good friendship.  And through each other, the find a way to heal their own personal wounds.

A good story about how life brings people together for a reason, we just may never know what that reason is.
- Mrs. Daugherty

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

25 Years of the Rebecca Caudill Award

To see the video of the past winners of the Rebecca Caudill Award click the link below.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Firehorse by Diane Lee Wilson (Student Review)

     Firehorse is about a girl named Rachel Shelby who loves horses.  She had one named Peaches until her family had to move to Boston, so she had to sell her horse.  Rachel's father isn't very fond of her riding horses or being around them.  Matter of fact, he believes it is a job that should be done by a man.  Women are supposed to stay inside to clean and cook unless they are shopping or attending church.  When Rachel gets to Boston, her brother James takes her to the fire station so he can apply for a job.  When he gets there, they have a horse called the Governor's Girl that has been badly burned and they are going to put her down.  Will Rachel be able to save the Governor's Girl?

     My favorite character was Rachel because she loves horses, and never gives up.  I liked how fact paced the book was so I was able to finish it and find out how it ended.  The book kept my interest because it involved problems with horses and problems with Rachel trying to become a veterinarian.

     I would recommend this book to anyone who wants adventure and/or loves horses.  I didn't like how the book ended but other people may.

  - Chelsey (8th Grade)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Even though this book is fantasy, it would also appeal to those with a love of equestrian novels. I found it difficult to divide my feelings toward the regular horses and the water horses(which are deadly). Stiefvater has outdone herself by capturing the essence of folklore on these creatures and has found a way to divide the man and the horse yet keep them tethered by their love of the sea. She uses her power with a pen to build the suspense until you can do nothing but scream for the races to start.

In this suspense, she also weaves the story of a family of orphans, left to fend for themselves, after their parents death. Their need to stay together, and provide for each other, even though the eldest can do nothing but want to get away from the island forever. It is also the story of a young man, the four time winner of the Scorpio races, and his love for his deadly steed. Though he interacts easily with horses of all kinds, he struggles with his interactions with people.

The main characters, Sean and Puck, both have their own reasons for running in the races that could get them killed. Sean wants to finally buy Corr, his water horse, from the man who owns basically everything on the island and employes Sean. Puck needs to race to save her family's home and to keep her horse Dove. She also hopes that the purse will be big enough to convince her older brother to stay on the island.

They also both have many obstacles to overcome. There are many who don't want Sean to succeed this year at the races. His employer's son would like to see him gone forever, and will go to any means necessary to make that happen. Puck has found that no one wants to see her in the races because she is a girl. It appears the entire town is out to see her fail and when she won't give in to their demands, life becomes more and more difficult leaving her to wonder if she has made the right decision after all.

If I could, I would give this a 10 star review. I would rate it 12 and up for violence (which I expected) but otherwise its a very clean and very moving book. Excellent read!

 - Mrs. Daugherty