[library-media] book reviews

Cindy Mitchell cindy.mitchell@jordan.k12.ut.us
Mon, 18 Apr 2005 08:45:51 -0600

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There is such a long time until the next convention, that I thought I =
would send out some info on books that I have read lately.  Don't worry, =
there willbe plenty to talk about at UELMA.  Please let me kow if you =
disagree with me about any book, if you have some great ones I may not =
have heard about yet, etc.


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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>There is such a long time until the =
convention, that I thought I would send out some info on books that I =
have read=20
lately.&nbsp; Don't worry, there willbe plenty to talk about at =
Please let me kow if you disagree with me about any book, if you have =
some great=20
ones I may not have heard about yet, etc.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Cindy</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>


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{\fs20\insrsid13525105\charrsid3432683 Chotjewitz, David Daniel Half =
Human and the Good Nazi, 292 p.=20
\endash =20
\par Daniel is back in his hometown of Hamburg Germany as an interpreter =
for the occupying American Army.  He relives his life growing up with =
the encroaching Nazi threat which becomes more danger
ous when he learns that his mother is a Jewess.  Though most of the boys =
at school turn on him, he thinks that his best friend, Armin, would =
never betray him and his family.  I don\rquote=20
t mind the proliferation of Holocaust literature, especially when they =
are as well written (and translated) as this one.  It highlights the =
insidiousness of Hitler\rquote=20
s scheming and the gullibility that anyone could be susceptible to, =
until maybe it is just too late. I think this has more to add to a study =
of WWII than Anne Frank.  MS, HS \endash  ADVISABLE
\par Foster, Alan Dean Lost and Found, 248 p. \endash  Marcus Walker is =
kidnapped from earth by a race of aliens so that he can be sold as =
decoration or slave.  His only Earth ompanionship is a dog, which has =
been enhanced so that it can think and=20
speak, even though at heart George is still just a dog.  It is only with =
the help of one taciturn alien who believes that she is superior to =
everyone and a very dangerous alien who speaks in poetry but can kill =
with a flinch that the group has a chance to
 escape and find their homes in the vastness of space.  Personally, I =
love Foster, but you know I love SFF.  This should be added to a great =
SFF collection.  Two more chapters forthcoming.  MS, HS \endash  =
\par Hawes, Louise The Vanishing Point, 218 p. \endash  Lavinia =
s father is a well-known artist in Bologna during the Renaissance.  She =
secretly burns to paint, but her father will only see the work of men =
and the boys he takes on apprentices.  With the help of one apprentice, =
who is in love with her, Vini=20
hopes to bring her talent to her father\rquote s notice. =20
\par Lavinia is truly one of the few famous female painters of the =
Renaissance. Her story if well presented here, but will have a hard time =
finding an audience.  This would be good for a collection that has sp
ecific interest in books about artists, or wait until it comes out in =
paperback.  MS \endash  OPTIONAL
\par Kudlinski, Kathleen The Spirit Catchers: an Encounter with Georgia =
O\rquote Keefe, 158 p. \endash  Parker Ray is taken under Georgia =
O\rquote Keefe\rquote s supervision after he tries to steal one of her =
cameras.  Parker is forced to help O\rquote=20
Keefe as she primes and paints in the desert of New Mexico, readying for =
her next exhibit.  She allows his some space and time to see that there =
is some artist in himself.  The book does a good of bring
ing up the controversy surrounding interpretations of the artist\rquote =
s work without dwelling or making a spectacle out of it.  There are =
several more books planned for this series.  It has lots of great parts=20
\par that art teachers could read aloud to their students about =
technique, composition, light and influences on the artist.  MS \endash  =
\par Dahlberg, Maurine Escape to West Berlin, 179 p. \endash  Heidi and =
her family live in East Berlin, while her father works in the West.  =
Though no one knows it, the Berlin Wall i
s about to be built, which will cut the East off from the West =
decisively.  Heidi\rquote s best friend Petra is very involved with the =
Communist youth group, and Heidi doesn\rquote=20
t know if she can trust her as her family makes plans to flee.  What =
amazed me is that so
 many people of East Berlin seemed to learn absolutely nothing from the =
atrocities of WWII.  They are more than happy to spy on and then turn on =
their friends and neighbors and submit themselves to Communist =
propaganda.  But the book is not riveting and w
ould be a better expense in paperback.  EL, MS \endash  OPTIONAL
\par Jacobson, Jennifer Richard Stained 200 p. \endash  Jocelyn\rquote s =
next-door neighbor Gabe has disappeared.  As Joss\rquote  memories flash =
back through their growing up years, she reveals their original child =
ip and the devastating experience that estranged them and put=20
\par Joss on a path of low self-esteem.  The path of story does nothing =
to prepare you for the revelation of why Gabe ran away, involving the =
neighborhood priest, but does prepare for Joss finally f
reeing herself from the past.  This book is not for everybody.  There is =
a graphic scene where as pre-adolescents Gabe and a friend molest Joss.  =
And when=20
\par Gabe does reappear in the present he uses the \'93F\'94 a couple of =
times and a couple of other swear words to express his anguish.  An =
interesting look at the origins of guilt and the much advertised =
Catholic priest sex scandal. HS \endash  OPTIONAL

\par Morrow, James The Cat\rquote s Pajamas and other stories, 209 p. =
\endash  Okay, I only read two stories in this collection, but the =
second one was about sex acts as public art.  I think I can safely say =
that for a school library, this book is a NO
\par Kessler, Cristina Our Secret, Siri Aang, 210 p. \endash  =
Namelok\rquote s Maasai family has moved close to one of the animal =
reservations.  She is close
 to her womanhood initiation, she has adopted a baby rhino and its =
mother as her secret family and she is confused by the contradictions =
she sees in her family.  Her oldest brother is supposed to be a Maasai=20
\par warrior, but he is making money selling his picture to tourists.   =
Her father lectures everyone on the duty the Maasai owe to the Earth and =
the animals, but he perpetrates the biggest betrayal to Namelok\rquote=20
s world.  While the book is a very interesting look into the changes =
facing the Maasai\rquote s way of life, I am worried that it won\rquote =
t attract an audience.  EL, MS \endash  OPTIONAL
\par Bodett, Tom Norman Tuttle on the Last Frontier, 197 p. \endash  =
Norman Tuttle may live on the Alaskan frontier, but this frontier is the =
dividing line between adolescence and adulthood.  He ge
ts a girlfriend and outgrows his best friend.  He learns that even =
though he seems to=20
\par mess everything up, his family still loves him.  He learns that for =
him, the big city may not be the best place to be.  Honestly, this book =
just wasn\rquote t for me.  OPTIONAL
\par Viguie, Debbie Scarlet Moon, 157 p. \endash  As a little girl, Ruth =
is mauled by a wolf in the forest.  Soon after, her brother leaves to =
fight in the crusades, so Ruth picks up her father\rquote=20
s tools to work as a blacksmith.  Confronting a rude customer one day, =
Ruth is aided by the Lord of the manor, who is very interested in =
Ruth\rquote s honest ways.  But William has a deep secret that may =
destroy Ruth\rquote=20
s growing love for him.  Another worthy entry in the retold fairy tale =
genre.  MS, HS \endash  ADVISABLE
\par Fitz-Gibbon, Sally Lizzie\rquote s Storm, 59 p. \endash  When =
s parents die, she moves from a pampered life in England to the =
back-breaking work on the American frontier.  It takes a terrible =
prairie storm for Lizzie to learn the value of her new family and to =
discover her courage.
  Lots of great descriptions of life on the prairie, but nothing that =
can\rquote t be found=20
\par in the Little House books also.  EL \endash  OPTIONAL
\par Esckilsen, Erik Offsides, 172 p. \endash   As a Native American, =
Tom has always lived on and played for the reservation\rquote s soccer =
team.  That is until his mother moves them to the district of his =
biggest rivals.  The rivals whose mascot is an \'93
Indian\'94 warrior.  The rivals with the coach who has a big chip on his =
shoulder, who is sure that he can bend Tom=20
\par to his will.  As soccer season approaches, Tom finds his own ragtag =
team to play with, but a bet with the coach may find him playing out the =
season as a dreaded Warrior.  Not a bad soccer book.  It\rquote=20
s too bad that the soccer coach is so one dimensional.  MS-ADVISABLE
\par Taylor, Theodore Ice Drift, 213 p. \endash=20
 Inuit brothers Alika and Sulu are on a huge ice floe when it breaks =
away, sending them on a six-month survival journey down the Greenland =
Strait.  They face the bitter cold, the possibility of starvation and a =
danger of polar bears, ev
ery step of the way.  They can only hope that somewhere along the way =
someone will spot them and come to their rescue.  Taylor writes ice as =
well of he does desert islands.  The book stands up well to comparisons =
to Julie of the Wolves or Iceberg Hermit.=20
 EL, MS \endash  ADVISABLE
\par Morpurgo, Michael Private Peaceful, 195 p. \endash  Tom Peaceful =
has all night to relive his memories.  He goes through is childhood with =
his brothers Big Joe, a lovable but disabled oldest brother, and =
Charlie, the brother he hero worships. =20
When Word War I starts, Tom follows Charlie into the battlefields around =
Iepers, the killing fields of Flanders,=20
\par Belgium, where Charlie\rquote s refusal to be lead around by the =
nose puts both brothers in permanent danger.  The first half of the book =
is pretty s
low, but for those who persist, it makes a stark contrast to the last =
half on the battlefields.  Its a good reminder that every gory war book =
is based on the lives of ordinary people.  MS, HS - OPTIONAL
\par }}