Monday, December 5, 2011

Middle School Monday: Block Buster Titles

It's been a while since we rolled one of these out, since it is getting to be the time of year for gift-giving (more on that tomorrow) we thought we'd highlight two books that you'll definitely want to put on your list if you haven't had a chance to read them yet.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Mr. Selznick has had quite the year, his Caldecott winning book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret was turned into a major 3-D motion picture and he wasn't done there. He also published Wonderstruck!

What's so cool about Wonderstruck is that it also uses art (as Hugo did) but it tells two stories, one entirely in pictures and one in words. How the two combine is so unexpected it's almost magic.

Ben lives by a lake in Minnesota with his aunt and uncle. He was born deaf in one ear and his cousin enjoys using that fact to play tricks on him. Ben wishes more than anything that he could return to the way life used to be, when his mom was alive and they would talk about the stories behind the stars.

In the story in pictures, we follow a young girl, Rose, in the 1920's who seems all alone in life. Living in a big house with no one to talk to and pasting pictures of her favorite movie star in her scrap book.

Ben's story takes place in 1977 and Rose's is almost 50 years ago. You will read and read and read to find out how these stories are going to intersect. Also prepare to be blown away by the gorgeous illustrations--- you won't find any other book that looks like this. Take a look for yourself.

Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Are you a Percy Jackson fan? We think that the Percy is a series that is nearly as popular with people under the age of 20 as Potter or Twilight, but that what makes it different is that not so many adults check it out. We don't understand this, but whatever, it's their loss, because Mr. Riordan keeps us coming back with adventures and characters that are way more fun than we can find anywhere else.

This is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series and it's the one that many of us have been waiting for because Percy is back. In the previous books we had learn that Percy had gone missing from Camp Half Blood. In this book we find him waking up with no memory of his life before, except for remembering Annabeth (ahh! If only we could pass him the five excellent books we have over here on the shelf about him). In no time he finds that he's been basically dropped off by the gods outside of a very strange camp for the children of gods. Sounds like Percy is going home, right? That's where you'd be wrong.

Instead of Camp Halfblood, the camp for kids of Greek Gods and Humans, Percy is outside of Camp Jupiter (a Roman camp) and about to be seriously smote if not for the help of two Roman campers who happen to be on guard. These campers are our future other narrators, Hazel and Frank- demigods who will soon join Percy on a quest.

These are all things we've done before (the questing, the fighting monsters, the learning of prophecies) but Riordan spices things up with the Roman angle and the new characters are so interesting and likable that you will be carried quickly along with the plot. And then you'll be like us, impatiently awaiting book 3 in the series, The Mark of Athena which won't be out until Fall 2012.

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