Friday, November 28, 2014

Room with a Review: Gargoyles Gone A.W.O.L

Title:  Gargoyles Gone A.W.O.L

Author:  Cl√©mentine Beauvais

Illustrator:  Sarah Horne

Month/Year Published:  U.S. Edition expected publication date 5/15/15

You May Know Her:  If you live in the United Kingdom where the third Sesame Seade mystery is already on shelves. BTW, she's also an academic at Cambridge and she writes in French as well.  Wow!

Review You May Not Have Seen:  Since her books are already popular in the United Kingdom, here's the Kirkus review of her first Sesame Seade book published in the U.S.   

The Review
Okay, prepare for some name dropping, which I rarely get to do, so please indulge me.  About three months ago I was on Twitter and I asked my tweeps for some recommendations for Brit Kid Lit mysteries. So my tweep {here's where the name dropping begins} Robin Stevens {author of MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE, soon to be released in the US as MURDER IS BAD MANNERS} directed me to Ms. Beauvais and the Sesame Seade mysteries.  I tucked that away for future reference.  

Fast forward last week to the National Council of Teachers of English conference.  I was meandering my way through the exhibit hall when I came to a tiny booth {here is where my name dropping fails me - I have no idea what booth I was at - I am SO SORRY booth!!} where I picked up a cute little book solely on the cover art.  Then my eye traveled to the author's name...Beauvais...Beauvais...THINK!  "Oh," I said.  "Not what you want?" said the lovely lady at The Booth.  "No!  This is British!!"  "Yes," said mystery lady, "it is!  I'm very impressed that you knew that!"  And then I skipped off with my copy of GARGOYLES GONE A.W.O.L. not believing my luck!!  {I even tweeted Ms. Beauvais to let her know <--author name drop}

But enough about me.  Welcome to Gargoyles Gone A.W.O.L, the second book in the Sesame Seade Mystery series.  Sesame Seade is really Sophie Seade who lives in Cambridge (England, not Mass.) with her parents who seem to be lumps but are really ultimately quite loving.  She has two chums that she pals around with {either on roller skates or a too tall bicycle} and this time the mystery involves missing gargoyles.  I was a sucker for this book from basically the first page where there is a MAP {who cannot love a book with a map - although is it too late to add The Senate House? - wink, wink} and the fact that there is British jargon, slang, what-have-you, tossed around throughout the book.  I'm glad this was left in the US version because frankly, my readers can handle it and honestly, who doesn't love adding a little Brit Lit Lingo to your every day vocabulary.  Add a grouchy cat gone suspiciously docile and a red herring hornet and you have GARGOYLES GONE A.W.O.L. {Plus something else that will make most of GGA readers go AWWWWW but even to mention it will give away part of the mystery.}

I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted, fast-paced mystery that shall find a place on my library bookshelves for my readers who already enjoy those eclectic and adventuresome Americans Judy Moody and Gooney Bird Greene.

**This review was based on an Advance Reader's Copy I received free of charge from...SO NCTE.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Room with a Review: Mouseheart

Title:  Mouseheart

Author:  Lisa Fiedler

Illustrator:  Vivienne To

Month/Year Published:  Expected publication date May 2014

You May Know Her:  Hmm...not really sure!  We want to know more!

You May Find Her:  Hmm...  Lisa Fidler...where are yooooou?

Review You May Not Have Seen:  Not a lot of reviews quite yet - the buzz will begin soon though!

The Review

I'm not quite sure how I arrived by this Advanced Reader's Copy of MOUSEHEART, but let me tell you, the packaging alone, from Simon and Schuster free of charge, made me feel like I was receiving something special.  Nestled in a brown paper, the book, complete with a mock-up of the book display and cover with its pyramidical (pyramidical?) illustration in colors both vibrant and muted, definitely caught my attention.

But how would this little nestled egg hold up under the boiling water scrutiny (are ya catching my egg metaphor here) of my most critical readers:  my very own 3rd and 4th grade daughter and son?  Would it crack under the pressure? Would the plot be too scrambled? Or would it read easy (over)?  (Okay, I'm done with the egg metaphor now.)

Over the course of a week, we read this book aloud on successive evenings.  Here is what my own reviewers thought of this forthcoming book, the first in a trilogy.

My fourth grade son:  "I thought MOUSEHEART was very good. A lot of parts were very amusing to read.  This book also makes you think a little bit.  This book is sad, scary, and happy all at the same time.  I thought the characters in this book were very good.  Like, Hopper {the main character}, Zucker, Pinkie, Pup and Titus.  I really think that title matches the story.  I think that it being a trilogy is good because it makes you want to read the others.  I would read the others.  I would recommend this book to people who like action, animals, and cliffhangers.  I really loved this book!"

My third grade daughter:  "The book was awesome.  I can't wait for the sequel.  My favorite characters in order were Pup, Hopper, and Pinkie.  I would recommend this book to people that aren't afraid of rodents.  The title really makes you think about what it means.  I liked the whole story and how it was thought out.  My favorite part was one of the fighting scenes between certain characters in the book {no spoilers!}."

My children really did enjoy this book and asked me to read it to them every night.  I know this book will be a hit in my elementary school library as well.  It's a little less challenging in terms of reading stamina than Redwall and the Warriors series, to which it is being compared, and that will suit my students in grades 3-5 just fine.  A definite purchase for our collection and recommended reading, if, as my daughter cautions, you aren't afraid of rodents! 

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