Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 Birthdays

I apologize again for another late post, but this one comes with good reason--I started a new job last week.  I will do my best to keep up with postings, but please understand that helping to support my family must come first.

Title:  11 Birthdays
Author:   Wendy Mass
Target Audience:  Upper Elementary
Approximate Independent Reading Level:  7th grade

Summary:  Leo and Amanda were born on the same day, but they're not twins.  In fact, they're not related at all.  But sharing a birthday is the beginning of a story that leads to their becoming best friends--at least for awhile.  But when a fight leads to magical problems, they must work together to solve a problem bigger than they could have ever imagined.

Review:  This story is fantasy, with an element of magic.  But the magic is not meant to be harmful.  The story contains no Christian elements, but can still be used to teach Christian truths--such as the importance of forgiveness.  Working together is another important element in the book.  There are some elements of lying to adults as the children attempt to figure out how to solve their problems.  In their defense, however, the truth is completely unbelievable and would have sounded like a lie, and they do their best to not lie to or disobey their parents.
**** 4 stars

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins

My last post from the "My Name is America" series (at least until I find some more :D )

Title:  The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins:  A World War II Soldier
Author :  Walter Dean Myers
Setting:  Normandy, France 1944
Target Audience:  Junior high-High school
Approximate independent reading level:  9th grade

Summary:  Scott Collins is not long out of high school when he joins the army.  His journal records his experiences as he goes first to England, then fights through France.  Scott meets local people as well as other soldiers.  Not all of the men he fights alongside make it home.  The journal covers only three months of the war, but they are an event-filled three months.  Scott survives the war and returns home, although he never outlives its effects.

Review:  Scott does describe some of the gruesome results of war involving destruction of the towns and some injuries sustained during attacks.  The writing is good, and the historical information at the back of the book includes a map of Normandy.  Obviously, the book cannot be used as a source of factual information, such as for a report, but I think it's a good fictional representation of what a young soldier may have gone through.
**** 4 stars