Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fried Worms at the Library!

That's right, guys--fried worms, right here at the Myers Park library next Monday, September 22 at 6:00 pm. Actually, we're hosting the movie How to Eat Fried Worms here this Monday night. My coworker, Miss Laura, will show the movie and I'll say a couple of words about this blog before she starts. As you may know, the Iron Guy thinks this is one of the great guy books of all time (see my original review here). I bet the movie will be good too. (although I've never seen it) I hope a lot of you reader guys come out and watch it. Be sure to call 704-416-5800 to sign up for it--we have room but space is limited. If you've never read the book, there will be copies to check out. And if you read a copy and send in a review, I'll give a prize out of our ultra-cool prize box. Hope to see you there!

By the way, you may bring your own drink. We'll provide a snack. Guess what it'll be??  Come on, guess.

Popcorn, of course!

What did think it was going to be????

Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Terrific Book of the Season!

After-summer greetings, all you reader guys! Summer's over now and, even though the Iron Guy is always somewhat sad to see summer go, he's also always glad at this time of year because that's when many of the coolest books come out. For example this fall we get The Blood of Olympus, the latest and final book in the Percy Jackson's The Lost Hero series. We also get The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent's Curse, the second book in Tony Abbot's unbelievably good new series. I've also ordered  Alvin Ho : Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by the fabulous Lenore Look--which actually came out in August, so it's technically a summer book. No matter. The Alvin Ho books are possibly the funniest books out there and I can't wait for this one!!

But today I want to tell you about Flashpoint, the latest and last book in the Unstoppable series from The 39 Clues. And is it ever good! Exciting, funny and intense, this book is a fitting end to the adventures of Dan and Amy Cahill. Here we go, everybody--J. Rutherford Pierce, the ruthless media tycoon who took the Cahill serum that gives super strength and intelligence, is about to announce his plan to run for president. But that's not all--the presidency is his first step to world dictatorship. And he's manufacturing enough serum for an army at a secret chemical plant. The only way to stop him is complete the formula for an antidote. Pierce knows about this, however, and has sent out not only his serum-enhanced goons but also his own serum-strengthened son, Galt, to stop them. On top of that, Amy has taken the serum also--but this one is the original Cahill concoction, which kills whoever takes it in seven days. And Amy took it five days ago! Even if they manage to find the last ingredient for the antidote (unlikely), could they avoid the Pierce minions (more unlikely) and get the antidote to Pierce on his heavily-guarded island (most unlikely of all) before Amy succumbs to the serum's effects?  Oh, man! Oh! Man!!! The only way you'll find out is by reading this book! But I guarantee one really good,wild and exciting ride if you do!

This book gets the Iron Guy Seal of Approval as ONE TERRIFIC BOOK!!

And let me know if you've read it and liked it. Leave your thoughts in the "Comment " section under this post. And also tell me which branch of the Cahill family you belong to, if you're also an agent. I don't mind saying that I'm a Tomas--only fitting for a MANLY MAN like the Iron Guy!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Legos at the Mountain Island Library!

This wasn't me but it gives you an idea of what parasailing's like
Hey, hey, hey all you reader guys in Charlotte and everywhere else.  The Iron Guy finished up his summer in high style, going to Cherry Grove Beach in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina over the
Labor Day weekend. Had a great time and even got to do some parasailing, a truly MANLY sport. It was a good summer, especially for the library. We broke records with our Summer Reading program this year. We had 26 million minutes worth of reading over the summer--and a lot of it done by BOYS, no doubt! Thanks, guys, and keep it up.

Mountain Island
The beautiful Mountain Island library
jijohnson's picture
Ms Jionne Johnson
A lot of kids and a lot of Legos!

Alex and his impressive Lego

One of the most fun events of the summer was the Iron Guy's visit to the Mountain Island library. The fabulous Ms. Jionne Johnson held a Lego building competition and asked me to pick the winner! She also asked me to talk to their kids about this blog, which, as a truly helpful MANLY MAN, I was glad to do. There were a lot of kids there and a lot of great Lego creations. How was I going to pick only one out of all great designs? But, with the help of the kids, I finally chose one by Alex (I think that's his name) and it was very impressive. Thanks to everyone at Mountain Island and I hope to hear from you! Write in some book reviews and I'll post them on this blog.
Here I am (along with evidence of how well I've eaten over the summer) with one of the runners-up in the Lego competition.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recommendations From Other Library Guys (and One Honorary Guy)

Hey, everyone, this is the Iron Guy, doing what he does best in the summer--taking it easy and reading lots of  good stuff. Of course, much as I hate to think about it, August is more than halfway over and that means summer will be over before too long. (of course, in Charlotte, summer's not really over until after Labor Day)
That's why the Iron Guy uses all his iron determination and willpower to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of the last of summer. That includes reading lots of cool  books. I'm in the middle of some really great reads and hope to tell you about them soon but in the meantime, I thought I'd ask some of the other guys in the library system to tell us about the books they've liked. We got some great responses, so let's get right to them.

The first one is from a really good guy, Malcolm Plummer at the Hickory Grove library. He says:

The Encyclopedia Brown Series has always been a favorite of mine. When I was younger, I used to like watching detective shows on television. So when I picked up one of Donald Sobol's books it was just like watching a Columbo episode on tv. Solving mysteries is fun for the inquisitive mind. And guys with curious minds will like this series

Thanks, Malcolm! The Encyclopedia Brown books have been around for a long time but they are still challenging guys to use their brains

The next is from another really great guy, David Singleton, the Director of Libraries for the Charlotte Meckelenburg libraries. That's a fancy way of saying that he's in charge of the whole library system's day-to-day operations. Quite a big job! Here's what he likes:

While the Clock Ticked by Franklin W. Dixon.   I was a big fan of the Hardy Boys series, and this one, about a secret locked room in a spooky mansion, kept me on the edge of my seat.
·     Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary.   Henry is an ordinary boy who finds himself in hilarious situations, often accompanied by his dog Ribsy.   I found myself laughing every time I read this book.
·      Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.    After a crash in a small plane, a 13-year-old boy is left to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness with little except a hatchet, a recent birthday gift from his mother. An exciting book about survival and becoming a man.
·      Wonder by R.J. Palacio.   10-year-old August Pullman is average in almost every way, except for a severe facial deformity.    As he enters public school for the first time, he learns about cruelty as well as the true meaning of friendship.   If you’ve ever felt different from other people, you will love this book.

T    Thanks, Mr. Singleton! These are indeed great reads. Boys have been thrilling to the Hardy Boys and Hatchet for many years and Beverly Cleary's books are still funny.

      Our next set of good reads comes from a truly exceptional guy, Lee Keesler, the Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte Library system! Here's what he has to tell us"

 Our Mom used to take us to your library in the summer to get books.  Once I had learned to read, I read primarily biographies of historical and sports figures.  I remember reading a biography of George Washington; of Benjamin Franklin; of Thomas Jefferson; and of Willie Mays; Jackie Robinson; Mickey Mantle.
T    Thanks, Mr. Keesler! We really appreciate your taking time form your very schedule to share with us. (btw, when he talks about "your library," he means the Myers Park library, where the Iron Guy works!) The library system has lots of good biographies of these people and one of the most popular series for boys is the "Who Was... set of biographies. (in fact, I saw a couple of boys in here yesterday, going excitedly through the Who Was... books) All of the books I've read from this series have been interesting, full of good information and quick to read. (they're what I call Good Quick Reads) Here are a few:

                     Who Was George Washington?
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       Who Was Ben Franklin?
            Who Was Thomas Jefferson?

      Who Was Jackie Robinson?
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Unfortunately, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle aren't in this series but the library system does have biographies of them. And there is a chapter book about Mickey Mantle that I really enjoyed--it's Lucky: Maris, Mantle and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke. As I said, I really enjoyed it and you can see my review here--and an interview with the author here.
      And, finally, we have a recommendation from Sandy Nicholls of the South County library. She's been with the system a long time and is really cool. You see her picture here--she is holding up a shark's tooth that she doubtlessly pulled straight out of a shark's mouth. Quite a gal! She recommends two books for all the reader guys out there. One is Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle and the other is Squish, Super Amoeba by Jennifer Holm. She reviewed them on the library's great BookHive site, which is a terrific place to find great reads, and here's what she said about Mountain Dog:

Book CoverTony is sent to live with his great uncle in the Sierra Nevada Mountains after his mother was sent to prison for training fighting dogs. It is a different world for this city boy. His great uncle Tio Leonilo is a search and rescue dog trainer and Tony quickly becomes fast friends with a search and rescue dog named Gabe. Written in a prose format, the story alternates between the voices of Tony and Gabe the rescue dog. The facts about search and rescue dog training, the wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas, and Tony’s newfound friendship with a classmate named Gracie make this story honest as well as charming.

      And here's the one for Squish, Super Amoeba:

View full imageFollow Squish the Amoeba on his many adventures in middle school with his family and also with his microorganism friends, Pod and Peggy. Discover how different the life of an amoeba truly is! This story has science facts throughout which makes it fun to learn about global warming and various types of molds. This is a great first time graphic novel for the reader looking for something different. The simple black and white illustrations with a hint of green will delight the eyes.

 Thanks, Sandy! As you see, we don't mind when girls write in to our boys read blog. In fact, we're happy about it and we encourage it! Indeed, we are so happy when they do that we give them the greatest honor we could possibly give and make them Honorary Guys.
      Yes, Sandy, you are now an Honorary Guy. That means you can crack all the dumb jokes you want, make obnoxious noises at sporting events and eat insane amounts of food with no nutritional value. No, no--you don't have to thank us! We do this because we're guys and that means we're by nature generous and sharing. So we don't need thanks--knowing we've shared our great honor with you is thanks enough!

 GUYS--that's what we are and that's what we do!

   Seriously, though, I hope you check out these books and also go and see Sandy and Malcolm at their libraries. And tell them Iron Guy Carl sent you! And write in and tell us if you've read these books! I'll publish YOUR reviews on this blog! All the instructions are on the left-hand side of the page. Hope to hear from you soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sea of Monsters Movie and Titan's Curse Graphic Novel

syndetics-lcSummer greetings, everyone, from Charlotte's # 1 Percy Jackson fan. I LOVE the Percy Jackson books. Do you hear me? I don't just like the Percy Jackson books; I LOVE them. LOVE THEM!! Got that? I'm such a fan that you see me here at last year's Greek festival in my Camp Half-Blood t-shirt--given to me by Mr. Riordan! So I was happy to finally get hold of a dvd copy of The Sea of Monsters, the second Percy Jackson movie. Yes, i know it came out last August, but I was busy that summer and missed it at the theatres. Anyway, I enjoyed it a whole lot and wanted to recoomend it to all you reader guys. In fact, I enjoyed it much, much more than The Lightning Thief movie, which seemed to be thrown together in a hurry and didn't catch the spirit of the PJ books. This one did--mostly. There was lots of action, of course, as well as plenty of monsters, fights with monsters, narrow escapes from bad guys--all the things that make a great GUY movie. But this one also had the wacky humor of the PJ books, which was missing from the first movie. Just watch the scenes with the "cab drivers" or the encounter with Hermes. Or the Confederate "zombies." And the effects are incredible! Witness the scenes inside Charybdis or the ride on the hippocampus. Of course, there were a few flaws--Clarice was in this one (she wasn't in The Lightning Thief movie) but she didn't look at all as she is described in the books and she wasn't nearly mean enough. Plus, if I remember correctly, there were big departures from the book near the end of the movie. All in all, however, this was a very fun movie and you'll get a kick out of it if you haven't already seen it. Or, even if you have, I bet you'll enjoy it the second time. The library system has plenty of copies, although it's relatively new, which makes it a Rental movie that costs $2.00 to check out--but I'm sure you have that money from your allowance and/or the work you do at home, right?

syndetics-lcThe day after I saw the movie, I found a copy of The Titan's Curse graphic novel here at the Myers Park library (we didn't have a copy of the Sea of Monsters gn that day), so I checked it out and had the same reaction that I had to the Sea of Monsters movie. In other words, I liked it a bunch and found to be much, much better than The Lightning Thief graphic novel. That one was lame. The artwork wasn't that good--the characters looked like badly-made Play-Doh models--and the story was hard to follow. The artwork's ten times better in this one and the gn catches the feel of the book--mostly. The story can still be a little hard to follow and Atlas doesn't look nearly big and threatening enough. But, as with the movie, it was a lot of fun and you guys would definitely enjoy it. The Charlotte Mecklenburg library system has plenty of copies--one of which is still here at the Myers Park library. Come in, check it out and give me a high five!

BTW, the fifth and final book in The Lost Hero series, The Blood of Olympus, is scheduled to come out on October 7. I've reserved a copy from the library already! Get your library cards out and you could do the same! Can't wait!!! And be sure to check out Myth and Mystery, Mr. Riordan's blog, to keep current with info about this terrific books.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Great Dan Gutman Question Anwered--For Now

Greetings, all my fellow reader guys. I hope you're enjoying your summer--and I hope youhave signed on for Summer Reading. If not, there's still plenty of time and lots of cool stuff to get for reading. I'm going to talk toady about an author that guys everywhere love. It's Dan Gutman, he of the My Weird School, Baseball Card Adventures, Genius Files series, as well as several other books. Many boys have written in over the years and told us how much they like his books. Not only did they like them, boys LOVED them! Especially the My Weird School series. Don't believe me? Click on the "Dan Gutman" tab under this post and see! Anyway, I've read a few of his books over the years (plus it was one of my 2014 Iron Guy Resolutions) and--and--well, I hate to admit it but--------

I wasn't impressed.

View full imageNow don't get me wrong. I didn't think his books were terrible; I just didn't think they were all that great. Let me give you a little background. I really liked the first DG book I read. It was Qwerty Stephens: Stuck in Time with Benjamin Franklin and I really liked it. In fact, I LOVED it! (see my review here) So I naturally thought all his books would be that good. And I was disappointed. I read Getting Air and it was OK. (see that review here)  I read another, The Homework Machine, wasn't impressed at all and didn't even review it. I even tried a couple of the My Weird School books but couldn't get into them. "So what's up with this?" I wondered. "Why do all these guys rave about Dan Gutman? Am I missing something?" It got to the point that I thought about making a special Controversy Post about him and calling it The Great Dan Gutman Question. I've done two Controversy Posts before. One was about Harry Potter (I'm not a big fan) and the other was about the Wimpy Kid books (I think Greg Heffley's a jerk) The Iron Guy is never afraid of expressing a reading opinion when it's not popular, but, in true MANLY MAN fashion, I decided to rethink my position before saying something I'd regret. Truly MANLY MEN always think before speaking!! Anyway, I checked out two My Weird School books and, wow, am I glad! These books are indeed terrific!!

The first one I read was the first one in the series, Miss Daisy is Crazy! Here we are introduced to AJ, who hates school. But even he can read, write and add. So how come his teacher, Miss Daisy, can't do any of those things? A teacher who can't read? Write? Add? Hey, that might be cool after all--that teacher couldn't make you work! But AJ and his friends  still hate school anyway--which gives them an idea. Maybe they could buy the school and turn it into a video arcade. Sounds great, huh? Do you think they can do it? You'll have to read to find out!

View full imageThe other one was Mr. Jack is a Maniac form the My Weirder School series.In this one, a guy rides up onto the school playground on a motorcycle! Turns out that he's new martial arts teacher who's going to teach the some self-defense moves, how to breathe and to expect the unexpected. So what does Mr. Jack do when the truly unexpected happens--like a bear walking into the gym!! What will Mr. Jack do? Check out this book to find out!

These books are funny, funny and I need to say one more thing about them--they're funny!! The situations are wacky, the grownups are wacky and the kids are truly like second-grade kids everywhere--like being impatient with martial arts training. Except they come up with some wacky ideas too--like buying the school!
I really enjoyed these books and I can see why guys everywhere like them. Not to mention they're fast, good and quick read. Enthusiastic readers, as well as those the grownups call reluctant readers, will enjoy these books. So count me in as a Dan Gutman fan! At least, for now. I like these books a lot but I'll have to read some of the other series, like the Baseball Card or Million Dollar books to see if I'm a DG fan or a My Weird School fan.

Which means I'm going to need YOUR help! I want to read one of the books in the My Weirder School series. But which one should I get?? There are a lot of them out there--which one should it be?? I'll wait until I hear from you and the one that gets the most recommendations is the one I'll read. So write a title in the Comments section under this post and let me know!!

And one more thing. I'd like to get on my Fourth of July soapbox for a moment. Without getting all political, I'd like to remind you that we live in a country in which we're free to read. That's not true in many places of the world. Here we can go to the library, bookstore, online book site and select whatever we'd like and read it without having to worry about who's going to break down our door for having that book. As I said, that's not the case everywhere. So, while you're having fun on the Fourth, remember to celebrate your independence!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lunch Lady Madness!

Hey, guys, its summertime and the living is fun! School is out, the theme parks and swimming pools are open, camps are underway and there are sports to watch and sports to play. (and don't forget the library's Summer Reading Program!) In the spirit of fun, I'm going to tell you about some graphic novels, which, as all  guys know, are fun reading!

I recently had a great time reading four of the Lunch Lady graphic novels by the fabulous Jarrett Krosoczka. These gn's have been around for about five years and have been favorites for me and other reader guys. (if you want to see what we've said about them, check out the reviews here and here and here. I told you guys like them!) For those who don't know, Lunch Lady and her assistant Betty are not only school cafeteria workers but also super crime fighters, taking down bad guys with karate kicks, fish stick nunchuks and ketchup-packet lasers.Take a look, guys:

View full imageLunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta

 Mr. Scribson, famous author of the Flippy Bunny books, is coming to the school! but everywhere he goes, gym teachers disappear. Coincidence? Lunch Lady doesn't think so!

View full image Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit

The school is having a bake sale to raise money for the school trip. But all the treats disappear during a blackout. Lunch Lady must investigate--and serve lunch with soggy taco shells!

View full imageLunch Lady and the Video Game Villain

 All the electronic gadgets are disappearing and the school bully is running for student council president. Lunch Lady must get to the bottom of things--but what she finds will shock her!

View full imageLunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle

The evil school superintendent, Dr. Van Grindheimer, has fired Lunch Lady! Some nefarious plot is underway but Lunch lady just sits at home and eats junk food. Can anyone arouse her to action before it's too late?

These are good, quick and fun reads. There's enough action, mystery and campy humor to satisfy any guy! And these are only four--there are TEN in all. And the Charlotte Mecklenburg library system has them all!  So don't just sit around--get your spork phone, call your friends and check out the Lunch Lady graphic novels. Good gravy, they're a lot of fun!

PS--be sure to check out the Lunch Lady website!