Saturday, February 6, 2016

Legends of the Game--A Good Book to Read Before or After the Big You-Know-What

Greetings, all you reading guys out there in this big wide blogging world. Today the Iron Guy is going to use all his iron self-control and talk quietly and calmly about a really good book that's about football. I think this topic is entirely appropriate because the CAROLINA PANTHERS ARE GOING TO BE IN THE


Excuse me, I got a little carried away. 

As I was saying, this book is a good one and it's been fun reading it this week RIGHT BEFORE THE PANTHERS AND CAM NEWTON AMAZE THE ENTIRE WORLD AT 


OK, ok, let me take a few deep breaths here--in,out, in, out. 

There, that's better.

I just can't help being excited right now. In fact, the whole city of Charlotte feels the same way because we're not only going to the historic Super Bowl 50 but we're going with the best team we've ever had and the most incredible quarterback this town has ever seen. No wonder we're all a bit hyper, giddy and barely able to contain ourselves. 

But I really did find a truly cool book and it's Legends: The Best Players, Games and Teams in Football by Howard Bryant. I've enjoyed it a lot. Mr. Bryant, a sports writer, tells the story of how the Super Bowl got started and the many great and even iconic games throughout its history. There are exciting stories, many interesting facts and tales of heartbreak and triumph. Among them are:

Joe Namath's bold prediction.

The "Helmet Catch"

Why some team offenses and defenses got cool nicknames like "Steel Curtain," "Legion of Boom," "Fearsome Foursome" and "Purple People Eaters."

Why the 1985 Chicago Bears were so good they didn't need (and still don't) a cool nickname

How Bill Walsh and Doug Williams changed football

And (hard to believe now) why the Patriots were the laughingstock of the NFL for so long

Yes, I really did enjoy this book. The stories were interesting and some were downright exciting. Each chapter is just the right length, neither too short not too long. Howard Bryant is a good writer and makes the book flow right along. You can read about colorful players like Mean Joe Green and "Joe Cool" Montana or the rise and fall of team dynasties like the Cowboys and the 49'ers, And there's a good Top Ten List of interesting NFL facts after each chapter. And there is a timeline at the back and some cool photos. Go check it out, guys. Football season will be over next week but you can read about the greatest games in Super Bowl history any time of year with this good book. And it's great for both the rabid football fan or the casual non-football fan because the stories in here are so good. (although you'll need to know some football terminology--the author regularly talks about cornerbacks, tight ends, etc.) Now this book isn't perfect, of course, and there were some irritating little things that I noticed. For instance, many of the Top Ten Lists had the dates for important things, like when famous players played, but sometimes those dates got left out--like the list of when famous coaches coached. But that's a minor thing. Overall, I liked this book and I bet you would too. And it's a recent book too, going all the way to Super Bowl XLIX, which was just last year

(PS--yes, the book does devote a chapter to Super Bowl,XXXVIII, the one with New England and the Carolina Panthers!!)

And here is our new friend Reid and Iron Guy Carl showing their Panther Pride:

Two proud Panthers fans!

Reid and the Iron Guy do the Dab

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Reid Claims His Prize!

Look here, everyone! Our new friend Reid, who sent a review recently, come by the Myers Park library to claim his prize for his first review. And here he is, proudly displaying the Return of the Jedi comic he picked from our ultra-cool prize box. Well done, Reid! We hope to hear from you again!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Golden Vendetta--Another Winner from Tony Abbott!

Greetings, all you reader guys and especially you Copernicus Legacy fans. I've recently finished The Golden Vendetta, the latest in Tony Abbott's fabulous series, The Copernicus Legacy, and man, am I ever excited about it! As thrilling as an action movie, this book takes you all over North Africa, central Europe and Turkey in the quest to find the latest Relic and keep it out of the hands of the ultra-evil Galina Krause and the Order of Teutonic Knights.

What's it about? Well, the overall theme is simple--500 years ago, the famous astronomer Nicholas Copernicus actually invented a time machine but when the evil Order of Teutonic Knights tried to get it, Copernicus dismantled it and hid the six major components all over the world. The Order is trying to find those six Relics again and the Kaplan family has gotten caught up in the desperate attempts to find them before the Order does. But the Order is headed by the totally ruthless Galina Krause and her agents are everywhere and always seem to know where the Kaplans are and what they're doing.

In this particular book, the Kaplans are looking for Triangulum, the third Relic. They can't find it without the help of special glasses called occulara that will give clues as to where to find the Relic. But Galina is already on the trail. Plus there's new bad guy in the mix who wants to get the Relics (and Galina) for his own reasons. And why has Galina unearthed a forgotten Russian nuclear submarine? Why are there predictions of a Deluge, a tremendous flood? Who is this mystrious Colonel from a southeastern Asian country?

syndetics-lcWow, guys, this book has it all--a thief climbing the outside of a fancy hotel, a gun battle in a desert compound, motorcycle chases across rooftops, a search for a pirate's silver arm and mysterious clues to solve. And a worldwide evil organization that truly seems unstoppable. You want excitement, a few laughs, suspense, mystery and spectacularly evil villains? It's all right here in The Golden Vendetta--and in all The Copernicus Legacy books. I wouldn't start with this one, though. Go back and start at the beginning with The Forbidden Stone. Yeah, you'd have some catching up to do but you'd also have a whole lot of fun. I haven't been this enthusiastic about a new series for many years. Go now, right this very minute--well, not if you're reading this at midnight--to your library and CHECK IT OUT!!

PS--if you want to know more, click on "The Copernicus Legacy" label under this post.
PPS--any Copernicus Legacy fans out there? Write in and tell us what you think! All the instructions are on the left-hand side of this blog.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blasts From the Past for Multicultural Children's Book Day

Greetings, reader guys. Today is a big day for all those who love reading, although the Iron Guy is embarrassed to say that it sneaked up on him. In fact, I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't seen it on our good friend Ms. Yingling's blog. (check it out, guys--there are always good recommendations there!) Anyway, my mom always said that it takes all kinds to make a world and she was absolutely right. It's important to read and learn about how people live, both here and around the world because we live in a big multicultural and interconnected world. Besides, it's interesting and a whole lot of fun!

Now, since this event sneaked up on me, I didn't have time to read a new book for it. But, not only is the Iron Guy a MANLY MAN, he's resourceful too! Every once in a while I will link you to a review of something I've read before. I call these Blasts From the Past. They are really good reads and the library system still has copies. So, since I didn't read a new book for this event, I'll show you some old ones. Go find them, guys, because they are really good!
The first one is the first book I ever reviewed for this blog, Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry. It's a true oldie but goodie! It won the Newbery Award as best kid's book way back in 1941 but it's still so exciting it will make you grip your chair! Taking place in the South Pacific, you have fights with hammerhead sharks and chases by cannibals. If you haven't read this (and I bet you haven't), you're in for a treat. Check out my original review here.

The second recommendation is actually a series by a terrific author, Alexander McCall Smith. He wrote the Akimbo books about a boy on a
nature preserve in Africa. Not only are the stories good but you also really get the feeling of the African countryside. Take a look at my original review here.

All of these books are short but exciting. They're perfect if you're a long-time reader or if you don't think you like books. (what the grownups call a "reluctant reader") Especially the first book. I defy you to sit down with Call It Courage and not read it straight through without stopping. Come on, I defy you!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A 2016 New Year's Treat--a Review from Reid!

Hey, everybody, this is Iron Guy Carl and I'm happy to say that you boys are rocking the New Year! We got a book review from Graham at the end of 2015 and now we've got a new one for 2016. It's from Reid and I believe it's his first review for our blog. He going to tell us about Long Shot: A Comeback Kids Novel. Let's hear what Reid has to say:

 Comeback Kids By Mike Lupica. A review by Reid Wilson

Pedro and Ned are good friends. Ned and Pedro run against each other for class president. Ned does not like the competition. Ned does all sorts of things in basketball to make Pedro look bad. For example once Ned threw a bad pass to Pedro on purpose to make everybody think he could not catch. Ned is showing the fact that he does not like Pedro. Pedro fights back and scores the winning basket. He is everybody's friend now. I like the book because it inspires me to fight back in tough times. You should read it too!!!

Thanks, Reid! This sounds really good. I know that a lot of boys and grownups enjoy Mike Lupica's books but the Iron Guy is sad to say that he has never read one. Maybe that should change in the New Year. Anyway, I'm extremely glad to hear not only that you liked it but also that you learned a good life lesson from it. That's what I keep telling you, guys--reading is both fun and useful. And this review isn't coming from some boring old grownup--it's from a boy just like you! Which means that Long Shot is--


Reid, don't forget that the first time a boy sends in a review, he gets a free book from our ultra-cool prize box. Come on down to the Myers Park library and we'll open it up for you!

And has anyone else out there read this book? Or any others from the Comeback Kids series? Or any others by Mike Lupica? Go to the Comment section under this post and let us know!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Star Wars--The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary

Greetings of the New Year, guys! Hope that 2016 turns out to good and prosperous for all of you. I started the year right by going to see the new Star Wars movie. Wow! Was it great? You bet it was! I won't talk about the movie right now because I could go on all day but I will tell about a really cool Star Wars book.

It's Star Wars The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary and, man, is it ever great! Lots of very cool photos of the characters, equipment, droids, weapons, starships, etc. with information about each of them. Want to know what happened between The Return of the Jedi and this movie? It's in here! Want to know about the starship graveyard on Jakku? Kylo Ren's lightsaber? Rey's speeder? Want to learn more about TIE and Resistance pilots? It's all here--and a whole lot more!

Anyone who has read these Star Wars Visual Dictionaries know that they are amazing. This is no exception! Fun and fascinating, this book will keep the old-time Star Wars fan or the first-time-I've-ever-seen-a-Star-Wars-movie fan entertained and engrossed. And it's the perfect book to hand to an experienced reader or to what the grownups call a "reluctant reader."

Now, the big question is--should I read the book first or see the movie first? Well, this book doesn't contain any spoilers but I think I got a lot more out of it by seeing the movie first. And it's probably a moot point by now because I'm sure that every boy in the United States has already seen it at least once. (if you haven't--what are you waiting for?? Go see it and then check out this book!) Tell me what you thought of the movie. Did you like it a lot? A little? Did you find, as I did, that it really kept to the spirit and look of the original three movies? (Episodes IV--VI?) And have you checked out this book? And is it truly great or what? Leave a comment and let us know!

Update--today, Monday, January 11, is  Nonfiction Monday. Click here to learn about other cool nonfiction books.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year's Treat--A Review from Graham!

Happy New Year's greetings, guys! I tell you, we've been really lucky and hit the jackpot with book reviews at the end of the year. There's been one from Mighty Micah, one from Mr. Keesler, the CEO of the library and now we have one from Graham, a great boy who is also a big fan of The Copernicus Legacy series by the amazing Tony Abbott. (sorry, I don't have a picture) He's going to tell us about The Forbidden Stone, the first of these thrilling books. Let's hear what he has to say:

The  Forbidden Stone by Tony Abbott

Wade and Darrell, along with their Cousin Lily and her friend Becca are summoned to Germany with their father by an old family friend. Upon arriving they quickly determined there frined had been MURDERED. This discovery and the kidnapping of their mother, drags them into a relic hunt which leads them across the globe. They work to discover the mytserious relics of Nicolaus Copernicus, the famous astronomer, while being chased by the knights of the deadly Teutonic order. This book is like a roller coaster curvng and sswerving around the world. I liked this book because of the thrilling adventures that live inside the pages of Copernicus Legacy.

Thanks, Graham!  I'm a HUGE fan of these books and I'm glad you are too. (if you'd like to know what I've said about them, click on the "Copernicus Legacy" and "Forbidden Stone" labels under this post) Take a note, boys--this book is recommended by a reader guy just like you. It's not just the word of some boring old grownup. Another boy liked it and I bet you will too. Go to your local library and check out a copy. After all, now that Graham has reviewed The Forbidden Stone, this book is--