Saturday, September 17, 2016

Who WOULD Win?

Batman V SupermanImage result for king kong vs godzillaHey, guys, I know you've wondered sometime who would win in a fight between two famous monsters. Or between two superheroes. Or between two killer animals. All boys think about this sometimes. Boys have always wondered about this. That's why we had the movie King Kong vs Godzilla back in my day. That's why we had Batman vs Superman this year. And that's why we have the Who Would Win series of books by Jerry Pallotta (illustrated by Rob Bolster).
These books are very cool! They're informational and interesting, plus they end with a fight between two killer animals. What could be better? And, if you don't agree with the outcome of the fight, there's a page at the end of each book that lists the advantages of each animal and let's YOU decide who would win!

Along the way, you'll learn several amazing facts such as:
  • Scorpions glow under black light because they reflect ultraviolet rays
  • Tigers live in Asia, not Africa (although a few lions live in the Gir Forest of India)
  • Great White Sharks can tell if you're nervous because they can sense electricity
  • Some chefs use squid ink to make black pasta!

All of these are quick and fun (what I call Good Quick Reads) and would be really good for our younger reader guys, like maybe second--fourth graders, But older guys would enjoy them too. And, teachers, these would be the ideal books if you have boys think they don't like reading.

The books you see on this page are only four of the books in this series. There are several others, including Hammerhead vs Bull Shark, Polar Bear vs Grizzly Bear, Komodo Dragon vs King Cobra and (maybe the best one) Tyrannosaurus Rex vs Velociraptor! Our library system has plenty of copies, so go grab some and enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Boys in the Boat--You GOTTA Read This!


I was going to write an intro about how I've been too busy lately to review anything or about school starting back but I'm going to skip all that because I've just finished a really terrific book and can't wait any longer to tell you about it.

The Boys In The BoatIt's The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown. What a great read!! What a great story!! And it's all true.

The book centers around Joe Rantz, a boy growing up in the Seattle/Sequim area of Washington state in the 1920's. His family life was happy but tragedy struck over and over. He got very sick and couldn't leave his room for a long time. Then he lost his mom. His dad remarried after a while and things seemed to settle back to normal.

Then the Great Depression hit.

Times became very hard and his family left him because they couldn't afford to keep him. He was alone at 15. To survive, he foraged in the woods and did what work he could, including cutting trees. Of course, he didn't want to keep living like this and scraped together enough money over the years to pay for his first year at the University of Washington. If he could get on the university's rowing team, he could get a job to pay for his living expenses. All those years of cutting trees had given him the upper body strength needed for rowing and he made the team.

The work was hard. Rowing may look easy but it takes unbelievable amounts of of concentration and stamina. But the coach saw something special in Joe and his team mates--so special that he believed they could be in the 1936 Olympics. And they did. But, on the day of the race, everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. The team was in dead last place. With Hitler watching. Could they even finish the race? Could they still win?

I won't tell you the answer but I will tell you this--you will hold your breath, grip your chair---and then you just won't believe what happens!!

Boys, I can't begin to say how great this book is. There are just too many good things to say about it. The only way you'll find out is to go and check it out for yourselves. But you will be SO glad you did! This is one of those rare and wonderful stories that will stay with you the rest of your lives. Go find it! The library has plenty of copies. You gotta read this book. YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! Did I say it enough? You gotta what? Read this book!!

PS--this is kid-friendly version of a grownup book. The publishers condensed the original version from 404 to 220 pages and added some photos and cool information in the back so that younger readers could enjoy the story and not get bogged down in slower passages. It's a good idea; there was a kid-friendly version of a book about Stubby the War Dog a couple of years ago. (check out my review here) I read both the grownup and younger versions and actually liked the kid-friendly version better!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Once Again--Is Michael Phelps, Like Percy Jackson, a son of Poseidon?

Hey, guys, especially all you Percy Jackson fans, if you've been watching the Summer Olympics, you've probably been amazed at the incredible Michael Phelps. I mean, this dude has been competing way past the point other athletes have packed up and gone away. AND he's not just competing,  he's still winning gold medals!! It's just unbelievable. So that made think of a post from August 20, 2008 in which I asked if he were a son of Poseidon, just like Percy Jackson. Here's a copy of that original post:

Well, think about it---Percy is powerful in the water; Michael is powerful in the water. Percy has ADHD; so does Michael. Coincidence??? Hmmmmmm......

Of course, someone is bound to say, "But Michael Phelps is 23 years old. He turned 16 before Percy. Why didn't he claim the ancient prophecy?" Don't you remember that Grover said in the first book that some demigods never find out about their parentage and grow up to be famous people due to their remarkable abilities.

"OK, why didn't the monsters get his scent and track him down?" PLEASE--ask me a hard question!! The answer is obvious--the monsters didn't catch his demigod scent because of all that chlorine in all those swimming pools!!

Plus, someone left a comment saying that Michael  has a sing le mom and Percy Jackson has a single mom.

Too many coincidences??? Hmmmmm....

So what do you think? Do we have a demigod on the US swimming team? You gotta wonder. Did you see him in that 200-meter event Wednesday night? He didn't just win--he DOMINATED that race! He was so impressive that our own Carolina Panthers football team paused its preseason game Thursday night to watch him win! So how about it, boys? Do ordinary mortals keep winning in the water like he does? Is Michael Phelps an unknown son of Poseidon? Leave a comment in the Comments  section below this post and tell us!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reid Comes Through Again!

Hey, everybody is the great land of summer! Our good friend Reid has sent us not just one but two of his first-class reviews! He always tells us about very cool books, so let's hear what he will tell us today:

View full imageThe Mysterious Benedict Society and The PerilousJourney is a follow-up to the last and is even better! In it the special children go on a hair tingling adventure with the Ten Men on their trail. They catch taxis and go on boats to follow a path of clues Mr.Benedict has left for them. This book gets you even closer to the danger than ever before. It is a very interesting text that I hope you will read. And if you do read it you are guaranteed to like it. 

View full imageMr Lemoncello's library is about a boy named Kyle that really wants to check out a book at the new library. The new game maker that is world-famous designed it! And, Kyle just found out about an invitation only lock-in.He is so excited that it is finally time for the lock-in. But when he gets there he realizes that he is going to have to get ready because what will happen next he will never forget. So read this book and you will never forget it either. So make sure you get it or else you will not have the adventure of a lifetime.

Thanks, Reid! I enjoyed that book (which is actually called Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library) and I would LOVE to work at that library! The Mysterious Benedict Society books sound great too.

So, guys, take a clue from Reid and check out these books. Still time left for lots of fun summer reading!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Audiobook Awesomeness

Well, guys, summer's heating up here in Charlotte. How hot is it? It's so hot that the birds are using potholders to pull worms out of the ground. It's so hot the orchards are growing fried pies.It's so hot that Domino's turned off their ovens and are baking their pizzas on the sidewalk! Yep, it's hot.

Things are heating up in the library, too--I mean we're really busy, so I'm going to be brief today.
Do you remember my talking about the audiobook version of The Serpent's Curse by Tony Abbott? Well, I finished and I have just two words to say about it:
The Serpent's Curse



This really is one of the best audiobooks I've heard in a long time. The plot is terrific and the reading is spot-on, which means it gets all the intense action, suspense, danger, humor and mystery just right. I can't say enough good things about it. You'll enjoy it so much that you'll ask your parents to drive around the block a couple of more times to hear what happens next! If you haven't listened to his, go get it!! And if you haven't read any of The Copernicus Legacy books----well, I can't think of a better way to cool off that with a big glass of lemonade and one of these unbelievably good reads.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Reid Reads Again!---I Mean, Writes Again!--I Mean He Reads AND Writes Again!

Tars Tarkas, Martian warrior chief
Hey everyone, this is the Iron Guy, keeping busy during this ultra-busy summer season. I tell you, this summer keeps me hopping! I'm checking out books faster than light speed. Sometimes I wish we could hire one of those four-armed Martians from the old John Carter books in order to keep up!
And when it gets this busy, even a MANLY MAN like the Iron Guy has trouble keeping up with his reading. That's why I'm glad we have faithful friends like our good pal Reid! He has sent us a review of something that sounds really good. Let's hear what it is:

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart is a cool book that hooks me and keeps me on the edge of my seat at all times. It is really fun to read because it is about smart people like you and is really good. It is about 4 people named Reynie,Constance,Sticky,and Kate. They go on an adventure together to a place called the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened or LIVE for short. They become Messengers and help with the Whisperer project. The Whisperer is a scary device able to remove,steal,and communicate thoughts. 

The Mysterious Benedict SocietyThanks, Reid! This is another one of those books that keep getting checked out over and over and over again. I can see why from your review! This is the first book in a series and I hope you read the rest of them. Let us know if you do! BTW, the audiobooks must be really good. I know someone who would listen to it in the car and, when she got home, would run run inside and slap the disc in the cd player to keep playing the story!

How about the rest of you reader guys? Have any of you read this book? Or any of the others in this series? Or listened to the audiobooks? Send us a review in the "Comments" section--or send us a review of ANY book you're enjoying this summer.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's Monday--What Are You Listening To?

Summertime greetings, guys! What sort of fun activities are you doing? Swimming? Baseball?  Movies? Traveling? I certainly hope you're doing more than playing video games all day and night! (it's OK to do that but there's so much more fun stuff out there) I hope you're finding fun stuff to read as well. And if you are traveling or even just getting driven around town to camps/sports/etc., one of the most fun things you can do in the car is listen to audiobooks. That's what the Iron Guy loves to do. If I'm driving to work or even just going to the store, I'll always have an audiobook going. It's great fun and I get to hear some truly cool stuff. That's why this post is called It's Monday--What Are You Listening To? A bunch of grownups host a weekly meme called It's Monday--What Are You Reading? but I thought I'd change it and give it an audiobook focus. (btw, you can find that meme at Teaching Mentor Texts)

So what am I listening to? The Serpent's Curse by the amazing Tony Abbott. It's book number two in that incredible series, The Copernicus Legacy. I'm a HUGE fan of those books. Action! Danger! International conspiracies and 500-year-old secrets! Plus some spectacularly evil villains and generous dashes of humor. So when I saw the library has audiobook versions, I knew I HAD to check out one. I'm only on disc 2 so far but I'm enjoying it a lot. The actor who reads this book, MacLeod Andrews, paces the reading just right to get the maximum suspense and humor out of the story. (especially when he reads the part with Dr. Beverly Billing...ham, one of the funniest episodes in any book from the last couple of years!) And he gets the voices just right too--the kids sound like kids and the villains--well, you couldn't find more perfectly-done voices for all those smooth or brutal or bone-chillingly frightening bad guys. If you're going to spend some time in the car, find these Copernicus Legacy audiobooks! You will get hooked and you may even find yourselves sitting in your driveways at the end of your trips because you just have to listen to a few minutes more!!