Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Old Book Prospector Digs Up More Gold in the Barnstormers Series







Howdy, partners, it's me, the Old Book Prospector. I've been digging through

the library and I've sturck gold AGAIN!!! This time its...it's...







..dag nab it!!! There's a gila monster under my hat!! 'Scuse me while I take care of it...

BAM!!!






There! Don't worry, boys, it weren't a gila monster--it was only a tarantula. I'd better go dispose of this thing. I'll let my old friend Carl tell you about some more great books while I'm gone.
PS--I'm an old hand with a six-shooter. Don't try shooting hats off your head! Could be messy!




Hey, guys, it's Carl this time. I've got another video about a fantastic set of books.


video
Yeah, I know every one's back in school, but it's still summer and baseball is still going on, so it's a good season to read these books. Actually, anytime is good because these are some of the few books that will make you sit back and go, "Wow!" They will make you sit on the edge of your chair wondering if the Travelin' Nine will win--and, like all good sports books, there is no guarantee that the main characters will win! There's a lot at stake in these games and a lot of danger if the team doesn't win, or if the kids don't learn how to use the baseball, or if the Chancellor gets hold of it. And that's just what seems to happen at the end of the third book!!! Wow, wow, wow!! How will they ever get out of this? I can't wait until next spring to find out. In fact, I'll have a lot to learn because I think there are going to be at least six books in this series. Wow, wow, wow!!

There are three books in the series so far: The series is divided into "Games".


The first book is Game 1: Porkopolis









And the third is Game 3: The Windy City


These books are great! Get them! Read them! You'll really like them!!

Carl
PS--if you want more info, go back and read the 4-25-08 post about the Barnstormers.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rock, Rock To You Drop!!!!!!!




Two of my heroes Alice Cooper (Rock Star) and Kermit The Frog (popular entertainer)


I remember when I was about 11 or 12 (maybe older; as you get older your memory gets more and more fuzzy) making a major discovery that would change my life forever. That discovery was "Rock 'n' Roll" with one of my favorite rockers at the time being Alice Cooper (on the right in the picture above, the one who is not green or a frog). He was kinda scary but also a whole lot of fun. My parents hated him and his music and could not understand what I saw in him. Even though they did not like the music or him, they let me buy his records and watch him on the T.V. whenever he was on. My parents were cool in that way. Now that doesn't mean that they wanted me to see and hear things they thought were vulgar or inappropriate, but after watching him and listening to his songs they decided that even though they still did not care for him that it was okay if I wanted to listen and watch him. So I did and had a bunch of fun doing so. He is still one of my rock heroes to this very day. I like his music and who he is as a human being (I just finished reading his autobiography he wrote in 2007). Anyway enough of my reminiscing, lets talk about a really cool book, besides the Alice Cooper one, that I just finished reading that also involves Rock.



Ironhand: Book Two of The Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher - This book takes of where Stoneheart (click HERE to see my review of that book), the first book in the trilogy, left off. It takes off like a rocket and doesn't stop the whole way through the story. The story starts with George and Edie determined to rescue the Gunner who has been captured by the evil and mysterious Walker. Now I know some of you are scratching your head asking who or what is a Gunner and a Walker. Well this story is set in a London that most people are not even aware exists. In this London, stone statues and carvings are very much alive. The statues in London are divided into two types. The taints (gargoyles, dragons and other sorts of inhuman stone creations) are evil soulless creatures. The spits (The Gunner and other more or less human looking statues, but not always as we see in this book) whom are akin to humans in that they have souls and tend, for the most part, to be on the side of good. What it really boils down to is what the statue makers intended them to represent and thus become. The Gunner is a statue of a World War I English Soldier who helped George and Edie quite a bit in "Stoneheart." The Gunner is the Walker's prisoner because of this help after George inadvertently set off a war between the taints and spits. The Walker, a sinister sorcerer type, is a servant of dark powers and leads the taints in their war against the spits. This book moves through both present day and the past. The reader travels with the characters from present to World War I to a pre-industrialized England and other strange places and times. This book is full of wonderful twists and turns that will keep the reader turning page after page. One word of advice, if you really want to enjoy this book fully, you should definitely read Stoneheart first. Man, I can hardly wait for the next book!!!! They are that good!!!!!!!!!

Checkout some of these real statues in London that some of the characters in the books may be based on:































































Interesting stuff, eh? Well I hope you all have a great Labor Day Weekend and peace,

Bill

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Danger Is Our Life": The Tale of a Heroic Nerd

Our friends at the Guys Read blog turned me on to a site called Guys Lit Wire (another really good blog about boys' reading--although it's mostly for middle-school guys) which coined the phrase "heroic nerd". They define heroic nerds as "men so driven by the urge to know, to see and understand, they make bold, mad leaps into uncharted territory." They were talking about Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, scientists who, never having sailed before, built rafts made of reeds and went 4300 miles across the Pacific to prove a theory. Well, I just read a short but good book called The Last River: John Wesley Powell and the Colorado River Exploring Expedition by Stuart Waldman about such a man. John Wesley Powell was the first person to canoe the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Was he a Heroic Nerd? You bet!! He was a college geology professor who was determined to explore the Green River and Colorado River just because no one had done it before. Why not? Because they were so full of rocks, rapids, and dangerous waters that no one, not even the Native Americans who lived there, dared to try. And the most incredible part? John Wesley Powell had only one arm!!
Yes, he lost his right arm in the Civil War but didn't let it stop him. On May 24, 1869 he and his crew set out on wooden canoes to travel a completely unexplored area of the West, through unknown canyons and down unknown rivers, where they had no idea what rapids might be ahead. If anyone got hurt, ran out of food or supplies, well, they were in the middle of the American desert and many, many miles from anyone. AND they made this trip in the middle of summer when the temperature could reach 115 degrees!! How anyone could make that expedition AND survive in nothing short of UNBELIEVABLE!! Stuart Waldman has written a short but realy good book and Gregory Manchess has created illustrations that will make your jaw drop--especially that picture in the middle of the book of the Grand Canyon. PLUS--This book has a very cool feature; the title page folds out and displays a map that stays out while you read the book. That way you can follow the map as you read the story!Plus there are excerpts from the crew's journals and photos taken when JWP went back and explored that area again. PLUS there's a link to a website that shows 400 photos taken on those trips. Can't wait to see them!
This is a good one, guys! Don't miss it!!!
Carl

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Awards! Gold and Silver!

Hey, guys, weren't the Beijing Olympics exciting? The swimming, the men's volleyball and basketball teams going down to the wire--wow! I just love the Olympics, and, as I said earlier, it never fails to have lots of drama. Congratulations, all you athletes and especially all USA teams, who've brought home more medals than ever.





And speaking of medals, it's time to give out the awards for the Boys Rule Boys Read Olympics of Reading! The gold goes to---ta ta ta daaa!!--Mikey, aka Lord Vader!! With 11 points (8 of them from nonfiction reviews!) he tore ahead of the pack like Usain Bolt. Come down to Imaginon and get your Joust Read T-shirt!










The silver goes to--bom bom bom!!!--cyber kid 303! With just one review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he managed to get 5 points. Well done, cyber kid. You can come to Imaginon or, now that Zack is on our team, you could go to the Matthews library and get 2 books from the giveaway shelves.





The bronze goes to...to...hmmmm, we have no one to give the bronze to. Uh oh! Well, the Olympics came right at the end of summer and ended just as school started, so a lot of you were probably on vacation or getting ready for school. So how about this; we'll extend the Olympics of Reading for 10 days, that is until September 3 at 9:00 pm. That' ll give everyone a chance to readjust to going back to school but still give you time to fire in a review or two. We know you won't have much time, but maybe you could tell us about a book you've read in the past (remember, don't review a book you've already done). Don't forget that nonfiction books are good and often are quick reads. (Hint: we have a nonfiction section on our list that says "Here's a list of all the books we've talked about.") Plus, to make the offer better, we will double the prize for bronze. You will get this Max Axiom: The Shocking Story of Electricity CD-ROM and get to choose one book from the giveaway shelves at Imagionon or Matthews! All right, guys,let's get to those keyboards and send in those reviews! The rules will stay the same except that we'll eliminate the Marathon category since cyber kid already reviewed HP and the DH. The rules (and the list) are on the side bar on the left-hand side of the page. Don't forget to use the format under those rules.
Keeping the Olympic spirit alive,
The Boys Rule Boys Read Olympics Committee
PS--does this mean that Darth Bill and Jedi Master Zack have to continue their truce??

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lord Vader Kicks and Scores! and Scores! and Scores! and...

Whoa!!Mikey (aka Lord Vader) has come raoring back on the last day with not just one but FIVE reviews! Four of them are nonfiction. Let's see them:




After watching some of the Olympics I wanted to learn about some of my favorite sports, so I checked out a few non fiction books. My first one was "Women of Sports: The Best of the Best in Track and Field" by Rachel Rutledge. At first I didn't pay attention to the women part of it, I thought it was just a track book, but it was pretty cool. It gives you a history about women in track first and one part was really funny when it talks about a guy that pretended to be a woman and ended up getting in trouble with the law. It also talks about some of the great women athletes and about how they got into the sport they were in. I liked this one and I think other people that are into track would like it also.

My next non fiction is called "A True Book: Cycling" by Christin Ditchfield. It tells you all about the different types of cycles there are and even tells you about the very first ones. I like the discs they put over their spokes to cut down on the wind that will slow them down. I think I like the BMX bikes the most because you can do a lot of tricks with them. I like this book also.

The last non fiction sports one I read was "Beginning Golf" by Julie Jensen. I have always wanted to play golf and I learned a lot from this book. It tells you about the clubs and shoes you need. It also shows you the swings you should use and what clubs to use for different swings. At the end of the book they give you an example of how to play the game by giving you a story about 4 teens playing out a game. It also shows you how to score your game using par and bogey. I think anyone starting out in golf would like to read this, I did.

My last non fiction book is about Greece. It ties into the Olympics because the first games were played there. It is called "History Opens Windows: The Ancient Greeks" by Pat Taylor. It had some great information about how the Greeks lived, about their homes and tools. I liked the doctor tool page. The tweezers are huge. I think they should bring back chariot racing in the Olympics. That was one of the old games that they stopped doing. It would be cool to watch. I liked this book, I think others would also.

My last review is for a fiction book. It's "Star Wars Boba Fett : Hunted, A Clone Wars Novel by Elizabeth Hand. It takes place after the other one I read where Boba had to escape Aura Sing. He heads to Tatooine in this one to find Jabba the Hutt. He wants the knowledge his father said he could get from Jabba. But when he gets to Tatooine he has no money and winds up meeting a group of thieves when they steal his helmet and book that his dad left him. He finds out they are orphans that have no choice but to steal. He gets his things back but when he meets Jabba he finds out that Jabba wants the thieves killed for stealing from him. So while he tries to go after the bad guy that is making the kids steal he also has a bounty hunter after him. I really liked this book, it shows a kid can do a lot if they have to. That is my review for now.

Mikie (a.k.a. Lord Vader)

Good going, Lord Vader. I always knew that nonfiction is not boring and you have just proved it. Let's see, that's 4 nonfiction reviews at 2 points each plus one point for the fiction, giving you 9 points for this entry. With the 2 points you already have, you've got a grand total of 11 points and that puts you way in the lead!! But the day's not over--every one still has until 6:00 pm today to get more reviews in. That includes you, Lord Vader. You never know who might burn one in at the last minute.

Carl

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Old Book Prospector Finds Gold! (in Erec Rex)

Hey, pals, this is Carl. I've asked an old friend to help me talk about some really great books:


video


There are a lot of good fantasy books out there. There are a lot of very good fantasy books, such as The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander and The Tiger's Apprentice by Laurence Yep, but there are only a few that make you sit back and say, "Whoa!!!" Well, Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye and Erec Rex Book 2: The Monsters of Otherness by Kaza Kingsley are two such books. How many words can I use to tell you about them? Fantastic?? Outstanding?? Unbelievably Good?? They would all fit.




There are a lot of things to like about Erec. He's smart yet baffled by all the strange things that happen (just like you or I would be), brave, loyal to his friends and mom, ready to fight the bullies that torment him, and also ready to face the incredible dangers that threaten his mom and the underworld kingdoms. He's a guy you can root for. And there are plenty of times to cheer him on because both the lands of Upper Earth, as well as the underworld kingdoms, are in big danger from Thanatos Baskania, the bad guy of this series. Every good fantasy has a bad guy and the truly wonderful fantasies have very creepy and sinister bad guys. That's Thanatos Baskania. Not only is he evil, but he's disgusting to look at. The first time you see him, you'll go "Yuck!"
But I'm starting to take too long. Here are some other reasons to like these books:

Funny--there are a lot of things to make you laugh or smile. You'll meet really wacky characters( like the Memory Mogul), find out how the Magic Net works, what happens in rooms in a sideways castle when the gravity doesn't work right, why people from Upper Earth are Losers and have big "L's" right where a Loser should, and why the transportation centers have lots of UnderWear shops! Plus there are some of the funniest and most clever names I've seen in a long time, like Oscar Felix, Balthazar Ugry, Jam Crinklecut, Al's Well and Ed's Well, and President Inkle of the Green House.
Monsters--the destroyers and the Shadow Demons are now on my Most Fearsome Creatures of All Time list. And Erec has to get past them to get his mom out of the dungeon!!! Whew!!! Can he do it? Could ANYONE?? These monsters are the deadliest things you could imagine. And ONE Shadow Demon is worth 20 of any other monster! Plus you have Damon and Balor Stain and their gang, some of the nastiest bullies you'll ever come across--and they want to become the next kings of the underworld kingdoms! And they have a really good chance !!!
Action, Adventure, Excitement--all here!! Once you get into these books, you won't to stop. You'll hate when you have to stop reading and look forward to when you can pick it up again. This is terrific reading, guys!!! Go check them out!!!
PS--There will be a third book out on October 1. Oh, boy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is Michael Phelps a Son of Poseidon Like Percy Jackson? And Good-Bye to Melanie

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!!


And now it's time to bid goodbye to a good coworker and friend and frequent writer to our blog--our Resident Grief Giver, Melanie. It seemed that she wrote in only to point out mistakes (imagine that--US, making mistakes!!) but she was a fan of our blog and was a pretty cool person too. She was so cool that we gave her the greatest honor we could bestow and made her an Honorary Guy. How could you get any better than that? Melanie left last Friday to become media specialist at a brand-new school. We wish her all the best. Let us hear from you again, Melanie--but if you wait until we make another mistake, you might have to wait until you're 100 years old!!!



Here's a mini-gallery of Melanie


Melanie first showed up as Mystery Mel. Was she a boy or a girl? I had to use my incredible brain to figure it out.













Here's when I slept in my office all night to get the fourth Percy Jackson book and didn't shower or brush my teeth.











Here's Melanie with Bill, aka Captain Jack Bond. She's pretty cool--cool enough to be an Honoray Guy!








Good Luck!!


Carl and Bill

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Competition Heats Up!

Yes, we have a second entry in the Olympics of Reading. This one's from our old friend cyber kid 303. He's decided to enter the most difficult category, the Marathon--in other words, he reviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and some people say reading that book is as long and painful as running 26 miles (right, Bill?). Here's what cyber kid has to say (BEWARE!! There's a spoiler alert, which means that he'll give some things away. DON'T READ AFTER THE SPOILER ALERT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS))

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the 7th book in the Harry Potter series. In this one Harry, Ron, and Hermine drop out of Hogwarts to look for Voldemort's horcuxes. A horcrux is something you can put part of your soul in, enabling you to be immortal until the horcrux is destroyed.***SPOILER ALERT!!!***The last book suggests that Voldemort has 6 horcruxes. Dumbledore found one (a ring) and Harry found one (Tom Riddle/Voldemort's diary). Harry finds out that HE is the 7th horcux. Then they have to kill Lord Voldemort. During the search for the horcruxes, Harry's wand gets smashed by a Blasting curse accidently by Hermine, so he steals Draco's wand. Draco gets his mother's wand. Harry finds the Elder Wand and fixes his smashed wand. Voldemort tries to kill Harry, but it backfires on him and the piece of Voldemort's soul in Harry is destroyed. This weakens Voldemort. Harry finally kills Voldemort in revenge of his parents' murder. He uses the Avada Kedrava curse. In the epilogue Harry is married to Ginny. ***SPOILER ALERT OVER*** Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling was a book I really liked because there was a lot of action in it, such as when everyone fights the Death Eaters. It had a good mixture of action, funny, and scary parts. This is good because it has some comic relief and is not too intense. I really like this book series and really hate that it is the end. I am going to write to J.K. Rowling and ask her to write about Harry's kids.


OK, cyber kid!! That puts you in the lead with 5 points. You're in first place for the gold, but be careful--you never never know who coming up behind you. Like maybe Lord Vader. He's got 2 points but he may put on a burst of speed and catch up! Stay tuned, fans! We've got until 6:00 pm on Sunday, August 24 to get those reviews in! (And don't forget that format--title, author, what the book's about even if it's nonfiction, and why you did or didn't like the book)

Keep the competiton hot!

Carl

Of Norse Gods and Creepy Other Worlds


Smile when you say that partner, it is I once again, the coolest Sith this side of Clint Eastwood, Darth Bill. Now I know your going to look at the two books I reviewed this go round and ask: "Bill, these books have girls as their main characters. What's up with that?" Well I'll tell you; even though these books have girls as the main characters, they kick some serious butt!!!!!! One of the books reviewed Runemarks has some serious cool dudes and chicks such as:




Odin - The All Father







Thor - The Thunderer







Loki - The Trickster




Skadi - The Huntress






Pretty cool looking characters wouldn't you say? I think so!!!!!!

And Coraline definitely earns "honorary guy status" because she's tuff as nails!!!!!!! So take a look at my thoughts on one great book and one great graphic novel.



Runemarks by Joanne Harris - This story is set 500 years after Ragnarok that ended the old world ruled by the Norse Gods. The main character in this story is a young girl named Maddy Smith who is born with a strange and magical birthmark. In Maddy's world "The Word" rules all with an iron-fist. In her world magic is taboo and imagination is highly discouraged. Because of what people perceive as Maddy's strangeness she is ignored by her father and has no friends. That is until one day when she meets and old wanderer called One-Eye who befriends here and teaches her to use the magic that has been lying asleep inside her. This book is filled with Norse Gods, Heroes, Villains and Monsters. This book will suck you in and you will not be able to put it down once you start reading it. This is a great book that I would put right up there with Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" book series. The one obvious difference is that this book rekindles excitement in Norse Mythology as opposed to Greek Mythology. This book definitely is one of my candidates for best book of 2008. Warning: This book does include some occasional curse words and probably should not be read if you or your parents are offended by such.



Coraline by Neil Gaiman Adapted & Illustrated by P. Craig Russel - Do you think it would be cool to get everything you wanted from your parents. Never having to hear then say no you can't do that or no you can't have that, etc. Well in this Graphic Novel Coraline and her parents have moved into a new house that has some very peculiar aspects to it. She finds through a bricked up doorway a gateway into another world that is exactly like hers yet different. She finds in this other world she has an other mother and father who refuse her nothing. Yet something does not feel right about this other world and worse Coraline's other mother does not want her to leave. Many mysteries and challenges Coraline must overcome if she is to return to the real world. This is a great adaption of a great book that I highly recommend.

Well hepcats that's all I got for now, but keep reading and having fun.

Peace,

Bill

Monday, August 18, 2008

Trivia, Card Game and one Terrific Graphic Novel












Hello again all in the Land of Blog!!!!! I Darth Bill send you warm wishes (well as warm as a Sith can) and greetings. I am very excited because I have a very special announcement to make on this blog. It's better than flying a Tie Fighter; better than fighting Yoda in a one on one Light Saber Battle; even better than blowing something up with a Death Star. What is it you ask??????? Well, let me tell you.





First you must answer yes to the following questions:

1) Do you enjoy Comics and Graphic Novels?

2) Do you enjoy trivia and feats of knowledge?

3) Do you enjoy strategic card games?

If you answered yes to those three questions, man, do I have something to tell you!!!!!!!




Well, one of the best Graphic Novels to come out in a long time is now in the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County System. What is the name of this great book you ask???? The name of this Graphic Novel is "The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli" by Joe Piscope. What's even better is that it is just the first volume of more to come. To celebrate this new Graphic Novel Series we will be having a special "Capt'n Eli" Event here in the Spangler Library at ImaginOn on 9/10/08 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.



This event will involve:
1) Collecting game cards (relating to "The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli" card game), through searching for Trivia Posters posted throughout the Spangler Room. To obtain a game card you must answer the trivia questions correctly.
2) Playing the super cool card strategy game (with the cards you
collected through the trivia contest) with other kids who come to the event.
3) Obtaining Official Membership as a "Seasearcher" with all its rights and privileges.
4) Getting the chance to be one of the first people to check out from the library "The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli."



This event is going to be a blast matey!!!!! So if you live nearby, be sure to try and make it here. If you have any questions, please just post to the blog or give a call to the library at 704-973-2720.

To see my review of this Graphic Novel click HERE!

Also to learn more about "The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli" go to its Web Site at http://www.captneli.com/

Hope to see you here,
Captain "Bootstrap" Bill Aaaarrrrrrhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Percy Jackson Audio Book Club and Thank You, Mr. and Mrs. Riordan!


Hey, guys, it's Carl. We had the second meeting of our Percy Jackson Summer Bookclub last Saturday. It was a smaller group than in June (not at all unusual, since people take vacations before school starts) so we had only three guys. But, since we had a smaller group, I decided to try something different; we held an audio book club. I got the laptop from our technowizards and recorded the guys as we talked about the 3rd and 4th PJ books. Boy, did we have fun! You can hear the results.

(BTW, that's Alex in the Camp Half-Blood shirt, Mikey behind him, and Orsilio on the other side)


There's a picture here of waves crashing against rocks. It's a still picture. It doesn't move throughout the entire audiocast. Why's that? I can't load an audio onto this blog as I could a video. So I had to make the blog think there's a video in that space in order to get the audio in. So listen up and you'll the guys and me have fun talking about Percy Jackson. And if I had to put a picture in, why not have one to remind us of Percy's home element?


video


After we were finished with that, we had some fun. Well, at least what Ares would consider fun. Since we had 3 mighty heroes in the room, we set up an Ares Battle Station. (the bottom reads, "Can you handle it, punk?") Since real bronze would be too dangerous in the hands of such skilled warriors, we gave them much safer weapons----










-----letover rolls of Chritmas wrapping paper!! Here you see the Amazing Alex and the Magnificent Mikey squaring off. The Awesome Orsilio did battle also, so all three got to test each other's mettle. The three heroes were so evenly mathced that they fought to a draw. Beware, then, all monsters!! You don't stand a chance with three such champions in the land!







And to prove that the Riordans are nice people, here's a picture of our own coworker Leah happily showing off her new Camp Half-Blood T-shirt. Mr. and Mrs. Riordan sent it to us (allong with some extras) simply because Leah has become a big fan. The Riordans have been so good to us that we want to send a great big THANK YOU!!!
We appreciate it,
Carl

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bill and Carl Are Proud to Present a New Member of the Team!!

Bill and I have been running this blog for over a year now. Well, we have have a new friend who's been dying to join our team, so let's welcome ZACK, a new librarian who joined PLCMC a little while ago and works at the Matthews library. In fact, here's a video to introduce him to all of you: (be careful--the opening music may blast out your eardrums!)





video



Yes, it will be interesting having a Jedi Master and a Sith Lord on the same blog! But, in the spirit of the ancient Greeks who called a truce on all wars while the Olympics were on, Zack and Bill have agreed not to cut each other in half--not yet, anyway.

But why listen to me? Let's get Zack to introduce himself. Heeeeere's Zack!


Hey, Guys, it's great to be here. I would like to extend a big thanks to Carl and Bill for inviting me to be a part of this blog! I'll do my best to find great books to tell you guys about. I am currently reading the new Tony DiTerlizzi book Kenny & the Dragon. You should see my review of that soon.

The reason I am glad to be here is that my favorite thing about being in a library is hearing about how much guys like to read! We all know that guys make better readers than girls, and it is time we let the world know! To let you know what kind of stuff I like to read, my top 5 reads for guys are: Bone, Gregor the Overlander, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, the Lemony Snicket books and pretty much anything related to Batman!

As you probably noticed in the video we put together, I am a Jedi Master. I will agree to hold off chopping Darth Bill in half in the spirit of the Olympic games (but only as long as he behaves himself!).

Thanks, Zack. We're glad to have you aboard. Looking forward to hearing from you. Not looking forward to being the one who has to bring balance to the Force! Yeeesh!

Carl

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hooray! Our First Entry in the Olympics of Reading!!

Yes, sir! We have our first contestant, our old friend Lord Vader. He sent in not just one but TWO reviews:

I have two reviews on some Star Wars books. The first one is Queen Amidala by Jude Watson. It is 111 pages of her journal. It covers the episode 1 movie on her thoughts. I liked how it filled in some things that you don't get from the movie (like her struggle to become queen and her thoughts on Qui Gon throughout the episode.) A lot of it is like watching the movie, but it was still a good read. My second is Star Wars Jedi Quest: The Trail of the Jedi also by Jude Watson. This one is 128 pages long and takes place between episode 1 and 2. Anakin and Obi-Wan are on a Jedi training exercise when their pilot who is the person they are suppose to track goes missing. Clues are still left for them to follow but they were not left by the pilot. Many bounty hunters are looking to capture the master and padawan team and there is some good fighting strategies in this book. I liked this one more than the Amidala one.

Mikie (a.k.a. Lord Vader)


Very good, Lord Vader. You get two points for writing about two works of fiction. go back to our post of August 8 to get the complete set of rules and ways to earn points. Or check out # 6 on the side bar that says, "How Our Blog Works."

Let's keep them coming, guys!!

Carl

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Apathy Kat and one Cool Interview with Harold Buchholz

Hello all out there in the Land of Blog. It is I once again, the hippest Sith Lord ever to grace the Outer Rim, Darth Bill!!!!!! I'm pretty excited about this blog as I have an interview with Harold Buchholz the creator/writer/artist of "Acredale: Kolor Komics Kollection." I reviewed this book not to long ago, unfortunately this is one of the few Graphic Novels that I have reviewed that we do not as yet have in the PLCMC System (hopefully in the near future we can change this). There is good news though in that you can look and read the Graphic Novel Online, as you will find out in the interview, plus stuff that is not even in the published book. I highly encourage you to do so as this is a great comic!!!!!! In case you missed the earlier blog in which I reviewed "Acredale: Kolor Komics Kollection," just click here to see it: HERE!!!!!!!!!!



Harold Buchholz (left of the stand-up of Jimmy Dash) here at ImaginOn for the "Kids Love Comics Event" that we had back in June!!!!! (Also in the picture to the left of Mr. Buchholz are Rich Faber and John Gallagher)













At this years Heroes Con in Charlotte (left to right):


Josh Elder
Harold Buchholz

Scott Sava

John Gallagher

Rich Faber










And now without further commercial interruption, Questions & Answers with Harold Buchholz:



1) What were the first book and/or books you read as a kid that made you think “wow?”


The first book I can remember making a big impact was "Dr. Seuss's ABC". I received that as a Christmas present when I was five years old and I remember taking it with me all over the house. This amazing book was cracking the code of reading for me, showing me how letters and sounds worked together to create words and meaning. Reading was fun, and reading was opening up vast new worlds of understanding for me.

2) What gave you the idea for “Acredale: Kolor Komics Kollection” and such characters as Apathy Kat, Java, Samson, Proofy, Professor Straightlace, Suzie and Pepper?

I was working at a publishing company as a graphic artist. One day I was on the phone talking to a client and absent-mindedly doodling on a piece of scrap paper. A fellow artist, Lee Troxell, came by my cubicle and named the drawing "Apathy Kat." We joked about it and began making up a world that he would live in. I added his nemesis Professor Straightlace and his henchowl Proofy and friends that Apathy Kat might hang out with: Java, Samson, Pepper and Suzie in this small town I called Acredale. I wound up modeling Pepper somewhat on my wife. Other characters aren't based on anybody at all, although I think all characters tend to reflect parts of myself. I shared these ideas with other people and they seemed to enjoy them and that led to the comic book Apathy Kat, which can now be read online at http://www.acredale.com/.

3) Who do you consider some of your biggest influences as a comic/graphic novel creator?

I think my biggest influence is Charles Schulz, who wrote and drew the comic strip Peanuts for almost 50 years. From about the time I was seven years old I used to read the little Fawcett paperback collections of Peanuts, and it had a profound effect on me. In college I bought a copy of The Gospel According to Peanuts and realized that Schulz had even played a part in planting seeds that led to my new faith in God. That's an amazing influence for a man who was drawing four panels of a comic strip each day in his studio.

4) Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

Reading is an amazing way to understand what other people think and feel, including those who are much different from you. Books are a way for people to boil down years of
understanding and experience from which you as a reader can benefit. Reading is a gateway into worlds that otherwise wouldn't be available to you. Libraries are amazing storehouses of free knowledge that are available to anyone who is curious and wants to learn and grow.

5) Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?

Writing and drawing are great ways to explore ideas and share things that are inside of you but are otherwise hard to let others know about. Some people are happy to express themselves in other ways. I was very shy growing up and I found that writing and drawing provided a way to take time to share myself with others in a way that was fun for me and for them. It can take patience to create something that others can enjoy, but for someone like me, writing and drawing is very rewarding.


6) Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?


My favorite cartoon character was Snoopy, who was funny, cute, and very creative. The character I identified with most was Linus, also from the Peanuts comic strip. He was always sensitive but stubborn and was very concerned about being sincere. I don't have a favorite character now, but my favorite current comic strip is Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac. He's very funny.

7) What is your favorite sport?

Racquetball. It's so much fun you don't even realize that you're exercising! And it's inside four walls so you don't have to go chasing the ball after each point like you have to with tennis.

8) What do you like to do for fun?

I love hanging out with my wife. She's my best friend. I write comics for fun. I'm currently developing a new comic strip, WildLion, which will be available for free on the internet starting in Mid-October.


9) What is the favorite book you have written and/or drawn?

I'm very happy with the Acredale book (it was originally called Apathy Kat). That book contains the first two chapters of what was originally a four-issue comic book and as I mentioned before it can now be read online for free at http://www.acredale.com/. It has a lot of fun characters in it and it deals with issues of friendship, creativity, and the rewards (and dangers) of opening up your heart to others. I was able to put a lot of things that I cared about into that story.

10) Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

Pizza. My favorite is pepperoni with alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce. Yum!



    Well, I would like to thank Mr. Buchholz (a very cool guy) for talking with us and encourage you, until we get the Graphic Novel in our collection, to go and visit the Acredale Site to read it online at http://www.acredale.com/. Also keep on the look out for his new comic strip, WildLion!!!!!!

    Until next time me fine fellows,

    Bill