Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutclliff



Have you ever sat in a theatre after a movie was over, stunned and unable to get up because the movie was so great? Doesn't happen often, does it? Well, books as great as The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff don't come along that often either. And just like a great movie, this book left me sitting there going, "Wow."The whole purpose of this blog is to tell you about terrific books, so I'm going to tell you guys right now that his is one terrific book!

The story is based on two actual historic events. In 177 A. D., the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army in Britain marched into what is now Scotland to put down a rebellion. They disappeared without a trace. Eighteen hundred years later, a Roman eagle, the symbol of a legion, was found buried in the fields of southern England. Were the two incidents related? Maybe and maybe not, but Ms. Sutcliff used them to make her story.

Young Marcus Aquilus has come to England to take command of the Roman fort of Esca Dumnoniorum. He's haunted by the fact that his father was commander of the Ninth Legion and that their eagle was lost. He'd love to know what happened but he he must attend to his duties first. Then the local tribes attack the fort and Marcus is caught up in the middle of it. Things don't turn out for him as he expected, but later he hears that the eagle of the Ninth might have been taken by the northern tribes. He's afraid that the eagle might be used to rally the tribes against the Romans. Marcus and his friend Esca (a former slave) disguise themselves and go north to find the eagle. Right into the land where the Ninth Legion disappeared. Could they possibly find it? And if they do, how could they hope to get back alive with all the northern tribes hunting them? Whew, this is one thrilling story!! The excitement gets very intense. I found myself gripping the book, wondering what would happen to Marcus and Esca. You will too! Well, in all fairness, I do have to let you know that the really exciting stuff happens in the second half of the book. There's a great battle in chapter III, but, after that, things take a while to build up--which is appropriate, considering what happened to Marcus in the battle. But when this book gets good--man, what a payoff!!
So don't waste any time--strap on your armor and march down to your nearest library or bookstore to get this one!!

OK--this book was so great that I'd like to say some more about it. You know how grownups are; we love to talk and talk. If you just wanted to find out about a good read, then you can stop here. But if you want to read more, go right ahead.

First, Rosemary Sutcliff is one of the best writers I've come across in a long time. She really makes you see and feel what's happening in the story. I could almost shiver with Marcus and Esca in the cold, wet mountains of the north. I could see that chariot with blades on the wheels bearing down on Marcus!

I like historical fiction a lot. It gives you the same things you can get from good fantasy. Not only do you get good stories, but you also get to enter worlds that are different from our own. Ms. Sutcliff does a masterful job with this book in getting you to be part of the worlds of the Romans and the northern tribes.

Rosemary Sutcliff didn't talk down to you in this book. She didn't "dumb down" this one because its written for kids (even if they're high school and middle-school kids). She used some words that may be unfamiliar to you and doesn't and stop to explain them. It's not all the time, of course, but you might to keep a dictionary at hand. I found myself writing down words so I could look them up later. (I didn't want to interrupt this terrific story, so I wrote words down) Do you know what a "cresset" is? Or a "rath"? Or that a "boss" can be something more than a person who tells you what to do at work?

I read this book because our brother bloggers on the SMS Guys Read blog got it to read before The Eagle, the new movie based on the book, came out. They had a great discussion about the book on their blog. Some guys liked it and some didn't. I'd like to know what you guys think.
Besides, look at how these guys react on camera. Now that's how GUYS talk about books!!
Speaking of discussions, The Eagle of the Ninth would be great for book clubs. There's a lot to talk about. You could go into the story but you could go even deeper. You could talk about friendship, like the one that develops between Marcus and Esca. Can two people from two such different cultures be friends? What could overcome those differences? You could even talk about how the wolf, Cub, symbolizes that friendship. (don't know what I mean? Read the book and find out!) There's also the whole conflict of Light vs. Darkness, as in the time when Esca and Marcus are in that cave!! Shiver!! It reminds me of the chapter in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in which the people are trapped on the island of darkness. Also, this could lead to all kinds of chances to investigate what life was like in Roman Britain. Any teachers out there paying attention? Or any homeschooling parents?

PS--since the new movie is out, the library has ordered more copies and they should be here soon. Check for them is all the others are out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

OOOPSSS!! I Missed One!

The Iron Guy is sooo embarrassed! I left out a review last Friday when I posted the reviews from the boys in Ms. Metcalf's third-grade class. It's from Shawn and it got lost in that big pile of reviews. So sorry, Shawn! I'm posting it right now:

The Dragon's Eye by Dugald A.Steer

Daniel a twelve year old boy looks forward to meeting his parents. He hasn't seen them for four years. But Daniel's sister brings shocking news. His parents have to stay at India! Whom his parents sent them to Dr. Drake. Now Daniel, Beatrice (Daniels sister), and Dr. Drake go on a exciting journey. Come and read this book and it's awesome. The reason I "Love" this book because it's a really exciting adventure. It grabs my attention. I recommend you to read it!

Thanks, Shawn!! This book sounds really good and I hope it sounds good to all you reader guys out there too. The library has plenty of copies, so go and get it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Here's the Winner(s)!

This is the first time this has ever happened with one of our contests--we have finished with a tie!!
Very funny.

Actually, we have two guys who each sent in four reviews. One was our old friend Michael (King of Books and time Travel) and Ethan from the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy. Since it ended in a tie, the Iron Guy will be very generous and let you each pick three prizes from the uber-cool prize box here at the Myers Park library. If you can't get over here. I'll get the prizes to you.

Congratulations and well done!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Girls From MRSA Write In!

Yesterday we had a bunch of reviews for our Books Guys LOVE Contest from the boys of Ms.Metcalf's third-grade at Metrolina Regional Scholar's Academy. We also had a bunch of reviews from the girls, but I didn't include yesterday them or the post would have been waaaayyyyy too long. Well, I told you I'd put them up as soon as possible and here they are!

Now, just to be clear--even though this blog is primarily for boys, we don't mind if girls write in. We want to know about good books and, if girls can tell us about some, we don't mind. In fact, we welcome them! In fact, we're so glad to hear from them that we give them the greatest honor we could possibly bestow--we make them HONORARY GUYS!! (all this generosity is further proof--as if any more is needed-- of the awesome greatness of boys!) You'll see this award at the end of this post, but, first, let's see those reviews!

First up is awesome Aliyah:

Title of Book = YoutSuba 1

Summary= This graphic novel is about a five year old Moving into town.Her name is Youtsuba. Now She’s five but she can make an adventure.Ther’s Meeting and chasing through the whole book. If you like funny books this is the book for you.

Why I like the book=There are so many reasons that I love the book but I’ll name a few. One reason I like it is because you cant stop laughing. Theres always a place in the book that you will laugh to. Another reason that theres a big adventure in it. And the last reason Oh the last reason is that since it was made in Japan so instead so instead of reading left to right you read it right to left. Cool huh? That is the reason I like the book Youtsuba.

Next we have two from exceptional Emma:

Author: 1st- Rick Riordan

2nd-Peter Lerangis etc.

39 Clues

39 Clues series is about two kids named Dan and Amy.Dan is 11 and Amy is 14. They go on a quest to find 39 Clues; which will reveal the Secret to the Cahill family-but a dangerous mission. Follow them around the world to hunt for the Clues. I LOVE this book because it is an adventure book and I love Adventure.

This is why you should get 39 clues books and why I like them.

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries is a book that you can’t stop reading until you’re done. It’s about a girl named Nikki who goes to a new school. She gets teased by Makenzie, the most popular girl in the school. She meets two other girls.I LOVE this book because you can’t stop reading it.

That’s why I like the book and why you should get it.

Another 39 Clues fan is super Sarah:

Into the Gauntlet

The 39 Clues: book 10

Do you or your family like the 39 Clues? If you do or if you don’t, this is a great book for all readers. Amy and Dan are led to England, the home of Shakespeare, where they find the final clue. But, once again, Isabel Kabra, all the clues in her hands. She tries to kill them but they escape,and , oh, read the book to find out. What I love about this book is that it craves adventure. The Author is Margaret Peterson.

Following Sarah is sensational Celeste:

Unicorn School

Author = Linda Chapman

Willow can’t wait to start unicorn school and learn how to fly and cast charms. With her new friends, Sapphire, Troy and Storm, life at school turns out to be full of fun. But when older unicorn plays a mean trick, storm finds himself in trouble. Willow will do anything to help him. Isn’t that what friends are for?


Then we have superb Charlotte:

Harry Potter

This grate book by J. K. ROWLING

Harry’s parents are killed by lord Valdormrt but Harry was left with only a scar! In this book Quidditch stops and what starts you find out. I just love the sereys I love all the characters (except Genny) and all about the book (except Genny).

Here are two reviews from stupendous Sathya:

Book is by:Dav Pilkey

“The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” is a great book to read. Ook and Gluk are in a happy land in Cavelan, Ohio but there is danger coming up. An evil Incorperation is come from the future to steal there properties. Ook and Gluk travel through the adventure.There are some people good sometimes. A Kung-Fu master saves them. See what will happen to Ook and Gluk. Read this book to find out.

Book is by: Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Do you know about the Pilgrims and what they haved faced? Well now you do with “Pilgrims from the Magic Tree House Research guide.” This book tells about the Native Americans too. Do you know about John Alden? Know you can. Readthis book to find out about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians.

Marvelous Malika also likes Harry Potter:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

My favorite book is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It is about a boy whose parents get killed So he had to move with his aunt and uncle. His Aunt and Uncle were really mean but one night a guy named Hagrid told Harry that he was a wizard So Harry had to go to a wizard school. This was my favorite book because this book is very interesting.

Here's a review from amazing Arushi of an Enid Blyton book:

St Clares by Enid Blyton

Pat and Isabel are going to St Clars. They are of as “The Stuck up twins but slowly climbing up the school to the last term. Janet and Bobby produce tricks on the French teacher, Mamzelle while cupboards are filling up with treats for a midnight feast. Friends come and leave but St Clares is full of fun. I like St Clares because its full of mysteries like robberies and meaness. My mom read St Clares when she was little, so I read it too. Life at St Clares is fun, but something is always in the air! There’s more trouble at St.Clare’s.

And the final reviews come from lucky Leslie:

Dork Diaries

I realy like the book Dork Diaries. It is a lot like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It is about a girl that goes to a new school, a new bully and a new crush. She only has two friends. It is very funny. She is a very good artist. She is not at all popular I think a lot of people will like it. I liked it because it was very funny. Read it to find out what happens at the end.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie Diary

The wimpy kid movie diary shows you how the movie diary of wimpy kid was made. It shows who the charactors are. It shows printed note that the actors wrote. Read the Book to find out how the movie is made.

Thanks, girls!! We really appreciate all those first-rate write-ups. Several of these books sound good. I'm really glad you read an Enid Blyton book, Arushi. She's popular in the U. K. and not so much in the U. S. and some grownup bloggers wonder if people read those books here.

As I said, we're so happy to get your reviews that we'll bestow upon you the greatest honor we have and make you HONORARY GUYS!!

Yes, we know you're stunned into silence by the greatness of this award but don't be shy--you've earned it! All silliness aside, we're really glad you sent us those reviews and hope to hear from you again.

Wait a minute--that may be sooner than you think! There's now a tie for second place. Michael and Ethan are tied for first place with 4 reviews each; Emma, Sathya, and Leslie are tied in second with two reviews each. Send us more reviews by the end of Monday, February 14 to break the tie. There are prizes involved!! (See the post from February 1 to see what they are)

BTW, did I say that those of you who have written to us for the first time will get a free book? Well, you will! I'll make sure you get them. Congratulations!

And if anyone else out there in blogland wants to enter this contest, there's still time! Let us hear from you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Micahel Kicks It Up to the Next Level...

Hey guys, our good friend Michael (King of Books and Time Travel) has sent us two more top-notch reviews for the Books Guys LOVE Contest:

The 39 Clues, book 1
The Maze of Bones
by Rick Riordan
What if you found out that your family was the most powerful family in the history of the world? That's exactly what happened to Amy and Dan Cahill. When their grandmother died, she left behind a secret will. The will states that there will be a worldwide clue hunt, and the first people to get all 39 Clues will become the most powerful person in history. But will Amy and Dan embark on this hunt, or will they take a million dollars each to stay out of it? Find out in this epic thriller.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, book 1
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney
You've seen the movie. You've seen the reviews. You might even have seen the float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But you are seriously missing out if you haven't read the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Greg Heffley is your average 13-year-old, except for one thing: his life is much funnier than average. Follow Greg, his family, his friends, his enemies, and others as Greg faces the facts of life in a very humorous fashion!

Thanks, Michael! I hear you have more coming and I can't wait to see them. You are now in first place with four reviews. But you've got competition!! Look at the post underneath this one to see who's breathing down your neck.

...and So Do the Boys from MRSA!!

The kids from Ms. Metcalf's third-grade class at Metrolina Regional Scholar's Academy have sent in a boatload of reviews! I'm going to post the boys' reviews first and then publish the girls' reviews soon so this post doesn't get too long. No disrespect to all you girls; you'll get your turn soon. (BTW, this blog has heard from MRSA before. A couple of years ago, some girls from the fifth grade-class wanted to do a hostile takeover. We fought back valiantly until they told us they didn't really want to do a hostile takeover. We, of course, gave them some gifts for writing so many good reviews, thereby proving, through our generosity, the awesome greatness of boys)

One more thing--several of the boys drew pictures on their reviews and, unfortunately, I don't have a way to scan and post them. Sorry, guys, because I really enjoyed them! But if I can find a way, you'll be sure to see them.

Our first review comes from rockin' Rohan. It's about The Aviation Book.
In this book you can learn about every type of plane in history. There is the concorde and even the Wright flyer! You can even learn when aviation started. You can even know how long the planes are.

I had this book when I was a little kid. I like this book because I never heard some these planes because some are broken and old fashion and those planes really interest me. I learned new things about planes I even know and that’s very interesting to me.

Next we have some reviews from excellent Ethan:

Captain Underpants

Captain underpants is a hypnotized super hero! He saves the world from evil bad guys. When you snap he turns into the captain. When you put water on his head, he turns into a mean principal.

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

Good morning gorillas #26 Magic Tree House series

Morgan lafe is trusting Jack and annie to find the special magic of the gorillas.They travel to the forest. Will they be safe. Are the gorillas nice. What other animals cometheir way?

They started moving in to Frog creek woods Pennsylvania. They found a tree house when they moved in. The tree house was full of books. It was owned by Morgan lafe. All they have to do is point to a picture and say ”I wsih we could go there.” And they would go there!

Author: Adain Blade

Sepron the Sea Serpent is a beast quest book with a boy named tom. Followed by his guide wizard advro he is destined to free the legendary beasts. After he freed the 6 beasts, the evil wizard mavel created his own monsters. Sepron is a cursed beast.tom has to free him to unlock the chain on his neck.


Author: Creator of Captain Underpants

There is a great book called “The Advemntures of ook and Glug.”I really enjoyed it because they do really weird but cool karate moves.


The main bad guy is Mr.Guppernopper.It can karate nothing because he didn’t learn about KUNG FUuuuu!

Kungfu is learned in the middle of the book. They used the kungfu to defeat him.(well he didn’t use kung fu.) Chief Guppernopper is trying to take over the world. And this is what OOK DID. (there are lots of drawings here drawing here and so, since I can’t reproduce them right now, I’ll end Ethan’s review here)

Now here's one from rockin' Ryan (we have several rockin' guys in this group):

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson, 12, goes to Camp Half-Blood and meets a ton of half-bloods and meets his unknown father.But when Zeus discovers that his lightning bolt is gone, he accuses Percy as the thief. Percy also adventures with his friends, Annabeth and Grover.But when Ares gives Percy a bookbag to help him, Percy is on a run.But then, Percy discovers the lightning bolt is in the bookbag, so Percy ends up with the bolt.

Then there's this one from rockin' Rayyan:

Book title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (the last straw) by Jeff Kinney

Summary: Gregs trying to get his family to have New years resolutions but it doesnt go well. Rowley is his best friend and middle school isnt the best the best thing for the two of them. There teacher lost the dictionary and they cant do anything until the teacher finds it. Greg and Rowley go to cub scouts and they make soap molds. Greg and rowley got to go to the troup they liiked (because they get lucky.) They have to go to this man and son thing and boy greg does not enjoy it.

I love this book because its funny and interesting.

Next up is dashing Davidson:


Frindle is a great book that you can’t put down. I love it because the main charater is a boy amd Im a boy. So what happens is nick, the boy gose to lincon elemnetry school and their is a really mean teacher ther and she is really good with words and dicinary’s too. But nick was a tricster in therd grade it was the middle of class and he made a high picted voice “tweet”, oh ya in forth grade he turned his class into a beach and the girls weared sun glasses and the boys wore white t-shirts with short sleevs. Ms. Granger soesn’t want to put upo with it and loves words to and evry single one of themhas ameaning to her and none of these should ever be changed but trouble maker nick said thing don’t always have meaning and should change the word from pen to frindle. Nick and Ms. Granger get into a big fight and nick has to stay after school for weeks and make him write “I am writing this with a pen” and he wrote “I am writing this with a frindle”

And last, but certainly not least, is jumpin' Joseph:

Falcon Quinn

Falcon Quinn and the black mirror is a very great book! Are you interested in werewolves vampires and imagures? Well falcon quinn is just for you so u can read about monster killers and Falcon has two hearts! They go out on a ship were and were monster killers so they get off the ship and find the monster killers secret weapon the “starer” it makes the monster stare Falcons dangle Megens a Wind Elemental and Max is a Bigfoot and so are Will and peeler. Will they survive? Will they get killed? Read Falcon Quinn and the black mirror to find out!

Thanks, men, and well done!! All these books sound interesting and some I haven't read, like Sepron the Sea Serpent and Falcon Quinn. You've made me want to find them!

Hey,wait a minute--Michael had the lead with four reviews but now Ethan has tied him!! Uh oh, we have a real contest on our hands!!! That means you have to send in more reviews by February 14 to determine the winner! You have until the end of Monday, so let's get those keyboards or pencils working, guys! (And if anyone else wants to enter, there's till lots of time)

PS--there may be a couple of reviews that got left out; if so, I'll correct that and get them up soon. (I got a couple with no names) And, girls, I'll do my best to post your reviews by tomorrow or Saturday.