Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Kandy Kane Kid Rides and Reads Again

syndetics-lcHowdy, all you rootin' tootin' readin' guys! This is the Kandy Kane Kid. I've come around in past years, ridin' the range and blastin' any sourpusses and Grinches with two barrels of holiday cheer. I've also come to town to recommend a really good book for the season, one that every reader guy will enjoy. It's Kringle by the hugely-talented Tony Abbott. It's an epic fantasy about--you'd never believe it--Santa Claus. But this not some cutesy Santa story--it's a real epic battle between good and evil. These goblins are the real deal; nasty and vicious. And the heroes are truly heroic. This is a great read over the holidays, guys, so don't miss it! (you can see my original review here)

And don't forget, there is still a giveaway going on. I'll give an autographed copy of Hamster S.A.M.: Odd-ventures in Space by local author/illustrator Dave McDoanld to the first guy who writes in a review of any book or graphic novel. Find out more here.

And here's a video for your holiday enjoyment. Watch this and be amazed:

Rock on, guys, and have a great holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Matthew Myers and the Iron Guy--The Man and the Fan

View full imageHey ho, reader guys everywhere! The Iron Guy got to meet someone exciting last week. It was none other than Matthew Myers, the genius illustrator behind Battle Bunny, the most original and fun book of last year--or many other years, for that matter. If you haven't read Battle Bunny, go straight to your local library, do not pass "Go," and check out a copy! If you'd like to see how very much I liked that book, you can read my review here and read a fun post regarding Battle Bunny here. Anyway, I was at an all-day conference and Mr. Myers was a guest speaker. He was great! He talked about illustrating picture books and told us a lot of fascinating facts--for instance, did you know that an illustrator rarely sees the author when they work on a picture book? (although he worked very closely with the Battle Bunny authors) Or that it could take a year and a half to complete the illustrations? Afterwards, he gave us autographed copies of his books. Naturally, you know what book I wanted! Then I found out he was hanging around talking to people, so I got in line. He was gracious enough to listen to a Battle Bunny fan and let me talk about this blog. He was a terrific guy and also very funny. What's more, he was willing to take a picture with me! Since this is a true GUY book, I asked him to strike his most macho pose as the  real MANLY MEN we are:

Ummm--that's not quite what I had in mind.

THAT'S more like it!

Thanks, Mr. Myers! We hope to see you again and keep illustrating those terrific books!

PS--my autographed copy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Space: The Magnificent and the Silly

Hey Guys, the Iron Guy is back after his stomach-expansion workout last week. I certainly hope you all  had a good Thanksgiving and are enjoying the holiday season now. As always, I've been on the lookout for good reads for guys and have found a couple of great ones.

The first is Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight by Tony DiTerlizzi with illustrations by Ralph McQuarrie. This one is really great. We all know the story but it's still moving, especially when you read all of Luke's story in one sitting. Tony DiTerlizzi (you may know him from the Spiderwick or Wondla books) does a good job summarizing the original Star Wars trilogy but what makes this book truly terrific is the magnificent, jaw-dropping artwork by the legendary Ralph McQuarrie. He was the conceptual artist for Star Wars--in other words, he was the artist who talked with George Lucas to come up with the look for the movies. This book gathers those paintings and puts them together to tell this terrific tale. This is a terrific book  for ALL guys. If you're a Star Wars fan or even if you're not, this is one book you've gotta read! The story is exciting and the artwork is amazing. What more could you want? And if you are a fan, it will be fun to look at these paintings and see how they differ from the movies. (C3PO looks way different, for example!) PS--this book is in the picture book area of your local library but don't be embarrassed to go there and get it. It's truly a book for MANLY MEN like us!

The second book is the total opposite in almost every way, but in a good way. Whereas the Star Wars book was all about magnificent artwork and story, Hamster S.A.M.: Odd-ventures in Space by Dave McDonald is all about silliness and fun. Something is desperately wrong at the Hamsternational Space Station and the only Secret Adventure Mission (S.A.M.) Hamster can rescue the day! He and his trusty sidekick Fescue T. Fieldmouse must brave the dangers of interstellar dust bunnies and King Crud (descendant of Julius Sneezer) to reach the Station. Can they get past King Crud's nose-shaped space station or will they blow it? The only way to find out is to read this book! And if you like goofy humor, silly jokes, cartoony artwork,  lots of slapstick and lots of references to spit, snot and...other stuff, then you'll like this book. And what GUY doesn't like stuff like that?? Plus there's an interview with Gregory Johnson, a real astronaut, at the end. So check it out guys--and support a local artist. Dave McDonald lives right next door to Charlotte in Fort Mill, SC. And check out his website at www.davemcdonald.com

In fact, Mr. McDonald has generously donated an autographed copy of this book and I'll give it to the
first boy who writes a review to the blog. You don't even have to review this book; just review any book--fiction, nonfiction, biography or graphic novel. I'll post your review on this blog and give you the book. You can come to the Myers Park library to pick it up but if you live too far away, I'll find a way to get it to you. All right, guys, it's the season of giving and I'd love to give this away! All the instructions on how to write a review are on the left-hand side of the page under "Here's How Our Blog Works," but if you don't understand something or have any questions, contact me at the Myers Park library.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One Cool Guy Interviews Another

About Me!About Me!There's a terrific guy book blogger named Daniel Johnson who runs a site called The Readers and Writers Paradise. He started blogging when he was TWELVE and has been at it for five years, making some really great recommendations along the way. He also writes his own stories and--get this--makes audio recordings of great short stories! This guy does it all! You can find his reviews in his Archives sections and his stories and recordings under the proper tabs on his page. Daniel is now seventeen and still writing about books boys like, although, since he's grown up a bit, he has started writing about YA stuff. We became blogosphere friends this year and he was good enough to interview me in his latest post. Take a look here. Thanks, Daniel! I'm really thankful for guys like you carrying the word about great guy reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This Turkey Is Thankful For...

It's November again and that means it's time to think of all the good things I have to be thankful for.
NO, it's NOT the time to start putting Christmas presents under the tree, although most of the world seems to think that way if you look at the stores. It's the month for THANKSGIVING! Then next holiday can wait until December. It's time to look around and see how much we can be grateful for. And if you think even for half a minute, you could come up with a lot.

Here are a few random things of my own:

I'm thankful that the Charlotte Mecklenburg library is in such good shape. We have survived the massive budget cuts of 4 years ago and are thriving once more. And I'm grateful for leaders like Mr. Lee Keesler and Mr. David Singleton, who guide us faithfully and well, as well as Trilby Meeks, my own supervisor, who not only makes the Myers Park library a terrific place to work but also encourages to write about guy books!

I'm thankful for great loggers like Ms. Yingling and Betsy Bird, two grownup bloggers who have turned me on good books and some of my favorites series like Percy Jackson, Brixton Brothers and Alvin Ho. I'm also thankful for boy bloggers like Erik and Daniel, actual boy bloggers who spread the good word about guy reading.

And I'm grateful for truly cool books for guys that are out there now. The pickings were rather slim when I was a lad; now there so many that I can't keep up them all! Here are two, just in time for
Veteran's Day. And they are about World War I, a war that, as I heard, "is fast fading from memory." That's a shame because it was a huge part of our history and deserves to be remembered.

View full imageWar is full of terrible things (you'll see that in the next review) but sometimes it brings out the best--courage, friendship and loyalty. That's what makes Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum such a terrific book. It's the story of  a WWI soldier, the dog that latched on to him and what happens to them in the Great War. While J. Robert Conroy, a young man from New Britain, Connecticut, drilled with his fellow soldiers on the athletic fields of Yale University, he attracted the attention of a stray Boston  bull terrier. They called the dog "Stubby" because his tail had been clipped so short. Soon Conroy and Stubby became best friends. Stubby was a smart dog; Conroy even taught Stubby to salute! All the men loved Stubby and he became the unit's mascot. But then they had to ship overseas to fight in France. (this was before the days of air flight) How could Conroy sneak a dog onto a ship? And even if he did, how could a dog survive the trenches, shelling and gas attacks of WWI? You won't find out if you don't read this book! But what a story! There's a special bond between a guy and his dog that nothing, not even a war, can break and this is one of the best such stories I've ever read. And those pictures!! How could anybody resist that friendly, smiling dog? Every guy will wish he had a dog like Stubby!

View full imageOne of the most entertaining, exciting and extraordinary new book series is a set of graphic novels about----no, not interstellar shootouts or magicians blasting each other with wands or spies fighting ninja-style. They're about HISTORY! Who'd of thought it? But that's what Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series is about. And these books make history not only come alive but fill it with adventure and excitement--not to mention a big dash of humor. (You can see my review of one of the books, Big Bad Ironclad, here) This one, Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood is all about World War I. I've read a bit about WWI over the years but few things have ever made it as compelling as this.
If you don't know the story, the whole idea behind this series is that Nathan Hale, the American Revolutionary War spy who was hanged by the British, fell into a giant history book and knows what will happen to the United States. He gets the hangman and the British officer to keep from hanging him by telling them stories from America's future. In this book he tells the terrible story of the first World War. And what stories he tells them! You will long remember the soldiers who got lost in the fog during the battle of the Argonne, the fate of Private Juan, and the German officer who got a fort to surrender by knocking on the door! Yes, there is a lot of humor in here, much of it provided by the hangman who likes cute little animals. (Wait a minute--a hangman who likes cute little animals!!??) Anyway there's lots of humor, as in his other books, but there's also the awful conditions and the terrible cost of war. In the end, was it worth it? You'll have to decide but you'll get plenty of information between the covers of this terrific book. Nathan Hale (yes,that really is the author/illustrator's name!) makes the complicated issues of this war easily understandable--in fact, I never understood the causes of WWI as well as I did until reading this. But don't worry, guys; this is not some boring, dry history textbook--this is history brought to vivid life with exciting stories and outstanding artwork. Guys, if you love graphic novels and good stories, you'll want to check this one out. And grownups and teachers, if you want a good resource on WWI, this is IT! Be sure to get to your local library and get one.

And if you know any veterans, be sure to thank them for all they've done for us.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Fun!

Hey, guys, this is some kind of great! I get to post book reviews twice in one week and that hasn't happened for a very long time. (Of course, I shouldn't be so impressed with myself--the incredible Ms. Yingling posts book reviews every day!)

I'm going to take a chance and go into full-blown Old Geezer Dude mode. I've lived long enough to say, "When I  was a kid..." and will take full advantage of it. And with what I think is good reason. When I was a kid, (told you I'd say it!) Halloween was all about FUN. Candy. Putting on a cool costume. Trick or Treating. Candy. Going door-to-door with your friends and getting enough candy to last until Thanksgiving. Yes, I know kids still do that but now other stuff has crept in. Gruesome stuff. Grotesquely scary stuff. You know what I mean. You see it everywhere--in yards, in stores and don't even ask about what you see on TV or movies.  Back in my day you'd see bed sheet ghosts in trees or paper bats in stores. Yeah, there were scary movies and stories but all that was part of the fun. It was scary like being on a roller coaster was scary--you knew what to expect, you screamed but knew you'd be safe and you talked about how great it was afterward. And the grownups wouldn't let you do it until you were big enough. But I'm not being an old grump here: there's a reason all this stuff bothers me these days. You ARE what you put into your minds, guys. That why I don't want to fill my head with all the gruesome stuff that comes around (and gets worse) every year. That also why you don't see me reviewing truly scary books. So let's concentrate this year on FUN. And to do that, I'm going to recommend some really good books that guys everywhere would like and are all about FUN.

syndetics-lcThe first is from the terrific The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series. All of these are about the "pretty weird grownups" that come to Bailey school--and may be more than they appear to be. Or maybe not. In this one, Dracula Doesn't Drink Lemonade by Debbie Dadey and Marsh Thornton Jones, Bailey School gets a new guidance counselor. He's from overseas and has a foreign accent. He all pale, doesn't come out during the day and the kids who see him--well, they all turn all pale too! Could he really be...? No, couldn't be! But maybe...This book was a lot of fun and even the few chills were fun.

View full imageThe next is a My Weird School Special by Dan Gutman. All guys know these books and how much fun they are. This one is no exception! In It's Halloween, I'm Turning Green, A.J. and friends go trick or treating. They hear that Mrs Yonkers has a special Halloween treat just for them. But no one knows where she lives. So they try to find her house but get lost! And they meet the Halloween Monster, who steals their candy. Will they ever find Mrs. Yonkers? Do teachers really paint him green? And what is the MicroMole 4000 Expandinator? You won't find out unless you read it, guys! And you'll laugh a bunch along the way.
View full image

The first two books are short and you can read them really quickly. It's kind of like eating one of those bite-size Butterfingers in your trick-or-treat bag. (I read the My Weird School book in about 30 minutes) The next one is a little longer but still reads quickly. And this come about almost by accident. I'm trying to finish up the reading from my 2014 New Year's Resolution (yes, a MANLY MAN sticks with a resolution, no matter now long it takes!) and this one was on my list--and it turned aout to be about Halloween! And it was a fun read! It's part of the War of the Girls and the Boys series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. In case you don't know, It's about the Hartford boys and the Malloy girls. The Benson boys were best friends with the Hartford boys but then they moved away. Mr. Benson rented the house to the Malloy family. The Hartford boys want their friends to move back, so they figure that, if they pull enough tricks on the Malloy girls, they will move away and the Bensons move back. Only thing, the girls pull as many tricks as the boys! In The Girls Get Even, the Hrtford boys and Malloy girls bet each other that they can win best costume in the Halloween parade.The losers have to be the slaves of the winners for a month. So they spy to find out what the others are amking. But nothing turns out they way they expect! What happens? Well, once again, I won't tell! You've got to read to find out! (PS--this sereis was written back in the Eighties, which explains why the Hartfords waited for weeks for the Benson boy to write. They waited for a letter!)

View full imageThe last book was from the great Barbara Robinson, who wrote The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, one of the great books of all time. This one, The Best Halloween Ever, it's all about the Herdman kids again. The Herdmans. The worst kids in the world. They stuff kids in revolving doors. They take anchovies off pizzas and replace them with guppies. They hide during Halloween and steal everyone's candy and gum and money. They've gotten so bad, in fact, that they mayor called off Halloween. But the school decides to hold Halloween there, hopefully to keep Herdmans away. But Imogene Herdman finds out and tells all the kids that any place will be safer than school on Halloween night. So what happens? The lights go out. Kids go missing. And then--and then--well, the last thing you'd expect happens! This book  was great fun. Even reading about the Herdmans is fun. And funny. Get this and read it, guys! And it mentions Chunky Fruit and Nut candy! How long has it been since I've had one of those? They were yummy!

In fact, read all of these! Did I say they were fun? Maybe once or twice. They are Good Quick Reads and full of the humor guys love. Well, thanks for letting me get on my soapbox. Get these books,  enjoy them and, just for fun, tell me what is your favorite Halloween candy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alvin Ho--The Third Terrific Book of the Season

View full imageEveryone loves to laugh, right? Right! Guys especially enjoy a good loud laugh. That's one reason the Iron Guy is such a fan of Lenore Look's terrific Alvin Ho series--I always get good loud laughs from them. Just recently I finished the sixth book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions, and got several chuckles and smiles once again. And the smiles at the end were feel-good smiles and that's one of the reasons this books is so terrific.

If you haven't met young Alvin, the second-grader, then you should know that he's afraid of everything. And there's so much to be afraid of, especially when you family is going to China to show off your new baby sister to the Chinese relatives. There's a 16-hour flight in a flying tin can full of recycled air, which as everyone knows, is full of viruses! Fungi! Bacteria! Then there are elevators in China on 34-story apartment buildings and who knows about the wires holding up those things! And what happens if you get LOST in this country of one billion people! Yes, they're a lot to be afraid of and it sure is funny when you see how Alvin reacts. Just wait until you see what happens when he goes through airport security! (they said to remove his shoes and clothes) Or when he's actually on the plane. Or waking up in China.

Or when he loses his dad's passport, which is about the worst thing to happen in a foreign country. Then Alvin has to face the consequences of his actions and grow up a bit. Then he and his dad really do get lost in Beijing, the capital city of this country of one billion people. What happens then? Will he totally freak out? You've got to read to find out!

I've heard that this is the last book in the Alvin Ho series. That's too bad in a way because I enjoy these books SO much, but, if it's true, then this is a good place to end. I was starting to worry about little Alvin. He's so afraid all the time and it's funny while he's a second-grader but he's got to grow up sometime, If he stays this way, he'll become one of those weird neurotic grownups. ("neurotic" is grownup word for "almost crazy") That's why the end of this book makes you feel so good. Alvin does some things that make you smile in a positive way. Without letting any spoilers loose, I can tell you that Alvin learns to put aside his fears and think about someone else's needs--which, all my joking aside, is the REAL definition of manliness. So you'll close this book feeling really glad--Alvin makes you laugh and then he makes you proud.

So got out and find this one, guys! Especially if you've read the others. (you don't have to read them in order but you'll enjoy this one more if you start with the others) And, like the others, it's a Good Quick Read. (grownups and teachers--if you have boys who may not like to read, this series is a good place to start) If you want to find out more, click on the "Alvin Ho" or "Lenore Look" tabs under this post. and if you  ARE a fan of Alvin, write a comment or a review in the Comments section under this post. OK? Go forth and read! Comment! Review! And enjoy!

This book gets the Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Some Funny Series Books for Boys

Hey, everyone, I've just read a post called 8 Funny Middle School Series for Boys at this terrific blog called Story Time Secrets. There are some really good recommendations there, so take a look. And let me know if you've read any of them. Thanks, Katie Fitzgerald, for telling reader guys about these great reads!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods--The Second Terrific Book of the Season

Hey, you truly rocking reader guys, you may remember that I said that I love this time of year because that's when the coolest books come out. As proof of how right I was, I offer as evidence Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by the incomparable Rick Riordan. This is one TERRIFIC book that guys everywhere will enjoy. If you're a Percy Jackson fan, like me, this is the book you MUST read! And if you're not (and it's hard to imagine anyone who's not a Percy Jackson fan), this is still the book you've gotta read. It will make you laugh, thrill and choke and shudder at some of the stuff those old Greek gods did.

Where to start? There's so much good stuff to say. Well, why do we love the Percy Jackson books so much? Because of the action and the adventure. Yet there's one thing more. The one thing that Mr. Riordan does better than anyone else--the humor! And that's what this book has LOTS and LOTS of! This book is LOL with capital L's. I Laughed completely out Loud while reading this thing. So will you! I mean, just look at some of the title chapters--"The Golden Age of Cannibalism"---"Athena Adopts a Handkerchief"---"Apollo Sings and Dances and Shoots People"--"Dionysus Conquers the World with a Refreshing Beverage." How great are those? And then you get into the stories of those old Greek myths with heaps of Percy's trademark humor. For instance, when Demeter, the goddess of agriculture disguises herself as an old woman and takes care of a mortal baby. "She sang him nursery songs from Mount Olympus, like 'The Itsy-Bitsy Satyr' and 'I'm a Little Cyclops.'" Or when Apollo goes to slay Python, the giant snake and says:

"Yo, snake!"

Python opened his eyes. "What do you want?"

"To sing you a song about my awesomeness."

"Oh, please, just kill me now."

"Okay!"  Apollo drew his bow and shot the snake between the eyes.

There are so many more examples. Just wait until you hear Athena and Arachne trash talk either other before the weaving contest. But there's more than just humor. We must remember that these old myths were stories. There are still reasons we tell them thousands of years later. They are still great stories. They still excite and move us. We want to find out what happens next. Take a look at the story of Typhoeus. Or the story of Persephone. And no one tells a story like Mr. Riordan. This book will keep your attention, make you laugh, make you thrill, make you disgusted (some of those gods were disgusting--more about that in a minute) or do all those things at the same time. I haven't enjoyed a Rick Riordan book this much since I first read The Lightning Thief these many years ago and a whole new world of enjoyment opened up for me. This is it, guys! Get to your local library and check one out.

BTW, did I mention the totally great illustrations by the fantastic John Rocco, the guy who's done the Percy Jackson book covers? Well, he has created the absolutely perfect pictures for this book. Drama, awsomeness, creepiness, more awesomeness. That's what you'll see in these illustrations.

OK, I do need to add a NOTE TO THE YOUNGER READER GUYS AND OR THE GROWNUPS. If you are a seven or eight or even a nine-year old or if you're the parent of one, this may not be the book for you. These old Greek myths dealt with some revolting stuff, like the stories dealing with the Titans and their encounters with the gods. And the gods themselves were pretty disgusting at times, willing to transform poor mortals into yucky things or put them in awful tortures for the pickiest reasons. And they spent most of their time chasing around for...well, you know. The brilliant Mr. Riordan presents all those stories entirely appropriately for older kids. I'd call them PG rated. If you are or have a younger reader guy, you might want a book such as D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Mythsa G-rated book and an oldie but goodie and maybe the best intro to Greek mythology for kids ever.

All that said, however, reading this book has been some of the most fun I've had all year and that's why it gets--

The Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book

(Not to mention it's a really big book and great for building up your muscles!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Return of Sammer!

Sammer and T. A. Barron
Hey everyone, one our old friends has written to us after a long absence. His name is Sammer and he used to write to us all the time, telling us about terrific books. He even used this blog to help bring author T. A. Barron to Charlotte! Let's see what he recommends to us today:

Hey, I haven't checked in on this blog in forever! I just thought this would be a good way to get out a realy goodbook series that not a lot of people read,Wereworld. Wereworld is a book series based on WereWolves, but Curtis Jobling(The Author) goes in much further with it. He creates a 6 book series about WereLords. WereLords are called therianthropes. Therianthropes are humans that have the ability to change into animals. In the first book Rise of the wolf , we meet the main character Drew Ferran. Drew is a simple boy who lives on the farm with his Mom, Dad, and brother Trent. One day Drew is out in the field collecting crops, when he feels as though he is being watched. He goes inside to go to safety. Soon, the beast that was in the field with him, jumps in through their window and kills his mother. Drew gets angry while the beast is still there and starts to change, his body becomes bigger, hairier and bulkier. He doesn't know what is going on with him, but he starts to fight the beast in front of him. The beast is too powerfull for Drew, but Drew manages to rip a scar across the beast's chest. The rest of Drew's family comes in and think Drew killed his Mom. Drew then flees and lives in the forest as WereWolf in the forest until he comes upon two people named Master Hogan and Whitley. From there on you must read the book to find out what happens next.

Thanks, Sammer!  These books sound good and the library has several of them--in fact, I think we have the whole series. Take a look, guys, check some out and tell us what you think!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Help Us Get Rid of These Fried Worms!

View full imageThat's right. Our library is overrun with fried worms--that is, copies of the book How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. There are several copies left over from Monday night when Miss Laura showed the movie, so I need your help getting them out of here. Here's the deal: you check out one of our copies of the book, read it, and then write to us and tell us how you liked it. You can be honest--if you liked it, didn't like it, thought it was lousy, thought it was better that a large pizza with everything, you could tell us. Just put your thoughts in the Comment section below this post and I'll publish them in a future post. But not only that, I'll also give you TWO FREE PRIZES from our ultra-cool prize box. Good stuff in there. There are books, of course, but also posters, a t-shirt, and lots of other cool things.    . Come by the Myers Park library and check one out. Don't live near here? Not a problem--just contact your local librarian and I send her or him a copy. And I'll also send your prizes to that person. Don't live in Charlotte? Also not a problem. Just include an address (which I won't publish) with your review and I'll find a way to send the prizes to you. All the instructions on how to leave comments/reviews are on the left-hand side of this blog. If you still don't understand, call the Iron Guy at 704-416-5800 and I will help you. All right, check out one of these books before I'm totally engulfed in them!

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!