Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Blasts from the Past (Plus Two New Ones)

Greetings, holiday-loving and book-reading guys! Every now and then, when the Iron Guy gets too busy to read, he goes back into the vaults and brings out some books that I've recommended before. I call these Blasts from the Past and today I'm going to tell you about a few holiday books. All of them are picture books but don't let that scare you off. They are not just cutesy little stories for three-year-olds; they are really good for guys of any age. Even grownups!

First there's Hanukkah. It's over now but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read these truly terrific books. They are wonderful and inspirational in the best sense of the word. with guys overcoming difficulties in really bad circumstances. And they're based on real stories! See the original reviews here.

Then, of course, there's Christmas.  The first book is How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow. (what an appropriate name!) Come on, boys, haven't you always wondered how he gets all that stuff into one sleigh, even if it is magical? Or how does that big, fat guy get down those narrow chimneys? You'd be surprised! (I sure was!)

And have you wondered what Santa does or where he goes those other eleven months of the year? Then you should read Where Does Joe Go? by Tracey Campbell Pearson and find out. This book is a lot of fun for younger and older reader guys (and grownups!) and you will get a smile out of it.

And we have Kwanzaa as well. The best Kwanzaa book I've ever read is Seven Spools of Thread by Angela Shelf Meadearis. It's a great story--seven brothers, who argue all the time, find out that their father's will says that they have to spin seven spools of thread into gold by nightfall or they will all be turned out of their house as beggars. How can they accomplish such an impossible task? In an unexpected way that uses the seven principles of this marvelous holiday. It's a book you'll remember for a long time. (see the original review here)

Have a happy holiday season and don't forget that you can still rescue a book from The Island of Semi-Neglected Books.

And to get you rocking for the holidays, here's a video I posted way back in 2008. Watch it and enjoy.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Island of Semi-Neglected Books

Hey, guys, the Iron Guy is back! I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for a while but we've been as busy as Santa's elves on December 23. That means I haven't had time to read very much, so I don't have anything new to share with you. But I thought I'd do something to promote a bunch of books that don't get the attention they deserve.

Do you remember The Island of Misfit Toys from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special?
(btw, do you ever watch it on broadcast TV or do you watch it other ways?) There's this island where toys that no one wants. like the ostrich-riding cowboy, live and get forgotten each year. (It's a sad scene that could make even a MANLY MAN like the Iron Guy sniffle) It all turns out OK; Rudolph gets Santa to pick them up and deliver them on Christmas Eve. So that got me thinking about some books that are really terrific but don't get checked out as much as they should. These live on The Island of Semi-Neglected Books. They deserve to be checked out by boys who would really, really enjoy them but, for whatever reason, they don't get much notice and stay on our shelves. Well, the Iron Guy is here, like Rudolph, to make sure that they aren't forgotten this holiday season. And what are these books? I'm very glad you asked.

The Copernicus Legacy books by Tony Abbott

I'm always surprised that these books don't get checked out more often. They are T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C! Action, suspense, a world-wide conspiracy, 500-year-old secrets, time travel, puzzling clues and one of the most memorable villains you'll ever meet.

The Alvin Ho books by Loren Long

You want to read something REALLY funny? Go check out any of these books about second-grader Alvin Ho and his PDK. You'll laugh out loud. You will!

The Akimbo books by Alexander McCall Smith

These books are short and could be read quickly and, believe me, once you start one of these stories about Akimbo, who lives on a nature preserve in Kenya, you won't stop. (there's a scene in Akimbo and the Snakes in which he is trapped in a truck with a deadly black mambo snake--one of the scariest things I've ever read!)

The Legends books by Howard Bryant

Man, oh, man I could spend all day talking about these terrific books. There are three of them and each one is about a different sport. (football, basketball and baseball) They have incredible stories of teams, individuals, stamina, determination, athletes who changed the game, athletes who changed our country, last-minute wins, comebacks against all odds and--well, there's a whole lot more.

OK, guys, now that you've seen them, here's your chance. Don't let these books just sit on the shelves over the holidays! Come check them out and let them go to a good home. (at least for three weeks!)

All kidding aside, you will really enjoy these and that's why I'm enthusiastic about seeing these get checked out. And if you need some more incentive, any boy who sends in a review (or more than one) of any of these books gets to pick a prize (or prizes) out of our ultra-cool prize box. The more reviews you send, the more prizes you get. But the reviews have about books in these series. Got that? I'll keep this offer going until Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Plenty of time to read and review, especially with the holiday break.

All right, then! Head on down to your local library and let's rescue some of them from The Island of Semi-Neglected Books!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beastly Beaman Claims His Prizes!

Greetings, all you reader guys! The third contestant in the World Series of Reading Contest came by last night to claim his well-deserved prizes. This mighty contestant is none other than Beastly Beaman, who sent us two reviews that covered seven books. He claimed two items out of the ultra-cool prize box, which were the books Questors by Joan Lennon and The Roar by Emma Clayton. (this book got the most comments I've ever had about a book)

Well done, BB! Please keep sending more of those great reviews. As I've said before, all reader guys are always on the lookout for new reads and who would be better to tell us about them than another boy? So keep them coming, BB!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Another Review from the Awesome Aaryan!

Hey, everyone, we are lucky today because our new friend Aaryan sent us another review! This ought to be good because it's about Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets by Dav Pilkey. All guys enjoy Dav Pilkey's books, especially this series, so let's hear what Aaryan said about this one:

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets by Dav Pilkey

I like the book Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets a lot. It is amazing because it is funny that they have talking toilets and the princibal plans for the teachers to get eaten by the the toilets. In the book it is funny when George and Harold did some adjustments to the other kids projects and make them not work. I don’t like is that the book is mainly only about George, Harold, Captain Underpants and Mr. Krupp. The tilte gave a great hint what the story is about. The characters have very good names that I can say and most of the characters in the story have names. That’s why I like the book Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets a lot.

Thanks, Aaryan! As I said, I have not yet met a boy who didn't like these books and there's probably some boy out there who has not read them yet, so I bet he'd like your recommendation. Keep these reviews coming!

PS--how do you guys like the new background?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

And Aryan Claims His Prizes!

Our third-place winner, the fabulous Aaryan, came in and claimed his prizes today.

He's holding a copy of Guardians of the Gryphon's Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano (and it's signed by the author!) and he's wearing his other prize, a Wimpy Kid button. He also brought us a review but I don't have time to post it today. Next week, though!

Well done, Aaryan! I look forward to posting your review and getting many more.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mr. Fox Claims His Prizes!

Look at this! Our World Series of Reading champion, the great Mr. Fox, came in today to claim his well-deserved prizes. As first place winner, he received all three books in The Last Dragon Charmer trilogy by Laurie McKay. (and all of them signed by the author!)

And, form the ultra-cool prize box, he choose a really terrific book, Hamster S.A.M. Odd-Ventures in Space by Dave McDonald. (a very fun book! See my review here. And the author came to visit us once)

Congratulations, Mr. Fox! Keep sending us those reviews! The Iron Guy and all the other guys out there are always looking for good reads, so it's good there are boys like you who will tell us about them.

Friday, November 3, 2017

One Final Swing--Then the Winners!

OK, guys, the MLB World Series finished Wednesday with game 7 (yaayyy Houston!) and the World Series of Reading Contest ended Wednesday at midnight. Both contests were memorable and I bet people will talk about them for a long time afterward. Yes, guys, when you are old and gray and your grandchildren sit admiringly at your feet, you can tell them, "Yes, I remember the historic World Series of 2017 but, what's even better, I remember the legendary World Series of Reading Contest of 2017" and they will be impressed!
Well, all silliness aside, our new friend Mr. Fox sent in one last review before the final inning, so let's see what he read and liked and then we could tally up the final score.

Book Review: Who Was Leonardo da Vinci? by Roberta Edwards
The story is about a famous artist named Leonardo da Vinci. His father and mother were never married and after he was born, they started new families. His dad took Leonardo to Florence, a city in Italy, to work at an art studio. Leonardo was a talented artist. He created many paintings but painted only 3 women: the Mona Lisa, the Young Girl with Ermine, and Ginevra de' Benci. He designed many vehicles to get around in the air, in the water, and on the ground, including a working bicycle. I liked the book because it was interesting to learn about someone who was a great, great artist and inventor.

Thanks, Mr. Fox! All guys like these Who Was... biographies. I've read a few myself. (check out the "Who Was..." tab under this post to see what I liked) Leonardo was certainly an interesting man who had a lot of brilliant ideas and could do a lot of different things well. Did you know he designed the first tank?

Image result for leonardo da vinci tank public domain images

Yep, he was quite a guy. Anyway, now let's figure up the scores and announce the winners!

According to the rules, this review of a Who Was...biography was worth three points. Adding that to Mr. Fox's eighteen points from Tuesday, that gives him a whopping total of twenty-one points and makes him the First Place Winner!!

In Second Place is The Beastly Beaman with seven points and Third Place goes to Aaryan with two points. That means that we have three winners!!


All three of you are heroes!

Well done, men! Be sure to come by the Myers Park library and claim your prizes. (But please call me at 704-416-5800 ahead of time so I'll be prepared)

And don't stop sending in reviews! Both I and all the reader guys out there always love to hear about terrific fiction, biographies, nonfiction, graphic novels and audiobooks so that we can find cool stuff to read and listen to. So keep them coming! You never know if the Iron Guy might come up with some more ways to keep you participating.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

And Another Boy Steps Up to the Plate!

Yes, indeed, everybody, the contest keeps getting more exciting by the minute! Just as the Dodgers knocked in some runs in the sixth and seventh innings to win and force tonight's game # 7, so we've had a new boy send in reviews in the late innings of this game. His name is Aaryan and we're thrilled to have him on board. Let's see what he has read and liked lately:

Kid’s Guide to Camping by Cherie Winner
They gave very good info about the book and I like the pictures very much.  I like the book Kid’s Guide to Camping. The book is very good because it gave a lot of info about camping and they kept the book very organized. They gave very good info about the book and I like the pictures very much. The author did a very good job on getting the ideas like beware of snakes and what to do if it rains. Ha gave the book a very good name because it gave a very good hint what the story is about. That is why I like the book Kid’s Guide to Camping so much!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School by Jeff Kinney
One of my favorite books are Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. They are one of my favorites because I like how they illustrate the book and I like the speech bubbles. There grandpa make the story very interesting because in the book Greg almost died. They gave the characters very good names and the title gives a good hint what the story is about. In the book they make it funny that the kids have to go to camp because somebody’s tooth gets stuck in Rowley’s forehead. It was very funny when Rodrick’s van runs out of gas so Greg’s grandpa goes and gets gas and by that time the car falls in a ditch. I like how they solved the problem by Gregs dad starting the whole Silas Scratch thing but the myth still continues in the book about him and Greg was never scared of him again. That’s why I like this book a lot.

Thanks, Aaryan! We truly appreciate these reviews. Both of these books sound really good! Lots of boys enjoy camping and it's good to have the right info about it--especially if it  rains! And having to go to camp because a tooth got stuck in somebody's forehead--there must be good story behind that! (hmmm, do I sense a camping theme here?) I bet there are other boys out there who'd like to read these books too!

Anyway, let's tally up Aaryan's score. He sent in two reviews that were worth one point each, so that gives him two points! Good work, Aaryan! Glad you joined our contest.


Just yesterday we received a new book signed by the author. It's Guardians of the Gryphon's Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano.

He sent us a signed copy to give away in the contest.
So now it's the second place prize. Click here to see what the first-place and other prizes are.

OK, boys, the innings are winding down but there's still time! Send in those reviews by midnight tonight! It may be tomorrow before I can post them but I will get them up and maybe even determine the winners. Step right into that batter's box, guys! All  the world is holding its breath to see the final scores of the MLB World Series and the World Series of Reading Contest!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wow! Another Boys Steps Up to the Plate!!

--and he knocks it wayyy out of the park too! This is amazing. Last year's World Series of Reading Contest closely followed the actual World Series with all the extra innings and last-minute home runs. Now, our contest is following the MLB World Series again! Sunday's game had an incredibly high score and now the World Series of Reading Contest is posting the highest scores of any contest ever on this blog!

Today's high-scoring inning comes from a boy who is new to our blog. He calls himself Mr. Fox and he has sent us a bunch of reviews. But not only does he tell us about some cool books but he lets us know about some great audiobooks as well. Let's not waste any time but see what he has read (and listened to) lately:
(PS--I usually try to put a picture of each book cover with each book but there are too many today!)

Audiobook Review: Big Nate Lives It Up by Lincoln Peirce. The story is about Big Nate. He likes to draw comics. He has to show a new kid, Breckenridge, around the school. Nate does not like it because Breckenridge is around him all the time and Breckenridge is very different from Nate. By the end of the story, they become friends. I liked the story because both Nate and I love to draw and because it was funny!

Audiobook: Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. The story is about a boy named Kek. He is from Africa. He moved to America because of fighting in his country. He feels different in America but he feels better when he goes to see the cow he takes care of. I like the story because the story was interesting and funny because Kek walked the cow to the zoo on a busy street and stopped traffic.

Audiobook: Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The story was about a boy named Salva who never gave up on finding land where it was safe to live. Salva was from Africa. When he was a boy, he led a group of boys to a refuge camp. He stayed there for many years and then came to America. One day when he was checking his computer, he found out that his father was still alive and went to visit him in the hospital. His dad was sick because he drank water that wasn't safe. The story was also about a girl named Nya who walks a long way for water every day. Salva wanted to make a way for people to have safe drinking water. I liked the book because it was exciting: Salva was very brave to swim across a river with crocodiles while being shot at.

Book: The Twits by Roald Dahl. The story is about Mr. and Mrs. Twit, who have 4 pet monkeys who are forced to stand on their heads because Mr. and Mrs. Twit want to be the first to make a great, upside-down monkey circus. I liked the story a lot because it was funny, especially at the end when Mr. and Mrs. Twit got their heads glued to the floor!

Book: Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain by Jarrett Krosoczka. The story is about a lunch lady who fights crime. Lunch lady stopped the technology teacher from stealing the technology. I like Lunch Lady because it is a funny story and I like that it is a graphic novel. My favorite part was when lunch lady got sucked into the video game and had to fight the huge monster!

Book Review: Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle by Jarrett Krosoczka. The story is about a
lunch lady who fights crime. In this story she fights all the villains she fought before because she is trying to destroy the laser that Dr. Eliza Van Grindheimer built to destroy the moon. I liked the story because it was funny and because it was a graphic novel. I liked when Lunch Lady threw the egg at the principal and the vice principal was just standing there!

Book Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. The story is about a fox named Mr. Fox. He steals food from the 3 farmers named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. They try to catch him and kill him but Mr. Fox smells them out before they can shoot him. I like the story because it was interesting. Mr. Fox was able to dig right into the middle of the chicken coop, the cider house, and the storeroom of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.

Thanks, Mr. Fox! Whew!  That's a LOT of reviews! I feel like those baseball players after all those hits and home runs! But we really appreciate appreciate them. There's a lot of interesting stuff here. We're particularly glad that you sent in audiobook reviews because boys think they're great and I would love to have more boys listen to them. They're really good for long cars trip or even if you're just going to school every day.

Anyhow, let's tally up the score.  The rules state that Lunch Lady reviews are worth two points each and audiobook reviews are worth four points each. The Roald Dahl book reviews are worth one point each, which gives Mr. Fox a total of--get ready for it--eighteen points!!!


That's the most points any boy has ever scored. It's going to be tough to beat that but, as I said the other day, don't let that discourage you. The Astros were down 5--0 in the fourth inning the other day and hardly anybody overcomes a score like that. So come on boys, climb out of those dugouts, knock the dirt off those shoes and send in a bunch of reviews. You have until midnight on Wednesday, November 1. Yes, that's tomorrow, but don't forget that Sunday's game got tied up in the ninth inning. You still have time to score points in the World Series of Reading Contest!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Our First Boy Steps Up to the Plate!

And he knocks it wayyy out of the park! And he does with only two submissions.

So just who is this remarkable guy? He calls himself The Beastly Beaman. What a great name! Let see what books he has read and liked:

The Mortality Doctrine Series (The Rule of Thoughts, The Eye of Minds, The Game of Lives) The Rule of Thoughts is about a young boy named Michel. The book is based in the future where virtual reality is so advanced that you can go to a dimension called the Sleep, which is basically life, but when you die you are sent back to the “Wake”; aka actual life. Anyway, Michel is sent down The Path, created by a rouge tangent (artificial intelligence), Kaine to test him. At the end, he learns that HE is actually a tangent and Kaine’s program The Mortality Doctrine puts him into the body of a human. Book 2, The Eye of Minds Is Michel’s journey in a human body. He learns that the Jackson Porter (the humans mind he replaced) has a girlfriend named Gabby. He finds his friends Bryson And Sarah and they undertake an adventure to the VNS (VirtNetSecurity) where Agent Weber give them a device called The Lance. It is a complex program that can be used to take down Kaine, But it actually wrecks havoc on..
.(He ran out of space--IGC)

I would like to send in the Inheritance Cycle Its four books long, and a lot happens in each book, so its to hard to give a summery of each book. I will do my best though to give a summery of the whole series, and not give away a lot like I did in the Mortality Doctrine review. Hope I get four points! Eragon, Eldest, Brisinger, Inheritance Eragon, a young farm boy is gifted when he finds a beautiful stone in a mountain range. He learns it is actually a dragon egg, and the dragon Saphira hatches for him. They undertake an adventure to kill the Ra-Zac, a race of insect like beings who killed his adopted father, Garrow. How ever he is captured and taken prisoner by a shade, a power being controlled by spirits. He finds and elf and together they go to the Varden, and organization sworn to take down the evil king Galbatorix. The Varden gathers power along with Eragon and together they launch and an epic campaign to take him down. You’ll have to read to find out the outcome.

Thanks, Beastly! Or should we call you Beaman? Or just BB? (If you had told us about 8 books instead of 7, we could have called you BB-8!! Ah, hahahahaha!!) I've never heard of The Mortality Doctrine books before and they sound interesting. A lot of boys have loved the Eragon books--and it's good to see that they still do! I've always meant to read those and maybe I should put them on my TBR list for 2018. Anyway, since you have told us about seven books, you get a total of seven points. That puts you out front with a big lead. Good work!

But don't let that discourage all you other reader guys. We are still in the early innings of this game and the story of baseball, especially the World Series, is full of teams that came from behind to win. Why, last year's World Series of Reading Contest was decided by a boy who sent in a last-minute review that scored enough points to let him come from behind and win. Don't forget that last Monday's post included a list of books that are worth two, three, four and even five points.

So, come on, guys, wind up and pitch a few more over the plate! All the world wants to know what guys are reading--and what better place to let them know than the World Series of Reading Contest!

(PS--don't forget to give the authors' names when you send in reviews. And let me know if you run out of room when you write them)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

You Want Prizes? We Got Prizes!

OK, boys, would you like to know what you could win by participating in the World Series of Reading Contest? Well, the Iron Guy has got some pictures to show you:

The first place winner gets a set of all three books in The Last Dragon Charmer trilogy by Laurie McKay and all three are signed by the author! (Plus you get to pick an item from the ultra-cool prize box)

the second place winner gets an new book, such as this one. (It's not signed, unfortunately, but we may have a signed book by another author on the way) Plus you get to pick an item out of the prize box.

and the third place winner gets to pick two prizes out of the prize box. Here is a picture of some of the things you could choose.

Pretty good, huh? These could be yours if you are one the top three boys with the most points at the end of the World Series of Reading Contest!
PS--as I said before, even if you live outside the Charlotte, NC, you could still participate. Send me your home info (which I won't publish) along with your review and we'll work something out.
PPS--Check out Monday's post that explains how the contest works.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Starting Today---

---the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers start playing the 2017 World Series AND all you reader guys can start sending in those book reviews and get points in the World Series of Reading Contest. So start that reading and reviewing! Can 't wait for that first one! And, as I said yesterday, even if you live outside the Charlotte, NC area, you could still participate. Let me know you where you live and we could work things out. (don't worry--the Iron Guy would never make that info public) Take a look at yesterday's post for all the rules.

So go and burn one right over the plate, boys, and let the World Series of Reading begin!

Monday, October 23, 2017

World Series of Reading Contest--2017 Edition

It's that time or year again, guys! The event that gets the Iron Guy more pumped up than Thor in a hammer-lifting room! What could ever be that exciting? Nothing else but the
World Series of Reading Contest!! It starts and ends the same time as the Major League Baseball World Series. We held one last year and, man, it was every bit as exciting as the real one--even going into extra innings and a last-minute score that changed the game! (take a look here and start reading forward to see what happened)

Our contest will start tomorrow, Tuesday, October 24, and go on through Wednesday, November 1, which would be how long the Series would run if it went all seven games. The rules are simple; you read books and then you send in a review of each book or audiobook. Each review is worth at least one point. Some will be worth more points. I'll count up the points after Nov. 1 and the three boys with the most points will win. What will the winners get? Prizes out of the ultra-cool prize box, which includes at least one set of books signed by the author!

So how does the contest work? I'm glad you asked. Boys can read anything they'd like--fiction, graphic novels, nonfiction or biographies. (What about audiobooks? Look further down in the Home Run section)  Any review is worth one point, making it a SINGLE.

However, there are some really good books that I think should get more attention. Reviews of these books will be worth two points, making them DOUBLES. These books are:

Any in the Alvin Ho, Stick Dog, Spy School, Frank Einstein, Brixton Brothers series or any graphic novel in the Lunch Lady series.

There are other books which are really good but longer and more challenging.  Reviews of these books will be worth three points, making them TRIPLES. These books are:

Stubby the War DogMilo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze, any book in the Leviathan trilogy or any book in the Who Was... or What Was...series or any book in Howard Bryant's Legends seriesor any graphic novel in the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales or the Bone series.

But wait--there's more! A review of any book in The Copernicus Legacy series or a review of The Boys in the Boat  will be worth four points, making it a HOME RUN.

And, for the first time, any review of an audiobook will be worth four points

So what would it take for a GRAND SLAM? A review of The YearlingTreasure Island, or The Hound of the Baskervilles. These books are older and also more challenging but also much more rewarding, making each review worth five points.

All right, guys, those are the rules. I will start accepting reviews today until midnight on Nov. 1. I'll try my best to announce the winners on Friday, Nov. 3.

Remember, when you send in a review, be sure to include the title, author, a brief summary of the plot and why you did or didn't like the book. Don't just say, "This book was cool. I liked it." Tell us why you did. Or didn't. There are instructions on sending reviews in the "Here's How Our Blog Works" box on the right-hand side of the page. Or you could call me at the Myers Park library at 704-416-5800. Winners will get prizes our of our ultra-cool prize box, which contains mostly books. All of them are ultra-cool, of course, but there may be a surprise or two. And if you live outside the Charlotte, NC area, you could still participate. Let me know where you live and we'll work things out. (don't worry--I won't post your address or anything)

So step up to the plate, boys, and send in those reviews. I know it may be hard with school going on but I have faith in all you MANLY MEN out there! I can't wait to hear from you!

Step up to the plate, boys, and knock them outta the park!

PS--if you want to find out more about any of the books I've mentioned, click on the title in the "labels" section under this post.