Friday, December 21, 2012

Books for Christmas? Yes! (not "poo!") and Danger Goes Beserk, the Latest Brixton Borhters Book by Mac Barnett

Hey, ho, all you holiday-loving reader guys! Let me ask something--do you look forward to getting books for Christmas? Or is your attitude like this:

Well, I hope your attitude is NOT like this kid's! Let me put another question to you--what book would you WANT to get for Christmas? Good question! So write in and tell us what it would be!! If you had your wish of ANY book in the world, what would you like to see under your tree? And it could be a set of books. For instance, I'd love to get a set of the Alvin Ho books by the great Lenore Look. Or--I'm such a sly dog to make this segue--the complete set of the Brixton Bothers books by the outstanding Mac Barnett. That's because 1) I'm a big fan and 2) I've just read Danger Goes Beserk, the fourth and latest book in the series. Boy, was it ever a terrific read!! Each of the Brixton Brothers books gets better and better. This one has mystery and comedy and action and suspense--just what guys want in their books.

Here's a little background--12-year-old Steve Brixton is obsessed with the Bailey Brothers mysteries, a set of books published in the '50's. So when he stumbles into a mystery and becomes a private detective, he brings everything he learned from the Bailey Brothers to his cases. The only thing is--do these really help when Steve meets real-life bad guys? (BTW, Steve doesn't have a brother--he calls  his agency The Brixton Brothers because it sounds cool)

In this book, Steve opens his own office--only it's in the big doghouse in his backyard. He gets hired by a surfer dude named Danimal to find retrieve a stolen surfboard. The problem? It's been taken by a dangerous surfing gang called the Beserkers. Not only that, there's a group of pirates stealing cargo ships off the coast of Steve's California town. On top of that, someone is stealing the gym shorts out a classmate's locker. Can Steve and his chum Dana solve these mysteries? Can Steve really trail a suspect by walking backwards? And what are the Beserkers really up to? The only way to find out is to read this terrific book! You will certainly enjoy yourself if you do. Mac Barnett is truly becoming a first-class mystery writer. The mysteries become more perplexing, the bad guys become more dangerous, and Steve becomes more heroic with each book. So go out and find it, guys!! Or ask your parents to get these books for you. Or run to the bookstore  if you get Christmas money. Or head to your local library. Just find those Brixton Brothers! (If you want to find out more, click on the "Brixton Brothers" tab under this post)

So, how about it? Are there any Brixton Brothers fans out there? Write in and let us know. Or just write and tell us what books you'd like to get. We'd love to know.

And here's something to make your holidays merry and bright. It's Brian Setzer singing "Jingle Bells."

Have a great holiday and a rockin' new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Michael's Christmas Gift; Three New Reviews of Cool-Sounding Books

Greetings of the Season and Ho-Ho-Ho to all you reader guys out there. I know you can hardly contain the excitement of getting ready to be out of school for nearly two weeks!! Plus, add Christmas into the mix, and you all are probably about to burst. Well, our old and faithful friend Michael has gotten into the holiday spirit and is sharing three reviews of books that boys might like:

The Missing, book 5
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Something's wrong with time. It's frozen, and only time travelers can move in it. But how are Jonah and Katherine supposed to know that in frozen time, if four time travelers touch, they'll be sent to a random time period. Or maybe... not so random. This time the missing kid is Lieserl Einstein, daughter of Albert, if you haven't guessed. But this book focuses more on Albert's wife, Mileva. Jonah and Katherine must stay with her to find Lieserl, but being a scientist herself, is she smart enough to figure out the secrets to time travel? Unlike Sabotaged, this book has no action in it at all, which was a little disappointing. On the other hand, if you've ever wanted to pry into the life of Albert Einstein, but never had the attention span for a biography, then you'd probably like this book. And once again, Haddix introduces a new concept of time travel: frozen time in a time hollow. I must say this, though: the surprise at the end of book is worth all the somewhat-boring history facts building up to it. Basically, it's worth the read. Look for the next two titles of the Missing: Risked and Revealed.

Cahills Vs. Vespers, book 5
Trust No One
by Linda Sue Park
In this book, the Cahills will be betrayed by one of their own. In this book, the Vespers' master plan will be revealed. And in this book, someone will die. The Cahills, Rosenblooms, Starlings, Wizards, Holts, Kabras, and one Tolliver are at it again, either trying to rescue their family from bondage... or escape from it. This book's stolen item is the Voynich: an ancient manuscript that has never been translated. This book will see Dan, Amy, Jake, and Atticus all over the world. Plus, Amy is still mixed up about Evan and Jake. And the team finally takes a guess about who Vesper One is. Now, allow me to say something here: When The 39 Clues first started, it was for fourth graders. As the books progressed, the maturity level of the books kept rising. What started as a man in black showing up here and there is now a full-blown knife and gun show. And for people who have grown up with the series, like me, that's all fine and dandy. But for younger readers, this book in particular may prove to be a little too mature. Aside from the bloodiness and language, there are actually a few jokes about nudity. So if you're 10 or 11 and you're reading this, just be careful. But for 16 and 17-year-olds, like me, this is a great book that you won't want to miss. Look for book 6: Day of Doom by David Baldacci, the last book, coming in March 2013. And always remember: Steven Spielberg directs the 39 Clues movie saga, starting in 2014!

The Infinity Ring, book 2
Divide and Conquer
by Carrie Ryan
For all of you who read the books but don't play the game: The books start off where the online episode of the game ended, and vice versa. So although book 1 promised a trip to Paris 1792, this book starts in Paris 885, where Vikings are about to attack! Not knowing exactly what the Break is supposed to be, Riq uses his skills to do what he thinks will fix it. But has he really helped, or only made things worse? This whole book is pretty much a war, so it's much more action-packed than book 1. For 11-year-olds though, it may be a little bloody, and there's a scene where a Viking describes torture in great detail, which even made me shudder. All in all though, this book is a great read, and the action scenes are pretty good considering there are no guns. Look for book 3: The Trap Door by Lisa McMann.

Michael Lanier
Pianist, guitarist, banjoist, autoharpist, jaw harpist, Ukeist, Mandolinist

Thanks, Michael!! I've had to be very careful not to read your review of Trust No One because I just checked it out! Take a look at these books, guys, and tell me if you agree with Michael or not. I'll try to write something before Christmas but  you know how the best-laid plans go. So have a great holiday season, Michael and all you reader guys!!