Tag Archives: Adventure

Guys Read

High Interest Middle School (Grades 5–8)

guys read

Jon Scieszka nails it, so I’ll let him introduce this great book of true stories of proven authors.

“Have you ever imagined what it would be like to grow up in Vietnam during a war, to hunt for tarantulas in the Amazon, to almost die canoeing down a wild Alaskan river?

Ever wondered if you could draw comics, if you could learn science from reading poetry, if you could fix an aching tooth by pounding it into the roof of your mouth, to be left for dead in the Wild West and survive by cleaning out your wounds from a she-bear’s claws by lying on a bed of maggots?  Well,” Scieszka writes, “Imagine, wonder, and guess no more.”

This wide variety of stories, ten in all, is compelling and will take you on adventures you would rather other people experienced, thanks all the same. At the back of the book, a helpful addition of short contributor biographies point readers to other books by the editor, authors, and illustrator.


Map to Everywhere


The Map to Everywhere  by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Little, Brown & Company,  November 18, 2014

Grade 3-7, 448 pages (hardback)

So to be perfectly honest it was the cover art that first drew me to request this novel, and after reading the blurb I knew I Had to review this for our library.  Its premise of a quest to find a way home by an ordinary girl thrown into an extraordinary world is not especially new, but it is a Very good one.  And this story does go about it in a fun way.  Instead of Baum’s Dorthy trying to get to the Emerald City, or Nix’s Arthur moving through a steampunk world in search of a Will. We have a ragtag group of misfits sailing the universe on a quest to find pieces of a map that can lead you to anywhere you desire.  (For those of you who like Terry Gilliam’s Movie Time Bandits from the 1980’s)

Our main character is Marrill, a modern schoolgirl used to traveling with her parents everywhere and anywhere adventure took them until her Mother’s illness has them living in a house in boring dry Phoenix Arizona.  And then there is the orphan Fin, an utterly forgettable (no really you can’t remember him if you take your eyes off him) young boy living in a magical port world Khaznot Quay who’s deepest desire is to be remembered and find his mother.  Their paths will collide on a magical river aboard the Pirate Vessel Kraken.  Along with a crew of multi limbed rats “Pirates”  (say it “Pie-Rats”), a tattooed Captain Coll, and a muddling wizard Ardent who just might be wiser and older than time.  Together they will sail the Pirate Stream in search of pieces to the magical Map of Everywhere.

Along the way they encounter a crazy prophet the “Oracle” who makes everyone cry, an Iron Ship, a Land so cold it freezes the words right out of your mouth, and a Compass Rose with a taste for acorns.

I found the beginning a little difficult to follow, since the perspectives were so divergent.  Fin is in a magical land reminiscent of a Dungeons and Dragon’s set up.  While Merrill is just an ordinary girl in Phoenix Arizona who is terrified of being normal and of her Mother’s illness.  Then she is a stowaway on the Kraken (think Hitchhikers Guide but without the towel and boats instead of spaceships).  It is not until about chapter eight or so (about 20% into the book) that the two perspectives finally merge into a single narrative and the story takes off.  I worry that the confusing beginning might discourage some younger readers and this is such a great story.  I don’t mind a bit of mystery, but I like my stories to at least explain who the main characters are before flip flopping me between perspectives.

There is a believable bad guy, a terrific back story, and age appropriate mysteries (who am I, where are we going).  The gore level is pretty minimal and nothing terribly scary happens.  As a bonus, the story is self contained, and though there is an obvious set up for a sequel it is not a cliffhanger.  All I can say is tough out the beginning, it is worth the effort.  This book will be on our recommended reading list.

Choose to Lie… or Choose to Die


Jennifer A Nielsen: The Ascendance Trilogy

Book One – The False Prince

Grades 4 – 7

In the first of a trilogy by celebrated author, Jennifer A Nielsen, a story of treachery, deceit and false identities unfolds.

Civil war is pending. Conner, a nobleman of the court, kidnaps four orphans to choose among them an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and set him up as a puppet prince. One, Sage, questions Conner’s motives, yet his own life ‘balances on a sword’s point’. At all costs, he must be chosen or be killed. Intrigue deepens as rival evil designs surface.

A truth comes to light that proves more lethal than all. Read the first one: A False Prince and you’ll be on your way to the library to grab the second one… and then the third. A great non-stop action fantasy!

The Seven Series and an upcoming SEQUEL!

seven sequelsThe Seven Series published by Orca, 2012.  Seven great adventures for Upper Elementary, Middle School and older.

“He was dead, after all, freshly flown off on his final adventure into the skies, so fit and “with it” that we were all shocked to hear of his death…”

Well, that wasn’t the last word on the subject. When David Maclean dies, he leaves behind an intriguing will outlining seven tasks for each of his grandsons. Seven books, seven authors, and seven tasks take readers anywhere from Mount Kilimanjaro to Iceland, the Mediterranean, Spain, and France.  Alright, so once  you have this series under your belt (i.e. read, achieved and experienced!), get ready for the BRAND NEW and upcoming series : THE SEVEN SEQUELS to be released OCTOBER 1ST, 2014.