Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Silver by Andrew Motion

What image does the title Treasure Island conjure up for you?  What would your reaction be if I told you there is now a sequel to that timeless classic?  Probably the same as mine – NEVER!  But then I heard that Andrew Motion had done just that.  The reviews were excellent, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Silver is the adventure tale that follows the son of Jim Hawkins and the daughter of Long John Silver back to Treasure Island to retrieve the silver that their fathers had left there years before.  Young Jim steals the map from his father, and the young pair set off in the ship outfitted by the elderly former pirate.  But when they reach Treasure Island, it is not the abandoned paradise that they expect.  Treasure Island is inhabited, and what Jim and the crew witness upon arrival, compels them to act.

I was surprised – this tale of love and loss, honour and cruelty is a worthy sequel to the original.  Incidentally, if you’ve never read the original, the library owns several editions.  I highly recommend it and the ending leaves you wondering if there will be a sequel to the sequel.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Olympics: From Ancient Greece to the present day by Richard Platt

The Summer Reading Club is in full swing at all library branches.  If you’ve been away and are now looking for ways to keep kids occupied, head down to the library and sign them up.  Kids read what they enjoy, and can win some terrific prizes.

The theme this year is “Imagine”.  I’m sure that one thing that all kids will be imagining over the next couple of weeks is winning gold at the Olympic games.  A new book, by Richard Platt, Olympics: from Ancient Greece to the present day is an overview of the Olympic movement from its earliest beginnings in 776 BC to the modern day.  The book is aimed at a younger audience, so don’t expect any in depth material.  Still, the pages offer the highlights and lowlights of the Olympic movement over the past century.  Amazing courage, records, some fierce rivalries, politics, and scandals are all written about.

It’s a great way to enter into a discussion with a youngster about the many aspects of Olympic sports.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans

If you were a 10 year old boy who came upon a note left by an uncle, a famous magician who vanished many years ago, that said:

To my nephew
I have to go away, and I may not be able to get back.  If I don’t return, then my workshop and all it contains is yours if you can find it – and if you can find it, then you’re the right sort of boy to have it.

Would  you consider yourself as the right sort of boy to find it, and set about doing so?  Of course you would.

In Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms, by Lissa Evans, 10 year old Stuart Horten does exactly that.  In his quest to find his great uncle’s workshop full of wonderful mechanisms, he encounters trickery, magic, and a number of quirky characters, including his nosy triplet neighbours, named April, May and June; Jeannie, the bossy, scheming mayoress, and Clifford, a hapless magician in training.  Stuart must use all his wits, and figure out whom he can trust, to solve the puzzle clues Uncle Tony has left behind.

This book is perfect for any youngster wanting to immerse themselves is an adventure tale that’s a little out of the ordinary.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sign Language ABC by Lora Heller

Anyone who has visited any library in the past week will likely have noticed that the summer reading club is in full swing. The goals of the summer reading club are to strengthen the habit of reading for pleasure, increase children’s reading skills and reduce summer reading loss.  If you haven’t been in, check it out; registration is ongoing, so it’s not too late to sign up your child.

Every so often a unique children’s book catches my eye at just the right time.  Such was the case this past week with a new ABC book for children, Sign Language ABC by Lora Heller.  This is an ABC book that shows the letter, something that begins with the letter, and how to sign the letter. I had always thought that sign language was a method of communication that only applied to the hearing impaired, but this book offers ways of using sign language that I hadn’t thought of:  sharing messages with friends, spelling something top secret, or talk without speaking in a quiet place.   

What a great idea – learning a new skill that will have lifelong benefits, and having fun at the same time.