Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer break graphic novel

Bad Island
by Doug Tennapel
Scholastic, August 2011
Reese is forced to go on a summer vacation boating trip with his family, even though his friends' parents let them stay home alone. But a boring vacation turns into something entirely different when the family's boat is ship wreaked on a strange island. The island's only inhabitants seem to be strange creatures intent on harming the family. With no way of escaping, Reese and his family are in for one hell of a vacation- and maybe it's better that they're together.

Tennapel's artwork has a funky style and the imaginative creatures of the island are strange and unique. Reese's story is paired with flashbacks to another time and place, on a planet far from Earth. Here, large creature house smaller ones who have the ability to control them. Astute readers will draw the two stories together, piecing together the true nature of the Bad Island in this fast-paced and compelling read.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I stayed up all night reading for a very good reason

and I haven't done that in quite a while.

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Crown, Random House, August 16th, 2011
It's the year 2044 and the real world is such a mess that people prefer to live in the OASIS, a virtual universe where almost anything is possible. Created by Halliday, the most brilliant game designer and 80s enthusiast, OASIS is the ultimate virtual existance where people exist as avatars any science-fiction or fantasy based concept is possible. When Halliday died, he left the ultimate easter egg in OASIS- his entire fortune and the rights to OASIS. Wade, like millions of others around the world, has spent the past five years searching for the easter egg, as has the IOI, a corrupt company intent on finding the egg for itself. Halliday was a man obsessed, and only one of a like mind will be able to unlock his secrets. Luckily, Wade has spent his life studying all things Halliday, and might just have a breath of a chance.

This fast-paced novel is a fun read and impossible to put down. Just as the line between real and virtual is blurred for Wade, readers will forget what is real and what constructed, falling completely into Wade's experience. Ready Player One is the complete book experience with thoughtful questions, epic battles, powerful enemies, personal journeys, and maybe even true love. Part of a complete breakfast, it's also chock-full of 80s references and trivia, sci-fi, fantasy, and video-game geekery. So grab a bag of corn chips, put on your favorite 8-track, and prepare yourself for an epic experience.

Though an adult book, I think it would be appropriate for teens ages 16 and up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

What toys do when you're not looking

Toys Come Home
by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Schwartz & Wade, Random House, September 13th, 2011
What toys do when your back is turned is an age-old question asked by children. Author Emily Jenkins invites readers to view their playthings from the toys' vantage. A companion to Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party, Toys Come Home is the beginning of StingRay's story from the day she is given as a day-of-birth gift. Her quest to find friends, save other toys, and learn why toys exist will delight young readers. Each chapter stands alone as a short story, and is accompanied by a detailed pencil illustration by Cadecott Medal-winner Paul Zelinsky. Filled with adventure and complemented by illustrations, Toys Come Home is sure to be a favorite bedtime read aloud- for both children and their toys.