Sunday, September 13, 2009

Intermediate Reads

Well I didn't exactly meet my new class Friday as due to being seven students down in our projections we may have to reorganize which means losing a teacher and making classes bigger. We aren't moving our students to their new classes until we exactly what is happening. I did preview Dormia with enthusiastic grade sixes and sevens.

For awhile I have had a stack of intermediate novels for ages 9-13 to review so here goes...

Tabloidology (Orca) by Chris McMahon is about Marty who lives in a rather chaotic household but is a total perfectionist. He is the editor and writer of the school newspaper which no one reads. Trixie, is the daughter of rich parents who are never home. She is always playing pranks at school. The principal decides that Trixie should help Marty with his paper. Much to Marty's dismay everyone reads the articles Trixie writes, the problem is the articles are made up but then come true after they are written. Clever amusing book that could generate some good discussion.

Another Orca book is Bank Job by James Heneghan and Norma Charles. This book is about four children who live in a great foster home but the problem is that they are told that they don't have enough bathrooms. The foster parents can't afford to build another bathroom so that the children may have to live elsewhere. Nell comes up with the idea to rob banks to raise the money and surprise their foster parents. A rather far fetched premise perhaps (although based on a real story of teenage bank robbers) that has certainly has interesting results. Interesting characters and our students will enjoy the Vancouver area setting.

Leaving Fletchville by Rene Schmidt is another book about resourceful young people. I loved the characters in this book and I felt the setting was well done and used to move the story along. Schmidt is an elementary teacher and he knows kids well. Brandon, the main character is always in trouble and definitely marches to his own music. He befriends Leon, his neighbour in their apartment building and discovers Leon and his brother and sister's secret. As the author says in the beginning, we as teachers don't always really know the reality of the lives our students live. This definitely is shown in this novel. The one part I didn't find as convincing was the stereotypical bully in the story, but I still really liked this novel. I was interested in Fletchville which is a simulation that Schmidt has used for years to teach his students about money management etc.

Now for a little fantasy... The Solstice Cup by Rachel Dunstan Muller. Canadian twins return to Ireland where a run in with apparently fairies has damaged the relationship between Mackenzie and Breanne plus Breanne has a mysterious limp. This time they both journey into the Otherworld. I found this fantasy fast paced and Otherworld well drawn out.
Soccer Sabatage by Liam O'Donnell and Mike Deas is a graphic novel which may be popular with soccer and mystery fans. Devin's in Toronto with his sister Nadia's team for a big soccer championship. When their coach is mysteriously injured and Nadia has to fill in, Devin begins to play detective. I think that my students will enjoy this one.

Okay time for a break...

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