Friday, May 07, 2010

Bad bad bad bad boys (and girls)

I’ve a tendency to put books on hold and then – once they arrive – forget why I did so. One of the recent books from this group is All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn. It arrived about a week or so ago, and the past two days I read it.

Siblings Travis and Corey like to think of themselves as pranksters. When they decide to prank the guests at their Grandmother’s inn, they end up with more trouble than they could have ever imagined. Grandmother’s inn has a checkered past, and a host of ghosts to go with it. By pretending to be ghosts themselves, Travis and his sister awaken the spirits. Now it is up to them to put the spirits to their final rest.

Good things about this story. Hmmm….It’s short. It’s easy to read.

Can you tell that I wasn’t very impressed? I know that this is a book written for children, but I can’t imagine that most children who read it would be scared. So often while reading the book I felt that it must be the work of a creative writing class student – and not necessarily the best in the class.

And how many kids do you know really call their grandmother “Grandmother”? That brings to mind a story set 100 years ago, not a modern day tale. Or a grandmother who is very stiff and formal. Bleh.

I also finished a few other books this past week. One is the sequel to another book I recently read. As I was doing some weeding in the Juvenile Fiction section at one of the branches, I came across Out of the woods by Lyn Gardner. This is the sequel to Into the Woods.

It’s been some time since the Eden sisters’ adventures with Dr DeWilde. Life is about to get interesting yet again. Unfortunately for the sisters, the pipe that Storm tossed into the ocean finds its way back to its owner. Also, a wicked witch named Belladonna wants the girls – for dinner. Specifically, she wants Aurora’s heart. As the fairest maiden in the land, Aurora’s heart can keep the evil Belladonna alive and powerful. She also wants that blasted pipe.

Will the three sisters be able to keep their promise to one another, and stick together, and still live happily ever after?

This book is filled with adventure and a fun fairy tale flare. Gardner incorporates several well known tales, with a twist of course. The stories of Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and the Frog Prince all make an appearance. This story is a delightful read.

Another book I recently finished is Someone named Eva by Joan M. Wolf. This is a title that I heard about months and months ago, but just now got around to reading. It’s a shorter children’s novel, so I was able to finish it within a couple hours of starting.

It is 1942, and Milada has just celebrated her eleventh birthday. Within a month the Nazis arrive in her small Czech town and arrest everyone in the middle of the night. Milada has the perfect “Aryan features” of blond hair and blue eyes, and is therefore separated from her family. She is sent to a Lebensborn center in Poland, where she is given a new name (Eva) and is forced to become the perfect German girl. After a couple of years, Milada – now Eva – is adopted by the family of a high ranking German official. She struggles to remember her real family and who she really is. As the war ends, Eva and her adoptive mother and sister (her adoptive father and brother have gone into hiding) hide from the bombs, eventually trying to repair the damage to their country home, all the while Eva wonders if she will ever see her real family again.

The story is fictional, but based on real events. Due to the incorrect assumption that they played a part in the death of one of Hitler’s favored officials, the town that Milada is from was destroyed by Nazi’s in June 1942. Of the few hundred inhabitants of the town, around 340 people died because of the German reprisal (192 men, 60 women and 88 children).

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