Robbie

Book Review: The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

FarmerEarEyeArm

  The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer This Newbery Honor Book by the author of The House of the Scorpion conjures a unique world in which futuristic fantasy and ancient folklore are intertwined. Set in the year 2194 in the African nation of Zimbabwe, it relates the adventures of three sheltered, privileged children when they escape from the walled compound of their father (the country’s ruthlessly efficient security chief) to have an adventure ... Read More »

Book Review: The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman

PullmanScarecrowServant

The Scarecrow and His Servant—buy it by Philip Pullman—his website Recommended Age: 10+ This book by the author of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and The Ruby in the Smoke combines a fairy-tale concept with elements of the picaresque novel. That is to say, it presents a hero from humble origins, making his way through a corrupt world in a series of funny, ironic adventures. Seemingly set in Italy around the time of the Napoleonic wars, this ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

DWJOgreDownstairs

The Ogre Downstairs—buy it by Diana Wynne Jones—her website Recommended Age: 10+ This is a delightful tale, full of charm and laugh-out-loud humor. Plus, the theme of a “blended family” resonates with the personal experience of many of us. The Brants and the McIntyres are living under one very British roof, since Mrs. Brant (a widow) married Mr. McIntyre (a divorced, single Dad). But after only a couple months, things aren’t going too smoothly. Sally, ... Read More »

Book Review: So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane

duanesoyouwanttobe

So You Want to Be a Wizard—buy it by Diane Duane—her website Recommended Age: 12+ This 1983 book is the first of nine books in the Young Wizards series, which in many ways should be right up your alley (if you like Harry Potter, that is). The author is a prolific science fiction writer who has contributed a number of books to the growing list of Star Trek titles, as well as the Net Force ... Read More »

Book Review: The Cockatrice Boys by Joan Aiken

AikenCockatriceBoys

The Cockatrice Boys—buy it by Joan Aiken—her website Recommended Age: 12+ From the Wolves series, featuring Dido Twite, I had already come to regard Joan Aiken as a wonderful writer with a flair for colloquial British speech, humor, adventure, and the clash of titanic forces of good and evil. From Diana Wynne Jones’ Deep Secret I had come to regard the Starscape label as being possibly the best-kept secret in young-adult fiction. Both of these ... Read More »

Book Review: Perloo the Bold by Avi

aviperloo

Perloo the Bold—buy it by Avi—his website Recommended Age: 12+ The author of Tales from Dimwood Forest brings us this intriguing fantasy novel for the young. Two tribes have been at war, on and off, as far back as history remembers: the rabbit-like Montmers and the coyote-like Felbarts. Among the few Montmers who know anything about this history, is bookish, shy Perloo. But when the old Granter of the Montmers is on her deathbed, she ... Read More »

Book Review: Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz

HorowitzSnakehead

Snakehead—buy it by Anthony Horowitz—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Alex Rider, Britain’s leading fourteen-year-old spy—more or less James Bond with zits—has survived a lot in only a few fast-paced months. He has been gunned down by an assassin and lived to tell. He has blown up a luxury hotel in outer space. He has even survived a feature-film adaptation that flopped at the box office. And now, in his seventh action-filled adventure, Alex has splashed ... Read More »

Book Review: The Eye of the Forest by P. B. Kerr

KerrEyeForest

The Eye of the Forest—buy it by P. B. Kerr—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Book Five of “Children of the Lamp” continues the series’ ABC-order sequence of titles. Brought to you by the letter E, it’s such a fun book that you’ll hope the pattern holds through all 26 letters of the alphabet. In this installment, teenage djinn twins John and Philippa Gaunt visit the moist, mysterious rain forest of the Peruvian Amazon, together with ... Read More »

Book Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

ChimaExiled

The Exiled Queen—buy it by Cinda Williams Chima—her website Recommended Ages: 13+ In Book Two of the “Seven Realms” quartet, the author of The Warrior Heir and its sequels continues to amaze with her ability to keep a large-scale piece of world-building interesting, convincing, and hopping with action. This installment takes us out of the Queendom of the Fells and shows us more of the seven realms, particularly the Academy of Oden’s Ford—a sort of ... Read More »

Book Review: The Rose and the Ring by W. M. Thackeray

ThackerayRoseRing

The Rose and the Ring—read it online by William Makepeace Thackeray—wiki him Recommended Ages: 10+ This hilarious fairy-tale spoof was written as a “fireside pantomime,” to amuse a group of English children between Christmas and New Year while staying in an unnamed European city. Moreover, it was published under the pseudonym “Michael Angelo Titmarsh,” if you please. Today’s American children might not understand what’s so funny about that name, let alone what a pantomime is ... Read More »