Friday, November 25, 2016

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

EchoEcho by Pam Muñoz Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Received as an ARC.

Otto found himself lost in the woods alone in a circle and surrounded by three sisters. He became their messenger to free their bondage to the circle by saving a soul on the brink of death. Friedrich hears music in his head and composes with a baton that only he can see. He sways his hands to the melody as passerbys look at him oddly. Friedrich has a harmonica whose tones are so perfect and so beautiful that the music lifts him up from his world and sets his soul free. Friedrich was born with a large birthmark on his face which was imperfect to the Nazi regime of Germany. Friedrich’s father had been taken and he and his uncle made plans to leave Germany. Mike and Frankie loved to play piano with their Grandmother. She took care of them after their mother died, but she was aging and could no longer care for them. Mike and Frankie were taken to the Bishop’s Home for Friendless and Destitute Children because it had a beautiful piano that the boys’ grandmother hoped that they would play. The keys remained silent though, but music was made through a harmonica and led them away from the group home and let them soar in the melody. One day the boys left the group home, but trouble stirred and they planned to leave. As Mike was climbing down a tree and reached for the harmonica that had fallen from his pocket, he slipped and fell. Ivy just moved to California and her new home is settled in an orange grove on the property of a Japanese family who were forced to an internment camp. Ivy learns about prejudices against her Hispanic heritage as well as against the Japanese. She sees the war come between friendships. She sees people who are cruel and manipulative. Ivy worries about her own brother and wears his jacket as protection until he comes back home. Kenny takes leave from the war to settle his father’s affairs and Ivy plays him a song from her harmonica. She gives him the harmonica to take with him to shed a little bright light in the midst of war. Her harmonica sheds more than just a bright light onto Kenny’s life. As the prophecy is fulfilled and the curse lifts, the three sisters rejoice at finally returning home while the music of the harmonica swirls the destinies of it’s players and crescendos into the tears of the sisters’ happiness.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan was, in one inadequate word, amazing! Echo surpassed a novel and went straight into a journey. It was a journey from the dark woods and through three people’s lives and then twisted everyone together to make a prophecy come true. The storyline was just incredible and I just can’t believe the way everything came together so beautifully. The story was like the songs from the harmonica itself. Echo is truly unique. I don’t remember ever reading a book like this before and strongly recommend this book to everyone. I think that the older the reader is, the more they will truly understand what is happening in the book. I really can’t say enough good things about this book except you must read it - Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!! Travel safe and enjoy the day!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Second Best Thanksgiving Book Ever!

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

One of my family's favorite traditions is to watch the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving. My favorite is the Rockettes and I love the music and the dances. It's such a festive show and I try to get everyone in the house together at the very end to see The Man - Santa!! Santa means it is Christmastime!! You have never seen the Macy's Day Parade? Oh, you gotta watch it and read - Balloons Over Broadway - to find out how it all started! 

One Of The Best Thanksgiving Books!

Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving wasn't always a national holiday. Thanks to many letters and many presidents and Sarah Hale, Thanksgiving is celebrated by our whole nation. In elementary school, kids talk about the pilgrims and Indians, but how did Thanksgiving manage to stand the test of time. Thank you Sarah...from a grateful nation.

Graphic Novels!

I've been in denial long enough and I'm now ready to accept graphic novels into my life. Last year, as a part of my school's Black-Eyed Susan Jeopardy challenge, I read all of the graphic novel nominees to put together a list of questions. This year I'm planning on doing the same thing AND there are few books that are sequels that I'm looking forward to reading LIKE...

TAH DAH!!!! This is the sequel to Phoebe and Her Unicorn which was the first book in the Heavenly Nostrils Series by Dana Simpson. Unicorn On A Roll is followed by: Unicorn vs Goblins, Razzle Dazzle Unicorn and Unicorn Crossing which is coming out 28 March 2017. 

I haven't read Unicorn On A Roll yet, but I just brought it home from the library and plan to soon. I'll let you know if it was just as laugh-out-loud as Phoebe and Her Unicorn was!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess XI Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominee 2016-17

Two girls met on the school playground and not only was a friendship born, but also a comic strip. A girl comic strip. A warrior with a ninja sword and red Chucks. Princess X was born. May wrote the words and Libby drew the pictures. For three years the girls created a world for Princess X until Libby and her mom drove off of a bridge. Libby’s mom was found dead strapped into her seat, but Libby wasn’t found until a week later virtually unrecognizable. May never got over Libby. She missed her friend so much it hurt and no one ever took her place until three years later when May saw a Princess X sticker on a skateboard and then on a pole and then someone’s book bag. May suddenly realized that Princess X was everywhere and there was even a website, but who was running it. There was only one person she could think of, but that person died in a car accident three years ago…or did she?
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest is an interesting hybrid of graphic novel and chapter book. It’s hard to imagine a combo like that working, but in this case it worked flawlessly. At first glance I thought this book was going to be boring. I had to read it for a state award book club and kind of did so hesitantly. I can say that I was definitely surprised. I Am Princess X had a great story line with a lot of adventure. I loved the clues and found the characters realistic and interesting especially Jackdaw. I really like characters that are well developed and in I Am Princess X the characters had their own stories within the main story. The one criticism that I would have for this book is the cover. I really love it and think the variations of shades of purple are pretty, but that may be the problem. I think I Am Princess X would be a really good book for boys and I think the cover may turn them off. It’s great a story and should be enjoyed by everyone. I would recommend I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest to higher reading 6th graders up to about 10th grade.

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