September 2010

These are the books the Children's Area staff reviewed in September 2010. Click on the "check the catalog" link to see if the book is available. If it isn't, ask a librarian to put it on hold for you.

Scroll past these book reviews to see an archive of all of the previous book reviews.

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Darkwing

Dusk is different. He comes from a family of furry chiropters, but he has no fur. Dusk can fly. None of the other chiropters can fly. They can only glide. Dusk can also use sound to "see" in the dark. His differences are appreciated by his father and his mother, but the rest of the colony is wary. They don't like differences and seek to drive Dusk out of the colony. When the colony is driven from their home on a secluded island, Dusk must use his skills to help save them. Darkwing is a story of evolution set in prehistoric times. It is a dramatic story with rich and sometimes frightening characters.

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Squids Will Be Squids

  • by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • Call number: JE Scieszka
  • check the catalog
  • Recommended for ages: 5-adult

Everyone knows that you shouldn't gossip about people. But, Aesop wrote some fables that told stories about people, and you can too. This book has some wacky fables about bossy, sneaky, funny, and annoying people, starring loony animals and featuring funny morals.

The crazy stories and fun illustrations make this book extra silly and fun to read. And remember, "If you are planning to write fables, don't forget to change the people into animals and avoid places with high cliffs."

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The Story of Doctor Dolittle

The Story of Doctor Dolittle tells how an English country doctor, who preferred animals over humans, learned to speak the language of animals and of his quest to Africa to save the monkeys. Along the way Doctor Dolittle and his animal companions are imprisoned by the king of Jolliginki, turn the prince into a lion, and outwit a band of pirates. Older children will be able to read this book on their own, while younger children will likely enjoy it as a read-a-loud. In this version a particular incident that is offensive to modern readers has been reworked; more details are available in the book's Forward.

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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling

The Mysterious Howling is the first book in what promises to be an excellent new series. In the novel, 15-year-old Penelope Lumley becomes governess to three children who were literally raised bywolves. Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia Incorrigible became the wards of Lord Frederick Ashton after he discovered them in the woods of Ashton Place. The novel is playful, often laugh-out-loud funny, and mysterious in tone, raising more questions about its characters' pasts and motives than it answers. Older readers, especially fans of Jane Eyre, will notice the tongue-in-cheek references to gothic novels like those by Charlotte Brontë and her sisters. Wood's multi-dimensional characters are the true strength of the book. Their wolfish behavior aside, each of the children have distinct personalities. Penelope is intelligent, sensible, caring, and, along with the children, matures as a result of her experiences. Even vapid Lady Constance is presented as more than a silly, spoiled young woman. I can't wait for the next one!

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