The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

March 31st, 2014

Front CoverChap has problems.  First, there’s Sonny who won’t renew the lease on his mom’s restaurant, Paradise Pies, unless he gets a boatload of cash, literally.  Second, there’s Jaeger who wants to build an alligator wrestling amusement by paving the swamp Chap and his mom love!  Third is his grandpa Audie has recently passed away leaving Chap as man of the house.  To solve his problems, Chap sets off on a journey to find proof that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker still inhabits Sugar Man Swamp.  But the only proof is a photo his grandfather lost over thirty years ago.

The Sugar Man Swamp Scouts (they’re racoons) have their own problems.  First their parents took a vacation, right when a rumble, rumble started in the distance.  And rumble, rumble always means trouble.  The raccoons must wake the Sugar Man in order to stop feral hogs from destroying the swamp.  The only problem being that they have no idea where he’s sleeping.  Oh and then there’s Gertrude the giant rattlesnake who guards him while he sleeps and tends to eat intruders.  Let’s not even mention his tendency to throw things and creatures after he’s awakened…  What can the scouts do to help save their home?

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp is an adventure tale filled with a little magic and mystery.  Written by Kathi Appelt who won a Newbery Honor for her book, The Underneath.  The story is lighthearted and fun, but also tells the story of how Chap deals with the grief of losing his beloved grandpa Audie.  The animals are sentient and each has unique thoughts and mannerisms.  I particularly liked Sweetums, a cat, who desperately tries to give Chap advise that would help him, but Chap can’t understand him because he doesn’t speak Catalian.  Fans of The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate would probably like The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp and vice versa.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

March 31st, 2014

Did you know Santa Claus used to be an infamous brigand who had stolen half the wealth of Europe!  His name was Nicholas St. North then.  North was orphaned and raised by wild animals before he was adopted by Cossacks who trained him how to use pistols and swords.  North ran away from the Cossacks to become a bandit at age 12!

This is the spin William Joyce and Laura Geringer give Santa Claus in Nicholas St. North and the Nightmare King.  The first book in The Guardians series.  There are fairies, wizards, elves, spirits, and animals with magical powers.  There is also a brave young girl who believes Nicholas St. North can be so much more than a bandit king.  She sees Nicholas’s heart and the man he should be.  All it will take for Nicholas to realize it are confrontations with a magical bear, a giant metallic man, and Pitch the Nightmare King.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King is a fun lighthearted read. There is plenty of action, some humor, and numerous lovable characters.  The story is a prequel to the 2012 Rise of the Guardians film.

Still not interested?  Well there’s also an army of yetis (abominable snowmen)!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Graphic Novel Adaptation

March 12th, 2014

The classic tale of Dorothy’s adventure in Oz has been beautifully recreated by writer Eric Shanower and comic artist Skottie Young.   The story is split into 8 volumes.  The illustrations are colorful and imaginative.  Kansas is illustrated in shades of gray with few vibrant colors, while Oz is filled with colorful details reminiscent of the 1939 movie.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  graphic novel can be enjoyed by all ages, but most children will probably need to be in third grade to read it independently.  There are a couple points where the pictures become dark and menacing (flying monkeys), but things are always quickly brightened.

The story is a lot of fun and can be enjoyed I recommend it to anyone who liked the original series, the 1939 movie, or 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful.  It reminded me a lot of the Bone series by Jeff Smith because of its comical characters and lighthearted story.  The books are located at JGRAPHIC NOVEL WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ on the NEW shelf.

Everyone Loves Green Eggs and Ham!

February 11th, 2014

Hope you enjoy this particular rendition of the classic Green Eggs and Ham: