Monday, October 24, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on October 20, 2011 and was written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

The Owl Keeper, by Christine Brodien-Jones, 306 pages.
"Watching Dr. Tredegar slink toward him and Rose, Max reeled back, clutching Rose’s arm, feeling a deep repulsion. The InjectaPort looked lethal in the murky light.”
Twelve-year-old Max is discovering some disturbing things about his life. The regular injections that Max has received from Dr. Tredegar for years aren’t for his health – instead, they’re causing him to lose his memory. Mrs. Crumlin isn’t a kindly housekeeper, but a spy who’s been reporting Max’s every activity to the all-controlling High Echelon, which has ruled since the great Destruction. Max also discovers that the High Echelon is trying to destroy all silver owls. Why?

Why is the Echelon so interested in Max, and why isn’t he allowed to attend school with other children? And his parents – what has the High Echelon done to frighten them so much that they can’t answer Max’s questions - such as how his Gran, who knew so much about the world before the Great Destruction, died?
Max misses Gran intensely and takes great solace in a friendly little silver owl that appeared after she was gone. He also takes solace in his new friend, Rose, a runaway, whose father is being sought by the High Echelon. Now the two, having just discovered some terrifying plans of the Echelon, must flee. The Echelon is searching for both of them, determined to use them for a sinister purpose.
Pursued by Dr. Tredegar, Mrs. Crumlin and the loathsome creatures sent by the High Echelon, they undertake a dangerous trek to seek a mysterious owl keeper, who, according to an ancient prophecy, will help people and owls to battle the “dark powers”.
Full of mystery, intrigue and danger, and with a likeable, “underdog” hero and a satisfying ending, this fantasy novel is a winner, for both boys and girls.   
** Recommended for ages 9 to 12 years.

I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll, 32 pages.
A scary monster lived under Ethan’s bed. Ethan knew this because he checked for him every night.
One night when Ethan peered under his bed, his monster wasn’t there! Instead, there was a note: “Gone fishing. Back in a week. Gabe”
Gone fishing? Ethan couldn’t believe it. How would he get to sleep every night without hearing Gabe’s dreadful groans, scratching and other creepy noises?
Ethan thought for a moment. Then he knocked on the floorboards and quickly scrambled into bed. Sure enough, in less than a minute, there was a new monster in his room.
However, the new monster’s teeth weren’t sharp and long enough. Ethan knocked on the floor again.
Now there was another new monster… but Ethan could see right away that his slobbering wasn’t messy enough. He knocked on the floorboards again.
The next monster didn’t have a scary tale. The next monster wasn’t big enough, and the next monster …   Well, there was something wrong with each new monster. None of them were scary enough for Ethan. What was he going to do?
It turned out that Ethan didn’t need to do anything at all. Gabe returned early from an unsuccessful fishing trip - having discovered that fish are simply too scared by under-the-bed monsters!
This clever picture book, with its wonderful illustrations, will quickly become a bedtime favourite.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years.

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