Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a never ending stream of noise. One month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog Manchee stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that, in a town where privacy is impossible, a secret has been hidden, one so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
This is the first book in the Chaos Walking series. And I thought it was so good that I cannot wait to read the second book. The book keeps you guessing all the way through. It is very fast paced and I like that the author broke the book up into parts so that there are multiple climaxes through out, leading up to the big one at the end. As a series opener it was very promising and I think it will appeal to almost all readers, especially if you like adventure, mystery or science fiction. The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the best books I have read in recent weeks, shaping what is probably going to become one of my favorite series.
Measle and the Wrathmonk is one of my new favourite chapter book series for middle grade readers. Ten year old Measle lives a deplorable life. He is hungry most of the time, he is fifthy and lives in a wretched house with a menacing guardian. He has been told that his parents were killed by a snake but Measle is unconvinced and hopes he will be reunited one day.
Although the set up of Measle and the Wrathmonk seems all too familiar (orphaned child, deplorable conditions), Ogilvy creates unexpected and exciting twists and turns that are sure to engage young readers. Measle is a winner and well worth trying with reluctant readers. Additional books in the series include Measle and the Dragodon, Measle and the Mallockee.
Need to find a new series for middle grade readers?
Michelle Paver’s books: Wolf Brother, Spirit Walker and Soul Eater sat unread on my bookshelf for far too long. These days, they are rarely in my office. These are the first three titles in a terrific series for middle grade readers. I have loaned each of them to many, many kids and, without exception, the books are devoured and the series is completed.
Wolf Brother is captivating, it has the perfect combination of tension and excitement. Set in primitive times, Wolf Brother begins when young Torak’s father is killed by a terrible demon – a huge bear that has been possessed by a creature from the Other World. Now, orphaned, Torak adopts a wolf cub and discovers he can communicate with this new ally. Together, they begin a seemingly impossible quest; to reach the Mountain of the World Spirit.
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is a terrific series for middle grade readers. I strongly recommend it – especially for boys. Relatively short chapters, a fascinating setting and terrific tension make for a series that appeals to many reluctant readers.
Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay
written by Peter Cumming and illustrated by Alice Priestly
Despite warnings that she must not go outside alone, young Leah leaves the safety of her far North home and sets out to explore an enormous iceberg. “Leah walked away from her house, past the church, down to the beach, and out on the ice towards the iceberg that looked like a magical island of snow.” Just as Leah begins her adventure, a small polar bear cub is drawn to the same intriguing iceberg. As the moon rises, girl and bear cub meet in the middle of the frozen bay. Meanwhile, Leah’s father and the bear cub’s mother race desperately to locate their offspring.
Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay is filled with suspense as Leah explores the cold and dangerous world outside. It prompts the reader to consider not only the ways that Leah and the cub are alike but also how Leah’s father and the polar bear mother are similar.
32 pages, this is special read aloud for children aged 4 to 8
Darkside written by Tom Becker Suspense Novel for Middle Grade Readers published by Orchard Books
Yesterday’s blog post introduced Measle and the Wrathmonk. Today’s book will appeal to a similar demographic – middle grade boys and girls. Darkside is the first in a suspenseful and exciting fantasy series about a secret part of London. Inhabited by dangerous characters, this underbelly of London is nothing like the city we see on postcards or television. The atmosphere is gothic and intense.
We accompany fourteen year old Jonathan on his frightening journey to save himself and his father. His first trip into this mysterious location is both disturbing and intriguing. At the conclusion we are certain that one trip to Darkside will not be enough.
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