Friday, October 21, 2011

Well I'm back from the beach and had a great time. I really enjoyed presenting at OASL. Here are some titles I booktalked.

 Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins
There are five in all: 1. Gregor the Overlander; 2. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane; 3. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods; 4. Gregor and the Marks of Secret an 5. Gregor and the Code of Claw.

Suzanne has created a world so delightfully imaginative and characters so real and developed that you feel like you know them. Gregor lives in NYC with his mom, older sister Lizzie and his two year old sister, Boots. Their father vanished the year beforewithout a trace. Life isn't easy for them, but they get by with a little help from their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Cormaci. One day while doing laundry, Gregor and Boots fall through a hole behind the dryer. They end up in the Underland, a world miles beneath NYC populated by giant rats, cockroachs, bats, spiders and a pale, violet-eyed race of humans. The prophecies of their ancestor, Sandwich, underline each story in which an Overlander warrior  plays a role. Although the prophecies are quite cryptic, it is generally believed that Gregor is indeed this warrior. Gregor and Boots and eventually his whole family become mired in Underland politics. The fate of Regalia, the main city of the humans, and indeed the many species of the Underland depend on Gregor's actions. To be sure there is no lack of adventure in this series including underground caves full of unfriendly giant spiders, sea monsters, quicksand, jungles of carnivorous plants, not to mention the impnding war with the rats. The stories are humorous, heartfelt at times and even have a bit of romance for our intrepid warrior. I also love that each Underland species is defined by their main function: rats=gnawers; cockroaches=crawlers; bats=flyers; spiders=spinners; moles=diggers; and fireflies=shiners with names like Photos Glow Glow and Zap. This is an amazing book on audio, in fact I cannot even imagine a better way to enjoy them.

Dragonkeeper Series by Kate Klimo

The series begins with Dragon in a Sock Drawer and introduces Jesse an Daisy who find what they think is a rock or thunderegg but ends up hatching a very real dragon, a beautiful green one which they name Emerald, Emmy for short. They have no clue how to care for a dragon. They're teenagers so what do they do? They go to the internet and find a website, run by a man who gives them loads of dragon advice and warns them against the ultimate dragon foe, Saint George, a professor who's out to gain immortality through the use of dragon's blood. Emmy is a very smart and extremely bored dragon living in a big barn. Her only entertainment is the magazines Daisy passes on to her like Teen Vogue, Teen Cosmo. So here you have a teen dragon who takes cosmo quizzes and knows more about hollywood than your average teenager an who starts exhibiting alarmingly undragonlike teen characteristics. The only way she can come out and be with her keepers is to change into a sheepdog which she does regularly. They face a new threat from St. George in each volume, discover the magical library in the third and in the fourth Emmy becomes homesick for other dragons and runs away. The books are easy to read and would be excellent for beginning fantasy readers.

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