The Alien that Ate My Socks (Brandon Dorman)

9 Sep

Meet Hank, Hector, and Henry Hooligan – three brothers who love adventure.  The only trouble is … adventure sometimes comes with a side of purple.  Purple alien, that is.  A great adventure awaits you all, Squinks, in The Alien that Ate My Socks.

 

Alien that Ate My Socks 

Squinklethoughts

1. The action never stops.  This book begins with the Hooligan brothers competing in a go-cart race against their perpetual enemy, Rock.  Once they encounter the purple guy, it’s just one thing after another.  It was really hard for me to quit reading at the end of the night (or at the end of lunch) because each chapter ends with a cliffhanger.  Is the purple alien going to eat ALL their clothes?  Is it going to start eating the three boys or their friend, Ellie?  And what makes it smell so … ick?  I imagine green ooze wrapping itself around all that purple.

2. Hank, Hector, and Henry have such a great brotherly relationship.  They annoy one another and taunt one another, but they never stop having each other’s backs.  When Hector is hugged by the purple blob and goes temporarily noodly, Hank and Henry do what they can to get Hector back to normal.  It must be so much fun to live in the Hooligan house!

3. The illustrations are just wonderful.  Brandon Dorman is the illustrator of so many middle-grade books, including The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull, and The Curvy Tree, one of The Land of Stories tales.  I loved flipping through the book again to see the pictures, which helped bring me back to various points of the story.  You’ll love the images, too!  You most definitely need to see the rest of Dorman’s wonderful illustrations online.

4. I really locked onto Henry’s character from the get-go.  He’s quite charming and really funny with his retorts to his brothers’ jabs.  I love that he’s always wondering about what else can be replaced with superficial materials just as his teeth had to be replaced with fake ones.

5. This is the first book in the Hoolie and the Hooligans series, and I’m glad because one book just isn’t enough to cover the Hooligans’ adventures.  This book ends with such a bang … alas, that makes me impatient for the follow-up!  Don’t worry: you’ll know when I know when the next book will be published.

 

4 Squinkles

 

Brandon Dorman’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Thank you, Shadow Mountain Publishing, for sending me a finished copy of Hoolie and the Hooligans 1: The Alien that Ate My Socks in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

The Nameless City (Faith Erin Hicks)

15 Jun

I don’t get to read as many graphic novels as I would like, so I am quite particular about the ones that I do read. Wow, am I really glad to have come across The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks.

 

Nameless City 

Squinklethoughts1.  Why is it called the Nameless City? Because the city has been named and renamed by its invaders (of which there have been many), but its citizens try to live without paying much heed to the constant tug of wars. The easiest way to identify someone who isn’t a true citizen, then, is by hearing him/her try to name the Nameless City.

2.  I like both Kaidu and Rat, and I really enjoyed reading about their developing friendship. They’re so different, but they manage to find common ground become friends in the process. I’m happy that Hicks didn’t reveal all of their backgrounds (especially Rat’s) because I’m quite looking forward to knowing more about her and how she got to where she is in the story.

3.  Parkour fascinates me, and to have it as recurring scenes in this graphic novel really made my toes tingle!

4.  That tower in the centre of town is a mystery. It seems like a haven, but as with most interesting things, it’s the background that draws me in. I’m keen to find out more about how it came to be.

5.  The whole premise of the Nameless City being nameless is so sophisticated that at the end of the book, I was left speechless. It was like I had passed through a (very enjoyable) whirlwind. It’s almost as if while I was reading, I knew there was something great about the whole thing, but I kept that thought at bay because I knew it was complicated. Am I not making sense? Yeah, well, The Nameless City is the type of story that will make you think about the significance of words and labels, the importance of where you come from and how you’re raised, and other social issues that the city itself is mired in. Life is messy and really hard to compartmentalize, and I’m glad Hicks explored this (or is beginning to, anyway).

6.  There’s a lot of potential for the next two books of the trilogy. This is the first time I’ve encountered Faith Erin Hicks, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.

 

4.5 Squinkles 

Faith Erin Hicks’ Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Chapters

 

Thank you, First Second Books, for sending me a finished copy of
The Nameless City in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Nick and Tesla’s Solar-Powered Showdown (Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith)

14 Jun

This is the sixth book in a wonderful series that I can’t recommend highly enough to all my students. “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith’s books are truly embraced by my kids who love science, experiments, adventure, and really awesome characters.

 

Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown 

Squinklethoughts

1.  I love that you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one. I’m sure that will be a selling point for some of you. The authors even add little footnotes on some pages to tell you in which book you can find the previous experiment or mishap the characters are referencing. Or they may be gently nudging you to read the rest of the series because the other books are just as great as this one. Take it how you will.

Nick and Tesla - Book 6 - Ch. 3

2.  Nick and Tesla’s relationship doesn’t annoy me at all, as some literary sibling relationships do. Maybe it’s because they’re twins or that they’re equally delightfully nerdy. Whatever the formula is, it works, and I’m glad. They bounce ideas off one another and sometimes don’t even need words to communicate. Super cool.

3.  I’m not a huge fan of their friends, though I’m glad they’re loyal to Nick and Tesla. There’s one particular scene with Silas’ dad that really had me fuming. Argh. All in all, I enjoyed the dialogue and scenes between the two siblings more than their scenes with others.

4.  I love how smart Nick and Tesla are.

5.  I hate how much smarter Nick and Tesla are than I was at their age … and even now because – who am I kidding? – I wouldn’t be able to come up with any of their ingenious devices.

6.  I hope this isn’t the end of this series, or at least of this story arc. I’d hate to have to say goodbye. Also, I’d love for Books 3, 4, and 5 to magically make their reappearance in our library. It’s been weeks since they’ve been checked out, but nary a return …

7.  There are some really cool activities at Nick and Tesla’s official website.  Check it out here.

 

4 Squinkles 

Bob Pflugfelder’s and Steve Hockensmith’s Online Corners
Bob’s Website | Steve’s Website | Nick and Tesla’s Website
Bob’s Twitter | Bob’s Instagram | Steve’s Twitter

 

Thank you, Quirk Books, for sending me a copy of Nick and Tesla’s Solar-Powered Showdown in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.

Bookcation 2016 #12: Wing & Claw: Forest of Wonders

21 Mar

Linda Sue Park has been around for ages. In fact, many of my students had read her books long before even I did. I was introduced to her because I loved The 39 Clues series so much, and she wrote the 9th novel of the original plot line, Storm Warning. Now, she’s got a brand-new series that I think you’ll enjoy.

 

Wing & Claw - Forest of Wonders 

Forest of Wonders is the first novel in the Wing & Claw series. It’s about a young apothecary called Raffa who is rather gifted at his craft but suppressed by his father who doesn’t want him experimenting. One day, he comes upon an injured bat, so he concocts a cure using a rare plant in the forest. His medicine is effective … so effective, in fact, that Echo, the bat, develops a curious ability. And this is when Raffa’s life changes.

This is an adventuresome read that you’ll rip right through. I especially love the apothecary bits because I’ve always had a fascination for botany (mostly to learn about which plants to avoid!). I hope you enjoy this first installment. Let me know what you think about it!

Bookcation 2016 #11: Waylon and Pax

21 Mar

Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker is coming out next month, and I want you to keep an eye out for it. It’s a quick read that I think will leave an impact on you.

 

Waylon - One Awesome Thing 

The story is about Waylon, a fourth-grader who has grand plans for improving life but who has to deal with life itself before anything else. Waylon wants to be friends with (almost) everyone, but his classmates are divided in their loyalties. His older sister has begun wearing all black and stopped being his best mate. Will nothing ever stay the sweet way it was?

Middle school is often a strange and defining time in life, and I really enjoyed the way Pennypacker explored the various problems that adults often dismiss as important. When you’ve read this book, come find me and tell whether you ever felt like Waylon, too.

 

Pax

 

While I’ve got you eager to read all about Waylon, let me remind you to borrow one of our copies of Pax, too, and to visit the book’s site, “Find Pax”. Pax was sadly orphaned when he was very young because his fox family was killed, but Peter rescues him from the clutches of wild nature. Under Peter’s care, Pax regains strength, and the two of them plant the seeds of a beautiful friendship. But then, war happens, and Peter must move in with his grandpa while his father goes off to fight. Pax is not welcome to join them. Will Peter and Pax ever see each other again? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a tissue when you visit me to borrow the book.

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