Saturday, February 12, 2011

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Not usually a lover of fantasy, but I quite liked this one! Check out the book trailer and review below.

Plain Kate, lives a simple life with her father a woodworker. A talented carver herself, Plain Kate is determined to become a master by age 20. Suspicious townsfolk fear Kate, her talent with her "witch blade" and her two different colored eyes. When a plague claims the lives of many, including her father, Kate is the target of the blame. With no place to go, no money and few friends in town Kate is pegged as the town's weakest and easiest prey by a mysterious stranger, Linay, who is witch-white and threatening. Kate is strong-armed into striking a bargain with the stranger - her shadow in exchange for much needed supplies and one wish. Without a shadow, it is certain Plain Kate would be condemned as a witch by the already wary townsfolk. Plain Kate takes off with a band of Roamers hoping for acceptance. Instead she becomes even more entangled in a web of magic and an elaborate plan of revenge. Well developed characters, who experience growth and change as the story progresses, drive this story to its bitter-sweet, if a little convenient, climax. Suggested for grades 6 & up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is one of my favorite books of 2010. When the school weirdo, Dwight, comes to school brandishing a Yoda finger puppet his classmates scoff. However, when Yoda begins dispensing strangely accurate advice to his classmates, they begin to wonder if it is real. In a quest for the truth one student, Tommy, decides to investigate. Tommy compiles the stories of all the kids who have sought out the advice of Origami Yoda in order to prove once and for all whether or not Dwight and his "green wad of paper" are for real. While this story will be a crowd pleaser at its surface, the social complexities of being a middle-schooler are portrayed authentically. Suggested for grades 5 - 8. Of course, after reading this I wanted my own Origami Yoda. Who wouldn't? There are directions in the back of the book, but being the uncoordinated dweeb that I am, I needed more detailed instruction. I was delighted to find a youtube video (below) of Tom Angleberger walking through the process step by step. Send me photos of your Origami Yoda and maybe I'll post them here! May the force be with you.