Friday, April 29, 2011

The TBR Back Burner Challenge: Round 4 Reviews

Time to make an adjustment. We put on our big girl panties for a more sophisticated trip down Memory Lane for The Super Nostalgic Book Flashback Challenge. So now lets slip on our Underoos so that we may tackle some of the kid-lit that has accumulated in our TBR pile. Starting with a Newbury Award winner.

EvilEva reviews...... The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Nobody Owens, Bod if you please, is a normal boy that lives in a graveyard and is raised by ghosts. His family was killed by a man named Jack. And now Jack is on a mission to destroy the one that got away. But Bod has been given the Freedom of the Graveyard. He knows the lay of the land and all the creatures that inhabit it. Like the ghouls and the witch and the Sleer. Bod has friends in low places. Six feet low. And they'll do anything to protect him to ensure that he lives another day.

I was hoping I would like this book more than I did. Not to say that I didn't like it. Of course if did. It's by Neil Gaiman. I adore Coraline. It's just, the pace was a little wonky to me.
It started out strong with the man Jack. Neil Gaiman did not play around in that first chapter, y'all. But for several chapters after that it was just the story of Bod growing up in the graveyard and the ghosts he meets and the adventures he has traipsing through the cemetery. It's one of those things where the author has to tell you that story so he can tell you this story. So it was kinda like a collection of short stories that eventually connect at the end. Which I figured out when everything started coming together but while I was reading it I kept thinking, why do I need to know this, what happened to Jack, why isn't Silas better preparing Bod for the real world? Like I said though, it all comes together in the end.
I liked Bod. I think he was a good protagonist. But my fave character would have to be Liza Hempstock, the witch. I really liked her and her story. I also liked Silas, Bod's guardian. I wish there was more of his backstory though. And I'd really like to know what exactly he is.
Other than the odd pacing, I enjoyed this book. I've always had a weird fascination with graveyards. I'm more intrigued than creeped out whenever I find myself in one so I thought the whole premise of being raised in one and conversing with the residents there to be pretty cool.

The Scale of Judgment...... 3.

EvilEva reviews...... 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.

After the mysterious disappearance of his parents, 12 year old Henry is sent to live with his aunt, uncle and three cousins in their Kansas farmhouse. One night, while trying to sleep, Henry hears strange thumping and bumping from the other side of the attic walls. He removes the plaster and finds something very unexpected. 99 cupboards in various shapes and sizes. Each cupboard leads to a strange and different world. Henry and his cousin Henrietta start investigating the cupboards. Some lead to beautiful lands. Others to dreary, unkind places. The kids are having fun jumping through worlds but something insidious has stepped out of one of the doors. And it wants Henry's blood.

This is the first book in the series and there are two others out now. I liked this one and I think that kids would like it too. It's that whole wondrous feeling that you get when you're little and a door can lead you so much further than just the back of the closet. As a kid I can remember always wanting to find a secret room or a hidden door or an uneven floorboard with a compartment underneath. (Never did though. My house, it seems, is just a house.) Well this is the story that I wished for myself. Henry and Henrietta find these cupboards and discover that there are all these different worlds going on in them. There is danger and excitement and anxiety and adventure. I liked that the kids were smart and so brave. They got into jams and would try to figure their way out of them.
My favorite character was Henrietta. I thought she kicked so much ass especially for a little kid. I also liked Blake the cat. He was very protective and I thought that was pretty cute. Kinda made me want a cat. And I don't even like cats.
I thought all the cupboards and the places they lead to were really interesting. If I were to find myself in the Willises attic and could open any of the doors, I'd choose: Door 1. Library (duh) Door 58 Hollow. Door 63 Lighthouse. And Door 89 Loft. I don't know what I'd find there but those are the doors that interested me.
My only problem was that the book starts out a little slow. It picks up fairly quickly though so it wasn't that big of a deal. It kinda reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, going through a mysterious door, meeting odd people, discovering strange lands. It's a really great adventure book for kids (and kids at heart that are still looking for that secret passage.)   
Dandelion Fire is the second book in this series. And I think I'll pick it up. I'd like to see how this series plays out.

The Scale of Judgment says...... 3 and a half.

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