August 2006 Archives

The Sea of Trolls

"When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue--you sell him a whole new life." --Christopher Darlington Morley (1890-1957)     When I read The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer (Atheneum Books for Children, 2004), I got so involved in the reality of Jack's life, I found it hard to put the book down.   Besides wondering why I had never discovered this author before, I immediately passed the fantasy book on to my husband for his enjoyment.


Jack, an apprentice to the Bard, is taken by Northmen beserkers and becomes a slave.   The magic he knows and his singing skills help keep him alive.   But worse yet his little sister Lucy is given to the half-troll Queen Frith, who plans to execute her unless Jack's successful on a quest to the land of the trolls.   Even though Jack wants to hate the Northmen for what they've done and the way they live, he does see good in them.

Nancy Farmer is a 3 time Newbery Honor winner.  Here's a site that tells more about her:  You can also read about her at her publisher's site:

The Schwa Was Here

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004) is a very, very good middle grade novel.   I loved the main character's voice, his attitudes, how he talks about New Jersey   I know I'll reread it, because I'll want to spend time with Antsy again.


"These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves."

-Gilbert Highet, writer (1906-1978)


Here's a brief introduction to the story:Anthony (Antsy) has discovered his classmate Calvin Schwa has a magical ability to be invisible.   The two band up to make money out of the dares other kids challenge them to--i.e. the Schwa can sneak into the teachers' break room and listen to what's going on without getting caught or even noticed.   Their money making scheme works well until they get caught by Old Man Crawley.

To read about the author, go to:

LOL - Ruby Holler

ruby Holler.jpgBooks that make me laugh out loud are so much fun.   The classic SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS by Wilson Rawls always comes to mind when I think about laughing books.   There's a red paint scene in RUBY HOLLER by Sharon Creech (Joanna Cotler Books, 2002) that made me laugh so hard, I couldn't read it aloud to my husband without busting up.   However, RUBY HOLLER is about way more than laughter.   There's kindness, compassion and love--it's a very heartwarming story that I know I'll be returning to.

Here's a brief intro:   Dallas and Florida are orphans living in a scummy orphanage.   They always get brought back because they are "trouble" twins when they go home with someone.   This time they go home for a temporary stay with two elderly people, Tiller and Sairy, who each want to go on a trip and think having a young person companion would be good.   The kids are amazed when Tiller and Sairy don't punish them for mistakes.

This books is a very worthwhile read.  And, of course, if you've never read anything else by Sharon Creech, you'll probably want to after reading this one.  Here's her website: