December 14, 2010
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Genre: futuristic fiction
Theme: Friendship, Morals, Adventure
Uglies was recommended by one of my students…a reader extraordinaire! After reading it, I could definitely see what appealed to her. In this futuristic North America, Tally turns 16 three months after her best friend Peris. This would normally be no big deal, however at the age of 16 every “Ugly” goes through a drastic surgery to become “Pretty”. These “Pretty”s do not interact or communicate with “Ugly”s.
This transformation opens up lots of doors as far as classroom discussion regarding society’s opinion of pretty, and media’s role (perhaps it’s power) in guiding people’s opinions. Another strong theme is what happens to those people who do not, or do not wish to fit into the world’s molds.
This is an easy read, and can be read with great interest without knowledge about the theme.
ISBN: 0-439-80611-9, 425 pp.
December 3, 2010
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Theme: Coming of Age
This book was recommended to me by a colleague who has suggested it to students who have been in foster homes, or have led transient lives. It is a story about a girl who has been in and out of foster homes herself, eventually running away from each of them. Every other chapter describes in great detail a picture which Hollis Woods has drawn that provides a window into her life.
I found this book a little hard to follow to begin with and didn’t really get into it until about three quarters the way through. It was a short enough book, with easy to follow language. The characters are colourful and interesting, however the plot didn’t come together quickly enough for my liking! I, also, might recommend it to students who would be able to connect with the main character.
Pub: Random House 2002
November 25, 2010
Castaways in Lilliput is a wonderful childhood read. I remember my grade 5 teacher reading this book to my class and we absolutely loved it. I then read Henry Winterfeld’s other books, Detectives in Togas and Trouble at Timpetill.
Castaways in Lilliput starts off with three kids adrift in a raft. When they finally got to shore, they only found a miniature sized village. They discovered that they were actually in the modern Lilliput, the land that Gulliver travelled to in Gulliver’s Travels. The three children actually terrified the entire Lilliput population who tried to flee from the “giants”. The kids had to learn how cope in the tiny world and be accepted by the citizens of Lilliput.
It is great adventure story for kids who love to imagine living in a world that is similar to their own – but from a totally different perspective. I have since read this book to my grade 5 classes and although it was written in 1958, they connected with it. It is a heartwarming read – that shows how people can adapt to different circumstances.
Reading ability: Junior
Theme: Coping, adapting to new circumstances
Who would like this book? Kids who like adventure and imagining themselves in a fictional world that is similar to their own.