“Loyalist to a fault” by Evan Munday

September 19, 2015

Loyalist to a faultPublished by ECW press

[ARC generously supplied by Jenna Illies]
301p. c2015

The colourful ghoulish cover is just a teaser to what a reader can expect when they dive into the latest installment in Evan Munday’s nominated series Dead Kid Detective Agency!

If a reader is the least bit of a detective and observant, the title Loyalist to a Fault, is a clever play on an well known saying ‘loyal to a fault’ which provides a clue to the new, intriguing story involving the intrepid October Schwartz and a group of distinctly ‘spirited’ teen shades!

A story of unique friendships intertwined with decidedly weirdly poignant situations of midnight rendezvous in the local library, grave-digging in February, a pirate, a burning ship, intrigue and an interjection of horror-filled scenes …… captured my attention with such a force, that you can not help but become an unintentional invisible member of the Dead Kid Agency!

The helpful list of characters and appendix of passing references at the end of this third book in the series, allows the reader to delve deeper into the “important cultural history” that is alluded to throughout the narrative.

Mr. Munday adroitly crafts a tale that is a genuine unique blend of perspectives, voice, intrigue-filled social situations, aspects of the macabre laced with snippets of historical facts. Along with these components, and an opening paragraph that states how “many mysteries open with a heinous crime in progress” and in almost the next breath, reveals that….October, commits such an act, will totally ‘kidnap’ readers from the start!!!

Highly Recommended!!
for Grades 6,7,8!!!   Five Stars!

Genres: Mystery; Supernatural; Adventure; Humour

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Underground Soldier by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

February 21, 2014

undergroundsoldier framed[1]Underground Soldier is a moving and inspirational companion book to Stolen Child and the award winning, Making Bombs for Hitler.

This is Luka’s story…..his journey …his painful coming of age during a time, when survival was the key. Luka’s brash escape from a slave labour camp, thrusts him into situations where improvisation becomes the fundamental instrument for his survival — alluding German sentries.

This is a very powerful story, and even though the characters of Luka and Martina are fictional, the events experienced by them are based on real and little known events during a very horrific time in World War II. Often those who were escaping the injustices of the Nazi’s, would also find themselves fighting against the Russians at the same time.

Scenes of total injustice, brutality, violence and all the horrors encountered during war and  endured, are skillfully balanced by the author, into a story that shows that courage, perserverance, determination and compassion can have just as strong as an impact on the human psyche and help one to overcome any adversity.

Highly Recommended for students and adults!


Night Runner by Max Turner

November 25, 2010

Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level:   Q      Grade Level:   5-7  

Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure/Horror

  Literature Circle set ( 6 copies) available  at  Classroom Support Centre

Red Maple Nominee 2010 ,  261   pages

“Orphaned Zach lives in the hospital, a friend (Charlie) and an allergy he never questioned…until a stranger broke in and told him to run.” http://accessola.com/forest2010/redmaple/rm5/about.php

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Review by Karen:

When I first saw the cover of this book….I hesitated to pick it up…..but was immediately swept into Zack Thomson’s strange life at the Nicholl’s Ward.  This debut book by Canadian author Max Turner is definitely a new spin on an old theme that is currently sweeping Young adult fiction…vampires.

Zach’s story is told in the first person. His use of  short sentences both in narration and dialogue result in a plot line full of fast paced action, suspense, danger and adventure.  This has definite appeal for boys, but teenage girls will also enjoy the thrill of danger — who can resist the combination of an unconventional young vampire making a break for freedom from the police, being hunted by vampires and vampire hunters that are on his trail?

Highly recommended!!!

Book two: End of Days by Max Turner


After by Hazel Hutchins

August 5, 2010

Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level:  Q    Grade Level:   5-7  

Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure

  Literature Circle set ( 6 copies) available  at  Classroom Support Centre

Red Maple Nominee 2010 ,  176 Pages

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How do families cope in the aftermath of a tragic shooting?
Follow Kate and Sam to see how families on both side of violence are impacted.” 
http://accessola.com/forest2010/redmaple/rm1/about.php

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Review by Karen

After is the story of told in alternating  perspectives by two young teens that each have lost a sibling at the same store shooting. Kate writes her feelings to her best friend “Amy”  and it is through her entries we become privy to her accumulating feelings of despair, grief, loneliness and an ever-growing  anger.   “ I am so angry. I am so mad.  … all week the silence in our house is has been so loud its like living completely and utterly alone“.

Sam thoughts also reveal his perspective on what the sudden act of violence perpetrated by his older brother is costing him and his family. He is fearful of showing his emotions and that ” if he ever lets the anger out, the kind of madness that explodes, he ‘d be like Everett and never be able to stop.” 

A year later as the anniversary of this tragic event draws near, unbearable silences slowly give way to unexpected friendships. The tension climaxes when the two grieving mothers unexpectedly meet!

 Canadian author, Ms. Hutchins has delivered a very powerful book in After. I highly recommend this for any student from grade 6 to 9!

 Author Website: http://www.hazelhutchins.net/


Greener Grass by Caroline Pignat

June 25, 2010

 

Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level:   R      Grade Level:   5-7    

Genre:  Historical fiction /Adventure 

  Literature Circle set ( 6 copies) available  at  Classroom Support Centre 

Red Maple Book Award nominee 2010,  278 pgs.  

Other recognition and awards:

Governor General’s Literary Award winner 2009 CLA Children’s Book of the Year Award shortlist, 2009

  

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People 2009 finalist 
Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Awards shortlist, 2010 

Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice, 2009«Starred Choice 

Red Maple Book Award nominee 2010 

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“1847 – Ireland. The potato famine enters its second year, as British landlords raise rents and tumble cottages, leaving Irish families homeless and overcome by hunger and disease. Kit Byrne, a young girl of fourteen, will do everything she can to save her family. But will it cost her soul?” 

http://carolinepignat.squarespace.com/greener-grass/ 

Review by Karen 

I am a lover of historical fiction and was eagerly looking forward to reading this latest book by Canadian author Caroline Pignat. I had thoroughly enjoyed Pignat earlier debut novel Egghead and was interested in how she would handle this genre. 

The 1840’s in Irish history was a period of unrest turmoil and utter destruction and devastation — devastation to human life, human dignity and the human spirit. Pignat’s novel Greener Grass opens in the second year of the Great Potato Famine — 1847. We become first-hand witnesses to the heartrending struggles of human survival through the eyes of the central character 14 year-old Katherine (Kit) Bryne and the choices she  and her family are faced with.  The author has skilfully woven the horrors and bleakness of the times, with Kit’s courage and herioism , and that makes this is a truly inspirational story. 

Highly Recommended!!!

Similiar Books:  Nory Ryan’s song by Patricia Giff; Katie’s Wish by Barbara Hazen; The Grave by James Heneghan 

  

Author Interview on Greener Grass: 

http://carolinepignat.squarespace.com/media/ 

Study Guide (free) : http://www.fitzhenry.ca/Download/guides/GreenerGrass.pdf 


Submarine Outlaw by Philip Roy

June 8, 2010

Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level:   Z      Grade Level:   5-7  

Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure

  Literature Circle set ( 6 copies) available  at  Classroom Support Centre

Red Maple Nominee 2010 , 251 pp.

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“Fourteen year old Al changes his destiny by following his dream to become an explorer. Al’s journey begins off the rugged coast of Newfoundland in his handmade submarine. As he travels through east coast waters he rescues a family of four, finds a lost treasure, eludes the coast guard and the navy, befriends a seagull and an abandoned dog, meets a “queen” of the sea, and saves a lost boy. Al’s nautical adventures make him a celebrity but his ability to evade the police makes him an outlaw.”

http://accessola.com/forest2010/redmaple/rm8/about.php

Review by Karen:

Meet Alfred — a fourteen year old boy who steadfastly refuses to follow in the family tradition of going to sea as a fisherman. However a chance glance through a hole in the local junkyard fence sparks Albert’s imagination and lights the flame of adventure and exploration.  Unexpected friendships, responsibilities and self discovery  all become a part of Alfred’s own journey “out to sea”. 

Highly recommended !!

Theme:  Self-discovery; Adventure; Friendship

Teacher / Curriculum Connections: Canadian Geography /History (Eastern Maritime History) 

Author link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmmb3UO6TwA&feature=related


Night Runner by Max Turner

February 7, 2010

Night Runner by Max Turner

From the Publisher: For Zack Thomson, living in the Nicholls Ward isn’t so bad. After his parents died, he developed strange and severe allergies, and the mental institution was the only place where he could be properly looked after. As strange as it was, it was home.He could watch as much television as he wanted; his best friend Charlie visited him often enough; and Nurse Ophelia the prettiest no-nonsense nurse ever sometimes took him bowling. Of course, that didn’t mean he had it easy. 

Zack has to quickly sort out his life while on the run. This is a terrific book! He has lots to think about and to figure out about his surprising new abilities.  This would be a good book for a literature circle as it is exciting but easy to read

Who would like this?  Middle School Student

Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction