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Book Reviews

September 8, 2009
Times Observer
Pre K-1st LUKE ON THE LOOSE by HARRY BLISS (Toon Books, 2009) *** In this graphic novel for the younger set, Luke and his dad are out for a walk in the park. But Dad only wants to do “boring dad talk” with other dads, so Luke decides to chase pigeons. All kinds of chaos explode before him and the pigeons as he chases them all over town! Eventually the whole city on the lookout for the little lost boy. You will be surprised where they finally find him. And by what Dad does the next time they go for a walk in the park. Are the pigeons safe now? You’ll wish you were ‘on the loose’, too.
2ND – 4TH OTTO GROWS DOWN by MICHAEL SUSSMAN (Sterling, 2009) *** Anna spoiled everything when she was born! So for his birthday wish on his sixth birthday, Otto wished that she had never been born. But then something strange happened. The candles relight themselves. His new watch begins ticking backwards. He rewraps all his presents and gives them back. Time has twisted around! Everything is happening in reverse! Otto is getting younger and younger. It is really weird. Otto begins to feel bad about Anna and tries everything he can think of to change things back to normal! Then on his first birthday (again), he discovers the secret! Boy is he careful about what he wishes for after this adventure!
MIDDLE SCHOOL LARKLIGHT: A ROUSING TALE OF DAUNTLESS PLUCK IN THE FARTHEST REACHES OF SPACE by PHILLIP REEVE (Bloomsbury USA, 2007) *** This book is a rollicking Victorian space adventure that would make Jules Verne proud. Art and Myrtle’s mother has been gone for many years and suddenly their father is captured in a raid on their house, Larklight, which floats in space around the moon. Art and Myrtle escape from the attackers and join a group of space pirates led by the infamous Jack Havock whose reputation is much worse than he is. He is just an orphan who escaped from the doctors who were probing him to find out why he survived when all others in his colony were turned into plants by spores. Thus begins a romp across space to rescue Father, find out the truth about Mother, and, of course, save Dear Old England from the bad guys. Oh, and throw in a few giant spiders trying to take over the universe along the way.
HIGH SCHOOL KING OF THE SCREWUPS: A NOVEL by K.L. GOING (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt., 2009) *** Liam is a HS Senior, active and involved in his school life, popular with many of the students in the school, living a privileged life in an exclusive neighborhood...he's got it made, right?  Wrong. Liam's father has set high standards for himself and his family.  Liam doesn't seem to be able to live up to his father's expectations. Not only does he have a poor academic record, but he seems to say and do the wrong thing at the wrong time and ends up in big time trouble.  Some very drastic measures are taken and Liam finds himself thrown out of the house and in the custody of an uncle he barely knows.  Liam's rude awakening and gradual acceptance of himself and his plight will keep you reading and rooting for him to the end.

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Valle Blair



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