Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neptune Children's Writing Club

Imagination  Creativity  Inspiration

Neptune Public Library is proud to present 3 book reviews  from Children's Writing Club. We would like to hear what you think and help us choose our "Feature of the Month"

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The Tiger Rising
A Book Review by Barbara Messinger

I recently heard Kate DiCamillo speak at a convention. Her most famous book,
Because of Win Dixie, was made into a popular movie in 2005. She was  so inspiring, I thought I would try one of her lesser known books. In The Tiger Rising,

Kate captures the reader right away. The main character, a young boy, Rob, is walking through the woods, when he spots a caged tiger pacing back and forth. He is mesmerized by this startling image and so is the reader. How did the tiger get there?  Who does it belong to? Rob’s head is spinning with questions as he runs to catch his school bus.
You quickly learn that Rob is the new kid in this backwoods Kentucky town. He  is bullied on the bus and unpopular at school. His father has moved him to live in a run down motel after Rob’s mother died a year ago. Adding to his misery is an itchy rash covering his legs. Rob is just trying to make it through the day. He keeps his feelings all bottled up inside, but the tiger takes his mind off his troubles, as he tries to unravel the mystery.
Things continue to shift when a stranger gets on the bus that day. The new girl, Sistine, has yellow hair and dresses outlandishly for this neck of the woods. Her mother moved her here after a divorce. She mistakenly believes her father will come and rescue her. When he doesn’t, she is full of anger and will pick a fight with anyone. Even Rob doesn’t escape her ill will. Although, an unlikely duo, Rob and Sistine, are slowly drawn together, Rob still has a secret: the tiger.
Rob learns his father’s boss and owner of the motel they live in, won the tiger on a bet. The boss secretly enlists Robs help to care for the animal till he figures out how to use the animal to make money. Eventually, Rob shares his secret with Sistine but is torn between her desire to free the tiger and his responsibility to his father. What Rob decides and what happens is a surprise ending. Not the one I imagined but one that brings healing to a family torn apart by loss.
I highly recommend this book but be forewarned that it’s a real tearjerker.

Linnea in Monet's Garden
A Book review by Ronnie Cornett

My mother bought me this book when I was a young adult with children of my own one Christmas after she had returned from Paris. I found that this book is not only for children but adults as well.

There are 2 main characters, Linnea (named for a flower) and her upstairs elderly neighbor, Mr. Bloom and the freindship that developes between them. They both share a love of gardening.

Mr. Bloom has a book on the french impressionist, Claude Monet. As they look through the book learn about Monet's family, his pink house, gardens, and his paintings of his gardens.

They soon plan a trip to Paris. When they arrive, they take in the historical sites as well as Monet's pink house and his gardens. Linnea is in awe at how large Monet's garden is.

This book has wonderful pictures of Monet's art, family, home, and garden, as well as illustrations of Linnea and Mr. Bloom.

After I read this book to my children I took them to the Met in NYC to see some of Monet's art. I think it made it more enjoyable for them.

I give this book 5 stars!!!!!

A book review by Nicole Dykeman

We’ve all read those books. You know, the most boring thing you’ve ever had to trudge through? I’m giving you a warning – stay away from Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu! I don’t care what the reviews on the back of the jacket say, it is most definitely NOT “Devistatingly brilliant and beautiful” (Ingrid Law) or “destined for a long life on the shelf” (Wall Street Journal).
It all starts by telling that cliché story about the little boy, Jack, and the little girl, Hazel who are the very best of friends. However, Jack is frowned upon by the other boys because he hangs out with Hazel. The two friends dream of superheroes, villains, and magic. Then there’s a really confusing scene where a flying creature is flying around and the mirror that he’s holding breaks. Unfortunately for Jack, one of those shattered pieces ends up in his eye, and suddenly his heart turns cold. He is mean to Hazel and spends all his time with the boys, telling her to stop being such a little girl and come back to reality.

Somehow this new Jack gets lured into an ice castle by a witch, and Hazel has her suspicions because she believes with all her heart Jack would never be so mean to her. She stuffs some items in a backpack and heads off into the forest alone, at night, in the middle of winter. Can you spell crazy?

There’s a point of nothing. She walks. And walks. And walks. And walks. And oh, suddenly there’s a fence in the middle of the forest. There’s a guard at the gate. Would you expect him to refuse to let her in, and then she has to find a way to sneak around him? Of course not. The guard just lets her through! She comes across a man and he offers her a place to stay for the night. Someone has clearly never heard of the term “stranger danger”. The man’s wife makes her tea with honey. Then the adults go to sleep, and Hazel takes a walk in the garden. Guess what? Did you guess that the flowers turned out to be the trapped souls of other little girls that stayed at the creepy people house? If so, then ding ding ding!


Naturally, Hazel decides to get out of the ASAP. She grabs her backpack and is at the house gate when the lady sees her. She asks Hazel where she is going. Hazel says she’s leaving. Now you expect the lady to try and stop her. Nope. She lets Hazel leave. No magic battle, or quick getaway. Hazel walks out the gate. What’s the point?

From this point on, there’s a lot of bad decisions made in our protagonist’s mind. She gives away her jacket to a little girl. There’s a lot of complaining about how the snow is white and it’s so cold. Are you surprised? It’s the middle of winter. It’s dark outside. You’re alone in a forest without a coat or anything to keep you warm. Don’t you think you might be a little bit cold? Finally Hazel gets to the witch’s castle. Again, our antagonist isn’t so evil. She lets Hazel in the castle and says if Hazel can convince Jack t leave, they can go unharmed. WHAT KIND OF VILLAIN DOES THAT? Then somehow Hazel convinces Jack to come back with a baseball and they fall into a lake. They leave. The witch does nothing.

On the way back home, there’s more complaining of the cold and darkness. The kids probably should have died from pneumonia or something. That would’ve at least been interesting, a twist instead of the actual ending which was so cheesy it made me want to barf. The children go back home, and they’ve only been gone for five hours so nobody else knows of their journey. They all live happily ever after as all conflicts are resolved.


After finishing, I only had one question: Where did the title even come from?

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