Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Final fantasy crystal chronicles

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Created by The Game Designers (Square Enix)
Released: 2004 (GameCube: North America)
Rating: T for Teen

Annotation:
The world is threatened by a dangerous gas that could kill everyone.

Summary:
The world is covered in miasma, a toxic gas that threatens villages and towns. To protect it’s citizens, brave volunteers travel to collect myrrh that powers the protective crystals. These crystals hold off the miasma gas, protecting the citizens for a year before the myrrh runs out.

There are four races that inhabit the lands:

clavats
The Clavats: peaceful farmers

Lilties-Concept
The Liltres: warriors and knights

selkies
Selkies: rugged thieves

yukes
Yukes: winged slender creatures.

Critical Evaluation:
Players can choose their own character, which then sets out from the village Tipa to find myrrh. There are obstacles and enemies along the way. As characters gain more experience, the harder the enemies strike. The game can be played with multiplayers and with the GameCube/Game Boy Advance option. The visuals for the game are beautiful, which adds to the mythology of the game’s history. Much of the game is exploration versus battle, but the exploration is still engaging.

Information about the Developer:
The Game Designers Studio is an imprint of Square Enix. The Game Designers Studio’s only release was this game and was later renamed a subsidiary to SQEX Corporation.

Genre:
Games, Science Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Game Design

Booktalking Ideas:
What is the perfect character design.

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The game is rated T, which means the game is geared towards 14 and up.

Challenging Issues:
n/a

Why did I include this game in the title selection?
The visual style of the game was enchanting and worth the time and effort spent in play. The story is complicated enough that players will be eager enough to beat levels and gain experience.

Reference:
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Square (company). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_(company)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

lies knives and girls in red dresses

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses
Written by Ron Koertge
Illustrated by Andrea Dezso
ISBN: 9780763644062
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date of Publication: 2012

Reader’s Annotation:
An illustrated, poetic retelling of various beloved fairy tales.

Plot Summary:
Based on popular fairy tales, Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses are retelling of those tales in poetic form. With art by Andrea Dezso, these modern adaptions show that the stories still have dark relevance in modern times.

Critical Evaluation:
Ron Koertge’s poetry is more whimsical with out a pattern. At times the poetry feels like a Beat Generation adaptation. This doesn’t detract from the poetry, but shows that poetry doesn’t have to be a conformed format.

Andrea Dezso’s art is based on wood prints and gives an unearthly feeling when accompanying the art. It adds to the poetry and serves to remind the reader that fairy tales are often horror stories as well.

Information about the Author and Artist:
From Ron Koertge’s Webpage, Koertge began to write young adult literature when his beginning writing career began to flounder. Koertge is in his early seventies and continues to write books and poetry for teens, specifically for young male readers. Koertge’s misspent youth serves as a reminder of the teen mentality, providing a solid foundation for believable characters.

Koertge has written over a dozen young adult novels. Koertge is also a poet, whose poems have been published since the early 1970s.

Ron Koertge on Twitter

Andrea Dezso is an Assistant Professor of Art for Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is a graduate from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary. Her work has been published in various art magazines and has served as a faculty member at Parsons School of Design and other art schools on the East Coast.

Dezso possesses a large artistic focus from animation to paper blocking, as well as crafts such as embroidery. Her work has been displayed in various galleries across the world.

Andrea Dezso on Facebook

Genre:
Poetry, Fantasy

Curriculum Ties:
Poetry, Fairy Tales

Booktalking Ideas:
What is your favorite fairy tale?
How can fairy tales become modern?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews suggests a reading age of 14-18.

Challenging Issues:
Koertge’s book have been challenged and/or banned in the past due to drug use, language concerns, and sexuality. This particular book has not been banned (yet). The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would include

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
Poetry is a genre that gets readily ignored by teens, mostly because it’s something that is forced in school instead of used for entertainment purposes. Koertge’s reinterpretations of fairy tales through poetry is a great way to introduce reluctant poetry readers into a new genre.

Reference:
Dezso, A. (n.d.). Home Page. Retrieved from http://andreadezso.com/

Hampshire College. (n.d.). Andrea Dezso. Retrieved from http://www.hampshire.edu/faculty/adezso.htm

Kirkus Reveiws. (n.d.). Lies knives and girls in red dresses. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ron-koertge/lies-knives-and-girls-red-dresses/

Koertge, R. (n.d.). A word from Ron Koertge. Retrieved from ronkoertge.com

Read Full Post »

Beastly
By Alex Flinn
ISBN: 9780061998669
Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Date of Publication: 2009
Reader’s Annotation:
Kyle Kingsbury has two years to break the curse that has made him into a beast. The cure? To fall in love and to be loved in return.

Plot Summary:
Kyle Kingsbury has it all. He’s handsome, smart, rich, and is the most popular boy at Tuttle Private School. His father is a famous news anchor and provides Kyle with anything he needs. One day, Kyle notices a strange girl in his English class. She’s dressed in strange, dark gothic clothing and is vocal in her dislike of Kyle’s selfish behavior. On a whim, Kyle asks this girl, Kendra, to the school’s dance, plotting a way to humiliate Kendra in front of the entire school. Kendra says yes, though she remains wary of Kyle’s intentions.

As planned, Kyle ditches Kendra at the dance, mocking her in front of the attendees. Kendra’s reaction frightens Kyle in that she offers no revenge but a warning. When Kyle arrives back home after the dance, he discovers Kendra is waiting for him. She is actually a witch and curses Kyle to become a disgusting beast; a creature who matches Kyle’s ugly soul. Kyle now has two years to find love and to be loved in return, for that is his only cure for the curse. As time slowly melts away, Kyle finds himself learning what it really means to give your heart to someone, that love is how we protect and care for another, and love is not merely a feeling but an action that changes us forever.

Critical Evaluation:
Alex Flinn’s modern take on the Beauty and the Beast story is a delight. It is a quick read and slightly predictable, but still entertaining. Flinn presents Kyle as a genuinely selfish boy, but we can’t help but sympathize with his character in light of his father’s neglect. It is clear that Kyle’s behavior and opinions stem from his father’s influence. There are glimpses of hope for his behavior, but when Kyle is changed into the beast, the reader can’t help but be glad for this inevitable transformation.

The character of Beauty, Lindy, is portrayed as a strong-willed young woman who has been forced to survive on her own. While fairytale mentality often showcase young women longing for a knight in shinning armor to rescue them, Lindy is neither weak or stupid. Her intelligence is celebrated in the book and is a trait that Kyle uses in order to woo her heart.

The ending of the book, which I will not spoil, is very much on par of the original fairy tale. Lessons are learned and everyone involved become better people. But it’s an important lesson in that in shows that people CAN change and that our preconceived notions of our friends or strangers can be altered with time. While the book is not one based on the premise of bullying, it does highlight how being different should be celebrated. And that it is our differences that make us great and beautiful.

Information about the author:
From Alex (Alexandra) Flinn’s Webpage, Flinn was raised in Miami, Florida, where she lives today. After witnessing the after effects of dating violence during an internship with the State Attorney’s Office, Flinn was inspired to write her first book, Breathing Underwater. From the success of her first book, Flinn continued to write realistic fiction and has found continued success in her fairy tale adaptations.

Alex Flinn’s Webpage is a great resource for reading guide for teens and educators.

Alex Flinn on Facebook

Genre:
Fantasy, Romance

Curriculum Ties:
Fairy Tales, Self-Image and Self-Worth

Booktalking Ideas:
How important is a first impression?
Who are we when no one is looking?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews provides an age range of 19-20. Flinn’s prose is geared towards a younger age range and would be ideal for ages 14 and Up.

Challenging Issues:


There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would be drug abuse.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
When I was looking over my selections for this assignment, I realized that I was lacking the fantasy genre. I found this at my local library branch and decided to take a chance as the story of Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. Retelling of fairy tales seems to be a trend in popular culture and this version of Beauty and the Beast was nice addition to the myth of that tale.

Reference:
Flinn, A. (n.d.). About Alex. Retrieved from http://www.alexflinn.com/html/bio.html

Kirkus Review. (2010). Beastly by Alex Flinn. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/alex-flinn/beastly/

Bonus Features!

Lindy’s Story

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Life as We Knew It
By Susan Beth Pfeffer
ISBN: 9781595141712
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date of Publication: 2006

Reader’s Annotation:
After an asteroid destroys a portion of the moon, humanity must struggle to survive against the Earth’s changing catastrophic conditions.

Plot Summary:
Miranda Evans has a simple, normal life. She still has the complexities of having divorced parents, a new sibling on the way, and regularly scheduled homework. But maybe compared to some kids, Miranda’s life is a happy one.

One night an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it out of its orbit, leaving the moon only two-thirds whole. In that moment, the Eastern Seaboard has been flooded and there are worldwide reports of massive tsunamis destroying ocean communities, even countries. Slowly, Miranda’s life begins to change for the worse. There’s gas rationing, electricity is scarce, and food has become the most valuable commodity in the world.

As the days go by, the situation doesn’t seem to be getting better. Friends leave or die and family members are lost or missing. It’s now every man for themselves. For Miranda and her family, it’s a fight to survive another day.

Critical Evaluation:
Susan Beth Pfeffer  initially drew inspiration for the story from a B-movie called Meteor, which starred Sean Connery and Natalie Wood. After watching the film, and dismissing it’s horrible premise, Pfeffer began to question what would happen if a teen was faced with an apocalyptic scenario. The resulting answer was Life as We Know It.

The book is a dark piece of fiction as with each day that is presented in Miranda’s diary any lingering hope of survival continues to diminish. Pfeffer is honest in the grim portrayal and presents a realistic idea of what the damage to the moon could cost the inhabitants of the Earth.

The characters of the story are portrayed as realistic in that there is a desire for the past to return as life would be easier. But handling a catastrophic transition isn’t easy for anyone and such changes don’t happen over night. Miranda’s mother is portrayed as practical, looking at the means of helping her children survive instead of just her own well-being. The young adult reactions are a mixture of selfish desire and with scared realization. Again, there is honesty in the characterizations which makes the novel hard to read at times since you know everything will not be rosy.

It is not a happy tale and those looking for a joyful ending would be better served looking else where for their entertainment. Pfeffer succeeds in this endeavor in that she writes well, which is reflected in Miranda’s observations.

Information about the author:
From Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Blog, Pfeffer is the writer of over 70 books. Her focus has been towards Young Adult and Children’s fiction starting with the publication of her book Rainbows and Fireworks in 1973. Pfeffer lives in New York with her cat and continues to write fiction, with titles outside of The Last Survivors series.

Susan Beth Pfeffer on Twitter

Genre:
Fantasy/Science Fiction, Horror/Thriller

Curriculum Ties:
Astronomy, Survival Skills

Booktalking Ideas:
What would you first do if the world was about to end?
What supplies would you need if you hope to survive a catastrophe?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews suggests an age range of 19-20. The book features a sixteen protagonist was written for a young adult audience. I would suggest an age range of 16 and up.

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would be nightmares caused by anxiety of the characters’ conditions.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
When I first picked up this book, I couldn’t finish it. The story became too depressing and it felt too tangible. When I picked up the book a few months later, I found that the story was still engaging but I could handle the apocalyptic storyline better. There are a great number of dystopian books for Young Adults on the market today. Susan Beth Pfeffer’s tale of Earthly doom gives a realistic perspective of what would happen in this type of disaster. And for that reason alone, I think it’s a great book to give to teens. It’s a great alternative to mainstream dystopia.

Reference:
Amazon. (n.d.). Books by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Beth-Pfeffer/e/B001H6QEWY/ref=la_B001H6QEWY_pg_6?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_82%3AB001H6QEWY&page=6&ie=UTF8&qid=1354854426
Kirkus Reviews. (2010). Life as we knew it. Retrieved from Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/susan-beth-pfeffer/life-as-we-knew-it/

Pfeffer, S.B. (2010). The big idea: Susan Beth Pfeffer. Whatever.Scalzi.Com. Retrieved from http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/04/06/the-big-idea-susan-beth-pfeffer/

Bonus Features!

Mini Review!

The Last Survivors Series

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The Thief
By Megan Whalen Turner
ISBN: 9780060824976
Publisher: Greenwillow Book, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Date of Publication: 1996

Reader’s Annotation:
The greatest Thief of Sounis has been captured and is forced to serve the King in a quest to find the legendary Hamiathes’s Gift Stone.

Plot Summary:
In the faraway land of Sounis, a thief sits in a filthy prison cell, awaiting his punishment. Gen might have been too cocky in his claims that he could steal anything, including the King’s Seal.

Gen is given an extraordinary opportunity when the King’s Magnus releases Gen and takes him on impossible quest. Joined by two apprentices, Sophos and Ambiades, and a soldier, Pol, Gen is forced to survive as the group travels to find a stone call the Hamaithe’s Gift. It is said that the stone possess power that will help the owner control the lands of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia. The King of Sounis expects Gen to prove his worth as Gen has claimed that he can steal anything.

But as the journey continues into dangerous territory, alliances are questioned and no one is who they are perceived to be. It’s up to Gen to find a way out of certain death and a way home.

Critical Evaluation:
The first in the unofficially titled “Queen’s Thief” series, Turner’s novel of an arrogant thief is a treat for any reader looking for adventure and mystery. It should be assumed that Turner is an excellent card player in that she keeps her secrets tight to her chest until the story needs them. Once the suspense is properly created, Turner succeeds in providing a large payoff that readers can’t help but cry out in joy. Gen is a fun enigmatic character because we discover early on that Gen is a clever boy. As the story progresses we begin to realize the depths of Gen’s intelligence. To be a thief is to see a bigger picture that ordinary people rarely see or want to see.

The greatest asset the book presents is that how you are perceived is just as important as who you truly are. We are taught, more so now in this gage of bullying, that we should be proud to be who we are and to hold that pride with joy and satisfaction. An interesting note of Turner’s novel, and with the rest of the series, is that sometimes it’s worth playing up other’s expectations of you, if it means achieving your goal. Gen is expected to fail. He is expected to be a cocky thief whose only successful trait is to brag about his conquests. And that’s what people see and expect but nothing is ever what it seems. A surface view never shows the incredible details outside of a picture frame.

Young readers will be engaged in Gen’s adventure as well as be enticed by the journey’s mystery. Fans of this book will more likely move to the next book in the series, eager for more adventures in the land of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia.

Information about the Author:
From Megan Whalen Turner’s Webpage, Turner graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in English Language and Literature. She worked at a bookstore before she began her writing career. Her husband is a professor at Case Western Reserve University. Turner won the Newbery Honor in 1997 for The Thief.

Genre:
Fantasy, Romance

Curriculum Ties:
Mythology

Booktalking Ideas:
What does it mean to be clever? To be Street Smart?
How can a puzzle be used in adventure stories?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Review lists the reading age as 10 and up, while Amazon lists the reading age as 8 and up. I would still recommend this series to teen readers because of the use of mythology and of the different love relationships that are essential to the story lines.

Challenging Issues:


There are no current challenges for either book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential issues would include theft and mythology.

Reference:
Amazon. (n.d.). The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1). Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/The-Thief-Queens-Book/dp/0060824972/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Kirkus Reviews. (2010). The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/megan-whalen-turner/the-thief/

Turner, M.W. (n.d.). Megan Whalen Turner – About. Retrieved from http://meganwhalenturner.org/AbouthteAuthor.html

Gen and Attolia fan art

The Love of Kings and Queens

Bonus Features!

“The Queen’s Thief Series”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter
By Alison Hansel
ISBN: 9780470067314
Publisher: Wiley Publishing
Date of Publication: 2007

Reader’s Annotation:
From House scarves to elf socks, Harry Potter fans can create knitting projects from the film and books.

Summary:
Using inspiration from both the book series and film series, Charmed Knits is a great treat to any knitter. From items promoting Hogwart Houses, such as scarves, sweaters, and socks, to Weasley family items, such as bags and more sweaters, the crafty Harry Potter fan can now create their own projects for themselves or for gifts.

Critical Evaluation:
Experience knitters will be pleased with some of the projects as there are some complicated patterns scattered throughout the book. Less experienced knitters will find simple patterns towards the middle of the book when the focus is on Hogwarts products. An appendix does provide knitting tips for any level of knitter. Anyone seeking more knowledge on the hows of knitting would best be served looking for additional material, such as Debbie Stoller’s Bitch N’ Stitch book series which gives more in-depth instructions for beginning knitters.

Information about the author:
Allison Hansel has been knitting since 2001 and was inspired to create Harry Potter knitting patterns after seeing the Weasley family sweaters from the film adaptations. Hansel is a resident of Boston with her husband and children.
Genre: Non-Fiction (Crafts/Knitting)

Alison Hansel has a blog in which she posts some great pictures about different patterns she has created or different projects she has completed. Her Ravelry page is filled with fun projects such as a German flag hat and simple, decorative scarves.

Curriculum Ties:
Crafting, Do-It-Yourself, Crafts in Literature

Booktalking Ideas:
What type of crafts do you do?
Plastic needles or Bamboo?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
As there is no listing for an age recommendation, it would depend on the skill level of the knitter in question. Knitters as young as 14 and up will have no problem understanding the material.

knitting-needles

Challenging Issues:


While there are have been constant challenges to the Harry Potter series in the past, a book about the knitted work in the series has not had any challenges. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
As both a knitter and a Harry Potter fan, I was excited to find this book at the library. The knitting patterns are simple to read and provide for a wide range of knitting levels. This is a perfect find for any craft-oriented teen who also loves to read.

Reference:
Hansel, A. (2007). Charmed knits: Projects for fans of Harry Potter. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing.

Read Full Post »

Doctor Who
Created by
Produced by BBC
Date of Release: First episode release – 1963;  Reboot release – 2005

Annotation:
The Doctor is a Time Lord and travels through space with his human companion in his ship the TARDIS.

Plot Summary:
Coming from the planet of Gallifrey, The Doctor travels through time and space with his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space). The Doctor is a Time Lord, an ancient alien race that has the power to regenerate into a new being when he is being threatened by death. It is for this reason the Doctor is over a thousand years old, possibly more.

As the Doctor travels through the universe, usually with a companion from his favorite planet Earth, he fights for intellect, romance, and justice against brute force and evil. He’s a curious soul who constantly finds himself in trouble but has a stout heart to find a solution. He’s very, very clever and very, very fun. Beware his angry though. The wrath of the last Time Lord has altered history and destroyed civilizations, for not all journeys and adventures are happy ones.

Critical Evaluation:
Since it’s first broadcast in 1963, Doctor Who has captured the imagination of children and adults for almost fifty years. The current Doctor Who series has continued to gain momentum and has discovered a larger audience in America instead of just the historical audience in the United Kingdom.

Beyond anything presented in the series, the character of the Doctor represents hope. A simple hope that there will be happiness and satisfaction to be found in little things. A hope that even the smallest thing can bring joy and that our sense of adventure we had as children hasn’t been destroyed but been ignored. The Doctor has seen great heartache as well and knows that his adventures won’t always be easy, especially for his wide-eyed companions. Traveling with the Doctor is a guarantee that your life can change but it’s not always easy and sometimes you don’t come back unchanged or come back at all.

The series, beyond its science fiction background, does also have some horrific elements. The Doctor’s enemies are not typical arch-nemesis but vile creatures that could destroy planets and universes. Some episodes, specifically those written by Stephen Moffat in Series 1-4, bring old-fashioned chills to those unexpected viewers. Those particular episodes are nail-bitting, hide behind your pillow tales that was the standard with the original series.

Overall, the series has stood the pass of time and has come out stronger than ever. Past Doctor adventures from the 70s and 80s are becoming more accessible to new viewers, with new editions being released every new quarter. The older episodes showcase shorter stories in larger episode arcs. They are slower paced compared to the newer series but are just as fun as the new adventures.

Genre:
Science Fiction/Fantasy

Curriculum Ties:
As Doctor Who does travel through time and space, past episodes can be used to showcase different historical settings. Series 5 used Winston Churchill’s bunker while Series 4 used Agatha Christie for a character and storyline. The discussion of alternative histories would be another suggestion.

Booktalking Ideas:
Where would you go if you had a chance to go anywhere? Including a different time period or a different planet?
What adventure would you like to have on Earth?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The series began as a family show and continues that standard with the reboot. The series is recommended for all ages.

Challenging Issues:
Potential Issues include romantic situations and violence.

Why did I include this series in the title selections?
Doctor Who has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. The series is accessible to new viewers and remains a delight almost fifty years since its creation. The series, though considered more science fiction due to the alien nature of the Doctor, actually merges different genres in its presentation. It allows for all viewers with different tastes and styles an opportunity to find something for themselves.

Read Full Post »

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs
ISBN: 9781594744761
Publisher: Quirk Books
Date of Publication: 2011

Reader’s Annotation:
After witnessing the gruesome death of his grandfather, Jacob Portman travels to Wales to learn the truth about his grandfather and to discover the meaning of his grandfather’s collection of strange photographs.

Plot Summary:
Jacob has grown up on his grandfather’s bedtime stories. For years, Grandpa Abraham Portman spun tales about his childhood, with tales of adventure and excitement. Jacob’s favorite stories describe a children’s home in Wales, where children are protected from monsters by a bird, a peregrine. Grandpa Portman even has old photographs of the children who seem to defy gravity and logic with their accomplishments. Yet, as Jacob grows old, the stories begin to seem silly and Jacob begins to ignore them as mere childish fairytales.

When Jacob is fifteen, he is witness to a horrific accident that claims the life of his grandfather. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Jacob finds himself returning to those stories. As Jacob delves further into his grandfather’s past, he begins to realize that maybe his grandfather’s stories were more truth than fiction. Jacob begins to look towards the west for answers. What he discovers is more important than he could have ever imagined. And that what we see is sometimes more than what we can ever understand.


Critical Evaluation:
Ransom Riggs’s first novel reads like a beautiful dream, despite its nightmarish, horrific elements. Using photographs from ten different independent collections, Riggs is able to provide a tangible past to the Welsh children’s home in Grandpa Portman’s stories. While the photographs are an added bonus, they would mean nothing if Riggs’s writing style was unable to match the photograph’s beauty. Luckily, the reader is given a well-written story that readers of all age can enjoy.

In regards to the horrific elements of the story, Riggs succeeds in presenting a scary story for young adult readers. Riggs’s descriptions of the children actually add more to the photographic elements, balancing the story with a lovely visual prose.

Overall, the story was coherent and delightful. This book is highly recommended for those readers yearning for an old-fashioned horror story.

Information about the Author:
From Ransom Riggs’s Webpage, Riggs first studied English at Kenyon Collge, followed by film studies at the University of Southern California. Riggs currently lives in Los Angeles where he combines his passion of writing and visual arts. He is a blogger for MentalFloss.Com.

Ransom Riggs on Twitter

Ransom Riggs on Facebook

Genre:
Fantasy, Horror/Thriller, Historical Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Magic, Alternative History, Photography

Booktalking Ideas:
What do you see when you take a picture?
How are we different from our parents? From our grandparents? Did you see any similarities?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
School Library Journal suggests a reading grade of 6 to 12. I would recommend this title as an Ages 14 and Up.

Challenging Issues:

There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would be its horrific elements and violence.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
My husband had picked this book up from the library and suggested I read it. He was willing to pay for late fees just so I would have time to finish it during our vacation. Riggs’s use of photograph, mixed with an engrossing story, provided for an entertaining read. It’s one of the first books I recommend now for readers looking for something different than the mainstream paranormal books that are currently popular amongst teens.

Reference:
Grajek, S. (2011). What horror is this?!. School Library  Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/newsletters/newsletterbucketsljteen/892814-444/what_horror_is_this.html.csp

Riggs, R. (n.d.). Bio. Retrieved from http://www.ransomriggs.com/bio/

Read Full Post »

Teen Wolf
Developed by Jeff Davis
Produced by MGM Television and Music Television (MTV)
Original Release: 2011
Number of Seasons: 2

Annotation:
After teenager Scott McCall is bitten by a mysterious wolf creature, Scott discovers he had become a werewolf.

Summary:
Scott McCall exists on the fringes of his high school in Beacon Hills. Together with his sarcastic best fried. “Stiles” Stalinski, the pair hopes that this will be the year that they actually get to participate on the school’s lacrosse team instead of spending another season on the bench.

One night Scott and Stiles decide to quietly  follow Stiles’s father, the town sheriff, on an interesting case. A young woman is missing and the boys hope to find the girl first. As the boys roam in the forest, they are attacked by a mysterious wolf creature. Scott is bitten but survives the attack. The boys escape and make it home, scared but alive.

Overnight, Scott begins to feel changes in his body; his senses are heightened, his asthma has disappeared, and he now posses super-strength. In the midst of these changes, Scott meets Allison Argent, the new transfer student whose family has a unique history.As Scott and Stiles begin to discover the reasons behind Scott’s transformation, another figure enters their lives; the mysterious Derek Hale. Scott and Derek share a common trait. Both are actual werewolves and they are not alone.

Critical Evaluation:
From Teen Wolf’s Wikipedia page, loosely based on the 1985 Michael J. Fox comedy film of the same name, the show rarely resembles the original outside of the name and werewolf premise. Teen Wolf’s creator, Jeff Davis, was more inspired by the films The Lost Boys and Stand by Me, using the visual style and the story-lines as inspiration. Davis succeeds in that the show isn’t like any other current teen drama. The character feel like real teenagers and are rightly punished by parents who don’t exist in the sidelines, like many other teen shows often do. The parents are often part of the teens life and rarely are used when the plot calls for a humane lesson.

The horror aspect of the show is surprising in that it really is scary. The show avoids major horror film cliches by reminded the audience that while the main characters are teens, they are now idiots and they do have the common sense to run away from danger if needed. The best part of the program comes during Dylan O’Brien’s performance of Stiles Stilinski. Playing second fiddle to Tyler Posey’s Scott McCall, the character provides great comic relief but is never just the humorous character. Like many characters of the show, there is more depth that what is perceived and that makes for compelling drama.

Information about the Creator:
From Jeff Davis’s Wikipedia page, born in Milford, Connecticut and a graduate of Vassar College, Davis studied film and later received a master’s in screenwriting from the University of Southern California. Davis found success when he helped created the program Criminal Minds. His greatest success has been Teen Wolf. He serves as executive producer, head writer and show creator.

Genre:
Fantasy, Urban/Modern Fantasy, Horror/Thriller, Romance

Curriculum Ties:
Horror Stories, Modern Mythology

Booktalking Ideas:
Why would you refuse to have a power?
How do our surroundings change who we are?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
15 and up

Challenging Issues:
Potential Issues include sexual situations, violence, horrific situations, and child disobedience.

Why did I include this series in the title selection?
I started to watch the program as it kept popping up in discussions with my younger friends. I watched one episode to try it out. Five hours later, I had watched half of season one. The show’s true portrayal of teens is a great choice for teen audiences.

References:
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Jeff Davis (writer). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Davis_%28writer%29

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Teen Wolf. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Wolf_(2011_TV_series)

Read Full Post »