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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews and Interesting Volumes’ Category

I have so far read all three of the currently existing Flavia de Luce novels, but in a strange way. I started with the 2nd, because mom was reading the first at the time, and then I read the 3rd, and then the 1st. I shall be reviewing the first today.

Flavia de Luce is an 11-year-old girl with glasses. She lives in England in the year 1950, and she knows everything about chemistry, specializing in poison. Her father is the Colonel Haviland de Luce, philatelist extraordinaire and the owner of Buckshaw, an ancient and rather decrepit, but once grand, estate. Flavia practically lives in the enormous laboratory in the east wing of Buckshaw, making tinctures and concoctions. She relishes chemical reactions and the scrumptious discoveries of past chemists. When she comes across a man taking his dying breath in the cucumber patch, she is enthralled rather than alarmed, and crouches over him as he mutters his last word. When she realizes the dead stranger is the same one she saw in heated discussion with her father not hours before, and when her father is arrested for his murder, she takes up the case. It quickly becomes dreadfully exciting. Flavia sneaks around the police and the bothersome Inspector Hewitt, picking locks, digging through piles of dusty newspapers, speeding across the countryside on Gladys, her bike, and rifling through hotel rooms. As she unearths the mystery, she also begins to understand her father, not only his love for brightly colored bits of paper, but also his quiet sadness. 

This book was quite good. I can understand Flavia a lot, and I think we share certain traits. We both of us like our own company, and biking, and yelling out “Haroo!” for no reason at all! She is probably much bolder at nosing things out than I ever could be, although I’ve never really been given a fair chance to try my hand at it. Also I don’t know how to pick locks, or so much about toxicology. Perhaps I should learn? Flavia seems like a kindred spirit, and the writing makes her come wonderfully alive. The descriptions are ones that I like, with words such as: gleaming, rattling, translucent, and fragrant. Also, the phrase “Fizz off!” is thrown in quite nicely. I have not much mystery reading experience, but this one seems not overly exciting and horrifying, but clever, with all the proper dashes of suspense, inquiry, and danger. Also, I really liked to read all the very specific names of certain poisons, and how Flavia delights so in mixing two substances to make something new. Overall, Flavia really seems like a Girl to Know.

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Jane’s Adventures is a curious book by Jonathon Gathorne Hardy. It is about a girl who lives in England with her very rich Mother and Father and their housekeeper. There are three stories in all, and I think the last is absolutely best.

It is a tres exciting volume, with zepplins, and avalanches, men who ride on tigers, magical books, and floating fat people and drifting islands, and all that sort of thing.

Some parts of it are odd, which makes it more interesting, and some parts are scary, for suspense.

It is a gloriously rich and breathless book, but you can read it slowly if you want, or fast, or any way you want too. It’s that sort of a book.

I liked it.

Yesterday we gave Stephanie her birthday presents. I gave her a journal which I made myself and a story, and we all went to a museum to look at insipid paintings and wooden statues of Abraham Lincoln and James Fenimore Cooper’s writing desk. I like my writing desk better, but they are both so inspired.

What does insipid mean?

Hurrah!

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I finished a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and liked it. Some of it was boring and hard to understand.

The Connecticut Yankee is named Hank Morgan, and he is swished to 1513 after he gets hit on the head. He works as the superintendent of a big factory where they make telephones and bicycles and all sorts of things, so he can make anything with his own two hands.

At first he thinks he’s gone insane, but then he realizes, he’s just gone back to the middle ages. So, he convinces King Arthur and his court that he’s a wizard who’s better than Merlin, and that they should call him THE BOSS, and he becomes King Arthur’s most trusted  person. Then, he sets up telephones, newspapers, bombs, steam ships, bicycles, and plenty of modern conviences in the middle ages. He hangs all the people who tell bad jokes, and goes on quests and sword fights and things.

But, when he tries to tamper with the way the common people are treated, and to abolish slavery, he get’s in trouble. Will the church ruin the whole century? Will the Connecticut Yankee ever get back to Connecticut? Or will he sleep forever in 1513?

You’ll have to read it. I like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn better, but I like Hank Morgan too.

Tonight we are going to movie and Nina’s, which is really a first-rate restaurant. Tomorrow we are having a barbecue, and I made chocolaty brownies for it. Mom made peach cupcakes, I cleaned out the playhouse so the cousins can eat in it with me.

Sayanora!

(that’s goodbye in japanese)

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The Princess Bride was actually a book before it was a movie, based completely on true facts. S. Morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure. (He said so himself.)

The Princess bride is a daring story of pirates, knights, forest, R.U.L.’s, and castles with pennets. Everyone knows the story, but the book is such a lot better than the film. I’d give it a scathing review, because I’ve always wanted to give one, but I simply can’t.

Here’s what I like: The Princess Bride. It’s enrapturing and completely absorbing. It’s just great. You should read it at once.

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What -the Dickens is the story of a rogue tooth fairy called What-the-Dickens, who is born all alone and outside the thriving tooth fairy metropolis, therefore making his view of the world completely askew. When he one day discovers a fellow tooth fairy on a mission, he is puzzled. Since he is a nuisance, he follows the fairy to the tooth fairy city, where he is involved in many scrapes and mishaps while trying to discover who he is. When calamity is thrust upon them all, however, will he be able to prove himself to them all and show that he has what it takes to be a good tooth fairy?

What-the-Dickens is a good story, all tied up with a dapper main character and details that really zing! It’s a marvelous composition. Every time I read it I want some birthday cake, and it makes a sensational bedtime story. There aren’t many surprises, but there’s also nothing predictable. It has two stamps of approval from me!

Guess What! On Sunday, Mom, Dad and I are going to the Renascence fair! What a post that’ll be!

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Good Mail Day, by Carolle Gilligan Wheeler and Jennie Hinchcliff,  is a book that is full of colors, intriguing morsels, and ideas. It is about the worldwide web of people who send Mail Art, a very Interesting Item. I read it in one car ride, and liked it very much. It has free stickers and postcards in the back, lots of pictures, and instructions on how to become a first rate mail artist and sender. Once I finished it, I sent in a postcard to Pod Pod Post, the team the two authors make together.

My postcard was a silhouette of an old lady with a large forehead and puffy sleeves.

I got one back! It came while we were in Vermont. My oldest sister, who was home, told me about it.  It was very exciting. It came all the way from San Francisco!

Mail Art for me!

It was handwritten from Jennie Hinchcliff, and came with a special zine about Mail Art!

I recommend the Good Mail Day book.

You can become a member of the 16 Sparrows Letter Writer’s Alliance for just three dollars to receive top secret postal information and a penpal. I am a member.

Now there is a thunder storm outside, so I am going to make myself a root beer float and read Jules Vern.

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The Mysterious Benedict Society, Book Number One

Reynie, a lonely orphan with considerable problem solving skills, is intrigued by a strange advertisement in the Stonetown newspaper. Little does he know that one odd advertisement can lead to mind-boggling adventures, hair-raising riddles, and something-smells-fishy scenarios. He meets bespectacled Sticky, the child prodigy, Constance, the short, huffy, and ridiculous one, and Kate, the flipping, tumbling, acrobat. And most importantly, he meets Mr. Benedict, the narcoleptic, plaid suited gentleman genius. Can they defeat the diabolical Mr. Curtain together and prevent the doom of the world?

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

In book number two, Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance are reunited on a bulky steamship set out for distant shores. As they embark on this “mind-bending scavenger hunt”, what will they discover? Diamonds? Yes! Pirates? Yes! A Gruesome hidden plot? Of course! In this installment, there is more trouble than ever for the Mysterious Benedict Society. Will they overcome the difficulties and live up to their name, or will they crumple, like aluminum foil? You can bet they won’t!

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's dilemma

In book number three, the Mysterious Benedict Society returns when a freak black out sweeps over Stonetown, engulfing them all! This new mystery is full of hidden twists and turns that threaten to wrench them apart from their friends, families, and leave the Mysterious Benedict Society in shards.

This is a top-notch series, fitting right in with The Westing Game and Rohald Dahl. Trenton Lee Stewart creates a dazzling mystery riddled with riddles and chock full of puzzles to solve.For me, reading these books for hours at a time gives me a headache, but reading them in little snippets, while swinging or waiting for a movie to start, adds a nice crunch to my day, like an after dinner mint.

You can visit the Mysterious Benedict Society’s website and play fun puzzles and games right here.

Photos from : spellboundchildrensbookshop.com, hachettebookgroup.com, and fanpop.com

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