Sunday, February 24, 2013

Gordon Korman does it again with "Ungifted"

Donovan Curtis is the likable cut-up of his junior high school. Only problem is that trouble seems to find him wherever he goes. Detention is his home away from home. When a seemingly simple whack on the school statue of Atlas holding up the world ends up destroying the better part of the gym, it looks like the end may be near for Donovan. But instead of the expected expulsion, Donovan's family receives notice that he has been admitted to the district's school for the gifted The Academy of Scholastic Distinction. Pretty much a straight C kind of a guy, Donovan realizes that some sort of bureaucratic mix-up has taken place. He decides to go with this odd turn of events. The ASD may be the just the place to hide out while tempers cool. Donovan may not be gifted in the conventional way but it turns out that he does have some unique talents that his new classmates do not. The story is told from various characters' points of view.   Donovan, his parents, his married older sister, his brother-in-law's dog, the superintendent of the district, his old pals at the junior high, his new gifted classmates and the Robotics Club's competition robot are all changed in this hilarious, non-stop romp. You will never think of "gifted" in quite the same way.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2013 Newbery and Caldecott Winners!!

The Newbery Committee really did a fabulous job this year picking Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan. Told from Ivan's point of view, you will experience a wonderful, thoughtful and intense experience.  Ivan and his animal friends are part of a small circus housed in a mall. Cramped, run down and losing money daily, life has few happy moments. Ivan is a philosopher and tries to make the best of his life including enjoying creating artwork that is sold at the mall. One day a baby elephant, Ruby, arrives and everything changes for Ivan. His love of art drives him make a difference in Ruby's life that effects everyone around him. Katherine Applegate is known for her other titles: Home of the Brave and the Roscoe Riley Rules series.

The Caldecott Committee also did a fabulous job this year picking Jon Klassen's This is Not My Hat. If you are familiar with an earlier title of his I Want My Hat back you know he has a quirky sense of humor and a thing about hats! Told in first person, small fish tells his proud tale of stealing a lovely hat from a very large fish.  Small wonderful details will elicit laughs and plenty of "uh ohs" as the story swims along to the surprise ending.  Jon Klassen also won a Silver Caldecott Medal for his illustrations of  Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett.  Jon Klassen is only the second illustrator to win both medals in the same year since 1946. The Caldecott celebrates it's 75th Anniversary this year!!