September 27, 2016

Books For Animal Lovers

Posted by at 1:42 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!Are you devoted to your dog? Do you ham it up with your hamster? Hang out with spiders? Well, if you are looking for books for animal lovers, check out a few of my faves . . .

Marley Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan
When John and Jenny decide to adopt a cute Labrador puppy (Marley), they have no idea what they are in for. He’s like a walking hurricane with paws — eating expensive jewelry, jumping everyone who walks through the door, flinging drool everywhere, and even getting kicked out of doggie obedience class. But their lives will never be the same, and they find out Marley is a very loyal and loving dog. I couldn’t put this book down; it had me ROTFL at one point, then ready to grab a Kleenex at the next. I really think any dog lover or pet lover will LOVE this one.

Cricket-in-times-squareA Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
When Chester the Cricket finds himself in New York City’s Times Square (after a wayward jaunt into someone’s picnic basket from his home in Connecticut), he is totally lost until he finds Mario, the human boy who sets him up at his family’s newsstand.He befriends Tucker the Cat and Harry the Mouse, and he finds that big city life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He lives in a matchbox bed with Kleenex sheets and has some pretty cool adventures. But the friendships he makes and life lessons he learns I could totally relate to —  even though he is a cricket. This one definitely is one of my faves.

WarriorsThe Warriors (Book #1: Into the Wild) by Erin Hunter
This book is like house cat meets ancient tribal wildcat, or as I like to call it . . . Lord of the Rings with cats! This epic saga runs through several books and series (The New Prophecy, The Power of Three, and more), but for starting out, I recommend Into the Wild, which is the very first book. Rusty, a house cat, gets the chance to join Thunder Clan, one of the ancient warrior cat clans, but he gets in the middle of a turf war with other rival clans. He has to prove his bravery, uncover a traitor, and rise to become a hero. If you are a fan of animal fantasy adventure stories, check this out. You’ll never see your cat the same way again.

Charlottes_webCharlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Okay, this book is a total classic, so I just had to put it on the list. It’s like a soap opera for barnyard animals. After Wilbur the piglet is deemed the runt of his litter, he is sentenced to live a lonely life in the cellar of the barn. He meets spider Charlotte, and they become fast friends. When Wilbur discovers he is going to be slaughtered and eaten, Charlotte finds a way to save his life. I don’t want to reveal anymore, but there are more twists and turns after this, leading up to a heart-wrenching ending. Have a box of tissues handy.

All of these get my vote for two paws up! Tell us your favorite animal stories in the Comments!

— Ratha

September 26, 2016

Random Weirdness Writing Prompt

Posted by at 1:36 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

WritingpromptThis is totally true. In my lifetime, I have swum in an underground cave. I have eaten fried crickets. I have walked through a park filled with hundreds and hundreds of stray cats. And I have watched a movie with the Queen of England. (Well, she was in the balcony and I was down below with the secret service agents, but we were in the same theater!)

Now we want to hear from you. Tell us about the weird and wonderful things you have done in your lifetime! The only rules are:

  • No inappropriate stuff.
  • No personal information about who you are or where you live.
  • Have fun!

Please leave a Comment sharing your wonderful weirdness with the world!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

September 23, 2016

Star Wars Rebels Would You Rather

STAR WARS REBELSStar Wars Rebels on Disney XD takes place 14 years after the movie Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (where Anakin becomes Darth Vader) and 5 years before Episode IV: A New Hope (where we meet Luke). So basically, in between the old movies and the new movies.

It introduces a whole new cast of characters, plus we get to see some old favorites. The main character is Ezra, a 14-year old orphan/con-artist/pickpocket with surprising abilities to use the Force. He becomes an unlikely member of the Ghost ship crew where he is trained by Jedi Kanan, and helps in missions against the Empire. Along the way we get to see Yoda, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, C3-PO, Ashoka, and more of our old faves in action.

Use the Force for good rather than evil to complete our Star Wars Rebels Would You Rather.

Would you rather:

1. Go undercover as an Imperial cadet (and pretend to be evil) OR train as Darth Vader’s apprentice (and truly be evil)?

2. Blaster OR lightsaber?

3. Lose your droid OR your ship to Lando Calrissian?

4. Make your own lightsaber (like Ezra’s out of Kyber crystal) OR inherit Yoda’s?

5. C1-10P OR R2-D2?

6. Battle Ashoka Tano OR the Seventh Sister?

7. Mind Control skills OR lightsaber skills?

8. Always be a bad guy OR be a once-good-guy-turned-into-a-bad-guy? (like The Grand Inquisitor)

9. In Season 3 see a young Han Solo and Chewy on a mission OR see Ezra join the Dark Side?

Season 3 starts September 24th, so you won’t have to wait long to get your fix, but in the meantime, let us know your answers in he Comments below. And may The Force be with you.

-Ratha

September 22, 2016

Writing Prompt: Almost. . .

Posted by at 1:12 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writingprompt_almost

Imagine of just one small thing were different about your favorite book. It would change the entire plot, right? So, I’d like to propose a game. Take the title of a book, then change one small thing, even just one letter, and give me the new plot. Example:

Hurry Potter

Hurrypotter
Harry Potter has to run really fast all the time for no reason.

Give me your best/most ridiculous book titles and plots!

— Jack

September 21, 2016

Wings of Fire Readalikes

Posted by at 1:56 am in Reads | Permalink

WingsofFireIf you fell in love with the wonderful world of Wings of Fire, you’re probably looking for other great fantasy titles full of magic, adventure, and—yes—dragons. Fear not! We’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a list of the best Wings of Fire readalikes that will transport you to exciting new worlds (some of which may be in your very own back yard).

Warriors
Rusty is a housecat who yearns for adventure, and he’s in luck. Right beyond the backyard of his home lies the world of the feral cats, who are divided into different gangs in the midst of an epic battle for power. Apprenticed by the ThunderClan, Rusty is given the new name Firepaw and trains to become a warrior . . . and he may just be the one to save the clans from destruction from the evil ShadowClan.

Foxcraft
Young fox Isla lives outside the land of humans—known to foxes as “the furless”—with her fox family. One day she returns to her den to find it on fire, surrounded by foxes she’s never seen before and with her family nowhere to be found. On the run, she must enter the world of the furless to survive . . . and learn the ancient magic of Foxcraft.

Dragon Rider
With his colony under threat by humans, young dragon Firedrake flees and embarks on a journey to find the Rim of Heaven in the Himalayas, a mythical place where dragons are safe and can live in peace. Along with his dragon rider, an orphan boy named Ben, Firedrake sets off on the dangerous quest full of fantastic creatures— one very evil one intent on ending Firedrake’s journey for good!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Minli lives in the valley of Fruitless Mountain, where she and her parents must work hard all day just to barely survive. It’s a difficult life, but Minli’s father tells her many magical stories to make their days less miserable. It is through his stories that Minli learns about the Old Man on the Moon, who has the power to tell her how they can change their fortune—and with encouragement from a talking goldfish, she sets off on a journey to find the Old Man. Along the way she meets and befriends many magical characters, including a dragon who can’t fly . . . and learns a thing or two about bravery and the true meaning of fortune.

Magesterium: The Iron Trial
Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has been warned by his father to stay away from magic and the Magesterium, a school for magically inclined children. The problem is, Callum is descended from mages: he’s got magical abilities whether he likes it or not. When he tries to fail the Iron Trial, the entrance exam to the Magesterium, he fails at failing and is admitted. Now forced to attend the mysterious and frightening school, he is apprenticed under the great mage Master Rufus. He’s in for one wild ride of friendships, foes, and, yes—lots of magic.

Fablehaven
When Kendra and her brother Seth are sent to stay with their grandparents at the Fablehaven estate while their parents are on a vacation. Little do they know, Fablehaven is actually a protected home for magical creatures—and their grandfather is the caretaker. There are many fascinating creatures to meet and adventures to be had, but there are also very strict rules to follow. And when Kendra and Seth break one, they are in a world of trouble unlike anything they could ever expect!

The Menagerie
The author of Wings of Fire, Tui T. Sutherland, joined forces with her sister Kari Sutherland to write this incredible series. Logan, new in the town of Xanadu, Wyoming, is shocked to find a baby griffin under his bed one night—and even more surprised to learn that the baby griffin actually escaped from the top-secret Menagerie, a special zoo for magical creatures. The Menagerie is run by his classmate Zoe and her family, and with Logan’s help, they start tracking down other escaped griffins. But the Menagerie is due for an inspection soon, and if anything is amiss it will be shut down for good. Will Logan and Zoe find the remaining griffins in time?

Are you a Wings of Fire fan? Have you read any of these books? What other books would you recommend for fans of the series? Sound off in the Comments below!

En-Szu

September 20, 2016

Create a Caption: Frog

Posted by at 1:33 am in Create a Caption, Writing Prompt | Permalink

Q: What did the bathtub say to the toilet?
A: You look flushed.

Q: What did one hat say to the other hat?
A: You stay here. I’m gonna go on a head!

Q: What did the frogs say to the ducks?

You tell me!

Ducksnfrogs-001

Leave a comment telling me what you think should go in the speech bubble for when the toys on my desk have a (hilarious) conversation.

– Carly

September 19, 2016

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Posted by at 1:00 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!Ahoy, matey! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. To celebrate, check out some of these pirate-themed books:

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Pirate’s Plot by Ellen Miles
  • The Pirate’s Son by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Nick of Time: An Adventure Through Time by Ted Bell
  • Stowaway by Kristiana Gregory
  • Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  • Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt
  • Peter Raven Under Fire by Michael Molloy

So tally ho, make ye enemies walk the plank, and don’t forget to talk like a pirate!

—Carly

September 16, 2016

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Trivia Quiz

Posted by at 1:40 am in Percy Jackson, Trivia | Permalink

Lightennigtheif_130Are you a Percy Jackson fan? Test your skills with this Percy Jackson trivia quiz!

  1. What was the Roman (not Greek!) name for Percy’s father?
  2. What is the first hint we get of who Percy’s father really is?
  3. Which monster is Percy’s namesake famous for killing?
  4. Which three planets are named after Percy’s father and uncles?
  5. Why is the entrance to the underworld in L.A.? (Feel free to be creative with this one.)
  6. Where did Percy stab Ares, and what classical hero is this a reference to?
  7. On his travels in Sea of Monsters, Mr. Jackson meets Circe. What does she turn him into?
  8. Annabeth teaches Percy about “hubris” — a key element of the Icarus myth. How did Icarus die?
  9. Which famous pirate do Percy and Annabeth meet?
  10. Who was the original hero associated with the quest for the Golden Fleece?
  11. (ULTRA OBSCURE) What old man was changed into a rock by Hermes for betraying him?

Read on to check your answers. Continue reading

September 15, 2016

Book Review: Dear Dumb Diary

Posted by at 1:23 am in Dear Dumb Diary, Reads | Permalink

Ddd_130

Jamie Kelly is your average middle-schooler with an average (but evil) best friend, Isabella, and an average (but sickeningly beautiful) nemesis, Angeline. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic, but Jamie is dramatic . . . and did I mention hilarious?

In the Dear Dumb Diary books, Jamie warns us not to read her diary in disclaimers such as, “Only a super gross person reads another person’s diary.” And, “If you are Angeline, I did NOT give you permission, so stop it.” Each book is like a mini-journal which follows something going on at the time in Jamie’s life.

Like right now, I just finished Book 4: Never Do Anything Ever in which Jamie starts collecting money for an online charity to channel her “inner beautiosity.” Which is basically because Angeline has been collecting money for charities and Jamie wants to outdo her (and attract the attention of her super-cute crush, Hudson). It backfires, thanks to Jamie’s aforementioned friend Isabella — but I can’t reveal exactly how things go wrong! You’ll just have to read it for yourself!

Besides an overall entertaining story, each of the little daily occurrences and descriptions are wickedly funny. For instance, Jamie is paired with a bunch of misfits on her team in gym class, and she refers to one guy as “That Ugly Guy Whose Name I Forget” . . . or as she calls him for short, “TUGWNIF.” You feel like you are reading something slightly naughty or mean . . . but then you remember this is someone’s “diary” and you’re not supposed to be reading it . . . and somehow it’s okay! It’s hard to describe, so I can only recommend you read the series!

And if you’ve already read any Dear Dumb Diary books, give me a shout! What are your favorite books of the series? Let me know which ones I should check out next!

— Ratha

September 14, 2016

12 Books for When You Are 12

Posted by at 1:24 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!Being 12 can be downright confusing. You’re not a teenager just yet, but not really a kid anymore. Everything is changing: your friends, your family, your likes and dislikes, even your body. (Whaaaaaat? Gross!) Talk about having your world turned upside down! But that’s why we have great books. Get inspired by extraordinary characters and their even more extraordinary tales in this list of the 12 best books for when you are 12.

The Golden Compass
12-year-old orphan Lyra Belacqua has lived her whole life scampering around Oxford with her daemon, Pantalaimon. But when she stumbles across a dangerous conspiracy, she is forced to flee to the unknown North—where armored polar bears battle, children are being abducted and experimented on by a mysterious and sinister society, and Lyra uncovers dark truths about her past, and the universe, that could completely alter the course of the future.

The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm
Tendai, Rita, and Kuda have been holed up in their mansion far too long—but when they escape to explore the world outside, they find themselves confronted with dangers beyond their wildest imagination. In the world of 2174 in Harare, Zimbabwe, the siblings find themselves kidnapped by gangsters and bounced from one awful situation to the next…all while being pursued by a strange detective agency their parents have hired. This bizarre, funny, and downright fascinating tale of the future will take you on one wild ride and have you wondering what the world will look like in 158 years.

The Graveyard Book
Brad is anything but normal…but you could probably say it’s because of how he was raised. You see, Brad was raised as the only living thing in a graveyard. His whole world has been ghosts and other supernatural beings. As he grows older, his love for his graveyard family—and fear of the outside world—grows.

Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl is no ordinary 12-year-old. He’s a brilliant criminal mastermind, and has done a pretty good job managing his family’s criminal enterprise. He’s also on the hunt for something very, very valuable…fairies. When he captures fairy Holly Short, he thinks he’s landed on a goldmine. What he fails to realize is that Holly and her fellow fairies are anything but the gentle fairies of lore: they’re armed, and they’re ready to fight! But are Artemis’ intentions really all bad?

A Wrinkle In Time
Meg’s father has been missing for over a year. One dark and stormy night, a Mrs. Whatsit visits the family and reveals that she is a magical being who can read thoughts. She informs Meg that her father isn’t just missing on this planet—he’s lost somewhere in the fifth dimension, and it’s up to Meg, her brother Charles, and her friend Calvin to rescue him from whatever evil is holding him captive. This wild inter-dimensional tale is an absolute must-read!

The Giver
In Jonas’s world, everything is in perfect order. Nobody fights, nobody hurts, nobody is poor, nobody gets sick. At the age of 12, each member of his community is given their career assignment. Jonas is assigned a very unusual job, however: he is to be the new Receiver of Memories. It’s no easy task for anyone, let alone a 12-year-old. He begins training under The Giver, who is the only one who knows of what life was really like before everything was perfect…and now that Jonas knows the truth, will he let things continue to be the way they are? Or is there meaning, and even happiness, in imperfection?

The Dark is Rising
On his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton learns that he is actually the last of the Old Ones, immortals who fight the great forces of evil. To save the world, he must first find the six Signs of the Light and unite them. But the world of magic and good and evil that Will has discovered is far more complex and sinister than he ever could have imagined…

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Karana has lived on Ghalas-at, also known as the Island of the Blue Dolphins, her entire life. She lives in the village with her father, the chief, and her brother. After a trade agreement goes terribly wrong, ending in many deaths, her fellow villagers leave—but Karana and her brother Ramo are left behind. Karana will have to rely on her survival skills and strength to stay alive until someone comes to rescue them, but soon tragedy strikes again and Karana must learn what it truly means to be brave…and be human.

Al Capone Does My Shirts
Moose Flanagan, age 12, has to move with his family to Alcatraz Island in 1935. His father got a job working at the infamous prison, and his autistic younger sister Natalie can go to a special school nearby in San Francisco. Moose is pretty miserable—he had to give up a pretty great life back in Santa Monica, and his life now is lonely and frustrating. But he’s about to make a friend (or two) in the most unlikely of places…

A Long Walk to Water
Two parallel stories—one taking place in 2008, and the other in 1985—explore the lives of two different people and how they collide. In Sudan in 1985, Salva’s classroom daydreaming is violently interrupted by what begins a harrowing journey of survival and escape. Over 20 years later, Nya spends must walk eight hours a day to collect water for her family, most of which is contaminated. How these two tales intertwine is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and will give you so much hope for how we can love one another.

Counting By 7s
12-year-old Willow Chance is a genius who is a sponge for information. She leads a pretty quiet life, and finds comfort in counting by 7s. But when her world is turned upside down by tragedy, she will be challenged in ways she never could have imagined—and through it all, she shows the power of survival, finding hope, and finding family where you least expect it.

The Thing about Jellyfish
After her ex-best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting because things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, and complicated friendships.

Have you read any of these books? What other books do you think every 12-year-old should read? Share in the Comments below!