Thursday, April 10, 2014

Great Stone Face "Booktalks"

Next week, NH children vote for their favorite book from a list of recently-published titles that are chosen by the Great Stone Face (GSF) Committee. The purpose of the award is to promote reading enjoyment, to increase awareness of contemporary writing, and to allow children to honor their favorite authors.  Here are the last of the committee's "booktalks" that I have been posting since the fall.


Ship’s Cat Doris by Jane Simmons
Poor Doris!
When his new owners adopted him as a kitten, he was named Doris, because they thought he was a girl-kitten! He’s not! Doris is a big, strong, black-and-white kitten who loves his new owners, and feels ready to take his place on their boat (the “Prosperity”) as official Ship’s Cat. However, the “Prosperity” already has several occupants, and they aren’t very welcoming. Will Doris ever be accepted by mean Madge the dog and frightening Frida the hen? And what will he do when faced with Jasper, the bully cat of  the shipyard?
Join Doris as he learns about making friends, standing up for himself, and dealing with the changes that life can bring.
Booktalk written by Sarah Hydorn GSF Committee Amherst Town Library


by Gordon Korman
Donovan Curtis (IQ 112) is not gifted. Seventh grader Donovan Curtis is impulsive. Act before thinking is his major character trait and that has made him the frequent focus of appointments with the principal and school meetings with his parents. In fact as the novel opens we find him in this same scenario, only this time it is the office of Dr. Schultz, (IQ 127), the Superintendent of the Hardcastle Independent School District, 47 buildings, 30,000 students.  Why you may ask? Well it has something to do with a bronze statue of Atlas, no longer holding the weight of the world, that rolled through the double glass doors of the Hardcastle Middle School gym during a major basketball game.  How this leads to Donovan being sent to the gifted Academy for Scholastic Distinction (ASD) is a plot very much in the style, and humor of author Gordon Korman.  Told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints (and IQs) of the major characters, this realistic fiction novel weaves in robots (you will love Tin Man), a pregnant sister, a somewhat bizarre dog, health education classes and a brother-in-law in Afghanistan.  What this novel also weaves in is a look at different perspectives of giftedness and the gifted child and what gifts even the “ungifted” might possess and be needed by the best and the brightest.
Booktalk written by Kathleen Fencil, GSF Committee Bedford Middle School

The Vengekeep Prophecies
by Brian Farrey
Jaxter Grimjinx is a thief. Well, he supposed to be a thief but he isn’t a very good one.  The Grimjinx clan are the best thieves in Vengekeep so Jaxter has quite the reputation to live up to. Unfortunately, Jaxter is very clumsy. When he goes on his first solo heist, everything goes wrong. His whole family ends up in jail! Conveniently a suspicious prophecy emerges that proclaims the Grimjinx clan as heroes of Vengekeep. All the clan has to do is deal with all the dangers listed in the prophecy.  Nothing much just flood, firestorms and an army of skeletal beasts. If the clan is facing all those dangers, Jaxter thinks jail is a safer place.
Booktalk by Susan McDonald GSF Committee Weeks Public Library, Greenland, NH


Wooden Bones
by Scott William Carter
What happens after Pinocchio and Gepetto's Happily Ever After isn't so happy. They try to live a quiet, private life on the edge of town, just a man and his now real living boy.  But Pinocchio, called Pino, thinking he is doing something wonderful for Gepetto and himself, creates a life size wooden puppet woman that looks exactly like Gepetto's long dead wife, and brings her to life. She's no replacement, she's a zombie of a person, bu the townspeople get wind of it, and insist that if Gepetto gets to have a real boy and a wooden wife, they should get to have loved ones brought back from the dead, too. But the woman isn't really alive, not like Pinocchio, and when Gepetto refuses the townspeople, the townspeople run Gepetto and Pinocchio out of town as a desperate, angry mob, forcing them to flee from fire and wolves. Injured and exhausted, they climb into the trees, where Pinocchio makes a horrible discovery (and brings trees to life to walk them away from the danger). Yes, he can make wooden things come alive, but when he does so, a little bit of him turns back to wood each time. Pino and Gepetto find themselves on the run as the people they meet seek to use and abuse Pinocchio's powers. This book is nice and scary, a dark and creepy nonstop start to finish adventure. 
Booktalk written by Sara Zoe Patterson-GSF Committee/ New Franklin School


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