Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

Cover image for The creeping shadowThis is the fourth installment of the Lockwood and Co series.  In this one Lucy has left the agency because of the premonition she received at the end of book 3.  She is successful as an independent agent, but her life is empty and her only friend is The Skull. When Lockwood comes to her door begging her to come back and help them with "just one case" he doesn't have to twist her arm very hard.  Their case is a request by Penelope Fittes herself to tackle the ghost of a famous cannibal.  That case leads to another, and soon they are battling the biggest and scariest phenomenon they have ever faced.

This story does not disappoint Lockwood and Co fans at all. All the main characters develop in their relationships with each other, and readers get few more hints at the ultimate cause of "The Problem."  Stroud is a master at crafting both characters and plots, balancing intensity and humor so that readers are biting their nails one minute, and laughing out loud the next.  I can hardly wait for the next one to come out (probably in the fall.) (445 p.)


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Snow White by Matt Phelan

Cover image for Snow WhiteThis graphic novel got a lot of attention last year during Mock Caldecotts.  It is a retelling of the story of Snow White set during the depression.  It has very few words--I read the whole thing in about 1/2 hr, but the art work is stunning. Snow is the daughter of wealthy stock market investor. After her mother dies, her father marries a glitzy Broadway star. Then the stock market fails and Snow's family is left penniless. Snow's step mother disposes of her husband by means of a poisoned drink and then sends Snow off to boarding school.  When Snow graduates and returns home, her step mother is jealous of her beauty and hires a stage hand to kill her.  He can't bring himself to do it, and urges her to flee.  Snow is befriended by a group of street kids but they are unable to protect her from her jealous stepmother.  When they find her unconscious body, the put her in a sparkly department store window display out of respect for her kindness to them.  She is discovered by a police man, officer Prince, who revives her.  It is all very clever and works quite well.  Phelan's illustrations are primarily black and white, but capture the time period and drama of the story perfectly. This book is a little dark, and isn't really appropriate for small children, but for older kids up to adult, it is well worth the read. (216 p.)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke

Cover image for Zita the spacegirl. Book 1, Far from homeZita and her friend, Joseph are playing in the forest when they find a newly formed impact crater.  At the bottom they find a shiny red devise.  Joseph warns Zita not to push the button on it, but she does and as a result Joseph gets sucked into another world.  Zita decides to go after him and finds herself on a world full of creatures of all shapes and sizes.  The only other human she meets is the mysterious Piper and he agrees to help her find her friend, but can he be trusted?

This is another graphic novel series that is popular for lovers of action adventure science fiction.  Zita is a solid character and she meets several endearing side kicks along the way. The color illustrations are great and the whole story is imaginative and entertaining.  This is the first of a three book series. (182 p.)